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´╗┐Title: Christie's Old Organ - Or, "Home, Sweet Home"
Author: Walton, O. F., Mrs., 1849-1939
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Christie's Old Organ - Or, "Home, Sweet Home"" ***

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CHRISTIE'S OLD ORGAN

Or

"Home, Sweet Home"

by

O. F. WALTON



Philadelphia
Henry Altemus Company



[Illustration: The Clergyman and Christie.]



CHRISTIE'S OLD ORGAN;

OR,

"HOME, SWEET HOME."



CHAPTER I.

THE OLD ORGAN.


"Home, sweet home, there's no place like home, there's no place like
home," played the unmusical notes of a barrel-organ in the top room of a
lodging-house in a dreary back street. The words certainly did not seem
to apply to that dismal abode; there were not many there who knew much
of the sweets of home.

It was a very dark, uncomfortable place, and as the lodgers in the lower
room turned over on their wretched beds, many of which were merely bare
wooden benches, it may be that one and another gave a sigh as he thought
how far he was from "Home, sweet home."

But the organ played on, though the hour was late, and the dip candle
was put out, and the fire was dying away. If you had climbed the crooked
staircase, you would have seen an old man sitting alone in his attic,
and smiling at his organ as he turned it with a trembling hand.

Old Treffy loved his barrel-organ; it was the one comfort of his life.
He was a poor, forlorn old man, without a friend in the world. Every one
that he had loved was dead; he had no one to whom he could talk, or to
whom he could tell his troubles, and thus he gathered up all the
remaining bits and fragments of love in his old heart, faded and
withered though they were, and he gave them all to his old organ, which
had well-nigh seen as many summers as he had. It was getting very
antiquated and old-fashioned now; the red silk in front of it was very
soiled and worn, and it could not play any of the new tunes of which the
children were so fond. It sometimes struck old Treffy that he and his
organ were very much alike,--they were getting altogether behind the
age; and people looked down upon them and pushed past them, as they
hurried along the street. And though old Treffy was very patient, yet he
could not help feeling this.

He had felt it very much on the day of which I am writing. It was cold,
dismal weather; a cutting east wind had swept round the corners of the
streets, and had chilled the old man through and through. His threadbare
coat could not keep it out; how could he expect it to do so, when he had
worn it so many years he could scarcely count them? His thin, trembling
old hands were so benumbed with cold that he could scarcely feel the
handle of the organ, and, as he turned it, he made sundry little shakes
and quavers in the tune, which were certainly not intended by the maker
of the old barrel-organ.

There was not much variety in the tunes old Treffy could play. There was
the "Old Hundredth," and "Poor Mary Ann," and "Rule Britannia;" the only
other one was "Home, sweet Home," but that was old Treffy's favorite. He
always played it very slowly, to make it last longer, and on this cold
day the shakes and the quavers in it sounded most pathetic.

But no one took much notice of old Treffy or his organ. A little crowd
of children gathered round him, and asked him for all sorts of new tunes
of which he had never even heard the names.

They did not seem to care for "Home, sweet Home," or the "Old
Hundredth," and soon moved away. Then an old gentleman put his head out
of a window, and in a cross voice told him to go on and not disturb a
quiet neighborhood with his noise. Old Treffy meekly obeyed, and,
battling with the rough east wind, he tried another and a more bustling
street; but here a policeman warned him to depart, lest he should crowd
up the way.

Poor old Treffy was almost fainting, but he must not give up, for he had
not a half-penny in his pocket, and he had come out without breakfast.
At length a kind-hearted farmer's wife, who was passing with a basket on
her arm, took pity on the trembling old man, and gave him a penny from
her capacious pocket.

Thus all day long Treffy played on; over and over again his four tunes
were sounded forth, but that was the only penny he received that cold
day.

At last, as the daylight was fading, he turned homeward. On his way he
parted with his solitary penny for a cake of bread, and slowly and
wearily he dragged himself up the steep stairs to his lonely attic.

Poor old Treffy was in bad spirits this evening. He felt that he and his
organ were getting out of date--things of the past. They were growing
old together. He could remember the day when it was new. How proud he
had been of it! Oh, how he had admired it! The red silk was quite
bright, and the tunes were all in fashion. There were not so many organs
about then, and people stopped to listen,--not children only, but grown
men and women,--and Treffy had been a proud man in those days. But a
generation had grown up since then, and now Treffy felt that he was a
poor, lone old man, very far behind the age, and that his organ was
getting too old-fashioned for the present day. Thus he felt very cast
down and dismal, as he raked together the cinders, and tried to make a
little blaze in the small fire he had lighted.

But when he had eaten his cake, and had taken some tea which he had
warmed over again, old Treffy felt rather better, and he turned as usual
to his old organ to cheer his fainting spirits. For old Treffy knew
nothing of a better Comforter.

The landlady of the house had objected at first to old Treffy's organ;
she said it disturbed the lodgers; but on Treffy's offering to pay a
penny a week extra for his little attic, on condition of his being able
to play whenever he liked, she made no further opposition.

And thus, till late in the night, he turned away, and his face grew
brighter, and his heart lighter, as he listened to his four tunes. It
was such good company, he said, and the attic was so lonely at night.
And there was no one to find fault with the organ there, or to call it
old-fashioned. Treffy admired it with all his heart, and felt that at
night at least it had justice done to it.

But there was one who was listening to the old organ, and admiring it as
much as Treffy, of whom the old man knew nothing. Outside his door,
crouching down with his ear against a large crack, lay a little ragged
boy; he had come into the great lodging-room downstairs to sleep, and
had laid down on one of the hard benches, when old Treffy's barrel-organ
began to play. He had not listened to it much at first, but when the
first notes of "Home, sweet Home," had been sounded forth, little
Christie had raised his head on his elbow, and listened with all his
might. It was almost too much for him; it was a memory of the past. A
few months ago, little Christie had a mother, and this was the last tune
she sang. It brought it all back to him; the bare, desolate room, the
wasted form on the bed, the dear, loving hand which had stroked his face
so gently, and the sweet voice had sung that very tune to him. He could
hear her, even now: "Home, sweet home, there's no place like home;
there's no place like home." How sweetly she had sung it!--he remembered
it so well. And he remembered what she had said to him just
afterwards,--

"I'm going home, Christie--going home--home, sweet home; I'm going home,
Christie."

And those were the last words she had said to him.

Since then, life had been very dreary to little Christopher. Life
without a mother, it hardly _was_ life to him. He had never been happy
since she had died. He had worked very hard, poor little fellow, to earn
his bread, for she had told him to do that. But he had often wished he
could go to his mother in "Home, sweet Home." And he wished it more than
ever this night, as he heard his mother's tune. He waited for it very
patiently, whilst old Treffy was playing the other three which came
first, but at length some one closed the door, and the noise inside the
lodging-room was so great that he could not distinguish the notes of the
longed-for tune.

So Christie crept out quietly in the darkness, and closing the door
softly, that no one might notice it, he stole gently upstairs. He knelt
down by the door and listened. It was very cold, and the wind swept up
the staircase, and made little Christie shiver. Yet still he knelt by
the door.

At length the organ stopped; he heard the old man putting it down by the
wall, and in a few minutes all was still.

Then Christie crept downstairs again, and lay down once more on his hard
bench, and he fell asleep, and dreamt of the mother in the far-off land.
And he thought he heard her singing, "'Home, sweet Home,' I'm home now,
Christie; I'm home now, and there's no place like home."



CHAPTER II.

CHRISTIE'S IMPORTANT CHARGE.


The dismal lodging-house had a charm for little Christie now. Night
after night he returned there, that he might hear his mother's tune. The
landlady began to look upon him as one of her regular household. She
sometimes gave him a crust of bread, for she noticed his hungry face
each night, as he came to the large lodging-room to sleep.

And every night old Treffy played, and Christie crept upstairs to
listen.

But one night, as he was kneeling at the attic door, the music suddenly
ceased, and Christie heard a dull, heavy sound, as if something had
fallen on the floor. He waited a minute, but all was quite still; so he
cautiously lifted the latch, and peeped into the room. There was only a
dim light in the attic, for the fire was nearly out, and old Treffy had
no candle. But the moonlight, streaming in at the window, showed
Christie the form of the old man stretched on the ground, and his poor
old barrel-organ laid beside him. Christie crept to his side, and took
hold of his hand. It was deadly cold, and Christie thought he was dead.
He was just going to call the landlady, when the old man moved, and in a
trembling voice asked, "What's the matter, and who's there?"

"It's only me, Master Treffy," said Christie, "it's only me. I was
listening to your organ, I was, and I heard you tumble, so I came in.
Are you better, Master Treffy?"

The old man raised his head, and looked round. Christie helped him to
get up, and took him to his attic straw bed in the corner of the attic.

"Are you better, Master Treffy?" he asked again.

"Yes, yes," said the old man; "it's only the cold, boy; it's very chilly
o' nights now, and I'm a poor lone old man. Good night."

And so the old man fell asleep, and Christie lay down by his side and
slept also.

That was the beginning of a friendship between old Treffy and Christie.
They were both alone in the world, both friendless and desolate, and it
drew them to each other. Christie was a great comfort to Treffy. He went
errands for him, he cleaned the old attic, and he carried the
barrel-organ downstairs each morning when Treffy went on his rounds.
And, in return, Treffy gave Christie a corner of the attic to sleep in
and let him sit over his tiny fire whilst he played his dear old organ.
And whenever he came to "Home, sweet Home," Christie thought of his
mother, and of what she had said to him before she died.

"Where is 'Home, sweet Home,' Master Treffy?" he asked one night.

Treffy looked round the wretched little attic, with its damp,
weather-stained roof, and its rickety rotten floor, and felt that he
could not call _it_ "Home, sweet Home."

"It's not here, Christie," he said.

"No," said Christie, thoughtfully; "I expect it's a long way from here,
Master Treffy."

"Yes," said the old man; "there must be something better somewhere."

"My mother used to talk about heaven," said Christie, doubtfully. "I
wonder if that was the home she meant?"

But old Treffy knew very little of heaven; no one had ever told him of
the home above. Yet he thought of Christie's words many times that day,
as he dragged himself about wearily, with his old organ. He was failing
very fast, poor old man; his legs were becoming feeble, and he was
almost fainting when he reached the attic. The cold wind had chilled him
through and through.

Christie was at home before him, and had lit the fire, and boiled the
kettle, and put all ready for old Treffy's comfort. He wondered what was
the matter with Treffy that night; he was so quiet and silent, and he
never even asked for his old organ after tea, but went to bed as soon as
possible.

And the next day he was too weak and feeble to go out; and Christie
watched beside him, and got him all he wanted, as tenderly as a woman
could have done.

And the next day it was the same, and the day after that, till the attic
cupboard grew empty, and all poor old Treffy's pence were gone.

"What are we to do, now, Christie?" he said, pitifully; "I can't go out
to-day, my lad, can I?"

"No," said Christie, "you mustn't think of it, Master Treffy. Let me
see, what can we do? Shall _I_ take the organ out?"

Old Treffy did not answer; a great struggle was going on in his mind.
Could he let any one but himself touch his dear old organ? It would be
very hard to see it go out, and have to stay behind,--very hard indeed.
But Christie was a careful lad; he would rather trust it with him than
with any one else; and he had come to his last piece of money. He must
not sit still and starve. Yes, the organ must go; but it would be a
great trial to him. He would be so lonely in the dark attic when
Christie and the organ were both gone. What a long, tedious day it would
be to him!

"Yes, Christie, you may take her to-morrow," he said at length; "but you
must be _very_ careful of her, my lad,--very careful."

"All right, Master Treffy," said Christie, cheerily; "I'll bring her
safe home, you see if I don't."

What a day that was in Christie's life! He was up with the lark, as
people say, but there was no lark within many a mile of that dismal
street. He was certainly up before the sparrows, and long before the men
on the benches in the great lodging-room. He crept out cautiously into
the court in the gray morning light, and kneeling by the common pump, he
splashed the water upon his face and neck till they lost all feeling
with the cold. Then he rubbed his hands till they were as red as
cherries, and he was obliged to wrap them up in his ragged coat that he
might feel they still belonged to him. And then he stole upstairs again,
and lifting the latch of the attic door very gently, lest old Treffy
should awake, he combed his rough hair with a broken comb, and arranged
his ragged garments to the best possible advantage.

Then Christie was ready; and he longed for the time when old Treffy
would awake, and give him leave to go. The sparrows were chirping on the
eaves now, and the sun was beginning to shine. There were noises in the
house, too, and one by one the men in the great lodging-room shook
themselves, and went out to their work and to their labor until the
evening.

Christie watched them crossing the court, and his impatience to be off
grew stronger. At length he touched old Treffy's hand very gently, and
the old man said, in a bewildered voice,--

"What is it, Christie, boy? what is it?"

"It's morning, Master Treffy," said Christie; "shall you soon be awake?"

The old man turned over in bed, and finally sat up.

"Why, Christie, boy, how nice you look!" said Treffy, admiringly.

Christie drew himself up with considerable importance, and walked up and
down the attic, that Treffy might further admire him.

"May I go now, Master Treffy?" he asked.

"Yes, Christie, boy, go if you like," said the old man; "but you'll be
very careful of her, won't you, Christie?"

"Yes, Master Treffy," said the boy, "I'll be as careful as you are."

"And you'll not turn her round too fast, Christie," he went on.

"No, Master Treffy," said Christie, "I'll turn her no faster than you
do."

"And you mustn't stop and talk to boys in the street, Christie; they're
very rude sometimes, are boys, and they always want the new tunes,
Christie; but never you heed them. Her tunes are getting old-fashioned,
poor old thing; she's something like me. But you mustn't take no notice
of the boys, Christie."

"No, Master Treffy," said Christie; "no more than you do."

"There's one tune they're very fond of," said old Treffy, meditatively;
"I don't rightly know what it is; they call it 'Marshal Lazy'
[Marseillaise], or something of that sort. I reckon it's called after
some man in the wars, maybe."

"You don't know who he was?" asked Christie.

"No," said old Treffy, "I don't bother my head about it. I expect he was
some lazy scoundrel who wouldn't do his duty, and so they made up a song
to mock at him. But that's as it may be, Christie; I don't know, I'm
sure. I expect he wasn't born when my organ was made; I expect not,
Christie."

"Well, Master Treffy, I'm ready," said Christy, putting the organ-strap
over his neck; "good-bye."

And, with an air of great importance, Christie carefully descended the
rickety stairs, and marched triumphantly across the court. A few
children who were there gathered round him with admiring eyes, and
escorted him down the street.

"Give us a tune, Christie; play away, Christie," they all cried out. But
Christie shook his head resolutely, and marched on. He was not sorry
when they grew tired of following him and turned back. Now he felt
himself a man; and he went on in a most independent manner.

And then he began to play. What a moment that was for him!

He had often turned the handle of the barrel-organ in the lonely old
attic, but that was a very different thing to playing it in the street.
There had been no one to hear him there except old Treffy, who used to
stand by most anxiously, saying, "Turn her gently, Christie; turn her
gently." But here there were crowds of people passing by, and sometimes
some one stopped for a minute, and then how proud Christie felt! There
was no barrel-organ like his, he felt sure. He did not care what the
folks said about Marshal Lazy; he was not so good as poor Mary Ann,
Christie felt sure; and as for "Home, sweet Home," Christie almost broke
down every time he played it. He did _so_ love his mother, and he could
not help thinking she was singing it still somewhere. He wondered very
much where she was, and where "Home, sweet Home," was. He must try to
find out somehow.

And thus the day wore away, and Christie's patience was rewarded by
quite a little store of pence. How proud he was to spend it on his way
home in comforts for old Treffy, and how much he enjoyed giving the old
man an account of his day's adventures!

Treffy gave Christie a warm welcome when he opened the attic door; but
it would be hard to say whether he was more pleased to see Christie, or
to see his dear old barrel-organ. He examined it most carefully and
tenderly, but he could not discover that Christie had done any harm to
it, and he praised him accordingly.

Then, while Christie was getting tea ready, Treffy played through all
his four tunes, dwelling most affectionately and admiringly on "Home,
sweet Home."



CHAPTER III.

ONLY ANOTHER MONTH.


Old Treffy did not regain his strength. He continued weak and feeble. He
was not actually ill, and could sit up day after day by the tiny fire
which Christie lighted for him in the morning. But he was not able to
descend the steep staircase, much less to walk about with the heavy
organ, which even made Christie's shoulders ache.

So Christie took the old man's place. It was not always such pleasant
work as on that first morning. There were cold days and rainy days;
there was drizzling sleet, which lashed Christie's face; and biting
frost, which chilled him through and through. There were damp fogs,
which wrapped him round like a wet blanket, and rough winds, which
nearly took him off his feet. Then he grew a little weary of the sound
of the poor old organ. He never had the heart to confess this to old
Treffy; indeed he scarcely liked to own it to himself; but he could not
help wishing that poor Mary Ann would come to the end of her troubles,
and that the "Old Hundredth" would change into something new. He never
grew tired of "Home, sweet Home;" it was ever fresh to him, for he heard
in it his mother's voice.

Thus the winter wore away, and the spring came on, and the days became
longer and lighter. Then Christie would go much farther out of the town,
to the quiet suburbs where the sound of a barrel-organ was not so often
heard. The people had time to listen in these parts; they were far away
from the busy stir of the town, and there were but few passers-by on the
pavement. It was rather dull in these outlying suburbs. The rows of
villas, with their stiff gardens in front, grew a little monotonous. It
was just the kind of place in which a busy, active mind would long for a
little variety. And so it came to pass that even a barrel-organ was a
welcome visitor; and one and another would throw Christie a penny, and
encourage him to come again.

One hot spring day, when the sun was shining in all his vigor, as if he
had been tired of being hidden in the winter, Christie was toiling up
one of these roads on the outskirts of the town. The organ was very
heavy for him, and he had to stop every now and then to rest for a
minute. At length he reached a nice-looking house, standing in a very
pretty garden. The flower-beds in front of the house were filled with
the early spring flowers; snowdrops, crocuses, violets, and hepaticas
were in full bloom.

Before this house Christie began to play. He could hardly have told you
why he chose it; perhaps he had no reason for doing so, except that it
had such a pretty garden in front, and Christie always loved flowers.
His mother had once bought him a penny bunch of spring flowers, which,
after living for many days in a broken bottle, Christie had pressed in
an old spelling-book, and through all his troubles he had never parted
with them.

And thus, before the house with the pretty garden, Christie began to
play. He had not turned the handle of the organ three times, before two
merry little faces appeared at a window at the top of the house, and
watched him with lively interest. They put their heads out of the window
as far as the protecting bars would allow them, and Christie could hear
all they said.

"Look at him," said a little girl, who seemed to be about five years
old; "doesn't he turn it nicely, Charlie?"

"Yes, he does," said Charlie, "and what a pretty tune he's playing!"

"Yes," said the little girl, "it's so cheerful. Isn't it, nurse?" she
added, turning round to the girl who was holding her by the waist, to
prevent her falling out of the window. Mabel had heard her papa make a
similar remark to her mamma the night before, when she had been playing
a piece of music to him for the first time, and she therefore thought it
was the correct way to express her admiration of Christie's tune.

But the tune happened to be "Poor Mary Ann," the words of which the
nurse knows very well indeed. And as Mary Ann was nurse's own name, she
had grown quite sentimental whilst Christie was playing it, and had been
wondering whether John Brown, the grocer's young man, who had promised
to be faithful to her for ever and ever more, would ever behave to her
as poor Mary Ann's lover did, and leave her to die forlorn. Thus she
could not quite agree with Miss Mabel's remark, that "Poor Mary Ann" was
so cheerful, and she seemed rather relieved when the tune changed to
"Rule Britannia." But when "Rule Britannia" was finished, and the organ
began "Home, sweet Home," the children fairly screamed with delight; for
their mother had often sung it to them, and they recognized it as an old
favorite; and with their pretty, childish voices, they joined in the
chorus: "Home, sweet home, there's no place like home, there's no place
like home." And as poor Christie looked up at them, it seemed to him
that they, at least, _did_ know something of what they sang.

"Why have not I a nice home?" he wondered. But the children had run away
from the window, and scampered downstairs to ask their mamma for some
money for the poor organ-boy. A minute afterwards two pennies were
thrown to Christie from the nursery window. They fell down into the
middle of a bed of pure white snowdrops, and Christie had to open the
garden gate, and walk cautiously over the grass to pick them up. But for
some time he could not find them, for they were hidden by the flowers;
so the children ran downstairs again to help him. At last the pennies
were discovered, and Christie took off his hat and made a low bow, as
they presented them to him. He put the money in his pocket, and looked
down lovingly on the snowdrops.

"They _are_ pretty flowers, missie," he said.

"Would you like one, organ-boy?" asked Mabel, standing on tip-toe, and
looking into Christie's face.

"Could you spare one?" said Christie, eagerly.

"I'll ask mamma," said Mabel, and she ran into the house.

"I'm to gather four," she said, when she came back; "organ-boy, you
shall choose."

It was a weighty matter selecting the flowers; and then the four
snowdrops were tied together and given to Christie.

"My mother once gave me some like these, missie," he said.

"Does she never give you any now?" said Mabel.

"No, missie, she's dead," said Christie, mournfully.

"Oh!" said little Mabel, in a sorrowful, pitying voice, "poor organ-boy,
poor organ-boy!"

Christie now put his organ on his back and prepared to depart.

"Ask him what his name is," whispered Mabel to Charlie.

"No, no; you ask him."

"_Please_, Charlie, ask him," said Mabel again.

"What is your name, organ-boy?" said Charlie, shyly.

Christie told them his name, and as he went down the road he heard their
voices calling after him:--

"Come again, Christie; come again another day, Christie; come again
soon, Christie."

The snowdrops were very faded and withered when Christie reached the
attic that night. He tried to revive them in water, but they would not
look fresh again; so he laid them to rest beside his mother's faded
flowers in the old spelling-book.

Christie was not long in repeating his visit to the suburban road, but
this time, though he played his four tunes twice through and lingered
regretfully over "Home, sweet Home," he saw nothing of the children, and
received neither smiles nor snowdrops. For Mabel and Charlie had gone
for a long country walk with their nurse, and were far away from the
sound of poor Christie's organ.

Treffy was still unable to get out, and he grew rather fretful
sometimes, even with Christie. It was very dull for him sitting alone
all day; and he had nothing to comfort him, not even his old friend the
organ. And when Christie came home at night, if the store of pence was
not so large as usual, poor old Treffy would sigh and moan, and wish he
could get about again, and take his old organ out as before.

But Christie bore it very patiently, for he loved his old master more
than he had loved any one since his mother died; and love can bear many
things. Still, he did wish he could find some one or something to
comfort Treffy, and to make him better.

"Master Treffy," he said one night, "shall I fetch the doctor to you?"

"No, no, Christie, boy," said Treffy; "let me be, let me be."

But Christie was not to be so easily put off. What if Treffy should die,
and leave him alone in the world again? The little attic, dismal though
it was, had been a home to Christie, and it had been good to have some
one to love him once again. He would be very, very lonely if Treffy
died; and the old man was growing very thin and pale, and his hands were
very trembling and feeble; he could scarcely turn the old organ now. And
Christie had heard of old people "breaking up," as it is called, and
then going off suddenly; and he began to be very much afraid old Treffy
would do the same. He _must_ get some one to come and see his old
master.

The landlady of the house had fallen downstairs and broken her arm. A
doctor came to see _her_, Christie knew; oh, if he would only step
upstairs and look at old Treffy! It was such a little way from the
landlady's room to the attic, and it would only take him a few minutes.
And then Christie could ask him what was the matter with the old man,
and whether old Treffy would get better.

These thoughts kept Christie awake a long time that night; he turned
restlessly on his pillow, and felt very troubled and anxious. The
moonlight streamed into the room, and fell on old Treffy's face as he
lay on his bed in the corner. Christie raised himself on his elbow, and
looked at him. Yes, he _did_ look very wasted and ill. Oh, how he hoped
Treffy would not go away, as his mother had done, and leave him behind!

And Christie cried himself to sleep that night.

The next day he watched about on the stairs till the landlady's doctor
came. Old Treffy thought him very idle because he would not go out with
the organ; but Christie put him off with first one excuse and then
another, and kept looking out of the window and down the court, that he
might see the doctor's carriage stop at the entrance.

When at last the doctor came, Christie watched him go into the
landlady's room and sat at the door till he came out. He shut the door
quickly after him, and was running down the steps, when he heard an
eager voice calling after him.

"Please, sir, please, sir," said Christie.

"Well, my boy, what do you want?" said the doctor.

"Please, sir--don't be cross, sir, but if you _would_ walk upstairs a
minute into the attic, sir; it's old Treffy, and he's ever so poorly."

"Who _is_ old Treffy?" asked the doctor.

"He's my old master; that's to say, he takes care of me,--at least it's
me that takes care of him, please, sir."

The doctor did not quite know what to make of this lucid explanation.
However, he turned round and began slowly to ascend the attic stairs.

"What's the matter with him?" he asked kindly.

"That's what I want to know, sir," said Christie; "he's a very old man,
sir, and I'm afraid he won't live long, and I want to know, please. But
I'd better go in first, please, sir; Master Treffy doesn't know you're
coming."

"Master Treffy," said Christie, walking bravely into the room, "here's
the landlady's doctor come to see you."

And to Christie's great joy, old Treffy made no objection, but submitted
very patiently and gently to the doctor's investigation, without even
asking who had sent him. And then the doctor took leave, promising to
send some medicine in the morning, and walked out into the close court.
He was just getting into his carriage, when he felt a little cold hand
on his arm.

"Please, sir, how much is it?" said Christie's voice.

"How much is what?" asked the doctor.

"How much is it for coming to see poor old Treffy, sir? I've got a few
coppers here, sir," said Christie, bringing them out of his pocket;
"will these be enough, sir? or, if not, sir, I'll bring some more to
your house to-morrow."

"Oh," said the doctor, smiling, "you may keep your money, boy; I won't
take your last penny, and when I come to see Mrs. White I'll give a look
at the old man again."

Christie looked, but did not speak his thanks.

"Please, sir, what do you think of Master Treffy?" he asked.

"He won't be here very long, boy,--perhaps another month or so," said
the doctor as he drove away.

"A month or so! only a month!" said Christie to himself, as he walked
slowly back, with a dead weight on his soul. A month more with his dear
old master,--only another month, only another month. And in the minute
which passed before Christie reached the attic, he saw, as in a
sorrowful picture, what life would be to him without old Treffy. He
would have no home, not even the old attic; he would have no friend. _No
home, no friend; no home, no friend!_ that would be his sorrow. And only
another month before it came! only another month!

It was with a dull, heavy heart that Christie opened the attic door.

"Christie, boy," said old Treffy's voice; "what did the doctor say?"

"He said you had only another month, Master Treffy," sobbed Christie,
"only another month; and whatever shall I do without you?"

Treffy did not speak; it was a solemn thing to be told he had only
another month to live; that in another month he must leave Christie, and
the attic, and the old organ, and go--he knew not whither. It was a
solemn, searching thought for old Treffy.

He spoke very little all day. Christie stayed at home, for he had not
heart enough to take the organ out that sorrowful day; and he watched
old Treffy very gently and mournfully. _Only another month! only another
month!_ was ringing in the ears of both.

But when the evening came on, and there was no light in the room but
what came from the handful of fire in the grate, old Treffy began to
talk.

"Christie," he said, uneasily, "where am I going? Where shall I be in a
month, Christie?"

Christie gazed into the fire thoughtfully.

"My mother talked about heaven, Master Treffy; and she said she was
going home. 'Home, sweet home,' that was the last thing she sang. I
expect that 'Home, sweet home,' is somewhere in heaven, Master Treffy; I
expect so. It's a good place, so my mother said."

"Yes," said old Treffy, "I suppose it is; but I can't help thinking I
shall be very strange there, Christie, very strange indeed. I know so
little about it, so very little, Christie, boy."

"Yes," said Christie, "and I don't know much."

"And I don't know any one there, Christie; you won't be there, nor any
one that I know; and I shall have to leave my poor old organ; you don't
suppose they'll have any barrel-organs there, will they, Christie?"

"No," said Christie, "I never heard my mother speak of any; I think she
said they played on harps in heaven."

"I shan't like that _half_ so well," said old Treffy, sorrowfully; "I
don't know how I shall pass my time."

Christie did not know what to say to this, so he made no answer.

"Christie, boy," said old Treffy, suddenly, "I want you to make out
about heaven, I want you to find out all about it for me; maybe, I
shouldn't feel so strange there if I knew what I was going to; and your
mother called it 'Home, sweet home,' didn't she, Christie?"

"Yes," said Christie, "I'm almost sure it was heaven she meant."

"Now, Christie, boy, mind you make out," said Treffy, earnestly; "and
remember there's only another month! only another month!"

"I'll do my best, Master Treffy," said Christie, "I'll do my very best."

And Christie kept his word.



CHAPTER IV.

MABEL'S FIRST LESSON IN ORGAN-GRINDING.


The next day Christie had to go out as usual. Old Treffy seemed no worse
than before,--he was able to sit up, and Christie opened the small
window before he went out to let a breath of fresh air into the close
attic. But there was very little fresh air anywhere that day. The
atmosphere was heavy and stifling, and poor Christie's heart felt
depressed and weary. He turned, he hardly knew why, to the suburban
road, and stopped before the house with the pretty garden. He wanted to
see those merry little faces again,--perhaps they would cheer him; he
felt so very dull to-day.

Christie was not disappointed this time. He had hardly turned the handle
of the organ twice before Mabel and Charlie appeared at the nursery
window; and, after satisfying themselves that it really _was_ Christie,
their own organ-boy, they ran into the garden, and stood beside him as
he played.

"Doesn't he turn it nicely?" whispered Charlie to his sister.

"Yes," said little Mabel; "I wish I had an organ, don't you, Charlie?"

"Shall I ask papa to buy us one?" asked her brother.

"I don't know, Charlie, if mamma would like it always," said Mabel. "She
has such bad headaches, you know."

"Well; but up in the nursery she would hardly hear it, I'm sure," said
Charlie, regretfully.

"I _should_ so like to turn it," said Mabel, shyly looking up into
Christie's face.

"All right, missie; come here," said Christie.

And standing on tip-toe at his side, little Mabel took hold of the
handle of the organ with her tiny white hand. Very slowly and carefully
she turned it, so slowly that her mamma came to the window to see if the
organ-boy had been taken ill.

It was a pretty sight which that young mother looked upon. The little
fair, delicate child, in her light summer dress, turning the handle of
the old, faded barrel-organ, and the organ-boy standing by, watching her
with admiring eyes. Then little Mabel looked up, and saw her mother's
face at the window, and smiled and nodded to her, delighted to find that
she was watching. And then Mabel went on playing with a happy
consciousness that mother was listening. For there was no one in the
world that little Mabel loved so much as her mother.

But Mabel turned so slowly that she grew tired of the melancholy wails
of "Poor Mary Ann."

"Change it, please, organ-boy," she said; "make it play 'Home, sweet
Home;' mother _does_ like that so."

But Christie knew that "Rule Britannia" lay between them and "Home,
sweet Home;" he took the handle from Mabel, and saying, brightly, "All
right, missie, I'll make it come as quick as I can," he turned it round
so fast, that if old Treffy had been within hearing, he would certainly
have died from fright about his dear old organ long before the month was
over. Several people in the opposite houses came to their windows to
look out; they thought the organ must be possessed with some evil
spirit, so slowly did it go one minute, so quickly the next.

But they understood how it was a minute afterwards when little Mabel
again began to turn, and very slowly and deliberately the first notes of
"Home, sweet Home," was sounded forth. She turned the handle of the
organ until "Home, sweet Home," was quite finished, and then, with a
sigh of satisfaction, she gave it up to Christie.

"I like 'Home, sweet Home,'" she said; "it's such a pretty tune."

"Yes," said Christie, "it's my favorite, missie. Where is 'Home, sweet
Home'?" he asked suddenly, as he remembered his promise to old Treffy.

"That's _my_ home," said little Mabel, nodding her head in the direction
of the pretty house. "I don't know where yours is, Christie."

"I haven't much of a place to call home, missie," said Christie; "me and
old Treffy, we live together in an old attic, and that won't be for
long,--only another month, Miss Mabel, and I shall have no home then."

"Poor organ-boy,--poor Christie!" said little Mabel, in a pitying voice.

Charlie had taken the handle of the organ now, and was rejoicing in
"Poor Mary Ann;" but Mabel hardly listened to him; she was thinking of
the poor boy who had no home but an attic, and who soon would have no
home at all.

"There's another home somewhere," said Christie, "isn't there, missie?
Isn't heaven some sort of a home?"

"Oh, yes, there's heaven," said little Mabel, brightly; "you'll have a
home _there_, won't you, organ-boy?"

"Where is heaven?" said Christie.

"It's up there," said little Mabel, pointing up to the sky; "up so high,
Christie. The little stars live in heaven; I used to think they were the
angels' eyes, but nurse says it's silly to think that."

"I like the stars," said Christie.

"Yes," said Mabel, "so do I; and you'll see them all when you go to
heaven, Christie, I'm sure you will."

"What is heaven like, Miss Mabel?" asked Christie.

"Oh, it's so nice," said little Mabel; "they have white dresses on, and
the streets are all gold, Christie, all gold and shining. And Jesus is
there, Christie; wouldn't you like to see Jesus?" she added, in a
whisper.

"I don't know," said Christie, in a bewildered tone; "I don't know much
about Him."

"Don't you love Jesus, Christie?" said Mabel, with a very grave,
sorrowful face, and with tears in her large brown eyes, "Oh, organ-boy,
don't you love Jesus?"

"No," said Christie; "I know so little about Him, Miss Mabel."

"But you can't go to heaven if you don't love Jesus, Christie. Oh! I'm
so sorry,--you won't have a home at all; what _will_ you do?" and the
tears ran down little Mabel's cheeks.

But just then the bell rang for dinner, and nurse's voice called the
children in.

Christie walked on very thoughtfully. He was thinking of little Mabel's
words, and of little Mabel's tears. "You can't go to heaven if you don't
love Jesus," she had said; "and then you won't have a home at all." It
was a new thought for Christie, and a very sad thought. What if he
should never, never know anything of "Home, sweet Home"? And then came
the remembrance of poor old Treffy, his dear old master, who had only
another month to live. Did he love Jesus? He had never heard old Treffy
mention His name; and what if Treffy should die, and never go to heaven
at all, but go to the other place! Christie had heard of hell; he did
not know much about it, and he had always fancied it was for very bad
people. He must tell Treffy about Mabel's words. Perhaps, after all, his
old master did love Jesus. Christie hoped very much that he did. He
longed for evening to come, that he might go home and ask him.

The afternoon was still more close and sultry than the morning had been,
and little Christie was very weary. The organ was heavy for him at all
times, and it seemed heavier than usual to-day. He was obliged to sit
down to rest for a few minutes on a doorstep in one of the back streets
about half a mile from the court where old Treffy lived. As he was
sitting there, with his organ resting against the wall, two women met
each other just in front of the doorstep, and after asking most
affectionately after each other's health they began to talk, and
Christie could not help hearing every word they said.

"What's that place?" said one of them, looking across the road at a
long, low building with a board in front of it.

"Oh; that's our new mission-room, Mrs. West," said the other; "it
belongs to the church at the corner of Melville Street. A young man
comes and preaches there every Sunday night; I like to hear him, I do,"
she went on, "he puts it so plain."

"Puts what plain, Mrs. Smith?" said her friend.

"Oh, all about heaven, and how we're to get there, and about Jesus and
what He's done for us. He's a kind man, is Mr. Wilton; he came to see
our Tommy when he was badly. Do you know him, Mrs. West?"

"No," said Mrs. West; "maybe I'll come to-morrow; what time is it?"

"It begins at seven o'clock every Sunday," said Mrs. Smith; "and you
needn't bother about your clothes, there's no one there but poor folks
like ourselves."

"Well, I'll come, Mrs. Smith. Good day." And the two parted.

And little Christie had heard all they said, and had firmly made up his
mind to be at the mission-room the next evening at seven o'clock. He
must lose no time in making out what Treffy wanted to know. One day of
the month was gone already.

"Master Treffy," said Christie, that night "do you love Jesus?"

"Jesus!" said the old man; "no, Christie, I can't say I do. I suppose I
ought to; good folks do, don't they?"

"Master Treffy," said Christie, solemnly, "if you don't love Jesus, you
can't go to heaven, and you'll never have a home any more,--never any
more."

"Ay, ay, Christie, that's true, I'm afraid. When I was a little chap no
bigger than you, I used to hear tell about these things, but I gave no
heed to them then, and I've forgotten all I ever heard. I've been
thinking a deal lately since I was took so bad, and some of it seems to
come back to me. But I can't rightly mind what I was told. It's a bad
job, Christie, a bad job."



CHAPTER V.

NO SIN IN THE CITY BRIGHT.


It had been a close, sultry day, and it was a still more oppressive
night. It was long before Christie could get to sleep, and when at last
he had sunk into a troubled slumber, he was waked suddenly by a loud
peal of thunder, which made the old attic shake from end to end.

Old Treffy raised himself in bed, and Christie crept to his side. It was
an awful storm; the lightning flashed into the attic, lighting up for a
moment every corner of it, and showing Christie old Treffy's white and
trembling face. Then all was dark again, and there came the heavy roll
of the thunder, which sounded like the noise of falling houses, and
which made old Treffy shake from head to foot. Christie never remembered
such a storm before, and he was very much afraid. He knelt very close to
his old master, and took hold of his trembling hand.

"Are you frightened, Master Treffy?" he asked at last, as a vivid flash
again darted into the room.

"Yes, Christie, boy," said old Treffy; "I don't know how it is; I used
not to be afraid of a storm, but I am to-night."

Poor Christie did not speak, so Treffy went on:--

"The lightning seems like God looking at me, Christie, and the thunder
seems like God's voice, and I am afraid of Him. I don't love Him,
Christie; I don't love Him."

And again the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, and again old
Treffy shook from head to foot.

"I shouldn't like to die to-night, Christie," he said; "and the
lightning comes so very near me. Christie, boy, do you know what sin
is?" he whispered.

"Yes," said Christie; "it's doing wrong things, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Treffy, "and I've done a many of them, Christie; and it's
thinking bad thoughts, and I've thought a many of them, Christie; and
it's saying bad words, and I've said a many of them, Christie. But I
never cared about it before to-night."

"How did you come to care about it to-night?" asked Christie.

"I've had a dream, Christie, boy, and it has made me tremble."

"Tell me it, Master Treffy," pleaded Christie.

"I was thinking of what you said about loving Jesus, and I fell asleep,
and I thought I was standing before a beautiful gate; it was made of
gold, Christie, and over the gate there was some shining letters. I
spelt them out, and they were, 'Home, sweet Home,' Christie, and I said
to myself, 'I've found it at last; I wish Christie was here.' But just
then someone opened the gate, and said, 'What do you want, old man?' 'I
want to come in,' I said. 'I'm very tired, and I want to be at home.'
But he shut the gate, and said to me very gravely and sorrowfully, 'No
sin can come in here.' And Christie, I felt as if I was nothing but sin,
so I turned round and walked away, and it grew very dark. And just then
came the thunder, and I awoke; I can't forget it, Christie; I can't
forget it," said old Treffy.

And still the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, and still old
Treffy trembled.

Christie could not comfort him, for he was very much afraid himself; but
he pressed very close up to his side, and did not leave him till the
storm was over, and there was no sound but the heavy downpour of the
rain on the roof of the attic. Then he crept back to bed and fell
asleep.

The next morning it all seemed like a bad dream. The sun was shining
brightly, and Christie rose and opened the attic window. Every thing
looked fresh and clean after the rain. The dull heavy feeling was gone
out of the air, and the little sparrows were chirping in the eaves. It
was Sunday morning, and on Sunday evening Christie was to hear the
clergyman preach in the mission-room. Oh! how he wished it was seven
o'clock, that he might go and find out what old Treffy wanted to know!

The poor old man seemed very restless and unhappy all that long spring
day. Christie never left him, for it was only on Sunday that he could
watch beside his dear old master. He could see that old Treffy had not
forgotten his dream, though he did not speak of it again.

And at last the long, weary day wore away, and at six o'clock Christie
washed himself and prepared to depart.

"Be sure you mind every word he says, Christie, boy," said old Treffy,
earnestly.

The mission-room was only just open when little Christie arrived. A
woman was inside lighting the gas and preparing the place for the
congregation. Christie peeped shyly in at the door, and she caught sight
of him and ordered him off.

"Isn't there going to be any preaching to-night?" said Christie, in a
disappointed voice.

"Oh! you've come to the service, have you?" said the woman. "All right
you can come in, only you must sit still, and you mustn't talk or make a
noise."

Now, as poor Christie had no one to talk to, this was rather an
unnecessary speech. However, he went in very meekly, and sat down on one
of the front benches.

Then the congregation began to arrive; old men and little children;
mothers with babies in their arms; old women with shawls over their
heads; husbands and wives; a few young men; people with all kinds of
faces, and all kinds of characters, from the quiet and respectable
artisan's wife to the poor little beggar girl who sat on the form beside
Christie.

And, as seven o'clock struck, the door opened and the minister came in.
Christie never took his eyes off him during the whole service. And, oh!
how he enjoyed the singing, the last hymn especially! A young woman
behind him was singing it very distinctly, and he could hear every word.
Oh, if he could only have remembered it to repeat to old Treffy! The
words of the hymn were as follows:--

    "There is a city bright,
    Closed are its gates to sin,
      Nought that defileth,
      Nought that defileth,
    Can ever enter in.

    Saviour, I come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I pray,
      Cleanse me and save me,
      Cleanse me and save me,
    Wash all my sins away.

    Lord, make me from this hour
    Thy loving child to be,
      Kept by Thy power,
      Kept by Thy power,
    From all that grieveth Thee.

    Till in the snowy dress
    Of Thy redeemed I stand,
      Faultless and stainless,
      Faultless and stainless,
    Safe in that happy land!"

And after the hymn came the sermon. The clergyman's text was Revelation
21:27: "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth."

He spoke of the Heavenly City of which they had just been singing, the
bright, beautiful city, with its streets of gold and gates of pearl. He
spoke of the river of the water of life, and the trees on either side of
the river. He spoke of those who live in that happy place, of their
white robes and crowns of gold, of the sweet songs they ever sing, and
the joy in all their faces.

The clergyman also told them that in that bright city sorrow was never
found. No weeping there, no tears, no sighs, no trouble. No tired feet
on that golden pavement, no hungry ones there, no hot burning sun, no
cold frost or snow. No sickness there, and no death, no funerals in
heaven, no graves in the golden city. Perfect love there, no more
quarreling or strife, no angry tones or discordant murmurs, no rude,
rough voices to disturb the peace. And all this for ever and ever, no
dread of it coming to an end, no gloomy fears for the future, no
partings there, no good-byes. Once there, safe for ever. At home, at
rest, with God.

"Would you like to go there?" asked the clergyman's voice.

And a quiet murmur passed through the room, a sigh of longing, an
expression of assent. And little Christie whispered softly to himself,
"Like to go there! ay, that I would, me and old Treffy and all."

"'There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth,'" said
the clergyman's voice. "'Closed are its gates to sin.' My friends, if
there is _one_ sin on your soul, heaven's gates will be closed against
you. 'Nought that defileth, nought that defileth, can ever enter in.' If
all my life I had never sinned; if all my life I had never done a wicked
deed, or spoken a wicked word, or thought a wicked thought; if all my
life I had done every thing I ought to have done, and had been perfectly
sinless and holy, and yet to-night I was to commit _one_ sin, that sin,
however small a sin in man's eyes,--_that_ sin would be quite enough to
shut me out of heaven. The gates would be shut against me for that one
sin. No soul on which there is a speck of sin can go into that bright
city.

"Is there one in this room," asked the clergyman, "who can say that he
has only sinned once? Is there one here who can say that there is only
_one_ sin on his soul?"

And again there was a faint murmur round the room, and again a
deep-drawn sigh; but this time it was the suppressed sigh of accusing
consciences.

"No," said the clergyman, "there is not one of us who can say that.
Every one of us has sinned again and again and again. And each sin is
like a dark blot, a deep ink-stain on the soul."

"Oh!" said little Christie, in his heart, as he listened to these words,
"whatever will me and Master Treffy do?"

And Christie's thoughts wandered to the lonely attic and to old Treffy's
sad, worn-out face. "So it was all true," he said to himself. "Miss
Mabel's words, and Master Treffy's dream; all too true, all too true."

If Christie had been listening, he would have heard the clergyman tell
of the way in which sin could be taken away; but his little mind was
full of the one idea of the sermon, and when he next heard the
clergyman's words he was telling his congregation that he hoped they
would all be present on the following Sunday evening, as he intended
then to preach on the second verse of the hymn, and to tell them, more
fully than he had time to do to-night, what was the only way to enter
within the gates into the city.

Christie walked home very sadly and sorrowly; he was in no haste to meet
old Treffy's anxious, inquiring eyes. And when he reached the dark attic
he sat down by Treffy, and looked away from him into the fire, as he
said, mournfully:--

"Your dream was quite right, Master Treffy. I've heard it all over again
to-night. He preached about it, and we sang about it, so there's no
mistake now."

"Tell me all, Christie, boy," said Treffy, pitifully.

"It's a beautiful place, Master Treffy," said Christie; "you'd be ever
so happy and comfortable if you could only get there. But there's no sin
allowed inside the gates; that's what the clergyman, said, and what the
hymn said too:--

    "'There is a city bright,
    Closed are its gates to sin.'"

"Then there's no chance for me, Christie," said the old man, "no chance
for me."

And hours after that, when Christie thought Treffy was fast asleep on
his bed in the corner, he heard his poor old trembling voice murmuring
again and again: "Closed are its gates to sin, closed are its gates to
sin."

And there was another ear listening to old Treffy's voice. The man at
the gate, of whom Bunyan writes, had heard the old man's sorrowful wail,
and it went to his very heart. He knew all about old Treffy, and he was
soon to say to him, with tones of love, as he opened the gate of rest:
"I am willing with all my heart to let thee in."



CHAPTER VI.

THE ONLY WAY INTO "HOME, SWEET HOME."


That week was a very long and sorrowful one to Treffy and to Christie.
The old man seldom spoke, except to murmur the sad words of the hymn, or
to say to Christie in a despairing voice,--

"It's all up with me, Christie, boy; no home for me."

The barrel-organ was quite neglected by Treffy. Christie took it out in
the daytime, but at night it stood against the wall untouched. Treffy
could not bear to hear it now. Christie had begun to turn it one
evening, but the first tune it had played was "Home, sweet Home," and
Treffy had said bitterly,--

"Don't play that, Christie, boy; there's no 'Home, sweet home,' for me;
I shall never have a home again, never again."

So Treffy had nothing to comfort him. Even his old organ seemed to have
taken part against him; even his dear old organ, which he had loved so
much, had helped to make him more miserable.

The doctor had looked into the attic again according to his promise, but
he said there was nothing to be done for Treffy; it was only a question
of time, no medicine could save his life.

It was a very terrible thing for old Treffy thus to be slipping away,
each day the chain of his life becoming looser and looser, and he
drawing nearer each day to--he knew not what.

Treffy and Christie were counting anxiously the days to Sunday, when
they would hear about the second verse of the hymn. Perhaps after all
there might be some hope, some way into the bright city, some entrance
into "Home, sweet Home," through which even old Treffy's sin-stained
soul might pass.

And at last Sunday came. It was a wet, rainy night, the wind was high
and stormy, and the little congregation in the mission-room was smaller
than usual. But there was an earnest purpose in the faces of many who
came, and the clergyman, as he looked round at the little company when
he gave out his text, felt that many of them had not come from mere
curiosity, but from an honest desire to hear the Word of God. And he
lifted up his heart in very earnest prayer, that to many in that room
the Word which he was about to speak might be a lasting blessing.

The mission-room was very still when the minister gave out his text.
Little Christie's eyes were fixed intently on him, and he listened
eagerly for every word.

The text was this: "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us
from all sin."

The clergyman first reminded them of his last Sunday's sermon, of the
bright golden city where they all longed to be. He reminded them of the
first verse of the hymn:--

    "There is a city bright,
    Closed are its gates to sin."

And then he asked very gently and tenderly, "Is there any one in this
room who has come here to-night longing to know of some way in which he,
a sinner, can enter the city? Is there such an one here?"

"Ay," said little Christie under his breath; "there's me."

"I will try, by God's help, to show you the way," said the clergyman.
"You and I have sinned. One sin is enough to shut us out of heaven, but
we have sinned not only once, but hundreds of thousands of times; our
souls are covered with sin stains. But there is one thing, and only one,
by which the soul can be made white and clear and pure. My text tells us
what it is,--'The blood of Jesus Christ.'"

Then the clergyman went on to explain how it is that the blood of Jesus
can wash out sin. He spoke of the death of Jesus on Calvary, of the
fountain He opened there for sin and for uncleanness. He explained to
them that Jesus was God's Son, and that therefore His blood which He
shed on the cross is of infinite value. He told them that, since that
day on Calvary, thousands had come to the fountain, and each one had
come out of it whiter than snow, every spot of sin gone.

The clergyman told them, that when these washed ones reached the gates
of pearl, they were thrown wide open to them, for there was no sin-mark
on their souls, they were free from sin. And then he looked very
earnestly indeed, and leaning forward he pleaded with his little
congregation to come to the blood that they might be washed and
cleansed. He begged them to use the second verse of the hymn, and to say
from the bottom of their hearts:--

    "Saviour, I come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I pray,
      Cleanse me and save me,
      Cleanse me and save me,
    Wash all my sins away."

"There is one little word in my text," said the minister, "which is a
great comfort to me. I mean the word _all_. All sin. That takes in every
bad word, every bad thought, every bad action. That takes in the
blackest blot, the darkest stain, the deepest spot. All sin, each sin,
every sin. No sin too bad for the blood to reach, no sin too great for
the blood to cover. And now," said the minister, "every soul in this
room is either saved or unsaved, either washed or not washed.

"Let me ask you, my dear friends, a very solemn question: Is the sin or
the blood on your soul? One or the other must be there. Which is it?"

The clergyman paused a moment when he had asked this question, and the
room was so still that a falling pin might have been heard. There were
deep searchings of heart in that little company. And Christie was saying
deep down in his heart:--

     "Cleanse me and save me,
      Cleanse me and save me,
    Wash all my sins away."

The minister finished his sermon by entreating them all that very night
to come to the fountain. Oh, how earnestly he pleaded with them to delay
no longer, but to say at once, "Saviour, I come to Thee." He begged them
to go home, and in their own rooms to kneel down, feeling that Jesus was
standing close beside them. "That is _coming_ to Jesus," the minister
said. He told them to tell Jesus all, to turn all the sin over to Him,
to ask Him to cover it all with His blood, so that that very night they
might lie down to sleep whiter than snow.

"Will you do this?" asked the clergyman, anxiously; "will you?"

And little Christie said in his heart, "Yes, that I will."

As the congregation left, the clergyman stood at the door, and gave a
friendly word to each one as they passed by. He looked very tired and
anxious after his sermon. It had been preached with much prayer and with
much feeling, and he was longing, oh, so earnestly, to know that it had
been blessed to one soul.

There were some amongst the little congregation who passed by him with
serious, thoughtful faces, and as each one went by he breathed an
earnest prayer that the seed in that soul might spring up and bring
forth fruit. But there were others again who had already begun to talk
to their neighbors, and who seemed to have forgotten all they had heard.
And these filled the young minister's heart with sorrow. "Is the seed
lost, dear Lord?" he said, faithlessly. For he was very tired and weary;
and when the body is weak, our faith is apt to grow weak also.

But there was something in Christie's face as he passed out of the room
which made the clergyman call him back and speak to him. He had noticed
the boy's attention during the sermon, and he longed to hear whether he
had understood what he had heard.

"My boy," said the minister kindly, laying his hand on Christie's
shoulder, "can you tell me what my text was to-night?"

Christie repeated it very correctly, and the clergyman seemed pleased.
He asked Christie several more questions about the sermon, and then he
encouraged the boy to talk to him. Christie told him of old Treffy, who
had only another month to live, and who was longing to know how he might
go to "Home, sweet Home." The clergyman promised to come and see him,
and wrote down the name of the court and the number of the house in his
little brown pocket-book. And before Christie went home the clergyman
knelt down with him in the empty mission-room, and prayed that that very
night the dear Lord would wash Christie's soul in His most precious
blood.

Christie walked away very thoughtfully, but still very gladly, for he
had good news for old Treffy to-night. He quickened his steps as he drew
near the court, and he ran up the stairs to the attic, eager to tell all
to the poor old man.

"Oh, Master Treffy!" said Christie; "I've had such a time! It was
beautiful, Master Treffy, and the clergyman's been talking to me, and
he's coming to see you; he's coming here," said Christie triumphantly.

But Treffy was longing for better news than this.

"What about 'Home, sweet Home,' Christie?" he asked.

"There _is_ a way, Master Treffy," said Christie. "You and me can't get
in with our sins, but 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth
us from all sin.' That's in the Bible, Master Treffy, and it was the
clergyman's text."

"Tell me all about it, Christie," Treffy said, in a tremulous voice.

"There's nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away the sin, Master
Treffy," said Christie, "and you and me have just got to go to Him and
ask Him, and He'll do it for us to-night; the clergyman said so. I've
learnt another verse of the hymn, Master Treffy," said Christie,
kneeling down beside him and repeating it reverently:--

    "Saviour, I come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I pray,
      Cleanse me and save me,
      Cleanse me and save me,
    Wash all my sins away."

Treffy repeated the words after him in a trembling voice.

"I wish He'd wash me, Christie, boy," he said.

"So He will, Master Treffy," said Christie; "He never sends anybody
away."

"Ay, but I'm an old man, Christie, and I've been a sinner all my life,
and I've done some such bad things, Christie. I never knew it till this
last week, but I know it now. It's not likely He'll ever wash my sins;
they're ever such big ones, Christie."

"Oh! but He will," said Christie, eagerly; "that's just what the
clergyman said; there's a word in the text for you, Master Treffy: 'The
blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from _all_ sin.' All sin,
all sin, Master Treffy; won't that do?"

"All sin," murmured old Treffy; "all sin! yes, Christie, I think that
_will_ do."

There was a pause after this. Christie sat still, looking into the fire.
Then he said suddenly,--

"Master Treffy, let's go right away now and ask Him."

"Ask who?" said old Treffy, "the clergyman?"

"No," said Christie, "the Lord Jesus. He's in the room,--the minister
said He was. Let's ask Him to wash you and me, just now, Master Treffy."

"Ay!" said old Treffy, "let's ask Him, Christie." So the old man and the
boy knelt down, and, with a strong realization of the Lord's near
presence, little Christie prayed:--

"O Lord Jesus, we come to Thee, me and Master Treffy: we've got lots of
sins to be washed, but the minister said you wouldn't send us away, and
the text says _all_ sin. We think it means us, Lord Jesus, me and Master
Treffy. Please wash us white; we want to go to 'Home, sweet Home:'
please wash us in the blood to-night. Amen."

Then old Treffy took up the words, and in a trembling voice added,--

"Amen, Lord; wash us both, me and Christie, wash us white. Please do.
Amen."

And then they got up from their knees, and Christie said,--

"We may go to bed now, Master Treffy, for I'm sure He's done it for us."

Thus the man at the gate had received both the trembling old man and the
little child, and as they had entered in they had heard a gracious voice
very deep down in their hearts, saying to each of them again and again,
"Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee."



CHAPTER VII.

LITTLE MABEL'S SNOWDROPS.


The next morning Christie woke with a happy heart, for he remembered his
last night's prayer, and in his simple faith he had taken the Lord at
His word, and had believed that the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed
him from all sin.

But old Treffy's doubts and fears came back again. He began to look
within, and the remembrance of his sin returned upon him. What if, after
all, there was sin on his soul? What if the gates were still closed
against him?

"Christie, boy, I don't feel it's all right with me yet," he said
anxiously.

"Why not, Master Treffy?" asked Christie.

"Why, I've been so bad, Christie; it doesn't seem likely He'd do it for
me so soon as that; there's such a deal of sin on my soul."

"But you asked Him to wash you, Master Treffy; didn't you?"

"Ay, I asked Him, Christie," said Treffy, in a despairing tone.

"And He said He would if you asked Him, Master Treffy; didn't He?"

"Ay, Christie, I believe He did," said Treffy.

"Then of course He _has_ done it," said Christie.

"I don't know, Christie, boy; I can't feel it," said old Treffy
pitifully. "I don't seem to see it as I ought."

So, whilst Christie was walking in the sunshine, Old Treffy was still
groping on in the shadow, sometimes hoping, sometimes fearing, but never
trusting.

Christie paid another visit to the suburban road that week. Little Mabel
and her mother were coming out of the house when Christie reached the
gate. The little girl ran eagerly forward when she caught sight of the
organ and begged her mamma to stay whilst she turned the handle just six
times!

The lady spoke very kindly to Christie; she asked him several questions,
and he told her about old Treffy, how ill he was, and how he had not
another month to live. The tears were in the lady's eyes, and she asked
Christie where he lived, and wrote it down on a white tablet which she
carried in her pocket.

"Mamma," said little Mabel, "I want to whisper something to you."

The lady bent down her head to listen, and then said kindly,--

"Yes, if you like."

Mabel darted into the house, and returned with a large bunch of single
white snowdrops, prettily arranged with sprigs of dark myrtle leaves.
Very white, and pure, and lovely they looked.

"Here, organ-boy," said Mabel, as she put them into his hands, "these
are my own dear snowdrops; Aunt Helen gave me them, and you must take
them to Master Treffy, he'll like them, won't he?" she said.

"Ay! that he will, missie," said Christie, warmly.

"Mabel," said her mother, "you must teach Christie the little prayer I
told you always to say when you looked at the snowdrops."

"Yes," said Mabel, "I will. This is it, Christie: 'Wash me, and I shall
be whiter than snow.'"

Christie looked up brightly.

"Will you say that prayer, Christie?" asked the lady, kindly.

"Yes, ma'am," said Christie; "it's just like what me and Master Treffy
said last night:--

      'Cleanse me and save me,
      Cleanse me and save me,
    Wash all my sins away.'"

The lady smiled when Christie said this, and seemed very pleased.

"I am so glad you know of the only way to be washed white," said the
lady. "These snowdrops always make me think of the souls washed white in
the blood of Jesus."

Then the lady and little Mabel passed on, and Christie looked down very
tenderly on the flowers. How he _would_ love them now! He turned his
steps homewards at once, for he did not want the snowdrops to fade
before they reached old Treffy. How fair, and clean, and pure they
looked! So different to the smoke and dirt of the noisy court. Christie
was almost afraid lest the thick air might soil them as he carried them
through it. Some of the children ran after him and begged for a flower,
but he guarded his treasures very carefully till he reached the attic.

And when Christie opened the door, who should be there but the
clergyman, sitting beside old Treffy, and talking to him very earnestly!
He stopped to give Christie a kind word, and then he went on with what
he was saying. He was telling Treffy about the death of Jesus, and how
it is that the blood of Jesus can wash away all sin.

"I can't see that it's all right with me," said Treffy, in a trembling
voice; "it seems dark and dim to me yet. I don't feel that I've got it;
I can't feel happy."

"Treffy," said the clergyman, suddenly, "do you think I would tell you a
lie?"

"No, sir," said old Treffy; "I'm sure you wouldn't; I could see it in
your face, sir, if nowhere else. No, sir, I'd trust you anywhere."

"Now, Treffy," said the clergyman, taking a half-crown from his pocket,
"I've brought this for you. You cannot work now, and you need many
things you cannot get; I will give you this money to buy them with."

"Thank you, sir," said old Treffy, the tears running down his cheeks; "I
can never thank you enough. We are very badly off just now, Christie and
me."

"Stop, Treffy," said the clergyman, "it isn't yours yet, you must take
it."

Treffy put out his trembling old hand, and took the half-crown, with
another murmur of thanks.

"Do you feel that you've got it, Treffy?" said the clergyman.

"Yes, sir, it's here," said old Treffy.

"Are you sure you've got it, Treffy?" said the clergyman again.

"Yes, sir," said Treffy, in a bewildered voice, "I know I have; I don't
know what you mean, sir."

"I will tell you what I mean," said the clergyman. "The dear Lord Jesus
has come into this room just as I have, Treffy. He has brought a gift
for you, just as I did. His gift has cost Him far more than mine cost
me; it has cost Him His life. He has come close to you, as I came, and
He says to you, as I said: 'Old Treffy, can you trust Me? do you think I
would tell you a lie?' And then He holds out His gift, as I did, Treffy,
and He says, 'Take it; it is for you.' Now, Treffy, what have you to do
with this gift? Just exactly what you did with mine. You have not to
work for it, or wait for it. You have just to put out your hand and take
it. Do you know what the gift is?"

Treffy did not answer, so the clergyman went on:--

"It is the forgiveness of your sin, Treffy; it is the clean heart, for
which you are longing; it is the right to enter into 'Home, sweet Home,'
for which you have been praying, Treffy; will you take the gift?"

"I want to take it," said old Treffy, "but I don't know how."

"Did you stop to think _how_ you were to take _my_ gift, Treffy?"

"No," said the old man, "I just took it."

"Yes," said the clergyman, "exactly; and that is what you must do with
the Lord's gift; you must just take it."

[Illustration: Christie and Master Treffy.]

"Would it have pleased me, Treffy," said the clergyman, "if you had
pulled your hand back and said, 'Oh, no, sir! I don't deserve it; I
don't believe you would ever give it to me; I can't take it yet?'"

"No," said Treffy, "I don't suppose it would."

"Yet this is just what you are doing to the Lord Jesus, Treffy. He is
holding out His gift to you, and He wants you to take it at once, yet
you hold back and say, 'No, Lord, I can't believe what you say, I can't
trust Thy word, I can't believe the gift is for me, I can't take it
yet.'

"Treffy," said the clergyman, earnestly, "if you can trust me, oh, why
can't you trust the Lord Jesus?"

The tears were running down the old man's face, and he could not speak.

"I am going to ask you another question, Treffy," said the clergyman.
"Will you trust the Lord Jesus now?"

"Yes, sir," said Treffy, through his tears; "I don't think I can help
trusting him now."

"Now, Treffy, remember Jesus is in this attic, close to you, close to
me, very, very near, Treffy. When we speak to Him, He will hear every
word we say; He will listen to every sigh; He will read every wish.

"But, before you speak to Him, Treffy, listen to what He says to you,"
said the clergyman, taking His Bible from his pocket. "These are His own
words, 'Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be
red like crimson, they shall be as wool,' for 'The blood of Jesus
Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.' Treffy, will you trust the
Lord Jesus? Do you think He would tell you a lie?"

"No," said old Treffy; "I'm sure He wouldn't."

"Very well, Treffy, then we will tell Him so."

The clergyman knelt down by Treffy's side, and Christie knelt down too,
and old Treffy clasped his trembling hands whilst the clergyman prayed.

It was a very simple prayer; it was just taking the Lord at His word.
Old Treffy repeated the words after the clergyman with the deepest
earnestness, and when he had finished the old man still clasped his
hands and said, "Lord Jesus, I do trust Thee, I do take the gift, I do
believe Thy word."

Then the clergyman rose from his knees and said, "Treffy, when you had
taken my gift, what did you do next?"

"I thanked you for it, sir," said Treffy.

"Yes," said the clergyman, "and would you not like to thank the Lord
Jesus for His gift of forgiveness?"

"Oh!" said old Treffy, with tears in his eyes, "I should indeed, sir."

So they all knelt down again, and in a few words the clergyman thanked
the dear Lord for His great love and goodness to old Treffy, in giving
him pardon for his sin.

And again old Treffy took up the words and added:--

"Thank you, Lord Jesus, very much for the gift; it cost Thee Thy life;
oh! I do thank Thee with all my heart."

"Now, Treffy," said the clergyman, as he rose to go, "if Satan comes to
you to-morrow and says, 'Old Treffy, do you feel you've got forgiveness?
perhaps after all it's a mistake,' what shall you say to him?"

"I think I shall tell him my text," said old Treffy, "'The blood of
Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.'"

"That will do, Treffy," said the clergyman; "he can't answer that. And
remember, the Lord wishes you to _know_ you are forgiven, not to _feel_
you are forgiven. There is a difference between feeling and knowing. You
_knew_ you had taken my gift, and you did not know what I meant when I
asked you if you _felt_ I had given it to you. It is the same with the
Lord's gift, Treffy. Your _feelings_ have nothing to do with your
safety, but your _faith_ has a great deal to do with it. Have you taken
the Lord at His word? Have you trusted Him? That is the question."

"Yes, sir," said Treffy, "I have."

"Then you _know_ you are forgiven," said the clergyman, with a smile.

"Yes, sir," said Treffy, brightly, "I can trust Him now."

Then Christie walked up to Treffy, and put the bunch of white snowdrops
in his hand.

"Miss Mabel gave me them," he said, "and she said I was to say a little
prayer whenever I looked at them: 'Wash me, and I shall be whiter than
snow.'"

"Whiter than snow," repeated the clergyman; "whiter than snow; Treffy!
that is a sweet word, is it not?"

"Yes," said old Treffy, earnestly, as he looked at the flowers, "whiter
than snow, washed white in the blood of Jesus."

Then the clergyman took his leave, but, as he was crossing the court, he
heard Christie running after him. He had a few of the lovely snowdrops
and a sprig of the dark myrtle in his hand.

"Please, sir," said Christie, "would you like a few of them?"

"Thank you, my boy," said the clergyman, "I should indeed."

He carried the snowdrops carefully home, and they taught him a lesson of
faith. The seed he had sown in the mission-room had not been lost.
Already two poor sin-stained souls had come to the fountain, and had
been washed whiter than snow. The old man and the little boy had taken
the Lord at His word, and had found the only way into the bright city,
into "Home, sweet Home." God had been very good to him in letting him
know this. Surely, he would trust in the future.



CHAPTER VIII.

MADE MEET FOR HOME.


How different everything seemed to Treffy after his doubts and fears had
been removed! The very attic seemed full of sunshine, and old Treffy's
heart was full of brightness. He was forgiven, and he knew it. And, as a
forgiven child, he could look up into his Father's face with a smile.

A great load was taken off little Christie's heart, his old master was
so happy and contented now; never impatient at his long absence when he
was out with the organ, or fretful and anxious about their daily
support. Old Treffy had laid upon Jesus his load of sin, and it was not
hard to lay upon Him also his load of care. The Lord who had borne the
greater burden would surely bear the less. Treffy could not have put
this feeling of trust into words, but he acted upon it. There were no
murmurings from old Treffy now, no forebodings. He had always a bright
smile and a cheerful word for Christie when the boy returned tired at
night. And whilst Christie was out he would lie very still and peaceful,
talking softly to himself or thanking the dear Lord for His great gift
to him.

And old Treffy's trust was not disappointed. "None that trust in Him
shall be desolate."

The clergyman's gift was not the only one they received that week.
Christie had come home in the middle of the day, to see how his old
master was, and was just preparing to start again on his rounds when
they heard a gentle rustling of silk on the stairs, and a low knock at
the door. Christie opened it quickly, and in walked little Mabel, and
little Mabel's mamma. They had brought with them many little comforts
for old Treffy, which Mabel had great pleasure in opening out. But they
brought with them also what money cannot buy,--sweet, gentle words, and
bright smiles, which cheered old Treffy's heart.

The lady sat down beside Treffy, and they talked together of Jesus. The
old man loved to talk of Jesus now, for he was able to say, "He loved
me, and gave Himself for me."

And the lady took a little blue Testament from her pocket, and read a
chapter to Treffy. She had a sweet, clear voice, and she read so
distinctly that he could understand every word.

Little Mabel sat quite still whilst her mamma was reading, then she got
up, and ran across the attic.

"Here are my snowdrops," she said, with a cry of joy, as she caught
sight of them in the window-sill. "Do you like them, Master Treffy?"

"Ay! little missie," said the old man, "I do indeed, and me and Christie
always think of the little prayer when we look at them."

"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," repeated Mabel reverently.
"Has He washed you, Master Treffy?"

"Yes, missie," said Treffy, "I believe He has."

"I'm so glad," said little Mabel, "then you _will_ go to 'Home, sweet
Home;' won't he, mamma?"

"Yes," said her mother, "Treffy and Christie have found the only road
which leads home. And, oh!" she said, the color coming into her sweet
face, "what a happy day it will be when we all meet at home! Wouldn't
you like to see Jesus, Treffy?" asked the lady.

"Ay," said old Treffy, "it would be a good sight to see His blessed
face. I could almost sing for joy when I think of it, and I haven't so
very long to wait."

"No," said the lady, with a wistful expression in her eyes, "I could
almost change places with you, Treffy, I could almost wish I were as
near to 'Home, sweet Home.' But that would be selfish," she said
brightly, as she rose to go.

But little Mabel had discovered the old organ, and was in no haste to
depart. She must turn it "just a little bit." In former days, old Treffy
would have been seriously agitated and distressed at the idea of the
handle of his dear old organ being turned by a little girl of six years
old. Even now he felt a small amount of anxiety when she proposed it.
But his fears vanished when he saw the careful, deliberate way in which
Mabel went to work. The old organ was perfectly safe in her hands. And,
to Mabel's joy, the first tune which came was "Home, sweet Home." Very
sweetly it sounded in old Treffy's ears. He was thinking of no earthly
home, but of "the city bright," where he hoped soon to be. And the lady
was thinking of it too.

When the tune was finished, they took their leave, and Christie looked
out of the window, and watched them crossing the dirty court, and
entering the carriage which was waiting for them in the street.

It had been a very bright week for Christie and for old Treffy.

And then Sunday came, and another service in the little mission room.
Christie was there in good time, and the clergyman gave him a pleasant
smile as he came into the room.

It was the third verse of the hymn on which the clergyman was to preach
to-night. They sang the whole hymn through before the sermon, and then
they sang the third verse again, that all of them might remember it
whilst he was preaching.

    "Lord, make me from this hour
    Thy loving child to be,
      Kept by Thy power,
      Kept by Thy power,
    From all that grieveth Thee."

And the clergyman's text was in Colossians 1:12, "Meet to be partakers
of the inheritance." He repeated it very slowly, and Christie whispered
softly to himself, that he might be able to teach it to old Treffy.

"'Meet to be partakers of the inheritance.' What is the inheritance?"
asked the clergyman. "My dear friends, our inheritance is that city
bright of which we have been speaking so much, 'Home, sweet Home,' our
Father's home. We are not there yet, but for all Christ's washed ones
there is a bright home above. Jesus is preparing it for us; it is our
inheritance. Oh," said the clergyman, very earnestly, "I wonder how many
in this room have a home up there. You may have a wretched,
uncomfortable home on earth; is it your _only_ home? Is there no home
for you in the bright city; no home in heaven?

"You might all have a home there," said the clergyman, "if you would
only come to the fountain, if you would only say from the bottom of your
heart, 'Lord, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.'"

And Christie smiled when the clergyman said his little prayer, for he
thought of the snowdrops. And the clergyman thought of them, too.

Then Mr. Wilton went on to say that he wished to-night to speak to those
who _had_ come to Jesus; who _had_ taken their sin to Him, and who _had_
been washed in His blood.

"That's me and old Treffy," said Christie to himself.

"My dear friends," said the clergyman, "all of you have an inheritance;
you are the sons of a King; there is a place in the kingdom waiting for
you. Jesus is getting that place ready for you, and I want to show you
to-night that you must be made ready for it, meet or fit for the
inheritance. One day, the Prince of Wales will be the King of England.
This kingdom is his inheritance. As soon as he was born, he had a right
to it. But he has been educated and trained with great care, that he may
be meet for the inheritance, that he may be fit to enjoy it, and able to
use it. If he had had no education, if he had been brought up in one of
these dismal black courts, though he might have a perfect right to be
king, still he would not be able to enjoy it; he would feel strange,
uncomfortable, out of place.

"Just so," said the clergyman, "is it with our inheritance. As soon as
we are born again we have a right to it, we become sons and daughters of
the King of Kings. But we need to be prepared and made meet for the
inheritance. We must be made holy within; we must be trained and taught
to hate sin and to love all that is pure and holy. And this is the work
of God's Holy Spirit.

"Oh! my friends, will you not ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit to
renew your heart? It will not be all done in a day. You came to Jesus to
be washed from the stain of sin. He did that at once; He gave you at
once the right to the inheritance. But you will not be made holy at
once. Little by little, hour by hour, day by day, the Holy Spirit will
make you more and more ready for the inheritance. You will become more
and more like Jesus. You will hate sin more; you will love Jesus more;
you will become more holy. But, oh! let no one think," said the
clergyman, "that being good will ever give you a _right_ to the
inheritance. If I were to be ever so well educated, if I were to be
taught a hundred times better than the Prince of Wales has been, it
would never give me a right to be King of England. No, my friends, the
only way into 'Home, sweet Home,' the only way to obtain a right to the
inheritance, is by the blood of Jesus. There is no other way, no other
right.

"But, after the dear Lord has given us the right to the kingdom, He
always prepares us for it. A forgiven soul will always lead a holy life.
A soul that has been washed white will always long to keep clear of sin.
Is it not so with you? Just think of what Jesus has done for you! He has
washed you in His blood; He has taken your sins away at the cost of His
life. Will you do the very things that grieve Him? Will you be so
ungrateful as to do that? Will you?

"Oh! surely not; surely you will say, in the words of the third verse of
our hymn,--

    'Lord, make me from this hour
    Thy loving child to be,
      Kept by Thy power,
      Kept by Thy power,
    From all that grieveth Thee.'

And surely you will ask Him very, very earnestly, to give you that Holy
Spirit who alone can make you holy. And when the work is done," said the
clergyman, "when you are made meet, made fit for the inheritance, the
Lord will take you there. He will not keep you waiting. Some are made
ready very quickly. Others have to wait long, weary years of discipline.
But all the King's sons shall be ready at last, all shall be taken home,
and shall enter upon the inheritance. Will _you_ be there?"

And with that question the clergyman ended his sermon, and the little
congregation broke up very quietly, and went home with thoughtful faces.

Christie lingered near the door till the clergyman came out. He asked
very kindly of old Treffy, and then he put a few questions to Christie
about the sermon; for he had been afraid whilst he had been preaching
that he had not made it so clear that a child might understand. But he
was cheered to find that the leading truth of the sermon was impressed
on little Christie's mind, and that he would be able to carry to old
Treffy something, at least, of what he had heard.

For Christie was taught of God, and into hearts prepared by the Holy
Spirit the seed is sure to sink. The Lord has prepared them for the
word, and prepared the word for them, and the sower has only to put his
hand into his basket and scatter the seed prayerfully over the softened
soil. It will sink in, spring up, and bring forth fruit.

The clergyman felt the truth of this as he walked home. And he
remembered where it was written, "The preparation of the heart is from
the Lord." "That is a word for me, as well as for my hearers," he said
to himself. "Lord, ever let Thy preparation go before my preaching."



CHAPTER IX.

TREFFY ENTERS THE CITY.


"Christie, boy," said Treffy, that night, when Christie had told him all
he could remember of the sermon, and had repeated to him the third verse
of the hymn, "Christie, boy, the Lord will have to get _me_ ready very
fast, very fast indeed."

"Oh, maybe not, Master Treffy," said Christie, uneasily, "maybe not so
fast as you think."

"The month's nearly up, Christie," said old Treffy; "and I think I'm
getting very near the city, very near to 'Home, sweet Home.' I can
almost see the letters over the gate sometimes, Christie."

But Christie could not answer. His face was buried in his hands, and his
head sank lower and lower as he sat beside the fire. And, at length,
though he tried to keep it in, there came a great sob, which reached old
Treffy's heart. He put his hand lovingly on Christie's head, and for
some time neither of them spoke. But when the heart is very sore,
silence often does more to comfort than words can do, only it must be
silence which comes from a full heart, not from an empty one. Treffy's
old heart was very full of loving, yearning pity for poor little
Christie.

"Christie, boy," he said, at length, "you wouldn't keep me outside the
gate; would you?"

"No, no, Master Treffy," said Christie, "not for the world I wouldn't;
but I do wish I was going in too."

"It seems to me, Christie, boy, the Lord has got some work for thee to
do for Him first. I'm a poor, useless old man, Christie, very tottering
and feeble, so He's going to take me home; but you have all your life
before you, Christie, boy, haven't you?"

"Yes," said Christie, with a sigh, for he was thinking what a long, long
time it would be before he was as old as Master Treffy, and before the
golden gates would be opened to him.

"Wouldn't you _like_ to do something for Him, Christie, boy," said old
Treffy, "just to show you love Him?"

"Ay, Master Treffy, I should," said Christie, in a whisper.

"Christie, boy," said old Treffy, suddenly raising himself in bed, "I
would give all I have; yes, _all_, Christie, even my old organ, and you
know how I've loved her, Christie, but I'd give her up, her and
everything else, to have one year of my life back again--one year--to
show Him that I love Him. Just to think," he said regretfully, "that He
gave His life for me, and died ever such a dreadful death for me, and
I've only got a poor little miserable week left to show that I love Him.
Oh, Christie, boy! oh, Christie, boy! it seems so ungrateful; I can't
bear to think of it."

It was Christie's turn now to be the comforter.

"Master Treffy," he said, "just you tell the Lord that; I'm sure He'll
understand."

Treffy clasped his hands at once, and said earnestly,--

"Lord Jesus, I do love Thee; I wish I could do something for Thee, but
I've only another week to live,--only another week; but, oh! I do thank
Thee, I would give anything to have some of my life back again, to show
my love to Thee; please understand what I mean. Amen."

Then old Treffy turned over and fell asleep. Christie sat for some time
longer by the fire. He had tried to forget the last day or two how short
a time he had with his old master, but it had all come back to him now.
And his heart felt very sad and desolate. It is a very dreadful thing to
lose the only friend you have in the world. And it is a very dreadful
thing to see before you a thick, dark cloud, and to feel that it hangs
over your pathway, and that you must pass through it. Poor Christie was
very full of sorrow, for he "feared as he entered into the cloud." But
Treffy's words came back to his mind, and he said, with a full heart,--

"Lord Jesus, do help me to give my life to Thee. Oh! please help me to
spare old Treffy. Amen."

Then, rather comforted, he went to bed.

The next morning he looked anxiously at old Treffy. He seemed weaker
than usual, and Christie did not like to leave him. But they had very
little money left, and Treffy seemed to wish him to go; so Christie went
on his rounds with a heavy heart. He determined to go to the suburban
road, that he might tell little Mabel and her mother how much worse his
dear old master was. It is such a comfort to speak of our sorrow to
those who will care to hear.

Thus Christie stopped before the house with the pretty garden in front
of it. The snowdrops were over now, but the primroses had taken their
place, and the garden looked very gay and cheerful. But Christie had no
heart to look at it; he was gazing up anxiously at the nursery window
for little Mabel's face. But she was not to be seen, so he turned the
handle of his organ and played "Home, sweet Home," her favorite tune, to
attract her attention. A minute after he began to play he saw little
Mabel coming quickly out of the house and running towards him. She did
not smile at him as usual, and she looked as if she had been crying,
Christie thought.

"Oh, organ-boy," she said, "don't play to-day. Mamma is ill in bed, and
it makes her head ache."

Christie stopped at once; he was just in the midst of the chorus of
"Home, sweet Home," and the organ gave a melancholy wail as he suddenly
brought it to a conclusion.

"I am so sorry, missie," he said.

Mabel stood before him in silence for a minute or two, and Christie
looked down upon her very pitifully and tenderly.

"Is she very bad, missie?" he said.

"Yes," said little Mabel, "I think she must be, papa looks so grave, and
nurse won't let us play; and I heard her tell cook mother would never be
any better," she added, with a little sob, which came from the bottom of
her tiny heart.

"Poor little missie!" said Christie, sorrowfully; "poor little missie,
don't fret so; oh, don't fret so!"

And as Christie stood looking down on the little girl a great tear
rolled down his cheek and fell on her little white arm.

Mabel looked up suddenly.

"Christie," she said, "I think mother must be going to 'Home, sweet
Home,' and I want to go too."

"So do I," said Christie, with a sigh, "but the gates won't open to me
for a long, long time."

Then the nurse called Mabel in, and Christie walked sorrowfully away.
The world seemed very full of trouble to him. Even the sky was overcast,
and a cutting east wind chilled Christie through and through. The spring
flowers were nipped by it, and the budding branches were sent backwards
and forwards by each fresh gust of the wind, and Christie felt almost
glad that it was so cheerless. He was very sad and unhappy, very
restless and miserable. He had begun to wonder if God had forgotten him;
the world seemed to him so wide and desolate. His old master was dying,
his little friend Mabel was in trouble, there seemed to be sorrow
everywhere. There seemed to be no comfort for poor Christie.

Wearily and drearily he went homewards, and dragged himself up the steep
staircase to the attic. He heard a voice within, a low, gentle voice,
the sound of which soothed Christie's ruffled soul. It was the
clergyman, and he was reading to old Treffy.

Treffy was sitting up in bed, with a sweet smile on his face, eagerly
listening to every word. And, as Christie came in, the clergyman was
reading this verse: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;
not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid."

"That's a sweet verse for you, Treffy," said the clergyman.

"Ay," said Treffy, brightening, "and for poor Christie too; he's very
cast down, is Christie, sir."

"Christie," said the minister, laying his hand on his shoulder, "why is
_your_ heart troubled?"

But Christie could not answer. He turned suddenly away from the
minister, and, throwing himself on old Treffy's bed, he sobbed bitterly.

The clergyman's heart was very full of sympathy for poor Christie. He
knelt down beside him, and putting his arm round him, with almost a
mother's tenderness, he said gently,--

"Christie, shall we go together to the Lord Jesus, and tell him of your
sorrow?"

And then, in very plain, simple words, which Christie's heart could
understand, the clergyman asked the dear Lord to look on the poor lonely
child, to comfort him and to bless him, and to make him feel that he had
one Friend who would never go away. And long after the clergyman had
gone, when the attic was quite still and Treffy was asleep, Christie
heard, as it were, a voice in his heart, saying to him, "Let not your
heart be troubled." Then he fell asleep in peace.

He was wakened by his old master's voice: "Christie," said Treffy;
"Christie, boy!"

"Yes, Master Treffy," said Christie, jumping up hastily.

"Where's the old organ, Christie?" asked Treffy.

"She's here, Master Treffy," said Christie, "all right and safe."

"Turn her, Christie," said Treffy, "play 'Home, sweet Home.'"

"It's the middle of the night, Master Treffy," said Christie; "folks
will wonder what's the matter."

But Treffy made no answer, and Christie crept to his side with a light,
and looked at his face. It was very altered and strange. Treffy's eyes
were shut, and there was that in his face which Christie had never seen
there before. He did not know what to do. He walked to the window and
looked out. The sky was quite dark, but one bright star was shining
through it and looking in at the attic window. "Let not your heart be
troubled," it seemed to say to him. And Christie answered aloud, "Lord,
dear Lord, help me."

As he turned from the window, Treffy spoke again, and Christie caught
the words, "Play, Christie, boy, play."

He hesitated no longer. Taking the organ from its place, he turned the
handle, and slowly and sadly the notes of "Home, sweet Home," were
sounded forth in the dark attic. The old man opened his eyes as Christie
played, and, when the tune was over, he called the boy to him; and,
drawing him down very close to him, he whispered,--

"Christie, boy, the gates are opening now. I'm going in. Play again,
Christie, boy."

It was hard work playing the three other tunes, they seemed so out of
place in the room of death.

But Treffy did not seem to hear them. He was murmuring softly to himself
the words of the prayer, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;
whiter than snow, whiter than snow."

And, as Christie was playing "Home, sweet Home," for the second time,
old Treffy's weary feet passed within the gates. He was at home at last,
in "Home, sweet Home."

And little Christie was left outside.



CHAPTER X.

"NO PLACE LIKE HOME."


The next morning, some of the lodgers in the great room below remembered
having heard sounds in the stillness of the night, which had awakened
them from their dreams and disturbed their slumbers. Some maintained it
was only the wind howling in the chimney, but others felt sure it was
music, and said that the old man in the attic must have been amusing
himself with the organ at midnight.

"Not he," said the landlady, when she heard of it; "he'll never play it
again, he's a dying man, by what the doctor says."

"Just you go and ask him if he wasn't turning his old organ in the
middle of last night," said a man from the far corner of the room. "I'll
bet you a shilling he was."

The landlady went upstairs to satisfy his curiosity, and rapped at the
attic door. No one answered, so she opened it and went in. Christie was
fast asleep, stretched upon the bed where his old master's body lay. The
tears had dried on his cheeks, and he was resting his head on one of old
Treffy's cold, withered hands. The landlady's face grew grave, and she
instinctively shuddered in the presence of death.

Christie woke with a start, and looked up in her face with a bewildered
expression. He could not remember at first what had happened. But in a
moment it all came back to him, and he turned over and moaned.

The landlady was touched by the boy's sorrow, but she was a rough woman,
and knew little of the way of showing sympathy; and Christie was not
sorry when she went downstairs and left him to himself. As soon as the
house was quiet, he brought a neighbor to attend to old Treffy's body,
and then crept out to tell the clergyman.

Mr. Wilton felt very deeply for the desolate child. Once again he
committed him to his loving Father, to the Friend who would never leave
him nor forsake him. And when Christie was gone he again knelt down, and
thanked God with a very full heart for having allowed him to be the poor
weak instrument in bringing this soul to Himself. There would be one at
least at the beautiful gates of "Home, sweet Home," watching for his
homegoing steps. Old Treffy would be waiting for him there. Oh, how good
God had been to him! It was with a thankful heart that he sat down to
prepare his sermon for the next day, on the last verse of the hymn. And
what he had just heard of old Treffy helped him much in the realization
of the bright city of which he was to speak.

Mr. Wilton looked anxiously for Christie, when he entered the crowded
mission-room on Sunday evening. Yes, Christie was there, sitting as
usual on the front bench, with a very pale and sorrowful face, and with
heavy downcast eyes. And when the hymn was being sung, the clergyman
noticed that the tears were running down the boy's cheeks, though he
rubbed them away with his sleeve as fast as they came. But Christie
looked up almost with a smile when the clergyman gave out his text. It
was from Revelation 7:14, 15: "These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God."

"To-night," said the clergyman, "I am to speak of 'Home, sweet Home,'
and of those that dwell there, the great multitude of the redeemed. It
is a very holy place, there is no speck on the golden pavement, no evil
to be found within the city. The tempter can never enter there, sin is
unknown; all is very, very holy. And on the white robes of those who
dwell there is no stain; pure and clean and spotless, bright and fair as
light, are those robes of theirs. Nothing to soil them, nothing to spoil
their beauty, they are made white for ever in the blood of the Lamb;
therefore are they before the throne of God.

"Oh!" said the clergyman, "never forget that this is the only way to
stand before that throne. Being good will never take you there, not
being as bad as others will avail you nothing; if you are ever to enter
heaven, you must be washed white in the blood of the Lamb.

"St. John was allowed to look into heaven, and he saw a great company of
these redeemed ones, and they were singing a new song, to the praise of
Him who had redeemed them. And since St. John's time," said the
clergyman, "oh! how many have joined their number. Every day, every
hour, almost every moment, some soul stands before the city gates. And
to every soul washed in the blood of Jesus those gates of pearl are
thrown open; they are all dressed one by one in a robe of white, and as
they walk through the golden streets, and stand before the throne of
glory, they join in that song which never grows old:--'Amen. Blessing
and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and
might, be unto our God for ever and ever, Amen.'

"And, my friends," said the clergyman, "as the holy God looks on these
souls He sees in them no trace of sin, the blood has taken it all away;
even in His sight they are all fair, there is no spot in them. They are
faultless and stainless, perfectly pure and holy.

"Oh! my friends, will you ever join their number? This is a dark,
dismal, dying world; will you be content to have your _all_ here? Will
you be content never to enter 'Home, sweet Home'? Oh! will you delay
coming to the fountain, and then wake up, and find you are shut out of
the city bright, and that for ever?

"One old man," said the clergyman, "to whom I was talking last week is
now spending his first Sunday in that city bright."

A stillness passed over the room when the clergyman said this, and
Christie whispered to himself, "He means Master Treffy, I know he does."

"He was a poor sin-stained old man," the clergyman went on, "but he took
Jesus at His word, he came to the blood of Christ to be washed, and even
here he was made whiter than snow. And two nights ago the dear Lord sent
for the old man, and took him home. There was no sin-mark found on his
soul, so the gates were opened to him; and now in the snowy dress of
Christ's redeemed he stands, 'faultless and stainless, faultless and
stainless, safe in that happy home.'

"If I were to hear next Sunday," said the clergyman, "that any one of
you was dead, could I say the same of you? Whilst we are meeting here,
would you be in 'Home, sweet Home'? Are you indeed washed in the
precious blood of Christ? Have you indeed been forgiven? Have you indeed
come to Jesus?

"Oh! do answer this question in your own heart," said Mr. Wilton, in a
very earnest voice. "I do want to meet every one of you in 'Home, sweet
Home.' I think that when God takes me there I shall be looking out for
all of you, and oh! how I trust we shall all meet there,--all meet at
home!

"I cannot say more to-night," said the minister, "but my heart is very
full. God grant that each of you may now be washed in the blood of
Jesus, and even in this life be made whiter than snow, and then say with
a grateful heart, 'Lord, I will work for Thee, love Thee, serve Thee,
all I can:'--

    'Till in the snowy dress
    Of Thy redeemed I stand,
      Faultless and stainless,
      Faultless and stainless,
    Safe in the happy land."

And then the service was over, and the congregation went away. But
Christie never moved from the bench on which he was sitting. His face
was buried in his hands, and he never looked up, even when the clergyman
laid his hand kindly on his shoulder.

"Oh!" he sobbed at last, "I want to go home; my mother's gone, and old
Treffy's gone, and I want to go too."

The clergyman took Christie's little brown hand in both of his, and
said, "Christie, poor little Christie, the Lord does not like to keep
you outside the gate; but He has work for you to do a little longer, and
then the gates will be opened, and home will be all the sweeter after
the dark time down here." And with other gentle and loving words he
comforted the child, and then once more he prayed with him, and Christie
went away with a lighter heart. But he could not help thinking of the
last Sunday evening, when he had hastened home to tell Treffy about the
third verse of the hymn.

There was no one to-night to whom Christie could tell what he had heard.
He waited a minute outside the attic door, as if he was almost afraid to
go in, but it was only for a minute, and when he walked in all fear
passed away.

The sun was setting, and some rays of glory were falling on old Treffy's
face as he lay on the bed. They seemed to Christie as if they came
straight from the golden city, there was something so bright and so
unearthly about them. And Christie fancied that Treffy smiled as he lay
on the bed. It might be fancy, but he liked to think it was so.

And then he went to the attic window and looked out. He almost saw the
golden city, far away amongst those wondrous, bright clouds. It was a
strange, glad thought, to think that Treffy was there. What a change for
him from the dark attic! Oh, how bright heaven would seem to his old
master!

Christie would have given any thing just to see for one minute what
Treffy was doing. "I wonder if he will tell Jesus about me, and how I
want to come home," said Christie to himself.

And as the sunset faded away and the light grew less and less, Christie
knelt down in the twilight, and said from the bottom of his heart,--

"O Lord, please make me patient, and please some day take me to live
with Thee and old Treffy, in 'Home, sweet Home.'"



CHAPTER XI.

ALONE IN THE WORLD.


Little Christie was the only mourner who followed old Treffy to the
grave. It was a poor parish funeral. Treffy's body was put into a parish
coffin, and carried to the grave in a parish hearse. But, oh! it did not
matter, for Treffy was at home in "Home, sweet Home;" all his sorrows
and troubles were over, his poverty was at an end, and in "the Father's
house" he was being well cared for.

But the man who drove the hearse was not inclined to lose time upon the
road, and Christie had to walk very quickly, and sometimes almost to
run, to keep up with him; and on their way they passed another and a
very different funeral. It was going very slowly indeed. There was a
large hearse in front, and six funeral carriages filled with people
followed. And as Christie passed close by them in the middle of the road
he could see that the mourners within looked very sorrowful, and as if
they had been crying very much. But in one carriage he saw something
which he never forgot. With her head resting on her papa's shoulder, and
her little white sorrowful face pressed close to the window, was his
little friend Mabel.

"So her mother is dead!" said Christie to himself, "and this is her
funeral! Oh, dear! what a very sad world this is!"

He was not sure whether Mabel had seen him, but the little girl's sorrow
had sunk very deep into Christie's soul, and it was with a heavier heart
than before that he hastened forward to overtake the hearse which was
carrying his old master's body to the grave.

So the two funeral processions--that of the poor old man, and that of
the fair young mother--passed on to the cemetery, and over both bodies
were pronounced the words, "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to
dust." But all this time their happy souls were in "Home, sweet Home,"
far, far away from the scene of sorrow. For a few days before, just at
the same hour, two souls had left this world of woe, and had met
together before the gates of pearl. And as they were both clean and
white, both washed in the blood of the Lamb, the gates had been opened
wide, and old Treffy and little Mabel's mother had entered the city
together. And now they had both seen Jesus, the dear Lord whom they
loved well, and in His presence they were even now enjoying fulness of
joy.

Christie was obliged to give up the little attic after Treffy's death,
for the landlady wished to let it for a higher rent. However, she gave
the boy leave to sleep in the great lodging-room below, whilst she took
possession of all old Treffy's small stock of furniture, in payment for
the rent which he owed her.

But the organ was Christie's property; his old master had given it to
him most solemnly about a week before he died. He had called Christie to
his side, and told him to bring the organ with him. Then he had
committed it to Christie's care.

"You'll take care of her, Christie," he had said, "and you'll never part
with her, for my sake. And when you play 'Home, sweet Home,' Christie,
boy, you must think of me and your mother, and how we've both got
there."

It was hard work for Christie, the first day that he took out his organ
after old Treffy's funeral; he did not so much mind playing "Rule
Britannia," or the "Old Hundredth," or "Poor Mary Ann," but when he came
for the first time to "Home, sweet Home," such a rush of feeling came
over him that he stopped short in the middle and moved on without
finishing it. The passers-by were surprised at the sudden pause in the
tune, and still more so at the tears which were running down Christie's
cheeks. They little thought that the last time he had played that tune
had been in the room of death, and that whilst he was playing it his
dearest friend on earth had passed away into the true "Home, sweet
Home." But Christie knew, and the notes of the tune brought back the
recollection of that midnight hour. And he could not make up his mind to
go on playing till he had looked up into the blue sky and asked for help
to rejoice in old Treffy's joy. And then the chorus came very sweetly to
him, "Home, sweet home; there's no place like home; there's no place
like home." "And old Treffy's there at last," said Christie to himself
as he finished playing.

One day, about a week after Treffy's funeral, Christie went up the
suburban road, in the hopes of seeing poor little Miss Mabel once more.
He had never forgotten her sorrowful little face at the window of the
funeral coach. And when we are in sorrow ourselves, it does us good to
see and sympathize with those who are in sorrow also. Christie felt it
would be a great comfort to him to see the little girl. He wanted to
hear all about her mother, and when it was that she had gone to "Home,
sweet Home."

But when Christie reached the house he stood still in astonishment. The
pretty garden was there just as usual, a bed of heartseases was blooming
in the sunshine, and the stocks and forget-me-nots were in full flower.
But the house looked very deserted and strange; the shutters of the
lower rooms were up, and the bed-rooms had no blinds in the windows and
looked empty and forlorn. And in the nursery window, instead of little
Mabel and Charlie's merry faces, there was a cross-looking old woman
with her head bent down over her knitting.

What could be the matter? Where were the children gone? surely no one
else was lying dead in the house. Christie felt that he could not go
home without finding out; he must ask the old woman. So he stood at the
garden-gate, and turned the handle of the organ, hoping that she would
look out and speak to him. But, beyond a passing glance, she gave no
sign that she even heard it, but went on diligently with her work.

At length Christie could wait no longer; so stopping suddenly in the
middle of "Poor Mary Ann," he walked up the gravel path and rang the
bell. Then the old woman put her head out of the window and asked what
he wanted. Christie did not quite know what to say, so he came out at
once with the great fear which was haunting him.

"Please, ma'am, is any one dead?" he asked.

"Dead? No!" said the old woman, quickly. "What do you want to know for?"

"Please, could I speak to little Miss Mabel?" asked Christie, timidly.

"No, bless you," said the old woman, "not unless you'd like a walk
across the sea; she's in France by now."

"In France!" repeated Christie, with a bewildered air.

"Yes," said the old woman, "they've all gone abroad for the summer;" and
then she shut the window in a decided manner, as much as to say, "And
that's all I shall tell you about it."

Christie stood for a few minutes in the pretty garden before he moved
away. He was very disappointed; he had so hoped to have seen his little
friends, and now they were gone. They were far away in France. That was
a long way off, Christie felt sure, and perhaps he would never see them
again.

He walked slowly down the dusty road. He felt very lonely this
afternoon, very lonely and forsaken. His mother was gone; old Treffy was
gone! the lady was gone! and now the children were gone also! He had no
one to cheer him or to comfort him; so he dragged the old organ wearily
down the hot streets. He had not heart enough to play, he was very tired
and worn out; yet he knew not where to go to rest. He had not even the
old attic to call his home. But the pavement was so hot to his feet, and
the sun was so scorching, that Christie determined to return to the
dismal court, and to try to find a quiet corner in the great
lodging-room.

But when he opened the door he was greeted by a cloud of dust; and the
landlady called out to him to take himself off, she could not do with
him loitering about at that time of day. So Christie turned out again,
very heart-sore and disconsolate; and, going into a quiet street, he
sheltered for some time from the hot sun under a high wall which made a
little shadow across the pavement.

Christie was almost too hot and tired even to be unhappy, and yet every
now and then he shivered, and crept into the sunshine to be warmed
again. He had a strange, sharp pain in his head, which made him feel
very bewildered and uncomfortable. He did not know what was the matter
with him, and sometimes he got up and tried to play for a little time,
but he was so sick and dizzy that he was obliged to give it up, and to
lie quite still under the wall, with the organ beside him, till the sun
began to set. Then he dragged himself and his organ back to the large
lodging-room. The landlady had finished her cleaning, and was preparing
the supper for her lodgers. She threw Christie a crust of bread as he
came in, but he was not able to eat it. He crawled to a bench in the far
corner of the room, and putting his old organ against the wall beside
him, he fell asleep.

When he awoke, the room was full of men; they were eating their supper,
and talking and laughing noisily. They took little notice of Christie,
as he lay very still in the corner of the room. He could not sleep
again, for the noise in the place was so great, and now and again he
shuddered at the wicked words and coarse jests which fell on his ear
almost every minute.

Christie's head was aching terribly, and he felt very, very ill; he had
never been so ill in his life before. What would he not have given for a
quiet little corner, in which he might have lain, out of the reach of
the oaths and wickedness of the men in the great lodging-room! And then
his thoughts wandered to old Treffy in "Home, sweet Home." What a
different place his dear old master was in!

"There's no place like home, no place like home," said Christie to
himself. "Oh, what a long way I am from 'Home, sweet Home!'"



CHAPTER XII.

CHRISTIE WELL CARED FOR.


"What's the matter with that little lad?" said one of the men to the
landlady, as she was preparing their breakfast the next morning. "He's
got a fever, or something of the sort. He's been talking about one thing
or another all night. I've had toothache, and scarcely closed my eyes,
and he's never ceased chatting the night through."

"What did he talk about?" asked another man.

"Oh! all sorts of rubbish," said the man with the toothache, "bright
cities, and funerals, and snowdrops; and once he got up, and began to
sing; I wonder you didn't hear him."

"It would have taken a great deal to make _me_ hear him," said the
other, "tired out as I was last night; what did he sing, though?"

"Oh! one of the tunes on his old organ. I expect he gets them in his
head so that he can't get them out. I think it was 'Home, sweet Home,'
he was trying at last night;" and the man went to his work.

"Well, Mrs. White," said another man, "if the boy's in a fever, the
sooner you get him out of this the better; we don't want all of us to
take it."

When the men were gone, the landlady went up to Christie to see if he
were really ill. She tried to wake him, but he looked wildly in her
face, and did not seem to know her. So she lifted him by main force into
a little dark room under the stairs, which was filled with boxes and
rubbish. She was not an unkind woman; she would not turn the poor child
into the street in his present condition; so she made him up a little
bed on the floor, and giving him a drink of water, she left him, to
continue her work. That evening she fetched the parish doctor to see
him, and he told her that Christie was in a fever.

For many days little Christie hung between life and death. He was quite
unconscious of all that went on; he never heard the landlady come into
the room; he never saw her go out. She was the only person who came near
him, and she could give him very little attention, for she had so much
to do. But she used to wonder why Christie talked so often of "Home,
sweet Home;" through all his wanderings of mind this one idea seemed to
run. Even in his delirium, little Christie was longing for "the city
bright."

But, after a time, Christie began to recover; he regained his
consciousness, and slowly, very slowly, the fever left him. But he was
so weak that he could not even turn in bed; and he could scarcely speak
above a whisper. Oh, how long and dreary the days were to him! Mrs.
White had begun to grow tired of waiting on him, and so Christie was for
many a long hour without seeing any one to whom he could speak.

It was a very dark little chamber, only lighted from the passage, and
Christie could not even see a bit of blue sky. He felt very much alone
in the world. All day long there was no sound but the distant shouts of
the children in the court, and in the evening he could hear the noise of
the men in the great lodging-room. Often he was awake the greater part
of the night, and lay listening to the ticking of the clock on the
stairs, and counting the strokes hour after hour. And then he would
watch the faint gray light creeping into the dark room, and listen to
the footsteps of the men going out to their daily work.

No one came to see Christie. He wondered that Mr. Wilton did not ask
after him, when he missed him from the mission-room. Oh, how glad
Christie would have been to see him! But the days passed slowly by, and
he never came, and Christie wondered more and more. Once he asked Mrs.
White to fetch him to see him, but she said she could not trouble to go
so far.

If little Christie had not had a friend in Jesus, his little heart would
almost have broken, in the loneliness and desolation of those days of
weakness. But though his faith was sometimes feeble, and he was then
very downcast in spirit, yet at other times little Christie would talk
with Jesus, as with a dear friend, and in this way he was comforted. And
the words which the clergyman had read to his old master were ever
ringing in his ears, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Still, those weeks did seem very long and tedious. At last, he was able
to sit up in bed, but he felt faint and dizzy whenever he moved. For he
had had a very severe attack of fever, and he needed all manner of
nourishing things to bring back his strength. But there was no one to
attend to the wants of the poor motherless boy. No one, except the dear
Lord; He had not forgotten him.

It was a close, tiring afternoon. Christie was lying upon his bed,
panting with the heat, and longing for a breath of air. He was faint and
weary, and felt very cast down and dispirited. "Please, dear Lord," he
said aloud, "send some one to see me."

And even as he spoke the door opened, and the clergyman came in. It was
too much for little Christie! He held out his arms to him in joy, and
then burst into tears.

"Why, Christie," said the clergyman, "are you not glad to see me?"

"Oh," said little Christie, "I thought you were never coming, and I felt
such a long way from home! Oh, I am so glad to see you."

Then Mr. Wilton told Christie that he had been away from home, and that
another clergyman had been taking his duty. But the night before he had
preached for the first time since his return in the little mission-room,
and he had missed Christie from the front bench. He had asked the woman
who cleaned the room about him, and she had told him that Christie had
never been there since he went away. The clergyman had wondered what was
the matter, and had come as soon as he could to hear.

"And now, Christie," he said, "tell me all about these long, weary
weeks."

But Christie was so glad and so happy now, that the past seemed like a
long, troubled dream. He had waked up now, and had forgotten his sorrow
and his loneliness.

The clergyman and Christie had much pleasant talk together, and then Mr.
Wilton said,--

"Christie, I have had a letter about you, which I will read to you."

The letter was from little Mabel's papa, who was a friend of the
clergyman.

     "MY DEAR MR. WILTON,--There is a poor boy of the name
     of Christie (what his surname is I do not know) living in a
     lodging-house in Ivy Court, Percy Street. He lived formerly with
     an old organ-grinder, but I believe the old man was thought to be
     dying some weeks ago. My dear wife took a great fancy to the boy,
     and my little Mabel frequently talks of him. I imagine he must be
     left in a very destitute condition; and I should be much obliged if
     you could find him out and provide for him some comfortable home
     with any respectable person who will act as a mother to him.

     "I enclose a check which will pay his expenses for the present. I
     should like him to go to school for a year or two and then I
     intend, if the boy desires to serve Christ, to bring him up to work
     as a Scripture-reader amongst the lowest class of the people in
     your neighborhood.

     "I think I could not perpetuate my dear wife's memory in any better
     way than by carrying out what I know were her wishes with regard to
     little Christie. No money or pains will I spare to do for him what
     she herself would have done, had her life been spared.

     "Kindly excuse me for troubling you with this matter; but I do not
     wish to defer it until our return, lest I lose sight of the boy.
     The dismal attic where Christie and his old master lived was the
     last place my dear wife visited before her illness; and I feel that
     the charge of this boy is a sacred duty which I must perform for
     her dear sake, and also for the sake of Him who has said, 'Inasmuch
     as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
     have done it unto me.'

     "Believe me, dear Mr. Wilton,

     "Yours very sincerely,

     "GERALD LINDESAY."

"Christie," said the clergyman, "the dear Lord has been very good to
you."

"Yes," said little Christie, "old Treffy was right; wasn't he, sir?"

"What did old Treffy say?" asked the clergyman.

"He said the Lord had some work for me to do for Him," said Christie,
"and I didn't think there was any thing I could do; but He's going to
let me, after all."

"Yes," said the clergyman, smiling; "shall we thank Him, Christie?"

So he knelt down by Christie's bed, and little Christie clasped his thin
hands and added his words of praise:--

"O Jesus, I thank Thee so much for letting me have some work to do for
Thee; and, please, I will stay outside the gates a little longer, to do
something to show Thee how I love Thee. Amen."

"Yes, Christie," said the clergyman, as he rose to go, "you must work
with a very loving heart. And when the work is over will come the
_rest_. After the long waiting will come 'Home, sweet Home.'"

"Yes," said Christie, brightly, "'there's no place like Home, no place
like Home.'"



CHAPTER XIII.

CHRISTIE'S WORK FOR THE MASTER.


It was a hot summer's afternoon, some years after, and the air in Ivy
Court was as close and stifling as it had been in the days when Christie
and old Treffy lived there. Crowds of children might still be seen
playing there, screaming and quarrelling, just as they had done then.
The air was as full of smoke and dust, and the court looked as desolate
as it had done in those years gone by. It was still a very dismal and a
very forlorn place.

So Christie thought, as he entered it that sultry day; it seemed to him
as far as ever from "Home, sweet Home." Yet, of all the places which he
visited as a Scripture-reader, there was no place in which Christie took
such an interest as Ivy Court. For he could not forget those dreary days
when he had been a little homeless wanderer, and had gone there for a
night's lodging. And he could not forget the old attic which had been
the first place, since his mother's death, that he had been able to call
home. It was to this very attic he was going this afternoon. He climbed
the rickety stairs, and as he did so he thought of the night when he had
crept up them for the first time, and had knelt down outside old
Treffy's door, listening to the organ. Christie had never parted with
that organ, his old master's last gift to him. And scarcely a week
passed that he did not turn the handle, and listen to the dear old
tunes. And he always finished with "Home, sweet Home," for he still
loved that tune the best. And when Miss Mabel came to see him, she
always wanted to turn the old organ in remembrance of her childish days.
She was not Miss Mabel any longer now, though Christie still sometimes
called her so when they were talking together of the old days, and of
Treffy and his organ. But Mabel was married now to the clergyman under
whom Christie was working, and she took great interest in the young
Scripture-reader, and was always ready to help him with her advice and
sympathy. And she would ask Christie about the poor people he visited,
and he would tell her which of them most needed her aid. And where she
was most needed young Mrs. Villiers was always ready to go.

And so it came to pass that when Christie knocked at the old attic door,
it was opened for him by Mrs. Villiers herself, who had just come there
to see a poor sick woman. She had not met Christie in that attic since
the days when they were both children, and Mabel smiled as he came in,
and said to him, "Do you remember the occasion when we met here before?"

"Yes," said Christie, "I remember it well; there were four of us here
then, Mrs. Villiers, and two out of the four have gone to the bright
city which we talked of then."

"Yes," said Mabel, with tears in her eyes; "they are waiting for us in
'Home, sweet Home.'"

The attic did not look any more cheerful that day than it had done when
old Treffy lived there. The window-panes were nearly all broken and
filled with pieces of brown paper or rag. The floor was more rotten than
ever, and the boards seemed as if they must give way when Christie
crossed the room to speak to a forlorn-looking woman who was sitting on
a chair by the smouldering fire. She was evidently very ill and very
unhappy. Four little children were playing about, and making so much
noise that Christie could hardly hear their mother speak when she told
him she was "no better, no better at all, and she did not think she ever
should be."

"Have you done what I asked you, Mrs. Wilson?" said Christie.

"Yes, sir, I've said it again and again, and the more I say it the more
miserable it makes me."

"What is it, Christie?" said Mrs. Villiers.

"It's a little prayer, ma'am, I asked her to say: 'O God, give me Thy
Holy Spirit, to show me what I am.'"

"And I think He has shown me," said the poor woman, sadly; "anyhow, I
never knew I was such a sinner; and every day as I sit here by my fire I
think it all over, and every night as I lie awake on my bed I think of
it again."

"I've brought another prayer for you to say now, Mrs. Wilson," said
Christie, "and I've written it out on a card, that you may be able to
learn it quickly: 'O God, give me Thy Holy Spirit, to show me what Jesus
is.' God has heard and answered your first prayer, so you may be sure He
will hear this one also. And if He only shows you what Jesus is, I am
sure you will be happy, for Jesus will forgive you your sin, and take
away all its heavy burden."

The poor woman read the prayer aloud several times, and then Mrs.
Villiers took a book from her pocket and began to read. It was a little,
much-worn Testament. It had once been blue, but from constant use the
color had faded, and the gilt edges were no longer bright. It was not
the first time that same Testament had been in that old attic. For it
was the same book from which Mabel's mother had read to old Treffy
fifteen years before. How Mabel loved that book! Here and there was a
pencil-mark, which her mother had made against some favorite text, and
these texts Mabel read again and again, till they became her favorites
also. It was one of these which she read to the poor woman to-day: "The
blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." And then
Mrs. Villiers explained how ready Jesus is to save any soul that comes
to Him, and how His blood is quite sufficient to take away sin.

The sick woman listened eagerly, and a tear came into Christie's eye as
he said: "There is no text that I love like that, Mrs. Villiers. Mr.
Wilton preached on it in the mission-room the second time I went there,
and I felt as if I could sing for joy when I heard it; I well remember
how I ran up the stairs to this attic, to tell it to my old master."

"And you've found it true, Christie?"

"Yes, ma'am, indeed I have; and Treffy found it true too."

Then Mrs. Villiers and Christie took their leave; but, as they were
going down the steep staircase, Christie said, "Have you time to call on
Mrs. White for a few minutes, ma'am? She would be so pleased to see you,
and I don't think she will live very long."

Mrs. Villiers gladly agreed to go; so Christie knocked at the door at
the bottom of the stairs. A young woman opened it, and they went in.

Mrs. White was lying on a bed in the corner of the room, and seemed to
be asleep; but presently she opened her eyes, and when she saw Christie
her face brightened, and she held out her hands in welcome. She was an
old woman now, and had given up taking lodgers several years before.

"Oh, Christie," she said, "I _am_ glad to see you; I have been counting
the hours till you came."

"Mrs. Villiers has come to see you to-day, Mrs. White."

"Oh! how good of you," said the poor woman; "Christie said you would
come some day."

"You have known Christie a long time, have you not?" said Mrs. Villiers.

"Yes," said the old woman, "he came to me first as a little ragged boy,
shivering with cold; and I liked the look of him, ma'am, he was so much
quieter than some that came here; and I used to give him a crust
sometimes, when he looked more starved than usual."

"Yes, Mrs. White," said Christie, "you were often very good to me."

"Oh! not as I should have been, Christie; they were only crusts I gave
you, bits that were left from the men's meals, and not so much of them
either; but you've come to me and you've brought me the Bread of
Life,--not just bits and leavings, but enough and to spare, as much as I
like, and more than enough for all I want."

"Oh, Christie," said Mrs. Villiers, "I am glad to hear this; the dear
Lord has been very good to you; your work has not been in vain."

"In vain!" said the old woman; "I should think not! There's many a one,
Mrs. Villiers, that will bless God in the home above for what you and
your father have done for this lad; and there's no one that will bless
Him more than I shall. I was as dark as a heathen till Christie came to
me, and read to me out of his Bible, and talked to me of Jesus, and put
it all so clear to me. And now I know that my sins are forgiven, and
very soon the Lord will take me home; and oh! dear, how nice that will
be--

    'When in the snowy dress
    Of Thy redeemed I stand,
      Faultless and stainless,
      Faultless and stainless,
    Safe in that happy land!'"

"I see that Mrs. White knows your hymn, Christie," said Mrs. Villiers.

"Yes," said Christie, "I taught her it a long time ago, and she is as
fond of it as my old master was."

After a little more conversation, Mrs. Villiers took her leave, and
Christie continued his round of visits. All that long, sultry afternoon
he toiled on, climbing dark staircases, going down into damp cellars,
visiting crowded lodging-houses; and everywhere, as he went, dropping
seeds of the Word of life, sweet words from the Book of books, suited to
the hearts of those with whom he met.

For in that book Christie found there was a word for every need, and a
message for every soul. There was peace for the sin-burdened, comfort
for the sorrowful, rest for the weary, counsel for the perplexed, and
hope for the dying. And Christie always prayed before he went out that
God's Holy Spirit would give him the right word for each one whom he
went to see. And, as he knocked at the door of a house, he always lifted
up his heart in a silent prayer, something like this:--

"Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, give me the
opportunity of saying something for Thee, and please help me use it, and
show me how to say the right word."

And so it was no wonder that God blessed him. It was no wonder that
wherever he went Christie not only found opportunities of doing good,
but was able to use those opportunities to the best advantage. It was no
wonder that when the people were ill they always sent for the young
Scripture-reader to read and pray with them. It was no wonder that the
little children loved him, or that the poor, tired mothers were glad to
sit down for a few minutes to hear him read words of comfort from the
Book of life. It was no wonder that all day long Christie found work to
do for the Master, and souls waiting to receive the Master's message. He
was generally very tired when he went home at night, but he did not mind
this. For he never forgot old Treffy's sorrow, a few days before he
died, because he had only a week left in which to show his love to his
Saviour. And Christie thanked God every day that He had given to him the
honor and privilege of working for Him.

Christie lodged in a quiet street not far from Ivy Court. He used to
live some way out of the town, for he liked to have a walk after his
day's work was done; but he found that the poor people often wanted him
for different things in the evening and at other times, and so he
removed nearer to them and nearer to his work. And very often they would
come to him with their troubles, and sit in his little room pouring out
their grief. The young men especially were very glad to come to
Christie's lodging to have a talk with him; and once a week Christie had
a little prayer-meeting there, to which many of them came. And they
found it a great help on their way to heaven.

When Christie opened the door of his lodging on the day of which I am
writing, he heard a sound which very much surprised him. It was the
sound of his old barrel-organ, and it was playing a few notes of "Home,
sweet Home." He wondered much who could be turning it, for he had
forbidden the landlady's children to touch it, except when he was
present to see that no harm came to it. He sometimes smiled to himself
at his care over the old organ. It reminded him of the days when he had
first played it, with old Treffy standing by him and looking over his
shoulder, saying in an anxious voice, "Turn her gently, Christie, boy;
turn her gently."

And now he was almost as careful of it as Treffy himself, and he would
not on any account have it injured. And so he hastened upstairs to see
who it could be that was turning it this morning. On his way he met his
landlady, who said that a gentleman was waiting for him in his parlor,
who seemed very anxious to see him, and had been sitting there for some
time. And, when Christie opened the door, who should be turning the
barrel-organ but his old friend, Mr. Wilton!

They had not met for many years, for Mr. Wilton had settled in another
part of England, where he was preaching the same truths as he had once
preached in the little mission-room. But he had come to spend a Sunday
in the scene of his former labors, and he was very anxious to know how
his friend Christie was getting on, and whether he was still working for
the Saviour, and still looking forward to "Home, sweet Home."

It was a very affectionate meeting between Mr. Wilton and his young
friend. They had much to talk about, not having seen each other for so
long.

"So you still have the old organ, Christie," said Mr. Wilton, looking
down at the faded silk, which was even more colorless than it had been
in Treffy's days.

"Yes, sir," said Christie, "I could never part with it; I promised my
old master that I never would, and it was his dying gift to me. And
often now when I hear the notes of 'Home, sweet Home,' it takes my
thoughts to old Treffy, and I think what a happy time he must have had
in 'the city bright,' all these fifteen years."

"Do you remember how you used to want to go there too, Christie?"

"Yes, Mr. Wilton, and I don't want it any the less now; but still I
should like to live some years longer, if it is His will. There is so
much to do in the world, isn't there, sir? And what I do only seems to
me like a drop in the ocean when I look at the hundreds of people there
are in these crowded courts; I could almost cry sometimes when I feel
how little I can reach them."

"Yes, Christie," said Mr. Wilton, "there is a great deal to do, and we
cannot do a tenth part, nor yet a thousandth part, of what there is to
do; what we must strive after is, that the dear Master may be able to
say of each of us, 'He hath done what he _could_.'"

Then Mr. Wilton and Christie knelt down and prayed that God would give
Christie a blessing on his work, and would enable him to lead many of
the people, in the courts and lanes of that wretched neighborhood, to
come to Jesus, that they might find a home in that city where Treffy was
gone before.



CHAPTER XIV.

"HOME, SWEET HOME, AT LAST."


It was Sunday evening, and Christie was once more in the little
mission-room; but not now as a poor ragged boy, sitting on the front
bench, and in danger of being turned out by the woman who lighted the
gas-lamps. She would not dream of turning Christie out now, for the
young Scripture-reader was a well-known man in the district. He was
always there early, before any of the people arrived, and he used to
stand at the door and welcome each one as they came in, helping the old
men and women to their seats, and looking out anxiously for those whom
he had invited for the first time during the week. And if any little
ragged boys stole in, and seemed inclined to listen, Christie took
special care of them, for he had not forgotten the day when he had first
come to that very room, longing to hear a word of comfort to tell to his
old master.

Mr. Wilton was to take the service to-night, and Christie had been busy
all the afternoon giving special invitations to the people to be
present, for he wanted them very much to hear his dear friend.

The mission-room was quite full when Mr. Wilton entered it. How it
rejoiced him to see Christie going about amongst the people, with a kind
word for each, and handing them the small hymn-books from which they
were to sing!

"Come, for all things are now ready." That was Mr. Wilton's text. How
still the mission-room was, and how earnestly all the people listened to
the sermon! The clergyman first spoke of the marriage feast in the
parable, so carefully spread, so kindly prepared, all ready there,--and
yet no one would come! There were excuses on all sides, every one was
too busy or too idle to attend to the invitation; no one was ready to
obey that gracious "Come."

And then Mr. Wilton spoke of Jesus, and how he had made all things ready
for us; and how pardon is ready and peace is ready; the Father's arms
ready to receive us; the Father's love ready to welcome us; a home in
heaven ready prepared for us. That, he said, was God's part of the
matter.

"And what, my dear friends," he went on, "is _our_ part? _Come_; 'come,
for all things are now ready.' Come, you have only to come and take; you
have only to receive this love. Come, sin-stained soul; come, weary one;
'come, for all things are now ready.' _Now_ ready. There is a great deal
in that word '_now_.' It means to-night,--this very Sunday; not next
year, or next week; not to-morrow, but now,--all things are _now_ ready.
God has done all He can, He can do no more, and He says to you, 'Come!'
Will you not come? Are God's good things not worth having? Would you not
like to lie down to sleep, feeling that you were forgiven? Would you not
like one day to sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb?

"Oh, what a day that will be!" said Mr. Wilton, as he ended his sermon.
"St. John caught a glimpse of its glory amidst the wonderful sights he
was permitted to see. And so important was it, so good, so specially
beautiful, that the angel seems to have stopped him, that St. John might
write it down at once: Wait a minute, don't go any farther, take out
your book and make a note of that,--'Write, Blessed are they which are
called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.'

"Are _you_ one of those blessed ones?" asked the clergyman. "Are you
washed in the blood of the Lamb? Will you sit down to that supper? Have
you a right to enter into 'Home, sweet Home?' I know not what is your
answer to these questions. But if you cannot answer me now, how will you
in that day answer the Great Searcher of hearts?"

And with this question the sermon ended, and the congregation left;
those of them who had known Mr. Wilton still lingering behind, to shake
hands with him, and to get a parting word of counsel or comfort.

Christie walked home by the clergyman's side.

"And now, Christie," said Mr. Wilton, "do you think you can be ready to
start with me to-morrow morning at eight o'clock?"

"To start with you, sir?" repeated Christie.

"Yes, Christie; you have had hard work lately, and I have asked leave
from Mr. Villiers to take you home with me, that you may have a little
country air and quiet rest. I am sure it will not be lost time,
Christie; you will have time for quiet reading and prayer, and you will
be able to gain strength and freshness for future work. Well, do you
think you can be ready in time?"

Christie thought there was no fear of his being late. He thanked Mr.
Wilton with a voice full of feeling, for he had sometimes longed very
much for a little pause in his busy life.

And the next day found Christie and Mr. Wilton rapidly traveling towards
the quiet country village in which Mr. Wilton's church was to be found.

What was the result of that visit may be gathered from the following
extract, taken from a letter written by Christie to Mr. Wilton some
months later:--

"I promised you that I would let you know about our little home. It is,
I think, one of the happiest to be found in this world. I shall always
bless God that I came to your village, and met my dear little wife.

"At last I have a 'Home, sweet Home,' of my own. We are so happy
together! When I come home from my work, I always see her watching for
me, and she has every thing ready for me, and the evenings we spend
together are very quiet and peaceful. Nellie likes to hear about all my
visits during the day, and the poor people are already so fond of her
they come to her in all their troubles. And we find it such a comfort to
be able to pray together for those in whom we are interested, and
together to take them to the Saviour.

"Our little home is so bright and cheerful! I wish you could have seen
it on the evening on which we arrived. Mrs. Villiers had made all ready
for us, and with her own hand had put on the tea-table a lovely bunch of
snowdrops and dark myrtle leaves. And I need not tell you that they
reminded me of those which she had given me when she was little Miss
Mabel, and when she taught me that prayer which I have never forgotten,
'Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.'

"And now, dear Mr. Wilton, you may think of Nellie and me as living
together in love and happiness in the dear little earthly home, yet
still looking forward to the eternal home above, our true, our best, our
brightest 'HOME, SWEET HOME.'"

[Illustration: HOME, SWEET HOME]





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