STORIES WORTH REREADING
All persons like stories. Children call for them from their earliest years.
The purpose of this book is to provide children and youth with stories
worth reading; stories relating incidents of history, missionary effort,
and home and school experiences. These stories will inspire, instruct, and
entertain the readers. Nearly all of these have appeared in print before,
and are reprinted in this form through the courteous permission of their
writers and publishers.
"Stories Worth Rereading" can be obtained only as a premium with the
Youth's Instructor, a sixteen-page weekly, published by the Review and
Herald Publishing Association, Takoma Park, Washington, D. C.
THEIR WORD OF HONOR
MURIEL'S BRIGHT IDEA
THE STRENGTH OF CLINTON
THE DOCTOR'S COW
HONEY AT THE PHONE
ONE OF FATHER'S STORIES
WHAT RUM DOES
MY MOTHER'S RING
THE BRIDAL WINE-CUP
A MOTHER'S SORROW
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
TIGHTENING THE SADDLE-GIRTH
"HERRINGS FOR NOTHING"
THE POWER OF SONG
HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER
SAMUEL SMILES, THE AUTHOR OF "SELF-HELP"
A TRUE INCIDENT OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE
IN THE HOME
GIANTS AND GRASSHOPPERS
AS GOOD AS HIS BOND
HOW THE BOY WITHOUT A REFERENCE FOUND ONE
AN HOUR A DAY FOR A YEAR
"PLEASE, SIR, I WOULD RATHER NOT"
THE RIGHT WORD
THE SADDEST OF INDIA'S PICTURES (1912)
ONE LITTLE WIDOW
WHY THE MITE BOXES WERE FULL
TI-TO AND THE BOXERS
HOW NYANGANDI SWAM TO CHURCH
THE LITTLE PRINTER MISSIONARY
THE MISSIONARY'S DEFENSE
LIGHT AT LAST
THE BROWN TOWEL
ONLY A BOY
THE LITTLE PROTECTOR
MOFFAT AND AFRICANER
A SECOND TRIAL
THE SIN OF EXTRAVAGANCE
A LITTLE CHILD'S WORK
THE HANDY BOX
THE RESULT OF DISOBEDIENCE
A GOLD MEDAL
A GIRL'S RAILWAY ACQUAINTANCE
ONLY A JACK-KNIFE
JACK'S QUEER WAYS
WHAT ONE BOY DID
HOW NICK LEARNED MANNERS
INFLUENCE OF A GOOD BOOK
"STRAIGHTENING OUT THE FURROWS"
A BOY WHO WAS WANTED
WANTED: AN EMPLOYER
HOW TO STOP SWEARING
THE CAROLS OF BETHLEHEM CENTER
STANDING BEAR'S SPEECH
MABEL ASHTON'S DREAM
A SAD BUT TRUE STORY
"THE MAN THAT DIED FOR ME"
OUR GRASS RUG AND—OTHER THINGS
THEIR WORD OF HONOR
The president of the Great B. railway system laid down the letter he had
just reread three times, and turned about in his chair with an expression
of extreme annoyance.
"I wish it were possible," he said, slowly, "to find one boy or man in a
thousand who would receive instructions and carry them out to the letter
without a single variation from the course laid down. Cornelius," he looked
up sharply at his son, who sat at a desk close by, "I hope you are carrying
out my ideas with regard to your sons. I have not seen much of them lately.
The lad Cyrus seems to me a promising fellow, but I am not so sure of
Cornelius. He appears to be acquiring a sense of his own importance as
Cornelius Woodbridge, Third, which is not desirable, sir,—not desirable.
By the way, Cornelius, have you yet applied the Hezekiah Woodbridge test to
Cornelius Woodbridge, Junior, looked up from his work with a smile. "No, I
have not, father," he said.
"It's a family tradition; and if the proper care has been taken that the
boys should not learn of it, it will be as much a test for them as it was
for you and for me and for my father. You have not forgotten the day I gave
it to you, Cornelius?"
"That would be impossible," said his son, still smiling.
The elder man's somewhat stern features relaxed, and he sat back in his
chair with a chuckle. "Do it at once," he requested, "and make it a stiff
one. You know their characteristics; give it to them hard. I feel pretty
sure of Cyrus, but Cornelius—" He shook his head doubtfully, and returned
to his letter. Suddenly he wheeled about again.
"Do it Thursday, Cornelius," he said, in his peremptory way, "and whichever
one of them stands it shall go with us on the tour of inspection. That will
be reward enough, I fancy."
"Very well, sir," replied his son, and the two men went on with their work
without further words. They were in the habit of despatching important
business with the smallest possible waste of breath.
On Thursday morning, immediately after breakfast, Cyrus Woodbridge found
himself summoned to his father's library. He presented himself at once, a
round-cheeked, bright-eyed lad of fifteen, with an air of alertness in
every line of him.
"Cyrus," said his father, "I have a commission for you to undertake, of a
character which I cannot now explain to you. I want you to take this
envelope"—he held out a large and bulky packet—"and, without saying
anything to any one, follow its instructions to the letter. I ask of you
your word of honor that you will do so."
The two pairs of eyes looked into each other for a moment, singularly alike
in a certain intent expression, developed into great keenness in the man,
but showing as yet only an extreme wide-awakeness in the boy. Cyrus
Woodbridge had an engagement with a young friend in half an hour, but he
"I will, sir."
"On your honor?"
"That is all I want. Go to your room, and read your instructions. Then
start at once."
Mr. Woodbridge turned back to his desk with the nod and smile of dismissal
to which Cyrus was accustomed. The boy went to his room, opening the
envelope as soon as he had closed the door. It was filled with smaller
envelopes, numbered in regular order. Infolding these was a typewritten
paper, which read as follows:—
"Go to the reading-room of the Westchester Library. There open envelope No.
1. Remember to hold all instructions secret. C.W., Jr."
Cyrus whistled. "That's funny! It means my date with Harold is off. Well,
He stopped on his way out to telephone his friend of his detention, took a
Westchester Avenue car at the nearest point, and in twenty minutes was at
the library. He found an obscure corner and opened envelope No. 1.
"Go to office of W.K. Newton, room 703, tenth floor, Norfolk Building, X
Street, reaching there by 9:30 A.M. Ask for letter addressed to Cornelius
Woodbridge, Jr. On way down elevator open envelope No. 2."
Cyrus began to laugh. At the same time he felt a trifle irritated. "What's
father at?" he questioned, in perplexity. "Here I am away up-town, and he
orders me back to the Norfolk Building. I passed it on my way up. Must be
he made a mistake. Told me to obey instructions, though. He usually knows
just about why he does things."
Meanwhile Mr. Woodbridge had sent for his elder son, Cornelius. A tall
youth of seventeen, with the strong family features, varied by a droop in
the eyelids and a slight drawl in his speech, lounged to the door of the
library. Before entering he straightened his shoulders; he did not,
however, quicken his pace.
"Cornelius," said his father, promptly, "I wish to send you upon an errand
of some importance, but of possible inconvenience to you. I have not time
to give you instructions, but you will find them in this envelope. I ask
you to keep the matter and your movements strictly to yourself. May I have
from you your word of honor that I can trust you to follow the orders to
the smallest detail?"
Cornelius put on a pair of eye-glasses, and held out his hand for the
envelope. His manner was almost indifferent. Mr. Woodbridge withheld the
packet, and spoke with decision: "I cannot allow you to look at the
instructions until I have your word of honor that you will fulfil them."
"Is not that asking a good deal, sir?"
"Perhaps so," said Mr. Woodbridge, "but no more than is asked of trusted
messengers every day. I will assure you that the instructions are mine and
represent my wishes."
"How long will it take?" inquired Cornelius, stooping to flick an
imperceptible spot of dust from his trousers.
"I do not find it necessary to tell you."
Something in his father's voice sent the languid Cornelius to an erect
position, and quickened his speech.
"Of course I will go," he said, but he did not speak with enthusiasm.
"And—your word of honor?"
"Certainly, sir." The hesitation before the promise was only momentary.
"Very well. I will trust you. Go to your room before opening your
And the second somewhat mystified boy went out of the library on that
memorable Thursday morning, to find his first order one which sent him to a
remote district of the city, with the direction to arrive there within
three quarters of an hour.
Out on an electric car Cyrus was speeding to another suburb. After getting
the letter from the tenth floor of the Norfolk Building, he had read:—
"Take cross-town car on L Street, transfer to Louisville Avenue, and go out
to Kingston Heights. Find corner West and Dwight Streets, and open envelope
Cyrus was growing more and more puzzled, but he was also getting
interested. At the corner specified he hurriedly tore open No. 3, but
found, to his amazement, only the singular direction:—
"Take Suburban Underground Road for Duane Street Station. From there go to
Sentinel office, and secure third edition of yesterday's paper. Open
envelope No. 4."
"Well, what under the sun, moon, and stars did he send me out to Kingston
Heights for!" cried Cyrus aloud. He caught the next train, thinking
longingly of his broken engagement with Harold Dunning, and of certain
plans for the afternoon which he was beginning to fear might be thwarted if
this seemingly endless and aimless excursion continued. He looked at the
packet of unopened envelopes.
"It would be easy to break open the whole outfit, and see what this game
is," he thought. "Never knew father to do a thing like this before. If it's
a joke,"—his fingers felt the seal of envelope No. 4,—"I might as well
find it out at once. Still, father never would joke with a fellow's promise
the way he asked it of me. 'My word of honor'—that's putting it pretty
strong. I'll see it through, of course. My, but I'm getting hungry! It must
be near luncheon-time."
It was not; but by the time Cyrus had been ordered twice across the city
and once up a sixteen-story building in which the elevator service was out
of order, it was past noon, and he was in a condition to find envelope No.
7 a very satisfactory one:—
"Go to Cafe Reynaud on Westchester Square. Take a seat at table in left
alcove. Ask waiter for card of Cornelius Woodbridge, Junior. Before
ordering luncheon read envelope No. 8."
The boy lost no time in obeying this command, and sank into his chair in
the designated alcove with a sigh of relief. He mopped his brow, and drank
a glass of ice-water at a gulp. It was a warm October day, and the sixteen
flights had been somewhat trying. He asked for his father's card, and then
sat studying the attractive menu.
"I think I'll have—" He mused for a moment, then said, with a laugh,
"Well, I'm about hungry enough to eat the whole thing. Bring me the—"
Then he recollected, paused, and reluctantly pulled out envelope No. 8, and
broke the seal. "Just a minute," he murmured to the waiter. Then his face
turned scarlet, and he stammered, under his breath, "Why—why—this can't
Envelope No. 8 ought to have been bordered with black, judging by the
dismay its order to a lecture hall to hear a famous electrician, caused.
But the Woodbridge blood was up now, and it was with an expression
resembling that of his grandfather Cornelius under strong indignation that
Cyrus stalked out of that charming place to proceed grimly to the lecture
"Who wants to hear a lecture on an empty stomach?" he groaned. "I suppose
I'll be ordered out, anyway, the minute I sit down and stretch my legs.
Wonder if father can be exactly right in his mind. He doesn't believe in
wasting time, but I'm wasting it today by the bucketful. Suppose he's doing
this to size me up some way; he isn't going to tire me out so quick as he
thinks. I'll keep going till I drop."
Nevertheless, when, just as he was getting interested, he was ordered to go
three miles to a football field, and then ordered away again without a
sight of the game he had planned for a week to see, his disgust was
All through that long, warm afternoon he raced about the city and suburbs,
growing wearier and more empty with every step. The worst of it was, the
orders were beginning to assume the form of a schedule, and commanded that
he be here at 3:15, and there at 4:05; and so on, which forbade loitering,
had he been inclined to loiter. In it all he could see no purpose, except
the possible one of trying his physical endurance. He was a strong boy, or
he would have been quite exhausted long before he reached envelope No. 17,
which was the last but three of the packet. This read:—
"Reach home at 6:20 P.M. Before entering house, read No. 18."
Leaning against one of the big white stone pillars of the porch of his
home, Cyrus wearily tore open envelope No. 18, and the words fairly swam
before his eyes. He had to rub them hard to make sure that he was not
"Go again to Kingston Heights, corner West and Dwight Streets, reaching
there by 6:50. Read No. 19."
The boy looked up at the windows, desperately angry at last. If his pride
and his sense of the meaning of that phrase, "My word of honor," as the men
of the Woodbridge family were in the habit of teaching their sons, had not
both been of the strongest sort, he would have rebelled, and gone defiantly
and stormily in. As it was, he stood for one long minute with his hands
clenched and his teeth set; then he turned and walked down the steps away
from the longed-for dinner, and out toward L Street and the car for
As he did so, inside the house, on the other side of the curtains, from
behind which he had been anxiously peering, Cornelius Woodbridge, Senior,
turned about and struck his hands together, rubbing them in a satisfied
"He's come—and gone," he cried, softly, "and he's on time to the minute!"
Cornelius, Junior, did not so much as lift his eyes from the evening paper,
as he quietly answered, "Is he?" But the corners of his mouth slightly
The car seemed to crawl out to Kingston Heights. As it at last neared its
terminus, a strong temptation seized the boy Cyrus. He had been on a
purposeless errand to this place once that day. The corner of West and
Dwight Streets lay more than half a mile from the end of the car route, and
it was an almost untenanted district. His legs were very tired; his stomach
ached with emptiness. Why not wait out the interval which it would take to
walk to the corner and back in a little suburban station, read envelope No.
19, and spare himself? He had certainly done enough to prove that he was a
Had he? Certain old and well-worn words came into his mind; they had been
in his writing-book in the early school-days: "A chain is no stronger than
its weakest link." Cyrus jumped off the car before it fairly stopped, and
started at a hot pace for the corner of West and Dwight Streets. There must
be no weak places in his word of honor.
Doggedly he went to the extreme limit of the indicated route, even taking
the longest way round to make the turn. As he started back, beneath the arc
light at the corner there suddenly appeared a city messenger boy. He
approached Cyrus, and, grinning, held out an envelope.
"Ordered to give you this," he said, "if you made connections. If you'd
been later than five minutes past seven, I was to keep dark. You've got
seven minutes and a half to spare. Queer orders, but the big railroad boss,
Woodbridge, gave 'em to me."
Cyrus made his way back to the car with some self-congratulations that
served to brace up the muscles behind his knees. This last incident showed
him plainly that his father was putting him to a severe test of some sort,
and he could have no doubt that it was for a purpose. His father was the
sort of man who does things with a very definite purpose indeed. Cyrus
looked back over the day with an anxious searching of his memory to be sure
that no detail of the singular service required of him had been slighted.
As he once more ascended the steps of his own home, he was so confident
that his labors were now ended that he almost forgot about envelope No. 20,
which he had been directed to read in the vestibule before entering the
house. With his thumb on the bell button he recollected, and with a sigh
broke open the final seal:—
"Turn about, and go to Lenox Street Station, B. Railroad, reaching there by
8:05. Wait for messenger in west end of station, by telegraph office."
It was a blow, but Cyrus had his second wind now. He felt like a machine—a
hollow one—which could keep on going indefinitely.
The Lenox Street Station was easily reached on time. The hands of the big
clock were only at one minute past eight when Cyrus entered. At the
designated spot the messenger met him. Cyrus recognized him as the porter
on one of the trains of the road of which his grandfather and father were
officers. Why, yes, he was the porter of the Woodbridge special car! He
brought the boy a card which ran thus:—
"Give porter the letter from Norfolk Building, the card received at
restaurant, the lecture coupon, yesterday evening's Sentinel, and the
envelope received at Kingston Heights."
Cyrus silently delivered up these articles, feeling a sense of thankfulness
that not one was missing. The porter went away with them, but was back in
"This way, sir," he said, and Cyrus followed, his heart beating fast. Down
the track he recognized the "Fleetwing," President Woodbridge's private
car. And Grandfather Cornelius he knew to be just starting on a tour of his
own and other roads, which included a flying trip to Mexico. Could it be
In the car his father and grandfather rose to meet him. Cornelius
Woodbridge, Senior, was holding out his hand.
"Cyrus, lad," he said, his face one broad, triumphant smile, "you have
stood the test, the Hezekiah Woodbridge test, sir, and you may be proud of
it. Your word of honor can be depended upon. You are going with us through
nineteen States and Mexico. Is that reward enough for one day's hardships?"
"I think it is, sir," agreed Cyrus, his round face reflecting his
grandfather's smile, intensified.
"Was it a hard pull, Cyrus?" questioned the senior Woodbridge with
Cyrus looked at his father. "I don't think so—now, sir," he said. Both
"Are you hungry?"
"Well, just a little, grandfather."
"Dinner will be served the moment we are off. We have only six minutes to
wait. I am afraid—I am very much afraid "—the old gentleman turned to
gaze searchingly out of the car window into the station—"that another
boy's word of honor, is not—"
He stood, watch in hand. The conductor came in and remained, awaiting
orders. "Two minutes more, Mr. Jefferson," he said. "One and a
half—one—half a minute." He spoke sternly: "Pull out at 8:14 on the
second, sir. Ah——"
The porter entered hurriedly, and delivered a handful of envelopes into
Grandfather Cornelius's grasp. The old gentleman scanned them at a glance.
"Yes, yes—all right!" he cried, with the strongest evidences of excitement
Cyrus had ever seen in his usually quiet manner. As the train made its
first gentle motion of departure, a figure appeared in the doorway.
Quietly, and not at all out of breath, Cornelius Woodbridge, Third, walked
into the car.
Then Grandfather Woodbridge grew impressive. He advanced, and shook hands
with his grandson as if he were greeting a distinguished member of the
board of directors. Then he turned to his son, and shook hands with him
also, solemnly. His eyes shone through his gold-rimmed spectacles, but his
voice was grave with feeling.
"I congratulate you, Cornelius," he said, "on possessing two sons whose
word of honor is above reproach. The smallest deviation from the outlined
schedule would have resulted disastrously. Ten minutes' tardiness at the
different points would have failed to obtain the requisite documents. Your
sons did not fail. They can be depended upon. The world is in search of men
built on those lines. I congratulate you, sir."
Cyrus was glad presently to escape to his stateroom with Cornelius. "Say,
what did you have to do?" he asked, eagerly. "Did you trot your legs off
all over town?"
"Not much, I didn't!" said Cornelius, grimly, from the depths of a big
towel. "I spent the whole day in a little hole of a room at the top of an
empty building, with just ten trips down the stairs to the ground floor to
get envelopes at certain minutes. I had not a crumb to eat nor a thing to
do, and could not even snatch a nap for fear I'd oversleep one of my dates
at the bottom."
"I believe that was worse than mine," commented Cyrus, reflectively.
"I should say it was. If you don't think so, try it."
"Dinner, boys," said their father's voice at the door, and they lost no
time in responding.—Grace S. Richmond, in Youth's Companion.
A tone of pride or petulance repressed,
A selfish inclination firmly fought,
A shadow of annoyance set at naught,
A measure of disquietude suppressed,
A peace in importunity possessed,
A reconcilement generously sought,
A purpose put aside, a banished thought,
A word of self-explaining unexpressed,—
Trifles they seem, these petty soul-restraints;
Yet he who proves them so must needs possess
A constancy and courage grand and bold.
They are the trifles that have made the saints.
Give me to practise them in humbleness,
And nobler power than mine doth no man hold.
MURIEL'S BRIGHT IDEA
My friend Muriel is the youngest daughter in a large family of busy people.
They are in moderate circumstances, and the original breadwinner has been
long gone; so in order to enjoy many of the comforts and a few of the
luxuries of life the young people have to be wage-earners. I am not sure
that they would enjoy life any better than they do now if such were not the
case, though there are doubtless times when they would like to be less
busy. Still, even this condition has its compensations.
"Other people do not know how lovely vacations are," was the way Esther
expressed it as she sat one day on the side porch, hands folded lightly in
her lap, and an air of delicious idleness about her entire person. It was
her week of absolute leisure, which she had earned by a season of hard
work. She is a public-school teacher, belonging to a section and grade
where they work their teachers fourteen hours of the twenty-four.
Alice is a music-teacher, and goes all day from house to house in town, and
from school to school, with her music-roll in hand. Ben, a young brother,
is studying medicine in a doctor's office, also in town, and serving the
doctor between times to pay for his opportunities. There are two others, an
older brother just started in business for himself, and a sister in a
training-school for nurses.
So it was that this large family scattered each morning to their duties in
the city ten miles away, and gathered at night, like chickens, to the home
nest, which was mothered by the dearest little woman, who gave much of her
time and strength to the preparation of favorite dishes with which to greet
the wage-earners as they gathered at night around the home table. It is a
very happy family, but it was not about any of them that I set out to tell
you. In truth, it was Muriel's apron that I wanted to talk about; but it
seemed necessary to describe the family in order to secure full
appreciation of the apron.
Muriel, I should tell you, is still a high-school girl, hoping to be
graduated next year, though at times a little anxious lest she may not
pass, and with ambitions to enter college as soon as possible.
The entire family have ambitions for Muriel, and I believe that she will
get to college in another year. But about her apron. I saw it first one
morning when I crossed the street to my neighbor's side door that opens
directly into the large living-room, and met Muriel in the doorway, as
pretty a picture as a fair-haired, bright-eyed girl of seventeen can make.
She was in what she called her uniform, a short dress made of dark print,
cut lower in the neck than a street dress. It had elbow sleeves, and a bit
of white braid stitched on their bands and around the square neck set off
the little costume charmingly.
Her apron was of strong dark-green denim, wide enough to cover her dress
completely; it had a bib waist held in place by shoulder straps; and the
garment fastened behind with a single button, making it adjustable in a
second. But its distinctive feature was a row of pockets—or rather several
rows of them—extending across the front breadth; they were of varying
sizes, and all bulged out as if well filled.
"What in the world?" I began, and stared at the pockets. Muriel's merry
laugh rang out.
"Haven't you seen my pockets before?" she asked. "They astonish you, of
course; everybody laughs at them; but I am proud of them; they are my own
invention. You see, we are such a busy family all day long, and so tired
when we get home at night, that we have a bad habit of dropping things just
where they happen to land, and leaving them. By the last of the week this
big living-room is a sight to behold. It used to take half my morning to
pick up the thousand and one things that did not belong here, and carry
them to their places. You do not know how many journeys I had to make,
because I was always overlooking something. So I invented this apron with a
pocket in it for every member of the family, and it works like a charm.
"Look at this big one with a B on it; that is for Ben, of course, and it is
always full. Ben is a great boy to leave his pencils, and his
handkerchiefs, and everything else about. Last night he even discarded his
necktie because it felt choky.
"This pocket is Esther's. She leaves her letters and her discarded
handkerchiefs, as well as her gloves. And Kate sheds hair ribbons and
hatpins wherever she goes. Just think how lovely it is to have a pocket for
each, and drop things in as fast as I find them. When I am all through
dusting, I have simply to travel once around the house and unpack my load.
I cannot tell you how much time and trouble and temper my invention has
"It is a bright idea," I said, "and I mean to pass it on. There are other
living-rooms and busy girls. Whose is that largest pocket, marked M?"
"Why, I made it for mother; but, do you know, I have found out just in this
very way that mothers do not leave things lying around. It is queer, isn't
it, when they have so many cares? It seems to be natural for mothers to
think about other people. So I made the M stand for 'miscellaneous,' and I
put into that pocket articles which will not classify, and that belong to
all of us. There are hosts of things for which no particular one seems to
be responsible. Is it not a pity that I did not think of pockets last
winter, when we all had special cares and were so dreadfully busy? It is
such a simple idea you would have supposed that any person would have
thought of it, but it took me two years. I just had to do it this spring,
because there simply was not time to run up- and down-stairs so much."
"You have proved once more the truth of the old proverb, 'Necessity is the
mother of invention,'" I said. "And, besides, you have given me a new idea.
I am going home to work it out. When it is finished, I will show it to
you." Then I went home, and made rows and rows of strong pockets to sew on
a folding screen I was making for my work-room.—Pansy, in Christian
Endeavor World. By permission of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.
* * * * *
Just Do Your Best
Just do your best. It matters not how small,
How little heard of;
Just do your best—that's all.
Just do your best. God knows it all,
And in his great plan you count as one;
Just do your best until the work is done.
Just do your best. Reward will come
To those who stand the test;
God does not forget. Press on,
Nor doubt, nor fear. Just do your best.
THE STRENGTH OF CLINTON
When Clinton Stevens was eleven years old, he was taken very sick with
pneumonia. During convalescence, he suffered an unexpected relapse, and his
mother and the doctor worked hard to keep him alive.
"It is ten to one if he gets well," said Dr. Bemis, shaking his head. "If
he does, he will never be very strong."
Mrs. Stevens smoothed Clinton's pillow even more tenderly than before. Poor
Clinton! who had always been such a rollicking, rosy-cheeked lad. Surely it
was hard to bear.
The long March days dragged slowly along, and April was well advanced
before Clinton could sit at the window, and watch the grass grow green on
the slope of the lawn. He looked frail and delicate. He had a cough, too, a
troublesome "bark," that he always kept back as long as he could.
The bright sunlight poured steadily in through the window, and Clinton held
up his hand to shield his eyes. "Why, Ma Stevens!" he said, after a moment,
"just look at my hands! They are as thin and white as a girl's, and they
used to be regular paws. It does not look as if I would pull many weeds for
Mr. Carter this summer, does it?"
Mrs. Stevens took his thin hands in her own patient ones. "Never mind,
dearie," she said, "they will grow plump and brown again, I hope." A group
of school-children were passing by, shouting and frolicking. Clinton leaned
forward and watched them till the last one was gone. Some of them waved
their caps, but he did not seem elated. "Mother," he said, presently, "I
believe I will go to bed if you will help me. I—I guess I am not quite
so—strong—now as I used to be."
Clinton did not pull weeds for Mr. Carter that summer, but he rode around
with the milkman, and did a little outdoor work for his mother, which
helped him to mend. One morning in July he surprised the village by riding
out on his bicycle; but he overdid the matter, and it was several weeks
before he again appeared. His cough still continued, though not so severe
as in the spring, and it was decided to let him go to school in the fall.
Dr. Bemis told Mrs. Stevens that the schoolroom would be a good place to
test Clinton's strength. And he was right. In no other place does a young
person's strength develop or debase itself so readily, for honor or
dishonor. Of course the doctor had referred to physical strength; but moral
strength is much more important.
Clinton was a bright lad for his years; and, although he had not looked
into his books during the summer, he was placed in the same grade he had
left when taken sick. He did not find much difficulty in keeping up with
any of his studies except spelling. Whenever he received a perfect mark on
that subject, he felt that a real victory had been won.
About Christmas-time the regular examinations were held. The teacher
offered a prize to each grade, the pupil receiving the highest average in
all studies to receive the prize. Much excitement, no little speculation,
and a great deal of studying ensued. Clinton felt fairly confident over all
his studies except spelling. So he carried his spelling-book home every
night, and he and his mother spent the evenings in wrestling with the long
and difficult words.
Examination day came at length, and the afternoon for the seventh grade
spelling was at hand. The words were to be written, and handed in. Across
the aisle from Clinton sat Harry Meyers. Several times when teacher
pronounced a word, Harry looked slyly into the palm of his hand. Clinton
watched him, his cheeks growing pink with shame. Then he looked around at
the others. Many of them had some dishonest device for copying the words.
Clinton swallowed something in his throat, and looked across at Matthews,
who pursed up his lips and nodded, if to say that he understood.
The papers were handed in, and school was dismissed. On Monday, after the
morning exercises, Miss Brooks gave out the prizes to the three grades
under her care. "I have now to award the prize for the highest average to
the seventh grade," she said. "But first I wish to say a few words on your
conduct during the recent examination in spelling. I shall censure no one
in particular, although there is one boy who must set no more bad examples.
No one spelled the words correctly—Clinton Stevens the least of
any—making his average quite low; yet the prize goes to him. I will tell
you why—" as a chorus of O! O's! greeted her ears. "Spelling is Clinton's
hardest subject, but he could easily have spelled more words right had he
not possessed sufficient strength to prevent him from falling into the way
followed by some of you."
As Clinton went up the aisle for his prize, he felt like crying, but he
managed to smile instead. A few days before, Harry Meyers had ridiculed him
because he was not strong enough to throw a snowball from the schoolhouse
to the road; now the teacher had said he was strong!
Clinton's Aunt Jennie came to visit the family in December, bringing her
little daughter Grace with her. Now Grace had a mania for pulling other
people's hair, but there was no one in the Stevens family upon whom she
dared operate except Clinton. She began on him cautiously, then
aggressively. Clinton stood it for a while, and then asked her, politely
but firmly, to stop. She stopped for half a day.
One night Clinton came home from school pale and tired. Some of the boys
had been taunting him on his spare frame, and imitating his cough, which
had grown worse as the winter advanced. Sitting down by the window, he
looked out at the falling snow. Grace slipped up behind him, and gave his
hair a sharp tweak. He struck out, hastily, and hit her. She was not
hurt,—only very much surprised,—but she began to cry lustily, and Aunt
Jennie came hurrying in, and took the child in her arms.
That night after supper Clinton went into the sitting-room, and called
Grace to him. "I want to tell you something," he said. "I am sorry that I
hit you, and I ask your pardon. Will you forgive me, dear?" Grace agreed
quickly, and said, shyly, "Next time I want to pull any one's hair, I will
pull my own."
Aunt Jennie was in the next room and overheard the conversation. "It
strikes me, Sarah," she said to Mrs. Stevens, later, "that Clinton is a
remarkably strong boy for one who is not strong. Most boys would not have
taken the trouble to ask a small girl to forgive them, even if they were
very much in the wrong. But Clinton has a strong character."
The year Clinton was thirteen, the boys planned to have a corn roast, one
August night. "We will get the corn in old Carter's lot," said Harry
Meyers. "He has just acres of it, and can spare a bushel or so as well as
not. I suppose you will go with us, Clint?"
Clinton hesitated. "No," said he. "I guess not; and I should think if you
want to roast corn, you could get it out of your own gardens. But if Mr.
Carter's corn is better than any other, why can you not ask him——"
"O, come, now," retorted Harry, "do not let it worry you! Half the fun of
roasting corn is in—in taking it. And don't you come, Clinton—don't. We
would not have you for the world. You are too nice, Mr. Coughin."
Clinton's cheeks flushed red, but he turned away without a word. When Mr.
Carter quizzed Billy Matthews, and found out all about it, Clinton was made
very happy by the old man's words: "It is not every chap that will take the
stand you took. You ought to be thankful that you have the strength to say
In the fall, when Clinton was fifteen, his health began to fail noticeably,
and Dr. Bemis advised a little wine "to build him up."
"Mother," said the boy, after thinking it over, "I am not going to touch
any wine. I can get well without it, I know I can. I do not want liquor,"
he continued. "'Wine is a mocker,' you know. Did you not tell me once that
Zike Hastings, over in East Bloomfield, became a drunkard by drinking wine
when he was sick?"
"Yes, Clinton, I believe I told you so."
"Well, then, I do not want any wine. I have seen Zike Hastings too many
In December Aunt Jennie and Grace made their annual visit. With them came
Uncle Jonathan, who took a great liking to Clinton.
"My boy," said he one day, placing a big hand on the lad's shoulder, "early
in the new year Aunt Jennie and I start for the Pacific Coast. Should you
like to go with us?"
"Well, I rather guess I should!" gasped the surprised boy, clasping his
hands joyfully. "Very well, then, you shall go," returned Uncle Jonathan,
"and your mother, too."
Clinton began to feel better before they were outside of Pennsylvania. When
they had crossed the Mississippi and reached the prairies, his eyes were
sparkling with excitement. The mountains fairly put new life in him. Uncle
Jonathan watched him with pleasure. "Tell me," he said one day, when they
were winding in and out among the Rockies, "what has given you so much
strength of character?"
"Why, it was this way," said Clinton, bringing his eyes in from a chasm
some hundreds of feet below: "one day when I was beginning to recover from
that attack of pneumonia, I saw a lot of the boys romping along, and I felt
pretty bad because I could not romp and play, too; then I thought that if I
could not be strong that way, I could have the strength to do right; so I
began to try, and——"
"Succeeded admirably," said Uncle Jonathan, approvingly. "And, really, my
boy, I see no reason why you should not shout and play to your heart's
content in a few months."
And Uncle Jonathan's words proved true; for Clinton, in a sun-kissed
California valley, grew well and strong in a few months. But through all
his life he will have cause to be glad that he learned the value of the
strength that is gained by resisting temptation, controlling one's spirit,
and obeying the Lord's commands.
THE DOCTOR'S COW
"I am afraid she is done for," said the veterinary surgeon as he came out
of the barn with Dr. Layton, after working for an hour over Brindle, who
had broken into the feed bins, and devoured bran and middlings until she
could eat no more. "But keep up the treatment faithfully, and if she lives
through the night, she will stand some show of getting well."
The doctor walked down the driveway with the surgeon, and stood for a few
minutes at the gate under the maple-trees that lined the sidewalk, talking
earnestly. Then he went back into the house by the kitchen door. His wife
met him, with the oft-repeated words, "I told you so; I said that boy would
turn out of no earthly account."
"But he has turned out of some account," contradicted the doctor mildly.
"In spite of this carelessness, he has been a great help to me during the
last month. It was boyish ignorance more than mere carelessness that
brought about this disaster. To be sure, I have cautioned him not to leave
the door of the feed-room unfastened. But he had no idea how a cow would
make a glutton of herself if she had a chance at the bins. You cannot
expect a boy who was reared in a city tenement to learn all about the
country, and the habits and weaknesses of cattle, in one short month. No, I
shall not send him adrift again—not even if poor Brindle dies."
"You mean to say you are going to keep him just the same, John Layton?"
cried the doctor's wife. "Well, if you are not the meekest man! Moses was
not anything to you! He did lose his temper once."
The doctor smiled, and said quietly: "Yes, and missed entering the promised
land on account of it. Perhaps I should have done the same thing in his
place; but I am sure that Moses, if he were in my place today, would feel
just as I do about discharging Harry. It is pretty safe to assume that he,
even if he did lose his temper at the continual grumbling of the croakers
who were sighing for the flesh-pots of Egypt, never ordered a young
Israelite boy whose father and mother had been bitten by the fiery serpents
and died in the wilderness, to clear out of camp for not putting a halter
on one of the cows."
"John Layton, you are talking Scripture!" remonstrated the perturbed
housewife, looking up reprovingly as she sadly skimmed the cream from the
very last pan of milk poor Brindle would ever give her.
"I certainly am, and I am going to act Scripture, too," declared the
doctor, with the air of gentle firmness that always ended any controversy
between him and his excellent, though somewhat exacting, wife. "Harry is a
good boy, and he had a good mother, too, he says, but he has had a hard
life, ill-treated by a father who was bitten by the fiery serpent of drink.
Now because of his first act of negligence I am not going to send him
adrift in the world again."
"Not if it costs you a cow!" remarked the woman.
"No, my dear, not if it costs me two cows," reasserted the doctor. "A cow
is less than a boy, and it might cost the world a man if I sent Harry away
in a fit of displeasure, disgraced by my discharge so that he could not
find another place in town to work for his board, and go to school.
Besides, Brindle will die anyway, and discharging the boy will not save
"No, of course not. But it was your taking the boy in, a penniless, unknown
fellow, that has cost you a cow," persisted the wife. "I told you at the
time you would be sorry for it."
"I have not intimated that I am sorry I took the boy in," remarked the
doctor, not perversely, but with steadfast kindness. "If our own little boy
had lived, and had done this thing accidentally, would I have been sorry he
had ever been born? Or if little Ted had grown to be thirteen, and you and
I had died in the wilderness of poverty, leaving him to wander out of the
city to seek for a home in God's fair country, where his little peaked face
could fill out and grow rosy, as Harry's has, would you think it just to
have him sent away because he had made a boyish mistake? Of course you
would not, mother. Your heart is in the right place, even if it does get
covered up sometimes. And I guess, to come right down to it, you would not
send Harry away any more than I would, when the poor boy is almost
heart-broken over this unfortunate affair. Now, let us have supper, for I
must be off. We cannot neglect sick people for a poor, dying cow. Harry
will look after Brindle. He will not eat a bite, I am afraid, so it is no
use to call him in now. By and by you would better take a plate of
something out to him; but do not say a harsh word to the poor fellow, to
make it any harder for him than it is."
The doctor ate his supper hurriedly; for the sick cow had engaged every
moment of his spare hours that day, and he had postponed until his evening
round of visits a number of calls that were not pressing. When he came out
to his buggy, Harry Aldis stood at the horse's head, at the carriage steps
beside the driveway, his chin sunk on his breast, in an attitude of
"Keep up the treatment, Harry, and make her as easy as possible," said the
doctor as he stepped into his buggy.
"Yes, sir; I'll sit up all night with her, Dr. Layton, if I can only save
her," was the choking answer, as the boy carefully spread the lap robe over
the doctor's knees.
"I know you will, Harry; but I am afraid nothing can save the poor
creature. About all we can do is to relieve her suffering until morning,
giving her a last chance; and if she is no better then, the veterinary
surgeon says we would better shoot her, and put her out of her misery."
The boy groaned. "O Dr. Layton, why do you not scold me? I could bear it
better if you would say just one cross word," he sobbed. "You have been
kinder to me than my own father ever was, and I have tried so hard to be
useful to you. Now this dreadful thing has taken place, all because of my
carelessness. I wish you would take that buggy whip to me; I deserve it."
The doctor took the whip, and gently dropped its lash across the drooping
shoulders bowed on the horse's neck as the boy hid his face in the silken
mane he loved to comb. Indeed, Dandy's black satin coat had never shone
with such a luster from excessive currying as in the month past, since the
advent of this new little groom, who slept in the little back bedroom of
the doctor's big white house, and thought it a nook in paradise.
"There's no use in scolding or thrashing a fellow who is all broken up,
anyway, over an accident, as you are," the doctor said, kindly. "Of course,
it is a pretty costly accident for me, but I think I know where I can get a
heifer—one of Brindle's own calves, that I sold to a farmer two years
ago—that will make as fine a cow as her mother."
"But the money, Dr. Layton! How can I ever earn that to make good your
loss?" implored the boy, looking up.
"The money? O, well, some day when you are a rich man, you can pay me for
the cow!" laughed the doctor, taking up the reins. "In the meantime, make a
good, trustworthy, honest man of yourself, no matter whether you get rich
or not, and keep your 'thinking cap' on a little better."
"You had better eat some supper," said a voice in the doorway a little
later, as Mrs. Layton came noiselessly to the barn, and surprised the boy
kneeling on the hay in the horse's stall adjoining the one where Brindle
lay groaning, his face buried in his arms, which were flung out over the
The lad scrambled to his feet in deep confusion.
"O, thank you, Mrs. Layton, but I cannot eat a bite!" he protested. "It is
ever so good of you to think of me, but I cannot eat anything."
"You must," said the doctor's wife, firmly. "Come outside and wash in the
trough if you do not want to leave Brindle. You can sit near by and watch
her, if you think you must, though it will not do a particle of good, for
she is bound to die anyway. What were you doing in there on your
The woman's voice softened perceptibly as the question passed her lips, and
she looked half-pityingly into the pale, haggard young face, thinking of
little Ted's, and wondering how it would have looked at thirteen if he had
done this thing.
"Yes," muttered Harry, plunging his hands into the water of the trough, and
splashing it over the red flame of a sudden burning blush that kindled in
his ash-pale cheeks. "Isn't it all right to pray for a cow to get well? It
'most kills me to see her suffer so."
Mrs. Layton smiled unwillingly; for the value of her pet cow's products
touched her more deeply than a boy's penitent tears, particularly when that
boy was not her own. "There is no use of your staying in there and watching
her suffer, you cannot do her any good," she insisted. "Stay out here in
the fresh air. Do you hear?"
"Yes, ma'am," choked Harry, drying his face on the sleeve of his gingham
shirt. He sat down on a box before the door, the plate of food in his lap,
and made an attempt to eat the daintily cooked meal, but every mouthful
almost choked him.
At about midnight, the sleepless young watcher, lying on the edge of the
hay just above the empty manger over which a lantern swung, lifted himself
on his elbow at the sound of a long, low, shuddering groan, and in another
moment, Harry knew that poor Brindle had ceased to suffer the effects of
her gluttonous appetite. Creeping down into the stall, he saw at a glance
that the cow was dead, and for a moment, alone there in the stillness and
darkness of the spring night, he felt as if he were the principal actor in
some terrible crime.
"Poor old boss!" he sobbed, kneeling down, and putting his arm over the
still warm neck. "I—I have killed you—after all the rich milk and butter
you have given me, that have made me grow strong and fat—just by my
In after-years the memory of that hour came back to Harry Aldis as the
dominant note in some real tragedy, and he never again smelled the
fragrance of new hay, mingled with the warm breath of sleeping cattle,
without recalling the misery and self-condemnation of that long night's
In the early dawn, Dr. Layton found the boy lying beside the quiet form in
the stall, fast asleep from exhaustion and grief, his head pillowed on the
soft, tawny coat he had loved to brush until it gleamed like silk.
"Child alive!" he gasped, bending over and taking the lad in his arms, and
carrying him out into the sweet morning air. "Harry, why did you not come
and tell me, and then go to bed?" he cried, setting the bewildered boy on
his feet, and leading him to the house. "Now, my boy, no more of this
grieving. The thing is done, and you cannot help it now. There is no more
use in crying for a dead cow than for spilled milk. Now come in and go to
bed, and stay there until tonight; and when you wake up, the new heifer,
Brindle's daughter, will be in the barn waiting for you to milk her. I am
going to buy her this morning."
* * * * *
Five years after that eventful night, Harry Aldis stood on the doctor's
front porch, a youth of eighteen, bidding good-by to the two who had been
more to him than father and mother. He was going to college in the West,
where he could work his way, and in his trunk was a high-school diploma,
and in his pocket a "gilt-edge recommendation" from Dr. Layton.
"God bless you, my boy! Don't forget us," said the doctor, his voice husky
with unshed tears as he wrung the strong young hand that had been so
helpful to him in the busy years flown by.
"Forget you, my more than father!" murmured the young man, not even trying
to keep the tears out of his eyes. "No matter how many years it may be
before I see you again, I shall always remember your unfailing kindness to
me. And can I ever forget how you saved me for a higher life than I could
possibly have lived if you had set me adrift in the world again for leaving
that barn door unfastened, and killing your cow? As long as I live, I shall
remember that great kindness, and shall try to deserve it by my life."
"Pshaw, Harry," said the doctor, "that was nothing but common humanity!"
"Uncommon humanity," corrected the youth. "Good-by, Mrs. Layton. I shall
always remember your kindness, too, and that you never gave me any less
butter or cream from poor Brindle's daughter for my grave offense. You have
been like an own mother to me."
"You have deserved it all, Harry," said the doctor's wife, and there was a
tear in her eye, too, which was an unusual sight, for she was not an
emotional woman. "I do not know as it was such a great calamity, after all,
to lose Brindle just as we did, for Daisy is a finer cow than her mother
was, and there has not been another chance since to get as good a heifer."
"So it was a blessing in disguise, after all, Harry," laughed the doctor.
"As for you, you have been a blessing undisguised from that day to this.
May the Lord bless and prosper you! Write to us often."
* * * * *
Four years passed, and in one of the Western States a young college
graduate stepped from his pedestal of oratorical honors to take a place
among the rising young lawyers of a prosperous new town that was fast
developing into a commercial center.
"I am doing well, splendidly," he wrote Dr. Layton after two years of hard
work, "and one of these days I am coming back to make that promised visit."
But the years came and went, and still the West held him in its powerful
clutch. Success smiled upon his pathway, and into his life entered the
sweet, new joy of a woman's love and devotion, and into his home came the
happy music of children's voices. When his eldest boy was eight years old,
his district elected him to the State senate, and four years later sent him
to Congress,—an honest, uncompromising adherent to principle and duty.
"And now, at last," he wrote Dr. Layton, "I am coming East, and I shall run
down from Washington for that long-promised visit. Why do you write so
seldom, when I have never yet failed to inform you of my pyrotechnic
advancement into the world of politics? It is not fair. And how is the
family cow? Surely Madam Daisy sleeps with her poor mother ere this, or has
been cut up into roasts and steaks."
And to this letter the doctor replied briefly but gladly:—
"So you are coming at last, my boy! Well, you will find us in the same old
house,—a little the worse for wear, perhaps,—and leading the same quiet
life. No, not the same, though it is quiet enough, for I am growing old,
and the town is running after the new young doctors, leaving us old ones in
the rear, to trudge along as best we can. There isn't any 'family cow' now,
Harry. Daisy was sold long ago for beef, poor thing! We never got another,
for I am getting too old to milk, and there never seemed to come along
another boy like the old Harry, who would take all the barn-yard
responsibility on his shoulders. Besides, mother is crippled with
rheumatism, and can hardly get around to do her housework, let alone to
make butter. We are not any too well off since the Union Bank failed; for,
besides losing all my stock, I have had to help pay the depositors' claims.
But we have enough to keep us comfortable, and much to be thankful for,
most of all that our famous son is coming home for a visit. Bring your
wife, too, Harry, if she thinks it will not be too much of a drop from
Washington society to our humble home; and the children, all five of those
bright boys and girls,—bring them all! I want to show them the old stall
in the barn, where, twenty-five years ago, I picked their father up in my
arms early one spring morning as he lay fast asleep on the neck of the old
cow over whose expiring breath he had nearly broken his poor little heart."
* * * * *
"Yes, father, of course it has paid to come down here. I would not have
missed it for all the unanimous votes of the third ballot that sent me
East," declared the United States senator at the end of his three days'
visit. Long ago, the Hon. Henry Aldis had fallen into the habit of
addressing Dr. Layton, in his letters, by the paternal title.
"It does not seem possible that it is twenty years since I stood here,
saying good-by when I started West. By the way, do you remember what you
told me that memorable night when the lamented Brindle laid down her life
because of my carelessness, and her own gluttony? I was standing at the
horse's head, and you were sitting in your buggy, there at the carriage
steps, and I said I wished you would horsewhip me, instead of treating me
so kindly. I remember you reached over and tickled my neck with the lash
playfully, and told me there was no use in thrashing a fellow who was all
broken up, anyway, over an accident."
The doctor laughed as he held his arms more closely about the shoulders of
Senator Aldis's two eldest boys; while "Grandmother Layton," with little
Ted in her lap, was dreaming again of the little form that had long, long
ago been laid in the graveyard on the hillside.
"Yes, yes," said the doctor, "I remember. What a blessed thing it was I did
not send you off that day to the tune the old cow died on," and he laughed
through his tears.
"Blessed!" echoed Mrs. Layton, putting down the wriggling Ted. "It was
providential. You know, Harry, I was not so kind-hearted as John in those
days and I thought he ought to send you off. But he declared he would not,
even if you had cost him two cows. He said that if he did it might cost the
world a man. And so it would have, if all they say you are doing out West
for clean government is true."
Senator Aldis laughed, and kissed the old lady.
"I do not know about that," he said modestly. "I am of the opinion that he
might have saved more of a man for the world; but certain it is, he saved
whatever manhood there was in that boy from going to waste by his noble act
of kindness. But what I remember most, father, is what you told me, there
at the carriage step, that when I became a rich man, I could pay you for
that cow. Well, I am not exactly a rich man, for I am not in politics for
all the money I can get out of it, but I am getting a better income than my
leaving that barn door open would justify any one in believing I ever could
get by my brains; so now I can pay that long-standing debt without
inconvenience. It may come handy for you to have a little fund laid by,
since the Union Bank went to smash, and all your stock with it, and so much
of your other funds went to pay the poor depositors of that defunct
institution. It was just like you, father, not to dodge the assessments, as
so many of the stockholders did, by putting all your property in your
wife's name. So, since you made one investment twenty-five years ago that
has not seemed to depreciate in value very much,—an investment in a raw
young boy who did not have enough gumption to fasten a barn door,—here is
the interest on what the investment was worth to the boy, at least a little
of it; for I can never begin to pay it all. Good-by, both of you, and may
God bless you! Here comes our carriage, Helen."
When the dust of the departing hack had filtered through the morning
sunlight, two pairs of tear-dimmed eyes gazed at the slip of blue paper in
Dr. Layton's hand,—a check for five thousand dollars.
"We saved a man that time, sure enough!" murmured the old doctor
softly.—Emma S. Allen in the Wellspring.
* * * * *
A man may make a few mistakes,
Regardless of his aim.
But never, never criticize
And cloud him o'er with blame;
For all have failed in many things
And keenly feel the smarting stings,
Which haunt the mind by day and night
Till they have made offenses right.
So liberal be with those you meet
E'en though they may offend,
And wish them well as on they go
Till all the journey end.
Sometimes we think our honor's hurt
When some one speaks a little pert;
But never mind, just hear the good,
And ever stand where Patience stood.
Look for the good, the true, the grand
In those you wish to shun,
And you will be surprised to find
Some good in every one;
Then help the man who makes mistakes
To rise above his little quakes,
To build anew with courage strong,
And fit himself to battle wrong.
JOHN FRANCIS OLMSTED
HONEY AT THE PHONE
Honey's mama had gone to market, leaving her home with nurse. Nurse was
up-stairs making beds, while little Honey, with hands behind her, was
trudging about the sitting-room looking for something to do.
There was a phone in the house, which was a great mystery to Honey when it
first came. She could hear voices talking back to mama, yet could not see a
person. Was some one hidden away in the horn her mother put to her ear, or
was it in the machine itself?
Honey never failed to be on hand when the bell rang, and found that her
mother generally talked to her best and dearest friends, ladies who were
such frequent callers that Honey knew them all by name.
Her mama wrote down the names of her friends, with the number of their
phones, and, because the child was so inquisitive about it, she very
carefully explained to her just how the whole thing worked, never thinking
that Honey would sometime try it for herself; and, indeed, for a while
Honey satisfied herself by playing phone. She would roll up a piece of
paper, and call out through it, "Hullo!" asking and answering all the
One day, on finding herself alone, she took down the receiver and tried to
talk to one of her mama's friends, but it was a failure. She watched mama
still more closely after that. On this particular morning, while mama was
at market, she tried again, commencing with the first number on her mama's
Taking down the receiver, she called out, "Hullo!" the answer came back,
"Hullo!" "I wants A 215," said Honey, holding the receiver to her ear.
"Yes," came the reply.
"Are you Miss Samor?" asked Honey.
"Yes," was the reply.
"We wants you to come to our house tonight to supper, mama and me."
"Who's mama and me?" asked the voice.
"Honey," was the reply.
"Honey, through the phone, eh?" laughed the voice. "Tell mama I will come
Honey was not only delighted, but greatly excited. She used every number on
her mother's list, inviting them all to supper.
About four o'clock in the afternoon the guests began to arrive, much to
mama's amazement and consternation, especially when they divested
themselves of their wraps, and proceeded to make themselves comfortable.
What could it mean? She would think she was having a surprise party if
every one had not come empty-handed. Perhaps it was a joke on her. If so,
they would find she would take it pleasantly.
There was not enough in the house to feed half that crowd, but she had the
phone, and she fairly made the orders fly for a while.
When her husband came home from his office, he was surprised to find the
parlors filled with company. While helping the guests, he turned to his
wife, saying, "Why, this is a sort of surprise, is it not?"
Mama's face flamed, and she looked right down to her nose without saying a
"Why did you not tell me you were going to invite them, and I would have
brought home some flowers?" said Honey's papa.
Honey, who sat next to her papa, resplendent in a white dress and flowing
curls, clutched his sleeve, and said: "It's my party papa. I 'wited 'em
frew the phone. Honey likes to have c'ean c'o'es on, and have comp'ny."
It was the visitors' turn now to blush, but Honey's papa and mama laughed
so heartily it made them feel that it was all right even if Honey had sent
out the invitations. And not one went home without extending an invitation
to her host and hostess to another dinner or supper, and in every one Honey
"Just what she wanted," said her papa, as he tossed her up in his arms and
kissed her. Then, turning to his wife, he said, "Never mind, mother, she
will learn better as she grows older."—Mrs. A. E. C. Maskell.
ONE OF FATHER'S STORIES
When children, nothing pleased us more than to listen to father's stories.
Mother Goose melodies were nothing beside them. In fact, we never heard
fairy stories at home; and when father told of his boyhood days, the
stories had a charm which only truth can give. I can hear him now, as he
would reply to our request for a story by asking if he had ever told us how
his father tried to have a "raising" without rum. Of course we had heard
about it many times, but we were sure to want our memories refreshed; so we
would sit on a stool at his feet or climb upon his knee, while he told us
"My grandfather, George Hobbs, was one of the pioneers of the Kennebec
Valley. He had an indomitable will, and was the kind of man needed to
subdue a wilderness and tame it into a home. He was a Revolutionary
pensioner, having enlisted when only twelve years of age. He was too young
to be put in the ranks, and was made a waiter in camp. When I was a boy, I
can remember that he drove twenty miles, once a year, to Augusta, Maine's
capital, to draw his pension. Snugly tucked under the seat of his sleigh
was a four-gallon keg and a box. The keg was to be filled with Medford rum
for himself, and the box with nuts and candy for his grandchildren. After
each meal, as far back as father could remember, grandfather had mixed his
rum and water in a pewter tumbler, stirred in some brown sugar with a
wooden spoon, and drunk it with the air of one who was performing an
"Grandfather was a ship-carpenter by trade, and therefore in this new
country was often employed to frame and raise buildings. Raisings were
great social events. The whole neighborhood went, and neighbors covered
more territory than they do now. The raising of a medium-sized building
required about one hundred and fifty men, and their good wives went along
to help in the preparation of the dinner. The first thing on the day's
program was the raising, and not a stroke of work was done until all had
been treated to a drink of rum, the common liquor of the day. After the
frame was erected, one or two men, whose courage fitted them for the feat,
had the honor of standing erect on the ridge-pole and repeating this
'Here is a fine frame,
Stands on a fine spot;
May God bless the owner,
And all that he's got.'
Men would sometimes walk the ridge-pole, and sometimes one, more daring
than the others, would balance himself on his head upon it.
"Then followed a bountiful dinner, in which meat and potatoes, baked beans,
boiled and fried eggs, Indian pudding, and pumpkin pies figured
prominently. Often as many as one hundred and twenty-five eggs were eaten.
After dinner came wrestling, boxing, and rough-and-tumble contests, in
which defeat was not always taken with the best of grace.
"This was before the subject of temperance was agitated much in the good
old State of Maine. The spirit of it, however, was awakening in the younger
generation. My father was enthusiastic over it, and announced his intention
of raising his new house without the aid of rum. To grandfather this was no
trifling matter. It was the encroachment of new ideas upon old ones—a
pitting of the strength of the coming generation against his own. To his
mind, no less than to father's, a principle was involved, and the old
soldier prepared to fight his battle. With some spirit he said to father,
'It cannot be done, Jotham; it cannot be done.' But father was just as sure
that it could. It was grandfather's task to fit the frame. He went
industriously to work, and father thought that he had quietly yielded the
"The day for the raising came, the first in that part of the country to be
conducted on temperance principles. There were no telephones to spread the
news, but long before the day arrived, everybody, far and near, knew that
Jotham Hobbs was going to raise his new house without rum. The people came,
some eager to help to establish the era of temperance, and some secretly
hoping that the project would fail. A generous dinner was cooking indoors;
for the host intended to refuse his guests nothing that was good. The song
of mallets and hammers rang out, and the timbers began to come together;
but the master framer was idle. Over by the old house door sat grandfather.
He positively refused to lend a hand to the enterprise unless treated to
his rum. For a time the work progressed rapidly; then there came a halt.
There was a place where the timbers would not fit. After much delay and
many vain attempts to go on with the work, father asked grandfather to
help; but he only shook his head, and grimly replied that it was ten to one
if it ever came together without rum. There were more vain attempts, more
delays. Finally, father, seeing that he must yield or give up the work, got
some rum and handed it to grandfather. The old man gravely laid aside his
pipe, drank the Medford, and walked over to the men. He took a tenon marked
ten and placed it in a mortise marked one. The problem was solved. He
had purposely marked them in that way, instead of marking them alike, as
was customary. With a sly twinkle in his eye he said, 'I told you it was
ten to one if it ever came together.'
"But the cause of temperance had come to stay, and grandfather met his
Waterloo when Squire Low built his one-hundred-foot barn. Three hundred men
were there to see that it went up without rum. Grandfather and a kindred
spirit, Old Uncle Benjamin Burrill, stood at a safe distance, hoping to see
another failure. But section after section was raised. The rafters went on,
and finally the ridge-pole. The old men waited to see no more. They dropped
their heads, turned on their heels, and walked away."
These events occurred between 1830 and 1840. Since then the cause of
temperance has made rapid progress.
In the State Capitol at Augusta, Maine, is a petition sent to the
legislature in 1835 by one hundred and thirty-nine women of Brunswick,
Maine. It is a plea for a prohibitory law, and is, probably, the first
attempt made to secure a legislative enactment against the liquor traffic.
One paragraph, which is characteristic of the whole document, is worth
"We remonstrate against this method of making rich men richer and poor men
poorer; of making distressed families more distressed; of making a portion
of the human family utterly and hopelessly miserable, debasing the moral
nature, and thus clouding with despair their temporal and future
This petition met with no recognition by that legislature. There were many
customs to be laid aside, many prejudices to be overcome, and it was not
till 1851 that Maine became a prohibition State. Since that time her health
and wealth have steadily increased, in greater proportion than other States
which have not adopted temperance principles; and public sentiment, which
is a powerful ally, is against the liquor traffic.
ETHEL HOBBS WALTERS.
WHAT RUM DOES
I was sitting at my breakfast-table one Sunday morning, when I was called
to my door by the ringing of the bell. There stood a boy about fourteen
years of age, poorly clad, but tidied up as best he could. He was leaning
on crutches; for one leg was off at the knee.
In a voice trembling with emotion, and with tears coursing down his cheeks,
he said: "Mr. Hoagland, I am Freddy Brown. I have come to see if you will
go to the jail and talk and pray with my father. He is to be hanged
tomorrow for the murder of my mother. My father was a good man, but whisky
did it. I have three little sisters younger than myself. We are very, very
poor, and have no friends. We live in a dark and dingy room. I do the best
I can to support my sisters by selling papers, blacking boots, and doing
odd jobs; but Mr. Hoagland, we are very poor. Will you come and be with us
when father's body is brought home? The governor says we may have his body
after he is hanged."
I was deeply moved to pity. I promised, and made haste to the jail, where I
found his father.
He acknowledged that he must have murdered his wife, for the circumstances
pointed that way, but he had not the slightest remembrance of the deed. He
said he was crazed with drink, or he never would have committed the crime.
He said: "My wife was a good and faithful mother to my little children.
Never did I dream that my hand could be guilty of such a crime."
The man could bravely face the penalty of the law for his deed, but he
broke down and cried as if his heart would break when he thought of leaving
his children in a destitute and friendless condition. I read and prayed
with him, and left him to his fate.
The next morning I made my way to the miserable quarters of the children. I
found three little girls upon a bed of straw in one corner of the room.
They were clad in rags. They would have been beautiful girls had they had
the proper care. They were expecting the body of their dead father, and
between their cries and sobs they would say, "Papa was good, but whisky did
In a little time two strong officers came bearing the body of the dead
father in a rude pine box. They set it down on two old rickety stools. The
cries of the children were so heartrending that the officers could not
endure it, and made haste out of the room.
In a moment the manly boy nerved himself, and said, "Come, sisters, kiss
papa's face before it is cold." They gathered about his face and smoothed
it down with kisses, and between their sobs cried out: "Papa was good, but
whisky did it! Papa was good, but whisky did it!"
I raised my heart to God and said, "O God, did I fight to save a country
that would derive a revenue from a traffic that would make a scene like
this possible?"—Youth's Outlook.
MY MOTHER'S RING
I am living now on borrowed time. The sun of my allotted life-day has set,
and with the mellow twilight of old age there come to my memory reflections
of a life which, if not well spent, has in it enough of good at least to
make these reflections pleasant. And yet, during all the years in which I
have responded to the name Carter Brassfield, but a single fortnight of
time, it seems to me, is worth recounting.
We were living in Milwaukee, having recently moved there from York State,
where I was born. My father, a bookkeeper of some expertness, not securing
a position in our newly adopted city as soon as he had expected, became
disheartened, and, to while away the time that hung so heavily, took to
drinking beer with some newly acquired German friends. The result was that
our funds were exhausted much sooner than they should have been, and mother
took it upon herself to turn bread-winner for the family by doing some
A small allotment of this money she gave to me one day on my return from
school, and sent me to Mr. Blodget, the grocer, to purchase some supplies.
After giving my order to one of the clerks I immediately turned my
attention to renewing my acquaintance with Tabby, the store cat.
While I was thus engaged, I heard my name repeated by a stranger who was
talking with Mr. Blodget, and erelong the man sauntered over, spoke to me,
and after some preliminary remarks asked if I was Carter Brassfield. He was
dark, had a sweeping mustache, and wore eye-glasses. Upon being assured
that I was Carter Brassfield, he took from his pocket a gold ring, and,
turning it around carefully in the light, read the inscription on its inner
"Is your mother's name Alice?" he asked.
I told him that it was.
"And your father's name Carter?"
"Yes, sir," said I.
Then he showed the ring to me and asked if I had seen it before.
I at once recognized the ring as my mother's. Since I could remember she
had worn it, until recently. Of late she had grown so much thinner that the
ring would no longer stay on her finger, and she was accustomed, therefore,
to keep the circlet in a small drawer of her dresser, secure in an old
purse with some heirlooms of coins; and I was greatly surprised that it
should be in the possession of this stranger. I told him that it was my
mother's ring, and asked him how he came by it.
"Your father put it up in a little game the other day," said he, "and it
fell into my possession." He dropped the ring into his purse, which he then
closed with a snap. "I have been trying for several days to see your father
and give him a chance at the ring before I turned it in to the
pawnbroker's. If your mother has any feeling in the matter, tell her she
can get the ring for ten dollars," he added as he turned away.
I did not know what to do. I was so ashamed and hurt to think that my
father, whom I loved and in whom I had such implicit confidence, should
have gambled away my mother's ring, the very ring—I was old enough to
appreciate—he had given her in pledging to her his love. My eyes filled
with tears, and as I stood, hesitating, Mr. Blodget came forward,
admonishing me not to forget my parcels. He evidently observed my tears,
although I turned my face the other way, for shame of crying. At any rate,
he put his hand on my shoulder and said very kindly:—
"It's pretty tough, Carter, my boy, isn't it?"
He referred, I thought, to my father, for father was uppermost in my
thoughts. Then, lowering his voice, he said:—
"But I will help you out, son, I will help you out."
I forgot all about hiding my tears, and faced about, attracted by his
"I will redeem the ring, and keep it for you until you can get the money.
What do you say? You can rest easy then, knowing that it is safe, and you
can take your time. What do you say?"
With some awkwardness I acquiesced to his plan. Then he called the
stranger, and, leading the way back to his desk, paid to him the ten
dollars, requiring him to sign a paper, though I did not understand why. He
then placed the ring carefully in his safe.
"There, Carter," said he, rubbing his hands together, "it is safe now, and
we need not worry."
I held out my hand to him, then without a word took my parcels and started
on a run for home.
That evening father was more restless than usual. He repeatedly lamented
his long-enforced idleness. After retiring that night, I lay awake for a
long time evolving in my mind plans whereby I might earn ten dollars to
redeem the ring. Finally, with my boyish heart full of hope and adventure,
I fell asleep in the wee hours of morning.
After breakfast I took my books, as usual, but, instead of going to school,
I turned my steps toward a box factory where I knew a boy of about my own
age to be working. I confided to him as much of my story as I thought
advisable, and he took me to the superintendent's office and introduced me.
I was put to work, at five dollars a week, with the privilege of stopping
at four each day. Every afternoon I brought my school-books home and
studied as usual till bed-time, and took them with me again in the morning.
During the two weeks I was employed at the factory neither father nor
mother suspected that I had not been to school each day. In fact, I studied
so assiduously at night that I kept up with my classes. But my mother
observed that I grew pale and thin.
At the end of two weeks, when I told the manager I wanted to stop work, he
seemed somewhat disappointed. He paid me two crisp five-dollar notes, and I
went very proudly to Mr. Blodget with the first ten dollars I had ever
earned, and received that gentleman's hearty praise, and my mother's ring.
That evening father was out as usual, and I gave the ring to mother,
telling her all about it, and what I had done. She kissed me, and, holding
me close in her arms for a long time, cried, caressing my hair with her
hand, and told me that I was her dear, good boy. Then we had a long talk
about father, and agreed to lay nothing to him, at present, about the ring.
The next evening, when I returned from school, father met me at the hall
door, and asked if I had been to school. I saw that he had been drinking,
and was not in a very amiable mood.
"I met Clarence Stevenson just now," he said, "and he inquired about you.
He thought you were sick, and said you had not been to school for two
weeks, unless you had gone today." I stood for a moment without answering.
"What do you say to that?" he demanded.
"Clarence told the truth, father," I replied.
"He did, eh? What do you mean by running away from school in this manner?"
He grew very angry, catching me by the shoulder, gave me such a jerk that
my books, which I had under my arm, went flying in all directions. "Why
have you not been to school?" he said thickly.
"I was working, but I did not intend to deceive you father."
"Working! Working! Where have you been working?"
"At Mr. Hazleton's box factory."
"At a what factory?"
"How much did you earn?" he growled, watching me closely to see if I told
"Five dollars a week," I said timidly, feeling all the time that he was
exacting from me a confession that I wished, on his account, to keep
"Five dollars a week! Where is the money? Show me the money!" he persisted
"I cannot, father. I do not have it."
I was greatly embarrassed and frightened at his conduct.
"Where is it?" he growled.
"I—I—spent it," I said, not thinking what else to say.
A groan escaped through his shut teeth as he reeled across the hall and
took down a short rawhide whip that had been mine to play with. Although he
had never punished me severely, I was now frightened at his anger.
"Don't whip me, father!" I pleaded, as he came staggering toward me with
the whip. "Don't whip me, please!"
I started to make a clean breast of the whole matter, but the cruel lash
cut my sentence short. I had on no coat, only my waist, and I am sure a boy
never received such a whipping as I did.
I did not cry at first. My heart was filled only with pity for my father.
Something lay so heavy in my breast that it seemed to fill up my throat and
choke me. I shut my teeth tightly together, and tried to endure the hurt,
but the biting lash cut deeper and deeper until I could stand it no longer.
Then my spirit broke, and I begged him to stop. This seemed only to anger
him the more, if such a thing could be. I cried for mercy, and called for
mother, who was out at one of the neighbor's. Had she been at home, I am
sure she would have interceded for me. But he kept on and on, his face as
white as the wall. I could feel something wet running down my back, and my
face was slippery with blood, when I put up my hand to protect it. I
thought I should die; everything began to go round and round. The strokes
did not hurt any longer; I could not feel them now. The hall suddenly grew
dark, and I sank upon the floor. Then I suppose he stopped.
When I returned to consciousness, I was lying on the couch in the
dining-room, with a wet cloth about my forehead, and mother was kneeling by
me, fanning me and crying. I put my arms about her neck, and begged her not
to cry, but my head ached so dreadfully that I could not keep back my own
tears. I asked where father was, and she said he went down-town when she
came. He did not return at supper-time, nor did we see him again until the
I could eat no supper that night before going to bed, and mother came and
stayed with me. I am sure she did not sleep, for as often as I dropped off
from sheer exhaustion, I was wakened by her sobbing. Then I, too, would
cry. I tried to be brave, but my wounds hurt me so, and my head ached. I
seemed to be thinking all the time of father. My poor father! I felt sorry
for him, and kept wondering where he was. All through the night it seemed
to me that I could see him drinking and drinking, and betting and betting.
My back hurt dreadfully, and mother put some ointment and soft cotton on
It was late in the morning when I awoke, and heard mother and father
talking down-stairs. With great difficulty, I climbed out of bed and
dressed myself. When I went down, mother had a fire in the dining-room
stove, and father was sitting, or rather lying, with both arms stretched
out upon the table, his face buried between them. By him on a plate were
some slices of toast that mother had prepared, and a cup of coffee, which
had lost its steam without being touched.
I went over by the stove and stood looking at father. I had remained there
but a moment, my heart full of sympathy for him, and wondering if he were
ill, when he raised his head and looked at me. I had never before seen him
look so haggard and pale. As his eyes rested on me, the tears started down
"Carter, my child," he said hoarsely, "I have done you a great wrong. Can
you forgive me?"
In an instant my arms were about his neck—I felt no stiffness nor soreness
now. He folded me to his breast, and cried, as I did. After a long time he
"If I had only known—your mother has just told me. It was the beer,
Carter, the beer. I will never touch the stuff again, never," he said
faintly. Then he stretched out his arms upon the table, and bowed his head
upon them. I stood awkwardly by, the tears streaming down my cheeks, but
they were tears of joy.
Mother, who was standing in the kitchen doorway with her apron to her eyes,
came and put her arm about him, and said something, very gently, which I
did not understand. Then she kissed me several times. I shall never forget
the happiness of that hour.
For a long time after that father would not go downtown in the evening
unless I could go with him. He lived to a good old age, and was for many
years head bookkeeper for Mr. Blodget. He kept his promise always.
Mother is still living, and still wears the ring.—Alva H. Sawins, M.D.,
in the Union Signal.
* * * * *
The Lad's Answer
Our little lad came in one day
With dusty shoes and weary feet
His playtime had been hard and long
Out in the summer's noontide heat.
"I'm glad I'm home," he cried, and hung
His torn straw hat up in the hall,
While in the corner by the door
He put away his bat and ball.
"I wonder why," his aunty said,
"This little lad always comes here,
When there are many other homes
As nice as this, and quite as near."
He stood a moment deep in thought,
Then, with the love-light in his eye,
He pointed where his mother sat,
And said: "Here she lives; that is why '"
With beaming face the mother heard,
Her mother-heart was very glad.
A true, sweet answer he had given,
That thoughtful, loving little lad.
And well I know that hosts of lads
Are just as loving, true, and dear,
That they would answer as did he,
"Tis home, for mother's living here."
ARTHUR V. FOX.
THE BRIDAL WINE-CUP
"Pledge with wine! Pledge with wine!" cried young and thoughtless Harvey
Wood. "Pledge with wine!" ran through the bridal party.
The beautiful bride grew pale; the decisive hour had come. She pressed her
white hands together, and the leaves of the bridal wreath trembled on her
brow. Her breath came quicker, and her heart beat wilder.
"Yes, Marian, lay aside your scruples for this once," said the judge in a
low tone, going toward his daughter; "the company expects it. Do not so
seriously infringe upon the rules of etiquette. In your own home do as you
please; but in mine, for this once, please me."
Pouring a brimming cup, they held it, with tempting smiles, toward Marian.
She was very pale, though composed; and her hand shook not, as, smiling
back, she gracefully accepted the crystal tempter, and raised it to her
lips. But scarcely had she done so when every hand was arrested by her
piercing exclamation of "O, how terrible!"
"What is it?" cried one and all, thronging together, for she had slowly
carried the glass at arm's length and was fixedly regarding it.
"Wait," she answered, while a light, which seemed inspired, shone from her
dark eyes—"wait, and I will tell you. I see," she added slowly, pointing
one finger at the sparkling ruby liquid, "a sight that beggars all
description; and yet, listen! I will paint it for you, if I can. It is a
lovely spot. Tall mountains, crowned with verdure, rise in awful sublimity
around; a river runs through, and bright flowers grow to the water's edge.
But there a group of Indians gather. They flit to and fro, with something
like sorrow upon their dark brows. In their midst lies a manly form, but
his cheek, how deathly! His eyes are wild with the fitful fire of fever.
One friend stands before him—nay, I should say, kneels; for see, he is
pillowing that poor head upon his breast.
"O, the high, holy-looking brow! Why should death mark it, and he so young?
Look, how he throws back the damp curls! See him clasp his hands! Hear his
thrilling shrieks for life! Mark how he clutches at the form of his
companion, imploring to be saved! O, hear him call piteously his father's
name! See him twine his fingers together as he shrieks for his sister—his
only sister, the twin of his soul, weeping for him in his distant native
"See!" she exclaimed, while the bridal party shrank back, the untasted wine
trembling in their faltering grasp, and the judge fell overpowered upon his
seat—"see! his arms are lifted to heaven—he prays—how wildly!—for
mercy. Hot fever rushes through his veins. He moves not; his eyes are set
in their sockets; dim are their piercing glances. In vain his friend
whispers the name of father and sister—death is there. Death—and no soft
hand, no gentle voice to soothe him. His head sinks back; one convulsive
shudder—he is dead!"
A groan ran through the assembly. So vivid was description, so unearthly
her look, so inspired her manner, that what she described seemed actually
to have taken place then and there. They noticed, also, that the bridegroom
hid his face in his hands, and was weeping.
"Dead!" she repeated again, her lips quivering faster and faster, and her
voice more broken. "And there they scoop him a grave; and there, without a
shroud, they lay him down in that damp, reeking earth, the only son of a
proud father, the only idolized brother of a fond sister. There he lies, my
father's son, my own twin brother, a victim to this deadly poison. Father,"
she exclaimed, turning suddenly, while the tears rained down her beautiful
cheeks, "father, shall I drink it now?"
The form of the old judge was convulsed with agony. He raised not his head,
but in a smothered voice he faltered:—
"No, no, my child; no!"
She lifted the glittering goblet, and let it suddenly fall to the floor,
where it was dashed in a thousand pieces. Many a tearful eye watched her
movement, and instantaneously every wine-glass was transferred to the
marble table on which it had been prepared. Then, as she looked at the
fragments of crystal, she turned to the company, saying: "Let no friend
hereafter who loves me tempt me to peril my soul for wine. Not firmer are
the everlasting hills than my resolve, God helping me, never to touch or
taste the poison cup. And he to whom I have given my hand, who watched over
my brother's dying form in that last solemn hour, and buried the dear
wanderer there by the river in that land of gold, will, I trust, sustain me
in that resolve."
His glistening eyes, his sad, sweet smile, were her answer. The judge left
the room. When, an hour after, he returned, and with a more subdued manner
took part in the entertainment of the bridal guests, no one could fail to
read that he had determined to banish the enemy forever from his princely
home.—"Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer."
A MOTHER'S SORROW
A company of Southern ladies, assembled in a parlor, were one day talking
about their different troubles. Each had something to say about her own
trials. But there was one in the company, pale and sad-looking, who for a
while remained silent. Suddenly rousing herself, she said:—
"My friends, you do not any of you know what trouble is."
"Will you please, Mrs. Gray," said the kind voice of one who knew her
story, "tell the ladies what you call trouble?"
"I will, if you desire it; for, in the words of the prophet, 'I am the one
who hath seen affliction.'
"My parents were very well off; and my girlhood was surrounded by all the
comforts of life. Every wish of my heart was gratified, and I was cheerful
"At the age of nineteen I married one whom I loved more than all the world
besides. Our home was retired; but the sun never shone upon a lovelier spot
or a happier household. Years rolled on peacefully. Five lovely children
sat around our table, and a little curly head still nestled in my bosom.
"One night about sundown one of those fierce, black storms came up, which
are so common to our Southern climate. For many hours the rain poured down
incessantly. Morning dawned, but still the elements raged. The country
around us was overflowed. The little stream near our dwelling became a
foaming torrent. Before we were aware of it, our house was surrounded by
water. I managed, with my babe, to reach a little elevated spot, where the
thick foliage of a few wide-spread trees afforded some protection, while my
husband and sons strove to save what they could of our property. At last a
fearful surge swept away my husband, and he never rose again. Ladies, no
one ever loved a husband more. But that was not trouble.
"Presently my sons saw their danger, and the struggle for life became the
only consideration. They were as brave, loving boys as ever blessed a
mother's heart; and I watched their efforts to escape, with such an agony
as only mothers can feel. They were so far off that I could not speak to
them; but I could see them closing nearer and nearer to each other, as
their little island grew smaller and smaller.
"The swollen river raged fearfully around the huge trees. Dead branches,
upturned trunks, wrecks of houses, drowning cattle, and masses of rubbish,
all went floating past us. My boys waved their hands to me, and then
pointed upward. I knew it was their farewell signal; and you, mothers, can
imagine my anguish. I saw them perish—all perish. Yet that was not
"I hugged my baby close to my heart; and when the water rose at my feet, I
climbed into the low branches of the tree, and so kept retiring before it,
till the hand of God stayed the waters, that they should rise no farther. I
was saved. All my worldly possessions were swept away; all my earthly hopes
were blighted. Yet that was not trouble.
"My baby was all I had left on earth. I labored day and night to support
him and myself, and sought to train him in the right way. But, as he grew
older, evil companions won him away from me. He ceased to care for his
mother's counsels; he sneered at her entreaties and agonizing prayers. He
became fond of drink. He left my humble roof, that he might be unrestrained
in his evil ways. And at last one night, when heated by wine, he took the
life of a fellow creature. He ended his days upon the gallows. God had
filled my cup of sorrow before; now it ran over. That was trouble, my
friends, such as I hope the Lord of mercy will spare you from ever
Boys and girls, can you bear to think that you might bring such sorrow on
your dear father or mother? If you would not, be on your guard against
intemperance. Let wine and liquors alone. Never touch them.—Selected.
* * * * *
"Ah, none but a mother can tell you, sir, how a mother's heart will ache
With the sorrow that comes of a sinning child,
with grief for a lost one's sake,
When she knows the feet she trained to walk have gone so far astray,
And the lips grown bold with curses that she taught to sing and pray!
A child may fear, a wife may weep, but of all sad things none other
Seems half so sorrowful to me as being a drunkard's mother."
At the sound of Mr. Troy's bell, Eleanor Graves vanished into his private
office. Ten minutes later she came out, with a deep flush on her face and
tears in her eyes.
"He lectured me on the spelling of a couple of words and a mistake in a
date," she complained to Jim Forbes. "Anybody's liable to misspell a word
or two in typing, and I know I took the date down exactly as he gave it to
Jim looked uncomfortable. "I would not mind," he said awkwardly. "We all
have to take it sometime or other. Besides," he glanced hesitatingly at the
pretty, indignant face, "I suppose the boss thinks we ought not to make
"As if I wanted to!" Eleanor retorted, stiffly.
But she worked more carefully the next week; for her pride was touched.
Then, with restored confidence, came renewed carelessness, and an error
crept into one of the reports she was copying. The error was slight, but it
brought her a sharp reprimand from Mr. Troy. It was the second time, he
reminded her, that she had made that blunder. At the reproof the girl's
face flushed painfully, and then paled.
"If my work is not satisfactory, you had better find some one who can do it
better," she said.
Whirling round in his swivel-chair, Mr. Troy looked at her. He had really
never noticed his latest stenographer before, but now his keen eyes saw
many things that showed that she came from a home where she had been petted
and cared for.
"How long have you been at work?" he asked.
"This is my first position," Eleanor answered.
Mr. Troy nodded. "I understand. Now, Miss Graves, let me tell you
something. You have many of the qualities of a good business woman; you are
punctual, you are not afraid of work, you are fairly accurate. I have an
idea that you take pride in turning out a good piece of work. But you must
learn to stand criticism and profit by it. We must all take it sometime,
every one of us. A weakling goes under. A strong man or woman learns to
value it, to make every bit of it count. That is what I hope you will do."
Eleanor braced herself to meet his eyes.
"If you will let me, I will try again," she said.—Youth's Companion.
* * * * *
A kingfisher sat on a flagpole slim,
And watched for a fish till his eye was dim.
"I wonder," said he, "if the fishes know
That I, their enemy, love them so!
I sit and watch and blink my eye
And watch for fish and passers-by;
I must occasionally take to wing
On account of the stones that past me sing.
"I nearly always work alone;
For past experience has shown
That I can't gather something to eat,
And visit my neighbor across the street.
So whether I'm fishing early or late,
I usually work without a mate,
Since I can't visit and watch my game;
For fishing's my business, and Fisher's my name.
Maybe by watching, from day to day,
My life and habits in every way,
You might be taught a lesson or two
That all through life might profit you;
Or if you only closely look,
This sketch may prove an open book,
And teach a lesson you should learn.
Look closely, and you will discern."
CHAS. E.E. SANBORN.
Stealing away from the ones at home, who would be sad when they found out
about it; stealing away from honor, purity, cleanliness, goodness, and
manliness, the minister's boy and the boy next door were preparing to smoke
their first cigarettes. They had skulked across the back pasture, and were
nearing the stone wall that separated Mr. Meadow's corn-field from the
road; and here, screened by the wall on one side and by corn on the other,
they intended to roll the little "coffin nails," and smoke them unseen.
The minister's boy, whose name was Johnny Brighton, and who was an
innocent, unsuspicious child, agreed that it would be a fine, manly thing
to smoke. So the lads waited and planned, and now their opportunity had
come. The boy next door, whose name was Albert Beecher, saw old Jerry
Grimes, the worst character in Roseland, drop a small bag of tobacco and
some cigarette-papers. The lad, being unobserved, transferred the stuff
from the sidewalk to his pocket, then hid it in the wood-shed.
At last their plan seemed about to be carried out. Albert's mother was
nursing a sick friend, and the minister, secure in his study, was preparing
a sermon. Johnny's mother was dead. His aunt Priscilla was his father's
housekeeper, and she was usually so busy that she had little time for small
boys. Today, as she began her sewing, Johnny slipped quietly from the house
and joined his chum.
The boys reached the stone wall and sat down, with the tobacco between
them, to enjoy (?) what they considered a manly deed. After considerable
talk and a few blunders, each succeeded in rolling a cigarette, and was
about to pass it to his lips, when a strange voice, almost directly above
their heads, said, pleasantly, "Trying to kill yourselves, boys?"
With a guilty start, Johnny and Albert turned instantly, and beheld the
strangest specimen of humanity that either had ever seen. An unmistakable
tramp, with a pale, sickly face, covered partly with grime and partly with
stubby black beard, stood leaning with his arms on top of the wall, looking
down at them. Although it was summer, he wore a greasy winter cap, and his
coat, too, spoke of many rough journeys through dirt and bad weather. His
lips were screwed into something resembling a smile; but as he spoke, his
haunted, sunken eyes roved restlessly from one upturned face to the other.
As the only answer the boys gave him was an astonished, frightened stare,
the man continued: "I would not do it, boys. It is an awful thing—awful! I
was trying to get a little sleep over here," he continued, "when I heard
your voices, and thought I would see what was going on. Did not any one
ever tell you about cigarettes? Why, each one contains enough poison to
kill a cat; if it was fixed right, I mean." He passed a thin, shaking hand
over his face, and went on: "Do you want to fool with such things?—Not if
you are wise. You see, the cigarette habit will kill you sometime, by
inches, if not right away, or else drive you crazy; and no sane person
wants to kill himself or spoil his health. That is what I am doing,
though," he admitted, with a bitter smile and a sad shake of his head. "But
I cannot stop it now. I have gone too far, and I cannot help myself. I am a
wreck, a blot on the face of the earth."
Both lads had thrown their cigarettes to the ground, scrambled to their
feet. Johnny, sober-faced and round-eyed, was gazing intently up at the
man; but Albert, feigning indifference, stood digging his toe into the
earth. He was listening, however.
"It is this way with me," the stranger went on, seeing he had an audience:
"I have gone from bad to worse till I cannot stop, no matter how hard I
try. Why, I was once a clean little chap like you, but I got to reading
trash, and then I began to smoke, and pretty soon I had drifted so far into
evil ways that I had no control over myself."
Here Johnny and Albert exchanged a painful glance.
"The worst thing about cigarettes," the man continued, "is that they
usually lead to something worse. I am a drunkard and a thief, because of
evil associations. Tramps never have any ready money; so when I have to
have cigarettes, which is all the time, I either steal them or steal the
money to buy them with. Besides," with another sad shake of the head, "I am
what is known as a drug fiend, and—yes, I guess I am everything bad. If
your folks knew who was talking to you, their blood would run cold.
"And it is all principally due to cigarettes!" he broke forth, savagely,
emphasizing his words with his fist and speaking more excitedly. "Just look
at me and behold a splendid example of the cigarette curse. Why, I was
naturally bright; I might have been a man to honor. But a bad habit,
uncontrolled, soon ruins one. My nerves are gone. I am only a fit companion
for jailbirds and criminals. I cannot even look an honest man in the face,
yet I am not naturally bad at heart. The best way is never to begin; then
you will never have to suffer. Cigarettes will surely hurt you some day,
though you may not be able to see the effects at first."
The speaker's manner had changed greatly during the past few moments. At
first he had spoken calmly, but he was now more than agitated. His eyes
rolled and flashed in their dark caverns, and he spoke vehemently, with
excited gestures. Johnny and Albert stood close together, regarding him
with frightened eyes.
"I wish I could reform," he exclaimed, "but I cannot! The poison is in my
veins. A thousand devils seem dragging me down. I wish I could make every
boy stop smoking those things. I wish I could warn them of the horrible
With a sudden shriek, the man threw up his hands, fell backward, and
disappeared. After a second's hesitation, both lads ran to the wall,
climbed up, and looked over. In an unmistakable fit, the man was writhing
on the ground. Johnny and Albert ran quickly across lots and into Rev. Paul
Brighton's study. After learning that the boys had found a man in a fit,
Johnny's father hailed two passing neighbors, and the little party of
rescuers followed the lads to the scene of the strange experience.
It was a sorry spectacle that greeted them. The poor fellow's paroxysm had
passed, and he lay still and apparently lifeless, covered with dust and
grime. The minister bent over him, and, ascertaining that he was alive and
conscious, lifted him up; then, with the help of the two men, took the
outcast to the parsonage.
That evening, before the minister had asked his boy three questions, Johnny
broke into convulsive sobs, and made a clean breast of the matter from the
beginning. Blaming himself for not having won the child's heart securely
long before this, the minister did not censure him severely. He knew that
after such an example, the sensitive lad would never go wrong as far as
cigarettes were concerned.
Aunt Priscilla took her nephew in her arms, and, kissing the lips that were
yet sweet and pure, said, "If I have neglected you, Johnny, I am sorry; and
after this I am going to spend considerable time being good to my precious
Johnny slipped an arm around Aunt Priscilla's neck. "That is just what I
want," he said, happily.
"I hope this will teach you a lesson, Albert," said Mrs. Beecher to her
son, when he, with the help and advice of the minister, had made a full
confession of his share in the matter. "After such an example, I should
think you would never want to see another cigarette."
"I do not," said Albert, soberly, "and if I can help it, I am not going to;
I will fight them. Cigarettes certainly did not make a man of that fellow.
They unmade him."
For several days, during which the minister thought of what could be done
for him, the outcast stayed at the parsonage. He was invited to try the
gospel cure. "If you will put yourself unreservedly in the hands of God,
and remain steadfast," said Mr. Brighton, "there is hope for you. Besides,
I know of some medical missionaries who can help doctor the poison out of
your system, if you will let them."
At last the poor fellow yielded. And after a hard, bitter struggle, during
which a higher power helped him, he won the victory. He joined a band of
religious people whose work is to help rebuild wrecked lives; and although
weak at first and never robust, he was still able to point the right way to
many an erring mortal. He did much good; and Johnny and Albert, at least,
never forgot the practical example he gave them of what the cigarette can
accomplish for its slaves. BENJAMIN KEECH.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
A number of years ago, at an orphan asylum in a Northern State, there lived
a boy whom we shall call Will Jones. He was just an ordinary boy. No, he
was not so in one respect, which I must point out, to his discredit. Will
Jones had a temper that distinguished him from the general run of boys.
Will's temper might have been inherited from a Spanish pirate, and yet Will
was a boy whom every one loved; but this hair-trigger temper at times
terribly spoiled things. It would be tedious to recount his uprisings of
anger, and the direful consequences that often followed.
Mr. Custer, the superintendent of the asylum, had hopefully striven to lead
Will to the paths of right; but it was a difficult task.
Sometimes it needs but one small breach to begin the overthrow of a giant
wall. One small key, if it is the right one, will open the most resisting
door. One small phrase may start a germ-thought growing in a human mind
which in after-years may become a mighty oak of character. So Will Jones,
the incorrigible fighter was to demonstrate this principle, as we shall
On a Sabbath evening, as the hundred or more orphans met at vespers and
sang, "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" they saw a stranger seated at the
speaker's desk in the home chapel. He was a venerable old Wan, straight and
dignified, his hoary head a crown of honor; for he was all that he
appeared—a father in Israel.
In a brief speech he told the boys that he had once been a Union soldier,
and had fought in the battles of his country. He told of the courage it
required to face death upon the battle-field. He described the charges his
company had made and met, the sieges and the marches, the sufferings they
endured, and, lastly, the joys that victory and the end of the conflict
Then, when the boys were at the height of interested expectancy, he
skilfully drew the lesson he wanted them to learn. He told of a greater
warfare, requiring a higher courage, and bringing as a reward a larger and
more enduring victory. "Boys," he said, "the real soldiers are the
Christian soldiers; the real battle is the battle against sin; the real
battle-ground is where that silent struggle is constantly waging within our
minds." Then he told of Paul, who said, "I have fought a good fight." "Did
any of you boys ever fight a bad fight?" Every head but one turned to a
common point at this juncture, and the eyes of only one boy remained upon
the speaker. Will Jones had the record for bad fights, and that is why
about ninety-nine pairs of eyes had involuntarily sought him out when the
speaker asked the question, which he hoped each would ask himself. And the
reason Will Jones did not look around accusingly at any of the other boys
was because he had taken to heart all that had been said; and, because of
this, the turning-point had come; his conversion had begun. Henceforth he
determined so to live that he could say with Paul, "I have fought a good
No sooner does a boy determine to fight the good fight than Satan accepts
the challenge, and gives him a combat such as will seem like a "fiery
trial" to try him. These struggles develop the moral backbone; and if a boy
does not give in, he will find his moral courage increasing with each moral
fight. Just let that thought stay in your mind, underscored in bold-faced
italics, and printed in indelible ink; and if you have a tendency to be a
spiritual "jelly-back," it will be like a rod of steel to your spine.
The fear of Will Jones's knuckles had won a degree of peace for him. He had
lived a sort of armed truce, so to speak. Now he was subjected to petty
persecutions by mean boys who took advantage of his new stand. He did not
put on the look of a martyr either, but kept good-natured even when the old
volcano within was rumbling and threatening to bury the tormentors in hot
lava and ashes. The old desire to fight the bad fight was turned into the
new channel of determination to fight the good fight. Today Will Jones is
still a good fighter, and I hope he always will be, and some day will be
crowned with eternal victory; for he who fights the good fight is fighting
Will you not try so to live each day, subduing every sinful thought, that
at night when you kneel to pray you can say to the Lord, "I have fought a
good fight today"?
S. W. VAN TRUMP.
* * * * *
Our Help Is Near
Temptations dark and trials fall
On all who labor here;
But we have One on whom to call:
Our Lord is ever near.
So let us when these trials come,
Lean on his strength alone,
Till we have reached the promised home
Where sorrows are unknown.
TIGHTENING THE SADDLE-GIRTH
A time of grave crisis; upon the events of the next few minutes would hang
the issue of a hard-fought battle. Already at one end of the line the
troops seemed to be wavering. Was it indeed defeat?
Just where the fight was most fierce, a young officer was seen to leap from
his horse. His followers, sore pressed though they were, could not help
turning toward him, wondering what had happened. The bullets flew like hail
everywhere; and yet, with steady hand, the gallant soldier stood by the
side of his horse and drew the girth of his saddle tight. He had felt it
slip under him, and he knew that upon just such a little thing as a loose
buckle might hinge his own life, and, perhaps, the turn of the battle.
Having secured the girth, he bounded into the saddle, rallied his men, and
swept on to victory.
Many a battle has been lost on account of no greater thing than a loose
saddle-girth. A loose screw will disable the mightiest engine in the world.
A bit of sand in the bearing of an axle has brought many a locomotive to a
standstill, and thrown out of order every train on the division. Lives have
been lost, business houses wrecked, private fortunes laid in the balance,
just because some one did not tighten his saddle-girth!
Does it seem a small thing to you that you forgot some seemingly
unimportant thing this morning? Stop right where you are and go back and do
the thing you know you should have done in the first place.
One of the finest teachers in the leading school of one of our cities puts
stress day after day on that one thing of cultivating the memory so that it
will not fail in time of stress. "Do the thing when it should be done," she
insists. "If you forget, go back and do it. You have no right to forget; no
Tighten up the loose screw the moment you see it is loose. Pull the strap
through the buckle as soon as you feel it give. Wipe the axle over which
you have charge, clean of dust or grit. If your soul is in the balance,
stop now, today, this very moment, and see that all is right between you
and God.—Kind Words.
* * * * *
If You But Knew
O lad, my lad, if you but knew
The glowing dreams I dream of you,—
The true, straight course of duty run,
The noble deeds, the victories won,
And you the hero of them all,—
I know that you would strive to be
The lad that in my dreams I see;
No tempter's voice could make you fall.
Ah, lad, my lad, your frank, free smile
Has cheered me many a weary mile;
And in your face, e'en in my dreams,
Potent of future manhood beams,—
Manhood that lives above the small;
Manhood all pure and good and clean,
That scorns the base, the vile, the mean,
That hears and answers duty's call
And lad, my lad, so strong and true,
This is the prayer I pray for you:
Lord, take my boy, and guide his life
Through all the pitfalls of the strife;
Lead him to follow out thy plan,
To do the deeds he ought to do,
To all thy precepts ever true;
Make him a clean and noble man.
"HERRINGS FOR NOTHING"
I want you to think of a bitter, east windy day, fast-falling snow, and a
short, muddy street in London. Put these thoughts together, and add to them
the picture of a tall, stout man, in a rough greatcoat, and with a large
comforter round his neck, buffeting through wind and storm. The darkness is
coming rapidly, as a man with a basket on his head turns the corner of the
street, and there are two of us on opposite sides. He cries loudly as he
goes: "Herrings! three a penny! Red herrings, good and cheap, three a
penny!" So crying, he passes along the street, crosses at its end, and
comes to where I am standing at the corner. Here he pauses, evidently
wishing to fraternize with somebody, as a relief from the dull time and
disappointed hopes of trade. I presume I appear a suitable object, as he
comes close to me and begins conversation:—
"Governor, what do you think of these yer herrings?"—three in his hand,
while the remaining stock are deftly balanced in the basket on his head.
"Don't you think they're good?" and he offered me the opportunity of
testing them by scent, which I courteously but firmly declined, "and don't
you think they're cheap as well?"
I asserted my decided opinion that they were good and cheap.
"Then, look you, governor, why can't I sell 'em? Yet have I walked a mile
and a half along this dismal place, offering these good and cheap 'uns; and
nobody don't buy none!"
"I do not wonder at all at that," I answered, to his astonishment.
"Tell us why not, governor."
"The people have no work, and are starving; there are plenty of houses
round here that have not a single penny in them," was my reply.
"Ah! then, governor," he rejoined, "I've put my foot in it this time; I
knew they was werry poor, but I thought three a penny 'ud tempt 'em. But if
they haven't the ha-pence, they can't spend 'em, sure enough; so there's
nothing for it but to carry 'em back, and try and sell 'em elsewhere. I
thought by selling cheap, arter buying cheap, I could do them good, and
earn a trifle for myself. But I'm done this time."
"How much will you take for the lot?" I inquired.
First a keen look at me, then down came the basket from his head, then a
rapid calculation, then a grinning inquiry, "Do you mean profit an' all,
"Then I'll take four shillin', and be glad to get 'em."
I put my hand in my pocket, produced that amount, and handed it to him.
"Right, governor, thank'ee! Now what'll I do with 'em?" he said, as he
quickly transferred the coins to his own pocket.
"Go round this corner into the middle of the road, and shout with all your
might, 'Herrings for nothing!' and give three to every man, woman, or child
that comes to you, till the basket is emptied."
On hearing these instructions, he immediately reproduced the money, and
examined it. Being satisfied of its genuineness, he again replaced it, and
then looked keenly and questioningly at me.
"Well," I said, "is it all right and good?"
"Yes," replied he.
"Then the herrings are my property, and I can do as I like with them; but
if you do not like to do as I tell you, give me back my money."
"All right, governor, an' they are yours; so if you say it, here goes!"
Accordingly, he proceeded into the middle of the adjoining street, and went
along, shouting aloud: "Herrings for nothing! Good red herrings for
Out of sight myself, I stood at the corner to watch his progress; and
speedily he neared the house where a tall woman stood at the first-floor
window, looking out upon him.
"Here you are, missus," he bawled, "herrings for nothing! A fine chance for
yer! Come an' take 'em."
The woman shook her head unbelievingly, and left the window.
"Vot a fool!" said he. "But they won't be all so. Herrings for nothing!" A
little child came out to look at him, and he called to her, "Yer, my dear,
take these in to your mother. Tell her how cheap they are—herrings for
nothing." But the child was afraid of him and them, and ran indoors.
So down the street, in the snowy slush and mud, went the cheap fish, the
vender crying loudly as he went, "Herrings for nothing!" and then adding
savagely, "O you fools!" Thus he reached the very end; and, turning to
retrace his steps, he continued his double cry as he came, "Herrings for
nothing!" and then in a lower key, "O you fools!"
"Well?" I said to him calmly, as he reached me at the corner.
"Well!" he replied, "if yer think so! When you gave me the money for
herrings as yer didn't want, I thought you was training for a lunatic
'sylum. Now I thinks all the people round here are fit company for yer. But
what'll I do with the herrings, if yer don't want 'em and they won't have
"We will try again together," I replied. "I will come with you, and we will
Into the road we both went; and he shouted, "Herrings for nothing!" and
then I called out also, "Will any one have some herrings for tea?"
They heard the voice, and they knew it well; and they came out at once, in
twos and threes and sixes, men and women and children, all striving eagerly
to reach the welcome food.
As fast as I could take them from the basket, I handed three to each eager
applicant, until all were speedily disposed of. When the basket was empty,
the hungry crowd who had none, was far greater than those that had been
supplied; but they were too late; there were no more herrings.
Foremost among the disappointed was the tall woman, who, with a bitter
tongue, began vehemently: "Why haven't I got any? Ain't I as good as they?
Ain't my children as hungry as theirs?"
Before I had time to reply, the vender stretched out his arm toward her,
saying, "Why, governor, that's the very woman as I offered 'em to first,
and she turned up her nose at 'em."
"I didn't," she rejoined passionately; "I didn't believe you meant it!"
"Yer just goes without, then, for yer unbelief!" he replied. "Good night,
and thank'ee, governor!"
You smile at the story, which is strictly true. Are you sure you are not
ten thousand times worse? Their unbelief cost them only a hungry stomach;
but what may your unbelief of God's offer cost you? God—not man—God has
sent his messenger to you repeatedly for years, to offer pardon for
nothing! Salvation for nothing! He has sent to your homes, your hearts, the
most loving and tender offers that even an Almighty could frame; and what
have you replied? Have you not turned away, in scornful unbelief, like the
God says, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my
hand, and no man regarded;… I also will laugh at your calamity; I will
mock when your fear cometh." Prov. I:24-26. But he also says, "Ho, every
one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come
ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without
price." Isa. 55:1. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." John 3: 16.
Answer him. Will you have it?—C. J. Whitmore.
Ho, every one that thirsteth,
Come to the living stream,
And satisfy your longing soul
Where silver fountains gleam.
Come, weary, faint, and hungry;
Before you now is spread
A rich supply for all your needs;
Receive the living Bread.
Why do you linger longer?
Come while 'tis called today.
Here's milk and honey without price;
O, do not turn away!
Why feed on husks that perish?
Enter the open door.
Thy Saviour stands with outstretched hands;
Eat, drink, and want no more.
THE POWER OF SONG
My Own Experience
Near the summit of a mountain in Pennsylvania is a small hamlet called
Honeyville, consisting of two log houses, two shanties, a rickety old barn,
and a small shed, surrounded by a few acres of cleared land. In one of
these houses lived a family of seven,—father, mother, three boys, and two
girls. They had recently moved from Michigan. The mother's health was poor,
and she longed to be out on the beautiful old mountain where she had spent
most of her childhood. Their household goods had arrived in Pennsylvania
just in time to be swept away by the great Johnstown flood of 1889.
The mother and her two little girls, Nina and Dot, were Christians, and
their voices were often lifted in praise to God as they sang from an old
hymn-book, one of their most cherished possessions.
One morning the mother sent Nina and Dot on an errand to their sister's
home three and one-half miles distant. The first two miles took them
through dense woods, while the rest of the way led past houses and through
small clearings. She charged them to start on their return home in time to
arrive before dark, as many wild beasts—bears, catamounts, and
occasionally a panther—were prowling around. These animals were hungry at
this time of the year; for they were getting ready to "hole up," or lie
down in some cozy cave or hole for their winter's nap.
The girls started off, merrily chasing each other along the way, and
arrived at their sister's in good time, and had a jolly romp with the baby.
After dinner the sister was so busy, and the children were so absorbed in
their play, that the time passed unheeded until the clock struck four. Then
the girls hurriedly started for home, in the hope that they might arrive
there before it grew very dark. The older sister watched until they
disappeared up the road, anxiously wishing some one was there to go with
Nina and Dot made good time until they entered the long stretch of woods,
when Nina said:—
"O, I know where there is such a large patch of wintergreen berries, right
by the road! Let's pick some for mama."
So they climbed over a few stones and logs, and, sure enough, the berries
were plentiful. They picked and talked, sometimes playing hide-and-seek
among the bushes. When they started on again, the sun was sinking low in
the west, and the trees were casting heavy shadows over the road, which
lengthened rapidly. When about half of the distance was covered, Dot began
to feel tired and afraid. Nina tried to cheer her, saying, "Over one more
long hill, and we shall be home." But now they could only see the sun
shining on the top of the trees on the hill.
They had often played trying to scare each other by one saying, "O, I see a
bear or a wolf up the road!" and pretending to be afraid. So Dot said:
"Let's scare each other. You try to scare me." Nina said, "All right."
Then, pointing up the road, she said, "O, look up the road by that black
stump! I see a—" She did not finish; for suddenly, from almost the very
spot where she had pointed, a large panther stepped out of the bushes,
turning his head first one way and then another. Then, as if seeing the
girls for the first time, he crouched down, and, crawling, sneaking along,
like a cat after a mouse, he moved toward them. The girls stopped and
looked at each other. Then Dot began to cry, and said, in a half-smothered
whisper, "O Nina, let's run!" But Nina thought of the long, dark, lonely
road behind, and knew that running was useless. Then, thinking of what she
had heard her father say about showing fear, she seized her little sister's
hand, and said: "No, let's pass it. God will help us." And she started up
the road toward the animal.
When the children moved, the panther stopped, and straightened himself up.
Then he crouched again, moving slowly, uneasily, toward them. When they had
nearly reached him, and Nina, who was nearest, saw his body almost rising
for the spring, there flashed through her mind the memory of hearing it
said that a wild beast would not attack any one who was singing. What
should she sing? In vain she tried to recall some song, but her mind seemed
a blank. In despair she looked up, and breathed a little prayer for help;
then, catching a glimpse of the last rays of the setting sun touching the
tops of the trees on the hill, she began the beautiful hymn,—
"There is sunlight on the hilltop,
There is sunlight on the sea."
Her sister joined in, and although their voices were faint and trembling at
first, by the time the children were opposite the panther, the words of the
song rang out sweet and clear on the evening air.
The panther stopped, and straightened himself to his height. His tail,
which had been lashing and switching, became quiet as he seemed to listen.
The girls passed on, hand in hand, never looking behind them. How sweet the
"O the sunlight! beautiful sunlight!
O the sunlight in the heart!"
sounded as they echoed and reechoed through the woods.
As the children neared the top of the hill, the rumbling of a wagon fell
upon their ears, so they knew that help was near, but still they sang. When
they gained the top, at the same time the wagon rattled up, for the first
time they turned and looked back, just in time to catch a last glimpse of
the panther as he disappeared into the woods.
The mother had looked often and anxiously down the road, and each time was
disappointed in not seeing the children coming. Finally she could wait no
longer, and started to meet them. When about half-way there, she heard the
"O the sunlight! beautiful sunlight!
O the sunlight in the heart!
Jesus' smile can banish sadness;
It is sunlight in the heart."
At first a happy smile of relief passed over her face; but it faded as she
listened. There was such an unearthly sweetness in the song, so strong and
clear, that it seemed like angels' music instead of her own little girls'.
The song ceased, and the children appeared over the hill. She saw their
white faces, and hurried toward them. When they saw her, how their little
feet flew! But it was some time before they could tell her what had
What a joyful season of worship they had that night, and what a meaning
that dear old hymn has had to them ever since!
A few days later, a party of organized hunters killed the panther that had
given the children such a fright. But the memory of that thrilling
experience will never fade from the mind of the writer, who was one of the
actors in it.—Nina Case.
There was held, in Hartford, some years ago, a convention of the colored
Baptist Association of New England. I was invited to address one of the
sessions. To show what those converted in early life are sometimes enabled
to endure by God's grace, I related the following story:—
"What's dat, Willie?"
"That's a spelling-book, Jack."
"What's de spellin'-book for?"
"To learn how to read."
"How's you do it?"
"We learn those things first."
And so Jack learned A, B, C, etc., mastered the spelling-book, and then
learned to read a little, though the law forbade any colored person to do
One day Willie brought home a little black book, and Jack said:—
"What's dat, Willie?"
"That is the New Testament, that tells about Jesus."
And, erelong, Jack learned to read the New Testament, and when he read that
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," and that he
really loved us and died for us, and that "if we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins," his heart went out in love to
Jesus. He believed in him, his sins were forgiven, his heart was changed,
and he became a happy Christian.
Though a mere child, he at once began to tell others of Jesus' love. When
he became a young man, he was still at work for the Lord. He used to go to
the neighboring plantations, read his Bible, and explain it to the people.
One day the master said to him, "Jack, I am told that you go off preaching
"Yes, mas'r, I must tell sinners how Jesus died on de cross for dem."
"Jack, if you go off preaching on Sunday, I will tell you what I will do on
"What will do you on Monday, mas'r?"
"I will tie you to that tree, take this whip, and flog all this religion
out of you."
Jack knew that his master was a determined man, but when he thought of
Christ's sufferings for us, and heard his Lord saying unto him, "Be thou
faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," he resolved to
continue his work for the Lord the next Sunday.
With his New Testament in hand, he went down to the plantation and told
them that his master might whip him half to death the next day, but if he
did, he would not suffer more than Christ had suffered for us.
The next morning his master said, "Jack, I hear you were preaching again
"Yes, mas'r. I must go and tell sinners how Jesus was whipped that we might
"But, Jack, I told you that if you went off preaching Sunday, I should whip
you on Monday, and now I will do it."
Blow after blow fell upon Jack's back, while oaths fell from the master's
lips. Then he said:—
"There, Jack, I don't believe you will preach next Sunday. Now go down to
the cottonfield and go to work."
When next Sunday came, Jack could not stand straight, for his back was
covered with sores and scars. But, with his Testament in his hand, he stood
before the people of the plantation, and said, "Mas'r whip me mos' ter
death last Monday, an' I don't know but he will kill me tomorrow, but if he
does, I shall not suffer more than Jesus did when he died on the cross for
Monday morning the master called him and said,
"Jack, I hear you have been preaching again."
"Yes, mas'r. I must go an' tell sinners how Christ was wounded for our
transgressions, how he sweat drops of blood for us in the garden, an' wore
that cruel crown of thorns that we might wear a crown of joy when he
"But I don't want to hear your preaching. Now bare your back, and take the
flogging I told you I should give you if you went off preaching."
Fast flew the cruel lashes, until Jack's back was covered with wounds and
"Now, Jack, go down to the cotton-field and go to work. I reckon you'll
never want to preach again."
When the next Sunday came, Jack's back was in a terrible condition. But,
hobbling along, he found his friends in the neighboring plantation, and
"Mas'r whipped me mos' ter death last Monday, but if I can only get you to
come to Jesus and love him, I am willing to die for your sake tomorrow."
If there were scoffers there, do you not think they were led to believe
there was a reality in religion? If any were there who were inclined to
think that ministers preach only when they get money for it, do you not
think they changed their minds when they saw what wages Jack got? Many were
in tears, and some gave themselves to that Saviour for whose sake Jack was
willing to die the death of a martyr.
Next morning the master called Jack, and said,
"Make bare your back again; for I told you that just as sure as you went
off preaching, I would whip you till you gave it up."
The master raised the ugly whip, and as he looked at Jack's back, all
lacerated, he could find no new place to strike, and said:—
"Why do you do it, Jack? You know that as surely as you go off preaching
Sunday, I will whip you most to death the next day. No one pays you
anything for it. All you get is a terrible flogging, which is taking your
life from you."
"Yer ax me, mas'r, what I'se doin' it fer. I'll tell you, mas'r. I'se goin'
ter tak all dos stripes an' all dos scars, mas'r, up to Jesus, by an' by,
to show him how faithful I'se been, 'cause he loved you an' me, mas'r, an'
bled an' died on the cross for you an' me, mas'r."
The whip dropped, and that master could not strike another blow. In a
subdued tone he said:—
"Go down in the cotton-field."
Do you think Jack went away cursing his master, saying, "O Lord, punish him
for all his cruelty to me"?
No, no! His prayer was, "Lord, forgive him, for Jesus Christ's sake."
About three o'clock, a messenger came down to the cotton-field, crying:
"Mas'r dyin'! Mas'r's dyin'! Come quick, Jack. Mas'r's dyin'!"
In his private room, Jack found his master on the floor in agony, crying:
"O Jack, I'm sinking down to hell! Pray for me! Pray for me!"
"I'se been prayin' for you all de time, mas'r. You mus' pray for yourse'f."
"I don't know how to pray, Jack. I know how to swear, but I don't know how
"You mus' pray, mas'r."
And finally they both prayed, and God revealed Christ on the cross to him,
and then and there he became a changed man.
A few days after, he called Jack to him and said:—
"Jack, here are your freedom papers. They give you your liberty. Go and
preach the gospel wherever you will, and may the Lord's blessing go with
While telling this story at the convention, I noticed a man, perhaps sixty
years of age, with quite gray hair, who was deeply moved. When I had
finished, he sprang to his feet, and, with a clear but tremulous voice,
"I stand for Jack. Mr. Hammond has been speaking of me. He has been trying
to tell my sufferings, but he cannot describe the terrible agony I endured
at the hands of my master, who, because I was determined to preach the
gospel on the plantations around us, every Monday morning for three weeks
called me up and laid the cruel lash upon my back with his own hands until
my back was like raw beef. But God helped me to pray for him, until he was
forgiven and saved through Christ. And, thank God, Jack still lives."
I have given you only a few of his burning words, but I can tell you there
were many eyes filled with tears during this touching scene, which will not
soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.—E. Hammond, in "Early
HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER
Here is a touching story told of the famous Dr. Samuel Johnson which has
had an influence on many a boy who has heard it. Samuel's father Michael
Johnson, was a poor bookseller in Lichfield, England. On market-days he
used to carry a package of books to the village of Ottoxeter, and sell them
from a stall in the market-place. One day the bookseller was sick, and
asked his son to go and sell the books in his place. Samuel, from a silly
pride, refused to obey.
Fifty years afterward Johnson became the celebrated author, the compiler of
the English Dictionary, and one of the most distinguished scholars in
England; but he never forgot his act of unkindness to his poor,
hard-toiling father. So when he visited Ottoxeter, he determined to show
his sorrow and repentance. He went into the market-place at the time of
business, uncovered his head, and stood there for an hour in the pouring
rain, on the very spot where the bookstall used to stand. "This," he says,
"was an act of contrition for my disobedience to my kind father."
The spectacle of the great Dr. Johnson standing bareheaded in the storm to
atone for the wrong done by him fifty years before, is a grand and touching
one. There is a representation of it in marble on the doctor's monument.
Many a man in after-life has felt something harder and heavier than a storm
of rain beating upon his heart when he remembered his acts of unkindness to
a good father or mother now in the grave.
Dr. John Todd, of Pittsfield, the eminent writer, never forgot how, when
his old father was very sick, and sent him away for medicine, he, a little
lad, been unwilling to go, and made up a lie, saying that the druggist had
no such medicine.
The old man was dying when little Johnny came in, but he said to Johnny,
"My boy, your father suffers great pain for want of that medicine."
Johnny started, in great distress, for the medicine, but it was too late.
On his return the father was almost gone. He could only say to the weeping
boy, "Love God, and always speak the truth; for the eye of God is always
upon you. Now kiss me once more, and farewell."
Through all his after-life, Dr. Todd often had a heartache over that act of
falsehood and disobedience to his dying father. It takes more than a shower
to wash away the memory of such sins.
The words, "Honor thy father and thy mother," mean three things,—always do
what they bid you, always treat them lovingly, and take care of them when
they are sick and grown old. I never yet knew a boy who trampled on the
wishes of his parents who turned out well. God never blesses a wilful boy.
When Washington was sixteen years old, he determined to leave home and
become a midshipman in the colonial navy. After he had sent off his trunk,
he went to bid his mother good-by. She wept so bitterly because he was
going away that he said to his Negro servant: "Bring back my trunk. I am
not going to wake my mother suffer so, by leaving her."
He remained at home to please his mother. This decision led to his becoming
a surveyor, and afterward a soldier. His whole glorious career in life
turned on simple act of trying to make his mother happy, happy, too, will
be the child who never has occasion to shed bitter tears for any act of
unkindness to his parents. Let us not forget that God has said,
"Honor thy father and thy mother."—Theodore L. Cuyler, in Pittsburgh
In one of the larger cities of New England, fifty years ago, a party of
lads, all members of the same school, got up a grand sleigh-ride. There
were about twenty-five or thirty boys engaged in the frolic. The sleigh was
a large and splendid conveyance drawn by six gray horses. The afternoon was
as beautiful as anybody could desire, and the merry group enjoyed
themselves in the highest degree. It was a common custom of the school to
which they belonged, and on previous occasions their teacher had
accompanied them. Some engagement upon important business, however,
occupying him, he was not at this time with them. It is quite likely, had
it been otherwise, that the restraining influence of his presence would
have prevented the scene which occurred.
On the day following the ride, as he entered the schoolroom, he found his
pupils grouped about the stove, in high merriment, as they chatted about
the fun and frolic of their excursion. He stopped awhile and listened; and,
in answer to some inquiries which he made about the matter, one of the
lads, a fine, frank, manly boy, whose heart was in the right place, though
his love of sport sometimes led him astray, volunteered to give a narrative
of their trip and its various incidents. As he drew near the end of his
story, he exclaimed:—
"O, sir, there was one little circumstance which I almost forgot to tell
you! Toward the latter part of the afternoon, as we were coming home, we
saw, at some distance ahead of us, a queer-looking affair in the road. We
could not exactly make out what it was. It seemed to be a sort of
half-and-half monstrosity. As we approached it, it proved to be a rusty old
sleigh fastened behind a covered wagon, proceeding at a very slow rate, and
taking up the whole road. Finding that the owner was disposed not to turn
out, we determined upon a volley of snowballs and a good hurrah. These we
gave with a relish, and they produced the right effect, and a little more;
for the crazy machine turned out into the deep snow by the side of the
road, and the skinny old pony started on a full trot. As we passed, some
one who had the whip gave the jilt of a horse a good crack, which made him
run faster than he ever did before, I'll warrant. And so, with another
volley of snowballs pitched into the front of the wagon, and three times
three cheers, we rushed by. With that, an old fellow in the wagon, who was
buried up under an old hat and beneath a rusty cloak, and who had dropped
the reins, bawled out, 'Why do you frighten my horse?'
"'Why don't you turn out, then?' said the driver.
"So we gave him three rousing cheers more. His horse was frightened again,
and ran up against a loaded team, and, I believe, almost capsized the old
man; and so we left him."
"Well, boys," replied the instructor, "that is quite an incident. But take
your seats; and after our morning service is ended, I will take my turn and
tell you a story, and all about a sleigh-ride, too."
Having finished the reading of a chapter in the Bible, and all having
joined in the Lord's Prayer, he began as follows:—
"Yesterday afternoon a very venerable and respectable old man, a clergyman
by profession, was on his way from Boston to Salem to pass the residue of
the winter at the house of his son. That he might be prepared for
journeying, as he proposed to do in the spring, he took with him his light
wagon, and for the winter his sleigh, which he fastened behind the wagon.
He was, as I have just told you, very old and infirm. His temples were
covered with thinned locks which the frosts of eighty years had whitened.
His sight, and hearing, too, were somewhat blunted by age, as yours will be
should you live to be as old.
"He was proceeding very slowly and quietly, for his horse was old and
feeble, like his owner. His thoughts reverted to the scenes of his youth,
when he had periled his life in fighting for the liberties of his country;
to the scenes of his manhood, when he had preached the gospel of his divine
Master to the heathen of the remote wilderness; and to the scenes of riper
years, when the hard hand of penury had lain heavily upon him. While thus
occupied, almost forgetting himself in the multitude of his thoughts, he
was suddenly disturbed, and even terrified, by loud hurrahs from behind,
and by a furious pelting and clattering of balls of snow and ice upon the
top of his wagon. In his trepidation he dropped his reins; and as his aged
and feeble hands were quite benumbed with cold, he found it impossible to
gather them up, and his horse began to run away.
"In the midst of the old man's troubles, there rushed by him, with loud
shouts, a large party of boys in a sleigh drawn by six horses.
"'Turn out, turn out, old fellow!' 'Give us the road, old boy!' 'What'll
you take for your pony, old daddy?' 'Go it, frozen nose!' 'What's the price
of oats?' were the various cries that met his ear.
"'Pray, do not frighten my horse,' exclaimed the infirm driver.
"'Turn out, then! Turn out!' was the answer, which was followed by repeated
cracks and blows from the long whip of the grand sleigh, with showers of
snowballs, and tremendous hurrahs from the boys.
"The terror of the old man and his horse was increased; and the latter ran
away, to the imminent danger of the man's life. He contrived, however,
after some exertion, to secure the reins, which had been out of his hands
during the whole of the affray, and to stop his horse just in season to
prevent his being dashed against a loaded team.
"As he approached Salem, he overtook a young man who was walking toward the
same place, whom he invited to ride. The young man alluded to the grand
sleigh which had just passed, which induced the old gentleman to inquire if
he knew who the boys were. He replied that he did; that they all belonged
to one school, and were a set of wild fellows.
"'Aha!' exclaimed the former, with a hearty laugh, for his constant good
nature had not been disturbed, 'do they, indeed? Why, their master is very
well known to me. I am now going to his house, and I think I shall give him
the benefit of the affair.'
"A short distance brought him to his journey's end, the home of his son.
His old horse was comfortably housed and fed, and he himself provided for.
"That son, boys, is your instructor; and that aged and infirm old man, that
'old fellow,' that 'old boy,' who did not turn out for you, but who would
gladly have given you the whole road had he heard your approach, that 'old
boy,' that 'old daddy,' and 'frozen nose,' is Rev. Daniel Oliver, your
master's father, now at my home, where he and I will gladly welcome any and
all of you."
As the master, with an undisturbed and serene countenance, gave this
version of the ride, it was very manifest from the expression of the boys'
faces, and the glances they exchanged, that they recognized the history of
their doings of the previous day; and it is not easy to describe nor to
imagine the effect produced by this new translation of their own narrative.
Some buried their heads behind their desks; some cried; some looked askance
at one another; and many hastened down to the desk of the teacher, with
apologies, regrets, and acknowledgments without end.
"We did not know it was your father," they said.
"Ah, my lads," replied the teacher, "what odds does it make whose father it
was? It was probably somebody's father,—an inoffensive traveler, an aged
and venerable man, entitled to kind treatment from you and everybody else.
But never mind; he forgives it all, and so do I."
Freely pardoned, they were cautioned that they should be more civil for the
future to inoffensive travelers, and more respectful to the aged and
Years have passed by. The lads are men, though some have found an early
grave. The boy who related the incident to his master is "in the deep bosom
of the ocean buried." They who survive, should this story meet their eye,
will easily recall its scenes and throw their memories back to the
schoolhouse in Federal Street, Salem, and to their friend and teacher.
—Henry K. Oliver.
* * * * *
The Tongue Can No Man Tame
Lord, tame my tongue, and make it pure,
And teach it only to repeat
Thy promises, all safe, all sure;
To tell thy love, so strong and sweet.
Lord, tame my tongue, and make it kind
The faults of others to conceal
And all their virtues call to mind;
Teach it to soothe, to bless, to heal.
SAMUEL SMILES, THE AUTHOR OF "SELF-HELP"
When Samuel Smiles was a schoolboy in Scotland, he was fonder of frolic
than of learning. He was not a prize-winner, and so was not one of his
teacher's favorites. One day his master, vexed by his dulness, cried out,
"Smiles, you will never be fit for anything but sweeping the streets of
your native borough!" From that day the boy's mates called him by the name
of the street sweeper in the little town. But he was not discouraged.
"If I have done anything worthy of being remembered," he wrote, more than
sixty years later, when his name was known over the whole world, "it has
not been through any superiority of gifts, but only through a moderate
portion of them, accompanied, it is true, with energy and the habit of
industry and application. As in the case of every one else, I had for the
most part to teach myself…. Then I enjoyed good health, and health is
more excellent than prizes. Exercise, the joy of interest and of activity,
the play of the faculties, is the true life of a boy, as of a man. I had
also the benefit of living in the country, with its many pleasures and
When he was fourteen, he was apprenticed to a physician. In the intervals
of his work, he sought to continue his education by reading. Books were
expensive then, but several libraries were open to him.
The death of his father near the end of his medical course, and consequent
financial reverses, made him hesitate as to the wisdom of finishing his
studies. In speaking of this, he made mention for the first time of his
indebtedness to his mother. "You must go back to Edinburgh," she said, "and
do as your father desired. God will provide." She had the most perfect
faith in Providence, and believed that if she did her duty, she would be
supported to the end. She had wonderful pluck and abundant common sense.
Her character seemed to develop with the calls made upon her. Difficulties
only brought out the essence of her nature. "I could not fail to be
influenced by so good a mother."
But he was not to find his life-work as a doctor. For some years he
practised medicine. Then he became editor of a political paper. Later, he
was a railroad manager. Experience in writing gained in the newspaper
office prepared him for literary work, by which he is best known.
These being the chief events and influences of his boyhood, the story of
his most famous book, "Self-Help," is just what might be expected. It is a
story full of inspiration.
In 1845, at the request of a committee of working men, he made an address
to the society which they represented, on "The Education of the Working
Classes." This excited such favorable comment that he determined to enlarge
the lecture into a book. Thus "Self-Help" was written. But it was not to be
published for many years. In 1854 the manuscript was submitted anonymously
to a London publisher, and was politely declined. Undaunted, he laid it
aside and began an account of the life of George Stephenson, with whom he
had been associated in railway work. This biography was a great success.
Thus encouraged, he took from the drawer, where it had lain for four years,
the rejected manuscript of "Self-Help," rewrote it, and offered it to his
publishers. It was not his intention, even then, to use his name as author,
so little did he think of himself. But, listening to the advice of friends,
he permitted his name to appear. Very soon he was famous, for thirty-five
thousand copies were sold during the first two years. In less than forty
years two hundred and fifty-eight thousand copies have been disposed of in
England alone. American publishers reprinted the book almost at once, and
it soon became a favorite in school libraries in many States. It was
translated into Dutch, German, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Czech,
Croatian, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Danish, Polish, Chinese,
Siamese, Arabic, and several dialects of India.
But the author did not look on the fame and fortune brought to him by his
book as his chief reward. It had been his desire to be helpful to the
plodding, discouraged men and boys. As he expressed it himself: "It seemed
to me that the most important results in daily life are to be obtained, not
through the exercise of extraordinary powers, but through the energetic use
of simple means, and ordinary qualities, with which all have been more or
As his greatest reward he looked upon the grateful testimony of men of many
countries who had been inspired by the book to greater effort, and so
spurred on to success. An emigrant in New England wrote that he thanked God
for the volume, which had been the cause of an entire alteration in his
life. A working man wrote: "Since perusing the book I have experienced an
entire revolution in my habits. Instead of regarding life as a weary
course, which has to be gotten over as a task, I now view it in the light
of a trust, of which I must make the most." A country schoolboy received a
copy as a prize, and his life was transformed by the reading. By
perseverance he secured an education, and became a surgeon. After a few
years he lost his life in an attempt to help others. Such testimonies as
these made Mr. Smiles happy, and are a fitting memorial to him. He died in
1904, at the age of ninety-two.
How much more satisfying to look back on a life of such usefulness than to
say, as Jules Verne, author of many books, was compelled to say, "I amount
to nothing … in literature."—John T. Faris, D. D., in "Self-Help"
published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York.
* * * * *
Life's battles thou must fight all single-handed;
No friend, however dear, can bear thy pain.
No other soul can ever bear thy burdens,
No other hand for thee the prize may gain
Lonely we journey through this vale of sorrow;
No heart in full respondeth to our own:
Each one alone must meet his own tomorrow,
Each one must tread the weary way alone
Ah, weary heart! why art thou sad and lonely?
Why this vain longing for an answering sigh?
Thy griefs, thy longings, trials, and temptations
Are known and felt by Him who reigns on high.
ARTHUR V. FOX
On March 19, 1813, a hero was born in Blantyre, central Scotland. It was an
age of great missionary activity, and the literal fulfilment of the spirit
of the great commission had led Carey, Judson, Moffat, and scores of others
to give their lives to the promulgation of the gospel of the kingdom of God
in heathen lands. A dozen missionary societies were then in their youth.
Interest in travel and exploration was at its height, and the attention of
adventurers centered in the Dark Continent, the last of the great unknown
regions of the world to be explored. Into the kingdom for such a time, and
to do a divinely appointed work, came David Livingstone.
His home was a humble cottage. A rugged constitution came to him as a
birthright, for his parents were of sturdy peasant stock. They served God
devoutly, and though poor in this world's goods, were honest and
industrious, being able to teach their children lessons in economy and
thrift which proved of lifelong help to them.
David was a merry, brown-eyed lad, and a general favorite. Perseverance
seemed bred in his very bone. When only nine years old, he received from
his Sunday-school teacher a copy of the New Testament as a reward for
repeating the one hundred nineteenth psalm on two successive evenings with
only five errors. The following year, at the age of ten, he went to work in
the cotton factory near his home, as a "piecer." Out of his first week's
wages he saved enough to purchase a Latin grammar, and set himself
resolutely to the task of thoroughly mastering its contents, studying for
the most part alone after leaving his work at eight o'clock in the evening.
His biographer tells us that he often continued his studies until after
midnight, returning to work in the factory at six in the morning.
Livingstone was not brighter than other boys, nor precocious in anything
save determination. He was very fond of reading, and devised the plan of
fastening a book on his spinning-jenny in the factory so that he could
catch a sentence now and then while tending the machines. In this way he
familiarized himself with many of the classics.
His aptitude for scientific pursuits early revealed itself, and he had a
perfect passion for exploration. When only a boy, he usually chose to spend
his holidays scouring the country for botanical, geological, and zoological
In his twentieth year the embryo missionary and explorer was led to accept
Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Out of the fulness of peace, joy, and
satisfaction which filled his heart, he wrote, "It is my desire to show my
attachment to the cause of him who died for me by devoting my life to his
service." The reading of an appeal by Mr. Gutzlaff to the churches of
Britain and America in behalf of China brought to the young student's
attention the need of qualified missionaries, and led him to dedicate his
own life as well as all that he possessed to foreign service.
As a surgeon carefully selects the instruments with which he works, so it
is ever with the divine Physician; and though Livingstone was anxious to
enter his chosen field, providence led him to tarry for a little while in
preparation. During this time of waiting he put into practise the motto
which in later life he gave to the pupils in a Sunday-school, "Trust God
and work hard." Having set his face toward China, he had no notion of
turning back in the face of difficulties, and finally, after four years of
untiring effort, he earned in 1840 a medical diploma, thus equipping
himself with a training indispensable for one whose life was to be hidden
for years in the fever jungles of Africa. He wrote, "With unfeigned delight
I became a member of a profession which with unwearied energy pursues from
age to age its endeavors to lessen human woe."
Livingstone also secured the necessary theological training, and was duly
accepted by the London Missionary Society as a candidate for China. But the
breaking out of the Opium war effectually closed the doors of that field.
Just at this time came his providential acquaintance with Robert Moffat.
The missionary was home on a furlough, and at a meeting which the young
physician attended, stated that sometimes he had seen in the morning
sunlight the smoke of a thousand villages in the Dark Continent where no
missionary had ever been to tell the sweet old story of redeeming love.
This message came to Livingstone as a Macedonian cry, and he willingly
answered, "Here am I; send me." The purpose once formed, he never swerved
The change of fields caused some alteration in his plans, and he remained
for a time in England, further preparing for his mission with scrupulous
care. On Nov. 17, 1840, Dr. Livingstone spent the last evening with his
loved ones in the humble Blantyre home, going at once to London, where he
was ordained as a missionary. He sailed for the Cape of Good Hope on the
eighth of December.
Arrived in Africa, the new recruit immediately turned his steps toward the
interior, where there were real things to do. After a brief stop at
Kuruman, the home of the Moffats, he spent six months alone among the
Bakwains, acquainting himself with their language, laws, and customs. In
that time he gained not only these points, but the good will and affection
of the natives as well. His door of opportunity had opened, and from the
Bakwains he pressed farther north, until, within the first three years of
his service in the Dark Continent, he was giving the gospel to heathen far
beyond any point before visited by white men.
Both Livingstone and his wife learned early the secret of power that comes
from living with the heathen, rather than merely living among them. He
possessed a certain indefinable power of discipline over the native mind,
which made for orderly, thorough, and effective service. The natives knew
him for their friend as well as their teacher. Under his loving care,
heathen chiefs became Christian leaders of their own people; Christian
customs replaced heathen practises; and peace settled down where trouble
had been rife.
Leaving his well-established work among the Namangwato, the Bakaa, the
Makalaka, and the Bechuana tribes to be carried on by trained native
helpers, this fearless man pressed on—always toward the dark interior.
When his course was criticized, he wrote, "I will go anywhere, provided it
be forward," and "forward" he went.
Livingstone's mind was one of that broad character which at the outset
grasps the whole of a problem, and to those who have followed his later
course it is clear why he saw no duty in settling down on one fixed spot to
teach and preach in a slavery-harrowed land. He knew that, first, there
must be a mighty clearing out of this evil. As for his own intent, he said,
"Cannot the love of Christ carry the missionary where the slave-trade
carries the trader?" And so, right through to the west coast he marched,
carrying and diffusing everywhere a knowledge of the redeeming Christ, and
illustrating by his own kindly life and words and deeds the loving mercies
of the Lord.
The physician and the scientist, the minister and the reformer, were all
combined in this one purposeful man. The people believed him to be a
wizard, and even credited him with power to raise the dead. Heathen, sick
and curious, crowded about his wagon, but not an article was stolen. One
day the chief of a savage tribe said: "I wish you would change my heart.
Give me medicine to change it; for it is proud, proud and angry, angry
Livingstone left on record in his journals invaluable data of rivers,
lakes, and streams, treacherous bogs, and boiling fountains, plants,
animals, seasons, products, and tribes, together with the most accurate
Near the mighty but then unknown Zambesi, Livingstone found the Makololo
people, a tribe from which came his most devoted native helpers. When he
left them to journey toward the west coast, as many men as he needed
willingly agreed to accompany him. After a terrible journey of seven
months, involving imminent starvation and endless exposure, the party at
last reached their destination, St. Paul de Loanda, a Portuguese
Full as this journey was of incident, one of the most impressive things
about it all was the horrors of the slave-trade, which came home to the
missionary with heart-rending directness. "Every day he saw families torn
asunder, dead bodies along the way, gangs chained and yoked, skeletons
grinning against the trees by the roadside. As he rowed along on the
beautiful river Shire, the paddles of his boat were clogged in the morning
with the bodies of women and children who had died during the night, and
were thus disposed of by their masters." And when he was sure that the
wretched system was entrenched from the center of the continent to the
coast, is it any wonder that he determined to make the exposure of this
gigantic iniquity his principal work until "the open sore of the world"
should be healed?
The slave-raiders were Livingstone's bitter enemies, and did everything
possible to hinder his work. Just a story:—
Into a quiet little village on the shores of Lake Nyassa came some
strangers one beautiful afternoon. The king sent to inquire as to their
business. "We are Livingstone's children," they said. "Our master has found
a road to the coast, and sent us back for his supplies. The day is late; we
wish to spend the night in your village." "The white master is our friend,"
said the king, and he commanded his men to prepare the best huts for
Livingstone's children. Some of the servants left at once to carry out the
king's command, and soon the visitors were comfortably settled. The people
flocked to their huts, bringing many gifts, and lingered about until the
day was ended.
Late that night, when all the village was asleep, suddenly there was a
piercing scream, then another, and another. The people rushed from their
huts; for many of their homes were on fire. The white men, who called
themselves Livingstone's children, were seizing women and children, and
binding them with strong cords of leather. Around the necks of the men they
fastened great Y-shaped sticks, riveting the forked ends together with
iron. "We have been deceived," cried the natives. "The visitors were not
Livingstone's children. They were slave-raiders. O! why did we ever trust
them? If the white master were here, he would save us. He never takes
In the gray light of the morning, leaving their village a heap of
smoldering ruins, the sad procession was marched off, heavily guarded. For
two days their merciless captors drove them under the hot tropical sun
without food or water. Late the second afternoon, they suddenly came upon a
camp, at a sharp bend of the road, and there, in plain view, stood Dr.
Livingstone. Every slave-driver took to his heels and disappeared in the
thickets. They had all respect for that one white man. They knew he was in
Africa to stop the slave-trade. The whole procession of slaves fell on
their knees in thanksgiving, rejoicing in this unexpected deliverance, and
were soon returning to their own country.
Do you wonder that the poor heathen loved the missionary? He never once
betrayed their confidence. Almost immediately after reaching the Portuguese
settlement on the coast, he was prostrated with a very severe illness. An
English ship in the harbor was about to sail. In his great weakness,
Livingstone longed for the bracing air of the Scottish highlands, and a
sight of his beloved wife and children in the home land. But he prepared
his reports, charts, and observations, put them aboard the ship, and, after
watching it set sail, made ready to march back into the interior. Why did
he not go home?—There was just one reason. He had promised his native
helpers that if they would journey with him to the coast, he would see them
back safely to their homes, and "his word to the black men of Africa was
just as sacred as it would have been if pledged to the queen. He kept it as
faithfully as an oath made to Almighty God. It involved a journey of nearly
two years in length, a line of march two thousand miles long, through
jungles, swamps, and desert, through scenes of surpassing beauty." But the
result was worth the cost; for two years later, when he came out on the
east coast at Quilimane, "he was the best known, best loved, and most
perfectly trusted man in Africa."
Many times through all these wanderings he was in danger. Once, during his
early explorations, he had an adventure with a lion, which nearly cost his
life. He says of it in a letter: "The beast rushed from the bushes and bit
me on the arm, breaking the bone. I hope I shall never forget God's mercy.
It will be well before this reaches you. Do not mention it to any one. I do
not like to be talked about." He never voluntarily referred to it; but "for
thirty years thereafter, all adventures and exposures and hardships were
undertaken with an arm so maimed that it was painful to raise a
fowling-piece to his shoulder." After his death, the body was identified by
that scar and the compound fracture made by the lion's teeth.
Livingstone's visits to the home land were brief, and each day was filled
to the brim with interviews, lectures, and literary work. He returned to
Africa for the third and last time in 1866, ascended the Rovuma, and for
three years was lost to the outside world. During this time he visited
lakes Meroe and Tanganyika, preaching the gospel to thousands and tens of
thousands waiting in heathen darkness.
In 1871 his strength utterly gave way, and on October 23, reduced to a
living skeleton, he reached Ujiji, after a perilous journey of six hundred
miles taken expressly to secure supplies. He was bitterly disappointed to
find that the rascal to whom the delivery of the goods had been charged had
disposed of the whole lot. For eighty days he was obliged to keep his bed,
and during this time he read his Bible through four times. On the fly-leaf
he wrote: "No letters for three years. I have a sore longing to finish and
go home, if God wills." Relief, letters, and supplies had all been sent
him, but he never received them. Many of the letters which he wrote never
even reached the coast, as the Portuguese destroyed them whenever possible.
During all this time England—and, in fact, the world—waited with intense
anxiety for news of the hero. A report came that he was dead. Then a relief
expedition brought back the word that Livingstone was alive, and in Africa,
but that they had not been able to find him.
Just at this crucial moment Henry M. Stanley was sent out by James Gordon
Bennett, of the New York Herald, with the order: "Take what money you
want, but find Livingstone. You can act according to your own plans in your
search, but whatever you do, find Livingstone—dead or alive." Stanley
went. For eleven months he endured incredible hardships, but his expedition
pressed forward into the interior. One day a caravan passed and reported
that a white man had just reached Ujiji. "Was he young or old?" questioned
Stanley anxiously. "He is old; he has white hair on his face; he is sick,"
replied the natives. As the searching party neared the village, flags were
unfurled, and a salute fired from the guns. They were answered by shouts
from hundreds of Africans. Stanley was greeted by Susi, Livingstone's
servant, and soon stood face to face with the great missionary-explorer. He
had found Livingstone.
The brief visit which they enjoyed meant much to both men. In vain did
Stanley plead with the doctor to go home with him. The old explorer's heart
was resolute, and he set his face as a flint. He did not feel that his work
was done. At length the newspaper man and his company started eastward.
Livingstone went some distance with them, and then, a broken old man, "clad
in faded gray clothes," with bowed head and slow step, returned to his
chosen solitude. Five months later the relief party reached Zanzibar, and
news of Livingstone's safety and whereabouts was flashed to all parts of
As the explorer again took up his weary way, physically weak and in
constant pain, the buoyant spirit rose above hardship, and Scotch pluck
smiled at impossibilities. He wrote in his diary: "Nothing earthly will
make me give up my work in despair. I encourage myself in the Lord my God,
and go forward." Weary months followed, filled with travel, toil, and
physical suffering. The last of April, 1873, a year after Stanley left him,
he reached the village of Ilala, at the southern end of Lake Bangweolo. He
was so ill that his attendants were obliged to carry him as they journeyed,
but the heroic spirit was still struggling to finish a work which would
make possible the evangelization of the Dark Continent.
While the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak indeed, and on the morning
of the first of May, his faithful servants found him kneeling at the
bedside, with his head buried in his hands upon the pillow. "He had passed
away without a single attendant, on the farthest of all his journeys. But
he had died in the act of prayer—prayer offered in that reverential
attitude about which he was always so particular; commending his own
spirit, with all his dear ones, as was his wont, into the hands of his
Saviour; and commending Africa, his own dear Africa, with all her woes and
sins and wrongs, to the Avenger of the oppressed and the Redeemer of the
A TRUE INCIDENT OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE
He was by no means handsome; he had a turned-up nose, and a little squint
in one eye; and Jennie Mills said you could not stick a pin anywhere on his
face where there was not a freckle. And his hair, she said, was carrot
color, which pleased the children so much that they called him "Carroty"
for short. O, nobody ever thought of calling Tommy Carter handsome! For
that matter, no one thought him a hero; yet even then he had some of the
qualities which help to make heroes.
For instance, he was brave enough to go to school day after day with
patched knees and elbows, the patches of quite a different color from the
trousers and shirt-waist, and to say not a word at home of the boys who
shouted, "Hello, Patchey!" or of Jennie Mills's asking whether she should
not bring him a piece of her yellow cashmere for patches, to match his hair
He had shed a few tears in private that day. The boys yelled and shouted so
over what Jennie said that he could not help it. The scholars were used to
laughing at Jennie Mills's sayings, and she was spoiling her character by
always trying to think of something to say that would make people laugh.
But on his way home Tommy stopped at the fountain on the square, and gave
his eyes a good wash, so his mother would not suspect tears. Tommy knew
that he had his mother to think about; she had been left in his care.
Tommy was only seven when his father, Tom Carter, was crushed between two
engines. Nobody seemed to know just how it happened, only the man who had
charge of the other engine had been drinking; anyway, it happened. They
took Tom Carter home on a stretcher. Just before he died, he said;
"Good-by, Tommy. Father trusts you to take care of mother and Sissy." After
that would Tommy say anything to his mother about patches or teasing, or
let her see tears?
There was another thing that Tommy had courage to do; that was to take
constant care of Sissy. All day Saturday and all day Sunday, and just as
much time as he could spare on school-days, Tommy gave to Sissy. It was he
who fed her, and washed her face a great many times a day, and coaxed her
to sleep, and took her to ride in her little cart, or walked very slowly
when she chose to toddle along by his side, and changed her dress when she
tumbled into the coal-box or sat down in a mud puddle. And he had been
known to wash out a dress and a nightgown for Sissy when his mother was
ill. There was really nothing too hard or too "girlish" for Tommy to do for
his little sister. Once, somebody who saw him trying to mend a hole in the
baby's petticoat called him "Sissy," and the name clung; for a time the
school yard rang with shouts of "Sissy Carter." But not one word of this
did Mother Carter hear.
"Did you have a good time today?" his mother would ask, and Tommy, with
Sissy in his arms, crowing with delight that she had got him again, would
answer, cheerfully: "A first-rate time. I got a big A for spelling, and
teacher said I had improved in my writing." And not a word would be hinted
about the nicknames or the jeers.
But better school-days came to Tommy before the last thing happened by
which the people found out that he was a hero.
A new little girl came into the fourth grade. She was a pretty girl, and
wore pretty dresses, and had a fluff of brown curls about her face. She was
"smart," too, the boys said; they said she could say "lots funnier things
than Jennie Mills." Then her name pleased them very much; it was Angela.
Whether or not she was smarter than Jennie Mills, it is true that Angela
said some things that Jennie had never thought of.
"Tommy Carter is real good-natured," she said one day. "And he is not one
bit selfish. Don't you know how he gave the best seat to little Eddie
Cooper this morning, and stood off in a corner where he could not see much?
I like Tommy."
The scholars stared. Somehow it had never occurred to them to "like Tommy;"
but, when once it had been mentioned, they seemed to wonder that they had
not thought of it. Tommy was good-natured and very obliging. Not a day
passed in which he did not in some small way prove this. As for his
patches, Angela did not seem to notice them at all; and, if she did not,
why should anybody? So in a few days a queer thing happened. The boys
stopped teasing Tommy, and began in little ways to be kind to him. Some of
the older ones, when they happened to have an extra apple or pear, fell
into the habit of saying, "Here, want this?" and would toss it to Tommy.
And when they discovered that he saved a piece of everything for Sissy,
they did not laugh at all, for Angela said, "How nice for him to do that!"
Soon they began to save up bright little things themselves for Sissy—bits
of paper, half-worn toys, once a new red ball. None of them realized it,
but this really the influence of the new little girl with brown curls.
In that way it came to pass that Tommy lost many of his chances for being a
hero; but a new chance was coming.
Tommy lived in a large tenement-house on one of the back streets of San
Francisco. Seven other families lived in the same house. One Tuesday
evening, Mrs. Carter told the woman who lived across the hall that she had
done the hardest day's work of her life, and was so dead tired that she
felt as if she would like to go to bed and never get up.
At five o'clock the next morning, she, Sissy, close beside her, and Tommy,
in a little cot at the farther end of the room, were all sound asleep.
Suddenly the walls of the big tenement-house began to sway from side to
side in the strangest manner, and there was at the same second a terrible
crashing noise. The kitchen table in the corner tipped over, and the dishes
in the corner cupboard slid to the floor and went to pieces. The big
wardrobe, which was a bureau and a clothes-closet all in one, moved out
into the middle of the room, and the stove fell down. All these things
happened so fast, and the earth was full of such strange, wild noises, that
for a second nobody knew what was the matter.
Tommy Carter got to his mother's side before the noise was over, but he
found that she could not stir; her bed was covered with bricks, and there
was a great hole in the wall. Tommy did not know it then, but he understood
afterward that the chimney had fallen on his mother's bed.
"Tommy," she gasped, "it is an earthquake! Take Sissy and run."
"But, mother," he cried, "O mother, I cannot leave you!"
"Never mind me, Tommy; take her quick! She is not hurt. Maybe there will be
another. Tommy? you take care of Sissy! Run!"
And Tommy ran, with just the little shirt on in which he had been sleeping,
and with an old quilt that his mother's hands had wrapped around the
What an awful street was that into which he ran! What an awful road he had
to go to get to it! Part of the side wall of the house was gone, and the
stairs swayed from side to side as he stepped on them; but he reached the
street, and it looked as if everything on it had tumbled down, and all the
people in the world were running about, wringing their hands, and crying.
Then suddenly an awful cry arose, "Fire! Fire! Fire!"
"Mother! O mother!" Tommy screamed, and he hurried to scramble back over
the fallen walls by which he had come. He must take care of his mother. But
a strong hand held him.
"Keep away, youngster. Don't you see that the wall is falling! Run!"
But where should he run? The whole city seemed to be burning, and
everywhere was horror and terror. In trying to cross a street, Tommy was
knocked down, and was for a second under the feet of a plunging horse. But
he got out, and reached the sidewalk, with Sissy still safe, and he did not
know that his arm was broken.
"Wasn't it lucky that Sissy was on the other arm?" he said, speaking to no
That awful day! Nobody who lived through it will ever forget it. Tommy
Carter spent it struggling, pushing, panting, tugging, trying to get
somewhere with Sissy. And Sissy cried for food and then for water, and
there was none of either to give her; and then she lay back still, and he
thought she was dying. The crowds swarmed and surged about him, crying,
groaning, praying, cursing, yelling orders; and above all that fearful din
arose the terrifying roar of the fire. The city was burning up! O, where
was mother? And where was a safe place for Sissy? And why did his arm hurt
so? What was the matter with him? His head was whirling round and round.
Was he going to die and leave Sissy?—He never would!
Suddenly he roused with fresh energy. Somebody was trying to take Sissy.
"Don't you touch her!" he cried, fiercely. "Don't you dare! Let her alone,
I say!" and he fought like a wild animal.
"But, my poor boy," said the doctor, who was bending over him. But Tommy
was insane with pain and fear.
"Let her be, I say!" he screamed. "Mother said I was not to let anybody
take her, and I won't! I will kill you if you touch her! I'll, I'll—"
and then Tommy fell back in a dead faint.
When he wakened, he was in a large, quiet room, in a clean bed. "Where is
Sissy?" he called out in terror. A woman in white bent over him and spoke
low: "Hush, dear; do not try to move. Sissy is safe and well and happy."
"Where is she, ma'am?" said Tommy. "I must have her right here by me. I can
take care of her as well as not; I always do; and—I promised mother, you
see; and she's awfully afraid of strangers."
"She is not afraid of us; she is very happy here. I have sent for her to
come and see you. Ah, here she comes this minute!"
And there was Sissy, smiling, in the arms of a woman in a white gown and
cap, and herself in the prettiest of white dresses. She laughed for joy at
sight of Tommy, but was quite willing to stay in the young woman's arms.
"Little darling!" said the nurse. "She was not hurt a bit; and she is so
"And where is mother, ma'am?" asked Tommy. "Was she hurt so that she cannot
take care of Sissy? I am afraid that she was. When can I go to her? I have
to take care of mother. Does she know that I kept Sissy safe?"
The two nurses looked at each other, and seemed not to know just how to
answer so many questions; but the doctor, who had come up a moment before,
stepped forward and spoke cheerily.
Tommy smiled gratefully.
"And when can I go and take care of her, sir? Was mother hurt? I remember
all about it now. Is mother safe?"
"You have been very ill, and did not know what was happening. You did not
even know Sissy when we brought her to see you."
"O!" said Tommy, with a faint smile. "How queer! Did not know Sissy! It is
so nice that she takes to the pretty lady, and that mother is safe. I am
very sleepy, sir. Would it be right to go to sleep if the pretty lady can
take care of Sissy for a little while?"
"Quite right, my boy. We will take the best possible care of Sissy."
The doctor's voice was husky, and he turned away soon, with his own eyes
dim, as Tommy's heavy eyes had closed.
"O doctor!" said both nurses.
"He is going, the brave little hero!" he said. "And we, you and I, will
take care of Sissy for him."
"Yes, indeed!" said the pretty nurse, with a sob; she kissed Sissy.—Mrs.
G.R. Alden, in Junior Endeavor World, by permission of Lothrop, Lee &
Georgia Willis, who helped in the kitchen, was rubbing the knives. Somebody
had been careless and let one get rusty, but Georgia rubbed with all her
might, rubbed, and sang softly a little song:—
"In the world is darkness,
So we must shine,
You in your small corner,
And I in mine."
"Why do you rub at the knives forever?" asked Mary. Mary was the cook.
"Because they are in my corner," Georgia said, brightly. "'You in your
small corner,' you know, 'and I in mine.' I will do the best I can; that is
all I can do."
"I would not waste my strength," said Mary. "I know that no one will
"Jesus will," said Georgia; and then she sang again,—
"You in your small corner,
And I in mine."
"Cooking the dinner is in my corner, I suppose," said Mary to herself. "If
that child must do what she can, I suppose I must. If Jesus knows about
knives, it is likely that he does about dinners." And she took particular
"Mary, the dinner was very nicely cooked today," Miss Emma said.
"That is all due to Georgia," said Mary, with a pleased face. Then she told
about the knives.
Miss Emma was ironing ruffles; she was tired and warm. "Helen will not care
whether they are fluted or not," she said. "I will hurry them over." But
after she heard about the knives, she did her best.
"How beautifully my dress is done!" Helen said. Emma, laughing, answered,
"That is owing to Georgia." Then she told about the knives.
"No," said Helen to her friend who urged, "I really cannot go this evening.
I am going to prayer-meeting; my 'corner' is there."
"Your 'corner'! What do you mean?"
Then Helen told about the knives.
"Well," the friend said, "if you will not go with me, perhaps I will with
you," and they went to the prayer-meeting.
"You helped us ever so much with the singing this evening," their pastor
said to them as they were going home. "I was afraid you would not be here."
"It was owing to our Georgia," said Helen. "She seemed to think she must do
what she could, if it were only to clean the knives." Then she told him the
"I believe I will go in here again," said the minister, stopping before a
poor little house. "I said yesterday there was no use; but I must do what I
In the house a sick man was lying. Again and again the minister had called,
but the invalid would not listen to him. Tonight the minister said, "I have
come to tell you a little story." Then he told him about Georgia Willis,
about her knives and her little corner, and her "doing what she could." The
sick man wiped the tears from his eyes, and said, "I will find my corner,
too. I will try to shine for Jesus." And the sick man was Georgia's father.
Jesus, looking down at her that day, said, "She hath done what she could,"
and gave the blessing.
"I believe I will not go for a walk," said Helen, hesitatingly. "I will
finish that dress of mother's; I suppose I can if I think so."
"Why, child, are you here sewing?" her mother said. "I thought you had gone
for a walk."
"No, mother; this dress seemed to be in my 'corner,' so I thought I would
"In your 'corner'!" her mother repeated in surprise, and then Helen told
about the knives. The doorbell rang, and the mother went thoughtfully to
receive her pastor. "I suppose I could give more," she said to herself, as
she slowly took out the ten dollars that she had laid aside for missions.
"If that poor child in the kitchen is trying to do what she can, I wonder
if I am. I will make it twenty-five dollars."
And I seemed to hear Georgia's guardian angel say to another angel,
"Georgia Willis gave twenty-five dollars to our dear people in India
"Twenty-five dollars!" said the other angel. "Why, I thought she was poor?"
"O, well, she thinks she is, but her Father in heaven is not, you know! She
did what she could, and he did the rest."
But Georgia knew nothing about all this, and the next morning she
brightened her knives and sang cheerily:—
"In the world is darkness,
So we must shine,
You in your small corner,
And I in mine."
IN THE HOME
When John Howard Payne wrote the immortal words of "Home, Sweet Home,"
adapting them to the beautiful Sicilian melody, now so familiar to us all,
he gave to the world a precious legacy, which has brought sunshine into
millions of hearts. "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." And
there is no other place in all the world where the little courtesies of
life should be so tenderly given; where loving ministrations should be so
cheerfully bestowed; in short, where good manners, in all the varied
details of life, should be so diligently practised. "Home, sweet home!" the
place where childhood days are spent, where habits are formed which are to
continue through the future, and where the foundation is laid upon which
the superstructure of after-years is to be built. What a halo lingers about
the blessed spot! and how the soul of the exile cherishes the pictures
which adorn the halls of memory,—pictures which the rude hand of time can
This earth has many lingering traces of Eden yet remaining, which enrapture
the eye of the beholder. But there is no sight in all the world so
beautiful as that of a well-ordered, harmonious Christian home,—a home
where love reigns; where each esteems the other better than himself; where
the parents are careful to practise what they preach; where the daily
lessons instilled into the minds of the children from babyhood to maturity
always and forever include the indispensable drills in good manners.
There is no school so important as the home school, no teacher so
responsible as the parent, no pupil under such weighty obligations to
deport himself creditably as is the son or daughter of the household. And
may it not be asserted truthfully that there is no more thrilling
commencement scene than that which sees the noble young man or young woman,
having passed successfully through all the grades of the parental school,
bid a regretful adieu to the dear childhood home, to enter upon a career of
usefulness elsewhere, to spend and be spent in saving humanity? But how few
such commencement scenes do we witness! How few pupils ever pass the test
satisfactorily in the important branch of ethics! When parents practice
good manners toward their children; when they find as much pleasure in the
unaffected "please" and "thank you" of the home kindergarten as they do in
the same marks of politeness elsewhere; when the deportment in the grades
of the home school is considered of greater importance than that in the
schools away from home, our preparatory schools and colleges will have less
trouble in securing good behavior on the part of those in attendance, and
the problem of how to maintain proper decorum will have lost its
Every time a child says "please" it is a reminder that he is not
independent, that he is in need of assistance. Every time he says "thank
you," he has yet another reminder that he is not independent, that he is
under obligations to another for assistance received. Pure and undefiled
religion and good manners cannot be separated. The child who is taught to
say "please" because he is in need of human aid, may be made easily to
comprehend the beautiful significance of prayer, because he is in need of
divine aid. The child who is taught to say "thank you" for favors received
from earthly friends, may be led easily to see the appropriateness of
offering praise and thanksgiving for divine blessings.
Children who are made to realize that to appear well always in the society
of home is infinitely more important than to try to appear well
occasionally when away from home, cause little parental anxiety as to how
they will deport themselves when absent. And children who practise good
behavior in the home when no company is present, do not need to be called
aside for a hasty lesson in this line when some one is about to call. Such
lessons are very unsatisfactory, and are seldom remembered, being much like
music lessons taken without the intervening practise.
Good manners cannot be put on and off with the best clothing, or donned
momentarily to suit the occasion. But, unlike our ordinary apparel, the
more they are worn, the more beautiful they appear. Good manners in the
home means good manners everywhere; and each individual simply stands
before the world an epitome of all his former training. If the child has
learned to be honest and truthful in all the details of the home life, he
may face the world in later years a worthy example of uprightness to all
with whom he comes in contact. If he has learned to be habitually kind and
courteous in the home, he is the same wherever he may be. If he always
appears neat and tidy in the home, these pleasing characteristics will
remain with him throughout life.
If the loved members of his own family circle never discover that he has a
"temper of his own," there is little danger that any one else will ever
find it out. If his habits and practises at home are such as to ennoble and
beautify his own life, his influence will rest as a benign benediction upon
the beloved of his household, and the great world outside will be better
because of his having lived in it. O, that every boy and girl might rightly
appreciate the vast difference between manners of the soul and manners of
the head,—manners of the heart and manners of the outward appearance! One
is Christian religion, the other is cold formality. One means the salvation
of souls; the other is but vanity and outward show.
But we are instructed that "true refinement and gentleness of manners can
never be found in a home where selfishness reigns." "We should be
self-forgetful, ever looking out for opportunities, even in little things,
to show gratitude for the favors we have received from others, and watching
for opportunities to cheer others, and to lighten and relieve their sorrows
and burdens, by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These
thoughtful courtesies that begin in our families, extend outside the family
circle, and help to make up the sum of life's happiness; and the neglect of
these little things makes up the sum of life's bitterness and sorrow."
Boys and girls who rightly appreciate good manners will be polite and
courteous in the home, and will share cheerfully in all the little duties
of the household. Some one has said that idleness is "the chief author of
all mischief." And surely any individual who chooses to be idle rather than
to be usefully employed, is exceedingly ill-bred. Children should be taught
the nobility of labor, and to respect those who faithfully perform the
humblest duties of life, just as much as those who accomplish the more
There is pointed truth in the assertion that there is gospel in a loaf of
good bread; but it is a sad comment on the home training of the present day
that so few of our young people recognize this fact. It is to be deplored
that the children nowadays receive so little training in the ins and outs
of good housekeeping. No young lady should consider herself accomplished
until she has acquired the art of making good bread, and of knowing how to
prepare healthful and palatable meals. Even if it never should be her
privilege to become the queen of a kitchen, there are always ample
opportunities to impart such valuable knowledge to others.
The world is in direful need of practical boys and girls, practical young
men and young women, who are not afraid to perform faithfully even the
smallest duties that lie in the pathway of life, and who are willing to tax
their thinking powers in order that their work may be done in the best
possible manner. How much more in keeping with Christian manners that the
son of the household should share in the burden of keeping the domestic
machinery running smoothly, rather than misemploy his time, and grow up
unacquainted with the practical duties of life! How much more appropriate
that the daughter should assist the mother in performing the various
household duties, rather than occupy a hammock or an easy chair, and spend
her time in reading cheap books! Many a weary mother would appreciate such
kindness on the part of her children more than words can express, and the
children themselves would be the happier because of such thoughtful
The boy or girl who grows up in the belief that honorable labor in any
direction is a God-given privilege, will realize that housework is not
without its fascinations, and that manual training in the school is an
important part of the daily curriculum. Such a child will realize that even
an empty water-pail or a vacant wood-box presents a golden opportunity for
usefulness which should not be slighted. He will not appropriate for
himself the last pint of cold water from the pail, or the last cup of hot
water from the teakettle, and complacently leave them for some one else to
fill. That child, even though he be grown up who sees nothing in these
little opportunities for usefulness, will let greater ones pass by with the
same lack of appreciation.
Laziness is a deadly enemy to success; and the child who is indolent in the
home, is likely to bring up the rear in the race of life. Laziness is no
kin to true happiness. The lazy child is not the truly happy child. He lies
in bed until late in the morning, is often careless about his personal
appearance, is late to breakfast, late to school, and his name is entirely
wanting when the highest credits are awarded. Such a child may be sometimes
recognized by the neglected appearance of his teeth and finger-nails, the
"high-water marks" about his neck and wrists, the dust on his clothing and
shoes, his untidy hair, etc. In fact, he seems to have adopted as his life
motto the paraphrase, "There is no excellence about great labor."
A trite story is told of a man who was to be executed because of his
persistent laziness. While being driven to the scaffold, he was given one
more chance for his life by a kind-hearted individual who offered him a
quantity of corn with which to make a new start. Upon hearing the
suggestion, the condemned man slowly raised himself up, and rather
dubiously inquired, "I-s i-t s-h-e-l-l-e-d?" Being informed to the
contrary, he slowly settled down again, with the remark, "W-e-l-l, then,
Now, boys and girls, you will find many occasions in life when it will be
necessary for you to put forth an extra effort in order to succeed. But
when some golden opportunity presents the corn to you, do not stop to
inquire, "Is it shelled?" Learn to shell your own corn. Use your muscle as
well as your brain, ever bearing in mind that increased strength, both
physical and mental, comes as the result of the proper use of that which
you now possess. Be workers, be thinkers, in the great world about you. The
old saying that it is better to wear out than to rust out is not without
In accordance with heaven-born manners, "let all things be done decently
and in order." All things include even the little chores which may be done
by the members of the home kindergarten; it also includes the greatest task
of which man is capable. If we would learn how particular Heaven is in
regard to neatness and order, we should become familiar with God's
instructions to ancient Israel. The arrangement of the camp of Israel, and
the whole round of tabernacle service, present a systematic demonstration
of order and neatness such as Heaven approves. And the sad fate of Uzzah,
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, attests to how particular God is in regard to
If systematic order and neatness are to be maintained in the home, the
members of the household must be united in putting forth the necessary
efforts. And blessed is that family who make of home "a little heaven to go
to heaven in."
But let me repeat that "true refinement and gentleness of manners can never
be found in a home where selfishness reigns." And how many temptations to
selfishness there are in the home life! Every day brings the choice between
selfishness and self-sacrifice. Shall I take for myself the choicest apple?
or shall I share in that which is not so agreeable? These may appear to be
very insignificant questions. But, boys and girls, do you know that the
habitual decisions at which you arrive in childhood, determine largely
whether or not you will live by principle later on? "As the twig is bent,
so the tree inclines."
But the lesson of always giving cheerfully to others that which the natural
heart would selfishly appropriate as its own, can be learned only in the
school of Christ. And blessed is that parent or teacher who rightly
appreciates the privilege of becoming an assistant in that school. Blessed
is that pupil who realizes what it means to become such a devoted learner
that he can find joy in denying self that he may minister to the comfort of
others whenever an opportunity is afforded, recognizing that every
heaven-appointed task is a part of the great cause of truth—the giving of
the "gospel to all the world in this generation." Every kindness shown to
others, if done in the right spirit, is counted in the records of heaven as
done to Christ himself. Even the cup of cold water given in his name, is
Kind words and loving deeds are as pebbles cast upon the great sea of
humanity, the ever-widening circle of whose influence extends beyond the
limited vision of him who projects them; and the eternal ages alone will
reveal how many souls have been saved, and saved forever, as the grand
result. How many girls and boys are watching every opportunity to share in
this blessed work?
MRS. M. A. LOPER.
You lent a hand to a fallen one,
A lift in kindness given;
It saved a soul when help was none,
And won a heart for heaven.
And so for the help you proffered there,
You'll reap a crown, sometime, somewhere.
D. G. BICKERS
GIANTS AND GRASSHOPPERS
"What is the matter?" asked Mrs. Hamlin. "What is hindering the work?"
Mr. Hamlin glanced up from his paper. "The work?" he said. "O, the old
story; there are 'giants' in the land, and the committee feel like
It was Earle's turn to look up. Earle was reading, but he generally had one
ear for any conversation that was going on about him. His eyes went back to
his book, but he kept wondering just what his father meant. Of course there
were no giants in these days! He waited until his father was turning the
paper to another page, then put in his question:—
"Father, what do you mean about 'giants' and 'grasshoppers'?"
Mr. Hamlin laughed. "Your ears heard that, did they? Why, I meant what the
ten spies did when they whined about giants, and called themselves
'grasshoppers,' instead of seizing their chance, as the other two wanted
them to do. Don't you remember the story? I fear you are not so well posted
on Old Testament history as you are in your school history. The report of
the spies makes very interesting reading; you would better look it up."
"I remember about it now," said Earle, "and I guess what you mean about the
committee. There lots of giants around nowadays, aren't there?"
"Plenty of them!" said his father. "Look out that none of them scare you
away from an opportunity."
Earle laughed, and went back to his book. He knew he was the sort of boy of
whom the other boys said that he did not "scare worth a cent."
It was nearly twenty-four hours afterward that he was in the dining-room,
which was his evening study, bent over his slate, his pencil moving
rapidly. His friend and classmate, Howard Eastman, sat on the arm of the
large rocker, tearing bits from a newspaper wrapper and chewing them, while
he waited for Earle.
"I do wish you would come on!" he said, between the bites of paper. "The
boys will be waiting for us; I told them I would bring you right along, and
the fun will all be over before we get there."
"Bother!" said Earle, consulting his book. "That is not anywhere near
"Of course it is not. I knew it would not be. There is not a fellow in the
class, nor a girl, either, for that matter, who has got that example. Why,
I know, because I heard them talking about that very one; and haven't I
done that seventy-five times myself? My brother Dick tried to do it for me,
and he did not get it either; he said there was some catch about it."
"I would like to find the catch," said Earle, wistfully.
"Well, you can't. I tell you there is not one of them who can. You need not
think you are smarter than anybody else. We won't get marked on that
example; they do not expect us to have it. I heard Professor Bowen tell
Miss Andrews that there would not be a pupil in the room who could conquer
"Is that so?" said Earle, running his fingers through his hair, and looking
wearily at the long rows of figures on his slate.
"I have not got it, that is certain; and I have tried it in every way I can
think of. I do not know as there is any use of my going over it again."
"Of course there is not! It is just one of those mean old catch problems
that nobody is expected to get So just put up your tools, and come on. I
know the boys are out of all patience with us for being so late."
It happened that Cousin Carrol was in the library, which opened from the
dining-room. Cousin Carrol was seventeen, and her thirteen-year-old cousin
admired her extremely. He had known her but three weeks, and already they
were the best of friends; he valued her good opinion next to his father's
and mother's. At that moment her face appeared in the doorway, and she said
in the sweetest and gentlest of tones:—
"And there we saw the giants."
Howard Eastman made haste to take the wads of paper out of his mouth, and
to get off the arm of the chair; but Miss Carrol's face vanished, and they
heard her open the hall door and pass out. Earle's face, meantime, had
reddened to his hair.
"What did she say?" inquired Howard, his eyes big with wonder.
"O, never mind what she said! She was talking to me. Look here, Howard
Eastman, you may as well cut down to Timmy's, and tell them I cannot come;
they need not wait for me any longer. There is no use in talking; I am
going to conquer that example if I have to sit up all night to do it. I am
no grasshopper, and it has got to be done!"
"O, say now! I think that is mean!" growled Howard. "There won't be half so
much fun without you; and, besides—why, you almost got started. You began
to put up your books."
"I know I did; but I am not starting now, and there is no hope of me. Skip
along, and tell the boys I am sorry, but it is not my fault; it is this old
giant of a problem that is trying to beat me; and he can't. I do not feel a
bit like a grasshopper."
"Say," said Howard, "what have giants to do with that example? She said
something about them."
"They have not a thing to do with it," said Earle with energy, "and I will
prove that they have not. Now you skip, Howard, that's a good fellow, and
let me alone. I have a battle to fight."
Howard groaned, and growled, and "skipped." Next morning, just as the hour
for recitation arrived, and the arithmetic class were filing in, company
"Just our luck!" muttered Howard Eastman. "Any other morning this term I
should have been ready for them. Did you know they were coming, Earle?"
No, Earle did not. He looked up in surprise. There were not only his father
and Cousin Carrol, but a stranger, a fine-looking man, who, it was
presently telegraphed through the class, was Judge Dennison, of Buffalo,
who used to attend this school when he was a boy. And then, behold, came
Principal Bowen, who stood talking with his guests a moment, after which
they all took seats and stayed through the entire hour.
Work went on well until that fatal thirty-ninth example was reached, and
Howard Eastman was called upon to go to the board and perform it.
"I cannot do it, Miss Andrews," he said, "I tried it as many as fifty
times, I think, in fifty different ways, and I could not get near the
"That is very sad!" said Miss Andrews, trying not to laugh. "If you had not
tried so many ways, but worked faithfully at one, you might have done
Then she called on the boy next to him, with no better success. A long row
of downcast eyes and blushing faces. Some of the pupils confessed that they
had not even attempted the problem, but had been discouraged by the reports
"Is there no one who is willing to go to the board," said Miss Andrews,
"and attempt the work, carrying it as far as he can?"
At just that moment she caught sight of Earle Hamlin's face, and spoke to
"Will you try it, Earle?"
And Earle went. Silence in the class-room. All eyes on the blackboard, and
the quick fingers of one boy handling the crayon. How fast he worked! Had
be multiplied right?—No. Yes, that was right. O, but he had blundered in
subtraction! No, he had not; every figure was right. Ah! now he had reached
the place where none of them knew what to do next. But he knew! Without
pause or confusion, he moved on, through to the very last figure, which he
made with a flourish. Moreover, he knew how to explain his work, just what
he did, and why he did it. As he turned to take his seat, the admiring
class, whose honor he had saved, broke into applause, which the smiling
teacher did not attempt to check.
"I think we owe Earle a vote of thanks," she said. "I confess my surprise
as well as pleasure in his work; I did not expect any of you to succeed. In
truth, I gave you the example rather as a trial of patience than in the
hope that you could conquer it. You remember, however, that I gave you
permission to secure help if you utterly failed. Will you tell us, Earle,
if you had any help?"
"Yes'm," said Earle. "My Cousin Carrol helped me."
And then Cousin Carrol's astonishment suddenly broke into laughter.
"I have not the least idea what he means," she said, in her clear, silvery
voice. "I was so far from helping him that I tried all by myself to do the
example, and failed."
The class began to cheer again, but hushed suddenly to hear what Earle was
"All the same, she helped me," he said, sturdily. Then, seeing that he must
explain, he added, hurriedly "We had been talking about the giants, you
know, and the grasshoppers, just the night before, and I thought to myself
then that I was not a grasshopper, anyhow; but I never thought about the
example being a giant, and I was just going to quit it when Cousin Carrol
came to the door and spoke about the giants, and then I went at it again."
Some of the pupils looked hopelessly puzzled. Mr. Hamlin's face was one
broad smile. "Students of Old Testament history have the advantage here
today, I fancy," he said.
"Earle," said Miss Andrews, "are you willing to tell us how long you worked
on the example?"
"I began it at six o'clock," said Earle, "and I got it just as the clock
There was no use in trying to keep that class from cheering. They felt that
their defeat had been forgotten in Earle's victory.
Mr. Hamlin and Judge Dennison stood talking together after the class was
"Do you know, I like best of all that word of his about his cousin's
helping him?" said Judge Dennison. "It was plucky in the boy to keep
working, and it took brains to study out that puzzle; but that little touch
which showed that he was not going to accept the least scrap of honor that
did not belong to him was what caught me. You have reason to be proud of
your son, Mr. Hamlin."—Pansy, by permission of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard
AS GOOD AS HIS BOND
I remember that a good many years ago, when I was a boy, my father, who was
a stone-mason, did some work for a man named John Haws. When the work was
completed, John Haws said he would pay for it on a certain day. It was late
in the fall when the work was done, and when the day came on which Mr. Haws
had said he would pay for it, a fearful storm of sleet and snow and wind
raged from morning until night. We lived nine miles from the Haws home, and
the road was a very bad one even in good weather. I remember that father
said at the breakfast-table:—
"Well, I guess that we shall not see anything of John Haws today. It will
not make any difference if he does not come, as I am not in urgent need of
the money he owes me. It will make no difference if it is not paid for a
But about noon Mr. Haws appeared at our door, almost frozen, and covered
with sleet and snow.
"Why, John Haws!" exclaimed my father, when he opened the door, and saw who
it was that had knocked. "I had not the least idea that you would try to
ride away out here in this fearful storm."
"Did I not say that I would come?" asked John Haws, abruptly.
"O, yes; but I did not regard it as a promise so binding that you must
fulfil it on a day like this!"
"Any promise that I make is binding, regardless of wind and weather. I said
that I would pay the money today, and I am here to keep my word."
"But, then, it is only a small sum, and I do not really need it."
"I need to keep my word. If the sum had been but ten cents, and you were a
millionaire, and I had said that I could pay it today, I would be here to
pay it if I had been compelled to ride fifty miles."
Do you wonder that it was often said of John Haws that his word was as good
as his bond? He was as truthful as he was honest. I remember that a
neighbor of ours stopped at our house one day on his way home from the
town. He had an almost incredible story to tell about a certain matter, and
"Why, it hardly seems possible that such a thing can be true."
"John Haws told me about it."
"O, then it is true!"
"Yes, or John Haws never would have told it."
It is a fine thing to have a reputation like that. It is worth more than
much worldly glory and honor when they are combined with the distrust of
the people. There are men in high positions, with all that wealth can buy
at their command, who are much poorer than humble John Haws, because their
word is of no value, and they have none of that high sense of honor that
glorifies the humblest life.—Selected,
The last stroke of the bell was dying away ere Bernice Dahl walked timidly
across the schoolroom floor, and sat down in the nearest empty seat.
"O, my, my!" whispered Myrtle Fling across the aisle to her chum. "She is
the plainest-looking girl I ever saw."
Elizabeth nodded her head very positively, and two or three others
exchanged knowing glances. A moment later a little piece of paper fluttered
down at Myrtle's feet from a desk top. On it was written: "She's so plain.
She's Rocky Mountainy—all ridges and hubbles."
Meanwhile Bernice sat very still, her great black eyes fixed on the
Have you ever held a frightened bird in your hand, and felt its heart beat?
That is the way Bernice's heart was going. She was a stranger. Her father
had moved to this place from a distant town, and she had walked to school
that morning with a pupil who lived on the same street, but who had
fluttered away into a little bevy of children almost as soon as she had
shown the new girl the cloak-room; and Bernice, naturally a bit diffident
and sensitive, felt very much alone.
This feeling was heightened when the bell struck, and one by one the pupils
filed past into the schoolroom, with only a rude stare or indifferent
glance, quite as if she were some specter on exhibition. When the last one
had passed her, she clasped and unclasped her hands nervously.
"It is because I am so homely!" she thought.
A month or more went by. Somehow Bernice and her schoolmates had not made
so much progress in getting acquainted as one would have thought. The new
girl was unobtrusive, attended strictly to her studies, and made few
demands on those about her; yet it was true that there was among them at
least an unacknowledged conspiracy to taboo her, or an understanding that
she was to be ignored almost completely. This Bernice attributed to her
looks. Ever since she could remember, she had been called "homely," "ugly,"
"plain," and similar epithets. Now, though she preserved a calm exterior,
she could not help being unhappy because she was thus slighted.
One Monday morning a little flurry of excitement was visible among the
pupils of the up-town grammar-school. Elizabeth Weston had announced a
party to come off later in the week, and several of them had been invited.
"Will you invite Bernice Dahl?" asked Myrtle, bending over her friend.
"I have been thinking about it," Elizabeth answered, slowly. "Miss Somers
says she has the best lessons of any one in her class, and then she was so
nice to Jimmy Flanders that day he sprained his arm. I have half a mind
to." And she really did.
That night when Bernice was telling her mother of the invitation she had
received, she said, doubtfully, "I think I shall not go."
"Why not?" was the reply. "It can do no good to stay away, and something
may be gained by going."
So it chanced that Bernice found herself at Elizabeth's home on the evening
of the party. Her hostess met her smilingly. "She is really glad that I
came," thought Bernice. And she felt her soul suddenly warm to life, just
as the thirsty earth brightens and glows and sends up little shoots of new
green at a patter of summer rain.
The long parlor was decorated in green and white. The bright lights, the
gay figures stirring beneath, and the shining faces, half of which were
strange to Bernice, formed a pretty picture, and the girl moved here and
there in the constantly shifting kaleidoscope with a freedom and happiness
she had not known since coming to the town.
At last she found herself, with the others, sitting very quiet and
listening to two girls playing a duet on the piano. Then one of them sang a
Scotch song. There was warmth and richness, the warbling of birds, the
melody of brooks, in the rendering, and Bernice heard a half-sigh close
"I wish I could sing! O, always I wanted to sing!"
Then for the first time she saw who sat there—a tall, handsome,
beautifully gowned girl whom she had noticed several times during the
evening, and to whom everybody seemed to defer. She had heard vaguely that
this was Elizabeth's cousin, and wondered if it was for her that Elizabeth
had given the party.
"And can't you?" she asked, evincing instant interest.
The girl turned toward her with a smile. "Not at all. Sometimes I used to
try when no one heard, and once when I was in the hammock with my brother's
little girl, I joined her in the song she was singing. She looked at me in
a minute with a rueful countenance, and said, 'Aunt Helen, I can't sing
when you are making such a noise!'" Bernice laughed. "I haven't tried much
since," the tall girl added.
"We have singing lessons at school twice a week," Bernice said, presently,
"but I like the every-day lessons better."
"Do you? I like mathematics, and sloyd, and a hammer and nails and saw.
Mama tells me I ought to be a carpenter."
"But you don't look like one," Bernice smiled, critically; and then
continued: "We began physical geography this term. It is so interesting.
And Miss Somers makes language beautiful; I can't help liking grammar!"
"I never understood it—it was always so blind!"
But Bernice was laughing again. The tall girl turned toward her
"I was thinking of what Johnny Weeks said down in the primary room the
other day," Bernice began in explanation. "The teacher asked him what 'cat'
was. I guess he was not paying attention. He looked all around, and finally
said he did not know. She told him it was a noun. 'Then,' he said, after
some deliberation, 'kitten must be a pronoun.'"
An hour afterward, all the lights but one in the house were out. Elizabeth
sat with her cousin talking over the events of the evening.
"And how do you like Bernice Dahl?" she asked, and lent an eager ear; for
Helen's word could make or mar things irretrievably.
"Like her? I have never liked any one better. Perhaps I would not have
noticed, had you not spoken particularly about her."
"Well?" said Elizabeth, as her cousin paused.
"She is all life and vivacity. I thought you said she was 'dummified.'"
"But she was. I never saw her like this before."
"Then something woke her. If any seemed ill at ease or lonely, she went to
them, and, behold, they chatted like magpies! I saw some of her schoolmates
look at her wonderingly, and at least one sneered, but I watched. She had
just one thought, and that was to make every one happy. You could have
spared any one of the girls better; in fact, any three of them."
Long after Helen had gone to sleep, Elizabeth lay thinking. "Jimmy
Flanders," she said, and counted off one finger; another followed, and then
another. After all, it was wonderful how many good deeds she could reckon
up, and all so quietly done. Strange she had never thought of them en masse
before. How could Bernice be gay among so many frowns and slights?
The next forenoon session of the grammar-school was well under way. Bernice
opened her history, and in it was a little slip of paper that she had used
as a book-mark since that first morning. An odd spirit seized her, and
almost before she knew it, she had gone up the aisle, and laid it on
Elizabeth's desk. The next instant she would have given much to withdraw
it. Elizabeth glanced down and flushed painfully. There it was: "She's so
plain. She's Rocky Mountainy—all ridges and hubbles." But Bernice was back
at her work again, evidently unruffled.
When the bell tapped for intermission, Elizabeth went to her. "Bernice, I
did write it. O, I am so ashamed!" and, bursting into tears, she hid her
face on Bernice's shoulder.
One of those smiles that somehow have the power of transforming the
harshest features, swept over the girl's face, and, picking up Elizabeth's
hand, she kissed it softly again and again. "I won't kiss her face," she
thought, "I am so homely!" but from that day she slipped into the queenly
place she had a right to occupy, and it was not long before every one
forgot her plainness.
And let me whisper you a secret, girls,—for even now Bernice does not seem
to know,—as she grew older, the rough lines mellowed and softened, the
short figure stretched upward, till she was beautiful as ever her dearest
wish had pictured. Was it not lovely spirit within, for Bernice was a
Christian, molding and modeling the clay into a fit dwelling-place for
itself? That is a beauty that never quite withers away. Its roots are
planted in the soul beautiful, and a beautiful soul can never die.
MRS. CORA WEBBER.
Say "Thank You"
I saw a needy one relieved,
And forth he went, and glad,
But not one word of gratitude
That lightened spirit had.
His benefactor, bent by cares,
Went wearily all day;
While him his kindnesses had served
Went careless on his way.
If you have given aught for me,
Ought not my voice return
One little word of graciousness?
O, breaking spirits yearn
Just for the human touch of love
To cheer the aching heart,
To brighten all the paths of toil,
And take away the smart!
Say "Thank you!" then. 'Tis small enough
Return for help bestowed
Say "Thank you!" You would spurn to slight
The smallest debt you owed;
But is not this a debt?—Ah, more!
And honor, if true blue
Your loyal heart of rectitude,
Impels to say "Thank you!"
B. F. W. SOURS.
HOW THE BOY WITHOUT A REFERENCE FOUND ONE
John was fifteen, and anxious to get a desirable place in the office of a
well-known lawyer, who had advertised for a boy. John doubted his success
in obtaining this position, because, being a stranger in the city, he had
no reference to present.
"I am afraid I will stand a poor chance," he thought, despondently;
"however, I will try to appear as well as I can, and that may help me a
So he was careful to have his dress and person neat, and when he took his
turn to be interviewed, went in with his hat in his hand and a smile on his
The keen-eyed lawyer glanced him over from head to foot. "Good face," he
thought, "and pleasant ways." Then he noted the neat suit,—but other boys
had appeared in new clothes,—saw the well-brushed hair, and clean skin.
Very well; but there had been others quite as cleanly. Another glance,
however, showed the finger-nails free from soil. "Ah, that looks like
thoroughness," thought the lawyer.
Then he asked a few direct, rapid questions, which John answered as
directly. "Prompt," was his mental comment; "can speak up when necessary."
"Let's see your writing," he added aloud.
John took a pen and wrote his name.
"Very well; easy to read, and no flourishes. Now, what references have
The dreadful question at last! John's face fell. He pad begun to feel some
hope of success, but this dashed it again.
"I haven't any," he said, slowly. "I am almost a stranger in the city."
"Cannot take a boy without references," was the brusque rejoinder.
As he spoke, a sudden thought sent a flush to John's cheek. "I haven't any
reference," he said, with hesitation; "but here is a letter from mother I
just received. I wish you would read it."
The lawyer took it. It was a short letter:—
"MY DEAR JOHN: I want to remind you that wherever you find work, you must
consider that work your own. Do not go into it, as some boys do, with the
feeling that you will do as little as you can and get something better
soon, but make up your mind that you will do as much as possible, and make
yourself so necessary to your employer that he will never let you go. You
have been a good son to me, and I can truly say that I have never known you
to shirk. Be as good in business, and I am sure God will bless your
"H'm!" said the lawyer, reading it over the second time. "That's pretty
good advice, John, excellent advice. I rather think I will try you, even
without the references."
John has been with him six years, and last spring was admitted to the bar.
"Do you intend taking that young man into partnership?" asked a friend
"Yes, I do. I could not get along without John; he is my right-hand man!"
exclaimed the lawyer, heartily.
And John always says the best reference he ever had was his mother's good
advice and honest praise.
AN HOUR A DAY FOR A YEAR
"Only an hour a day!" that does not seem much; it hardly seems worth
But let us consider a little. An hour a day may mean more than we think. In
a year it represents three hundred and sixty-five hours, and, allowing
sixteen hours for a waking day, three hundred and sixty-five hours gives
nearly twenty-three days,—waking days, too, which is worth taking note of,
not days one third of which is spent in necessary sleep.
Now, time is a possession to be parted with for something else; indeed, it
forms a large part of the capital with which we trade. We give it and
labor, and in exchange get education, money, dexterity, and almost all
other things of value. To be watchful of time, then, is wise economy. A
person who had astonished many by his achievements was once asked how he
had contrived to do so much.
"The year," he replied, "has three hundred and sixty-five days, or eight
thousand seven hundred and sixty hours. In so many hours great things may
be done; the slow tortoise makes a long journey by losing no time."
Just think what an hour's reading daily would amount to in a year. You can
read easily a page of an ordinary youth's paper in twenty minutes, and at
that rate could get through, in three hundred and sixty-five hours, no
fewer than one thousand and ninety-five pages. And suppose the matter were
printed in small pages, of, say, three hundred words apiece, your daily
reading for one hour would in a year cover something like twelve thousand
As to the books in which the year's reading is to be found, let every one
take his choice, remembering that people are known by the company they
keep, and that to lead a noble life one should associate as much as
possible with the noble.
Instead of reading, suppose one took to writing: an hour a day would then
produce quite as remarkable results. Even the short rule of "no day without
a line," has resulted in the production of volumes—we might say almost of
What results may, indeed, be arrived at by an hour's daily industry in
anything! "An hour in every day," says a writer, "withdrawn from frivolous
pursuits, would, if properly employed, enable a person of ordinary capacity
to go far toward mastering a science. It would make an ignorant man a
well-informed one in less than ten years."
Of course, the hour's work must not be done listlessly. "Whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." It is an advantage, too, to work
at intervals instead of a long period at a time. We come to the work
fresher, and in better condition to do it justice. When working hours come
together, the best work is usually done during the first hour; after that
even the most energetic fall off.
In music, an hour's practising every day will carry one far in a year. But
remember that practising must be gone through with strict attention. An
hour with strict attention is worth more than three hours with
carelessness; and if a girl who wants to get on has only one hour to spare
each day, she must be to herself a very exacting music master.
It is wise to spend an hour a day in exercise. In an hour one can, without
making too great haste, walk three miles. At this rate, a year's walking
represents over a thousand miles. Relaxation is essential to keep up the
spirit and prevent life from becoming monotonous, as if one were sentenced
to perpetual treadmill. Recreation is necessary, and the pursuit of
pleasure is sometimes a duty.
If we had but an hour a day to spare, what would be the best conceivable
use to put it to?—The best use, perhaps, would be to sit down and think.
Suppose we came every day to a full stop for an hour, and thought: "What am
I doing? What is to be the end of all this busy life for me? How may I so
act that when I go out of the world, it will be the better for my having
been in it?" This thinking and planning would make us better characters
altogether, would prepare us to face the future, ready for anything that
might happen, and would fit us for coming duties. An hour a day spent thus
would be a bright streak running through the year.
You say it is easy to talk about devoting an hour a day to anything, and
easy to make a start, but very difficult to keep it up. True enough, but
there is no end of wonders that can be wrought by the exercise of the human
"We all sorely complain," says Seneca, "of the shortness of time. And yet
we have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent
in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are
always complaining that our days are few, and acting as if there would be
no end to them."
An hour a day for a year squandered in idleness or in foolish pursuits
means the sacrifice of all the advantages just mentioned. And any one who
keeps up idleness or folly for a year, usually ends in having a lifetime of
"PLEASE, SIR, I WOULD RATHER NOT"
An old sailor tells the following story of a boy who suffered much in
When offered a drink, the lad said, "Excuse me; I would rather not."
They laughed at him, but they never could get him to drink liquor. The
captain said to the boy:—
"You must learn to drink grog if you are to be a sailor."
"Please excuse me, captain, but I would rather not."
"Take that rope," commanded the captain to a sailor, "and lay it on; that
will teach him to obey orders."
The sailor took the rope, and beat the boy most cruelly.
"Now, drink that grog," said the captain.
"Please, sir, I would rather not."
"Then go into the foretop and stay all night."
The poor boy looked away up to the masthead, trembling at the thought of
spending the night there, but he had to obey.
In the morning the captain, in walking the deck, looked up, and cried,
"Halloo, up there!"
Still no answer.
One of the sailors was sent up, and what do you think he found? The poor
boy was nearly frozen. He had lashed himself to the mast, so that when the
ship rolled, he might not fall into the sea. The sailor brought the boy
down in his arms, and they worked upon him until he showed signs of life.
Then, when he was able to sit up, the captain poured out some liquor and
"Now, drink that grog."
"Please, sir, I would rather not. Let me tell you why, and do not be angry.
In our home in the cottage we were so happy, but father took to drink. He
had no money to get us bread, and at last we had to sell the little house
we had lived in, and everything we had. It broke my poor mother's heart. In
sorrow she pined away, till, at last, before she died, she called me to her
bedside, and said: 'Jamie, you know what drink has made of your father. I
want you to promise your dying mother that you will never taste drink. I
want you to be free from that curse that has ruined your father,' O, sir,"
continued the little fellow, "would you have me break the promise I made to
my dying mother? I cannot, and I will not do it."
These words touched the heart of the captain. Tears came into his eyes. He
stooped down, and, folding the boy in his arms, said: "No, no, my little
hero. Keep your promise, and if any one tries again to make you drink, come
to me, and I will protect you."—Selected.
* * * * *
"There were plans of mischief brewing;
I saw, but gave no sign,
For I wanted to test the mettle
Of this little knight of mine.
'Of course, you must come and help us,
For we all depend on Joe,'
The boys said; and I waited
For his answer—yes or no.
"He stood and thought for a moment;
I read his heart like a book,
For the battle that he was fighting
Was told in his earnest look.
Then to his waiting playmates
Outspoke my loyal knight:
'No, boys; I cannot go with you,
For I know it wouldn't be right.'"
THE RIGHT WORD
An instance of the transforming power of the right word is furnished by the
Many years ago a minister was passing through a prison crowded with
convicts showing every phase of ignorance and brutality. One gigantic
fellow crouched alone in a corner, his feet chained to a ball. There was an
unhealed wound on his face, where he had been shot when trying to escape.
The sight of the dumb, gaunt figure touched the visitor.
"How long has he to serve?" he asked of the guard.
"Has he anybody outside to look after him—wife or child?"
"How should I know? Nobody has ever noticed him all the time he has been
"May I speak to him?"
"Yes, but only for a minute."
The minister hesitated. What could he say in one minute? He touched the
man's torn cheek.
"I am sorry," he said. "I wish I could help you."
The convict looked keenly at him, and he nodded to indicate that he
believed in the sympathy expressed.
"I am going away, and shall never see you again, perhaps; but you have a
Friend who will stay here with you."
The keen, small eyes were upon him. The prisoner dragged himself up,
waiting and eager.
"Have you heard of Jesus?"
"He is your friend. If you are good and true, and will pray to God to help
you, I am sure he will care for you."
"Come, sir," called the keeper. "Time's up."
The clergyman turned sorrowfully away. The prisoner called after him, and,
catching his hand, held it in his own while he could. Tears were in the
Fourteen years passed. The convict was sent into the mines. The minister
went down one day into a mine, and among the workmen saw a gigantic figure
bent with hardship and age.
"Who is that?" he asked the keeper.
"A lifer, and a steady fellow—the best of the gang."
Just then the "lifer" looked up. His figure straightened, for he had
recognized the clergyman. His eyes shone.
"Do you know me?" he said. "Will He come soon? I've tried to be good."
At a single word of sympathy the life had been transformed, the convict
A friend—how much it means
To be so true
In all we do
That others speak of us as such,
And call us by that noble name.
A friend—how much it means
To have a friend
Who'll gladly lend
A helping hand to help us on
When weary seems the path we tread.
A friend—may we be such to Christ,
Who gladly gave,
Our lives to save.
His life a willing sacrifice,
And showed himself a friend of men.
E. C. JAEGER
THE SADDEST OF INDIA'S PICTURES (1912)
I saw a sad little picture when I was at the hills; it haunts me even now.
It was a sight that should be seen; for words convey very little idea of
the pathos of the scene. We were walking through the thick jungle on the
hillside when on the narrow path we saw a little procession wending its way
toward us. In front walked a big, hardened-looking man, in the prime of
life; behind him came a child, a slim, wonderfully fair girl of about ten
years, lithe and graceful, with large, expressive dark eyes. After her came
a woman prematurely old, her face lined and seamed in every direction.
Just after they passed us, the little girl and woman stopped; and the child
bent low to the earth and caressed her mother's feet. Then she flung
herself into her mother's arms and clung to her, while the big, beautiful
eyes filled with tears. The mother embraced her lovingly; then she tried to
thrust her away from her, her own tears running down her face all the time.
The child clung piteously, with a yearning love in her eyes. Then she
glanced toward that hardened figure still continuing its way, and, O, the
awful look of terror on that sweet face! It is that look which continues to
haunt me, the look of sweet, yearning love giving place to that awful
terror. Then terror overcame, and the child sped swiftly and silently after
that man, ever and anon turning back for one more gaze at her heartbroken
mother. Then she was lost to sight in the thick jungle.
The wretched mother over and over again lifted up her voice and called her
child by name, but there was no voice, and none that gave answer, and she
turned her dreary steps homeward. We questioned her, and it was just as we
feared. This sweet, innocent girl was leaving her mother's care for the
first time, to go and live with that man to whom she now belonged. And only
those who know something of the East know what that would mean to that
frail, innocent little one.
For days that scene haunted me in all its freshness, and it haunts me
still. My heart bleeds for the little girls of India, for I love them so.
O, that something could be speedily done for these little sisters of ours!
A Plea for Missions
O, SOULS that know the love of God,
And know it deep and true,
The love that in your heart is shed abroad
Shall others share with you?
And do you count it joy to give
Of what to you is given,
That erring souls may hear the word, and live
In hope of rest and heaven?
If not, lift up your blinded eyes,
And let the light break in;
Behold a world that, bruised and groaning, lies
Beneath the curse of sin.
Then higher lift your eyes, to meet
Your Master's tender gaze,
And say, "Dear Lord, thy will in us complete,
And pardon our delays."
—Jessie H. Brown.
ONE LITTLE WIDOW
Seven years a widow, yet only eleven years old! The shadow—nay, the
curse—of widowhood had hung over little Sita ever since she remembered
anything. The little brown girl often wondered why other little girls
living near her had such happy, merry times while she knew only drudgery
and ill treatment from morning until night. One day when six of the weary
years had passed, and she was ten years old, Sita found out what widow
meant. Then, to the cruelties she had already endured, was added the
terrors of the woe to come. She had gone, as usual, in her tattered
garments, with three large brass water-pots on her head, to the great open
well from which she drew the daily supply of water for a family of nine.
She was so tired, and her frail little back ached so pitifully, that she
sat down on a huge stone to rest a minute. Resting her weary head on one
thin little hand, she was a picture of childish woe. Many deep sorrows had
fallen on her young heart, but she was still a child in mind and years,
yearning for companionship and love.
Many Brahman servants were drawing water near her, and looked bright and
happy in their gay-colored cotton saris. A woman so poor that she must
draw her own drinking-water, but still a Brahman, came near, and to her
Sita appealed for help.
"Will you not draw a little water for me? I am ill and tired, and the well
is very deep."
The woman turned angrily, and uttered, in a scathing tone, the one word,
"Widow!" then she burst out: "Curse you! How dare you come between me and
the glorious sun! Your shadow has fallen upon me, and I'll have to take the
bath of purification before I can eat food! Curse you! Stand aside!"
Poor Sita stood bewildered. She made no answer, but the tears coursed down
her cheeks. Something akin to pity made the woman pause. Halting at a safe
distance from the shadow of the child, she talked to her in a milder tone.
She was thinking, perhaps, of her two soft-eyed daughters, very dear to her
proud heart, though she mourned bitterly when they were born, because the
gods had denied her sons.
"Why should I help you," she said, "when the gods have cursed you? See, you
are a widow!"
Then, in answer to the child's vacant gaze, she continued: "Don't you
understand? Didn't you have a husband once?"
"Yes, I think so," Sita answered; "an old, bad man who used to shake me,
and tell me to grow up quickly to work for him; perhaps he was my husband.
When he died, they said I killed him, but I did not."
"So you call him bad?" the woman cried. "Ah, no wonder the gods hate you!
No doubt you were very wicked ages and ages ago, and so now you are made a
widow. By and by you will be born a snake or a toad." And, gathering up her
water-pots, she went away.
The slender, ill-fed child hurriedly filled the brass vessels, knowing that
abuse awaited her late return. Raising the huge jars to her head, she
hastened to her house—a home she never knew. The sister-in-law met the
little thing with violent abuse, and bade her prepare the morning meal. The
child was ill, and nearly fell with fatigue.
"I'll show you how to wake up!" the woman cried, and, seizing a hot poker,
she laid it on the arms and hands of the child.
Screaming with pain, the poor little creature worked on, trembling if the
sister-in-law even looked her way. This was one day. Each of the seven long
years contained three hundred and sixty-five such days, and now they were
growing worse. The last year, in token of the deep disgrace of widowhood,
the child's soft dark tresses had been shaved off, and her head left bare.
When that has been done, but one meal a day is permitted a widow, no matter
how she works.
Most of the little girls who saw Sita ran from her, fearing pollution. But
there was one who shone on her like a gleam of sunshine whenever she saw
her. One day after the woman had abused her at the well, Sita found a
chance to tell Tungi about it.
"There is a better God than that," Tungi said. "Our people do not know him,
and that is why I am not allowed to talk with you. I am married, and my
husband lives in a distant city. If I speak to you, they believe that he
will die. But in the school I attend, many do not believe these things."
"How can you go to school?" Sita asked. "My sister-in-law says that only
bad people learn to read."
"So my mother used to think," said Tungi; "but my husband is in school, and
he has sent word that I must go until he calls for me to come to his home.
Then he can have a wife who can understand when he talks about his books.
He says the English have happy families, and it is this that makes them so.
The wives know books, and how to sing, and how to make home pleasant. My
mother says it is all very bad, but he is my husband, and I must do as he
says. I am very glad; for it is very pleasant there."
Thus the bright-eyed little Brahman wife chatted away, as gay as a bird.
The fount of knowledge was opened to her—the beaming eye, the elastic
figure, and the individuality of her Western sisters were becoming hers.
But none of these things seemed for Sita.
For nine weary months after Tungi went to school, the shaven-headed child,
living on one meal a day, went about sad and lonely. When she again saw her
bright-faced little friend, her condition had grown worse. Her neck and
arms were full of scars where bits of flesh had been pinched out in
vindictive rage by her husband's relatives, who believed her guilty of his
death. Brutality, growing stronger with use, made them callous to the
sufferings of the little being in their power. No one who cared knew of the
pangs of hunger, the violent words, and the threats of future punishment.
Once or twice she had looked down into the cool depths of the well, and
wondered how quickly she could die. Only the terror of punishment after
death kept this baby widow from suicide.
One day as she was weeping by the gateway of Tungi's house, the little
child wife told the little child widow of a safe refuge for such as she,
where neither poverty nor ignorance could exclude her—a home under the
loving care of one who knew the widow's curse. After many difficulties,
Sita found this shelter. Here she forgot her widowhood, and found her
childhood. Here, in the beautiful garden, or at her lessons, helping with
cooking, or leaning lovingly on the arms of Ramabai's chair, she passed
many sweet and useful years. By and by she found the greatest joy in love,
higher and better than human love can ever be. Later, when a beautiful
young womanhood had crowned her, she was sought by an earnest young
Christian as his wife.
Many of the millions of the child widows in India never find release from
the bonds of cruel custom and false religion. In Hinduism there is no hope
for such accursed ones.—"Mosaics From India," published by Fleming H.
WHY THE MITE BOXES WERE FULL
Rosella had a blue mite box, and so had her brother Drew. The mite boxes
had been given out in Sunday-school, and were to be kept two months. All
the money saved in the mite boxes was to go toward sending the news about
Jesus to the heathen girls and boys across the ocean. The Sunday-school
superintendent said so, and so did the sweet old blind missionary woman,
who had talked to the scholars.
Rosella and Drew carried their mite boxes across the fields toward their
tent. They and their mother and aunt and cousins had come several miles
from their farm to tent, with a number of other folks, near the Farmers'
Cooperative Fruit Drying buildings, during the fruit season, to cut fruit
Another girl was going across the fields with a blue mite box. She was the
Chinese girl, Louie Ming, whose father and mother had come from the city to
cook for some of the owners here.
"Louie Ming's got a mite box!" said Rosella.
Drew laughed. "Do you suppose she'll save anything in it?"
"I don't believe she will," said Rosella.
Rosella and Drew carried their mite boxes into their mother's tent.
"We're going to cut apricots and peaches to help the heathen!" announced
"We'll have a whole lot of money in our mite boxes when we carry them
back," said Rosella.
"We'll see," said mother.
For two or three mornings Rosella and Drew rose early, and after breakfast
hurried to the cutting-sheds to work. But, after a while, Rosella and Drew
grew tired. It was more fun to run over the fields, and mother never said
Rosella and Drew must cut fruit, anyhow, though she looked sober.
"The heathen children won't know," said Rosella to herself. "Suppose the
heathen children were me, I wonder if they'd cut apricots every day to send
me Bibles and missionaries? I don't believe they would."
The first month melted away. When it was over, Rosella had two nickels in
her mite box, and Drew had three in his.
"The heathen children won't know," said Rosella.
But one Saturday night Rosella and Drew were going by the tent where Louie
Ming lived. Inside the tent sat Louie Ming, with her week's pay in her lap.
In the Chinese girl's hand was her blue mite box. Louie Ming was putting
her money into her mite box, and did not notice Rosella and Drew.
"Why-ee!" whispered Rosella. "See there! Why, Drew! I do believe Louie
Ming's putting every bit of her pay into her mite box! Do you suppose she
knows what she's doing?"
Rosella and Drew stood watching.
"Do you suppose Louie Ming understands?" whispered Rosella again. "Why,
she's giving it all! Drew, she's been working in the cutting-sheds every
time I've been there. She didn't cut fruit till she got her mite box.
There, she's given every cent!"
When Louie Ming looked up, and suddenly discovered Rosella and Drew, she
looked half scared. Rosella stepped toward the tent, and said:—
"What made you give all your money? Why didn't you save some? You've worked
hard for it. The heathen children wouldn't know if you kept some for candy
Louie Ming looked shy.
"You say wha' fo' I give money?" she asked softly.
"Yes," said Rosella. "Why do you give so much?"
Louie Ming looked down at the blue mite box. Somehow it seemed hard for her
to answer, at first. Then she spoke softly: "One time I have baby brudder.
He die. Mudder cry, cry, cry. I cry, cry all time. I say, 'Never see poor
little baby brudder again, never again!' An' I love little brudder. Then I
go mission school. Teacher say, 'Louie Ming, love Jesus, an' some day you
see your baby brudder again.' O, teacher make me so happy! See little
brudder again! I go home and tell my mudder. She not believe, but I get
teacher to come and tell. She tell about Jesus to my fadder and mudder.
They learn love him. Some day we all go heaven and see little brudder! Now
I save money to put in mite box. Way over in China many little girls don't
know about Jesus. Their little brudders die. They cry, cry, all the same me
did. Maybe some my money send teacher tell those poor Chinese girls how go
to heaven, see their baby brudders again. So I work very hard to put money
in my box, because Jesus come into my heart."
Rosella did not answer, but stood looking at Louie Ming. Then she suddenly
turned and caught Drew's hand, and pulled him along till they were running
toward their own tent. Rosella rushed in. The baby was sitting on the straw
floor, and Rosella caught him up, crying:—
"O baby, baby brother, don't you ever die! I couldn't spare you!"
"Goo!" said baby brother, holding out his arms to Drew.
Drew did not say anything, but he took baby brother.
"Drew," said Rosella, "I'm going straight to work. Aren't you? I'm ashamed
of myself. To think that a Chinese girl who once did not know about Jesus,
would work so hard now for her mite box, and you and I haven't! Why, Drew
Hopkins, I haven't acted as though I cared whether the heathen boys and
girls knew about Jesus or not! I'm going to work to fill my mite box. Why,
Drew, Louie Ming's box is most full, and she used to be a heathen!"
Drew nodded, and hugged baby brother tighter.
The next Monday Rosella and Drew began working hard cutting fruit. How they
cut fruit the remaining month! How they saved! And how glad they were that
their mite boxes were heavy when the day came to carry them back!
The blind missionary woman was at Sunday-school again. After the school
closed, the superintendent, who knew Rosella and Drew, introduced them to
the missionary. And the blind missionary said, "Bless the dear girl and boy
who have cut peaches for two whole months to help send the gospel to
Then Rosella, being honest, could not bear to have the missionary think it
had been two months instead of one, and she suddenly burst out,
half-crying, and said, "O, I wasn't so good as that! I didn't work two
months, and I—I'm afraid if Louie Ming hadn't loved Jesus better than I
did, Drew and I wouldn't have had hardly any money in our mite boxes."
The blind missionary wanted to know about Louie Ming, and Rosella told the
missionary all about her. Then the blind missionary kissed Louie Ming's
cheek, and said, "Many that are last shall be first."
But Rosella was glad that she and Drew had worked to send the news about
Jesus to heathen children.—Mary E. Bamford, in "Over Sea and Land."
TI-TO AND THE BOXERS
A True Story of a Young Christian
It was late in May when we last saw Ti-to's father. He was attending the
annual meeting of the North China Mission at Tung-chou, near Peking when
word came that the Boxers were tearing up the railway between Peking and
Pao-ting-fu. For twelve years he had been the pastor of the Congregational
Church in Pao-ting-fu, having been the first Chinese pastor ordained in
north China. Without waiting for the end of the meeting, he hastened to the
assistance of the little band of missionaries.
During the month of June dangers thickened about the devoted band of
missionaries and Christian Chinese who lived in the mission compound not
far from the wall of Pao-ting-fu. There was no mother in Pastor Meng's home
to comfort the hearts of five children living face to face with death. But
thirteen-year-old Ti-to, the hero of our story, was as brave a lad as ever
cheered the hearts of little brothers and sisters. Straight as an arrow,
his fine-cut, delicate face flushed with pink, with firm, manly mouth and
eyes that showed both strength and gentleness, Ti-to was a boy to win all
hearts at sight.
By the twenty-seventh of June it was plain that all who remained in that
compound were doomed to fall victims to Boxer hate. Pastor Meng called his
oldest boy to his side, and said: "Ti-to, I have asked my friend, Mr. Tien
to take you with him and try to find some place of refuge from the Boxers.
I cannot forsake my missionary friends and the Christians, who have no one
else to depend upon, but I want you to try to escape."
"Father," said the boy, "I want to stay here with you. I am not afraid to
"No," the father replied. "If we are all killed, who will preach Jesus to
these poor people?"
So, before the next day dawned, Ti-to said good-by, and started with Mr.
Tien on his wanderings. That same afternoon Pastor Meng was in the chapel
when a company of Boxers suddenly burst into the room and seized him. A
Christian Chinese who was with him escaped over the back wall, and took the
sad tidings to his friends. The Boxers dragged Pastor Meng to a temple, and
there, having learned that his eldest son had fled, tortured him to make
him tell Ti-to's hiding-place. But the secret was not revealed. In the
early morning scores of Boxer knives slowly stabbed him to death. But the
face of the Master smiled upon this brave soul, "faithful unto death."
Three days later, four of his children, his only sister and her two
children, and the three missionary friends for whom he had laid down his
life, were killed.
But what of the little one who had left home four days before? Determined
that not one member of the family should be left, the Boxers searched for
him in all directions. But Mr. Tien had taken Ti-to to the home of a
relative only a few miles from Pao-ting-fu, and they escaped detection.
This relative feared to harbor them more than two or three days, so they
turned their faces northward, where a low range of sierra-like mountains
was outlined against the blue sky. Seventeen miles from Pao-ting-fu, and
not far from the home of an uncle of Mr. Tien's, they found a little cave
in the mountainside, not high enough to allow them to stand upright. Here
they crouched for twenty days. The uncle took them a little food, but to
get water they were obliged to go three miles to a mountain village,
stealing up to a well under cover of darkness. In that dark cave, hunger
and thirst were their constant companions, and the howling of wolves at
night made their mountain solitude fearsome.
Ti-to had lived for five days in this retreat when word was brought to him
that father, brothers, sisters, aunt, cousins, and all the missionaries
belonging to the three missions in Pao-ting-fu, had been cruelly massacred,
and that churches, schools, homes, were all masses of charred ruins.
After twenty days of cave life, Mr. Tien's uncle sent them warning that
Boxers were on their track, and that they must leave their mountain refuge
immediately. Then began long, weary wanderings toward the southwest, over
mountain roads, their plan being to go to Shansi. One day in their
wanderings they had just passed the village of Chang-ma, about sixteen
miles south of Pao-ting-fu, when a band of Boxers, some armed with rifles,
some brandishing great swords, rushed after them, shouting, "Kill! kill!
kill the secondary foreign devils!"
Escape was impossible. Before this howling horde had overtaken them, a man
who was standing near them asked Ti-to, "Are you a Christian?"
"Yes," the boy replied. "My father and mother were Christians, and from a
little child I have believed in Jesus."
"Do not be afraid," the stranger said; "I will protect you."
Then the Boxers closed about them. Mr. Tien was securely bound, hand and
foot. Ti-to was led by his queue, and soon they were back by the Boxer
altar in the village. When the knives were first waved in his face, and the
bloodthirsty shouts first rang in his ears, a thrill of fear chilled
Ti-to's heart; but it passed as quickly as it came, and as he was dragged
toward the altar, it seemed as if some soft, low voice kept singing in his
ear the hymn, "I'm not ashamed to own my Lord." All fear vanished.
When they began to bind Mr. Tien to the altar, he spoke no word for
himself, but pleaded most earnestly for the little charge committed to his
care, telling how all his relatives had been murdered, and begging them to
spare his life. Perhaps it was those earnest, unselfish words, perhaps it
was the boy's gracious mien and winsome face, that moved the crowd; for one
of the village Boxers stepped forward, saying: "I adopt this boy as my son.
Let no one touch him. I stand security for his good behavior."
Ti-to's deliverer was one of the three bachelor brothers, the terror of the
region. But it was evident that Mr. Chang's heart was completely won by the
boy. For three months he kept him in his home, tenderly providing for every
want. Let Ti-to tell the story of those days in his own words:—
"Of course I could not pray openly. But sometimes when my adopted father
was away with the Boxers on their raids, I would shut the door tight and
kneel in prayer. Then every evening when the sun went down, I would turn my
face to the west, and in my heart repeat the hymn:—
"'Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens: Lord, with
"Mr. Chang was in Pao-ting-fu when my father was killed, and told me how
they stabbed and tortured him. I supposed that my uncle and his wife, who
had gone to Tung-chow, had been killed, too, and all the missionaries in
China. But I knew that the people in America would send out some more
missionaries, and I thought how happy I would be sometime in the future
when I could go into a chapel again and hear them preach."
But Ti-to had not long to wait for this day of joy In October expeditions
of British, German, French, and Italian soldiers from Peking and Tientsin
arrived at Pao-ting-fu, and the Boxer hordes scattered at their coming.
Soon to the brave boy in the Boxer's home came the glad tidings that his
uncle was still living, and had sent for him to come to Pao-ting-fu.
Mr. Chang loved the boy so deeply that he could not but rejoice with him,
sad though he felt at the thought of parting with him. Fearful of some
treachery or of harm coming to Ti-to, he went with him to Pao-ting-fu, then
returned to the village home from which the sunshine had departed.
Later Ti-to studied in the Congregational Academy in Peking, and then in
Japan. He is now an earnest teacher of Christianity, for which he so
bravely faced death.—Selected.
What the Flowers Say to Me
Our Father made us beautiful,
And breathed on us his love,
And gave us of the spirit that
Prevails in heaven above.
We stand here meekly blooming for
The stranger passing by;
And if unnoticed we are left,
We never stop to sigh,
But shed our fragrance all abroad,
And smile in shine or rain
And thus we do the will of God
Till he restores again
A realm of peace on earth, to last
The countless ages through;
Where flowers bloom and never fade;
And there is room for you.
IDA REESE KURZ.
HOW NYANGANDI SWAM TO CHURCH
Nyangandi lived in west Africa, near the Ogowe River. She was going away
from the missionary's house one afternoon, where she had been to sell
bunches of plantains to the missionary, when his wife said:—
"Now, you must not forget that you have promised to come tomorrow to
"Yes," the girl replied, "I will surely come if I am alive."
The next morning she found that somebody had stolen her canoe, and no one
would lend her one to go to church in. But she had promised to go, and she
felt that she must. She swam all the way! The current was swift, the water
deep, and the river fully a third of a mile wide, but by swimming
diagonally she succeeded in crossing the river.
Remember this little heathen girl in west Africa when you feel tempted to
stay away from the house of God for some trivial reason.—Selected.
To Those Who Fail
"All honor to him who shall win the prize!"
The world has cried for a thousand years;
But to him who tries, and who fails and dies,
I give honor and glory and tears.
O, great is the hero who wins a name!
But greater many and many a time
Some pale-faced fellow who dies in shame,
And lets God finish the thought sublime.
And great is the man with the sword undrawn,
And good is the man who refrains from wine,
But the man who fails and who still fights on,
Lo! he is the twin brother of mine.
THE LITTLE PRINTER MISSIONARY
A ragged printer's boy, who lived in Constantinople, was in the habit of
carrying the proof-sheets to the English editor during the noon lunch-time.
The editor was a busy man, and exchanged no words, except such as were
necessary, with him. The boy was faithful, doing all that he was bidden,
promptly and to the best of his ability, but he was ragged, and so dirty as
to be positively repulsive. This annoyed the editor; but, as he was no
worse in this respect than most of the boys of his class, the busy man did
not urge him to improve his personal appearance, much as he would have
enjoyed the change. But one morning the boy came in with clean face, hands,
and garments. Not a trace of the old filth was to be seen about his person;
and so great was the change that his master did not recognize him.
"Why, you are a new boy entirely!" he said when convinced of the lad's
"I am going away, back to my own home." said the boy, quickly, "and I came
to ask a favor of you. Will you pray for me after I am gone?"
"Pray for you!" exclaimed the editor.
"Yes," returned the boy. "You think I am a heathen, but I am not. I have
been attending chapel and Sunday-school in the Bible house. I have learned
to read and to write, and, best of all, I have learned to love Jesus, and
am trying to be his boy. But I cannot stay here while my father, mother,
brothers, and sisters do not know about him. So I go back to my own village
to tell friends and neighbors about him. I don't know much yet, and I want
you to pray that I may be helped when I try to tell my people what he is to
"And it is because you are going away that you have washed and fixed
yourself up so well?" asked the editor, thinking what a fine boy clothes
and cleanliness had made of him.
"It is because I am Christ's boy now," was the answer. "I want to be clean
and to have my clothes whole in honor of the Master I am trying to serve."
"I hope your friends will receive as much from Christ's love as you have,"
said the man.
"And you will pray for them and for me?" urged the boy.
The man promised; and, full of hope, the lad started on his long walk
homeward, to tell the story of the cross to the dear ones there, in his own
wretched home first, and afterward to the neighbors among whom he had spent
his childhood days.—Selected.
Ready to go, ready to wait,
Ready a gap to fill;
Ready for service, small or great,
Ready to do His will.
THE MISSIONARY'S DEFENSE
The following occurrence was related by Missionary von Asselt, a Rhenish
missionary in Sumatra from 1856-76, when on a visit to Lubeck:—
"When I first went to Sumatra, in the year 1856 I was the first European
missionary to go among the wild Battas, although twenty years prior, two
American missionaries had come to them with the gospel; but they had been
killed and eaten. Since then no effort had been made to bring the gospel to
these people, and naturally they had remained the same cruel savages.
"What it means for one to stand alone among a savage people, unable to make
himself understood, not understanding a single sound of their language, but
whose suspicious, hostile looks and gestures speak only a
too-well-understood language,—yes, it is hard for one to realize that. The
first two years that I spent among the Battas, at first all alone and
afterward with my wife, were so hard that it makes me shudder even now when
I think of them. Often it seemed as if we were not only encompassed by
hostile men, but also by hostile powers of darkness; for often an
inexplicable, unutterable fear would come over us, so that we had to get up
at night, and go on our knees to pray or read the Word of God, in order to
"After we had lived in this place for two years, we moved several hours'
journey inland, among a tribe somewhat civilized, who received us more
kindly. There we built a small house with three rooms,—a living-room, a
bedroom, and a small reception-room,—and life for us became a little more
easy and cheerful.
"When we had been in this new place for some months, a man came to me from
the district where we had been, and whom I had known there. I was sitting
on the bench in front of our house, and he sat down beside me, and for a
while talked of this, that, and the other. Finally he began, 'Now tuan
[teacher], I have yet one request.'
"'And what is that?'
"'I should like to have a look at your watchmen close at hand.'
"'What watchmen do you mean? I do not have any.'
"'I mean the watchmen whom you station around your house at night, to
"'But I have no watchmen,' I said again; 'I have only a little herdsboy and
a little cook, and they would make poor watchmen.'
"Then the man looked at me incredulously, as if he wished to say, 'O, do
not try to make me believe otherwise, for I know better!'
"Then he asked, 'May I look through your house, to see if they are hid
"'Yes, certainly,' I said, laughing; 'look through it; you will not find
anybody.' So he went in and searched in every corner, even through the
beds, but came to me very much disappointed.
"Then I began a little probing myself, and requested him to tell me the
circumstances about those watchmen of whom he spoke. And this is what he
related to me: 'When you first came to us, tuan, we were very angry at
you. We did not want you to live among us; we did not trust you, and
believed you had some design against us. Therefore we came together, and
resolved to kill you and your wife. Accordingly, we went to your house
night after night; but when we came near, there stood always, close around
the house, a double row of watchmen with glittering weapons, and we did not
venture to attack them to get into your house. But we were not willing to
abandon our plan, so we went to a professional assassin [there still was
among the savage Battas at that time a special gild of assassins, who
killed for hire any one whom it was desired to get out of the way], and
asked him if he would undertake to kill you and your wife. He laughed at us
because of our cowardice, and said: "I fear no God, and no devil. I will
get through those watchmen easily." So we came all together in the evening,
and the assassin, swinging his weapon about his head, went courageously on
before us. As we neared your house, we remained behind, and let him go on
alone. But in a short time he came running back hastily, and said. "No, I
dare not risk it to go through alone; two rows of big, strong men stand
there, very close together, shoulder to shoulder, and their weapons shine
"Then we gave it up to kill you. But now, tell me, tuan, who
are these watchmen? Have you never seen them?"
"'No, I have never seen them.'
"'And your wife did not see them also?'
"'No, my wife did not see them.'
"'But yet we have all seen them; how is that?'
"Then I went in, and brought a Bible from our house, and holding it open
before him, said: 'See here; this book is the Word of our great God, in
which he promises to guard and defend us, and we firmly believe that Word;
therefore we need not to see the watchmen; but you do not believe,
therefore the great God has to show you the watchmen, in order that you may
learn to believe.'"—Selected.
LIGHT AT LAST
Dr. Kirkpatrick, with the Baptist Mission in the Shan States of Burma,
tells in the Missionary Review of an aged woman whom he met on a tour in
a mountain district, where no missionary had ever before set foot:—
"This old woman listened attentively, and apparently believed. She had
never seen a white man, although, according to her birth certificate, she
was one hundred and twenty-three years old. As she sat huddled together by
the fire, she said: 'Teacher, is it true that the Lord can and will save
me, a woman? Do not deceive me; I am very old, and must soon fall into
hell, unless this new religion is true. I have made many offerings, and
made many long pilgrimages to the most sacred shrines, and still find no
relief from the burden of sin. Please teach me to pray to this Jesus that
"I explained the plan of salvation, and God's love for her, and taught her
a simple prayer of a few words. She seemed very grateful. As I was about to
leave her, she said:—
"'Teacher, you come from the great American country, do you not?'
"'Yes,' I answered.
"'Is your country greater than the Shan country?'
"I assured her that it was.
"'Are the people there all Christians?'
"I had to confess that they were not, but that there were many Christians.
"'Were your parents Christians?'
"'Yes, and my grandparents, and ancestors for several generations.'
"'My parents,' she said, 'died when I was young My brothers and sisters all
are dead. I have been married three times, and my husbands are all dead. I
had nine children, and they are all dead. I had many grandchildren, and
they are all dead except this one with whom I am living. I have seen three
generations fall into hell. Now I believe in Jesus, and hope to go to the
heavenly country when I die. If there are so many Christians in your
country, and you have known about this Lord that can save for so long, why
did you not come and tell us before, so that many of my people could have
been saved?' With the tears running down her cheeks, she said: 'I am so
glad to hear this good news before it it too late; but all of my loved ones
have fallen into hell. Why did you not come before?'
"That question still haunts me. I wish every Christian in America could
hear it as I did.
"A few weeks later I saw some of the men from this village, in the bazaar
at Namkhamm, and asked them about the 'old grandmother of the village.'
They told me that she died the day before, and that they had come to buy
things for the funeral. After much questioning, they said they were ashamed
to tell me that she was crazy. As she grew weaker, she told everybody that
she was going to die in a few days, and she was very happy about it. She
was going to the heavenly country, and other such foolish things. When she
was too weak to speak aloud, she kept whispering, 'Yasu hock sung; Yasu
hock sung' (Jesus loves me; Jesus loves me), with her last breath. The
first and only time this woman ever heard the gospel, she accepted it. It
is an exceptional case, but there are others like it."
THE BROWN TOWEL
"One who has nothing can give nothing," said Mrs. Sayers, the sexton's
wife, as the ladies of the sewing society were busily engaged in packing
the contents of a large box, destined for a Western missionary.
"A person who has nothing to give must be poor, indeed," said Mrs. Bell, as
she deposited a pair of warm blankets in the already well-filled box.
Mrs. Sayers looked at the last-named speaker with a glance which seemed to
say, "You who have never known self-denial cannot feel for me," and
remarked, "You surely think one can be too poor to give?"
"I once thought so, but have learned from experience that no better
investment can be made, even from the depths of poverty, than lending to
Seeing the ladies listening attentively to the conversation, Mrs. Bell
continued: "Perhaps, as our work is finished, I can do no better than to
give you my experience on the subject. It may be the means of showing you
that God will reward the cheerful giver.
"During the first twenty-eight years of my life, I was surrounded with
wealth; and not until I had been married nine years did I know a want which
money could satisfy, or feel the necessity of exertion. Reverses came with
fearful suddenness, and before I had recovered from the blow, I found
myself the wife of a poor man, with five little children dependent upon our
"From that hour I lost all thought of anything but care of my family. Late
hours and hard work were my portion, and to my unskilled hands it seemed
first a bitter lot. My husband strove anxiously to gain a subsistence, and
barely succeeded. We changed our place of residence several times, hoping
to do better, but without improvement.
"Everything seemed against us. Our well-stocked wardrobe had become so
exhausted that I felt justified in absenting myself from the house of God,
with my children, for want of suitable apparel. While in this low
condition, I went to church one evening, when my poverty-stricken
appearance would escape notice, and took my seat near the door. An agent
from the West preached, and begged contributions to the home missionary
cause. His appeal brought tears to my eyes, and painfully reminded me of my
past days of prosperity, when I could give of my abundance to all who
called upon me. It never entered my mind that the appeal for assistance in
any way concerned me, with my poor children banished from the house of God
by poverty, while I could only venture out under the friendly protection of
"I left the church more submissive to my lot, with a prayer in my heart
that those whose consciences had been addressed might respond. I tried in
vain to sleep that night. The words of the text, 'Give, and it shall be
given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and
running over, shall men give into your bosom,' seemed continually sounding
in my ears. The eloquent entreaty of the speaker to all, however poor, to
give a mite to the Lord, and receive the promised blessing, seemed
addressed to me. I rose early the next morning, and looked over all my
worldly goods in search of something worth bestowing, but in vain; the
promised blessing seemed beyond my reach.
"Hearing that the ladies of the church had filled a box for the
missionary's family, I made one more effort to spare something. All was
poor and thread-bare. What should I do? At last I thought of my towels. I
had six, of coarse brown linen, but little worn. They seemed a scanty
supply for a family of seven; and yet I took one from the number, and,
putting it into my pocket, hastened to the house where the box was kept,
and quietly slipped it in. I returned home with a light heart, feeling that
my Saviour's eye had seen my sacrifice, and would bless my effort.
"From that day success attended all my husband's efforts in business. In a
few months our means increased so that we were able to attend church and
send our children to Sabbath-school, and before ten years had passed, our
former prosperity had returned fourfold. 'Good measure, pressed down, and
shaken together, and running over,' had been given us.
"It may seem superstitious to you, my dear friends, but we date all our
success in life to God's blessing, following that humble gift out of deep
poverty. He may not always think best to reward so signally those who give
to him, but he is never unmindful of the humblest gift or giver. Wonder not
that from that day I deem few too poor to give, and that I am a firm
believer in God's promise that he will repay with interest, even in this
life, all we lend to him."
Glances of deep interest, unmixed with envy, were cast from the windows at
Mrs. Bell, as, after bidding the ladies adieu, she stepped into her
carriage. Her consistent benevolence had proved to all that in her
prosperity she retained the same Christian spirit which, in her days of
poverty, had led to the bestowal of the brown towel.
"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Sayers, "if we all had such a self-denying spirit,
we might fill another box at once. I will never again think that I am too
poor to give."—Our Young Folks.
ONLY A BOY
More than half a century ago a faithful minister coming early to the kirk,
met one of his deacons, whose face wore a very resolute expression.
"I came early to meet you," he said. "I have something on my conscience to
say to you. Pastor, there must be something radically wrong in your
preaching and work; there has been only one person added to the church in a
whole year, and he is only a boy."
The old minister listened. His eyes moistened, and his thin hand trembled
on his broad-headed cane.
"I feel it all," he said; "I feel it, but God knows that I have tried to do
my duty, and I can trust him for the results."
"Yes, yes," said the deacon, "but 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' and
one new member, and he, too, only a boy, seems to me rather a slight
evidence of true faith and zeal. I don't want to be hard, but I have this
matter on my conscience, and I have done but my duty in speaking plainly."
"True," said the old man; "but 'charity suffereth long and is kind; beareth
all things, hopeth all things.' Ay, there you have it; 'hopeth all things'!
I have great hopes of that one boy, Robert. Some seed that we sow bears
fruit late, but that fruit is generally the most precious of all."
The old minister went to the pulpit that day with a grieved and heavy
heart. He closed his discourse with dim and tearful eyes. He wished that
his work was done forever, and that he was at rest among the graves under
the blossoming trees in the old kirkyard. He lingered in the dear old kirk
after the rest were gone. He wished to be alone. The place was sacred and
inexpressibly dear to him. It had been his spiritual home from his youth.
Before this altar he had prayed over the dead forms of a bygone generation,
and had welcomed the children of a new generation; and here, yes, here, he
had been told at last that his work was no longer owned and blessed!
No one remained—no one?—"Only a boy."
The boy was Robert Moffat. He watched the trembling old man. His soul was
filled with loving sympathy. He went to him, and laid his hand on his black
"Well, Robert?" said the minister.
"Do you think if I were willing to work hard for an education, I could ever
become a preacher?"
"Perhaps a missionary."
There was a long pause. Tears filled the eyes of the old minister. At
length he said: "This heals the ache in my heart, Robert. I see the divine
hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a
Some few years ago there returned to London from Africa an aged missionary.
His name was spoken with reverence. When he went into an assembly, the
people rose. When he spoke in public, there was a deep silence. Priests
stood uncovered before him; nobles invited him to their homes.
He had added a province to the church of Christ on earth; had brought under
the gospel influence the most savage of African chiefs; had given the
translated Bible to strange tribes; had enriched with valuable knowledge
the Royal Geographical Society; and had honored the humble place of his
birth, the Scottish kirk, the United Kingdom, and the universal missionary
It is hard to trust when no evidence of fruit appears. But the harvests of
right intentions are sure. The old minister sleeps beneath the trees in the
humble place of his labors, but men remember his work because of what he
was to one boy, and what that one boy was to the world.
"Do thou thy work: it shall succeed
In thine or in another's day;
And if denied the victor's meed,
Thou shalt not miss the toiler's pay."
When Some One's Late
Some one is late,
And so I wait
A minute, two, or ten;
To me the cost
Is good time lost
That never comes again.
He does not care
How I shall fare,
Or what my loss shall be;
And basely rude to me.
My boys, be spry,
The moments fly;
Meet every date you make.
Be weather fair
Or foul, be there
In time your place to take.
And girls, take heed,
And work with speed;
Each task on time begin;
On time begun,
And work well done,
The highest praise will win.
THE LITTLE PROTECTOR
He was such a little fellow, but he was desperately in earnest when he
marched into the store that snowy morning. Straight up to the first clerk
he went. "I want to see the 'prietor," he said.
The clerk wanted to smile, but the little face before her was so grave that
she answered solemnly, "He is sitting at his desk."
The little fellow walked up to the man at the desk. Mr. Martin, the
proprietor, turned around. "Good morning, little man. Did you want to see
me?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. I want a wrap for my mama. I can make fires and pay for it."
"What is your name, my boy?"
"Is your father living?"
"No, sir; he died when we lived in Louisville."
"How long have you lived here?"
"We haven't been here long. Mama was sick in Louisville, and the doctor
told her to go away, and she would get well."
"Is she better?"
"Yes, sir. Last Sunday she wanted to go to church, but she didn't have any
wrap, and she cried. She didn't think I saw her, but I did. She says I'm
her little p'tector since papa died. I can make fires and pay for a wrap."
"But, little man, the store is steam-heated. I wonder if you could clean
the snow off the walk."
"Yes, sir," Paul answered, quickly.
"Very well. I'll write your mama a note and explain our bargain."
When the note was written, Mr. Martin arose.
"Come, Paul, I will get the wrap," he said. At the counter he paused. "How
large is your mother Paul?" he asked.
Paul glanced about him. "'Bout as large as her." he said, pointing toward a
"Miss Smith, please see if this fits you," requested Mr. Martin. Paul's
eyes were shining.
Miss Smith put on the wrap and turned about for Paul to see it. "Do you
like it?" she asked him.
"Yes, I do," he answered very emphatically.
The wrap was marked twelve dollars, but kind-hearted Mr. Martin said: "You
may have it for five dollars, Paul. Take it to Pauline and have her take
the price tag off," he added to Miss Smith. When she brought the bundle
back to him, he put it in Paul's arms. "Take it to your mama, Paul. When
the snow stops falling, come and sweep off the walk. I will pay you a
dollar each time you clean it. We shall soon have enough to pay for the
"Yes, sir," answered Paul, gravely. He took the bundle and trudged out into
When he reached home, his mother looked in surprise at his bundle. "Where
have you been, dear?"
"I went to town, mama," Paul answered. He put the note into her hand. She
opened it and read:—
"MRS. MAY: This little man has bought a wrap for you. He says he is your
protector. For his sake keep the wrap and let him work to pay for it. It
will be a great pleasure to him. He has the making of a fine man in him.
Paul was astonished to see tears in his mothers eyes; he had thought she
would be so happy, and she was crying. She put her arm about him and kissed
him. Then she put on the wrap and told how pretty she thought it.
When the snow stopped falling, Paul went down to the store and cleaned the
snow from the front walk. He did not know that Mr. Martin's hired man swept
it again, for the little arms were not strong enough to sweep it quite
The days passed, and one morning Paul had a very sore throat.
"You mustn't get up today, dear," his mother said. When she brought his
breakfast, she found him crying. "What is making you cry? Is your throat
"No, mama. Don't you see it is snowing, and I can't go and clean the walk?"
"Shall I write a note to Mr. Martin and explain why you are not there?"
"Yes, please, mama. Who will take it?"
"I'll ask Bennie to leave it as he goes to school."
The note was written, and Bennie, a neighbor boy, promised to deliver it.
While Paul was eating his dinner, there was a knock at the door. Mrs. May
answered it, and ushered in Mr. Martin.
"How is the sick boy?" he asked. He crossed the room and sat by Paul. He
patted the boy's cheek, and then turned to the mother. "Mrs. May," he said,
"my wife's mother is very old, but will not give up her home and live with
us. She says she wants a home for her children to visit. She has recently
lost a good housekeeper, and needs another. Since I met Paul the other day,
I have been wondering if you would take the housekeeper's place. Mother
would be glad to have you and Paul with her, and would make things easy for
you, and pay you liberally."
"I shall be very glad to accept your offer, Mr. Martin. I am sorely in need
of work. I taught in the public school in Louisville until my health
failed. Since then I have had a hard struggle to get along," answered Mrs.
"I will give you mother's address. You can go out and arrange matters. Make
haste and get well little protector," said Mr. Martin, as he rose to go.
When he had gone, the mother put her arms about her boy. "You are my
protector," she said. "You brought me a wrap, and now you have helped me to
get work to do."—Mrs. P. Binford, in the Visitor.
If I Ought To
There's a voice that's ever sounding.
With an echo oft rebounding,
In my heart a word propounding,
Loudly speaking, never still;
Till at last, my duty viewing,
Heart replies to charge renewing,
Let my willing change to doing,—
If I ought to, then I will.
MOFFAT AND AFRICANER
Robert Moffat, the poor Scotch lad, who, by living on beggar's fare,
managed to get an education in theology and medicine, must evermore stand
as one of the great pioneers of Central African exploration. When on the
last day of October, 1816, that memorable year in missions, he set sail for
the Cape of Good Hope, he was only twenty years of age. But in all the
qualities that assure both maturity and heroism, he was a full-grown man.
As not infrequently occurs, his greatest obstacles were found, not in the
hopeless paganism of the degraded tribes of the Dark Continent, but in the
apathy, if not antipathy, of the representatives of Christian governments.
The British governor would have penned him up within the bounds of Cape
Colony, lest he should complicate the relations of the settlers with the
tribes of the interior. While fighting out this battle, he studied Dutch
with a pious Hollander, that he might preach to the Boers and their
Afterward, when permission was obtained, while traveling to the country of
the Bechuanas, at the close of his first day's journey he stopped at a
farmhouse and offered to preach to the people that evening. In the large
kitchen, where the service was to be held, stood a long table, at the head
of which sat the Boer, with his wife and six grown children. A large Bible
lay on the table, and underneath the table half a dozen dogs. The Boer
pointed to the Bible as the signal for Mr. Moffat to begin. But, after
vainly waiting for others to come in, he asked how soon the working people
were to be called.
"Working people?" impatiently cried the farmer.
"You don't mean the Hottentots,—the blacks! You are not waiting for them
surely, or expecting to preach to them? You might as well preach to those
dogs under that table!" A second time, and more angrily he spoke, repeating
the offensive comparison.
Young as Mr. Moffat was, he was disconcerted only for a moment. Lifting his
heart to God for guidance, the thought came into his mind to take a text
suggested by the rude remarks of the Boer. So he opened the Bible to the
fifteenth chapter of Matthew and read the twenty-seventh verse: "Truth,
Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Pausing a moment, he slowly repeated these words, with his eyes steadily
fixed on the face of the Boer. Again pausing, a third time he quoted these
appropriate words. Angrily the Boer cried out, "Well, well, bring them in."
A crowd of blacks then thronged the kitchen, and Moffat preached to them
Ten years passed, and the missionary was passing that way again. Those
work-people, who held him in the most grateful remembrance, seeing him, ran
after him to thank him for telling them the way to Christ in that sermon.
His whole life in Africa was a witness to miracles of transformation. He
had no scorn nor contempt for the sable sons of Africa. He found the most
degraded of them open to the impressions of the gospel, and even the worst
and unimpressionable among them were compelled to confess the power of that
gospel to renew. One savage, cruel chief, who hated the missionaries, had a
dog that chewed and swallowed a copy of the book of Psalms for the sake of
the soft sheepskin in which it was bound. The enraged chief declared his
dog to be henceforth worthless: "He would no more bite or tear, now that he
had swallowed a Christian book."
This godly, devoted missionary preached and taught the warlike Bechuanas
till they put away their clubs and knives, and farming utensils took the
place of bows and arrows and spears. This strange change in African savages
came to be talked over among the people. It was so wonderful that the other
tribes could account for it only as an instance of supernatural magic.
There was nothing they knew of that would lead men like the Bechuanas to
bring war to an end, and no longer rob and kill.
Mr. Moffat was especially warned against the notorious Africaner, a chief
whose name was the terror of the whole country. Some prophesied that he
would be eaten by this monster; others were sure that he would be killed,
and his skull turned into a drinking-cup, and his skin into the head of a
drum. Nevertheless, the heroic young missionary went straight for the kraal
of the cruel marauder and murderer. He was accompanied by Ebner, the
missionary, who was not in favor in Africaner's court, and who soon had to
flee, leaving Mr. Moffat alone with a bloodthirsty monarch and a people as
treacherous as their chief.
But God had armed his servant with the spirit, not of fear, but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind. He was a man of singular grace and tact.
He quietly but firmly planted his foot in Africaner's realms, and began his
work. He opened a school, began stated services of worship, and went about
among the people, living simply, self-denyingly, and prayerfully.
Africaner himself was his first convert. The wild Namoqua warrior was
turned into a gentle child. The change in this chief was a moral miracle.
Wolfish rapacity, leonine ferocity, leopardish treachery, gave way before
the meekness and mildness of the calf or kid. His sole aim and ambition had
been to rob and to slay, to lead his people on expeditions for plunder and
violence, but he now seemed absorbed by one passion, zeal for God and his
missionary. He set his subjects to building a house for Mr. Moffat, made
him a present of cows, became a regular and devout worshiper, mourned
heartily over his past life, and habitually studied the Word of God. He
could not do enough for the man who had led him to Jesus.
When the missionary's life hung in the balance with African fever, he
nursed him through the crisis of delirium. When he had to visit Cape Town,
Africaner went with him, knowing that a price had been set for years upon
his own head as an outlaw and a public enemy. No marvel that when he made
his appearance in Cape Colony, the people were astonished at the
transformation! It was even more wonderful than when Saul, the
arch-persecutor, was suddenly transformed into Paul, the apostle.
Mr. Moffat once said that during his entire residence among this people, he
remembered no occasion on which he had been grieved with Africaner or found
reason for complaint; and even his very faults leaned to the side of
virtue. On his way to Cape Town with Mr. Moffat, a distance of six hundred
miles, the whole road lay through a country which had been laid waste by
this robber and his retainers. The Dutch farmers could not believe that
this converted man was actually Africaner; and one of them, when he saw
him, lifted his hands and exclaimed: "This is the eighth wonder of the
world! Great God, what a miracle of thy power and grace!"
He who had long shed blood without cause would now with as little
hesitation shed his own for Christ's sake. When he found his own death
approaching, he gathered his people around him, and charged them, as Moses
and Joshua did Israel: "We are not now what we once were, savages, but men
professing to be taught according to the gospel. Let us, then, do
accordingly." Then, with unspeakable tenderness and gentleness, he
counseled them to live peaceably with all men, to engage in no undertaking
without the advice of Christian guides, to remain together as one people,
and to receive and welcome all missionaries as sent from God. Then he gave
them his parting blessing.
His dying confession would have graced the lips of the apostle of the
Gentiles: "I feel that I love God, and that he has done much for me, of
which I am totally unworthy. My former life is stained with blood: but
Jesus Christ has bought my pardon, and I shall live with him through an
eternity. Beware of falling back into the same evils into which I have so
often led you, but seek God, and he will be found of you, and direct you."
Having said this, Africaner fell asleep, himself having furnished one of
the most unanswerable proofs that the gospel is the power of God unto
salvation.—Arthur T. Pierson, in "The Miracles of Missions," second
series, copyright by Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York.
"Isn't Aunt Sue the dearest person you ever saw!" exclaimed Helen Fairmont
as she and her visitor sank into a garden seat in the beautiful grounds
surrounding Mrs. Armour's lovely home. "Nothing ever seems to be too much
trouble for her, if she can make others happy."
"Yes," answered Mary Sutton, "I just felt like giving her a good hug when
she told you her plan. It is really just for me that she is going to let
you give the picnic here."
"Just for that very reason. It will be simply fine. O, she is so sweet! You
see, two weeks ago, when you wrote that finally you could arrange to visit
me for the summer, I was so full of the good news that I couldn't get to
Aunt Sue's quickly enough to tell her about it,—somehow one always wants
to tell Aunt Sue about things,—and she said she used to go to school with
your mother, and was very fond of her, and she was all ready to like you,
too, and that just the very minute you reached here, we were both to come
over—I mean you and I were."
"O, dear," laughed Mary, "I think you'd better stop and take a good long
breath, and get the we's and you's straightened."
"I don't care," Helen went chattering on. "You know what I mean, just what
we've done. We, you and I,—is that right?—were to come to her house and
choose what kind of entertainment we wanted her to give, so you might meet
"Who thought of the garden picnic?" inquired Mary, her face all animation.
Then, not waiting for Helen's answer, she said, enthusiastically, "Isn't
this a beautiful spot in which to have a picnic?"
The girls stopped talking long enough to look about at the pride of Mrs.
Armour's heart, the lovely grounds round her home. They surrounded a fine
old house of colonial type, for which they made a pretty setting. A double
row of dignified and ancient elms flanked a pathway leading from the gate.
The lawn on each side of the walk made one think of the answer the English
gardener gave to the inquiry as to the cause of the velvety beauty of
England's lawns. "Why, sir," said he, "we sows 'em, and we mows 'em, and we
mows 'em, and we sows 'em." Mrs. Armour's lawn had the appearance of having
undergone a like experience. At the back and sides of the house was a
variety of shrubs and bushes whose blossoms in the spring made the place
indescribably sweet. Mrs. Armour boasted that there were forty kinds of
bushes, but her husband laughingly said that he had never been able to
count more than thirty-nine and a half; "for you certainly couldn't call
that Japanese dwarf a whole one!"
June roses ran riot in season. Later, more cultivated varieties, blooming
regularly through the summer, took their part in providing fragrance.
Sweet, old-fashioned garden plants and more valuable products, procured at
much trouble and expense, helped to make a bower that might have satisfied
even more fastidious eyes than those which reveled in them now.
Mrs. Armour's great delight was in using her garden, and she had given
Helen the privilege of inviting all her young friends to picnic there the
following Thursday evening.
"And, O Mary, you just can't imagine how pretty it is here with the Chinese
lanterns swung from tree to tree, and the dainty tables scattered round!"
Helen scarcely contain herself.
Mary laughed merrily. She was equally delighted but naturally she took
everything in a more quiet manner. Smiling at Helen's exuberance of spirit,
she asked, "What was it your aunt said about the sandwiches?"
"She wants to help us make them, and she was telling me she'd like me to
cut them a little more carefully than I did the last time I helped her.
You'd never think Aunt Sue has a hobby, would you?"
"No, I don't think I should."
"Well, she has. She's the most particular old darling about little things
that you ever saw. Now those sandwiches I made I will admit were not cut
very evenly, but, dear me! they tasted good enough. Tom Canton ate six. I
told her so, but she said they should have looked good, too."
"Well, what's her hobby?"
"I just told you. It's trifles. She says life is made of them, and trifles
with the rough edges polished off make beautiful lives. And she loves to
quote such things as, 'Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no
trifle.' She says trifles decide almost everything for us, and shape our
characters. She says it is interesting to study how most big things grow
from little ones.
"Helen, I think she's right." Mary's dark, thoughtful eyes looked into her
"O, I don't! It isn't trifles, trifles, that decide things and make the
real difference. It is the big things. For instance, it is brother Tom's
education in the school of technology that placed him in the responsible
position we are all so proud of him for obtaining."
"Yes, but I heard him say himself that he just happened, by mistake, to
leave one of his scribbled figures on your uncle's desk, and your uncle,
picking it up by mistake, too, said that a boy who could do that should
have a chance at the right training."
"Why, that's a fact, Mary mine," said Helen, in surprise. "I never thought
of it in that way. Well, I won't agree that it happens so often. For
example,"—glancing about for an idea, she caught sight of a young man, a
former schoolmate, passing just in front of the Armour home,—"for example,
I don't suppose it was a trifle that made Alson Jarvis turn out the kind of
individual he has become lately. He used to be a fine boy, but I am afraid
he is getting dissipated. He doesn't go with our crowd much now. I guess he
is not invited the way he used to be before he began going with those South
"I wish I could prove to you my side of the argument. Let's try your Aunt
Sue's idea of studying how the big things come from little ones. Wouldn't
it be interesting to find the cause of this one case? I would not be one
bit surprised if it were just some little thing which was the pivot that
"All right," agreed Helen. "I don't believe your theory, but it would be
fun, as you say, to try it. Will"—Will was her brother—"insists Al's not
so black as he has been painted lately. We will get Will to find out for us
if he can."
Then the talk drifted to the more absorbing subject of sandwiches and
At dinner-time the two girls confided to the accommodating Will their
desire to find what had changed Al.
"Trying to pry into private closets, regardless of the kind of welcome
their enclosed skeletons may accord you, are you?" said Will, banteringly.
Mary, not accustomed to his teasing, blushed, wondering if she had really
been guilty of an indelicate presumption, but Helen spoke up quickly in
"Now, Will you know perfectly well it is not any such thing. As a pledge of
our good faith—does that sound nice and lawyer-like?" Will was studying
law, and Helen, too, liked to tease occasionally—"I do affirm that if you
will do that for us, I will do something nice for him, on your account."
"Then I certainly will. It is what I have been trying to convince you for a
month that you ought to do."
The girls told him why it was they were so anxious to know more of Alson's
"I would like to prove that your Aunt Sue and I are right, you know," said
"Well," said Will, turning to his sister's guest, "don't let them prejudice
you against Al. He is off the track just now, I know. The girls are not
having much to do with him, but I have seen worse than he is." Will went
off whistling. The next day he was ready with his report.
"Girls," he began, "Mary wins in the argument about trifles, and as a
result I am feeling pretty mean about the business. I guess I am the trifle
in the case."
Both girls laughed as they glanced at his six feet of length, and his
great, broad shoulders.
"O, it is no laughing matter," he said, good-naturedly. "This is the way it
happened: Washington's birthday, you know, everything in town was closed,
and I thought, as Al was living in a boarding-house, I would better ask
mother if I might bring him home the night before, and have him spend the
day here with us; we were going to have a kind of celebration anyway, you
know. So about seven o'clock that evening, just before I started for the
travel lecture, I ran up to mother's room. It was on the tip of my tongue
to ask her if she would not include Al in the number of her guests, when I
noticed that she looked pretty blue. I know she whisked away a tear so I
should not get sight of it. I pretended I didn't see it but I said, 'Got
some troubles, little mother?'"
Helen knew in just what a hearty, cheerful way he said it.
"'Not very many, dear,' she said; but I didn't feel like bothering her
about anything then, and decided it would do just as well to bring Al home
the following Saturday night and keep him over Sunday."
Will looked dubious.
"But it didn't do," he continued. "Having nothing to keep him busy that
holiday, Al went off with a crowd he had always before refused to join—a
pretty gay set, I am afraid. The man who had half promised him the position
he had been slaving for during the past year happened to see him with those
people, and the very next day he informed Al very curtly that, after due
consideration, he found he had no place for him. Alson guessed why, and now
he feels reckless, and says he might as well have the game as the name,
might as well be really bad since he has to suffer anyway. He talked in a
desperate sort of way this morning when he told me about it. Somehow I feel
responsible for the whole thing, because I hesitated about asking mother."
Will looked thoughtfully across at the girls, whose faces expressed real
sympathy. Suddenly Helen exclaimed:—
"The night before Washington's birthday, you say?"
"Mother was nearly crying alone in her room?"
"About seven o'clock?"
"Yes. Is this a cross-examination?"
"Then," said Helen, sitting upright and paying no attention to her
brother's question, "it's all my fault."
"Bridget was out that evening, and I had to stay home from the lecture to
put away the dinner things and I said I did not see why I always had to do
such disagreeable things. I did not see why all our relations were rich,
and why we had to be always scrimping and missing everything. Of course I
repented in a little while and apologized. It made mother feel pretty bad,
I knew, but I did not think she minded it as much as that, though."
"It was a pretty serious mix-up all around, wasn't it, sister?" Will spoke
consolingly, but he looked worried.
"Well," came Mary's soothing tones, "you must not take all the blame, for
probably there were a great many more 'little nothings' that had something
to do with it. Al must take his share, too."
"Yes, perhaps," said Will; "but we have to take the blame that belongs to
Helen was aghast at the enormous result of her few minutes' irritability.
Such outbursts were not common with her. There was a catch in her voice as
she said, "Poor Al!"
Mary went directly to the heart of the matter. "It is done," she said. "It
is somebody's fault, of course, but what is to be done first to rectify
"I don't know, I am sure," Helen answered, musingly. "I have not had a
thought of anything but the garden picnic for the last two days, and I
don't seem to have any idea but picnic in my head."
"O, good!" ejaculated Mary. The joy of the discoverer shone in her eyes.
"The picnic! That is just the thing. Ask him, of course."
Alson Jarvis had hidden the hurts of his schoolmates' recent slights under
a nonchalant manner. Each one, while it cut deeply, seemed to aggravate him
to greater wilfulness. Well bred as he was, took no real pleasure in the
sports of the company of which he had made a part since the loss of the
position he so desired, and for which he had worked so faithfully. He felt
himself disgraced and barred from the old associates; so, from pure
discouragement, he continued with the new.
Helen Fairmont's note of invitation came as a surprise. It ran:—
"DEAR ALSON: I am inviting, for Aunt Sue, a number of my friends to meet
Miss Mary Sutton, my guest from Amosville. We are to have a garden picnic
Thursday evening. I think you will enjoy meeting Miss Sutton, as she has
the same love for golf you have, and I have already told her of the scores
you made last summer. Yours sincerely,
He read it with pleasure. Then the accumulated unkindnesses of his old
friends came before him. A spirit of resentment took hold of him. No, they
had shown how little they cared for him. Why should he go among them again?
There was plenty of other company he could enter. But why had she asked him
if she did not want him? O, well, they were all alike anyway! Even if she
had not already done so, Helen would pass him by sooner or later, like so
many of the others. But Will Fairmont had stuck to him. Maybe he had got
his sister to pity him. Al winced at the thought. "I am getting
contemptible. Will Fairmont would not do that. O, well, I might as well be
done with them all right now!" His eyes flashed defiantly. Then he caught
sight of the little note.
"Friendly enough," he said. "Sounds as honest and sincere as her brother."
Then he added: "I might give her the benefit of the doubt, I suppose. Yes,
I will go, if for no other reason than that she is Will's sister."
He went. And he enjoyed himself thoroughly thanks partially to Mrs.
Armour's knowledge of human nature. Where others saw only weakness, she
found smarting hurts. She felt that he was on dangerous ground, that he was
ashamed of himself, and that his self-pride and self-respect needed
propping, and she immediately proceeded to prop them.
Helen's grief over her own unsuspected part in his career resulted in an
especial effort to make the picnic a pleasure and success for him. With
that kindly compliance which is more common in those about us than we
sometimes think, the other young people accepted the idea of Alson's being
one of them again, and he found himself, before the termination of the
evening, on almost his old footing with them.
"Wasn't it a success all round?" said Mary that night. "I congratulate you,
Helen, on your ability to extend real hospitality. It was just lovely."
"They did seem to have a good time, didn't they? Al Jarvis was on my
conscience all the evening. Do you think he enjoyed himself?"
"Yes, I do, Helen."
"After what I did it was such a little return to make."
Simultaneously the girls laughed.
"Trifles again! They keep bobbing up, don't they? I suppose this is one of
those of little consequence."
"'Time will tell,'" sententiously quoted Mary.
Time did tell. Years afterward two successful lawyers sat in an office, one
congratulating the other on his brilliant speech of the day.
"It might never have been, Will," said Alson Jarvis, "if your aunt hadn't
somehow, without a single definite word on the subject, shown me the broken
road down which I had about decided to travel through It was at a party she
had in her grounds one night long ago for your sister and Mary Sutton. Do
you remember it?"
Did he? Will's heart glowed with pleasure and gratitude as he thought of
the great result of Mary's little suggestion about inviting Al. How unlike
this was the outcome of that miserable trifle which had played so important
a part in the lawyer's experience.—Elisabeth Golden, in the Wellspring.
Finish Thy Work
No other hand thy special task can do,
Though trivial it may seem to thee.
Thou canst not shirk
And still be blest of Heaven, from sin be free.
O idler in life's ripened harvest-field,
Perform thy task, that rich thy work may yield!
Ah, sweet the thought that comes at set of sun,
If finished is the work of that one day.
But O the joy
Awaiting him who at life's close can say,
"I'm ready, Father, to go home to thee;
The work is finished which thou gavest me."
MRS. M A LOPER.
A SECOND TRIAL
A College Scene
It was commencement day at college. The people were pouring into the church
as I entered. Finding the choice seats already taken, I pressed onward,
looking to the right and the left for a vacancy, and on the very front row
I found one. Here a little girl moved along to make room for me, looking
into my face with large gray eyes, whose brightness was softened by very
long lashes. Her face was open and fresh as a newly blown rose. Again and
again I found my eyes turning to the rose-like face, and each time the gray
eyes moved, half-smiling, to meet mine. Evidently the child was ready to
make friends with me. And when, with a bright smile, she returned my
dropped handkerchief, we seemed fairly introduced.
"There is going to be a great crowd," she said to me.
"Yes," I replied; "people always like to see how schoolboys are made into
Her face beamed with pleasure and pride as she said: "My brother is going
to graduate; he's going to speak. I have brought these flowers to throw at
They were not greenhouse favorites, but just old-fashioned domestic
flowers, such as we associate with the dear grandmothers. "But," I thought,
"they will seem sweet and beautiful to him, for his little sister's sake."
"That is my brother," she went on, pointing with her nosegay.
"The one with the light hair?" I asked.
"O, no;" she said, smiling and shaking her head in innocent reproof; "not
that homely one with red hair; that handsome one with brown, wavy hair. His
eyes look brown, too; but they are not, they are dark blue. There! he's got
his hand up to his head now. You see him, don't you?"
In an eager way she looked from him to me, as if some important fate
depended on my identifying her brother.
"I see him," I said. "He is a very good-looking brother."
"Yes, he is beautiful," she said, with artless delight, "and he's good, and
he studies so hard. He has taken care of me ever since mama died. Here is
his name on the program. He is not the valedictorian, but he has an honor
for all that."
I saw in the little creature's familiarity with these technical college
terms that she had closely identified herself with her brother's studies,
hopes, and successes.
"He thought at first," she continued, "that he would write on 'The Romance
of Monastic Life.'"
What a strange sound these long words had, whispered from her childish
lips! Her interest in her brother's work had stamped them on the child's
memory, and to her they were ordinary things.
"But then," she went on, "he decided that he would write on 'Historical
Parallels,' and he has a real good oration, and says it beautifully. He has
said it to me a great many times. I almost know it by heart. O, it begins
so pretty and so grand! This is the way it begins," she added, encouraged
by the interest she must have seen in my face: "'Amid the combinations of
actors and forces that make up the great kaleidoscope of history, we often
find a turn of Destiny's hand.'"
"Why, bless the baby!" I thought, looking down into her proud face. I
cannot describe how very odd and elfish it did seem to have those sonorous
words rolling out of the smiling mouth. The band striking up put an end to
the quotation and to the confidences. As the exercises progressed and
approached nearer and nearer the effort on which all her interest was
concentrated, my little friend became excited and restless. Her eyes grew
larger and brighter; two deep red spots glowed on her cheek. She touched up
the flowers, manifestly making the offering ready for the shrine.
"Now it's his turn," she said, turning to me a face in which pride and
delight and anxiety seemed equally mingled. But when the overture was
played through, and his name was called, the child seemed, in her
eagerness, to forget me and all the earth except him. She rose to her feet
and leaned forward for a better view of her beloved as he mounted to the
speaker's stand. I knew by her deep breathing that her heart was throbbing
in her throat. I knew, too, by the way her brother came to the front, that
he was trembling. The hands hung limp: his face was pallid, and the lips
blue, as with cold. I felt anxious. The child, too, seemed to discern that
things were not well with him. Something like fear showed in her face.
He made an automatic bow. Then a bewildered, struggling look came into his
face, then a helpless look, and he stood staring vacantly, like a
somnambulist, at the waiting audience. The moments of painful suspense went
by, and he still stood as if struck down. I saw how it was; he had been
seized with stage fright.
Alas, little sister! She turned her large, dismayed eves on me. "He's
forgotten it," she said. Then a swift change came over her face, a strong,
determined look; and on the funeral-like silence of the room broke the
sweet child voice:—
"'Amid the combinations of actors and forces that make up the great
kaleidoscope of history, we often find that a turn of Destiny's hand—'"
Everybody about us turned and looked. The breathless silence, the sweet,
childish voice, the childish face, the long, unchildlike words, produced a
But the help had come too late; the unhappy brother was already staggering
in humiliation from the stage. The band quickly struck up, and waves of
lively music were rolled out to cover the defeat.
I gave the sister a glance in which I meant to show the intense sympathy
which I felt, but she did not see. Her eyes, swimming with tears, were on
her brother's face. I put my arm around her. She was too absorbed to feel
the caress, and before I could appreciate her purpose she was on her way to
the shame-stricken young man, sitting with a face like a statue's. When he
saw her by his side, the set face relaxed, and a quick mist came into his
eyes. The young men got closer together to make room for her. She sat down
beside him, laid her flowers upon his knee, and slipped her hand into his.
I could not keep my eyes from her sweet, pitying face. I saw her whisper to
him, he bending a little to catch her word. Later, I found out that she was
asking him if he knew his "piece" now, and that he answered yes.
When the young man next on the list had spoken, and the band was playing,
the child, to the brother's great surprise, made her way up the platform
steps, and pressed through the throng of professors, trustees, and
distinguished visitors, to the president.
"If you please, sir," she said, with a little courtesy, "will you and the
trustees let my brother try again? He knows his 'piece' now."
For a moment, the president stared at her through his gold-bowed
spectacles, and then, appreciating the child's petition, he smiled on her,
and went down and spoke to the young man who had failed.
So it happened that when the band had again ceased playing, it was briefly
announced that Mr. Duane would now deliver his oration, "Historic
"'Amid the combinations of actors and forces that——'" This the little
sister whispered to him as he arose to answer the summons.
A ripple of heightened and expectant interest passed over the audience, and
then all sat stone-still as if fearing to breathe lest the speaker might
again take fright. No danger. The hero in the youth was aroused. He went at
his "piece" with a set purpose to conquer, to redeem himself, and to bring
back the smile into the child's tear-stained face. I watched the face
during the speaking. The wide eyes, the parted lips, the whole rapt being,
said the breathless audience was forgotten, that her spirit was moving with
And when the address was ended, with the ardent abandon of one who catches
enthusiasm, in the realization that he is fighting down a wrong judgment
and conquering a sympathy, the effect was really thrilling. That dignified
audience broke into rapturous applause; bouquets intended for the
valedictorian rained like a tempest. And the child who had helped save the
day, that one beaming little face, in its pride and gladness, is something
to be forever remembered.—Our Dumb Animals.
THE SIN OF EXTRAVAGANCE
"It may be a folly, but you would not think of calling extravagance a sin?"
asked a young man of his minister.
"I do not care to offend you by harsh terms, but if we agree that it is a
folly, that is reason enough for wishing to be wiser."
"But it is very easy to spend money when one is with others, and one does
not like to be called 'tight.'"
"John," said the minister, "I do not propose to argue with you, but I want
to tell you two stories, both of them true, recent, and out of my own
experience. They will illustrate the reason why, knowing you as well as I
do, having baptized you and received you into the church, I cannot view
without concern your growing extravagance, and the company into which it
leads you, and the interests from which it tends to separate you.
"A few months ago a young man came to this city, and spent his first days
here under my own roof. I have known his father for many years, an earnest,
faithful man, who has denied himself for that boy, and prayed for him, and
done everything that a father ought.
"I chance to remember a word which his father spoke to me a number of years
ago, when the boy was a young lad, and was recovering from a sickness that
made it seem possible he would need a change of climate. I happen to
remember meeting his father, who told me of this, and how he was arranging
in his own mind to change his business, to make any sacrifice, to move to
the ends of the earth, if necessary, for that boy's sake.
"The boy is not a bad boy. But he had not been in my home an hour before he
asked me for the address of a tailor, and when his new suit came,—a suit
which I thought he might very well have waited to earn,—it was silk-lined
throughout. I do not believe the suit which his father wears as he passes
the plate in church every Sunday is silk-lined.
"I knew what the boy was to earn, and could estimate what he could afford,
and I knew that he could not buy that suit out of his own earnings.
"I had a letter from his father a few days ago. Shall I read it to you? It
is very short. It reads as follows:—
"'MY DEAR FRIEND: I hope you will never know how hard it is for me to write
to you to say that you must not under any circumstances lend money to my
"And those last three words make it the more pathetic.
"The second story, too, is recent. Another boy, from another State, came to
this city, and for the first few Sundays attended our church. We tried to
interest him in good things; we liked him, and did our best for him. I saw
little in him to disturb me, except that he was spending more money than I
could think he earned. Recently I received a letter from his father. It is
longer, and I will not read it, but will tell you the substance of it. He
wrote saying that his son was employed in a business where, with economy,
he ought to be able to make a living from the start, and with hope for
advancement, but that from the first week he had written home for money.
Not only so, but the father had all too good reason to believe that the boy
was still leaving bills unpaid. The father wrote to ask me whether he could
not arrange with some one connected with the church to receive the boy's
money from home week by week, and see that it was applied to the uses for
which it was sent. He added that he would be glad to consider himself a
contributor to the church during the period of this arrangement.
"I had little hope that any arrangement of this kind would help matters,
but I took it as indicating that the boy needed looking after, and I sent
at once to look him up. Where do you think we found him?—In jail.
"These are not imaginary stories, nor are they of a remote past. And I see
other young men for whom I am anxious. Wear the coat a little longer, but
pay for it out of your own money. Be considered 'tight' if necessary, but
live within your means. It is good sense; more than that, it is good
"And now I will answer your question, or rather, you may answer it: Is
extravagance merely a folly, or is it also a sin? What do you
A LITTLE CHILD'S WORK
Near one of the tiny schoolhouses of the West is a carefully tended mound,
the object of the tenderest interest on the part of a man known far and
wide as "Preacher Jim," a rough, unministerial-looking person, who yet has
reached the hearts and lives of many of the men and women in that region,
and has led them to know the Master whom he serves in his humble fashion.
Twenty years ago Preacher Jim was a different man. Rough and untaught, his
only skill was shown by the dexterity with which he manipulated the cards
that secured to him his livelihood. Then, as now, he was widely known, but
in those days his title was "Gambler Jim."
It was during a long, tiresome trip across the Rockies that a clergyman and
his wife, having undressed their little boy and tucked him snugly into his
berth, repaired to the observation-car in order to watch the November
An hour passed swiftly; then suddenly a rough-looking fellow made his way
toward the group of which the clergyman was one.
"Anybody here got a kid what's dressed in a red nightgown and sings like a
bird?" he demanded, awkwardly.
The father and mother sprang excitedly to their feet, gasping in fear. The
man nodded reassuringly.
"The' ain't nothing the matter of him," he said, with yet deeper
embarrassment. "The matter's with—us. You're a parson, ain't you? The
kid, he's been singin' to us—an' talkin'. If you don't mind, we'd take it
mighty good of you to come with me. Not you, ma'am. The kid's all safe, an'
the parson'll bring him back in a little while."
With a word to his wife, the minister followed his guide toward the front
of the train, and on through car after car until thirteen of them had been
traversed. As the two men opened the door of the smoking compartment, they
stopped to look and listen.
Up on one of the tables stood the tiny boy, his face flushed, his voice
shrill and sweet.
"Is you ready?" he cried, insistently. "My papa says the Bridegroom is
Jesus, an' he wants everybody to be ready when he comes, just 'cause he
loves you." Then, with a childish sweetness, came the song which had
evidently made the deepest impression upon the child's mind: "Are you ready
for the Bridegroom when he comes?"
"He's sung it over 'n' over," whispered the clergyman's companion, "'nd I
couldn't stan' no more. He said you'd pray, parson."
As the two approached, the boy lifted his sweet, serious eyes to his
"They want to get ready," he said, simply. And, his boy snuggled childishly
in his arms, the minister prayed, as he never had prayed before, for the
men gathered about the child.
It was only a few moments before the clergyman bore the child back to the
sleeping-car, where the mother anxiously awaited his coming. Then he
returned to talk with the men, four of whom that night decided to "get
ready," and among them was, of course, the man who sought out the father of
the child, Gambler Jim.
To this day it remains a mystery how the child succeeded in reaching the
smoking-car unnoticed and unhindered.
As for the little fellow himself, his work was early done, for a few weeks
later, upon the return trip through the mountains, he was suddenly stricken
with a swift and terrible disease, and the parents tenderly laid the little
form under the sod near the schoolhouse where Preacher Jim now tells so
often the story, which never grows old.—Youth's Companion.
Christ Is Coming
Little children, Christ is coming,
Coming through the flaming sky,
To convey his trusting children
To their glorious home on high
Do you love the Lord's appearing?
Are you waiting for the day
When with all his shining angels
He will come in grand array?
All who keep the ten commandments
Will rejoice his face to see;
But the wicked, filled with anguish,
From his presence then will flee
Now while yet probation lingers,
Now while mercy's voice is heard,
Haste to give your heart to Jesus,
Seek to understand his Word
Quickly help to spread the message,
You to Christ some soul may turn.
Though the multitudes his goodness
And his tender love may spurn.
Little children, Christ is coming,
Even God's beloved Son;
When in glory he descendeth,
Will he say to you, "Well done"?
THE HANDY BOX
"Grandmother, do you know where I can find a little bit of wire?" asked
Marjorie, running from the shed, where an amateur circus was in
Grandmother went to a little closet in the room and disappeared a moment,
coming out presently with the wire.
"O, yes! and Fred wanted me to ask if you had a large safety-pin." Marjorie
looked a little wistful, as if she did not quite like to bother
There was another trip made to the closet, and the safety-pin was in
"You are a pretty nice grandma," she said, over her shoulder, as she ran
Not very long after, Marjorie came into the kitchen again. This time she
stood beside the sink, where grandmother was washing dishes, and twisted
her little toes in her sandals, but seemed afraid to speak.
"Fred wants to know"—began grandmother, laughing.
"Yes'm," said Marjorie, blushing.
"If I can't find him a piece of strong string?" finished grandmother.
"O, no—it's a little brass tack!" declared Marjorie, soberly.
She was a patient, loving grandmother, and she went to the little closet
again. Marjorie could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the tacks, for
there were three!
"He—said—" she began slowly, and stopped.
"You ought to tell him to come and say it himself," and grandmother
laughed; "but we will forgive him this time. Was it 'Thank you,' he said?"
"He feels 'Thank you' awfully, I'm sure," said Marjorie, politely, "but
what he said was that if wasn't too much bother—well, he could use a kind
of hook thing."
Her grandmother produced a long iron hook, and Marjorie looked at her
wonderingly. "Are you a fairy?" she asked, timidly. "You must have a wand
and just make things."
Grandmother laughed. "Come here," she said. And she opened the little dark
closet, and from the shelf took a long wooden box. This she brought to the
table, and when she opened it, Marjorie gave a little cry of delight. It
seemed to her that there was a little of everything in it. There were bits
of string, pins, colored paper, bobbins, balls, pieces of felt, and every
sort of useful thing generally thrown away.
"When I knew my grandchildren were coming here to spend the summer," she
said, "I began on this box, and whenever I find anything astray that would
naturally be thrown out I just put it in."
"Do you want me to help save, too?" asked Marjorie, who thought the story
should have a moral.
"You must start a handy box of your own when you go back, and keep it in
the nursery. You don't know how many times a day you will be able to help
the others out. A little darning yarn, an odd thimble, a bit of soft linen,
and all the things that clutter and would be thrown away, go to fill up a
handy box. You can be the good fairy of the nursery."
"It is just wonderful!" said Marjorie. "If I had a little—just a little
wooden box, I would begin today, and when I go home I can have a larger
Grandmother smiled, and brought out a smaller wooden box, just the right
size. From that moment Marjorie was a collector, and her usefulness
began.—Mira Jenks Stafford, in Youth's Companion.
THE RESULT OF DISOBEDIENCE
My parents and their six children, including myself, lived in Flintville,
Wisconsin, near the Suamico River and Pond, where a great number of logs
had been floated in for lumber. On the opposite side from us were woods,
where wintergreen berries were plentiful. One pleasant Sunday morning in
October, 1857, one of our playmates came to ask mother if we, my older
sister, a younger brother, and I, might go with her to pick some of these
Mother said we might go if we would go down the river and cross the bridge.
She knew that we had crossed the pond several times on the logs, but the
water was unusually high for that time of the year, and there was danger in
crossing that way. We promised to cross by the bridge, really intending
when we left home to do so. Mother let my two younger sisters, one four and
the other six years old, go with us.
We left the house as happy as could be. My mother smiled as she stood in
the door and watched us go. She had always trusted us, and we seldom
disobeyed her. But this time we had our playmate with us, and the had been
in the habit of having her own way. As she was a little older than we were,
we thought that what she said or did was all right.
We had gone but a short distance when this girl, whose name was Louise,
suggested that we run across the logs, and get to the berries so much the
sooner. We reminded her of what our mother had told us; but she said, "Your
mother does not know how snug the logs are piled in, and that it would be
such fun, and no danger, to cross on them."
We began to look at the matter in the same way, and after playing a few
minutes, we started across. I took one of my little sisters, and Louise was
going to take the younger one; but, as she was about to start, her brother,
whom she had not seen for some time, drove up and took her home with him.
My brother, thinking he could take our little sister across, started with
her, but I called to him to go back and wait for me to do it; for I was
then about half-way over. The stream was not wide, and he thought he could
take her over as well as I.
Just as I started back, O, what a sight met my eyes! I saw my little sister
slip off the log into the water. I ran to catch her, but was not quick
enough. As I reached for her, my brother and I both rolled from the log
into the water with her. Then my sister, who had been standing on the bank
to see if we got over safely, came to our rescue; but we were so frightened
that we caught hold of her, and, instead of her pulling us out, we pulled
her in with us.
By that time our screams had reached our mother's ears, and she came
running to see what the trouble was. She saw only one of us, as the others
were under water, or nearly so, and, supposing there was only one in the
water, she came on the logs to help. By the time she got to us, the logs
were under motion, so that she could not stand on them; and she, too, fell
into the water.
The six-year-old sister, whom I had taken across, saw it all and made an
attempt to come to us. Mother called to her to go back. She turned back,
and reached the shore all right. Just as mother spoke, she felt something
come against her feet. She raised her foot with the weight, and caught the
dress of little Emeline, who was sinking for the last time. Mother managed
to hold her till help came.
It being Sunday, nearly every man that lived near was away from home.
Fortunately, a Mr. Flint, who had company visiting him, was at home. The
men were eating their dinner when a woman who had seen us in the water
rushed into the dining-room and told them that Mr. Tripp's family were in
the mill-pond drowning. They rushed from the table, tipping it over and
breaking some dishes.
When they reached us, the logs and water were so disturbed that nothing
could be done for us until boards were brought to lay on the logs. During
this time I had caught hold of a log that was crowded between others, so I
could pull myself up without rolling, but could get no farther. My sister
Sarah and brother Willard were helped ashore. Emeline, whom mother had been
trying hard to hold up, was taken out, but showed no signs of life. She was
laid on a log while they helped mother out.
As soon as mother saw Emeline, she told the men to turn her on her stomach.
They then saw that there was life. She was quickly taken to the house, and
cared for by an old lady we called Aunt Betsey, who had come to help.
While taking mother to shore, the nine men who had come to our rescue fell
into the water. They all had to walk on the same long board to get to
shore. The boards having been placed so very quickly, it was not noticed,
until too late, that one was unsafe. The men were near enough to shore
where they fell in, so that they could touch bottom, and were not long in
Mother had to be taken home, where she was cared for by the best help we
could procure. It was impossible to get a doctor where we lived in those
days. Little Emeline and mother were watched over all night, and at sunrise
the next morning they were pronounced out of danger.
The men who fell in got off with only an unpleasant wetting. The water was
quite cold; the pond froze over the following night. They did not start for
home that day, as they were intending to do, but spent the rest of the day
drying their clothing.
About noon our father, who had been away for three days, came home. When he
heard the story of our disaster, he wept, and thanked God for sparing our
All this happened because we did not obey our mother; and we children never
forgot the lesson.
MRS. M. J. LAWRENCE.
Likes and Dislikes
I had a little talk today—
An argument with Dan and Ike:
First Dan, he said 'twas not his way
To do the things he didn't like.
And Ike, he said that Dan was wrong;
That only cowards dodged and hid.
Because it made him brave and strong,
The things he didn't like, he did!
But then I showed to Ike and Dan
An easy way between the two:
I always try, as best I can,
To like the things I have to do.
—Arthur Guiterman, in Youth's Companion.
The work of David Livingstone in Africa was so far that of a
missionary-explorer and general that the field of his labor is too broad to
permit us to trace individual harvests. No one man can quickly scatter seed
over so wide an area. But there is one marvelous story connected with his
death, the like of which has never been written on the scroll of human
history. All the ages may safely be challenged to furnish its parallel.
On the night of his death he called for Susi, his faithful servant, and,
after some tender ministries had been rendered to the dying man,
Livingstone said: "All right; you may go out now," and Susi reluctantly
left him alone. At four o'clock the next morning, May 1, Susi and Chuma,
with four other devoted attendants, anxiously entered that grass hut at
Ilala. The candle was still burning, but the greater light of life had gone
out. Their great master, as they called him, was on his knees, his body
stretched forward, his head buried in his hands upon the pillow. With
silent awe, they stood apart and watched him, lest they should invade the
privacy of prayer. But he did not stir; there was not even the motion of
breathing, but a suspicious rigidity of inaction. Then one of them,
Matthew, softly came near and gently laid his hands upon Livingstone's
cheeks. It was enough; the chill of death was there. The great father of
Africa's dark children was dead, and they were orphans. The most refined
and cultured Englishmen would have been perplexed as to what course to
take. They were surrounded by superstitious and unsympathetic savages, to
whom the unburied remains of the dead man would be an object of dread. His
native land was six thousand miles away, and even the coast was fifteen
hundred. A grave responsibility rested upon these simple-minded sons of the
Dark Continent, to which few of the wisest would have been equal. Those
remains, with his valuable journals, instruments, and personal effects,
must be carried to Zanzibar. But the body must first be preserved from
decay, and they had no skill nor facilities for embalming; and if
preserved, there were no means of transportation—no roads nor carts. No
beasts of burden being available, the body must be borne on the shoulders
of human beings; and, as no strangers could be trusted, they must
themselves undertake the journey and the sacred charge.
These humble children of the forest were grandly equal to the occasion, and
they resolved among themselves to carry the body to the seashore, and not
give it into other hands until they could surrender it to his countrymen.
Moreover, to insure safety to the remains and security to the bearers, it
must be done with secrecy. They would gladly have kept secret even their
master's death, but the fact could not be concealed. God, however, disposed
Chitambo and his subjects to permit these servants of the great missionary
to prepare his emaciated body for its last journey, in a hut built for the
purpose, on the outskirts of the village.
Now watch these black men as they rudely embalm the body of him who had
been to them a savior. They tenderly open the chest and take out the heart
and viscera. These they, with a poetic and pathetic sense of fitness,
reserve for his beloved Africa. The heart that for thirty-three years had
beat for her welfare must be buried in her bosom. And so one of the Nassik
boys, Jacob Wainright, read the simple service of burial, and under the
moula-tree at Ilala that heart was deposited, and that tree, carved with a
simple inscription, became his monument. Then the body was prepared for its
long journey; the cavity was filled with salt, brandy poured into the
mouth, and the corpse laid out in the sun for fourteen days, and so was
reduced to the condition of a mummy, Afterward it was thrust into a hollow
cylinder of bark. Over this was sewed a covering of canvas. The whole
package was securely lashed to a pole, and so at last was ready to be borne
between two men upon their shoulders.
As yet the enterprise was scarcely begun, and the most difficult part of
their task was before them. The sea was far away, and the path lay through
a territory where nearly every fifty miles would bring them to a new tribe,
to face new difficulties.
Nevertheless, Susi and Chuma took up their precious burden, and, looking to
Livingstone's God for help, began the most remarkable funeral march on
record. They followed the track their master had marked with his footsteps
when he penetrated to Lake Bangweolo, passing to the south of Lake Lumbi,
which is a continuation of Tanganyika, then crossing to Unyanyembe, where
it was found out that they were carrying a dead body. Shelter was hard to
get, or even food; and at Kasekera they could get nothing for which they
asked, except on condition that they would bury the remains they were
Now indeed their love and generalship were put to a new test. But again
they were equal to the emergency. They made up another package like the
precious burden, only it contained branches instead of human bones; and
this, with mock solemnity, they bore on their shoulders to a safe distance,
scattered the contents far and wide in the brushwood, and came back without
the bundle. Meanwhile others of their party had repacked the remains,
doubling them up into the semblance of a bale of cotton cloth, and so they
once more managed to procure what they needed and go on with their charge.
The true story of that nine months' march has never been written, and it
never will be, for the full data cannot be supplied. But here is material
waiting for some coming English Homer or Milton to crystallize into one of
the world's noblest epics; and it deserves the master hand of a great poet
artist to do it justice.
See these black men, whom some scientific philosophers would place at one
remove from the gorilla, run all manner of risks, by day and night, for
forty weeks; now going around by circuitous route to resort to strategem to
get their precious burden through the country; sometimes forced to fight
their foes in order to carry out their holy mission. Follow them as they
ford the rivers and travel trackless deserts; facing torrid heat and
drenching tropical storms; daring perils from wild beasts and relentless
wild men; exposing themselves to the fatal fever, and burying several of
their little band on the way. Yet on they went, patient and persevering,
never fainting nor halting, until love and gratitude had done all that
could be done, and they laid down at the feet of the British consul, on the
twelfth of March, 1874, all that was left of Scotland's great hero.
When, a little more than a month later, the coffin of Livingstone was
landed in England, April 15, it was felt that no less a shrine than
Britain's greatest burial-place could fitly hold such precious dust. But so
improbable and incredible did it seem that a few rude Africans could
actually have done this splendid deed, at such a cost of time and such
risk, that not until the fractured bones of the arm, which the lion crushed
at Jabotsa thirty years before, identified the body, was certain that this
was Livingstone's corpse. And then, on the eighteenth of April, 1874, such
a funeral cortege entered the great abbey of Britain's illustrious dead as
few warriors or heroes or princes ever drew to that mausoleum.
The faithful body-servants who had religiously brought home every relic of
the person or property of the great missionary explorer were accorded
places of honor. And well they might be. No triumphal procession of earth's
mightiest conqueror ever equaled for sublimity that lonely journey through
Africa's forests. An example of tenderness, gratitude, devotion, heroism,
equal to this, the world had never seen. The exquisite inventiveness of a
love that lavished tears as water on the feet of Jesus, and made tresses of
hair a towel, and broke the alabaster flask for his anointing; the feminine
tenderness that lifted his mangled body from the cross and wrapped it in
new linen, with costly spices, and laid it in a virgin tomb, have at length
been surpassed by the ingenious devotion of the cursed sons of Canaan.
The grandeur and pathos of that burial scene, amid the stately columns and
arches of England's famous Abbey, pale in luster when contrasted with that
simpler scene near Ilala, when, in God's greater cathedral of nature, whose
columns and arches are the trees, whose surpliced choir are the singing
birds, whose organ is the moaning wind, the grassy carpet was lifted, and
dark hands laid Livingstone's heart to rest, In that great cortege that
moved up the nave no truer nobleman was found than that black man, Susi,
who in illness had nursed the Blantyre hero, had laid his heart in Africa's
bosom, and whose hand was now upon his pall.
Let those who doubt and deride Christian missions to the degraded children
of Africa, who tell us that it is not worth while to sacrifice precious
lives for the sake of these doubly lost millions of the Dark
Continent,—let such tell us whether it is not worth while, at any cost, to
seek out and save men with whom such Christian heroism is possible.
Burn on, thou humble candle, burn within thy hut of grass,
Though few may be the pilgrim feet that through Ilala pass;
God's hand hath lit thee, long to shine, and shed thy holy light
Till the new day-dawn pour its beams o'er Afric's long midnight.
—Arthur T. Pierson, in "The Miracles of Missions," second series.
A lean, awkward boy came to the door of the principal of a celebrated
school one morning, and asked to see him. The servant eyed his mean
clothes, and thinking he looked more like a beggar than anything else, told
him to go around to the kitchen. The boy did as he was bidden, and soon
appeared at the back door.
"I should like to see Mr. Slade," said he.
"You want a breakfast, more like," said the servant girl, "and I can give
you that without troubling him."
"Thank you," said the boy; "I should like to see Mr. Slade, if he can see
"Some old clothes maybe you want," remarked the servant again, eying the
boy's patched clothes. "I guess he has none to spare; he gives away a
sight." And, without minding the boy's request, she went about her work.
"May I see Mr. Slade?" again asked the boy, after finishing his bread and
"Well, he is in the library; if he must be disturbed, he must. He does like
to be alone sometimes," said the girl in a peevish tone.
She seemed to think it very foolish to admit such a fellow into her
master's presence. However, she wiped her hands, and bade him follow.
Opening the library door, she said:—
"Here's somebody, sir, who is dreadful anxious to see you, and so I let him
I do not know how the boy introduced himself, or now he opened the
business, but I know that, after talking awhile, the principal put aside
the volume that he was studying, and took up some Greek books, and began to
examine the boy. The examination lasted for some time. Every question the
principal asked was answered promptly.
"Upon my word," exclaimed the principal, "you do well!" looking at the boy
from head to foot over his spectacles. "Why, my boy, where did you pick up
"In my spare moments," answered the boy.
Here was a poor, hard-working boy, with few opportunities for schooling,
yet almost fitted for college by simply improving his spare moments.
Truly are spare moments the "gold-dust of time"! How precious they should
be regarded! What account can you give for your spare moments? What can you
show for them? Look and see. This boy can tell you how very much can be
laid up by improving them; and there are many, very many other boys, I am
afraid, in jail and in the house of correction, in the forecastle of a
whaleship, in the gambling-house, in the tippling-shop, who, if you should
ask them when they began their sinful course, might answer, "In my spare
moments." "In my spare moments I gambled for marbles." "In my spare moments
I began to swear and drink." "It was in my spare moments that I began to
steal chestnuts from the old woman's stand." "It was in my spare moments
that I gathered with wicked associates."
Then be very careful how you spend your spare moments. The tempter always
hunts you out in small seasons like these; when you are not busy, he gets
into your hearts, if he possibly can, in just such gaps. There he hides
himself, planning all sorts of mischief Take care of your spare
A GOLD MEDAL
[Right and generous deeds are not always rewarded nor always recognized;
but the doing of them is our duty, even diough they pass unnoticed.
Sometimes, however, a noble, unselfish, manly act is met by a reward that
betrays, on the part of the giver, the same praiseworthy spirit as that
which prompted the act. Do right, be courteous, be noble, though man may
never express his appreciation. The God of right will, in his own good
time, give the reward.]
I shall never forget a lesson I once received. We saw a boy named Watson
driving a cow to pasture. In the evening he drove her back again, we did
not know where. This was continued several weeks.
The boys attending the school were nearly all sons of wealthy parents, and
some of them were dunces enough to look with disdain on a student who had
to drive a cow. With admirable good nature Watson bore all their attempts
to annoy him.
"I suppose, Watson," said Jackson, another boy, one day, "I suppose your
father intends to make a milkman of you?"
"Why not?" asked Watson.
"O, nothing! Only don't leave much water in the cans after you rinse them,
The boys laughed, and Watson, not in the least mortified, replied:—
"Never fear. If ever I am a milkman, I'll give good measure and good milk."
The day after this conversation, there was a public examination, at which
ladies and gentlemen from the neighboring towns were present, and prizes
were awarded by the principal of our school. Both Watson and Jackson
received a creditable number; for, in respect to scholarship, they were
about equal. After the ceremony of distribution, the principal remarked
that there was one prize, consisting of a gold medal, which was rarely
awarded, not so much on account of its great cost, as because the instances
were rare which rendered its bestowal proper. It was the prize of heroism.
The last medal was awarded about three years ago to a boy in the first
class, who rescued a poor girl from drowning.
The principal then said that, with the permission of the company, he would
relate a short anecdote:—
"Not long ago some boys were flying a kite in the street, just as a poor
lad on horseback rode by on his way to the mill. The horse took fright and
threw the boy, injuring him so badly that he was carried home, and confined
some weeks to his bed. Of the boys who had unintentionally caused the
disaster, none followed to learn the fate of the wounded lad. There was one
boy, however, who witnessed the accident from a distance, who not only went
to make inquiries, but stayed to render service.
"This boy soon learned that the wounded boy was the grandson of a poor
widow, whose sole support consisted in selling the milk of a cow, of which
she was the owner. She was old and lame, and her grandson, on whom she
depended to drive her cow to the pasture, was now helpless with his
bruises. 'Never mind,' said the friendly boy, 'I will drive the cow.'
"But his kindness did not stop there. Money was wanted to get articles from
the apothecary. 'I have money that my mother sent me to buy boots with,'
said he, 'but I can do without them for a while.' 'O, no,' said the old
woman, 'I can't consent to that; but here is a pair of heavy boots that I
bought for Thomas, who can't wear them. If you would only buy these, we
should get on nicely.' The boy bought the boots, clumsy as they were, and
has worn them up to this time.
"Well, when it was discovered by the other boys at the school that our
student was in the habit of driving a cow, he was assailed every day with
laughter and ridicule. His cowhide boots in particular were made matter of
mirth. But he kept on cheerfully and bravely, day after day, never shunning
observation, driving the widow's cow and wearing his thick boots. He never
explained why he drove the cow; for he was not inclined to make a boast of
his charitable motives. It was by mere accident that his kindness and
self-denial were discovered by his teacher.
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you, Was there not true heroism in
this boy's conduct? Nay, Master Watson, do not get out of sight behind the
blackboard. You were not afraid of ridicule; you must not be afraid of
As Watson, with blushing cheeks, came forward, a round of applause spoke
the general approbation, and the medal was presented to him amid the cheers
of the audience.—The Children's Own.
A GIRL'S RAILWAY ACQUAINTANCE
Most young people do not adequately realize what consummate address and
fair seeming can be assumed by a deceiving stranger until experience
enlightens them, and they suffer for their credulity. The danger,
especially to young girls traveling alone, is understood by their parents;
and no daughter is safe who disregards their injunction to permit no
advances by a new and self-introduced acquaintance, either man or woman.
A lady gave, some years ago, in one of the religious papers, an experience
of her own when she was a girl, which shows one of the artful ways by which
designing men win the confidence of the innocent.
Traveling from Boston to New York, she had the company of a girl friend as
far as Springfield. For the rest of the way she was to ride alone, and, as
she supposed, unnoticed, save by the watchful conductor, to whose care her
father had entrusted her.
She was beginning to feel lonely when a gentlemanly looking man of about
forty-five approached her seat with an apology, and, by way of question,
spoke her name. Surprised, but on her guard, for she remembered her home
warnings, she made no reply; but the pleasant stranger went on to say that
he was a schoolmate of her mother, whom he called by her girl name. This
had its effect; and when he mentioned the names of other persons whom she
knew, and begged to hear something of these old friends with whom he once
went to school, she made no objection to his seating himself by her side.
The man made himself very agreeable; and the young girl of sixteen thought
how delighted her mother would be to know she had met one of her old
playmates, who said so many complimentary things about her. He talked very
tenderly about the loss of his wife, and once went back to his own seat to
get a picture of his motherless little girl, and a box of bonbons.
The conductor passed just then, and asked the young lady if she ever saw
that gentleman before. She told him No; but, though the question was put
very kindly and quietly, it made her quite indignant.
As they approached the end of the journey, the man penciled a brief note to
her mother on a card, Signed what purported to be his name, and gave it to
her. Then he asked if he might get her a carriage provided her uncle, whom
she expected, did not meet her, and she assented at once.
When the train arrived in New York, and the conductor came and took her
traveling-bag, she was vexed, and protested that the gentleman had promised
to look after her. The official told her kindly, but firmly, that her
father had put her in his care, and he should not leave her until he had
seen her under her uncle's protection or put her in a carriage himself. She
turned for appeal to her new acquaintance, but he had vanished.
When she reached home after her visit, and told her experience, and
presented the card, her mother said she had never known nor heard of such a
man. The stranger had evidently sat within hearing distance of the girl and
her schoolmate, and listening to their merry chatter all the way from
Boston to Springfield, had given him the clue to names and localities that
enabled him to play his sinister game. Only the faithfulness of the wise
conductor saved her from possibilities too painful to be recorded
"Bob," called Harold to his little brother, who was playing on the back
door-step, "trot out to the barn and bring me my saw, will you?"
Bobby left his two pet cats, Topsy and Tiger, on the steps, and ran
obediently for the tool. Harold was very busy constructing a hen-coop, and
he needed a great deal of assistance.
"Thanks," he said, shortly, as the little boy returned. "Now, where did I
put those nails? O, they're on the kitchen table! Hand them out." Bobby
produced the nails, and sat down again to watch the work.
"Are you going to finish it today, Hal?" he asked.
"No; haven't time. I am going to the commons in about ten minutes. There is
a lacrosse match on; but I want to drive these nails first. O, say, Bob, my
lacrosse stick is up in my room! You go and bring it down, I am so awfully
Bobby ran eagerly up the stairs. He always went on errands for his big
brother very willingly, but this time he made special haste; for a hope was
entering his heart that perhaps Hal would take him to see the match.
"Mother!" he cried, poking his head out to the shady front veranda where
his mother and aunt sat sewing, "Hal's going to the commons; may I go too?"
His mother looked up from her sewing rather doubtfully.
"O, I really don't know, dearie!" she began.
"O, let the poor wee man go!" pleaded Aunt Kate, when she saw the look of
disappointment on Bobby's round face. "Hal will take care of him."
"Well, keep near Hal, Bobby. I don't like your crossing the railroad
Bobby bounded out to the back yard in high glee, waving the lacrosse stick.
"Mother says I can go, too," he shouted, jumping down the steps in a manner
that made Tiger and Topsy rise up indignantly and move to one side.
"O pshaw!" cried his brother, hammering a nail rather viciously. "What do
you always want to follow me round for?"
"O, can't I go?" cried the little fellow, in distress. "Aw, Hal, do let
"I can't have a kid like you forever tagging after me. Why can't you play
with boys of your own age? You can't come today, that's all about it."
"O Hal! you—you might let me! I won't be a bother!" Bobby's eyes were
beginning to brim over with tears. His face wore a look of despair.
"O, cry-baby; of course you must howl! You can stay at home and play with
And the big brother, whom Bobby had served so willingly all day, shouldered
his lacrosse stick and went off whistling.
Harold met his Aunt Kate in the hall.
"Where's your little footman?" she asked gaily. "Isn't he going?"
"Who? Bob? O Aunt Kate, he's too small to go everyvhere with me!"
"Ah!" Aunt Kate looked surprised. "I thought he was quite big enough to be
with you when there was work to be done, but I see, a footman is wanted to
run errands and do such things."
Harold was not very well acquainted with his aunt, and he was never quite
sure whether she was in fun or not. The idea of her saying Bob was his
footman! He felt quite indignant.
He had just reached the street when he remembered that he had left his ball
where he had been working. He half wished Bobby were with him, so he could
send him back for it. And then he felt ashamed when he remembered his
aunt's words. Was she right, after all, and did he make use of his little
brother, and then thrust him aside when he did not need him?
He did not like the idea of facing Aunt Kate again, so he slipped in
through the back gate, and walked quietly around the house. As he
approached the house, he heard a voice, and paused a moment, hidden by a
lilac bush. Poor, lonely Bobby was sitting on the steps, one hand on
Tiger's neck, while the other stroked Topsy. He was pouring out to his two
friends all his troubles.
"He doesn't like me, Tops, not one little bit. He never wants me round,
only to run and get things for him. You don't be bad to Tops just 'cause
she's littler than you, do you, Tiger? But I guess you like Topsy, and Hal
don't like me. He don't like me one little teenty bit." Here a sob choked
him, and through the green branches Harold could see a big tear-drop upon
Topsy's velvet coat.
"I wish I had a brother that liked me." went on the pitiful little voice.
"Tom Benson likes Charlie. He likes him an awful lot. And Charlie doesn't
do nearly so many things as I do. I guess I oughtn't to tell, Tiger, but
you and Tops wouldn't tell tales, so 'tisn't the same as tellin' father, or
mother, or Auntie Kate, is it, Tige? But I think he might like me a little
wee bit, don't you, Tiger?" And Harold could see the blue blouse sleeve
raised to brush away the hot tears.
Harold drew back quietly, and tiptoed down the walk to the street. He had
forgotten all about the ball. His eyes were so misty that he did not notice
Charlie Benson, waiting for him at the gate, until Tom called:—
"Hello there! I thought you were never coming, What kept you?"
"Say, is Charlie going?" asked Harold, suddenly.
"Of course I am!" cried the little fellow, cutting a caper on the sidewalk.
"Tom said I could. Didn't you, Tom?"
Tom laughed good-naturedly. "He was bound to come," he said. "He won't
"Well—I—think Bob wants to come, too," said Harold, hesitatingly, "and if
Charlie is going—"
"O, goody!" cried Charlie, who was Bobby's special chum. "Where is he?"
Harold put his fingers to his lips, and uttered two sharp whistles. Bobby
understood the signal, and came around the side of the house. He had
carefully wiped away his tears, but his voice was rather shaky.
"What d'ye want?" he called. He felt sure Hal had an errand for him.
"Charlie's going to the commons with us," shouted his brother, "so I guess
you can come, if you want to."
Bobby came down the path in leaps and bounds.
"I'm going, mother!" he shouted, waving his cap. And away he and Charlie
tore down the street ahead of their brothers.
"Hold on, there!" cried Harold, with a laugh. "Don't get crazy! And mind
you two keep near us at the track!"
It was about a week later that Aunt Kate laid her hand on Harold's
shoulder, and said: "I am afraid I made a mistake the other day, Hal. I
believe Bobby's been promoted from the rank of footman to be a
brother."—Martha Graham, in the King's Own.
One morning Christopher Lightenhome, aged sixty-eight, received an
unexpected legacy of six hundred dollars. His good old face betokened no
surprise, but it shone with a great joy. "I am never surprised at the
Lord's mercies," he said, reverently. Then, with a step to which vigor had
suddenly returned, he sought out Elnathan Owsley, aged twelve.
"Elnathan," he said, "I guess I am the oldest man in the poorhouse, but I
feel just about your age. Suppose you and I get out of here."
The boy smiled. He was very old for twelve, even as Christopher Lightenhome
was very young for sixty-eight.
"For a poorhouse this is a good place," continued Christopher, still with
that jubilant tone in his voice. "It is well conducted, just as the county
reports say. Still there are other places that suit me better. You come and
live with me, Elnathan. What do you say to it, boy?"
"Where are you going to live?" asked Elnathan, cautiously.
The old man regarded him approvingly. "You'll never be one to get out of
the frying-pan into the fire, will you?" he said. "But I know a room. I
have had my eye on it. It is big enough to have a bed, a table, a
cook-stove, and three chairs in it, and we could live there like lords.
Like lords, boy! Just think of it! I can get it for two dollars a month."
"With all these things in it?"
"No, with nothing in it. But I can buy the things, Elnathan, get them cheap
at the second-hand store. And I can cook to beat—well to beat some women
anyway—" He paused to think a moment of Adelizy, one of the pauper cooks.
"Yes," he thought, "Adelizy has her days. She's systematic. Some days
things are all but pickled in brine, and other days she doesn't put in any
salt at all. Some days they're overcooked, and other days it seems as if
Adelizy jerked them off the stove before they were heated through." Then he
looked eagerly into the unresponsive young face before him. "What's the
matter with my plan, Elnathan?" he asked, gravely. "Why don't you fall in
with it? I never knew you to hang off like this before."
"I haven't any money," was the slow answer. "I can't do my share toward it.
And I'm not going to live off of you. Your money will last you twice as
long as if you don't have to keep me. Adelizy says six hundred dollars
isn't much, if you do think it is a fortune, and you'll soon run through
with it, and be back here again."
For a moment the old man was stung. "I sha'n't spend the most of it for
salt to put in my victuals anyway," he said. Then his face cleared, and he
laughed. "So you haven't any money, and you won't let me keep you," he
continued. "Well, those are pretty honorable objections. I expect to do
away with them though, immediately." He drew himself up, and said,
impressively: "'That is gold which is worth gold.' You've got the gold all
right, Elnathan, or the money, whichever you choose to call it."
"Why, boy, look here!" Mr. Lightenhome exclaimed, as he seized the hard
young arm, where much enforced toil had developed good muscle. "There's
your gold, in that right arm of yours. What you want to do is to get it out
of your arm and into your pocket. I don't need to keep you. You can live
with me and keep yourself. What do you say now?"
The boy's face was alight. "Let's go today," he said.
"Not today—tomorrow," decided Mr. Lightenhome, gravely. "When I was young,
before misfortune met me and I was cheated out of all I had, I was used to
giving spreads. We'll give one tonight to those we used to be fellow
paupers with no longer ago than yesterday, and tomorrow we will go. We
began this year in the poorhouse; we will end it in our own home. That is
one of the bad beginnings that made a good ending, boy. There is more than
one of them. Mind that."
The morrow came, and the little home was started. Another morrow followed,
and Elnathan began in earnest to try getting the gold out of his arm and
into his pocket. He was a dreamy boy, with whom very few had had patience;
for nobody, not even himself, knew the resistless energy and dogged
perseverance that lay dormant within him. Mr. Lightenhome, however,
suspected it. "I believe," he said to himself, "that Elnathan, when he once
gets awakened, will be a hustler. But the poorhouse isn't exactly the place
to rouse up the ambition of Napoleon Bonaparte in any boy. Having a chance
to scold somebody is what Adelizy calls one of the comforts of a home. And
she certainly took out her comforts on Elnathan, and all the rest helped
her—sort of deadening to him, though. Living here with me and doing for
himself is a little more like what's needed in his case."
Slowly Elnathan wakened, and Mr. Lightenhome had patience with him. He
earned all he could, and he kept himself from being a burden on his only
friend, but he disliked work, and so he lagged over it. He did all that he
did well, however, and he was thoroughly trustworthy.
Three years went by. Elnathan was fifteen years old, and Christopher
Lightenhome was seventy-one.
The little room had always been clean. There had been each day enough
nourishing food to eat, though the old man, remembering Adelizy's
prediction, had set his face like flint against even the slightest
indulgence in table luxuries. And, although there had been days when
Elnathan had recklessly brought home a ten-cent pie and half a dozen
doughnuts from the baker's as his share of provision for their common
dinner, Mr. Lightenhome felt that he had managed well. And yet there were
only fifty dollars of the original six hundred left, and the poorhouse was
looming once more on the old man's sight. He sighed. An expression of
patience grew on the kind old face. He felt it to be a great pity that six
hundred dollars could not be made to go farther. And there was a
wistfulness in the glance he cast upon the boy. Elnathan was, as yet, only
half awake. The little room and the taste of honest independence had done
their best. Were they to fail?
The old man began to economize. His mittens wore out. He did not buy more.
He needed new flannels, but he did not buy them. Instead he tried to patch
the old ones, and Elnathan, coming in suddenly, caught him doing it.
"Why, Uncle Chris!" he exclaimed. "What are you patching those old things
for? Why don't you pitch 'em out and get new ones?"
The old man kept silent till he had his needle threaded. Then he said,
softly, with a half-apology in his tone, "The money's 'most gone,
The boy started. He knew as well as Mr. Lightenhome that when the last coin
was spent, the doors of the poorhouse would open once more to receive his
only friend. A thrill of gladness went through Elnathan as he recognized
that no such fate awaited him.
He could provide for himself. He need never return. And by that thrill in
his own bosom he guessed the feeling of his friend. He could not put what
he guessed into words. Nevertheless, he felt sure that the old man would
not falter nor complain.
"How much have you?" he asked.
Mr. Lightenhome told him.
Then, without a word, Elnathan got up and went out. His head sunk in
thought, and his hands in his trousers' pockets, he sauntered on in the
wintry air while he mentally calculated how long Mr. Lightenhome's funds
would last. "Not any later than next Christmas he will be in the poorhouse
again." He walked only a few steps. Then he stopped. "Will he?" he cried.
"Not if I know it."
This was a big resolve for a boy of fifteen, and the next morning Elnathan
himself thought so. He thought so even to the extent of considering a
retreat from the high task which he had the previous day laid before
himself. Then he looked at Mr. Lightenhome, who had aged perceptibly in the
last hours. Evidently he had lain awake in the night calculating how long
his money would last. The sight of him nerved the boy afresh. "I am not
going back on it," he told himself, vigorously. "I am just going to dig out
all the gold there is in me. Keeping Uncle Chris out of the poorhouse is
But he did not confide in the old man. "He would say it was too big a job
for me, and talk about how I ought to get some schooling," concluded the
Now it came about that the room, which, while it had not been the
habitation of lords, had been the abode of kingly kindness, became a silent
place. The anxious old man had no heart to joke. He had been to the
poorhouse, and had escaped from it into freedom. His whole nature rebelled
at the thought of returning. And yet he tried to school himself to look
forward to it bravely. "If it is the Lord's will," he told himself, "I will
have to bow to it."
Meanwhile those who employed Elnathan were finding him a very different boy
from the slow, lagging Elnathan they had known. If he was sent on an
errand, he made speed. "Here! get the gold out of your legs," he would say
to himself. If he sprouted potatoes for a grocer in his cellar, "There's
gold in your fingers, El," he would say. "Get it out as quick as you can."
He now worked more hours in a day than he had ever worked before, so that
he was too tired to talk much at meals, and too sleepy in the evening. But
there was a light in his eyes when they rested on Mr. Lightenhome that made
the old man's heart thrill.
"Elnathan would stand by me if he could," he would say to himself. "He's a
good boy. I must not worry him."
A month after Elnathan had begun his great labor of love, an astonishing
thing happened to him. He had a choice of two places offered him as general
utility boy in a grocery. Once he would have told Mr. Lightenhome, and
asked his advice as to which offer he should take, but he was now carrying
his own burdens. He considered carefully, and then he went to Mr. Benson.
"Mr. Benson," he said, "Mr. Dale wants me, too, and both offer the same
wages. Now which one of you will give me my groceries reduced as you do
your other clerks?"
"I will not," replied Mr. Benson, firmly. "Your demand is ridiculous. You
are not a clerk."
The irate Mr. Benson turned on his heel, and Elnathan felt himself
dismissed. He then went to Mr. Dale, to whom he honestly related the whole.
Mr. Dale laughed. "But you are not a clerk," he said, kindly.
"I know it, but I mean to be, and I mean to do all I can for you, too."
Mr. Dale looked at him, and he liked the bearing of the lad. "Go ahead," he
said. "You may have your groceries at the same rate I make clerks."
"Thank you," responded Elnathan, while the gratitude he felt crept into his
tones. "For myself," he thought, "I would not have asked for a reduction,
but for Uncle Chris I will. I have a big job on hand."
That day he told Mr. Lightenhome that he had secured a place at Mr. Dale's,
and that he was to have a reduction on groceries. "Which means, Uncle
Chris, that I pay for the groceries for us both, while you do the cooking
and pay the rent."
Silently and swiftly Mr. Lightenhome calculated. He saw that if he were
saved the buying of the groceries for himself, he could eke out his small
hoard till after Christmas. The poorhouse receded a little from the
foreground of his vision as he gazed into the eyes of the boy opposite him
at the table. He did not know that his own eyes spoke eloquently of his
deliverance, but Elnathan choked as he went on eating.
"Now hustle, El!" he commanded one day on his way back to the store.
"There's gold in your eyes if you keep them open, and in your tongue if you
keep it civil, and in your back and in your wits if they are nimble. All I
have to say is, Get it out."
"Get it out," he repeated when he had reached the rear of the store. And he
began busily to fill and label kerosene cans, gasoline cans, and molasses
jugs. From there he went to the cellar to measure up potatoes.
"Never saw such a fellow!" grumbled his companion utility boy. "You'd think
he run the store by the way he steps round with his head up and them sharp
eyes of his into everything. 'Hi there!' he said to me. 'Fill that measure
of gasoline full before you pour it into the can. Mr. Dale doesn't want the
name of giving short measure because you are careless.' Let's do some
reporting on him, and get him out of the store," he said. "But there's
nothing to report, and there never will be."
But the boy persisted, and very shortly he found himself out of a position.
"You needn't get another boy if you don't want to, Mr. Dale," observed
Elnathan, cheerily. "I am so used to the place now that I can do all he
did, as well as my own work. And, anyway, I would rather do the extra work
than go on watching somebody to keep him from measuring up short or wrong
grade on everything he touches." And Elnathan smiled. He had lately
discovered that he had ceased to hate work.
Mr. Dale smiled in return. "Very well," he said. "Go ahead and do it all if
you want to."
A week he went ahead, and at the end of that time he found, to his delight,
that Mr. Dale had increased his wages. "Did you think I would take the work
of two boys and pay for the work of one?" asked Mr. Dale.
"I didn't think at all, sir," replied Elnathan, joyously; "but I am the
gladdest boy in Kingston to get a raise."
"Uncle Chris," he said that night, "I got a raise today."
Mr. Lightenhome expressed his pleasure, and his sense that the honor was
well merited, but Elnathan did not hear a word he said, because he had
something more to say himself.
"Uncle Chris," he went on, his face very red, "I have been saving up for
some time, and tomorrow's your birthday. Here is a present for you." And he
thrust out a ten-dollar piece, with the words, "I never made a present
Slowly the old man took the money, and again his eyes outdid his tongue in
speaking his gratitude. And there was a great glow in the heart of the boy.
"That's some of the gold I dug out of myself, Uncle Chris," he laughed.
"You are the one who first told me it was in me. I do not know whether it
came out of my arms or my legs or my head."
"I know where the very best gold there is in you is located, Elnathan,"
smiled the old man. "It is your heart that is gold, my boy."
Two months later Elnathan was a clerk at twenty-five dollars a month. "Now
we're fixed, Uncle Chris!" he cried, when he told the news. "You and I can
live forever on twenty-five dollars a month."
"Do you mean it?" asked the old man, tremblingly. "Do you wish to be
cumbered with me?"
"No, I do not, Uncle Chris," answered the boy, with a beaming look. "I do
not want to be cumbered with you. I just want to go on living here with
Then to the old man the poorhouse forever receded from sight. He remembered
Adelizy no more, as he looked with pride and tenderness on the boy who
stood erect and alert before him, looked again and yet again, for he saw in
him the Lord's deliverer, though he knew not that he had been raised up by
his own kind hand.—Gulielma Zollinger, in the Wellspring.
ONLY A JACK-KNIFE
When the lamented James A. Garfield was struggling to obtain an education,
he supported himself for several years by teaching. His first school was in
Muskingum County, Ohio, and the little frame house where he began his work
as a teacher, is still standing, while some of the boys and girls who
received instruction from him that term are yet alive to testify to his
faithfulness as a common-school teacher. He was quite a young man at that
time, in fact, he was still in his teens, and it must have been rather
embarrassing for him to attempt to teach young men and women, some of them
older than himself; but he was honest in his efforts to try to do his best,
and, as is always the case under such circumstances, he succeeded
One day, after repeatedly cautioning a little chap not to hack his desk
with the new Barlow in his possession, the young teacher transferred the
offending knife to his own pocket, quietly informing the culprit that it
should be returned at the close of the afternoon session.
During the afternoon two of the committeemen called to examine the school,
and young Garfield was so interested in the special recitations conducted
that he let the boy go home in the evening without even mentioning the
knife. The subject did not recur to him again until after supper, and
perhaps would not have been recalled to him then had not he chanced to put
his hand into his pocket for a pencil.
"Look there!" he exclaimed, holding up the knife. "I took it from Sandy
Williams, with the promise that it should be returned in the evening, and I
have let him go home without it. I must carry it to him at once."
"Never mind, man! Let it stand till morning," urged Mrs. Ross, the motherly
woman with whom he boarded.
"I cannot do that," replied Garfield; "the little fellow will think I am a
"No danger of that, James," insisted the well-meaning woman. "He will know
that you forgot it, and all will be well in the morning."
"But, you see, I promised, Mrs. Ross, and a promise is always binding. I
must go tonight, and carry it to him," urged the young man, drawing on his
"It is all of two miles to his father's, and just look how dark it is, and
raining, too," said the woman, opening the door to convince her boarder
that things were as bad as she had represented them.
"I am young and strong, and can make my way quite easily," insisted
Garfield. "It is always better to right a wrong as soon as you discover it,
and I would rather walk the four miles in the mud and rain than disappoint
one of my scholars. Sometimes example is more powerful than precept, and if
I am not careful to live an honest life before my pupils, they will not
give much heed to what I say on such subjects. There is no rule like the
golden rule, but he who teaches it must also live it, if he expects others
to follow his teaching."
Mrs. Ross said no more, and James went on, as he had proposed; and before
the little boy went to sleep, he was happy again in the possession of his
treasure, over which he had been lamenting all the evening. The young
teacher declined the hospitality of the family for the night, and walked
back in the darkness to his boarding-house, and, as he afterward said, felt
all the better for standing up to his principles.—Selected.
"I am going to have a spelling-bee tonight," said Uncle John, "and I will
give a pair of skates to the the boy who can spell man best."
The children turned and stared into one another's eyes.
"Spell 'man' best, Uncle John? Why, there is only one way!" they cried.
"There are all sorts of ways," replied Uncle John. "I will leave you to
think of it awhile," and he buttoned up his coat and went away.
"What does he mean?" asked Bob.
"I think it is a joke," said Harry, thoughtfully; "and when Uncle John asks
me, I am going to say, 'Why, m-a-n, of course.'"
"It is a conundrum, I know," said Joe; and he leaned his head on his hand
and settled down to think.
Time went slowly to the puzzled boys, for all their fun that day. It seemed
as if "after supper-time" would never come; but it came at last, and Uncle
John came, too, with a shiny skate runner peeping out of his coat pocket.
Uncle John did not delay; he sat down and looked straight into Harry's
"Been a good boy today, Hal?"
"Yes—n-o," said Harry, flushing. "I did something Aunt May told me not to
do, because Ned Barnes dared me to. I cannot bear a boy to dare me. What's
that got to do with spelling 'man'?" he added, half to himself.
But Uncle John had turned to Bob.
"Had a good day, my boy?"
"Haven't had fun enough," answered Bob, stoutly. "It is all Joe's fault,
too. We boys wanted the pond to ourselves for one day, and we made up our
minds that when the girls came, we would clear them off But Joe, he——"
"I think this is Joe's to tell," interrupted Uncle John. "How was it, boy?"
"Why," said Joe, "I thought the girls had as much right on the pond as the
boys, so I spoke to one or two of the bigger boys, and they thought so,
too, and we stopped it all. I thought it was mean to treat the girls that
There came a flash from Uncle John's pocket; the next minute the skates
were on Joe's knees.
"The spelling-match is over," said Uncle John, "and Joe has won the prize."
Three bewildered faces mutely questioned him.
"Boys," he answered, gravely, "we've been spelling 'man,' not in letters,
but in acts. I told you there were different ways, and we have proved it
here tonight. Think it over, boys, and see."—Sunday School Evangelist.
JACK'S QUEER WAYS
Everybody liked Jack. He was a pleasant, manly boy, about fourteen years
old, a boy who was on friendly terms with the whole world. His father was a
physician, and his family lived in a small country town.
Of course Jack went to school. In the afternoon, when school was over, he
always ran up to his mother's room to tell her, in his bright, boyish way,
how the day had passed, and to see if she had any errands for him to do,
always glad to help in any way he could. After this little chat with his
mother, he would dash off into the yard to play, or to busy himself in some
other way. But he was never far away, ready to be called any moment, and
generally where he could be seen from some of the many windows of the big,
This had always been his custom until the winter of which I am speaking.
This winter Jack seemed to have fallen into queer ways. He came home, to be
sure, at the usual time, but, after the little visit with his mother,
seemed to disappear entirely. For an hour and a half he positively could
not be found. They could not see him, no matter which way they looked, and
they could not even make him hear when they called.
This all seemed very strange, but he had always been a trusty boy, and his
mother thought little of it at first. Still, as Jack continued to
disappear, day after day, at the same hour, for weeks, she thought it best
to speak to his father about it.
"How long does he stay out?" asked the doctor.
"Very often till the lamps are lighted," was the answer.
"Have you asked him where he goes?"
"Why, yes," the mother replied; "and that's the strangest part of it all!
He seems so confused, and doesn't answer directly, but tries to talk about
something else. I cannot understand it, but some way I do not believe he is
doing wrong, for he looks right into my eyes, and does not act as if he had
anything to be ashamed of."
"It is quite strange," said the doctor. Then he sat quiet for a long time.
At last he said, "Well, little mother, I think we will trust the lad awhile
longer, and say nothing more to him about it; though it is strange!"
Time passed on, and the mother looked anxious many an evening as she
lighted the lamps and her boy was not home yet. And when at last he did
come in, flushed and tired, and said not a word as to how he had spent his
afternoon, she wondered more than ever.
This kept up all winter. Toward spring the doctor was slowly driving home
one day just at twilight, when, as he passed a poor, forlorn cottage, he
heard a rap on the window. He stopped his horse at once, got out of his
gig, and walked to the door. He knocked, but no one opened, only a voice
called, "Come in!"
He entered the shabby room, and found a poor old woman, lying on a
miserable bed. The room was bare and cheerless except for the bright fire
burning in the small stove, beside which lay a neat pile of wood. The
doctor did what he could to ease the poor woman s sufferings, and then
asked who lived with her to take care of her.
"Not a soul," she said. "I am all alone. I haven't a chick nor child in all
the wide world!"
The doctor looked at the wood near the stove, and wondered to himself how
the sick old woman could chop and pile it so nicely; but he said nothing,
and she went on sadly:—
"I have had a hard time of it this winter, and I would have died sure if it
hadn't been for that blessed boy."
"Why, I thought you lived alone, and had no children!" exclaimed the
"No more I haven't," she said. "I am all alone by me lone self, as I told
ye, but the good Lord has been a-takin' care of me; for a bit of a boy,
bless his heart! has been a-comin' here every day this winter for to help
me. He chopped the wood the minister sent me, and brought some in here
every night, and piled it up like that" (pointing to the sticks in the
corner): "and the harder it stormed, the surer he seemed to come. He'd never
so much as tell me where he lived, and I only know his name is——"
"Jack?" asked the doctor, with unsteady voice.
"Yes, sir; that's it. Do ye be knowing him, doctor?"
"I think perhaps I do," was the husky answer.
"Well, may the Lord bless him, and may he never be cold himself, the good
The doctor did not speak for a few moments; then he left, promising to send
some one to care for the sick woman that night. He drove home very fast,
and a strange dimness came into his eyes every now and then, as he thought
it all over.
He went to his wife's room, and began, as usual, to tell her all that had
happened during the day. When, at last, he came to his visit at the
cottage, he watched his wife's face, as he told of the lonely, sick old
woman, the warm fire, and the young chopper.
When he had finished, tears were in her eyes, but she only said, "Dear
Jack's queer ways were explained at last. And "Jack's old woman," as they
called her, never wanted from this time for any comfort as long as she
lived. So, after all, Jack could not feel so very sorry that his kindness,
done in secret, had at last "found him out."—The Round Table.
My Missionary Garden
Some money I desired to earn
To send to foreign lands,
So mother took some garden seeds
And placed them in my hands.
Then earnestly I went to work
With spade and rake and hoe;
I planted every seed I had,
And wondered if they'd grow.
It wasn't long before I saw
Some little leaves of green;
I thought they looked more beautiful
Than any I had seen.
Each day when I came home from school,
I to my garden went;
In hoeing and in pulling weeds,
My leisure time I spent.
My mother said to me, "My child,
You've worked so very well
I'll buy of you, if you desire,
Whate'er you have to sell."
I never tasted anything
So tender and so sweet;
I thanked the Lord most heartily
For all I had to eat.
My mother is so good to me,
But God is better still;
Whatever I can do for him,
With all my heart I will.
WHAT ONE BOY DID
"Don't tell me that boys have no influence," said the dark-eyed lady, with
emphasis. "Why, I myself know a boy of twelve whose influence changed the
manners of an entire hotel. Tell you about it?—Certainly. It was a family
hotel on the seacoast in southern California, and almost all the guests in
the house were there for the winter. We had become well acquainted,
and—well, lazy I guess is the best word for it. So we decided that it was
too much trouble to dress for meals, and dropped into the habit of coming
in just as we chanced to be, from lounging in the hammock, or fishing off
the pier, or bicycle riding down the beach. Our manners, too, had become
about as careless as our dress; we were there for a rest, a good time, and
these little things didn't matter, we said.
"One day there was a new arrival. Mrs. Blinn, a young widow, with her
little son, Robert, as sturdy, bright-faced a lad of twelve as one often
sees. The first time he came into the dining-room, erect, manly, with his
tie and collar and dress in perfect order, escorting his mother as if she
had been a princess, and standing till not only she, but every lady at the
table was seated, we all felt that a breath of new air had come among us,
and every one there, I think, straightened up a little. However we looked
at one another and nodded our heads, as much as to say, 'He won't keep this
up long.' We were strangers, and in the familiarity of every-day life we
did not doubt that it would soon wear away.
"But it did not. Rob was full of life, and active and busy as a boy could
well be. At the same time, when, twenty minutes before meals, his mother
blew a little silver whistle, no matter where he was or what he was doing,
everything was dropped, and he ran in to make himself ready. And every time
he came to the table, with his clean face and smooth hair and clothes
carefully arranged or changed, he was in himself a sermon on neatness and
self-respect, which, though none of us said much about it, we felt all the
same. Then by and by one and another began to respond to the little silver
whistle, as well as Rob. One laid aside a bicycle dress, another a
half-invalid negligee, till you could hardly have believed it was the same
company of a few weeks before.
"It was the same with manners. Rob's politeness, simple, unaffected, and
unfailing, at the table, on the veranda, upon the beach, wherever you met
him; his readiness to be helpful; his deference to those older; his
thoughtfulness for all, was the best lesson,—that of example. As a
consequence, the thoughtless began to remember, and the selfish to feel
ashamed, and the careless to keep themselves more in hand.
"And so, as I said in the beginning, in less than a month the whole
atmosphere of that hotel had been changed by the influence of one boy; and
the only one utterly unconscious of this was Rob himself."
This is truly a pleasing incident. We like to think of this boy who,
because he was at heart a true little gentleman, drew what was kindly and
courteous and gracious in those about him to the surface as by a magnet. In
like manner it is possible for every boy to be so true and kindly and
tender, so unselfish of action, so obedient to duty, so responsive to
conscience, that, wherever he goes, he shall carry an inspiring atmosphere
and influence with him; and whoever he meets shall, because of him, be
drawn to better thoughts and nobler living.—Adele E. Thompson.
HOW NICK LEARNED MANNERS
"Hallo, Doc! Where'd you get that horse?" called Nick Hammond as he
approached his father and Dr. Morris, as they were talking at the gate one
"Why, halloo, little man! I got this horse over the river. Ever see him
before?" answered the old doctor, genially, little thinking that he was
somewhat to blame for Nick's lack of good manners in thus accosting an
When the doctor had gone, Mr. Hammond called Nick to him and said, "Nick,
did not your mother tell you last evening not to say, 'Halloo,' when you
Nick's eyes fell, for he remembered, and he said, "Yes, sir."
"Then why did you say it to Dr. Morris this evening?"
"O, I don't think he cares what I say to him!"
"No, I do not suppose he does care; but I do, and I think if your mother
had heard you address the doctor as Doc, she would have been very much
ashamed; for she has tried very hard to teach you good manners."
"Well, everybody says 'Halloo,' papa, and I can't help it, and I'm sure Mr.
Evans said 'Doc' when he was talking out there this evening."
"It is true that a great many people do use both those words, but that is
no reason why you should use them, when you have been told not to do so.
There is also some difference, I think, between the age of Mr. Evans and
yourself. Men can say things to one another that would be quite improper
for a boy to say to a man. Now I want you to be more careful, and speak
respectfully to every one you meet."
Nick went to his play, but he took up a string of reasoning like this:
"Because I am the only boy mama has set out to make me as good as Mabel,
and she doesn't allow me to use slang nor anything of the kind. I know if
there were half a dozen boys here, it would be different. I suppose it is
all right for girls and women, but, bah! I can't be a goody-goody. I am
only a boy. I guess it won't pay to bother about good manners, like a girl.
I am too busy these days, when there is no school, to learn manners or
anything else, anyway," and he went off with his goat, to forget everything
Time after time Nick failed to heed what he had been told, and each time he
had to suffer a just penalty; but it seemed as if he never could learn
manners. The real reason was that he had no desire to have good manners.
One morning Mrs. Hammond said: "Now, Nick, I am expecting your Aunt Ella
and Uncle Alfred today, and I want you to be on your guard while they are
here, and not act as if you were a backwoods boy who does not know
anything. I especially want you to be gentlemanly; for Uncle Alfred is such
a stranger to us yet that he will not understand you, and will think less
of your papa and myself for seeing you rude and ill-mannered. You see, you
owe it to yourself to make every one like you as much as possible. They
live so far away that it may be a long time before they will see you
"Well, I should like to see my new Uncle Alf. I hope they won't stay long;
for I do hate to be afraid to halloo and do things."
"Now, don't say Uncle Alf, Nick. You know better than that. Say Uncle
Alfred, but don't say it too often. As for making a noise, you can relieve
yourself when away from the house, but I do not want you to talk when
others are talking, and, above all, do not contradict them, no matter what
"All right, mama, I'll try," promised Nick.
But, alas for his promise! It belonged to the large family of promises that
Nick had been making for many months. It was as easily broken as a broom
straw. Aunt Ella and her husband, who was president of a great Western
college, were not long in seeing the worst side of little Nick. He
repeatedly did the very things his mama had urged him not to do, and was
recklessly disobedient in general.
The last day of the visit was to be spent with some distinguished friends
of Uncle Alfred's at the Lake House, nine miles away. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond
were going with them, and Nick was determined to go, too. When his mama
went to her room to get ready, Nick followed her and begged her to take
him. "No, Nick," she said, in a positive way, "I shall not take you
anywhere until you learn to behave as a boy of your age should. Go to the
dining-room and wait there until we are ready to start, and then you can
come down to Grandma Hammond's and stay until four o'clock."
He knew that it was no use to tease, so he went to the couch in the
dining-room. He felt very sullen and bitter, and threw himself down on the
friendly pillows to indulge in a few tears. In a few moments he heard
subdued voices on the veranda just outside the window. Aunt Ella was
saying, "I know they would both enjoy the drive this lovely day." "Of
course they would," said Uncle Alfred, "and I would like to have them with
us, but what would Dr. and Mrs. Watson think of Nick? He surely is the
rudest child I have ever known. I am sorry to cheat Mabel out of pleasure,
for she is a dear little girl, but really Ella, I should be ashamed of
Nick's behavior, shouldn't you?"
Nick waited to hear no more. He slipped out quickly, and said to the cook
in the kitchen, "Please tell mama I didn't wait; I've gone to grandma's."
He was so quiet and gentle all day that Grandma Hammond worried a great
deal, saying: "I never saw the like of it. The boy is either sick or
something is going to happen to him."
That something had already happened to him, but grandma was not aware of
it. For the first time in his life, Nick felt ashamed of himself. During
that long, long day he made a strong resolution, which he never purposely
broke, never to do anything to make himself or anybody else
ashamed.—Atwood Miller, in Youth's Evangelist.
* * * * *
"O! There are many actors who can play
Greatly great parts, but rare indeed the soul
Who can be great when cast for some small role;
Yet that is what the world most needs,—big hearts
That will shine forth and glorify poor parts
In this strange drama, Life."
Not many years ago the "Escambia," a British iron steamer, loaded with
wheat, weighed anchor and started down the bay of San Francisco. The pilot
left her about five miles outside the Golden Gate. Looking back from his
pilot-boat a short time after, he saw the vessel stop, drift into the
trough of the sea, careen to port, both bulwarks going under water, then
suddenly capsize and sink. What was the cause of this sad catastrophe?—A
want of ballast.
She came into port from China, a few weeks previous, with a thousand
emigrants on board. But she had in her hold immense tanks for what is
called water ballast. The captain, wishing to carry all the wheat he could
between decks, neglected to fill those tanks. He thought the cargo would
steady the ship. But it made it top-heavy, and the first rough sea capsized
Here, then, was a vessel, tight and strong, with powerful engines, with a
cargo worth one hundred thousand dollars, floundering as soon as she left
the harbor, taken down with her crew of forty-five men, because the captain
failed to have her properly ballasted. The moment she began to lurch, all
the wheat tumbled over to the lower side, and down into the sea she went.
How this wreck of the "Escambia" repeats the trite lesson that so many have
tried to teach, and that they who need it most are so slow to learn! Young
men starting out in life want to carry as little ballast as possible. They
are enterprising, ambitious. They are anxious to go fast, and take as much
cargo as they can. Old-fashioned principles are regarded as dead weight. It
does not pay to heed them, and they thrown overboard. Good home habits are
abandoned in order to be popular with the gay and worldly. The Bible is not
read, the Sabbath is not kept holy, prayer is neglected, and lo! some day,
when all the sails are spread, a sudden temptation comes that wrecks the
character and life.
We cannot urge too strongly upon the young, in these days of intense
activity, the vital importance of ballast. A conscience seems to be an
encumbrance—an obstacle to prosperity. But it is a safe thing to have on
board. It steadies the soul. It keeps it from careening when the winds
drive it into the trough of the sea. If the "Escambia" had taken less wheat
and more ballast, it might be afloat today. And this is true of many a man
now in prison or in the gutter. The haste to be rich, the impatience of
restraint, alas! how their wrecks lie just outside the world's golden
The artist Hoffmann, it is said, became
In features like the features that he strove
To paint,—those of his Lord. Unconsciously
His thoughts developed in his face that which
He sought upon the canvas to portray;
And with the walls about him covered o'er
With pictures he had made, he toiled and thought
And gave the world his ideal of the Christ,
Becoming more and more like him.
May we by thinking o'er and o'er again
Christ's thoughts, and dwelling on his love, become
In heart as he, all undefiled and pure,—
Perfect within. The beauty sweet and joy
Of holiness, communion with our God,
The prayer of faith, the song of praise, and all
The peace and uplift grand that Jesus knew
May be our own, our very own, to give
Unto a world made sick and sad by sin.
ELIZA H. MORTON.
INFLUENCE OF A GOOD BOOK
I lost my Christian mother when I was a youth, but not before the
instruction I had received from her beloved lips had made a deep impression
upon my mind, an impression which I carried with me into a college
(Hampden, Sidney), where there was not then one pious student. There I
often reflected, when surrounded by young men who scoffed at religion, upon
the instruction of my mother, and my conscience was frequently sore
distressed. I had no Bible, and dreaded getting one, lest it should be
found in my possession.
At last I could stand it no longer, and requested a particular friend, a
youth whose parents lived near, and who often went home, to ask his
excellent mother to send me some religious books. She sent me "Alleine's
Alarm," an old black book, which looked as if it might have been handled by
successive generations for a hundred years.
When I received it, I locked my door and sat down to read it, when a
student knocked at the door. I gave him no answer, dreading to be found
reading such a book, but he continued to knock and beat the door until I
had to open it. He came in, and seeing the book lying on the bed, seized
it, and examined its title. Then he said, "Why, Hill, do you read such
I hesitated, but God enabled me to be decided, and to tell him boldly, but
with much emotion, "Yes, I do."
The young man replied with much agitation: "O Hill, you may obtain
religion, but I never can! I came here a professor of religion; but through
fear I dissembled it, and have been carried along with the wicked, until I
fear there is no hope for me."
He told me that there were two others who he believed were somewhat
serious. We agreed to take up the subject of religion in earnest, and seek
it together. We invited the other two, and held a prayer-meeting in my room
on the next Saturday afternoon. And, O, what a prayer-meeting! We knew not
how to pray, but tried to do it. We sang in a suppressed manner, for we
feared the other students. But they found us out, and gathered round the
door, and made such a noise that the officers had to disperse them.
So serious was the disturbance that the president, the late excellent Rev.
Dr. John B. Smith, investigated the matter at prayers that evening in the
chapel hall. When he demanded the reason of the riot, a ringleader in
wickedness rose up and stated that it was occasioned by three or four of
the boys holding prayer-meetings, and they were determined to have no such
doings there. The good president heard the statement with deep emotion,
and, looking at the youths charged with the sin of praying, said, with
tears in his eyes, "O, is there such a state of things in this college?
Then God has come near to us. My dear young friends, you shall hold your
next meeting in my parlor." We did hold our next meeting in his parlor, and
half the college was there. And there began a glorious revival of religion,
which pervaded the college, and spread into the country around.
Many of those students became ministers of the gospel. The youth who
brought me "Alleine's Alarm" from his mother was my friend, the Rev. C.
Stitt, who is preaching in Virginia. And he who interrupted me in reading
the work, my venerable and worthy friend, the Rev. Dr. H., is now president
of a college in the West.—Selected.
"STRAIGHTENING OUT THE FURROWS"
"Boys," he said, "I have been trying every day of my life for the last two
years to straighten out furrows, and I cannot do it."
One boy turned his head in surprise toward the captain's neatly kept place.
"O, I do not mean that kind, lad! I do not mean land furrows," continued
the captain, so soberly that the attention of the boys became breathless as
he went on: "When I was a lad about the age of you boys, I was what they
call a 'hard case,' not exactly bad or vicious, but wayward and wild. Well,
my dear old mother used to coax, pray, and punish. My father was dead,
making it all the harder for her, but she never got impatient. How in the
world she bore all my stubborn, vexing ways so patiently will always be to
me one of the mysteries of life. I knew it was troubling her, knew it was
changing her pretty face, making it look anxious and old. After a while,
tired of all restraint, I ran away, went off to sea; and a rough time I had
of it at first. Still I liked the water, and I liked journeying around from
place to place.
"Then I settled down to business in a foreign land, and soon became
prosperous. Now I began sending her something besides empty letters. And
such beautiful letters as she always wrote me during those years of
absence. At length I noticed how long they grew, longing for the son who
used to try her so, and it awoke a corresponding longing in my heart to go
back to the clear waiting soul. So when I could stand it no longer, I came
back, and such a welcome, and such a surprise!
"My mother is not a very old lady, boys, but the first thing I noticed was
the whiteness of her hair and the deep furrows on her brow; and I knew I
had helped to blanch that hair to its snowy whiteness and had drawn those
lines in that smooth forehead. And those are the furrows I have been trying
to straighten out.
"But last night, while mother was asleep in her armchair, I was thinking it
all over, and looked to see what progress I had made. Her face was very
peaceful, and the expression as contented as possible, but the furrows are
still there. I have not succeeded in straightening them
"When they lay my mother, my fair old sweetheart, in her casket, there will
be furrows on her brow; and I think it a wholesome lesson to teach you,
that the neglect you offer your parents' counsel now, and the trouble you
cause them, will abide, my lads, it will abide!"
"But," broke in Freddie Hollis, with great, troubled eyes, "I should think
if you are so kind and good now, it need not matter so much!"
"Ah, Freddie," said the quavery voice of the strong man, "you cannot undo
the past. You may do much to atone for it, do much to make the rough path
smooth, but you cannot straighten out the old furrows; remember that."
"Guess I'll go and chop some wood mother spoke of. I had most forgotten,"
said lively Jimmy Hollis, in a strangely quiet tone for him.
"Yes, and I have some errands to do," suddenly remembered Billy Bowles.
"Touched and taken!" said the kindly captain to himself, as the boys
tramped off, keeping step in a soldier-like way.
Mrs. Bowles declared a fortnight afterward that Billy was "really getting
to be a comfort!" And Mrs. Hollis, meeting the captain about that time,
remarked that Jimmy always meant to be a good boy, but now he was actually
"Guess your stories they like so much have good morals in them now and
then," added the gratified mother, with a smile.
As Mrs. Hollis passed, Captain Sam, with folded arms and head bent down,
said softly to himself, "Well, I shall be thankful if a word of mine will
help the dear boys to keep furrows from their mothers' brows; for, once
there, it is a difficult task to straighten them out."—Selected.
* * * * *
"If you were busy being good,
And doing just the best you could,
You'd not have time to blame some man
Who's doing just the best he can.
"If you were busy being true
To what you know you ought to do,
You'd be so busy you'd forget
The blunders of the folks you've met.
"If you were busy being right,
You'd find yourself too busy quite
To criticize your neighbor long
Because he's busy being wrong."
A BOY WHO WAS WANTED
"Well, I have found out one thing," said Jack as, hot, tired, and dusty, he
came to his mother.
"What is that?" she asked.
"That there are a great many boys in the world."
"Didn't you know that before?"
"Partly; but I didn't know there were so many more boys than are wanted."
"Why do you think there are more than are wanted?"
"Because I have been 'round and 'round till I am worn out, trying to find a
place to work. Wherever I go, there are more boys than places. Doesn't that
show that there are too many boys?"
"Not exactly," said his mother, with a smile. "It depends entirely on the
kind of boy. A good boy is always wanted somewhere."
"Well, if I am a good boy, I wish that I knew that I was wanted."
"Patience, patience, my boy. In such a great world as this is, with so many
places and so many boys, it is no wonder some of them do not find their
places at once. But be sure, dear," as she laid a very caressing hand on
his arm, "that every boy who wants a chance to do fair, honest work will
"That's the kind of work I want to do," said Jack. "I don't want anybody's
money for nothing. Let me see, what have I to offer?—All the schooling and
all the wits I have been able to get up in thirteen years; good, stout
hands; and a civil tongue."
"And a mind and heart set on doing faithful duty, suggested his mother.
"I hope so," said Jack. "I remember father used to say: Just as soon as you
undertake to work for any one, you must bear in mind that you have sold
yourself for the given time. Your time, your strength, your energy, are
his, and your best efforts to seek his interests in every way are his
The earnest tone in which the boy spoke seemed to give assurance that he
would pay good heed to the words of the father whose counsel could no more
For two or three days longer Jack had reason to hold his opinion that there
were more boys than the world wanted, at the end of which time he met a
business man who, questioning him closely, said: "There are a great many
applications for the place, but a large number of the boys come and stay a
short time, and then leave if they think they can do a little better. When
a boy gets used to our route and customers, we want him to stay. If you
will agree to stay at least three years, we will agree to pay you three
dollars a week as errand boy."
"That is just what I wanted to do, sir," said Jack, eagerly. So he was
installed, and proud enough he was to bring his wages home every week, and
realize that, small as they were, the regular help was of great value to
It is not to be wondered at that the faithful carrying out of his father's
admonition after a while attracted the attention not only of his employers,
but of others with whom he was brought in contact in the pursuit of his
duties. One day he was asked into the office of Mr. Lang, a gentleman to
whom he frequently carried parcels of value.
"Have you ever thought of changing your situation?" asked Mr. Lang.
"No, sir," said Jack.
"Perhaps you could do better," said the other. "I want a boy who is quick
and intelligent, and who can be relied on; and, from what I see of you, I
think you are that sort of boy. I want you to drive a delivery wagon, and
will pay you five dollars a week."
Jack's eyes opened wide.
"It is wonderfully good pay for a boy like me, I am sure. But I promised to
keep on with Mr. Hill for three years, and the second year is only just
"Well, have you signed a regular agreement with Mr. Hill?"
"No, sir; I told him I would stay."
"You have a mother to assist, you told me. Could not you tell Mr. Hill that
you feel obliged to do better, when you have a chance?"
"I don't believe I could," said Jack, looking with his straight, frank gaze
into the gentleman's face. "You see, sir, if I broke my word with him, I
should not be the kind of boy to be relied on that you want."
"I guess you are about right," said Mr. Lang, with a sigh. "Come and see me
when your time is out; I dare say I shall want you then."
Jack went home very much stirred by what had been said to him.
After all, could it be wrong to go where he would do so much better? Was it
not really his duty to accept the position? He could then drive the wagon
instead of trudging wearily along the streets. They had never felt so hot
and dusty as they did just now, when he might escape from the tiresome
routine. Might, but how?—By the sacrifice of his pledged word; by selling
his truth and his honor. So strongly did the reflection force itself upon
him that when he told his mother of the offer he had received, he merely
added, "It would be a grand good thing if I could take it, wouldn't it,
"Yes, it would."
"Some boys would change without thinking of letting a promise stand in
"Yes, but that is the kind of boy who, sooner or later, is not wanted. It
is because you have not been that sort of boy that you are wanted now."
Jack worked away, doing such good work, as he became more and more
accustomed to the situation, that his mother sometimes wondered that Mr.
Hill, who seemed always kindly interested in him, never appeared to think
of raising his pay. This, however, was not Mr. Hill's way of doing things,
even though he showed an increasing disposition to trust Jack with
So the boy trudged through the three years, at the end of them having been
trusted far more than is usually the case with errand boys. He had never
forgotten the offer made by Mr. Lang, and one day, meeting that gentleman
on the street, ventured to remind him that his present engagement was
nearly out, adding, "You spoke to me about driving the wagon, sir."
"Ah, so I did; but you are older now and worth more. Call around and see
One evening, soon after, Jack lingered in Mr. Hill's office after the other
errand boys had been paid and had gone away.
"My three years are up tonight, sir," he said.
"Yes, they are," said Mr. Hill, looking at him as if he had remembered it.
"Will you give me a recommendation to some one else, sir?"
"Well, I will, if you are sure that you want to leave me."
"I did not know that you wanted me to stay, but"—he hesitated, and then
went on—"my mother is a widow, and I feel as if I ought to do the best I
can for her, and Mr. Lang told me to call on him."
"Has Mr. Lang ever made you an offer?"
Jack told him what Mr. Lang had said nearly two years before.
"Why didn't you go then?" asked Mr. Hill.
"Because I had promised to stay with you; but you wouldn't blame me for
trying to better myself now?"
"Not a bit of it. Are you tired of running errands?"
"I'd rather ride than walk," said Jack with a smile.
"I think it is about time you were doing better than either. Perhaps you
think that you have been doing this faithful work for me through these
years for next to nothing; but if so, you are mistaken. You have been doing
better work than merely running errands. You have been serving an
apprenticeship to trust and honesty. I know you now to be a
straight-forward, reliable boy, and it takes time to learn that. It is your
capital, and you ought to begin to realize it. You may talk to Mr. Lang if
you wish, but I will give you a place in the office, with a salary of six
hundred dollars for the first year, with the prospect of a raise after
Jack did not go to see Mr. Lang, but straight to his mother, with a shout
and a bound.
"You're right, you're right, mother!" he cried. "No more hard work for you,
mother. I'm wanted, you see, wanted enough to get good pay! All the hardest
part is over."—Congregationalist.
WANTED: AN EMPLOYER
There was a north-bound car temporarily disabled on Broadway, near Fourth
Street, and, in consequence, as far south as the eye could reach stood a
row of motionless cars. Also, in consequence, along the curb was ranged a
fretting, impatient, helpless crowd, among whom the most anxious was
probably Edward Billings Henry.
In stature Edward Billings Henry was briefer than his name would indicate,
but to a certain two-room dwelling on Jackson Street he made up in
importance what he lacked in height; and it was his overwhelming sense of
this importance which made every thin muscle taut and strained every nerve
as he stood in the forefront of the crowd, his bare feet planted on the
cold asphalt, one hand gripping his remaining stock of papers, the other
clutching a nickel.
"I never was in a tearing hurry in my life but that this thing happened!"
exploded a man just behind the boy.
Edward Billings Henry turned and looked up. The man was jingling a lot of
loose coins in his pocket. The boy looked at his one nickel, and said, with
conviction, "You can't need to have 'em go like I do."
The big man stared down at the little man, in surprise, with a gruff "Huh?"
but Edward Billings Henry had no time to repeat. His hope had revived. The
two men who lay on their backs under the injured car began to crawl out,
and the boy rushed forward.
"Will it go now?" he inquired of one of the numerous conductors clustered
"Maybe so—in half an hour," replied the conductor, carelessly.
"O," cried the boy, in dismay, "I just can't wait that long!"
"Walk, then!" said the conductor, crossly.
"It's too far," replied the boy, "when you've got a stone toe."
"A what?" ejaculated the conductor; but his voice was lost in the honk!
honk! of a big white touring car which pushed slowly through the crowd.
In front of the car Edward Billings Henry raced limpingly on his stone toe
back to the curb and to the man jingling the coins in his pocket.
"Just what time is it, please?" he asked.
The man pulled out a watch and showed it to him. Edward Billings Henry
heaved a great sigh.
"Half past ten! It'll likely be filled up before I can get there."
"What will be?"
"The place I'm after."
Skilfully he raised the limping foot, laid it across the other leg, and
nursed the stone-bruised big toe, his eyes on the automobile, which had
halted almost in front of him.
"Halloo, Junius!" a voice in the crowd sang out. "Lucky man you, not to
have to depend on street-cars!"
The driver of the car was a young man. That is, Edward Billings Henry
judged him to be young by the only feature visible, a flexible, wide mouth,
with clean-shaven lips. His eyes were behind goggles, and a cap covered his
forehead and ears, meeting the tip of a high collar, which effectually
concealed his chin. But the mouth smiled as the goggles turned toward the
pavement, the owner answering lightly:—
"Halloo yourself, Dick! Jump in and try my luck."
"Where are you going?"
"Up to Congress Square."
"Well, get along then!" returned the other. "That's no good to me."
Congress Square! What luck! Exactly where Edward Billings Henry wished to
go! And here was a rapid-transit vehicle, with room enough for ten such
diminutive persons as he! Without loss of time, he limped up on his aching
stone toe and jogged the arm of the driver.
Junius looked down at the boy. Edward Billings Henry removed a man's derby
from his head and looked out of eyes kindling with hope, as he asked
"Do you suppose you could get me up there inside of twenty-five minutes,
"What do you mean?" Junius stared hard through his goggles.
"To Congress Square," said Edward Billings Henry, impatiently. "It's
business, and if I don't get there I'm out of a job, that's all." The boy
mounted the step and clung to the seat, proffering his nickel. "I'll pay
just what I'd pay on the car," he argued, "so you'd be making some money as
well as giving me a lift."
The goggled eyes looked at the nickel in the dirty hand, and then traveled
up and down the small figure back of the hand. The eyes noticed that while
those parts of the boy's anatomy which had been exposed all the morning to
the city dirt had collected grime, the rims, as it were, of the exposed
parts revealed hidden cleanliness.
"Congress Square is an awful way up," urged Edward Billings Henry, "and we
mustn't waste much time; for I would like to get that job." The small hand
extended the nickel enticingly toward the glove. "You'll be earning as much
as the street-car by giving a lift," the boy repeated.
The driver's lips twisted a bit. "That's so," he said. "Huh!" he chuckled,
and gracelessly extended his hand for the nickel. "Get in, my man, and I'll
give you the lift."
Edward Billings Henry drew a deep sigh of relief dropped the coin into the
other's palm, and engulfed himself in the soft front seat.
"Whom have I the honor of giving a lift?" asked Junius, formally, dropping
the nickel into a pocket, where it lay alone. After it he sent a curious,
"Edward Billings Henry, Junior," replied the boy.
The lips beneath the goggles smiled. "And where am I lifting you to, may I
also ask, Edward Billings?"
"To Mr. Florins's office, where they're going to select an office boy this
morning 'tween ten and eleven."
The driver busied himself a moment with the steering-gear as the car passed
the crowded mail-wagons behind the post-office building. Then he turned and
shot a curious glance at his small companion, asking abruptly:—
"And you think you'll get the job, do you?"
Edward Billings Henry leaned forward as if he could push the machine into a
yet faster pace. "I can try for it," he replied. "Father says you never
know what you can do unless you try. He's always wanting me to try."
"Yes," muttered Junius, still more interested. "Fathers seem much alike,
whether they live up-town or down-town."
"Can't we go faster?" asked Edward Billings Henry, sitting on the edge of
Junius shook his head. "Too many blue-coats around. But about that job,
now—you'll not be the only boy after it. There will probably be dozens
"I'm eleven, if I am small," interrupted the boy.
The boy stretched out a thin arm defiantly, and closed his fist. "Just
feel!" he cried. "I've got a good muscle, and on my legs it's better yet.
Just now I've got a stone-bruise on my big toe, but I tell you I can get
round pretty fast just the same. I don't believe Mr. Florins would ever be
sorry he took me."
"Yes, I'm inclined to believe that myself," mused the man. "But how are you
going to make him believe that in the beginning?"
The boy raised his lame foot and gently rubbed the swollen big toe. "Well,"
he began, "I'm going to talk up big. Father says you have to sometimes when
nobody's round to do it for you, and he says it's all right if you do
afterward just as big as you talk."
The driver wagged his head wisely. "That's sound business sense," he
agreed, gravely. "You intend to deliver the same goods that you sell. Let's
hear what you have to say."
"Well, if you get me there in time to say anything, I'm going to tell Mr.
Florins that father went to school a lot when he was young. He went through
high school and got all ready to go through college."
Edward Billings emphasized his verbs as if "going through" was solely a
physical exercise on the flying-wedge order; and Junius chuckled.
"Then I'll tell him that father stood almost at the head of his class in
high school, and he almost took a lot of honors."
"Well," assented Junius, "that 'almost' is a step farther than some of the
rest of us got."
"Yes," exulted the boy, "I guess Mr. Florins will say so, too. Then I'll
tell him that father taught a lot when he couldn't go through college."
"What next?" inquired Junius.
They were approaching Twelfth Street now, and the car was hardly moving in
the press of vehicles.
Edward Billings curled his bare toes under, and unconsciously pushed
forward with all his slender might. "Then I'll tell him that father used to
read a lot, law books and things, same as he does——"
"But see here!" interrupted Junius. "All this talk will be about your
father. What are you going to say about yourself?"
A cloud overspread Edward Billings's face. He raised a pair of troubled
eyes to his questioner. "Why, I never stopped to think of that," he began,
slowly, all the brightness fading out of his tone. "There's nothing much to
say about me. I sell papers and help father——"
"What does your father do?" asked Junius.
The boy hesitated. His face flushed, and he looked up uncertainly at the
goggles. "He used to teach, I told you," was the evasive answer, "until his
eyes gave out."
Edward Billings Henry wriggled about on the padded leather. "He's always
had bad legs,"—the evasion continued,—"but his arms and back are strong,
and his legs all right to stand on."
"Yes?" insisted Junius, and waited.
"So he's doing something he ain't going to do if I can get this job. Then I
could sell papers after and before office hours, and earn a lot of money."
Edward Billings Henry talked rapidly, but the young man beside him was not
to be turned from his purpose.
"Then what is it he's not going to do?"
The boy hesitated again. "Father takes in washing," he finally burst out,
proudly defiant, "and I help him, and we do it good, I tell you! No one
ever complains. Father says if you can't do what you want to, you can try
something else, and that was all he could do, so he tried, and found out he
could wash and iron good, and a lot of it!"
Junius considerately looked straight ahead of him, not wishing to add to
the embarrassment of Edward Billings Henry, Junior, but he could not resist
asking, "Are you going to tell this to Mr. Florins?"
"No-sir-ee!" responded the boy, proudly. "Father ain't going to
do—washings—any longer if I can get the job."
The car entered Congress Square, drew up in front of an imposing stone
building, and stopped. The driver removed his goggles and turned a pair of
pleasant gray eyes on the boy.
"Well, Edward Billings, here we are, and you've got the job all right. Can
you come in the morning?"
Edward Billings Henry nearly fell off the seat.
"W-hat?" he stammered.
"The job is yours," smiled the young man. "I happen to be that same Mr.
Florins who, you have assured me, will never regret employing you. My
office is on the second floor here. I did advertise for a boy, but had
totally forgotten it." He gave a short laugh. "Report in the morning,
please, and we'll see about a suit and some shoes and that stone-bruised
Out of the automobile Edward Billings Henry tumbled in a dazed condition,
and stood beside his new employer, looking up speechlessly.
"I'll advance you a car fare on your salary," the young man continued. He
carefully avoided the pocket where lay the nickel previously owned by his
passenger, and produced the change. "And, Edward Billings, just tell your
father from me that his maxims work out so well that I'm thinking of
adopting them myself."—Alice Louise Lee, in Youth's Companion, used by
HOW TO STOP SWEARING
When I was out West thirty years ago I was preaching one day in the open
air when a man drove up in a fine turnout. After listening for a while he
put his whip to his fine-looking steed, and away he went. I did not expect
to see him again, but the next night he came back; and he kept on coming
regularly night after night.
I said to a gentleman: "Who is that man who drives up here every night? Is
"Interested! I should think not. You should have heard the way he talked
about you today."
"Well," I said, "that is a sign he is interested."
I asked where he lived, but my friend told me not to go to see him; for he
would only curse me. I said, "It takes God to curse a man: man can only
bring curses on his own head."
I found out where he lived, and went to see him. He was the wealthiest man
within a hundred miles of that place, and had a wife and seven beautiful
children. Just as I reached his gate, I saw him coming out of the front
door. I stepped up to him, and said:—
"You are Mr. Davis, I believe?"
He said, "Yes, sir, that is my name." Then he asked, "What do you want?"
"Well," I said, "I should like to ask you a question, if you won't be
"Well, what is it?"
"I am told that God has blessed you above all men in this part of the
country; that he has given you wealth, a beautiful Christian wife, and
seven lovely children. I do not know whether it is true, but I hear that
all he gets in return is cursing and blasphemy."
He said, "Come in, come in." I went in. "Now," he said, "what you said out
there is true. If any man has a fine wife, I am the man, and I have a
lovely family of children, and God has been good to me. But, do you know,
we had company here the other night, and I cursed my wife at the table, and
did not know it till after the company was gone. I never felt so mean and
contemptible in my life as when my wife told me of it. She said she wanted
the floor to open and let her down out of her seat. If I have tried once, I
have tried a hundred times to stop swearing. You preachers don't know
anything about it."
"Yes," I said, "I know all about it; I have been a traveler."
"But," he said, "you don't know anything about a business man's troubles.
When he is harassed and tormented the whole time, he can't help swearing."
"O, yes," I said, "he can. I know something about it. I myself used to
"What! you used to swear?" he asked. "How did you stop?"
"I never stopped."
"Why, you don't swear now, do you?"
"No, I have not sworn for years."
"How did you stop?"
"I never stopped. It stopped itself."
He said, "I don't understand this."
"No," I said, "I know you don't. But I came to talk to you so that you will
never want to swear again as long as you live."
I began to tell him about Christ in the heart; how he would take the
temptation to swear out of a man.
"Well," he said, "how am I to get Christ?"
"Get right down here and tell him what you want."
"But," he said, "I was never on my knees in my life. I have been cursing
all the day, and I don't know how to pray, or what to pray for."
"Well," I said, "it is mortifying to call on God for mercy when you have
never used his name except in oaths, but he will not turn you away. Ask God
to forgive you, if you want to be forgiven."
He knelt down and prayed, only a few sentences. After he prayed, he rose
and said, "What shall I do now?"
I said, "Go down to the church, and tell the people there that you want to
be an out-and-out Christian."
"I cannot do that," he said; "I never go to church except to some funeral."
"Then it is high time for you to go for something else," I said.
At the next church meeting the man was there, and I sat right in front of
him. He stood up and put his hands on the seat, and he trembled so much
that I could feel the seat shake. He said:—
"My friends, you know all about me; if God can save a wretch like me, I
want to have you pray for my salvation."
That was thirty years ago. Some time since I was back in that town, but did
not see him. But when I was in California, a man asked me to have dinner
with him. I told him I could not do so. Then he asked me if I remembered
him, and told me his name.
"O!" I exclaimed. "Tell me, have you ever sworn since that night you knelt
in your drawing-room, and asked God to help you?"
"No," he replied, "I have never had a desire to swear since then."—D.L.
Moody, in "Weighed in the Balances," Published by Morgan & Scott.
THE CAROLS OF BETHLEHEM CENTER
There might have been no church had not the Rev. James McKenzie come just
when it seemed tottering to a fall. There might have been no Sunday-school
had not Harold Thornton tended it as carefully as he tended his own
orchard. There might have been no class number four had it not been for
Gertrude Windsor. But there would have been no glad tidings in one wintry
heart save for the voices with which Eddie and the two Willies and Charlie
and little Phil sang the carols that morning in the snow; and they came
straight from Him who gave the angels the songs of, "On earth peace, good
will to men."
At the end of the winter term in Gertrude's junior year the doctor had
prescribed a year of rest for her, and she had come to find it with Aunt
Mehitable, in the quiet of Bethlehem Center.
On her first Sunday she attended the little Sunday-school, and at the close
of service there was an official conference.
"She would be just the one if she would," said the pastor.
"It can't go on as it is," answered the superintendent. "The deacon means
well, but he doesn't know boys. There wasn't one here today, and only Eddie
last Sunday. I wish she'd be chorister, too," he added. "Did you hear her
"I doubt if she would do that. I am told she nearly broke down in college,
and is here to rest."
"Yes, so Mr. Thompson told me. But we do need her."
"Well, I will call on her, and let you know what I learn."
Gertrude hesitated; for had not the doctor said "It is not so much college,
Miss Windsor; it is church and Sunday-school and Christian Endeavor and
Student Volunteer, and all the rest on top of college work that is breaking
you down, and you must stop it"?
But the wistful face of Harry, who brought their milk, decided her; and the
second Sunday saw her instructing Eddie and little Phil in the quarterly
temperance lesson. It was not until school was over that she learned the
reason of little Phil's conscious silence; and next day, when she met him
with his father on the street, she tried to atone for her former ignorance.
"Are you Phil's father?" she asked, stepping toward them.
Tim Shartow, who was believed by some to regard neither God, man, nor the
devil, grew strangely embarrassed as he took her hand, after a hurried
inspection of his own.
"Yes'm," he answered.
"I am to be his Sunday-school teacher," she went on; "and of course I want
to know the fathers and mothers of my boys. I hope Phil can come regularly.
We are going to have some very interesting lessons."
"I guess he can come," answered his father. "It's a better place for him
than on the street, anyway."
This was faint praise, but well meant. Gertrude smiled her appreciation,
and in that brief meeting won not only Phil's lifelong regard, but, had she
known it, that of his father as well; for thenceforth Tim Shartow felt that
he had two friends in Bethlehem Center of whom he need not be ashamed.
His other friend was the Rev. James McKenzie. The mutual though qualified
respect which they felt for each other dated from their first meeting, when
Mr. McKenzie had walked into the saloon and asked permission to tack up
some bills advertising his revival services.
"I guess you can," the proprietor had answered, standing alertly on his
The bills had been posted, and the unwonted visitor turned to the man
behind the bar. They were alone together.
"We should be very glad, Mr. Shartow," he said, "if you would attend some
of the meetings."
"It'll be a cold day when I do," answered the saloon-keeper.
Mr. McKenzie did not reply.
"The worst enemies I've got are in that church," added Tim, by way of
A smile lighted up the pastor's earnest face. "No, Mr. Shartow," he said,
"you're wrong. They don't like your business,—I don't like your
business,—but you haven't an enemy in our church. And I want to tell you
now"—his foot was upon the bar rail, and he was looking straight into the
eyes of the man to whom he spoke—"that every night, as I pray that God
will remove this saloon, I shall pray that he will bring you to know my
Saviour. And if ever you need help that I can give, I want you to feel free
to come to me. We are traveling different roads, Mr. Shartow, but we are
not enemies; we are friends."
And the pastor departed, leaving Tim, the saloonkeeper, "that shook up," to
use his own phrase, that it is doubtful whether he ever entirely regained
his former attitude toward "them church folks."
By Gertrude's second Sunday as teacher, the two Willies had come to test
the truth of rumors that had reached them. Charlie and Harry came next,
and, after Gertrude announced the mid-week class-meetings as a reward for
full attendance, not one absence occurred for thirteen weeks.
To Harold Thornton it had the look of a miracle that the class for whom no
teacher could be found was as clay in the hands of the potter. There was
nothing Gertrude could not do with them. They listened spellbound while she
talked, took part in the responsive readings, answered questions, studied
their lessons, sat wherever the superintendent wished; they even pocketed
their papers without a glance at them until the session was over. And they
sang with a wild abandon that was exhilarating to hear. Even Harry, who
held throughout the note on which his voice first fastened, never failed to
sing; and, though it added little to the harmony, it spoke volumes for the
spirit of the school and the devotion to the chorister.
But if Gertrude was doing much for the boys, they were doing much for
Gertrude; and in obeying her orders to rest, exercise, and grow strong, she
could not have had better helpers. From the time when the first pale
blossoms of the bloodroot showed beside the snow, through the seasons of
violets and wild strawberries and goldenrod, to the time when the frost had
spread the ground with the split shucks of the hickory-nuts, the spoil of
all the woodland was brought to her.
Their class-meetings became long tramps, during which Gertrude told them
interesting things about insects, birds, and flowers, and they told as much
that was strange to her. Every one of them had become a conspirator in the
plot to keep her out of doors, away from her books; hardly a day passed
that she did not go somewhere with one or more of them. And as the healthy
color began to show beneath the tan, as strength came back, and every pulse
beat brought the returning joy of life, she often felt that all her work
for class number four had been repaid a hundredfold.
It was one mid-August afternoon, when the tasseled corn stood high, and the
thistles had begun to take wing and fly away to join the dandelions, that
there came the first thoughts of the carols. Harry had to drive cows that
day; but the others were with her, and as they came out through Mr.
Giertz's woods, and looked down upon the pasture where the sheep were
feeding, little Phil began the quaint old version of the shepherd psalm
that she had taught them,—
"The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want;
He maketh me down to lie,"—
and, the other boys joining, they sang through to the end.
It was beautiful. She had never realized that they could sing so well, and,
suddenly, as she listened, the plan came full-grown into her mind, and she
proposed it then and there. The boys were jubilant; for a half-hour they
discussed details; and then, "all seated on the ground," like those of whom
they sang, she taught them the beginning of, "While shepherds watched their
flocks by night."
That was the first of many open-air rehearsals, transferred, when the
weather grew colder, to Willie Giertz's, where there were no near neighbors
to whom the portentous secret might leak out. There was not one defective
voice in the class save Harry's, and he was at first a puzzle; but that
difficulty vanished when it was learned that his fondest ambition was
satisfied by striking the tuning-fork. Thereafter all went smoothly, with
much enthusiasm and a world of mystery.
When the program was complete, they had by heart six songs: "While
shepherds watched their flocks by night," "Away in a manger," "We three
kings of Orient are," "Hark! the herald angels sing," "There came three
kings ere break of day," and last, but best, because it seemed especially
made for them, the song that began:—
"O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by."
And so at length came Christmas eve. Little eyes were closing tight in
determined efforts to force the sleep that would make the time till morning
so much shorter. But in Bethlehem Center were six boys who, it is safe to
say, were thinking less of the morrow's gifts than of the morning's plan;
for preparations for early rising had been as elaborate as if it were
fourth of July, and there was a solemn agreement that not one present
should be looked at until after their return.
Gertrude had fallen asleep thinking of the letter beneath her pillow,
promising her return to college at the beginning of next term; but at the
first tinkle of her alarm-clock she was up, and, dressing by candlelight,
went softly down the stairs and out into the keen air of the morning. The
stars were still bright overhead, and there was no light in the east; but
Gertrude Windsor was not the first abroad; for at the gate Eddie, the two
Willies, and little Phil stood waiting, and already Harry and Charlie were
seen coming at top speed.
"Are we all here?" asked Eddie in a stage whisper; and the other boys
huddled close together, and wriggled with suppressed excitement.
"Yes," answered Gertrude. "Which place is first?"
"Mr. McKenzie's," announced Charlie, whose part it was to lay out the
route; and, crossing the road, they passed through the parsonage gate.
Beneath the study windows, Harry, at a given signal, struck the tuning-fork
against his boot heel, Gertrude gave the key, and then, like one, there
rose to greet the dawning of another Christmas day those clear young
"Hark! the herald angels sing,
'Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.'"
There were sounds from within before they had finished the first stanza;
but when, after the "Amen," the pastor started to open a window, the boys
were too quick for him. There was a volley of "Merry Christmas," and his
answer reached only the rearguard tumbling over the picket fence.
Beneath the bare apple-tree boughs in Harold Thornton's yard, Charlie,
Eddie, and little Phil sang, "We three kings of Orient are," while the
others joined in the chorus. At the song's close, the superintendent,
swifter of foot than the pastor, overtook them with a great box of candy.
Tears came into the eyes of Mrs. Martin as, watching beside her sick child,
she heard again the story of the Babe "away in a manger, no crib for his
bed." Old Uncle King forgot for a moment his vexing troubles as he listened
to the admonition to "rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing."
Mrs. Fenny cried, as sick people will, when she heard the boys reiterate
the sweet, triumphant notes.
So from house to house the singers went, pausing at one because of
sickness, at another because those within were lonely, at some for love, as
they had serenaded the pastor and the superintendent, and bringing to each
some new joy.
The stars were fading out, and they had started to return. On their side of
the street was the post-office, and opposite them was the saloon, with its
gaudy gilt sign, "Tim's Place." Little Phil was behind Gertrude; and as
they passed that building,—it was home to him—his hand just touched her
"Do you think," he whispered, and she could see the pitiful quiver of his
chin as he spoke—"do you suppose—we could sing one for m' father?"
Tears filled Gertrude's eyes; and had she not known boys so well, she would
have stooped and caught him in her arms.
"Why, surely," she answered. "Which one do you think he would like best?"
Phil had shrunk behind her, and beneath the gaze of the other boys his eyes
were those of a little hunted animal at bay. "Bethlehem," he said, huskily.
And when Harry had struck the tuning-fork, they began to sing together,—
"O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by."
The twenty-fourth had been a good day for business in Tim Shartow's place.
He had had venison for free lunch; two mandolin and guitar players had been
there all the evening; and there was more than two hundred dollars in the
till. But now, in the quiet of the early morning, as he sat alone, the
reaction had come. He remembered how Rob MacFlynn had had too much, and
gone home maudlin to the wife who had toiled all day at the wash-tub. He
thought of the fight Joe Frier and Tom Stacey had had. And—he did not
drink much himself; he despised a drunkard—and these things disgusted him.
There was little Phil, too,—"the saloon-keeper's boy,"—and that cut deep.
Wouldn't it pay better, in the long run—and then the music floated softly
He did not hear the words at first, but he had a good ear,—it was the
singing that had brought him, as a boy, into the beer-gardens,—and,
stepping to the window, he listened, all unseen by those without. There the
words reached him:—
"How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him"—
and until they sang the "Amen," Tim Shartow never stirred from the window.
* * * * *
The storm that had been threatening all day had descended. Without, a
blizzard was raging; but within, beside his study fire, the little ones
tucked away in bed up-stairs, and a book in his hand, the Reverend McKenzie
could laugh at weather. A knock at that hour surprised him; but when he saw
who stood upon the threshold, he knew how the saloon-keeper felt when he
posted his bills so many months before.
"Good evening, Mr. Shartow," he said. "Won't you come in?"
The face of his visitor was tense and haggard; for the struggle had lasted
the day long.
"I've come for help," he answered, shortly. "I guess it's the kind you can
give, all right."
For a moment the pastor searched his face. "God bless you!" he exclaimed.
"Come in, come in."
And so was wrought again, before the close of the day that had been ushered
in by the singing of the carols, the ever new miracle of Christmas; for
God's gift to men had been again accepted, and into another heart made meek
and ready to receive him the dear Christ had entered.—Frederick Hall, in
Christian Endeavor World.
STANDING BEAR'S SPEECH
The first time an Indian was permitted to appear in court in this country
and have his rights tried, was in the year 1897. Previous to this every
Indian in the United States was subject to the orders of the Secretary of
the Interior. If he happened to be a man of a tyrannical nature, the
Indians fared hard. One Secretary of the Interior at the point of the
bayonet had caused all the Poncas Indians to be driven from northern
Nebraska down to Indian Territory, depriving them of lands to which they
held government deeds. They were left in the new country for months without
rations, and more than one third of them died. Among these was the son of
Standing Bear. The old chief refused to have the boy buried in the strange
country, and, gathering about thirty members of his tribe together, he
started for their ancient hunting-grounds, intending to bury his boy where
generations of the Poncas chiefs lay.
The Secretary of the Interior heard of the runaways, and through the War
Department telegraphed to General Crook, of Omaha, to arrest the Indians,
and return them to Indian Territory. So General Crook arrested Standing
Bear and his followers, and took them all, with the old wagon that
contained the body of the dead boy, down to Omaha.
Standing Bear told his story to the general, who was already familiar with
many wrongs that had been committed against the Indians, and who was
indignant at their treatment. He detained the Indians at Omaha until he
consulted with a Mr. Tibbies, an editor of a newspaper. They agreed to
espouse the cause of the Indians, securing to Standing Bear a trial in the
United States court. It was the most notable trial ever brought in the
West, and, in fact, the scope was as wide as any ever tried in this
country; for upon its decision one hundred thousand persons were made
Mr. Tibbles, who attended every session of the court, describes what took
place, in the following words:—
"The court-room was crowded with fashionably dressed women; and the clergy,
which had been greatly stirred by the incident, were there in force.
Lawyers, every one in Nebraska, and many from the big Eastern cities;
business men; General Crook and his staff in their dress uniforms (this was
one of the few times in his life that Crook wore full dress in public); and
the Indians themselves, in their gaudy colors. The court-room was a galaxy
"On one side stood the army officers, the brilliantly dressed women, and
the white people; on the other was standing Bear, in his official robes as
chief of the Poncas, and with him were his leading men. Far back in the
audience, shrinking from observation, was an Indian girl, who afterward
became famous as a lecturer in England and America. She was later known on
both continents by a translation of her Indian name, In-sta-the-am-ba,
"Attorney Poppleton's argument was carefully prepared, and consumed sixteen
hours in the delivering, occupying the attention of the court for two days.
On the third day Mr. Webster spoke for six hours. And during all the
proceedings, the court-room was packed with the beauty and culture of the
"Toward the close of the trial, the situation became tense. As the wrongs
inflicted on the Indians were described by the attorneys, indignation was
often at white heat, and the judge made no attempt to suppress the applause
which broke out from time to time. For the department, Mr. Lambertson made
a short address, but was listened to in complete silence.
"It was late in the afternoon when the trial drew to a close. The
excitement had been increasing, but it reached a height not before attained
when Judge Dundy announced that Chief Standing Bear would be allowed to
make a speech in his own behalf. Not one in the audience besides the army
officers and Mr. Tibbies had ever heard an oration by an Indian. All of
them had read of the eloquence of Red Jacket and Logan, and they sat there
wondering if the mild-looking old man, with the lines of suffering and
sorrow on his brow and cheek, dressed in the full robes of an Indian chief,
could make a speech at all. It happened that there was a good interpreter
present—one who was used to 'chief talk.'
"Standing Bear arose. Half facing the audience, he held out his right hand,
and stood motionless so long that the stillness of death which had settled
down on the audience, became almost unbearable. At last, looking up at the
judge, he said:—
"'That hand is not the color of yours, but if I prick it, the blood will
flow, and I shall feel pain. The blood is of the same color as yours. God
made me, and I am a man. I never committed any crime. If I had, I would not
stand here to make a defense. I would suffer the punishment and make no
"Still standing half facing the audience, he looked past the judge, out of
the window, as if gazing upon something far in the distance, and
"'I seem to be standing on a high bank of a great river, with my wife and
little girl at my side. I cannot cross the river, and impassable cliffs
arise behind me. I hear the noise of great waters; I look, and see a flood
coming. The waters rise to our feet, and then to our knees. My little girl
stretches her hands toward me and says, "Save me." I stand where no member
of my race ever stood before. There is no tradition to guide me. The chiefs
who preceded me knew nothing of the circumstances that surround me. I hear
only my little girl say, "Save me." In despair I look toward the cliffs
behind me, and I seem to see a dim trail that may lead to a way of life.
But no Indian ever passed over that trail. It looks to be impassable. I
make the attempt.'
"'I take my child by the hand, and my wife follows after me. Our hands and
our feet are torn by the sharp rocks, and our trail is marked by our blood.
At last I see a rift in the rocks. A little way beyond there are green
prairies. The swift-running water, the Niobrara, pours down between the
green hills. There are the graves of my fathers. There again we will pitch
our teepee and build our fires. I see the light of the world and of liberty
"The old chief became silent again, and, after an appreciable pause, he
turned toward the judge with such a look of pathos and suffering on his
face that none who saw it will forget it, and said:—
"'But in the center of the path there stands a man. Behind him I see
soldiers in number like the leaves of the trees. If that man gives me the
permission, I may pass on to life and liberty. If he refuses, I must go
back and sink beneath the flood.'
"Then, in a lower tone, 'You are that man.'
"There was silence in the court as the old chief sat down. Tears ran down
over the judge's face. General Crook leaned forward and covered his face
with his hands. Some of the ladies sobbed.
"All at once that audience, by one common impulse, rose to its feet, and
such a shout went up as was never heard in a Nebraska court-room. No one
heard Judge Dundy say, 'Court is dismissed.' There was a rush for Standing
Bear. The first to reach him was General Crook. I was second. The ladies
flocked around him, and for an hour Standing Bear had a reception."
A few days afterward Judge Dundy handed down his famous decision, in which
he announced that an Indian was a "person," and was entitled to the
protection of the law. Standing Bear and his followers were set free; and,
with his old wagon and the body of the dead child, he went back to the
hunting-grounds of his fathers, and buried the body with tribal honors.
Some Things We Need
The courage born of God, not man,
The truth to speak, cost what it may;
The patience to endure the trials
That form a part of every day;
The purpose firm, the will to do
The right, wherever we may be;
The wisdom to reprove the faults
That in our loved ones we may see,—
Reprove in tone and spirit sweet,
And ne'er in temper's eloquence;
The heart to love the ones in wrong,
While wrong we hate in every sense;
The strength to do our daily task
As unto God,—for we're his own,—
To seek his approbation sweet,
And not men's praise, fame, or renown,—
These, these, and more, are things we need
If Christ we'd represent indeed.
C. C. ROBERTS
MABEL ASHTON'S DREAM
As the guests came together in the brilliantly lighted parlors at the home
of Mabel Ashton that crisp winter evening, there was nothing unusual in the
appearance of the rooms to indicate that the party to which they had been
invited was to be in any respect different from the round of gaiety to
which they had been devoting themselves for the greater part of the winter.
Some of the guests, as they greeted their young hostess, noticed an unusual
degree of nervousness in her manner, but, attributing it to the excitement
of preparation and anticipation, thought no more of it, and all were soon
engaged in conversation.
The musicians were in their places, and the young people were beginning to
wonder why the signal was not given for the orchestra to strike up, when
Mabel Ashton, her sweet face flushed and pale by turns, took her stand near
the musicians. After closing her eyes for a moment, during which the room
became perfectly still, in a voice at first trembling, but clear and
steady, she said:—
"Friends, I know you will think me very queer; but before we do anything
else, I must tell you a little story.
"I had a dream last night, which has made such an impression on my mind and
heart that I must tell it to you. I dreamed that tonight had arrived, and
you had all assembled in these rooms, when there came to the door, and was
ushered in, a guest who seemed strangely familiar, and yet whom I could not
recognize. He had a rare face, peaceful, yet a little sad in its
expression, and his eyes were more penetrating than any that I had ever
before seen. He was dressed in neat yet very plain clothing, but there was
something in his appearance which marked him as no ordinary man.
"While I was trying to think where I had seen him, he advanced to me, took
my hand, and said, gently, 'You do not recognize me, Mabel?' Surprised at
such a form of salutation from a stranger, I could only say, 'Your face,
sir, seems familiar, yet I cannot recall your name.'
"'Yet I am one whom you have invited here this evening, or, I should rather
say, one to whom both you and your parents have extended many invitations
to be present here whenever I am able to come. You have even invited me to
make my home here; and I have come tonight to join your little company.'
"'I beg a thousand pardons,' I replied, 'but you mystify me all the more,
and I beg you will relieve me by telling me whom I have the pleasure of
"Then he offered to my view the palms of his hands, in which were scars as
of nail wounds, and looked me through and through with those piercing yet
tender eyes; and I did not need that he should say to me, 'I am Jesus
Christ, your Lord.'
"To say that I was startled would be to express only a very small part of
my feelings. For a moment I stood still, not knowing what to do or say. Why
could I not fall at his feet and say with all my heart, 'I am filled with
joy at seeing you here, Lord Jesus'?
"With those eyes looking into mine, I could not say it; for it was not
true. For some reason, on the instant only half comprehended by myself, I
was sorry he had come. It was an awful thought, to be glad to have all the
rest of you here, yet sorry to see my Saviour! Could it be that I was
ashamed of him, or was I ashamed of something in myself?
"At length I recovered myself in a degree, and said, 'You wish to speak to
my parents, I am sure.'
"'Yes, Mabel,' as he accompanied me to where my mother and father sat
gazing in surprise at my evident confusion in greeting an unexpected guest;
'but I came this evening chiefly to be with you and your young friends; for
I have often heard you speak enthusiastically in your young people's
meetings about how delightful it would be if you could have me visibly
present with you.'
"Again the blush came to my cheeks as the thought flashed through my mind,
Tomorrow night is prayer-meeting night; I should have been delighted to see
him then. But why not tonight, on this pleasant occasion? I led him to my
parents, and, in a somewhat shamefaced fashion, introduced him.
"They both gave a start of amazed surprise, but, convinced by his
appearance that there was no mistake, my father recovered a degree of
self-possession, and bade him welcome, as he offered him a seat, remarking
that this was an unexpected pleasure. After a somewhat lengthy pause, he
explained to Jesus that his daughter Mabel, being very closely occupied
with her studies, and having little variety in life, had been allowed to
invite a few friends in for a social evening, with a little quiet dancing
by way of healthful exercise. Her friends were all of the very choicest,
and he felt that this was a harmless amusement, which the church had come
to look upon in a somewhat different light from that in which it was viewed
forty years ago. Removing the objectionable feature of bad company, had
made this pleasant pastime a safe indulgence.
"As my father stammered out, in the presence of Jesus, these words of
apology, which had fallen from my own lips, I felt myself flush crimson
with shame both for my dear father and for myself. Why should he apologize
at all for what he considered unquestionably right? How hollow it all
sounded there in the presence of the Lord! Did not Jesus know that my
studies were not so pressing but that I could keep late hours, sometimes
several nights in the week, at parties?
"Then father, anxious to relieve my evident embarrassment, said, 'I am sure
we can leave these young people safely to themselves, and nothing would
please me so well as to take you, my Lord Jesus, off into my study for a
"'No,' said Jesus, 'Mabel has often invited me, and I came tonight
especially to be with her. Will you introduce me to your friends, Mabel?
Some of them I know, but some I do not know.'
"Of course, all this time you, friends, were looking much in our direction,
wondering at our embarrassment, and perhaps guessing that we had been made
uncomfortable by the arrival of a not altogether welcome guest. I led him
first to some of the church-members among you, and there was not one of you
who looked so comfortable after the introduction as before.
"As it became known who the guest was, faces changed color, and some of you
looked very much as if you would like to leave the room. It really seemed
as if the church-members were quite as unwilling to meet Jesus as those who
were not Christians.
"One of you came up quietly and whispered to me, 'Shall I tell the
musicians not to play the dance music, but to look up some sacred pieces?'
Jesus caught the question, and, looking us both squarely in the face, he
simply asked, 'Why should you?' and we could not answer. Some one else
suggested that we could have a very pleasant and profitable evening if we
should change our original plans, and invite Jesus to talk to us. And he
also was met with that searching question, 'Why should my presence change
"After I had introduced the Lord Jesus to you all, and no one knew what to
do next, Jesus turned to me and said: 'You were planning for dancing, were
you not? It is high time you began, or you cannot complete your program
before daylight. Will you not give the word to the musicians, Mabel?'
"I was much embarrassed. If my original plan was all right, his presence
ought only to add joy to the occasion; yet here were all my guests, as well
as myself, made wretchedly uncomfortable by the presence of him whom most
of us called our best Friend. Determined to throw off this feeling and be
myself, at his word I ordered the musicians to play for the first dance.
"The young man with whom I was engaged for that dance did not come to claim
me, and no one went upon the floor. This was still worse embarrassment. The
orchestra played once more, and two or three couples, more to relieve me
than for any other reason, began to dance in a rather formal fashion. I was
almost beside myself with shame and confusion, when the Lord Jesus turned
to me and said: 'Mabel, your guests do not seem at ease. Why do you not, as
their hostess, relieve their embarrassment by dancing, yourself? Would it
help you any if I should offer to dance with you?'
"My confusion gave way to an expression almost of horror, as I looked into
those tenderly sad eyes and cried, 'You dance! You cannot mean it!'
"'Why not, Mabel? If my disciples may dance, may not I? Did you think all
this winter, when you and others of my disciples have gathered for the
dance, or the card-party, or at the theater, that you left me at home or in
the church? You prayed for my presence in the prayer-meeting; you did not
quite want it here; but why not, my dear child? Why have you not welcomed
me tonight, Mabel? Why has my presence spoiled your pleasure? Though I am
"a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," yet I delight to share and
increase all the pure joys of my disciples. Is it possible that you leave
me out of any of your pleasures, Mabel? If so, is it not because you feel
that they do not help you to become like me and to glorify me; that they
take your time and strength and thought to such an extent that you have
less delight in my Word and in communion with me? You have been asking,
"What's the harm?" Have you asked, "What is the gain?" Have you done these
things for the glory of God?'
"It was plain to me now. Overcome with self-reproach and profound sorrow, I
threw myself on the floor at his feet, and sobbed out my repentance.
"With a, 'Daughter, go in peace; thy sins be forgiven thee,' he was gone. I
awoke and found that it was all a dream. And now I want to ask you, my
friends, shall we go on with the program tonight, or shall we take these
lists which we have prepared, and discuss for a time with our partners the
question, 'What can young people do to make the world better for their
having lived in it'?"
As the vote was unanimous in favor of the latter plan, which was followed
by other wholesome recreations, and as the social evening was declared the
most delightful of the winter, it is safe to say that the Lord Jesus had
sent that dream for others besides Mabel Ashton.—Presbyterian Journal.
A SAD BUT TRUE STORY
It was in the large parlors of a mansion in Missouri, where, on a pleasant
October evening, ten or twelve young people were gathered from the
wealthiest homes of the elite of the city. Among them was a young woman
who, though always genial and social with the young, was ever clad in
mourning garb, and bore the name of Mara, chosen by herself to express the
grief and bitterness of her life, since the time when she, seven or eight
years before, had been bereft of all her family.
The pleasant hours flew fast till about half past ten in the evening, when
one of the company pulled out a pack of cards and flung it on the table
where Mara Moor was sitting. The effect was startling. Her face took on a
deathly pallor; she trembled, arose from her seat, staggered across the
room, and took a chair in the remotest corner. So great was her agitation
that every one saw it, but none was aware of the cause.
One of the party, who had been reading law for some time, not imagining the
seriousness of her anguish, went to her, and in a bantering way threatened
her with a legal prosecution before an impaneled jury in case she refused
to return to her place at the table, and submit to the regulations of the
evening. While the lawyer was urging her to this, a thoughtless young man
of the company stepped up to them and placed a few cards in her hand. She
jerked her hand away, and gave it a sling as if to rid it of the
contaminating filth of the cards; and, with an agonizing scream, she began
weeping and sobbing as if her heart would break.
Surprised at this new outburst, the lawyer sought to soothe the wounded
spirit; and when she had become somewhat quiet, he, with the rest,
entreated her to give them the reason for her terrible agitation. This she
at first refused to do, but being urged very strongly by all the company,
she at length consented. At the first word a shudder passed over her whole
frame; but pausing to regain her self-control, she began:—
"When I was nineteen years old, I was living in an Eastern city, in one of
the happiest homes within its limits. A rich and tender father, with a
loving and gentle mother, and as bright and true a brother as ever a sister
could want, were my companions in the delightful home of my childhood.
Wealth and comfort smiled upon us, and prophesied of future happiness,
until, with my own hand, I plucked down upon us all the greatest curse
"Two of our cousins, a brother and sister, came to visit us, and we spent
the evening in pleasant conversation, as we did this evening; and just as
those cards were thrown upon the table, and at about the same hour, my
parents having retired, our cousin threw a deck upon our table. They two
and I sat down to play, while my dear and tenderly loved brother, not
liking the idea of playing cards, turned to his music, which he was
composing as a graduating exercise for examination day, and went to work at
that. We three needed a fourth one to make the game go properly, and we
began trying to persuade my brother to come and take part with us; but he
declared he thought it was not right to spend time in card-playing—that it
was an amusement of the lowest character, and he did not want to get into
"After using all our arguments to induce him to assist us, but to no
purpose, I went to him, put my arm around his neck, and told him that I was
a Christian, and was trying to get to heaven, and thought it no harm to
play cards just for amusement; that I thought he ought to lay aside his
scruples, and come and help us, as we could have no fun without his nelp;
that he was too fastidious, anyway. With this he arose from his seat very
reluctantly, and came, protesting that he knew nothing about it. We told
him he could soon learn, and he did, only too quickly; for, in a little
time, he was enough for any of us; and when we three had become tired of
the sport, he was so delighted with it that he sat for an hour studying the
cards and shuffling them.
"We laughed heartily at him for his interest in the matter, and finally
retired for the night, leaving him with the cards. Next morning he took
them up again, and tried to induce us to play with him; but our cousins had
to go home, and soon left us, taking the deck with them. But the fatal act
had been done. That night my brother was in the city until a late hour,
which was a thing that had never occurred before. When he came home, he
seemed morose; and to our inquiries for the cause, his replies were
"The next night he was out again; and this continued for some nights, until
his money—two hundred dollars—was all gone. He then went to father for
more, and, as he had unbounded confidence in my brother, father very
readily gave him quite a little sum, without asking what he was going to do
with it. This was soon gone. When he asked for more, father desired him to
tell what he was doing with so much money. Not receiving a direct answer,
father gave him a small sum, and told him he could get no more unless he
would give a clear report of the use he made of his money. This money was
soon spent, and when he went for more, but was unwilling to account for
what he had received, father refused to give him more. With this refusal he
became angry, and told father he would make him willing to let him have the
money. My brother then went into the city again, and, as usual, into a
gambling-den, where he managed to get money for gaming, or sat and looked
on. He was absent for nearly a week.
"During this time my mother neither ate nor slept, as I might say; and when
my brother was brought home drunk, she took her bed, and never got up
again, but died of a broken heart, within a few days.
"We hoped this would stop my brother's course, but it did so only for a
short time. He soon began gambling and drinking again; and, being young and
rather delicate, it was not long until he was brought home in delirium
tremens. Upon this father took his bed, languished, sank, and died, leaving
myself and my brother alone in the world. O, how I wished I could die, too!
But it seemed that God determined that I should see the end of my work in
wrecking our family, and I was compelled to still remain, and reap the
harvest of my own doings.
"Every influence that could be brought to bear on my poor brother I made
use of, but to no avail; and, O, how I prayed for him! But it was of no
use! He went even more rapidly down the way of ruin, now that father was
dead and out of his way. Only a few weeks after I had followed my father to
his resting-place in the silent grave, my brother was brought home with
delirium tremens again, and, after suffering for a short time the most
terrible agony, the poor boy died, and was laid in a drunkard's grave. O my
God! why was I ever born? Why cannot I die, too? But what will my eternity
be for having thus ruined my own brother, the bright and beautiful boy?
This is why I spell my name Mara."
Soon after the lady commenced her sad story, the ladies in the company
began weeping; and when it was finished, they were all sobbing as if their
hearts would break; and the eyes of the men also were moist. The cards had
disappeared, and vows were solemnly expressed by the entire company that
never again would one of them be guilty of engaging in that sport, but that
they would ever do their best to endeavor to put the practise out of
Sowing to the Flesh
Are you sowing to the flesh, O youth?
Have you turned your back upon the truth?
Are you scattering seeds of evil
From the garner of the devil?
Are you thinking of the harvest
By and by?
Soon will spring and summer pass,
Brown and sere will grow the grass;
No time then for good seed-sowing:
You and I
Must gather what we've sown, forsooth.
Are you sowing to the flesh, O youth?
Are you sowing to the flesh, O maid?
Can you think of the harvest unafraid?
Is this world your only treasure?
This life all your joy and pleasure?
Are you laying up no portion
In the sky?
He that soweth to the wind
Shall a whirlwind's harvest find,
And he'll see himself a pauper
By and by.
We must reap of what we sow, it is said:
Are you sowing to the flesh, O maid?
"THE MAN THAT DIED FOR ME"
For many years I wanted to go as a foreign missionary, but my way seemed
hedged about. At last I went to live in California. Life was rough in the
mining country where I lived, with my husband and little boys.
While there I heard of a man who lived over the hills and was dying of
consumption. The men said: "He is so vile that no one can stay with him; so
we place some food near him, and leave him for twenty-four hours. We will
find him dead sometime, and the sooner the better. Never had a relative, I
This pitiful story haunted me as I went about my work. For three days I
tried to get some one to go to see him and find out if he was in need of
better care. As I turned from the last man, vexed with his indifference,
the thought came to me: "Why not go yourself? Here is missionary work, if
you want it."
I will not tell how I weighed the probable uselessness of my going, nor how
I shrank from one so vile as he. It was not the kind of work I wanted.
But at last one day I went over the hills to the little abode. It was a mud
cabin, containing but one room. The door stood open. In one corner, on some
straw and colored blankets, I found the dying man. Sin had left awful marks
on his face, and if I had not heard that he could not move, I should have
retreated. As my shadow fell over the floor, he looked up and greeted me
with an oath. I stepped forward a little, and again he swore.
"Don't speak so, my friend," I said.
"I ain't your friend. I ain't got any friends," he said.
"Well, I am your friend, and—"
But the oaths came quickly, and he said: "You ain't my friend. I never had
any friends, and I don't want any now."
I reached out, at arm's length, the fruit I had brought for him, and
stepping back to the doorway, asked if he remembered his mother, hoping to
find a tender place in his heart; but he cursed her. I spoke of God, and he
cursed him. I tried to speak of Jesus and his death for us, but he stopped
me with his oaths, and said: "That's all a lie. Nobody ever died for
I went away discouraged, saying to myself that I knew it was of no use. But
the next day I went again, and every day for two weeks. He did not show the
gratitude of a dog, and at the end of that time I said that I was not going
any more. That night as I was putting my little boy to bed, I did not pray
for the miner. My little boy noticed it and said:—
"Mama, you did not pray for the bad man."
"No," I answered, with a sigh.
"Have you given him up, mama?"
"Yes, I guess so."
"Has God given him up, mama? Ought you to give him up till God does?"
I could not sleep that night. I thought of the dying man, so vile, and with
no one to care! I rose and went away by myself to pray; but the moment that
I knelt, I was overpowered by the sense of how little meaning there had
been to my prayers. I had had no faith, and I had not really cared, beyond
a kind of half-hearted sentiment. I had not claimed his soul for God. O,
the shame of such missionary zeal! I fell on my face literally, as I cried,
"O Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul!" Did you,
Christian, ever ask that and mean it? Do not do it unless you are willing
to give up ease and selfish pleasure; for life will be a different thing to
you after this revelation.
I remained on my knees until Calvary became a reality to me. I cannot
describe those hours. They came and went unheeded; but I learned that night
what I had never known before, what it was to travail for a human soul. I
saw my Lord as I had never seen him before. I knelt there till the answer
As I went back to my room, my husband said:—
"How about your miner?"
"He is going to be saved."
"How are you going to do it? he asked.
"The Lord is going to save him; and I do not know that I shall do anything
about it," I replied.
The next morning brought a lesson in Christian work which I had never
learned before. I had waited on other days until afternoon, when, my work
being over, I could change my dress, put on my gloves, and take a walk
while the shadows were on the hillsides. That day, the moment my little
boys went to school, I left my work, and, without waiting for gloves or
shadows, hurried over the hills, not to see "that vile wretch," but to win
a soul. I thought the man might die.
As I passed on, a neighbor came out of her cabin, and said, "I will go over
the hills with you."
I did not want her to go, but it was another lesson for me. God could plan
better than I could. She had her little girl with her, and as we reached
the cabin, she said, "I will wait out here."
I do not know what I expected, but the man greeted me with an awful oath.
Still it did not hurt; for I was behind Christ, and I stayed there; and I
could bear what struck him first.
While I was changing the basin of water and towel for him, things which I
had done every day, but which he had never thanked me for, the clear laugh
of the little girl rang out upon the air.
"What's that?" said the man eagerly.
"It's a little girl outside waiting for me."
"Would you mind letting her come in?" said he, in a different tone from any
I had heard before.
Stepping to the door, I beckoned to her; then, taking her hand, said, "Come
in and see the sick man, Mamie." She shrank back as she saw his face, but I
assured her with, "Poor sick man! He can't get up; he wants to see you."
She looked like an angel, her bright face framed in golden curls and her
eyes tender and pitiful. In her hands she held the flowers that she had
picked from the purple sage, and, bending toward him, she said: "I'm sorry
for 'ou, sick man. Will 'ou have a posy?"
He laid his great, bony hand beyond the flowers, on the plump hand of the
child, and tears came to his eyes, as he said: "I had a little girl once.
Her name was Mamie. She cared for me. Nobody else did. Guess I'd been
different if she'd lived. I've hated everybody since she died."
I knew at once that I had the key to the man's heart. The thought came
quickly, born of that midnight prayer service, and I said, "When I spoke of
your mother and your wife, you cursed them; I know now that they were not
good women, or you could not have done it."
"Good women! O, you don't know nothin' 'bout that kind of woman! You
can't think what they was!"
"Well, if your little girl had lived and grown up with them, wouldn't she
have been like them? Would you have liked to have her live for that?"
He evidently had never thought of that, and his great eyes looked off for a
full minute. As they came back to mine, he cried: "O God, no! I'd killed
her first. I'm glad she died."
Reaching out and taking the poor hand, I said, "The dear Lord didn't want
her to be like them. He loved her even better than you did, so he took her
away. He is keeping her for you. Don't you want to see her again?"
"O, I'd be willing to be burned alive a thousand times over if I could just
see my little girl once more, my little Mamie!"
O friends, you know what a blessed story I had to tell that hour, and I had
been so close to Calvary that night that I could tell it in earnest! The
poor face grew ashy pale as I talked, and the man threw up his arms as if
his agony was mastering him. Two or three times he gasped, as if losing his
breath. Then, clutching me, he said, "What's that you said t'other day
'bout talkin' to some one out o' sight?"
"It is praying. I tell Him what I want."
"Pray now, quick. Tell him I want my little girl again. Tell him anything
you want to."
I took the hands of the child, and placed them on the trembling hands of
the man. Then, dropping on my knees, with the child in front of me, I bade
her pray for the man who had lost his little Mamie, and wanted to see her
again. As nearly as I remember, this was Mamie's prayer:—
"Dear Jesus, this man is sick. He has lost his little girl, and he feels
bad about it. I'm so sorry for him, and he's sorry, too. Won't you help
him, and show him how to find his little girl? Do, please. Amen."
Heaven seemed to open before us, and there stood One with the prints of the
nails in his hands and the wound in his side.
Mamie slipped away soon, and the man kept saying: "Tell him more about it.
Tell him everything. But, O, you don't know!" Then he poured out such a
torrent of confession that I could not have borne it but for One who was
close to us at that hour.
By and by the poor man grasped the strong hand. It was the third day when
the poor, tired soul turned from everything to him, the Mighty to save,
"the Man that died for me." He lived on for weeks, as if God would show how
real was the change. I had been telling him one day about a meeting, when
he said, "I'd like to go to a meetin' once."
So we planned a meeting, and the men from the mills and the mines came and
filled the room.
"Now, boys," said he, "get down on your knees, while she tells about that
Man that died for me."
I had been brought up to believe that a woman should not speak in meeting,
but I found myself talking, and I tried to tell the simple story of the
cross. After a while he said:—
"Boys, you don't half believe it, or you'd cry; you couldn't help it. Raise
me up. I'd like to tell it once."
So they raised him up, and, between his short breathing and coughing, he
told the story. He had to use the language he knew.
"Boys," he said, "you know how the water runs down the sluice-boxes and
carries off the dirt and leaves the gold behind. Well, the blood of that
Man she tells about went right over me just like that. It carried off about
everything; but it left enough for me to see Mamie, and to see the Man that
died for me. O boys, can't you love him?"
Some days after, there came a look into his face which told that the end
had come. I had to leave him, and I said, "What shall I say tonight, Jack?"
"Just good night," he said.
"What will you say to me when we meet again?"
"I'll say, 'Good morning,' over there."
The next morning the door was closed, and I found two men sitting silently
by a board stretched across two stools. They turned back the sheet from the
dead, and I looked on the face, which seemed to have come back nearer to
the image of God.
"I wish you could have seen him when he went," they said.
"Tell me about it."
"Well, all at once he brightened up, 'bout midnight, an' smilin', said:
'I'm goin', boys. Tell her I'm going to see the Man that died for me;' an'
he was gone."
Kneeling there with my hands over those poor, cold ones, which had been
stained with human blood, I asked that I might understand more and more the
worth of a human soul, and be drawn into a deeper sympathy with Christ's
yearning compassion, "not willing that any should perish."—Mrs. J. K.
He answered all my prayer abundantly,
And crowned the work that to his feet I brought,
With blessing more than I had asked or thought,—
A blessing undisguised, and fair, and free.
I stood amazed, and whispered, "Can it be
That he hath granted all the boon I sought?
How wonderful that he for me hath wrought!
How wonderful that he hath answered me!"
O faithless heart! He said that he would hear
And answer thy poor prayer, and he hath heard
And proved his promise. Wherefore didst thou fear?
Why marvel that thy Lord hath kept his word?
More wonderful if he should fail to bless
Expectant faith and prayer with good success!
—F. R. Havergal.
OUR GRASS RUG AND—OTHER THINGS
Our house isn't so very nice. We own it, of course, and that is a great
deal, as mother has often reminded us when we grumbled. But we girls always
thought there were some drawbacks even to that, because we couldn't ask a
landlord for new paper or fresh paint, and as for us—we never had money to
spare for such superfluities.
There are only four of us,—mother and Jack, Rose and me. We children have
been busy all our lives trying to get educated, so we could keep mother in
luxury after a while. In the meantime, she had done with bare necessities,
for the life-insurance father left wasn't large enough to take any liberty
with. Mother has things spick and span. No palace could be more beautifully
kept than our home, but the furnishing is nothing whatever to boast of.
Our room was almost the worst of all, with its odds and ends of things.
"Other girls have silver-backed hair-brushes!" wailed Rose one night,
regarding her old one with a scornful glance.
"Yes, and chairs that don't tip one over," I added, as I managed to save
myself from a fall.
"Isn't it horrid to be poor, Meta?" said Rose.
"It's no joke." I was very grim because I had bruised my hand on the
rickety chair, and tomorrow was music-lesson day, as I remembered.
It was then and there we rebelled. Not so mother could hear us—we weren't
mean enough for that! She'd have been only too glad to help matters if she
could. So we had our indignation meeting by our two selves. We said we'd
had enough of old furniture and cheap sash curtains, and we decided it was
time to act.
Having reached this decision, we proceeded to carry it out, and we
surprised ourselves with the speed of our achievements. My hope lay in
music, Rose's in arithmetic. I trailed around the neighborhood, next day,
looking for scholars, and Rose betook herself straight down to the Cowans,
who had been hunting for a "coach" for their twins. We had discussed the
Cowan possibility some time before, but Rose declared then that she
couldn't spare a minute from the demands of her studies, while I knew it
would keep me busy to be graduated on schedule time without doing anything
It makes a difference when you get interested in something for yourself. As
soon as ever we girls viewed these occupations in the light of furnishings
for our room, we felt sure we could squeeze them in—and we did. I got six
beginners, and Rose captured the Cowans, root and branch—four instead of
two; for it seemed they were not proficient in mathematical pursuits, and
their mother was delighted to get them off her distracted hands. All our
friends know that Rose adores sums and problems, and she didn't need any
Well, we did it! It wasn't easy, either. If my half-dozen aspirants for
fame escaped shaking till their teeth chattered, it wasn't because I didn't
ache to administer it. And Rose feared her hair would be white before the
end of the term. You see, when there's a certain amount of housework you
feel obliged to do, and when your studies fairly clamor for attention the
rest of the time, it sets your nerves all awry to keep the tempo for clumsy
fingers that go just half as fast as they should; or to teach over and over
again that four times five are always twenty.
But I suppose all these trials helped us to appreciate our possessions when
we did get them. They were just as sweet and dainty as we had hoped. We got
two single beds—white enamel with brass trimmings—and a pretty mirror in
a neat frame. Our old dressing-table looked like new with fresh drapery,
and there were full-length curtains to match. Two cunning white rockers,
two other chairs, and a little round stand made us feel simply blissful. We
painted our book-shelves with white enamel paint, and did our woodwork
ourselves. Jack painted the floor a soft gray that would blend with
anything, and after it was dry we laid on it one of our chief treasures. It
was a grass rug, in two shades of green, with a stenciled border and a
general air of elegance that almost overpowered us. It was large enough
almost to cover the floor, and we stenciled green borders on our curtains
and drapery in the same Grecian pattern.
It seemed too good to be true as we stood in the door and viewed the
landscape o'er after we had it done. "It isn't often that our dreams come
true!" sighed Rose.
"But this one has," I assured her.
She nodded happily. "Yes, and it's just as nice as we thought it would be!"
"Won't it do our hearts good to 'give notice,' as the cooks say?"
"I can hardly wait to tell those awful Cowans that they may get along as
best they can. I'm so tired of them, Meta!"
"I know you are. I wouldn't mind the music so much if I had time. But it's
dreadful when your own studies drag like millstones about your neck. I'm
not clever at learning as you are, Rose. I have to work for what I get. So
I shall tell them, next Tuesday, that I've decided not to teach any more
till school's out."
Jack stopped on his way down the hall to look over our shoulders. "Huh!" he
said, if you know what that means.
"Doesn't it look lovely?" asked Rose, her face all full of dimples. Rose is
as pretty as a picture, anyway, and when she smiles, you can't help smiling
back. Jack patted her cheek, and said, "It certainly does," and then he
passed on abruptly.
"Something doesn't suit him!" I declared as he shut his room door behind
him. "I can't imagine what it is, and it's of no earthly use to ask him."
It wouldn't have been. You can't worm a thing out of that boy till he gets
ready to tell.
Mother came up the stairs just then waving a note in her hand. "It's from
Helen Hunt!" she announced joyfully. "She is going to spend a day and a
night with us next week on her way to Grovesport. I shall be so glad to see
her." Mrs. Hunt and mother have been friends more years than Rose and I
have lived, and they very seldom meet any more. So we girls were almost as
glad as mother was, because that dear woman doesn't have as many pleasures,
as she deserves.
After we went to bed that night, we planned the surprise. The visitor
should have our lovely new nest, and we'd go and camp in the shabby old
guest-room. We knew it would please mother, for she hadn't had so pretty a
place to entertain Mrs. Hunt in for many years. It did please her, too, so
much that she almost cried, and she hugged us and thanked us till we felt
very happy and self-satisfied. Jack was standing by, and he said "Huh!"
again, in that same queer tone. Then mother turned and hugged him, and Rose
and I said to each other how strange it was that Jack should be jealous of
his own sisters.
It shone the day she came—the room, I mean, though the sun was on duty.
too. Mother went to the station to meet her, and, as she started out, she
called back, "Children, if any of you have occasion to go into my room
while I'm gone, be sure to shut the door when you come out!"
We answered "All right!" all three at once, and then Rose said, "How funny!
What do you suppose made her tell us to do that?"
"I can't imagine," I replied, and then Jack smiled. If it had been anybody
but our jolly old Jack, I'd have said his smile was sarcastic; but no one
ever accused that boy of anything so ill-natured. Then he said in a quiet,
even voice: "It doesn't take a Solon to see through that. She wants to make
sure that Mrs. Hunt doesn't see the contrast between her room and the one
across the hall. She might not understand—or approve."
And with that he took his cap and went out.
Stunned? I guess we were! Rose and I stared at each other as if we'd seen a
ghost. Then we put our arms around each other and went up-stairs without a
word. It was mother's door we opened, and we stood there and gazed as if
we'd never seen that room before. She had been darning her carpet again. We
could see the careful stitches and the frayed edges her art couldn't quite
conceal. "She has polished her furniture, too! See how it shines, Meta. She
tried to make it look its best." Rose's voice was mournful, so I tried to
speak up cheerfully.
"To be sure she did, and succeeded!" Then we turned, and both of us choked
back a sob at what we saw. She had taken our discarded dressing-table
drapery, cut out the best portions, ruffled it daintily, pressed it neatly,
and put it on her own bureau. Our worn-out sash curtains, nicely laundered,
veiled her book-rack.
"Meta, our mother—our precious jewel of a mother! We've taken everything
for ourselves and left her the rags!"
Rose had her head on my shoulder, and by that time I was crying as hard as
"No wonder Jack was dissatisfied!" I sobbed. "Rose, why didn't he tell us?"
"O Meta, why did we need telling? That's what breaks my heart. Even our
rickety chair fixed up and set back in the shadow! O, I can't stand it!"
"We've got to!" I stiffened up grimly. "We've got to stand it, and it
serves us right. But we'll make it up to her as soon as Mrs. Hunt is gone!"
"Yes, if we can live till then!"
"I think we'll manage to. Mortification won't kill us in twenty-four hours.
We'll make her sleep in there tonight, and they can have one cozy visit in
suitable quarters. Monsters!"
Rose didn't resent the epithet. She knew it was appropriate.
We did some thinking that night. I never felt so utterly insignificant in
my life. We realized at last that there are other ways to show love than
letting its object do all the sacrificing, all the giving and enduring,
while the one who bestows it revels in selfishness. We didn't say anything
then, but mother wasn't allowed to touch that supper, only the portion of
it that filled her own plate, and she didn't wash a dish after it, either!
If Rose and I sat over our books an hour after our usual bedtime, in
consequence, it hurt no one but ourselves, and we deserved it.
They had a lovely time together. We could hear their soft voices rise and
fall, with once in a while a ripple of laughter, till we dropped off to
sleep. The next night, mother went back to her own room. We didn't say a
word to prevent it, though it hurt us to think of our old duds in there for
mother to use.
Next day the early morning post brought a note from Mrs. Hall, an old
neighbor, urging mother to meet her down-town at ten o'clock. There was
some important shopping on hand, and mother's advice was indispensable. The
dear thing didn't suspect that her daughters had frantically besought Mrs.
Hall the day before to concoct some scheme that would clear the coast at
home. "All day, Mrs. Hall!" we pleaded. "We've planned a surprise for her,
and it will take a good while to arrange it."
Mother didn't see how she could be spared to go, but we assured her that
since we'd be at home, she wasn't needed at all. If this struck her as a
most unusual state of affairs, she was too polite to say so, and, true to
her habit of helpfulness, she dressed and went to Mrs. Hall's rescue.
We didn't waste any time, I assure you. We couldn't paint her floor then,
but Jack stained it around the edges where it wouldn't have to be walked
on, and the grass rug covered the rest. We burned the made-over rags. It
did our hearts good to see them crisp and turn to ashes.
Into the attic went the ugly old things, and across the hall came the
pretty new ones,—curtains, dressing-table, chairs, every single dainty
belonging, even the drapery from our book-shelves. Teddy Ward came in and
helped carry things, and Jack worked like a beaver. He didn't need any
urging, either. If ever a boy's face shone like a full moon, Jack's did
that happy day, though he stopped at least a dozen times to hug his
sisters. "What a beast I was to think you could be as selfish as all that!"
he exclaimed once, "I ought to have known better!"
"But we were just that selfish, Jacky," we told him. We didn't mean to sail
under false colors. "We'd never have thought, if it hadn't been for you."
"Yes, you would. The first jolt would have waked you up. Lend a hand here,
It was done at last, all cozy and fresh. Rose stopped in the door. "It
looks like mother," she said, and her voice was husky. "It's pure and sweet
"The other one looks pretty forlorn, girls. What are you going to do about
it?" Jack had a hand on our shoulders as he spoke, and we felt his
"Do?" we chirped up as brisk as millionaires. "Why, furnish it, of course."
"We have one bed to start on," Rose reminded him. "That's a big help, and
the floor and woodwork are still painted. How are we to do it? Lessons, to
be sure. Cowans and scales!"
"Thought you wanted to quit." Our brother looked troubled, for all his
"My son, we have changed our minds. Our most ardent desire now is to keep
on," I told him. Rose smiled drolly. "I am seriously considering
refurnishing the entire domicile," she remarked. "The Cowans are good for
the next twenty years, judging from their present attainments, and it's
fine practise for me!"
We didn't give mother a hint till after supper. It was hard to wait, but we
made ourselves do it so everything would come about quite naturally. She
took her bonnet and wrap up to put them away, and we three tagged, as
softly as if we had pads on our feet, like cats. She opened her door and
gave one bewildered glance, then she turned and saw us. "It's yours, Lovey,
every bit!" we told her.
"Darlings, I couldn't!" she said. "Your hard work—your dear new treasures!
I couldn't permit such a sacrifice, my darlings!" We just would not cry,
though the lumps in our throats made our voices sound as if they belonged
to some other family.
"They aren't our new treasures, they're yours."
"Who has been making sacrifices all our lives?"
"We love you so—you couldn't hurt us by refusing, Lovey!"
"There is no question of refusing." Rose spoke with great emphasis. "This
room is hers, once for all, and there is no more to be said about it."
We tucked her into her pretty white bed that night, and we kissed the dear
face on the ruffled pillow. Jack came in for his good night, too, and we
all stood looking down at her, so happy we couldn't talk. She lifted her
arms—those arms that had worked so hard for us—and gathered the three of
us to her at once. "My darlings!" was all she said, and we crept out
softly, knowing we had received her benediction.
Yes, we are getting our second collection of furniture into shape slowly
but surely. But we have learned that there are more precious things to be
had in homes than beds and chairs, or even green grass rugs. We have
them—the precious things—so, now that mother's room is accomplished, we
can wait very happily for the beds and chairs—Rose, and Jack, and
I.—Elisabeth Price, in St. Nicholas, copyrighted by the Century Company,
* * * * *
"The tender words unspoken,
The letters never sent,
The long-forgotten messages,
The wealth of love unspent,—
For these some hearts are breaking,
For these some loved ones wait;
Show them that you care for them
Before it is too late."