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Title: Maybee's Stepping Stones
Author: Fell, Archie
Language: English
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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 "Maybee's Stepping Stones" ***

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[Illustration: WELCOME]




  “The gold of that land is good.”—GEN. 2:12.


To the


  This little Volume



     I. Jan.  7. MOTHER KNOWS BEST                     7

    II.  ″   14. LED INTO SIN—AND OUT                 14

   III.  ″   21. NAUGHTY DICK                         21

    IV.  ″   28. THE LITTLE RED HOUSE                 27

     V. Feb.  4. “DOT”                                35

    VI.  ″   11. CHOOSING A MASTER                    42

   VII.  ″   18. TOD’S STRATAGEM                      50

  VIII.  ″   25. THE HELPING HAND                     57

    IX. March 4. BELL’S BARGAIN                       65

     X.   ″  11. WALKING WITH GOD                     72

    XI.   ″  18. BROWN-HAIRED BESS                    79

   XII.   ″  25. MAYBEE’S STEPPING-STONES             81


     I. April 1. BETTER THAN “A RICH COUSIN.”         91

    II.   ″   8. TRYPHOSA                             99

   III.   ″  15. PLAYING “INJUNS”                    107

    IV.   ″  22. GREEDY BELL AND HONEST BENNIE       115

     V.   ″  29. GOD’S SIDE THE STRONGEST            123

    VI. May   6. STRONGER THAN PAPA                  131

   VII.  ″   13. REAL “MINDING”                      133

  VIII.  ″   20. AND THE LAST, FIRST                 139

    IX.  ″   27. PHOSY’S WORK                        145

     X. June  3. PHOSY’S HYMN                        154

    XI.   ″  10. MAYBEE’S REBELLION                  155

   XII.   ″  17. “BECAUSE”                           163

  XIII.   ″  24. WHY FRED WAS PUNISHED               168


     I. July  1. FARMER VANCE                        170

    II.   ″   8. TELLING THE TIDINGS                 177

   III.   ″  15. JESUS’ NAME                         184

    IV.   ″  22. THE INVITATION                      190

     V.   ″  29. DICK’S “YOKE”                       195

    VI. Aug.  5. MAYBEE’S PLEDGE                     206

   VII.  ″   12. THE “NEW SONG”                      216

  VIII.  ″   19. THE WONDERFUL BOOK                  223

    IX.  ″   26. AUNTY MCFANE’S HYMN                 230

     X. Sept. 2. HOW TO BE GOOD                      232

    XI.   ″   9. BELL’S BIBLE-READING                240

   XII.   ″  16. WHAT COUSIN MATE SAID               249

  XIII.   ″  23. “CHRIST” OR “SELF”                  253

   XIV.   ″  30. MISS LOMY’S SERMON                  256


     I. Oct.  7. HOW NOT TO BE TROUBLED              264

    II.  ″   14. TOD’S “PERSECUTE”                   268

   III.  ″   21. WILL CARTER                         276

    IV.  ″   28. HOW DICK CARRIED THE DAY            283

     V. Nov.  4. HOW FARMER VANCE REASONED           290

    VI.  ″   11. FARMER VANCE’S “LEADING”            297

   VII.  ″   18. ALMOST PERSUADED                    302

  VIII.  ″   25. NEEDLE ROCK                         304

    IX. Dec.  2. THE RESCUE                          312

     X.  ″    9. WILL’S DEBT                         319

    XI.  ″   16. MR. BLACKMAN                        324

   XII.  ″   23. MAYBEE’S “PREACH” AND PRACTICE      329

  XIII.  ″   30. UNCLE THED’S CHRISTMAS PLAN         340




  “But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had
  given him.”

“Tod’s coming!” said Maybee, dancing up and down on the doorstep.

“How _do_ you suppose they’ll behave?” said Sue, taking books,
lunch-basket, and two clean pocket-handkerchiefs from mamma’s careful
hands. “Tod is so queer; and what shall I do with Maybee’s tongue?”

“Do exactly as you would be done by,” said mamma, smoothing the anxious
little forehead. “Remember, everything will be new and strange, and
keep the wee things under your own wing as much as possible. Be very
gentle and patient, help them over all the hard places, and my word for
it, they will be your most obedient servants. I think Mabel means to
be very good and quiet,” she added, stooping to kiss the dimpled chin
on the doorstep.

“Yes’m, ’course,” nodded Maybee, skipping away to meet the
freckle-faced Theodore, six months her junior. “On’y my ap’n’s so
slippery it will rattle, and Tod’s got starch in his shoes, so’s he
can’t go very sofferly.”

Sue took Tod’s other hand and walked on in her most matronly manner.

“Good-morning,” said Bell Forbush, coming out of her gate. “You look
for all the world like a hen with two chickens. Don’t tell me those
tots are going to school.”

“Why not? Maybee is six,” returned Sue, dignifiedly, “and Tod wants to
go everywhere she does, so aunty said he might.”

“They’ll be such a bother, only, of course, you can leave them quite by
themselves; they’ll get broken in all the sooner.”

“Mamma expects I’ll take care of them,” said Sue, dropping behind with

“Oh, fudge! Grown-up folks never seem to think we need any better fun
than looking after such small fry, when really they ought to wait on
us. In English schools they call them fags, and make them run errands
and everything. Now, take my advice, Sue Sherman: put those young ones
in a front seat, and just let them know who is who to begin with. Fan
is going to bring her croquet this morning.”

Mamma had said, “Be very gentle and patient, help them over the hard
places, and they will be your obedient servants”; but to have them mind
simply because they ought to was a deal easier, and besides, Sue was so
fond of croquet and the children would only be in the way. “You mustn’t
stir one inch till I come back,” she said, lifting the little dumpy
figures into the seat Bell picked out, and running off, mallet in hand.

It just suited Maybee,—the shouting, laughing, and general confusion;
but poor little Tod! He couldn’t hide his face on Maybee’s shoulder
because it would “rumpfle” her “ap’on,” and so he hung his round
flaxen head at a right angle very trying to his bit of a neck. It was
such a relief when a tall, black-whiskered man rang a bell and it grew
suddenly quiet. He liked the singing and reading, and he could even
venture to look around when the hum of study and recitation began.
Maybee, on the contrary, found that dull and tiresome.

But we can’t begin to tell all the day’s trials,—how Maybee crept
away to where Sue and Bell were busy with slates and pencils, and was
picked up by the stern Mr. Blackman and dropped back into her seat as
if she had been a spelling-book, after which Tod didn’t dare wink when
anybody was looking; and how Maybee crawled away again to an empty
seat, and played “keep house” with the peanut-shells, bits of chalk and
crumbs stowed away in the desk; how she meant just to touch her tongue
to the ink-bottle, and tilted it up against her nose and all down the
“slippery” white apron; how Sue gave them their lunch at noon, and
sent them alone to the pump to wash; how Joe Travers sprinkled water
all over them, and Tom Lawrence ran off with the “apple turnovers”;
how somebody called Tod a “toad,” and tried to scrub off his freckles,
and everybody else laughed at the way Maybee’s saucy little tongue
sputtered, and her big black eyes blazed with indignation; how Tod’s
miseries reached a climax, just before school was dismissed, in a
loud outburst of grief, and how Mr. Blackman, with pity in his heart
no doubt, but multiplication and mountains and a million or less of
other matters in his head, laid a huge hand on the little yellow pate,
stopping the flow of tears as suddenly as a patent stop-cock; and how
the tears turned to a big fountain of revenge way down in the angry
little heart, so that when Sue tied on their hats and bade them walk
straight along home, behind Bell and herself, Tod broke out with an
emphatic “You bet! my’ll knock ’ou over.”

“Why, The-od-erer Smith! you wicked boy!” exclaimed Maybee, very much

Bell and Sue were already some ways ahead, talking over their new hats.

“All ’em big toads say it,” pouted Tod, “an’ my’s going to gwow till my
can pound ’em heads off.”

Poor little Tod! Both lips and heart blackened with the touch of evil,
so much worse than the dust and ink on Maybee’s white apron.

When the girls stopped at Bell’s gate the little flaxen and brown heads
had both disappeared.

“They’ve lagged behind on purpose. Come in and I’ll show you my new
dress,” said Bell. Then Sue must see it tried on. Of course the
children had gone right along home. Sue wasn’t so sure, but Bell talked
so fast it was half an hour before she could get away.

“They may have gone to aunty’s,” said mamma, looking anxiously up
and down the street, after Sue had stammered out something about
“waiting,” and “supposing,” and “not thinking.”

But they were not at aunty’s, and the two mothers ran here and there,
half wild with fright. Uncle Thed was out of town, but Papa Sherman was
summoned from the bank; and in the gathering twilight, men, women, and
children went hurrying about the village, across the outlying green
fields, into the dark, lonesome woods. Sue, up-stairs, her face buried
in the pillows, sobbed and moaned and listened.

Oh, if she had only kept fast hold of the little hands! if she had only
kissed the tired, dirty little faces! If she had only taken mother’s
advice instead of Bell’s! Such sorrowful “ifs”! And then on her knees
she whispered over and over, “Dear Father in Heaven, if you will only
bring them safe back, I’ll never—never—never forget mother knows
better than all the little girls in the whole world.”



  “And He shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam,
  who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.”

Where were Tod and Maybee?

Half-way between the school-house and Bell Forbush’s, a sort of
cart-path led off from the main road into Farmer Grey’s sugar-orchard,
shaded with large, thick-leaved maples, carpeted with soft, green
grass, and spangled with golden dandelions and buttercups.

“Isn’t it nice? S’ouldn’t ’ou like to go down it?” asked Tod, the new,
“starched” shoes feeling, oh, so hot and dusty!

“Yes; but Sue wouldn’t let us,” said matter-of-fact Maybee.

“My don’t care, my _will_!” returned Tod, shaking two soiled fists at
Cousin Sue and her chatty friend. “Let’s wun.”

It was a sudden temptation, and Maybee yielded at once. Hand in hand
they scampered down the cool, shady lane, never once stopping till the
farther side of the orchard was reached. Then, how they rolled and
tumbled in the fresh, green grass! What handfuls of daisies and violets
they picked! and what a dear little brook they found, babbling along
over the stones, and how fast and far they skipped along beside it,
tossing in dandelions to see if the fishes liked butter, and launching
bits of bark loaded with clover blossoms.

“Hello! What’s going on?” cried Dick Vance, the laziest, wickedest boy
in school, now on the way after his father’s cows. Tod recognized one
of his noon-time tormentors, and straightened himself up, muttering,
“My’ll kill you, you bet!” with a furtive glance at Maybee, who was
busy a little ways off, launching a whole fleet of maple-leaves.

“Ho! here’s a man for you,” cried Dick. “Ain’t he a stunner now!
Regular man, he is.”

Tod relaxed a little at the compliment.

“Want me to make you a boat, a real boat with masts?” asked Dick,
dropping down on the ground and opening his knife. Is there any magnet
stronger than a knife to draw little boys to itself? Tod settled down
just a few feet from the new-comer. Dick whittled and talked; Tod edged
nearer and nearer.

“I wouldn’t make boats for many boys,” said Dick, “but you’re ’cute. If
I had a sail, now! Let me have that red pocket-handkerchief of yours.
By thunder! we’ll have a gay one.”

“By funder! my will,” echoed Tod, exactly as Dick meant he should.

Maybee had followed her little fleet quite out of sight. There was no
one but the All-seeing Father up in heaven to hear, and Dick seldom
thought of him; so he went on, saying vulgar, wicked words, and
dreadful oaths, laughing till he had to hold his sides to hear Tod
echo them in his droll baby-fashion. After a while Maybee came hurrying
back into hearing of the low, mean words Dick was rattling off so
glibly. Then she stopped.

“The-od-orer Smith, come right away, quick as ever you can!” she
screamed, with her fingers in both ears. “My mamma says it’s
catching-er than anything.”

Just then down went the sun behind the woods, and a great darkness
settled suddenly around them.

“Who put ve light out?” asked Tod, huskily.

“God,” said Maybee, solemnly; and something in her large black eyes,
uplifted so trustingly, checked the sneering laugh on Dick’s lips and
made him slink quietly away, without even a whistle.

“Now let’s sit down and see God hang the stars out,” said Maybee.

“My don’t like it to be dark,” whined Tod.

“Why, don’t you merember what the verse says,—that one ’bout the
chickens under their mamma’s wing?

    “‘Dear little girl, dear little boy,
        Afraid of the dark,
      Bid your good-night to the daylight with joy,
        Be glad of the night; for hark!
      The darkness no danger at all can bring,
      ’Tis only the shadow of God’s kind wing.’

What you s’pose my mamma meant, ’bout Sue’s wing? ’course she
don’t have any, but God does; on’y He’s so big we can’t see Him cover
us all up safe. I like to feel Him though, don’t you?”

“No,” said Tod, “my’s afwaid of bears an’ fings.”

“Pho! it was naughty children the bears in the Bible eat,” returned
Maybee,—which remark was sorry comfort to poor Tod.

“Ma-bel! Ma-a-b-e-ll!” called somebody away off in the distance.

“Oh my! I do b’lieve we’ve forgot to go home,” exclaimed Maybee,
jumping up and pulling Tod in the direction of the voices.

You must imagine all the kissings and huggings, how soundly Tod slept
all night, and how Sue kept pinching Maybee to be sure she was really
there. The saddest thing is yet to be told.

At breakfast next morning Tod used some of the wicked words he had
learned. Oh, how grieved and shocked his mamma was! Tod was positive
he should “never do so any more,” after he had been away with her
up-stairs and asked God to forgive him. But the very next day, although
Sue scarcely left the children a moment, Dick contrived to coax Tod
away, and persuade him it was manly to swagger and swear; and then
Tod kept trying it a little all by himself, and somehow the bad
words would slip out when he didn’t mean them to. Mamma talked and
punished,—little punishments at first; then she tried scrubbing the
inside of his mouth with soap-suds, and twice she shut him up a whole
day, with nothing but bread and water. Still Tod persisted in “talking
big,” as he called it, and at last, with tears in her eyes, mamma gave
him over to Uncle Thed, who took him away into the library, and used a
little stick just as Solomon says we must sometimes. Then he insisted
on a whole long week without any good-night kisses from mamma, which
almost broke poor Tod’s heart.

“My’ll never say ve bad, ugly words adin; my _hates_ ’em!” he broke out
one night, just as mamma was going down-stairs; and this time he kept
his word.

Do you think they were cruel to the little boy? But you know Maybee’s
white apron had to be soaked, and rubbed, and boiled, and bleached,
before it was fit to wear again.

And so, although naughty Dick was sadly to blame, we are sure, when Tod
is a man, he will be thankful for all the suffering which helped take
away the stain of that dreadful sin from his heart and tongue.



  “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving
  and being deceived.”

Whiz went a paper-wad past Ned Holden’s head. He didn’t need to look
up from his Compound Interest to know where it came from: most of the
mischief started with Dick Vance. Little Joe Burns, puzzling over
c-o-u-g-h, b-o-u-g-h, d-o-u-g-h, caught a glimpse of Dick’s eyes
through a pair of green goggles and giggled outright. Sue Sherman
tripped and fell on her way to the grammar class, but the string was
in Dick’s pocket before anybody saw it. But that wasn’t the worst of
it. Wherever Dick was on the playground, there the boys played “for
keeps,” cheated in “tallies,” swore over their quoits, and made ruinous
bargains in jack-knives; and where Dick was, there too were more
than two thirds of the other boys. You can easily guess he wasn’t an
ugly, cross-grained, disobliging fellow. That isn’t the kind of stuff
Satan chooses to make tools of. No one could learn more quickly than
Dick, although he hated study and seldom had a perfect lesson; and a
better-natured, kinder-hearted boy you couldn’t find in that school or
any other. So whatever Dick said “Do,” the others generally did, and
whatever Satan put into Dick’s head was generally the thing to be done.
And Satan was leading him from bad to worse as fast as possible. A year
ago, Dick would have scouted the idea of taking a twenty-five-cent
scrip from Mr. Bower’s money-draw. It began with a few nuts “hooked”
when Mr. Bowers was drawing molasses: it would end—where? Dick never
stopped to think.

The week Tod began going to school, Dick played truant one day. It was
the first time; for the boys, even the scape-grace Dick, stood very
much in awe of Mr. Blackman.

“Won’t you catch it to-morrow?” said they all; but the next morning
Dick walked coolly up to the master’s desk and presented a note of
excuse. And then what a glee he set the boys into, telling how he had
to pretend somebody was driving cows and one ran down a lane, and there
was nobody to help but Dick, although it made him late at school, and
Mr. Blackman would insist on his bringing an excuse. Just a word and
his father’s name would do.

O Dick! You would have scorned that lie a year ago.

But now it seemed quite the thing; and when a large circus was
advertised in an adjoining town, it was an easy matter to persuade, not
only himself but Joe Travers also, there would be some way of getting
round “old Blackman.”

Now, one thing is certain about a circus: there _may_ be lots of good
people there, but there is _sure_ to be plenty of wicked ones, and Dick
very naturally got among them,—fellows who had outgrown marbles and
taken to cards.

Nothing else would have drawn Dick into the low drinking-saloon, or
tempted him to taste the vile stuff sold there. They had a “Band of
Hope” in school, and Dick had always stood by his pledge. But he was
in for a “good time” to-day, and before he knew it had drank enough to
make him reckless and quarrelsome.

Fortunately for Joe, that state of affairs disgusted him and sent him
off home, tired and cross enough to confess anything. Fortunately
or unfortunately for Dick, stumbling over the same ground several
hours later, business had suddenly called his father out of town; his
mother’s thoughts were all on her dairy and kitchen; to-morrow was
Saturday,—no hurry about Mr. Blackman. Dick’s chief concern was how
to keep a promise made his new acquaintances to go gunning the next
Sunday. He had been brought up to respect the Sabbath, outwardly. Mr.
Vance always shaved, put on his best clothes, and read his newspaper.
Dick put on _his_ best clothes and lounged on a sofa over the vilest
trash put up in an illustrated weekly. Mr. Vance didn’t believe in
any kind of religion. Mrs. Vance was always too tired to go to church.
To them, it was man’s day of rest simply, not God’s SUN-day
of light and love and praise. No wonder Dick seldom thought of the
all-seeing Eye, looking straight down into his wicked heart, reading
all his plans.

It was easy enough: wrong-doing so often is. He asked permission to
spend the day at his grandfather’s, some four miles away. He frequently
walked over there on Sunday; and getting an early start before his
father was up he had nothing to do but take down the old gun from the
shed-chamber and stroll away at his leisure. But long before noon
Dick was thoroughly tired of being ordered about, sent to pick up the
game, sworn at for being in the way, in short, of being made to feel
his youngness,—_not_ of the sin, nor of seeing the poor little birds
and bright-eyed squirrels, to whom the sunshine and green trees meant
so much, writhe and gasp, and die in his hand. He determined at last
to strike out for himself in quite a different direction from the
others. Up and down the woods he tramped. All the birds and beasts must
have been taking their noonday nap; Dick grew impatient, and suddenly
brought his gun to the ground, with an oath. There was a loud report, a
stifled scream, and poor Dick lay senseless on the ground.



  “In famine he shall redeem thee from death, and in war from the
  power of the sword.”

Such a funny little clatter! The birds waked up from their afternoon
nap, and half a dozen brown nut-crackers stopped to listen, with one
tooth just inside the tempting white kernel.

“I’m so glad we came home this way,” Maybee chattered on, quite
unconscious of the scores of bright eyes watching her. “Only
look, mamma! I guess here’s where the birdies and butterflies had
their Sabbath School. So many yellow buttercups, just like little
question-books, and daisies and violets for picture-cards; and don’t
that funny little brook sound mos’ like a m’lodeon? Oh, see that birdie
washing his face! How do you s’pose they merember which tree they live
in? I guess their mammas are telling ’em Sunday stories now, they’re
so still. Oh, my pity! Here’s all their dear little water-proofs,”
and down dropped Maybee in a patch of dainty, nodding, pink lady’s
slippers. So many, and such splendid long stems!

“What do you s’pose God made ’em all for?” said Maybee, thoughtfully,
trotting after mamma with both hands full.

“I wonder if old Aunty McFane wouldn’t like a bunch to stand beside her
bed?” smiled mamma.

“May I give her some my own self? ’cause there’s nobody to pick her
any. Mose has to go straight to that rackety old mill soon’s he’s got
breakfast, an’ Peter’s too little. ’Sides, Mose won’t let him go in the
woods, ’cause he’ll get lost. I b’lieve I must run, mamma; I’m in such
a hurry.”

She was back in a trice, however, pale and trembling. Hadn’t mamma
heard something very dreadful? Mamma listened to little faint
twitterings up in the tree-tops,—that was all,—and pinching the
color back into the dimpled cheeks, they walked on, up the path leading
to the low, red house where the McFanes lived.

Little brown sparrow sitting close under the eaves could have told them
what Maybee heard; she had been watching the tumbled, dusty figure
dragging itself slowly and painfully along across the fields from the
woods. Poor Dick! It was such a long way to the little red cottage, and
then when he tried to call somebody, everything grew strange and dark
again; the queer little groan he gave was what Maybee heard. By and by
he opened his eyes, but somehow he didn’t care to move or speak. He
heard little brown sparrow twittering to herself up under the eaves;
he heard the brook gurgling noisily along down in the hollow, and then
he heard voices through the open window,—a thin, piping voice saying,
“But God didn’t send any wavens to bwing it, gwan’ma, as he did to

“No, deary; grandma didn’t say he would. You see, ma’am, I’ve told him
stories to make him forget like he was hungry, and there’s none like
those in the good Book. O ma’am! there’s nothing like that, and the
harder things are, the tighter you can take hold of the promises. You
mind, ma’am, when that baby was left on my hands an’ me only jest able
to hobble round, and how at last it came to lying here from morning
till night, with only Mose to help, out of mill hours; but that wasn’t
nothing at all to having his work stop entirely, and the little we’d
scraped together go and go, and he a-worrying an’ tryin’ to find
something to do. Five weeks to-morrow! and last Monday we hadn’t a cent
left. He’s tried everywhere for a job; that last tramp over to Luskill
Mills is what ails his feet. Friday morning he couldn’t step a step,
and not a thing in the house but some dry bread. We’ve never trusted
Peter alone, so he dars’n’t go as far as the main road, an’ we’re quite
a ways off of the path, even. But I knew the Lord could send somebody.
He does hear when folks pray. Don’t you see, Peter, instead of the
ravens he sent the kind lady?”

“We come home this way ’cause it was so hot,” put in Maybee; “but I do
b’lieve He let Sue come tagging after, so’s mamma could send her home
quick to bring you some supper, and p’raps He just made those flowers
a-purpose; you know he sees to the sparrows.”

“Does He really?” thought Dick, looking up at the nest over his head.
“I wish—but I suppose He knows how wicked I’ve been, and won’t care. I
wonder if that’s Sue?”

A light, quick step went up the walk, followed by a scream of delight.

“You must excuse the little fellow, ma’am; he’s so ravenous,” said a
man’s voice, and it trembled too. Dick wondered if he was crying. Then
he heard the rattle of dishes and the hum of the tea-kettle, and by and
by a pleasant voice bidding Sue run back and ask Dr. Helps to come and
look at Moses’ feet.

“You won’t disbelieve again, will ye, Moses?” said the grandmother.
“You see, ma’am, he couldn’t just believe God cared anything about us,
and it’s dreadful to be in the dark and not feel sure there’s an Eye
seeing the end from the beginning all along, and a Hand ready to help
as soon as ever the right time comes.”

“I wonder if He saw me down in the woods,” thought Dick, dreamily, the
voices sounding farther and farther away. “What was it grandpa used to
tell me,—‘Remember the Sabbath day’; but I didn’t _forget_ it; I never
cared. I wish He wouldn’t look way down in my heart; it’s such a great
Eye, and it sees all the bad. Oh, how bright it is, and it hurts so! If
He only would go away!”

But the sun, which Dick fancied was the great all-seeing Eye, shone
steadily down on the poor, pinched white face, and the voices inside
went on:—

“It doesn’t seem, gran’mother, as if such a great Being could care for
poor, wicked creatures like us.”

“He made the littlest flower, Moses, as well as the great mountains;
and as for the wickedness, didn’t he let his own dear Son die just for

“O me! I do b’le’ve I’m going to cry,” said Maybee, slipping past the
doctor and around the corner of the house, full upon Dick, lying still
and white, with a wild, staring look in his eyes.

Her screams summoned mamma and the doctor, who together carried him
into the one front room of the cottage, and laid him on the “spare
bed,” clean and white, if Mose had been sole housekeeper for many

“He mustn’t be moved again,” the doctor said; but “they could bring
whatever they pleased to the cottage,” he added,—a hint Dick’s
father wasn’t slow to take, for besides idolizing his boy, he was a
kind-hearted man, and fairly shuddered when Maybee’s mamma told him how
nearly starvation had come to the little red house.

Dick knew nobody that night nor for many days; but the sun, as it
peeped in morning after morning, and crept reluctantly away at night,
found out two things,—that Dick’s mother loved her boy better than
her dairy, and that little Peter was growing fat and rosy on something
besides “dry bread.”



  “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall
  trouble thee this day.”

Dick opened his eyes one morning and began to wonder where he was.
It seemed as if he had been sailing over mountain-tops and crawling
about underground for years. And now, could anybody tell where he had
waked up? It wasn’t like any room at the farm-house,—the white-washed
walls, smoky ceiling, and bare floor. Such funny red posts to the
bedstead, and a big, clumsy red chest under the window! On the chest
were tumblers and bottles, and beside it, in a creaky wooden chair, sat
a fat, jolly-looking woman, rocking away as if she had nothing else in
the world to do. Where had Dick seen her before? Oh, he remembered!
she came to their house when his mother had the fever last fall.
Through an open door he could see a cooking-stove, a little red-haired,
red-stockinged boy, playing with a Noah’s Ark, and another bed, with
such a pleasant old lady’s face on the pillow,—such a happy, smiling
face,—and a thin, wrinkled hand stroking lovingly a bunch of dry,
faded flowers on the stand close by.

While he was watching her, somebody leaned over and kissed him. Dick’s
eyes filled with tears, but he knew his mother through them. Only it
was so queer for her to kiss him. He could just remember her doing it
when he wore dresses, like the little red-haired boy. Since then she
had been too busy; she always praised him when he ran errands promptly;
she laughed at his jokes and tricks, kept his clothes clean and
whole, and made him no end of pies and cakes. Indeed, she was always
baking, brewing, churning, sweeping, dusting, mending, or sleeping.
She came around the bed now, with a bright little porringer in her
hand, gave him something nice to swallow, tucked the clothes around
his shoulders, and told him to lie still. He shut his eyes, and was
sound asleep before he knew it. When he opened them again the nurse
was nodding in her chair, the tea-kettle singing on the stove, and
the pleasant-faced old woman sat bolstered up in bed, with the little
red-haired boy and our old friends, Maybee and Tod, curled up on the
foot, listening with all their eyes and ears. So Dick listened too.

“You see we can’t do wrong,” she was saying, “without troubling
somebody else, like the little black-and-white rabbit, you know.”

Peter nodded “Yes.” “No; what was it?” said Tod.

“Why, once there was a little black-and-white rabbit named Dot. He
lived with his mother and sisters in a nice little house, in a nice
large yard full of green grass. But he was always fretting and whining
to get out and hop about the lawn and garden. He liked to nibble the
trees and the tender green sauce. ‘Which is exactly what master says
you mustn’t do,’ said his mother. ‘He’s mean,’ snarled Dot. ‘No, he
isn’t; he gives you plenty to eat that’s nice, and besides, he says
there are cruel boys and dogs outside. I advise you to listen to him,’
and Mrs. Bunny took a mouthful of fresh clover. ‘I’ll risk ’em,’
muttered Dot, digging away at the palings till he found a hole big
enough to crawl through. ‘I wish you’d show me where the garden is,’ he
asked the first boy he met. ‘To be sure. Perhaps you’d like me to carry

“Dot was lazy and forgot all his mother’s warnings. He had a most
delightsome ride, but, oh dear! at the end he found himself shoved,
head first, into a low, dark box, with hardly room enough to turn
around. There he stayed pretty nigh a week, with nothing to eat but
coarse hay. His new friend tormented him almost to death, pulling his
ears, pinching his nose, and punching him with sharp sticks, and at
last he grew so thin he managed to squeeze through between his prison
bars. Good or bad luck led him straight into a most beautiful garden,
with beds of beets, turnips, radishes, celery, lettuce, everything
tender and sweet as sunshine and dew could make it. He ate so much
he could scarcely stir, and was just about to curl down under a
currant-bush for a quiet snooze when a big man began pelting him with
stones. Poor Dot! limping and panting he tried to find the gate, but
had finally to crawl under a stone wall. He slept there that night, and
didn’t dare even to stick his nose out the next morning till he was so
hungry he couldn’t wait another moment. There was a nice clover-field
close by, but he had hardly taken a nibble when up ran a big black
dog, growling and barking, and there would have been an end of Dot but
for a blackberry thicket. He dived into that, and Bose had too much
regard for his sleek, fat sides to follow. Every few minutes, however,
he would come capering back, and set Dot’s heart beating so he was
sure it would come out of his mouth. Not for hours did he dare venture
out, all bleeding and dirty, the forlornest looking creature you ever
saw. But that wasn’t the worst of it. He was real thankful to see the
white palings of his old home just ahead, but instead of going straight
there, naughty Dot concluded to take a final stroll across the lawn and
taste of the young fruit-trees in the orchard. It was an unfortunate
time, for Harry’s papa—Harry was Dot’s little master—had just started
to drive down the carriage-way, and Billy, although a very discreet old
horse, was nevertheless woefully afraid of anything white. He shied
suddenly at sight of Dot, overturned the buggy, and left poor Mr. Wells
lying on the ground with three broken ribs.

“‘Such a bad, ungrateful, disobedient rabbit!’ groaned old Mrs. Bunny,
when Dot at last crept back through the same hole he went out of. ‘See
how much trouble you’ve made! Poor old Jones was depending on his
garden-sauce to pay his rent; that Joe Barker got whipped for being
late at school three mornings; and here’s master laid up for nobody
knows how long.’

“‘Nobody knows the trouble _I’ve_ had,’ grumbled Dot, snatching at the
fresh, sweet clover. ‘How could I know whose garden ’twas, or imagine
that great horse so silly as to jump at poor little me?’

“‘You couldn’t,’ returned his mother, gravely. ‘You aren’t old or wise
enough. That’s why we need a Master to tell us just what to do. You
see, things are all joined together somehow, and doing just one wrong
thing is sure to make no end of a bother. Mark my word, there’s nothing
like having a good master, and doing exactly as he says. If you don’t,
there’ll be trouble all round, depend upon it.”



  “And Elijah said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the
  Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

Dick found lying still from morning till night very dull and tiresome.
Mose was at work again, and as the good-natured nurse took upon herself
the general house-work, which Mose had managed for more than a year
under his grandmother’s direction, Dick was necessarily left alone a
good part of the time. It was quite a relief when little Peter was
allowed to scramble over the bed, asking questions by the score; still
more delightful was it to be bolstered up in the big wooden rocker
and drawn out into the cheery little kitchen beside cheery old Aunty
McFane, who knew exactly the kind of bear stories boys like best to
hear. It seemed a little strange nothing was said about his going
home, and that lately his mother had so seldom come to see him.

One day when nurse had gone out to gossip with some of the neighbors,
Dick’s patience gave way, and he broke out, with an oath,—

“Great deal folks care for a fellow,—not to come nigh him for most
a week! Shut up in this hole, kept on slops, and the doctor running
knives into you when he takes a notion.” Another oath finished the

“Didn’t you know, haven’t they told you your mother was sick?” said
Aunty McFane, gravely.

Dick leaned back among his pillows, white and trembling.
“How—why—what made her sick?” he stammered.

“She jest overdone, tending to her work and looking after you; and
one day, when you was the worst, she came in the rain and got chilled
through. She’s never been well sence, but she kept up till last week.
She was better yesterday. I don’t think God means to take her from you
just yet.”

Dick looked steadily at the old clock; the little mouse nibbling away
in the pantry stopped to hear how loud it ticked through the stillness.

“It’s like the little black-and-white rabbit,—all comes of my going
to the —— circus,” said Dick at length, with another oath. He didn’t
mean to add that: it slipped out before he thought.

“Yes, it _is_ like. Folks, as well as rabbits, need a good and wise
Master,” said Aunty McFane, very soberly. “Do you know who is your
master, Dicky?”

Dick moved uneasily. Ever since the day he was hurt, that great,
all-seeing Eye had seemed to be looking straight into his naughty
heart, and it wasn’t a comfortable feeling.

“I—suppose—it’s—God, if He’s everybody’s,” he said, in a low voice.

“Oh no! God hasn’t any servants only those who choose to obey him. It
was Satan who told you to go to the circus, and coaxed you off gunning
on the Sabbath, and put those dreadful words in your mouth just now.
God’s commandments are very different. You know what they are, of
course, Dicky?”

“The ten commandments? Grandpa used to tell me, but I—why, I keep most
all of them, I guess. I don’t make ‘graven images.’”

“I don’t suppose you do yet, sonny, as the men do who worship their
big stores and houses; but if we love anything better than we love
God, it’s an idol, an’ I’m afraid you’ve got one idol named Self. And
then there’s ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in
vain,’”—Dick dropped his head,—“and this, ‘Remember the Sabbath day
to keep it holy.’”

A little lower drooped the red face.

“Honor thy father and mother.”

“I’m all right there,” cried Dick, suddenly straightening. “I never
call my father the ‘old man,’ as some boys do, nor make as if I was too
big to mind mother.”

“I’m glad of it, Dick; I hope you can plead ‘Not guilty’ to all the
rest; only remember Jesus said, ‘Whoso hateth his brother is a
murderer.’ And then there’s the ‘new commandment’ Christ gave us, ‘Love
one another.’”

“There’s—I—you know, the other one, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ and I—I
have taken things, little things, sometimes,” said Dick, hurriedly.

“O Dicky Vance! To think Satan could make a brave, kind-hearted boy
like you into a thief. How does he pay you? By making you real happy
and giving you lots of fun? At the circus the other day, for instance.”

“I should have had a good time if I hadn’t got in with those fellows.”

“But it’s just ‘those fellows’ Satan will always keep you with.”

“We had a tip-top time the other day; we played truant,” said Dick,
eagerly. “We went fishing away up by the Crossing, and there didn’t a
single bad thing happen. I don’t like stories where every bad boy gets
drowned or something.”

“Nor I, either; but did you feel all right? Didn’t you have to keep
looking round to see if anybody was coming, and go ever so far out of
your way for fear of meeting some one?”

“Why, how did you know?” exclaimed Dick, in surprise.

“I didn’t; I only know it’s the way Satan’s servants mostly do. I
shouldn’t think a boy like you would fancy that,—sneakin’ round,
afraid to look in folks’ faces. Now, ain’t you ten times happier the
days you learn all your lessons and mind the rules, than you was then?”

“I don’t try that often enough to know,” said Dick, laughing and
coloring at the same time. “I’ve thought more’n once I _would_ turn
square round and keep right up to the mark; but it’s a plaguy bother to
toe a straight crack.”

“Now, take my word, Dick, it isn’t half so hard as ’tis to toe Satan’s
crooked ones; and besides, _my_ Master helps his servants; he don’t
call them servants, he calls them children. Only think! the great God,
who made heaven and earth, letting us call him Father, hearing us when
we pray, and promising to help us over all the hard places. Why, Dick,
he would even help you get your lessons.”

Dick shook his head unbelievingly.

“But I’ve tried him,” continued Aunty McFane, earnestly. “I’ve tried
him more than fifty years. He says he numbers the hairs of our heads,
and there can’t be anything littler than that. And then he sent his
only Son to die for us. We hadn’t done as the Master, who knew better
than we, had told us to do, and so Jesus came to ‘save us’ from our
sins. Does your master make any such way for you out of trouble? Which
do you think is the best one to follow, Dick? because you can’t serve
both; you must choose.”

Dick made no reply, and Aunty McFane, too wise to spoil what she had
said by saying too much, closed her eyes as if to sleep. I think,
way down in her heart, she was asking God to bless the poor boy and
help him to choose then. By and by, laying one hand suddenly on his
shoulder, she quietly said, “What would have become of you, Dick, if
God hadn’t sent little Maybee here that day?”

Dick buried his face in his pillows and burst into tears.



  “The God that answereth by fire, let him be God.”

“Come here, you little toad! Before I would play girl-plays the
whole time!” cried Joe Travers, one of the big boys, to our little
friend Tod, who was running as mail-agent between two of the pretty
play-houses under the old oak.

Tod dropped the brown paper mail-bag as if it had burned him, and
looked around. Maybee’s sharp little tongue was buzzing away in the
farthest corner of the playground. Sue was busily “setting table.”

“Come over here, and we’ll have some jolly witch stories,” called Joe,
persuasively; and over went Tod, leaving the poor mail bag, containing
Sue’s invitation to a “kettledrum,” and Bell’s telegram for rooms
at the Polygon Hotel, soaking in a little pool of water left from
yesterday’s rain.

Tod had become a general favorite with both boys and girls. His shyness
led him to choose the latter; but the boys, having discovered his
fondness for “horrifying stories,” liked nothing better than to get
him away by himself, and manufacture the most frightful tales possible
on purpose to see the big blue eyes open to their widest extent, not
caring a straw that they resolutely refused to shut at night unless
mother was close by. To-day, however, Joe had only a simple witch
story, about a little boy, stolen from his parents and brought up in
a hovel, but finally rescued by the witch and restored to his real
father, who lived in a splendid palace, etc. etc.

“Guess, then, him had bus’els of choc’late ca’mels, and riding-horses,”
said Tod, smacking his lips.

“Don’t you wish you was that little boy?” put in Tom Lawrence, rather
disappointed that Joe’s story was no more exciting.

“Well, but I know something,” said Joe, with a wink at the other boys.
“I met an old woman this morning, an’ she told me—”

“What?” cried a dozen voices.

“Well, suppose Mr. Smith wasn’t Tod’s father.”

“My sha’n’t!” said Tod.

“Oh! you needn’t unless you want to; only if ’Squire Ellis was _my_
father, and I could live in that big house on the hill, and have a pony
and a dog and a gun and all sorts of things—”

“Did—she—say—my papa—was that great, big man with a cane what
keeps that great big store an’ wides two horses to once?” asked Tod,

“Oh, I can’t tell you any more, you’ll have to find out yourself,”
returned Joe, very sure an idea, once lodged under the flaxen curls,
would never lie still.

All the afternoon Tod thought it over. Every morning, of late, he had
lingered in front of a new _café_, looking longingly at the snowy
_méringues_, set off by dark, rich chocolate-browns. His sweet-tooth
was one of Tod’s weakest points, and for that reason Papa Smith rather
limited his supply of pocket-money, and seldom fished anything less
harmless than peppermints out of his own pockets. Tod supposed it was
simply from lack of means. Esq. Ellis, now, “could just buy that safe
man out if he wanted to.”

“P-i-g, ponies,” spelled Tod, with such a grand plan in his head he
could think of nothing else. When school was out he privately invited
Maybee to a picnic in the grape-arbor at six that evening, and then,
under pretence of going round by his father’s shop, set off alone up
the main street. Straight into the big store he marched. Esq. Ellis was
busily talking with a couple of men. Tod had been taught manners, and
waited patiently beside him till the gentlemen turned to go, then he
began: “Please will you—”

“Carter wants that order filled before six o’clock,” said a clerk
coming up in the opposite direction.

Tod clutched at the broadcloth coat:—

“_If_ you please—ice-cream an’ ca’mels,—they’re so jolly; an’ if—you
know—I’m your little boy—couldn’t you just give me fifty cents right
straight off, please? My wants it the very worse kind.”

The busy merchant glanced down into the earnest little face; the clerk
touched his arm; he turned quickly.

“The impudence of these beggars! Scott, I thought I told you not to
allow them inside. Is that bill made out for Edson & Dodge? And don’t
forget Dorr is to have samples at once. How about Carter now?” and he
hurried away.

Tod walked dejectedly to the door, his little heart swelling with grief
at that horrid, _horrid_ word “beggar.” What if his face and hands
were grimy and his apron torn? “My guesses,—’t any rate, my’ll try
the other one,” and off he flew up the street, around the corner, into
his father’s office. Papa was there, talking to a man of course. Tod
slipped one grimy hand into his and waited, choking back the grief that
would keep the red lips in a quiver. And the moment the man was fairly
gone, he sobbed out,—

“Please, papa, won’t you? it’s so jolly! Just fifty cents for ice-cream
and ca’mels. My wanted a party so bad! but he wouldn’t, an’ she’s
coming, you know.”

“If you please, sir, Thorpe is waiting to know about that No. 7,” said
somebody in a white paper cap.

“In a moment, John,” said Mr. Smith, sitting down in his chair and
taking Tod in his arms. “Now, papa’s little man, what is the matter?”

“Just fifty cents, please, papa, for Maybee and me to buy choc’late. My
wants it so bad, papa,—jus’ the worst kind.”

“Dear me, that’s _very_ bad, isn’t it? and Sweet-tooth has been very
patient of late, to be sure. So Maybee is coming to a party! Well,
well, there’s a bright, new, silver half-dollar. How’ll that do?
because papa’s in a dreadful hurry.”

Nose, chin, whiskers and all,—how Tod covered them with kisses,
squeezing his “own-y to-ny papa” tight as two little arms could.

“Guess my knew how to find out certain true,” he said, sitting with
Maybee under the grape-arbor half an hour later, both faces well
plastered with chocolate. “Guess the _own_ papas see through a hurry,
quick ’nough, when my asks ’em weal hard.”



  “Will He plead against me with _his_ great power? No; but he
  would put _strength_ in me.”

When Dick came back to school you would scarcely have known him, he had
grown so tall and stout. The younger boys looked up at him admiringly;
the older ones held a little aloof.

It wasn’t at all the Dick who ran away to visit the circus a few months
before. In the first place, this Dick was a travelled youth. As soon as
his mother was able to ride out, the doctor had ordered them both up
among the mountains to try what the clear, bracing air would do to mend
matters. It was up there in a little nook among the rocks, with only a
bit of blue sky looking in between the tall trees, his mother, with one
hand laid lovingly upon his shoulder, had told him how sorry she was
she had all these years been too busy to love and serve the kind Father
above, who had spared their lives and given them so many blessings, and
how she meant now to try and please Him first of all. Dick was very
sure he meant to be a better boy, but he didn’t care to think much
about God. Of course he could be good just as well. So this Dick went
to church and Sabbath School; this Dick was trying not to swear, and no
longer loafed about the street-corners and saloon-steps.

The boys had an idea it would be a very sober, stiff old Dick, but
they soon found out their mistake. He was as full of fun as ever, only
now he tried to keep it for playtimes. Study, however, was uphill
work; he had been idle so long, and there were plenty of boys ready to
laugh at his blunders, to tempt him into some sly fun, and especially
to report every time he swore or broke a rule. Mr. Blackman, too,
remembering the old Dick, was forever accusing him of this, that, and
the other bit of mischief. Poor man! Wasn’t he tried almost out of his
life with the care of so much perpetual motion, and hadn’t Dick always
been the most troublesome screw in the machinery? And wasn’t it the
most natural thing in the world, when anything went wrong, to give that
the first twist?

The brook, beside which Dick gave Tod his first lesson in swearing, ran
through a large field not far from the school-house. There the boys
went to drill, to fly their kites, and to play base-ball. The brook was
much wider there, with a high, steep bank on either side, and of late
the boys had taken to walking across on the narrowest plank possible,
balancing on one foot in the middle, turning somersaults, and otherwise
imitating Blondin at Niagara. The water was shallow and the bottom
sandy, so their frequent tumbles resulted in nothing worse than a

One day, as Tod stood by in open-mouthed astonishment at their
performances, it occurred to Tom Lawrence what fun it would be to make
the little fellow walk across.

“My couldn’t,” said Tod, his teeth chattering at the bare suggestion.

“Oh yes, you can,” joined in half a dozen boys, ready, as boys too
often are, for any fun, no matter at whose expense. “Quick, now, or
we’ll duck you!”

“Here comes Dick Vance; he’ll send him over quicker’n lightning,”
cried Joe Travers.

Tod looked around at the tall, stout figure leaping the wall; almost a
man, Dick seemed to him. Poor little Tod! he felt his doom was sealed,
and trembled to the tips of his shiny shoes.

The boys crowded up, shouting, laughing.

“Make him go over there? Of course I can;” and Dick, swinging the
little fellow upon one shoulder, bounded over the narrow plank before
anybody had time to think.

The boys cheered lustily; boys are never slow to appreciate a daring
deed. But “It isn’t fair!” “No play!” followed close upon the cheer.

“You’ll have to do it, Chicken Little, or they’ll make a prodigious
row,” said Dick. “Look here, now. I’ll hold one hand all ready to catch
you, and promise, sure as I live, you sha’n’t fall; and do you trot
straight along without thinking anything about it. Why, it’s just as
easy,—with me, you know.”

“You bet! By funder!” rejoined Tod, with a sudden explosion of bravery.

“Don’t let’s say that sort of words any more,” said Dick, looking
ashamed and sorry. “Let’s just say we’ll try.”

“My _will_,” responded Tod, confidently, trudging on without looking to
right or left. “My _can_ do it, ’cause your hand is so big.”

Tod cheered as loudly as anybody when he was safe on _terra firma_
again, and then the boys strolled off to base-ball. “What’s up now?”
they wondered, as Dick struck off into the woods instead of joining
them. “Oh! it’s that fuss this morning. Dick’s riled; got some of the
old grit left.”

That morning Dick had made a mistake in putting an example in Long
Division on the board; while he was diligently hunting it up, the boys
in the back seat—of course Dick was yet in the lower classes—began
to chuckle and cough provokingly. Tom Lawrence wiggled his fingers
insultingly, and quick as a flash, Dick chalked out a head on the
board, unmistakably Tom’s, with a big balloon for a body.

“So that’s the way you do examples!” said Mr. Blackman, coming up just
as it was finished. “No wonder such a dunce calls nine times seven,
sixty-four. Rub that sum out, sir, and do it over.”

Now, of course, Dick was wrong and Mr. Blackman was right; only, if the
latter had known how hard Dick had studied that ninth table the night
before, for fear he should fail, and how patiently he was trying to
find his mistake when the boys began to laugh, he wouldn’t have spoken
just so. Dick was quick-tempered,—such natures always are,—and in a
trice he had swept figures and face from the board, and taken his seat.

“You are to put that example on the board again,” said the master; but
Dick was firm as a rock; he couldn’t,—wouldn’t,—shouldn’t.

There the matter stood. Until he did, and at the same time made a
public apology, Mr. Blackman would not consider him a pupil.

Dick sat down under a tree to think it over. Such a pity to leave
school just as he was trying to learn something; but—put that example
on the board again? He never could. Expelled! How grieved his mother
would be; but a public apology,—never! To be sure, he ought to obey
Mr. Blackman; he had really been trying to; but this,—this was too
hard. How could he?

What was it Tod said? “My _can_, ’cause your hand is so big.” How
queer that should remind him of his talk with old Aunty McFane, about
masters! What did she say?

“My Master will help over all the hard places if you ask him.”

His mother prayed, Dick knew, but he had never really felt like it
himself. God was so great; but then, he cared for the sparrows. He was
so great? Why, that was the very reason he could help everybody. What
was the text his mother had repeated only last Sabbath evening? “_I,
the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not,
I will help thee._”

The boys stared the next morning, and some of them, I am sorry to say,
sneered a little, when Dick, after saying, “I am sorry, sir,” went
resolutely to work upon his example again; but Mr. Blackman shook him
heartily by the hand, remarking,—

“Only keep on in this way, Dick, my boy, and you’ll surely make a
worthy man as well as a fine scholar.”

And Dick, with a bright smile on his face, thought, “‘My can,’ because
God’s hand is ‘so big,’ and he does help folks when they ask him.”



  And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?
  And he answered, I have found _thee_: because thou hast sold
  thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.

Bell Forbush had told something very private to at least fifteen of the
girls, nothing more or less than that her Cousin Mate, the dearest,
prettiest cousin anybody ever had, was coming to stay at her house two
whole months. She was grown up, and very stylish, so rich she didn’t
know what to do with her money, and yet so good everybody loved her
almost to death. For weeks after her arrival Bell regaled the girls
with descriptions of Miss Marvin’s dresses and jewelry, the latter
having a special fascination for Bell, particularly a necklace and
cross, to possess which, she more than once hinted to Cousin Mate,
would make her perfectly happy.

“My mother gave it to me just before she died,” her cousin had said
very sadly, which ought to have made it sacred in Bell’s eyes. _She_
had a father, mother, and two big brothers, while poor Cousin Mate was
an orphan, with no nearer relative than Bell’s mamma. She was very kind
to the little girl, too, letting her wear her coral pin and bracelets
to school, and opening the pretty ebony jewel-case whenever Bell wanted
to feast her eyes on the pearls and rubies inside.

But oh, that necklace and cross! There was nothing quite like that.
Bell tried it on over all her dresses, and lay awake nights fancying
how she would look at church in it, and what Nettie Rand would say to
see her wearing such an elegant thing.

About this time Jenny King had a birthday. It came on Saturday, and
she made a tea-party for her friends. Bell’s new white piqué was just
finished, and Cousin Mate had given her a wide blue sash to wear with
it. If she could only have the necklace and cross!

Wasn’t it queer Cousin Mate should happen to go away the day before, to
stay over the Sabbath? Had she taken the necklace with her? Bell crept
up-stairs just at dusk to see. Didn’t Cousin Mate always let her look
at it whenever she liked? and, yes, there was the tiny key left in the
ebony casket. Suppose she should wear it, what harm would it do? Cousin
Mate would never know it, and it was only borrowing, any way. To be
sure, she ought to ask leave, but—

Bell kept thinking it over,—how beautiful the soft shimmer of gold
would be in the lace at the neck of her dress, and how the lovely pearl
cross would gleam out from among the blue ribbons.

The more she thought, the more it seemed she really must. It wasn’t so
very wrong, and something might happen: Miss Marvin might think it was
lost, and she could keep it for her very own. At break of day she stole
into the spare room again, and slipped the chain into the pocket of her
new dress, ready to put on when she reached Mrs. King’s.

“I—mother—mother was afraid I—might lose it—under my shawl,” she
explained to that lady, who offered to clasp it for her, saying, It
is something quite new, isn’t it, dear?——”

“Oh! it—it is Cousin Mate’s; she—she lent it to me,” stammered Bell.

“I didn’t believe it was yours,” said Nettie Rand, provokingly.

“It isn’t mine yet,” returned Bell, reddening, “but Cousin Mate has
just as good as promised it to me.”

Ah, Bell! there is no addition like that Satan sets us to do.

But how heavy the little chain grew before night! or was it the sense
of wrong-doing made the time drag so wearily to Bell, and made her so
glad to wrap her shawl over the long-coveted possession and hurry home
through the dusk? Who should meet her on the steps but Cousin Mate
herself, returned unexpectedly, and ready, as she always was, to take
off the little girl’s hat and give her a kiss.

“I—I—it’s cold,” said Bell, holding her shawl tightly
together,—“and—and I want—something up-stairs.”

Straight to the spare chamber she hurried, and unpinned her shawl. _The
necklace was gone._ She looked on the floor, on the stairs, shook her
shawl and wrung her hands; but it was surely gone. It was there when
she left Mrs. King’s. If she had only put it in her pocket! but she was
afraid Nettie Rand would laugh. She couldn’t go back. Would anybody
find it? Should she ever see it again?

She went slowly down to the parlor.

“It’s very strange,” mamma was saying, “Katy has been with us too long
to doubt her honesty, but this new second-girl,—it must be. Of course
the chain could not go off without hands. I took the poor girl out of
pity, and she has seemed so anxious to please. Oh dear! there’s no
knowing whom to trust.”

Bell slid into a chair, pale and trembling. So Cousin Mate had missed
her chain, and thought the new girl had taken it. Her first feeling
was one of relief. Then she wondered if they would send the poor girl
to states-prison, and what the end of it would be.

“You are all tired out, aren’t you, dear? playing so hard,” remarked
her mother, by and by. “You had better go straight to bed.”

Cousin Mate offered to go up with her as she often had of late. Bell
talked as fast as she could, pulling off half her boot buttons in her
haste. As she stood up to have her dress unfastened, something slid
to the floor,—something bright and shining; and there it lay,—the
necklace, telling its own story. Bell sank in a little tumbled heap
beside it, covering her face with both hands.

“Oh, my little Bell! would you have sold yourself for that?” asked
Cousin Mate, dropping down in turn beside her, and drawing the whole
little heap into her lap. “Would you have sold yourself for that?” she
repeated, uncovering the shame-stricken eyes with one hand, and holding
up the necklace with the other.

“Sell myself!” echoed Bell, wonderingly.

[Illustration: “Oh my little Bell, would you have sold yourself for
that?”—Page 70.]

“Yes; you know Satan is always trying to make bargains with us. Did you
stop to think how much you paid him for this? First, that most precious
of all gems—TRUTH, which you can wear forever in Heaven,
while this, you know, moth and rust can corrupt, and thieves steal away
from you. And then did you forget, Bell, that this sin, unrepented of,
could shut you out of heaven? Would you give up that beautiful home for
this poor little trinket, my darling? And didn’t you forget, too, that
God was looking down upon you, so grieved and sorry? Wasn’t it a _very_
poor bargain, dear? Would you take the necklace for your very own at
such a price?”

“No, no! I never want to see it again,” sobbed Bell. “Oh! what shall I

“I will tell you what God said once to his disobedient people,” said
Cousin Mate, softly: “‘_Ye have sold yourselves for nought_,’ ‘_Ye
shall be redeemed without money_.’ You know _how_ He ‘redeemed’ them,
Bell, and Who it is that ‘was wounded for _our_ transgressions.’”



  And Enoch walked with God and he _was_ not; for God took him.

Miss Cox, Sue’s Sabbath School teacher, was absent, and Miss Marvin,
Bell’s cousin, heard the class. Bell was in it, and Nettie Rand, Jenny
King, Sarah Ellis, Dick Vance, Robert Rand, Varney Lowe, and Will
Carter,—five girls and four boys. The lesson was on Elijah, and the
boys were exceedingly interested in speculations about the chariot of
fire, its probable appearance, and did Miss Marvin think Enoch had a
chariot too?

“It seems the writer of Enoch’s memoir thought that of very little
importance; at least, he said nothing about it,” rejoined Miss Marvin,
smiling. “But then he only used fifty-three words any way; and yet how
much we seem to know about Enoch. Did you ever think of it?”

“Memoirs are awfully stupid; most always there’s three volumes,” said
Varney Lowe.

“Paul wrote the second volume of Enoch’s,” said Miss Marvin. “You will
find it in Hebrews, eleventh chapter, fifth verse. But there are only
thirty-two words in that.”

“It doesn’t say much in Genesis,” said Jenny King, who had opened her
Bible, “only how long he lived and that Methuselah was his son.”

“And that God took him,” added Sarah Ellis, who had opened her Bible

“One other and best thing of all, twice repeated,—don’t you see it?”
asked Miss Marvin.

“Oh, yes; that ‘he walked with God’; but I never could understand
really what it meant.”

“What is the first thing necessary when two people walk together?”

“To keep step,” answered Will Carter, who was captain of the “Young

“And to do that they must be agreed, mustn’t they? have one common
impulse, do the same thing.”

“But we _can’t_ do what God does,” said Sarah Ellis, in a tone of

“Can’t we? What does God do?”

“Why, he makes everything and keeps making it beautiful, and takes care
of everything and everybody.”

“And isn’t that what he wants us to do? to help beautify this world
of his, just the little bit right around us, helping ourselves and
others up into better things as fast and as far as we can? I think that
was what Enoch did. What else is necessary for people to walk happily

“They must like the same things,” said Dick, “or they won’t have
anything to talk about.”

“Very true: Enoch must have loved what God loved, and so should we. God
loves truth and holiness, everything pure and noble and good, and he
hates sin. What next?”

“They must love each other,” suggested Sue.

“Yes, indeed; two will never walk together long unless they love one
another. God loves everybody, and Enoch must have loved God or he
couldn’t have walked with him. God said to those who refused to walk
in his ways, ‘_All day long have I stretched forth my hand, but no
man regardeth_.’ That reminds me of what I saw coming to church this
morning. A gentleman was walking across the fields, with a dear little
yellow-haired boy beside him, who tried his best to take as long steps
as his father.”

“I most know it was Tod,” whispered Sue.

“You all know the stepping-stones across the marsh where the mud is so
black,” continued Miss Marvin. “The stones are some ways apart, and the
little fellow drew back doubtfully; but after a while, taking hold of
his father’s hand, he began jumping from one to the other. Perhaps you
remember a little stream of water trickles between the last two stones,
and there he stopped again. His father smiled, and held out his other
hand, and without waiting a second the boy seized hold of it and sprang
across, straight into his father’s arms. I saw the gentleman hold him
tightly, and give him half a dozen kisses before he set him down. He
was so glad, you see, to have his little son trust him so entirely.
Now, it seems to me that is the way Enoch ‘walked with God.’ Paul says
‘he pleased God,’ and I think it was because he trusted Him, just as
that little boy did his father. God is our father, you know, strong and
wise enough to lead us.”

Tinkle, tinkle went the superintendent’s bell.

“I wish you’d hear our class next Sabbath,” said Dick. “Miss Cox never
tells us anything only what’s in the book.”

“There is more in the book than we can ever learn,” said Miss Marvin,
pleasantly. “We want to help each other find out what it means and obey
it. I’ll tell you what I will do. If you will all come to Bell’s next
Saturday night we will study the lesson together,—as many as would
like to, I mean.”

“May I come?” asked Maybee, who had stopped to wait for Sue.

“Yes, indeed, the more the better; and I’ve a pretty bit of poetry
perhaps you will like to learn. Now, good-by.”

“Don’t you think—does it seem quite fair—you know it would be so much
nicer to go up in a chariot than to be sick and die; and to think only
just two! Shouldn’t you like it better?” asked Sarah Ellis, lingering
till the others were all gone.

Miss Marvin glanced out at the open door, from which the elegant
carriage belonging to the child’s uncle, Esquire Ellis, had just driven
away, then back to the faded muslin dress and plain straw hat beside
her. Sarah’s mother was a widow, and supported herself and daughter by
doing fine sewing.

“We must remember this,” she said, slowly, looking down into the
uplifted eyes: “if we really _trust_ God he will surely lead us by the
very best way to himself; and when we are with him _up there_ it will
make little difference _how_ he took us from _down here_.”

“I must send _her_ my ‘Brown-Haired Bess’ that I’ve promised Maybee,”
said Miss Marvin to herself, as Sarah walked thoughtfully away. “I
believe the ‘hidden life’ is beginning to show in that sweet, earnest



  “They said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.” 2 Kings

    Fan, handkerchief, and gloves in waiting lay;
      She turned them gently over,—brown-haired Bess,
    Stroked each one fondly, then looked up to say,
      “There’s lilies, mamma, in your drawer, I guess.”

    Mamma smiled down upon the upturned face,
      And ’gainst the rosy cheek she softly laid
    A letter. “Oh! they made it in the place
      Where violets blossom,” said the little maid.

    All out of sight and sound played noisy Fred;
      Came in, so happy, when the sun went down.
    “Out in the field you’ve been,” his mother said,
      “Among the clover and the grass, new-mown.”

    “How could you tell? Oh! I know,” laughed the boy,
      “I’ve caught the sweet, and brought it all away;
    Just so, you said, I’d bring a pain or joy,
      As with the bad or good I chose to play.

    “And in my lesson on the apostles bold,
      It said, ‘They’d been with Jesus.’ Did it mean
    They brought away the pleasant things he told,
      And showed to other men what they had seen?”

    So brown-haired Bess, trying the livelong day,
      To be obedient, patient, loving, true,
    Serving the Master in her child-like way,
      Can show as plainly as the violets blue

    The fragrance of a life “hid evermore
      With God, in Christ.” Lord, humbly we implore
    Thy Spirit on each little child may rest,
      And make them, one and all, forever blest!



  “But God _is_ the judge; he putteth down one, and setteth up

A hard, driving, northeast storm. No hope of its breaking away at
noon; no getting out with water-proof and rubbers, even; no Sabbath
School,—“nothing but a great, long, dull, tiresome day,” Sue said,
sitting down to breakfast with a face as cloudy as the sky.

“’Thout papa preaches, and mamma sings, and we make-believe meeting
it,” rejoined Maybee, inclined to find a bright side.

Around the breakfast-table on Sabbath mornings, everybody at Mr.
Sherman’s was expected to recite a text of Scripture, and that morning
it happened papa and Maybee had chosen the same one: “_But God is the
judge; he putteth down one, and setteth up another._”

“Suppose,” said papa, “we take that for a text, and write a
sermon,—Sue, Maybee, and I; Sue, with her Concordance, shall look
out in the Bible the sort of people God ‘putteth down’ and ‘setteth
up’; and Maybee, with mamma’s help, shall find the names of some of
them. Then, when I come back from morning service, we’ll put our heads
together and make an application.”

What a short forenoon it seemed! Right after lunch they were to meet in
the library. Maybee drew a big chair behind papa’s desk for a pulpit,
and placed the chairs in rows for the pews. Then it occurred to her,
with mamma for choir, there was nobody left for congregation, and she
coaxed Bridget in from the kitchen, rather against that individual’s

First they sang the Sabbath School hymn, “Better than thrones”; then
papa prayed a short prayer, so simple Maybee could understand every
word, after which he gave out the text, and called upon Sue for her
part of the sermon. Sue had it neatly written out, and read,—


  Those that walk in pride he is      Yet setteth he the poor on high
  able to abase.                      from affliction, and maketh
                                      _him_ families like a flock.

  He casteth the wicked down to       The Lord lifteth up the meek.
  the ground.

  Thine heart was lifted up because   Humble yourselves in the sight
  of thy beauty; thou hast            of the Lord, and he shall lift
  corrupted thy wisdom by reason      you up.
  of thy brightness: I will cast
  thee to the ground.

  There are the workers of iniquity   Because he hath set his love
  fallen: they are cast down,         upon me, therefore will I
  and shall not be able to rise.      deliver him. I will set him
                                      on high, because he hath known
                                      my name.

  For the arms of the wicked          But the Lord upholdeth the
  shall be broken.                    righteous.

“Very well. Now, Maybee.”—

And Maybee counted off on her fingers, carefully using her right hand
for the good men, “Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon”; and then with
her left hand, “Pharaoh, Saul, Jeroboam,—and—and—I can’t think, but
lots of little bits of kings what wouldn’t mind him.”

“Does the text mean God always promotes the good and puts down the
wicked?” asked papa.

“Oh, it can’t,” returned Sue, “because there’s Esq. Ellis, ever so
rich, and he never goes to church; and Say Ellis’s mother is real poor,
and just as good as she can be. And you know Varney Lowe’s father has
failed, and everybody calls him good.”

“They don’t live in the Bible,—that’s why,” said Maybee. “God put all
my wicked folks right down, and let all the good ones have real nice

“How was it with poor David when he was hiding away from Saul?”

“Oh, I see!” cried Sue. “It means He will, sometime; but”—and her face
clouded again—“there’s Aunty McFane, just as patient and good; she’s
always had dreadful times, and she’s so old she can’t live a great
while longer.”

“God may not think best to ‘lift her up,’ till he takes her to
himself,” observed mamma.

“Then we can’t tell anything about it, now, as they did in the Bible.”

“Don’t you remember when we went to the review of troops,” said her
father, “we couldn’t see any order or reason in all the marching and
counter-marching; but there was the General on horse-back, with all the
whys and wherefores in his mind. We could see it a little more plainly
after we climbed that high hill, and looked right down upon them. And
so when we ‘get up higher,’ we may know more of God’s plans than we do
down here. Meanwhile, the text is to teach us, that he is the great
Commander and Judge, doing just what he pleases with his creatures. It
is for us to trust he will work out the very best plan possible.”

“I can’t just see why he lets good folks have any bad times,” said

“Once, when you and Tod were very little, you were making mud-pies in
the garden, having a splendid time; and Aunt Sue came and took Tod away
to be washed and dressed. They were all going to a picnic on Beech
Island, where he would have ever so much more fun; but the poor little
fellow couldn’t understand that, and screamed and cried all the time
they were getting him ready.”

“Getting ready’s horrid, anyway,” said Maybee.

“Oh no,” said Sue, “not if we keep thinking of what is going to be.”

“That’s it,” said papa. “And we are put into this world to ‘get ready’
for heaven. You know we must be washed in the blood of Christ and
clothed with his righteousness before we can enter that beautiful land,
and when God takes anything from us that would hinder our getting
ready, we need not mind when we think of what is ‘going to be.’ I
remember, too, how afraid Tod was that day, of the cars and boat, and
how he fretted because Uncle Thed wouldn’t let him walk instead of
carrying him over the sand and rocks. So we often grumble at things in
our lives,—things God means shall help us along faster towards heaven.
We are always wanting to try our own ways.”

“Just as I did the time Maybee was lost,” said Sue. “I think I shall
always be sure mother knows best, now.”

“And that is a long step towards trusting our Father in heaven,” said
papa pleasantly.

“Oh, oh! see the sun!” cried Maybee; “and there’s Uncle Thed and Tod
going home from church.”

“Guess my new wubber boots wasn’t afwaid of the wain,” said Tod,
running in and holding up one foot triumphantly. “We comed over the
stepping-stones, too. Oh, my! an’ the mud’s all water, now; covers ’em
most up.”

“Those stepping-stones are just a nuisance,” remarked Sue. “I wish
they’d build a nice plank walk over the marsh.”

“My don’t,” said Tod. “It’s weal fun to take tight hold of papa’s hand
and let him step you wight along.”

Uncle Thed lifted Tod on his knee.

“Were you having a meeting here, and isn’t it through?” he asked.

“We were just seeing how far we’d got to heaven; I mean, how was the
best way,” said Maybee. “And Sue was so frightened when Tod and me was
lost, she won’t never do so again. That’s a step, you know.”

“Dick an’ me isn’t never going to say ‘By funder’ no more, neither,”
said Tod complacently.

“Isn’t Dick just as different as can be?” said Sue. “Only think, mamma,
if you hadn’t gone into Aunty McFane’s that day—”

“Oh, yes,” put in Maybee, “I’m going always to b’lieve God takes care
of everybody when they ask him.”

“And how little squirrels ought to mind their masters, and boys too, my
guesses,” added Tod, reminded of Aunty McFane’s story.

“Dick told Miss Marvin the other Sabbath,” said Sue, “that he wished
everybody knew what a good master God was. Will Carter laughed, and
coming home he asked Dick how many prayers he said a day. I know Dick
was real angry, he turned so red and then white, and he didn’t speak
for ever so long. Then he asked Will if he didn’t like to ask his
father for things he wanted, and why one need to be any more ashamed of
praying. Say Ellis said she wished she could walk with God the way Miss
Marvin said it meant. Do you believe children can?”

“Why not?” said Mr. Sherman, “if they do as Tod does about the
stepping-stones,—take fast hold of God’s hand and let him lead them.”

“And then they’ll be like ‘Brown-Haired Bess,’ and folks’ll know
they’re ’quainted with Jesus,” said Maybee.

“Guess they’d better have their own papa,” put in Tod. “Ain’t any use
to ask th’ other folks.”

“Exactly,” said Maybee’s papa. “Now let’s sing ‘Nearer, my God, to
thee,’ and dismiss our meeting.”

While they were putting back the chairs Maybee told her mother what
Miss Marvin had said about the stepping-stones, and how it must have
been Uncle Thed and Tod, because she saw Uncle Thed hug Tod to-day
when he told about them.

“Don’t you s’pose,” said Maybee thoughtfully, “that’s why God has
stepping-stones up to heaven ’stead of a plank walk?”




  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye,
  always having all sufficiency in all _things_, may abound to
  every good work.”

Miss Cox had found a destitute family down by the Mills, and enlisted
the girls of her Sabbath School class to provide suitable clothing, in
which the children could come to church.

They were to meet at her house Saturday afternoon to sew, having, the
Sabbath before, brought what money they could to purchase material.
Bell Forbush had given a whole dollar, while poor Sarah Ellis shook her
head sorrowfully when asked for her mite.

“But you will come and sew, and that will do just as well,” said Miss
Cox, putting down twenty-five cents for Sue Sherman.

“I gave every bit of my pocket-money,” whispered Bell to Sue; “but, you
see, Cousin Mate will give me some more if I just ask her; for, don’t
you think, she’s going to stay all summer, and she has such lots of
money she’s always giving me some.”

Sue was more than half inclined to envy Bell this stroke of good luck
in the shape of a rich cousin. She quite envied her the next Saturday
afternoon. It sounded so grand for Bell to say whenever anything was
found to be lacking, “O Miss Cox! I will give that. I’ll run right over
to the store this minute.”

Buttons, trimmings, handkerchiefs, hair-ribbons, even,—“I had no idea
we should make out such complete outfits, and so pretty,” said Miss
Cox, “and we shouldn’t but for you, Bell.”

“Bell will certainly become bankrupt if she keeps on,” said Jenny King.

“Not while she has a rich cousin to go to,” said Nettie Rand, in her
provoking way.

Bell colored, but had the readiness to say frankly, “that’s the secret
of it. Cousin Mate wants me to be benevolent, and has promised to find
all the money I need.”

“Great way of being benevolent, that is!” said Nettie, tossing her head.

“It’s doing good just the same,” rejoined Sue, standing up for her
friend, “only it must be real nice and easy to know whatever you want
is to be had just for the asking.”

Say Ellis looked up with a bright smile, but she said nothing.

“We are very much obliged to Miss Marvin and to Bell too,” remarked
Miss Cox, basting away on the last little sacque. “The younger ones
are all provided for now, but there’s an older girl. I can’t even get
a chance to speak to her yet; folks say she’s a wild, high-flyer of
a thing, with an ugly temper, and that she uses dreadful language. I
don’t know as we can do anything—”

“Oh! that Tryphosa Harte,” interrupted Nettie. “She’s perfectly horrid.
It’s that girl who stood on the steps and mimicked us, the other night,

“She’s just about your size, isn’t she?” resumed Miss Cox; “and I was
thinking, if each of you should give her something of your own,—things
you had done wearing of course, but tasty and like other people’s,
dress her up real pretty, you know,—and all take some sort of interest
in her, we might get her into Sabbath School and help her be somebody.
They say she’s uncommonly smart.”

“But, Miss Cox, she makes all manner of fun of anything good. I’ll ask
mother to give her my last summer’s sacque, but I shouldn’t dare speak
to her,” exclaimed Sue.

“I could give her one of my cambric dresses and I dare say Cousin Mate
would get her a hat, but she’s so disagreeable I never want to go near
her,” said Bell.

“It wouldn’t be a bit of use, I know,” put in Nettie Rand. “She’d only
laugh in our faces the minute we said Sabbath School to her; and I
think it’s hard work enough to ask folks to be good when they treat you
decent. I dare say father would give her a pair of shoes, but they’d
never walk into church, I’m sure of that.”

“I should call it casting pearls before swine,” laughed Jenny King.
“Please, Miss Cox, don’t set us to driving any but _little_ pigs
into Sabbath School: you can coax round them easy, but that Tryphosa
Harte,—it would take the meekness of Moses to begin with, and
the patience of Job to hold out. I know meekness and patience and
perseverance are nice things to have, but, you see, none of us has a
rich cousin to keep us supplied with that sort of pocket-money.”

Again Say Ellis looked up, with a flash of sunshine in her mild, blue
eyes, and this time she spoke:—

“I’d like—to try, Miss Cox. I never spoke to her but once, and then
she threw mud at me, but I could—try; and I’d like—to give something.
Would a pair of stockings—”

“Yes, indeed; she’ll need everything, I suppose,” said Miss Cox warmly.
“If you _would_ try, Sarah dear. I have an idea one of you would
succeed much better than I.”

“Whatever did you offer for?” asked Jenny King, as she and Sarah walked
home together. “It will be just a waste of kindness.”

“But if there’s plenty more to be had, we needn’t mind,” said Say,

Jenny stared, and then said slowly, “But I do mind having a dirty,
ragged thing like that turn up her nose at me. You just try how it
feels a few times, and—”

“But don’t you know—I was thinking—I’m sure it’s something like,”
stammered Say.

“What _are_ you getting at?” laughed Jenny good-naturedly, as they
stopped before the gate of the small cottage where Sarah lived.

“Why, you said we hadn’t any rich cousin to give us patience and
meekness, and I thought, wasn’t God a great deal better, because, you
know, it was in our Sabbath School lesson,—Whatsoever we ask, He can
give it to us. Only think,—_whatsoever_!”

“Yes, but I never thought of taking it so, really.”

“_I_ thought of it when Sue said it must be nice to know we could have
anything we wanted. You see, I couldn’t give any money, because mother
has to work so hard, and I wondered supposing I had and asked God to
make it up, if he would. And when it came to doing something, I was
sure he’d help if we all prayed. I wanted to ask the girls to, but I
didn’t quite dare.”

“Isn’t it queer,” said Jenny thoughtfully, “how afraid we are to talk
about such things to each other? Now, we asked Bell to ask her cousin
for a dozen things, and it isn’t so very different asking God, only
that he’s so great.”

“Which makes it so much the better, and he has—different things, you
know, patience, and love.”

“Oh dear! it’s such hard work to use those things, I’m afraid I don’t
want them much,” sighed Jenny; “but I’ll pray about Tryphosa. I begin
to pity her more already.”

“Going to give away your stockings!” exclaimed Tilly Ellis, Sarah’s
little sister, that night, as the latter was looking over her one small
drawer of underclothing. Neat, and whole, and enough, but very little
to spare: that told the whole story at the Ellis’s.

“Yes, Tilly; you know God wants us to do good, and he’s promised to
give us everything we need, and I think he’ll show me how I can earn
some more. I’m going to try it anyway, because if I didn’t give her
something, she wouldn’t know I really wanted to help her.”

Tilly was too sleepy to ask who “her” was; and the next thing either
of them knew, it was the Sabbath morning, and the birds were holding a
praise-meeting under their chamber-window.



  “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great _is_ thy
  faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was
  made whole from that very hour.”

All Say’s attempts the next week to make Miss Tryphosa’s acquaintance
were unsuccessful. Once a small boy directed her to the wrong street;
once a drunken man reeled against her on the narrow side-walk, and
frightened her back; another time, the door was locked. At last,
however, she gained admittance, having been vociferously welcomed at
the gate by all the younger children. Mrs. Harte set her a chair,
remarked, “Tryphosy was som’eres round,” and went back to her wash-tub.
Say did her best with “the weather,” the “health of the family,” and
“the hard times.” “Yes” and “No” was all the help she had. The room
was hot and close with steam from the “suds,” the stove smoked, the
children fingered her from top to toe, and after waiting nearly an hour
she was glad to make her escape.

“Call again. See you any time!” sounded from somewhere in mid-air as
she went down the rickety steps. She looked up, and from amongst the
woodbine which ran all over the roof of the old house recognized the
face she was in pursuit of.

“Oh, please, are you Tryphosa? Do come down! I want to see you very
much,” she said earnestly.

“Catch a weasel asleep!” “Does your mother know you’re out?” “Ain’t we
fine!” and then followed a string of oaths which made poor Say cover
her ears and hurry home as fast as she could.

She had no idea of giving it up, however.

In one corner of the yard, right amongst the thistles and bitter weeds,
she had noticed a little patch of fresh earth, where had been set a
bunch of columbine, two tiger-lilies, a scraggly rose-bush, and one
bright, pert, little pansy. On the Sabbath she asked the children
whose it was.

“Oh! that Phosy’s,” they said. “She thinks a sight of that garding.
Wasn’t she hoppin’ mad last night, ’cause pa pulled up the holly-hocks
Bill Finnegan had just bringed her!” Bill worked at the Squire’s, where
they “had posies as _was_ posies.”

Early Monday morning Say took up her one pet scarlet geranium. There
were half a dozen others, but none so full of buds, none she had so
closely watched from the first slipping. She didn’t even wait to eat
her breakfast, for fear of missing Tryphosa.

“Here, let alone! What you after now?” called out the same coarse
voice, from up in the woodbine, as Say stooped over the forlorn little
flower-bed, transplanting her geranium.

“I’ve brought something for you. Come and see if you like it,” said
Say, without raising her eyes.

A rumble, tumble, thump,—and the weird, wicked-looking face was
thrust close to her own. “What’d you bring it for?”

“Because it was so pretty I wanted you to have it,” returned Say,
pressing the earth firmly around the roots.

“Don’t tell me! You’ve got an axe to grind,” said the girl, a smile
lurking around the full, red lips and dull, dark eyes in spite of her

“No, I haven’t; that is, I _do_ want something, but it’s something
you’ll like. We thought—we want ever so much that you should come to
Sabbath School.”

“I’d look well, wouldn’t I?” and Tryphosa, who had leaned over to
finger the bright, scarlet blossoms, straightened herself, and glanced
down defiantly at her ragged dress and bare feet.

“No, we’ve some real nice clothes, our very own; you’re just as big as
we, and if you’ll come——”

“Well, I ain’t a going to. ‘Betty, put the kettle on,’” and away went
Tryphosa, to reappear in a moment on the roof among the woodbine,
where she sang and shouted till Say had turned the farthest corner.

Say went to bed that night utterly discouraged, but the next morning
she was bright and hopeful as ever. Was it because she so earnestly
asked the Father to give her, out of his abundance, more patience and

Wednesday night, slipping one of her two pairs of pretty striped
balmorals into her pocket, she started slowly towards the mills again,
dreading the interview in spite of herself, and passing and repassing
the rickety old steps several times before she could make up her mind
what to say first.

“Want to see how it’s growed?” and Tryphosa suddenly bounced out of the
door, bringing up on the grass beside her flower-bed. “It’s just jolly!
but I don’t believe yer care any great shakes about my going to that
there place.”

“Oh! but I do, really; we want you to come very much, Miss Cox and all;
and we have such nice times, and we sing,” said Sarah, stepping inside
the gate.

“Well, fetch on yer clothes an’ I’ll see.”

“Oh! but couldn’t you come to my house Sunday morning? Miss Cox

“Oh, ho! ye ain’t going to give me the duds, only fix a fellow up for
the show. Much obleeged, but that don’t go down, not by a jugful!”

“No, oh! no,” began Say earnestly; “but wouldn’t you _rather_ come to
my house and let me braid your hair just like mine, you know, and have
mother fix in a ruffle and—and a ribbon?”

Something kept suggesting just the right thing to our Say.

“And see here,” she added, pulling out the balmorals, striped brown
and gray with just a thread of scarlet, “I’ve brought these because
I thought you’d like to be sure. They’re for your very own, and I’ll
bring the shoes to-morrow.”

The dull eyes fairly glistened and the rough, tanned cheeks dimpled
under the frowning eye-brows. “Well, hand ’em over. I’ll be there. No,
come to think, I was going after blackberries Sunday. You’ll have to
wait a week, unless,” and the eyes snapped maliciously, “you could come
to the factory and help awhile Saturday afternoon, so’s I could get out

The dirty old factory! But Say hesitated only a moment. “Yes, I’ll do
that if you’ll promise sure.”

“Sure it is!” and Tryphosa held out a dirty brown hand; “but you don’t
mean it; you’re only foolin’.”

Say’s mother might have to sew very hard for a living, but it was very
different from taking in washing and having a drunken husband to worse
than waste the greater part of his own and the others’ earnings. Say
was very different from the factory girls. Phosy could see that.

“But I do mean it,” said Say, shaking the soiled hand so heartily
Tryphosa actually grinned with delight.

There was a whole suit ready Saturday night. Miss Cox attended to that,
and Say was on hand in the afternoon. The girls said it was a shame
and pitied her dreadfully, but never once thought of offering to go
with her to the “horrid old mill.” And oh, how hateful Tryphosa was!
She introduced Say to the mill-girls as “Sister Sainty,” kept them in
a roar over her probable exploits in the Sabbath-School line, and held
Say in suspense with a dread of impossible accidents.

But she made her appearance, bright and early, Sabbath morning,
comparatively quite docile, submitted to be washed, shampooed, braided,
and ruffled, with a most martyr-like air, and came out from the process
not so very unlike the five other girls, among whom Say seated her,
with such a happy look in her own blue eyes. Just to see her sitting
there more than repaid the trouble.

“The faith that conquers,” said Miss Marvin, watching the two go away
from Sabbath School together, “is the faith that goes right to work,
and keeps at it.”



  “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I
  shall be whiter than snow.”

“We’re playing Injuns; that’s what ’tis,” said Tod, as his mother
opened the shed door and stepped back, exclaiming, “Well, what now?”

Jackson, the gardener, had been painting brick-work, trellises, vases,
etc., and put away his materials, red, white, and green paint, with the
brushes, on the lower shelf of the tool-room, opening out of the shed.
Tod and Maybee had discovered the treasures, and with the help of an
old feather duster had transformed themselves into quite respectable

“It’ll come off easy,” said Tod, pulling out the feathers and rubbing
his hand over both cheeks, blending the different colors into one
neutral tint, around which his yellow hair stood out like an aureola.

“Was there ever such children!” sighed Mamma Smith despairingly.
“There’s no washing it off. Do come here, Dolly, and see what _can_ be

“Oh laws! jest let me have some sperits of turpentine,” said faithful
Dolly, who had reigned in the Smith kitchen years before Tod was born.
“I’ll go get some of Jackson, and do you childern jest run round to the
kitchen. We’ll hev it fixed in no time.”

“I sha’n’t have any spurtuntine on my face,” said Maybee decidedly, as
Dolly disappeared in search of Jackson. “What’s water for, I’d like to
know, if ’tisn’t to wash in,—soap an’ water, that’s what my mamma
uses. I don’t think Dolly knows.”

“My guesses her does,” returned Tod, looking ruefully at each little
red and green finger, “but—it’s being scwubbed; my’d rather scwub his
own self.”

“She won’t spurtuntine me,” repeated Maybee, slowly following Tod, who,
to his honor be it told, never thought of going anywhere but straight
to the kitchen. “What makes you let her?”

“’Cause my mamma say her must, an’ my doesn’t want to be a forever ’n
’never Injun, does my?”

“I’d just lieves,” rejoined Maybee sullenly. “We hadn’t played scalp
’em, nor had a pow-wow, nor nothing. It’s real mean they found us so

“Only—p’raps ’twould a dried on,” said Tod, looking doubtfully at
Maybee’s tattooed cheeks and feeling of his own.

“Hurry along!” called Dolly, from the back door. “I can’t fool round
all the morning; and besides, I was jest going to fry some crullers,
an’ you know what kind of boys ’tis gets hot crullers to eat; ’tain’t
red and black ones now.”

That helped Tod wonderfully. He marched in like a Trojan, and manfully
stood all the rubbing and rinsing, with only a faint little squeal
whenever nose or ears threatened to come quite off. Maybee curled up in
a chair, her black eyes shining defiantly from out the red and green

“’Twasn’t so very bad, was it, Bub?” said Dolly, with a final sweep of
her softest towel, “and you’re as sweet and clean as a posy, letting
alone the turpentine smell. Now, lemme give my crullers a stir, an’
we’ll look after you, Miss Maybee.”

“Guess I can look after my own self,” muttered Maybee, slipping over to
the sink in Dolly’s absence, and seizing a cake of yellow soap. Two or
three whisks of the soapy hands over her face, and the black eyes shone
out from the mottled ground-work like stars in a cloudy sky.

“Oh, my gracious!” said Dolly, reappearing. “Now you’ve been and done
it! Didn’t you know ev’ry such thing only makes it wuss an’ wuss? You
couldn’t never git it off, yourself, try as long as you live. Come, I
sha’n’t hurt skersely any.”

“Feels good now,” said Tod encouragingly.

“’Tain’t more’n half off, much,” rejoined Maybee, who, like all
uncomfortable people wanted to make somebody else uncomfortable.

“Yes, ’tis,” affirmed Tod, feeling his face over.

“You don’t know; you haven’t looked in the glass,” pouted Maybee.

“Yes, my does, ’cause her said her’d get it off, an’ her never tells
lies,” answered Tod triumphantly.

“To be sure,” said Dolly, giving Tod a hug. “Come, now, it’s just as

“I sha’n’t!” persisted Maybee, backing into the farthest corner. “I
won’t be washed, so there!”

“Oh well, jest as you please,” said Dolly, gathering up her towels. “If
you’d rather look like a wild Injun, I don’t know as anybody cares.
Remember, it’s your own fault, that’s all.”

Now Dolly had forgotten and the children knew nothing about Tryphosa
Harte, sitting just inside the dining-room door. Tryphosa had come for
the clothes; her mother did Mrs. Smith’s washing, and she was waiting
for the bundle to be made ready. She had never come for the clothes
till since she began to go to Sabbath School. She liked, now, to meet
the girls of her class on the street, to get a pleasant “Good morning”
from Miss Cox or Miss Marvin, as she passed, and above all to have Say
Ellis run out, as she was sure to do, and walk a little ways down the
lane with her. By working extra at noon she could get the half hour
for her errand, and it was a great help to her mother. Tryphosa never
used to think of that, but she thought of a great many new things
now-a-days. Yesterday Miss Marvin heard the Sabbath School class, and
in her plain, simple way had told them how sin blackened and stained
the heart, and how only the blood of Jesus could make it clean again;
that nothing they could do for themselves would whiten it the least
bit: they were simply to ask God, and he would make it “white as snow.”
But people didn’t want to be clean, she said, or else they wanted to
be cleansed their own way, although God’s way was so simple. It was so
very strange everybody didn’t want God for their friend and heaven for
their home.

Hearing or caring about God or heaven was all new to Phosy, but she
thought she could love Miss Marvin’s God; she didn’t feel afraid,
as she did when Miss Cox talked about him. She would like such a
friend; she would much rather have her heart sweet and clean, like the
clover-fields, than like the filthy, dirty streets down by the mills;
but she couldn’t understand the “_how_”—the three steps Miss Marvin
called it,—wanting, asking, believing. Listening to the talk out in
the kitchen that morning, somehow it grew wonderfully plain. Wasn’t it
something like? Maybee didn’t want to be clean, or rather she wanted to
be washed her own way; and how foolish she was! Tod had trusted himself
to Dolly, and his round rosy, happy face told he had not been deceived.

Up in the little attic chamber of the old house, in the few minutes
saved from her scanty nooning, Phosy kneeled down, and with a whole
heartful of longing, said, “Dear Father in heaven, wash me, for I want
to be clean, an’ nobody else can make me.” Then she went away to the
noisy factory, happier than she ever remembered of being before.

“What’s come over Phosy Harte?” said one and another of the girls as
the days went by. “She don’t swear more’n half as much, and she goes
purring round, spry and happy as a kitten.”

They didn’t know, they wouldn’t have understood if they had, the “new
life” that had come to Phosy. They could only see what it was doing
for hand and eye and tongue. She might not always be as happy. There
were all those dreadful habits to be fought with and conquered; but a
great God had promised to help her,—one whose word never fails, and
who had laid up for her “white robes” and a “crown,”—for all those,
indeed, who are “washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb,” not
for sin-blackened souls who refuse to be made clean.



  “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that
  hateth gifts shall live.”

“Narrow escape!” said one to another as the crowd separated.

A run-away horse had dashed against the phaeton containing Mrs.
Forbush and her niece, upsetting it, and throwing both occupants out.
Fortunately their own horse remained perfectly manageable, and a few
slight bruises were all the injuries received. Miss Marvin was taken up
insensible, but soon recovered.

“Nothing worse than a shock to the nervous system. She will be out in a
day or two,” said good old Dr. Helps, who never frightened his patients
to death for the sake of a marvellous cure.

The next morning Miss Marvin’s purse was discovered to be missing.

“It was in your chatelaine pocket and must have dropped out. Of course,
with such a crowd you’ll never see it again; but then, it’s a mercy
our necks weren’t broken,” said Mrs. Forbush, consolingly. “I’m going
down street, now. Bell will wait on you. Don’t exert yourself at all,

Just after Mrs. Forbush had gone, there was a ring at the door. Bell
peeped out of the window.

“It’s only a boy—a telegram, may be. I’ll run down myself,” she said.

She was back in a moment all out of breath.

“O Cousin Mate! it’s your purse. Bennie Cargill, he found it this
morning right where you were upset. Don’t you know you asked Sunday who
that boy was up in the gallery, and—”

“Stop a minute, Bell.” Miss Marvin opened her portemonnaie. “It’s all
right; the boy hasn’t gone, has he? Run quick and give him this,”
taking out a bill, “and ask him to come and see me some day, so I can
thank him myself.”

Bell hurried down again, out of doors, into the street.

“Oh, no indeed!” said Bennie, coming back to meet her, and touching his
cap politely. “I couldn’t; my mother wouldn’t like me to take anything
for doing what I ought.”

“But my cousin sent it to you, and wants you to come and see her some

“I should like to do that ever so much; but not this, please. It would
look as if I did it for pay.”

“Well, what if you did?” said Bell, whose finer impulses, I am sorry to
own, had been deadened by vanity and selfishness.

“I would rather do it because it’s _right_ and _honest_,” said the boy
simply, at the same time putting both hands behind him as if afraid the
longing awakened by the new, crisp bank-note might prove too strong a
temptation. “I think _she_ will understand,” and he walked briskly away

“_I_ think she’s made a mistake in the bill. Ten dollars,—what an
idea! And to think he refused it,” soliloquized Bell, looking even more
longingly than Bennie had done at the bank-note. “What a lot of things
it would buy! If it was only mine,—and I don’t just see why I needn’t.
She’s given it away; of course it can’t make any difference to her who
has it now,” and upon that Bell tied the bill into one corner of her
pocket-handkerchief, and stuffed the handkerchief into the deepest
corner of her pocket.

“Had he gone far? Did you have to run? Why, how red your face is,” said
Cousin Mate when Bell reappeared. “Sit down now and tell me all about
Bennie. Was he glad of the money? Somehow I fancied from the boy’s face
that——but of course all boys like money. Will he be likely to spend
it all for nuts and candy? Because in that case I shall wish I had made
the amount less.”

“I—don’t—think—he—will,” said Bell, busily straightening the
bureau-cover. “He—he’s a very nice boy and a splendid scholar. Mr.
Blackman wanted him to fit for college, but they’re real poor; they
live up-stairs in Mr. Pratt’s house, and Mr. Bowers took him into his
store. They say he makes him work real hard. His father’s gone to sea,
or something. They aren’t exactly in our set; we never call,” concluded
Bell in her grandest manner.

“And it isn’t likely he’ll ever call on me,” said Miss Marvin, smiling,
“My imaginary hero proves to be a real flesh-and-blood boy, honest and
industrious, and willing to be paid for both,—in money rather than in
kindness and sympathy. And so endeth my adventure.”

Bell sincerely hoped so; but as it happened, the next fine day Dr.
Helps called for Miss Marvin to ride with him. It also happened that
one of the doctor’s patients detained him a long time, and that while
Miss Marvin waited, leaning back in his comfortable buggy, Bennie and
his mother passed slowly by, talking very earnestly, and never dreaming
any ears save those belonging to the doctor’s old horse were within

“Now, mother, don’t you almost wish,” Bennie was saying, “that I had
taken the ten dollars Miss Marvin offered me?”

“No, Bennie; to know my boy was both honest and honorable, doing right
without hope of reward, gives me more pleasure than a dozen visits

“But it would be such a nice rest for you, and we haven’t seen Aunt Em
for so many years, and it is _so_ pretty up in Derryford in the summer.”

“I know, Bennie, and the trip would do you a great deal of good, but we
will try to be patient a little longer. God always gives the means when
he sees the end to be best for us.”

That was all Miss Marvin heard.

“I am afraid the shock was more serious than we realized the other
day,” remarked the doctor, as he unfastened his horse; “or have I
tired you all out keeping you waiting in this hot sun?”

Miss Marvin tried to smile and assure him there was nothing the matter.
She couldn’t tell him of the ache way down in her heart to think her
little Bell had deceived her again.

And Bell’s mother! Oh, how shocked she was, and astonished and
mortified! She couldn’t believe it; and when Bell herself confessed it,
and produced the identical bill, it almost broke her heart. Her only
daughter guilty of anything so mean and low and wicked!

Did she forget how, in all the years since God gave that daughter to
her, she had never prayed beside her pillow, had never talked with
her about the all-seeing Eye looking down into our very hearts? that
instead she had taught her, by example as well as precept, to consider
this world “all and in all”?

When the temptation came, strong and unexpected, what was there to
keep the child from yielding? To get is the world’s maxim, to give is
God’s. Poor little Bell had learned only the first; she grasped eagerly
at what seemed good, and found only sorrow and shame.

“It is so pretty up in Derryford in the summer!” Miss Marvin knew that;
she had spent three months there once upon a time, and now she took a
fancy to try a few weeks at the old-fashioned farm-house again. But
she wanted somebody for company, and a nice boy to drive her around
the country. Why weren’t Bennie and his mother the very ones? Bennie
was looking pale, and his mother too. Was it true Mrs. Cargill had a
sister in that very place? Then her plan was certainly the right one.
Miss Marvin certainly made it seem as if she was getting as well as
receiving a favor.

“And now,” cried Bennie, when she had called the second time and
concluded all the arrangements, “it has come, means and all. So much
better than the ten dollars could be!”



  “And he answered, Fear not; for they that _be_ with us _are_
  more than they that _be_ with them.”

Papa and Mamma Sherman, Uncle Thed and Aunt Sue were going to the beach
for a day, and wouldn’t be home until very late. Tod was to stay with
Maybee, and Sue had the privilege of asking anybody she pleased for
company. Bell was sick, so she chose Jenny King and Say Ellis. Bridget
attended to dinner and was then allowed the afternoon out. Getting
tea was all the best of it to the children. They put every available
piece of silver on the table, even to the coffee-urn; they didn’t
feel obliged to eat bread-and-butter for manners, but began and ended
with cake and crullers,—Dolly’s crullers, which she had sent over by
Tod “with her compliments.” Tod said he guessed that meant the sugar
outside, “’cause her didn’t always have it on,”—not a bad definition
of compliments in general.

When supper was ready, Tod wanted to say grace as papa did.

“You don’t know how,” said Sue.

“Yes, my does”; and Tod, folding his hands, said very slowly and

“O Lord, for pity’s sake. Amen.”

Nobody laughed, he looked so serious; only Sue began, “I told you——”

“Don’t,” whispered Say. “He meant it all right, and I guess God

While they were eating, a rough-looking man came up to the open door
and asked for a drink of water. Tod jumped up at once and handed him
his own little silver mug.

“What a nice boy!” said the tramp. “Wouldn’t he give a poor fellow a
bit of cake, now?”

Maybee hastened to pass the cake-basket, with all the politeness

“My papa’s gone to the beach,” said Tod, trying to be sociable.

“Be back pretty soon?” asked the man.

“Not ’fore ten or ’leven. It’s a great long wide; and Bwidget is goned,

“Got any dog?” asked the tramp, emptying the cake-basket, much to
Maybee’s discomfiture.

“No; my hasn’t got any dog, ’cept Buff, and her’s a cat. An’ we can’t
say ‘Have some more,’ ’cause you’s eat it all up. Guess you forgot my
cup; mos’ put it in your pocket, didn’t you? S’pose you must go now.
Call again, thank you.”

“Wasn’t he horrid?” said Sue. “I don’t believe you ought to have talked
to him at all.”

“Guess my has to be polite; guess my mamma makes me politerest to poor
folks,” said Tod.

“How he did look at things! S’pose he thought it was pretty nice,” said
Maybee, tossing head very much like Bell Forbush.

“Well, he’s gone, and I’m thankful,” said Sue. “We won’t do the dishes
because we might break something, and Bridget ought to be here pretty
soon. I’ll lock up the silver in the side-board and keep the key till
she comes. Don’t you think, the last time mother let her go, she stayed
till the next day; but of course she won’t to-night.”

But ‘of course’ she did. Eight—nine—ten o’clock. The children shut
the doors and lighted the lamps. Tod began to look sleepy and the older
girls a little anxious. They tried to while away the time telling
stories, and of course recalled all the horrible things they had ever
heard. Each little heart gave a great thump when a loud rap sounded on
the side door.

“It’s only me,” said a whining voice. “You’re such nice children,
you’ll let a poor fellow in to stay all night, I know.”

“Why, it’s my man,” said Tod, wide awake. “Course, he’s got to stay
somewheres nights.”

“But mother says, never open the door after dark, till we know who’s
there. I’ll tell him what mother does,” and raising her voice, Sue
called out, “You must go to Miss Pratt’s boarding house on Walnut
Street. That’s where folks stay.”

“But we ain’t got any money. Just open the door an’ give us a few
cents, can’t ye?”

“We mustn’t open the door,” gasped Jenny, “for don’t you know, when
they get in they murder folks and everything.”

Tod gave a howl, and disappeared under the sofa.

“You sha’n’t come in—never!” screamed Maybee, stamping her foot.

“Open the door, or we’ll break it down,” was the gruff reply, whereat
Maybee vanished under the table as rapidly as Tod had done.

The door began to be violently shaken. With a thoughtfulness quite
beyond her years Sue put out the lights, and grasping the keys of the
side-board tightly in one hand and Tod in the other, she led the way
softly up stairs.

Looking out in the moonlight they could see three men go away from the
door and begin to try the different windows.

“Oh! they’re _so_ big, and there’s only us. They’ll come in and get
everything, and kill us, just as sure. Oh! what shall we do? What shall
we do?” and Sue, her courage suddenly giving way, dropped on the floor,
sobbing and crying as if her heart would break.

“No, no! Don’t you remember,” said Say, her own lips ashy white, “the
side God is on is the strongest, always. He can’t be with those bad,
wicked men, and if he’s with us, we’re a great many the most.”

“I was real bad last week, but I’ve been forgived,” sobbed Maybee.

“My sweared a little swear yes’day, but my didn’t mean to; my said
‘Good Gwacious!’” moaned Tod.

“God doesn’t love us because we’re good,” said Say softly. “You know
we’re all just as bad as can be.”

“I ain’t neither,” said Maybee stoutly. “I ain’t half so wicked as
Tryphosa Harte.”

“Oh, but didn’t you know,” whispered Say, shivering as the back door
rattled noisily, “Tryphosa is trying to be a Christian.”

“I guess I’m bad ’nough, and I’m real sorry,” said Maybee, quite
subdued by another shake of the side door.

“Do you think God—is really close to, near enough to help us?” asked
Sue earnestly. “You ask him, Say; you’re so much better than I.”

They kneeled down in a row beside the bed. Outside, three desperate men
had succeeded in partly raising a window. A little more, and it would
admit them. Miles away, papa and Uncle Thed were driving leisurely
along, never dreaming Bridget had left their dear ones unprotected save
by the Eye that never sleeps.

What was there to prevent a deed of blood, as dreadful as those we read
of almost every day?

What but God’s angels, if so be they were around those helpless little
ones, as they were around the prophet Elisha in olden time,—invisible
but strong.

Farmer Trafton had that day been to Weltford market, ten miles away;
had been belated in disposing of his load, and was slowly jogging
home with his stout hired man beside him. The tramps, swearing at the
unmanageable window, drew back in the shadow to wait till the team had
passed. But just opposite the gate, one of the lynch-pins broke.

“Well now,” said Farmer Trafton, “here’s a pretty go—at this time of
night; all honest folks abed and asleep. How’ll we fix it, Jake? Have
to step in and borrow a bit of Sherman’s wood-pile, sha’n’t we? Hillo!
here, what’s to pay?”

Three men were running swiftly away down the garden and through the

“God didn’t send his angels,” said Maybee, when at last she nestled
safely in papa’s strong arms, “but that dear old Mr. Trafton was just
as good, wasn’t he?”

“Betterer,” said Tod sleepily, “’cause we was ’quainted with him, an’
he told us such nice stowies, an’ a hymn; my’s going to learn it.”



  “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are
  possible with God.”

    “Make me a butterfly, papa,” said little Bell,
      “His wings all gold and scarlet, trimmed with diamond dust.”
    “I could not if I tried; the how I cannot tell,”
      Smiled papa. “But,” said little Bell, “Somebody must.”

    “My little rose-tree has forgotten its spring dress.
      It’s so queer how they change their winter cloak of snow!
    Please fix mine over, green and pink, like all the rest.
      You can’t? O papa! Why? _Somebody_ does, you know.”

    “My birdie died; they had it stuffed; you’d never know
      But what it was alive. The trouble is,—ah me!
    They quite forgot to put the music in, although
      My papa says they can’t. But _Somebody_ did, you see.”

    Bell’s papa was so strong and wise she never dreamed
      Of danger when he held her; even in the gale,
    When the brave captain said, “We’re lost; there is no hope,”
      And through the storm and darkness rose a fearful wail.

    She nestled closer in his arms, “Mamma, don’t cry!
      Papa can take us home all safe to Baby Will.”
    “My darling, only _One_,” her father made reply,
      “Can say to winds and storm-tossed ocean, ‘Peace! be still.’”

    Safe in her own dear home she knelt, our happy Bell,
      Saying, “I’m glad there’s Somebody up in heaven above,
    Who’s stronger than papa.” Said mamma, “That is well,
      But better still, my darling, to know his name is Love.

    “He it is, who careth for the sparrows when they fall,
      He, who clotheth field and forest, dell and leafy dome;
    He who heareth little children, and, the best of all,
      Safely leadeth those who love him to his heavenly home.”



  “But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of
  Israel with all his heart; for he departed not from the sins of
  Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.”

Maybee stood by the window with a very sober face. There wasn’t much
to see so early in the morning; only the street, a few passers-by, and
over the hills, a spiral of white smoke where the cars were hurrying
away towards the great city, carrying mamma and Sue with them. How
long it would be till night! And mamma had said when she kissed her
good-by, “I want Maybee to do exactly as Aunt Cynthia tells her, all
the whole time. If she gets tired of play, there’s her garden to weed,
the play-room to put in order, and that last seam to sew.”

Now, Aunt Cynthia didn’t like children; she didn’t “like anything much,
except patch-work,” Maybee said, “an’ she must be made of patch-work,
’cause she always had stitches in her back when she was real cross.”
Maybee would never sew patch-work for fear it would make scowls over
her eyes, like Aunt Cynthia’s; so mamma had taught her to sew on soft,
white under-garments for herself and her dollies. That “last seam” was
in a night-dress for Lauretta Luella.

“I’ll sew it right straight up. That’ll please my mamma awfully,”
thought Maybee.

“Ma-b-e-l!” called Aunt Cynthia from up-stairs. “Come here, this
minute, and slick up your bureau-drawers.”

“I’m busy,” said Maybee, threading her needle.

“Never mind; come right along. What would your mother say to things
being tumbled in this way?”

She would say “Put them in order,” Maybee knew. She _had_ said “Mind
Aunt Cynthia.” But Maybee felt more like sewing her seam, and mamma
told her to do that, didn’t she? So the little girl sat still, and
Miss Cynthia, after calling several times, arranged the drawers herself.

[Illustration: “I’ll sew it right straight up.” p 134]

“And now, Mabel,” she said, coming into the parlor with the inevitable
big basket of patch-work, “you can sew very neatly, and I want you to
help me a little while.”

“I can’t,” said Maybee shortly; “mamma wants me to do this.”

Aunt Cynthia could have told Maybee that her mother wanted that
particular red-and-white bed-quilt a great deal the most; for the
Ladies’ Sewing Society, of which Mrs. Sherman was president, were about
sending a barrel to some poor, needy home missionaries, and she wanted
the quilt to put in. But Aunt Cynthia only shut her thin lips tightly
together, and sewed away as fast as she could. Maybee finished her
seam, folded her work up neatly, and laid it where mamma would see it
the first thing.

“Now I’ll weed my garden. Aunt Cynthia, will you please put on my thick

“You’re not going one step out of doors; so that matter’s settled,”
said Aunt Cynthia.

Now, mamma would have explained that black, watery clouds had spread
over the blue sky since sun-rise, and a thick, white fog crept up over
the hills and meadows, making it very imprudent for a little girl,
threatened with croup the night before, to go out, even with thick
shoes on. Aunt Cynthia didn’t believe in telling children all the whys.
She insisted on the good, old-fashioned obedience, that never asked
questions; and I’m not sure but it _is_ better than all questions and
no obedience, which is so much the fashion now-a-days.

“She’s cross, and I’m going out anyway,” said Maybee, trying to forget
what mamma said about minding. “That garden _must_ be weeded, and if
she won’t put my boots on I shall go without them.”

She worked busily till noon, the dampness steadily penetrating the thin
slippers and light muslin dress.

“It’s a mercy if you haven’t killed yourself,” said her aunt, who,
buried in her beloved patch-work, had actually forgotten the child.
“Now I must make you a bowl of hot ginger tea,” she continued, forcing
Maybee to lie down on the lounge, and covering her over with half a
dozen blankets, “and you mustn’t stir one foot out of this room again
to-day. Mind, now.”

But Maybee had set her heart on putting the play-room in order.
Mamma never liked such a looking place right off the front hall; so
when Aunt Cynthia started down street, after more calicoes, Maybee
slipped up-stairs, all in a perspiration as she was, and arranged and
re-arranged, swept and dusted the neglected room, sorted out Lauretta
Luella’s scattered ward-robe, and washed her three china tea-sets,
quite unmindful of the cool draught through the hall.

That night mamma found a tired, fretful, little girl, waiting by the
window, with hot, feverish hands, aching head, and smarting throat.

“A very naughty girl!” Aunt Cynthia said severely, “who hadn’t minded
in one single thing.”

“But, mamma, I tried to please you, I did really,” said the hoarse
little voice. “I worked so hard! There’s the play-room and the garden—”

“Yes, dear, they both look very nicely. You deserve the ticket papa
promised when the weeds were all gone, as well as the one you was to
have when Luella’s dress was finished. But, Maybee, think a moment. Did
you do it really to please _me_ or to please _yourself_? Have you been
mamma’s good, obedient little Maybee to-day?”

“It’s nicer _doing things_ than ’tis minding,” said Maybee, hanging her

Sue looked up from the parcel she was untying: “There, mother, that’s
just it. I’ve tried, you know, ever since that night we were so
frightened, to do things to please God; but it’s—it’s the _minding_ I
don’t like.”

“The natural heart loves to do great things,” said Mrs. Sherman,
drawing her eldest daughter closer to her; “it is only the ‘new heart’
that _loves_ to _mind_ God.”



  “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this
  generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the
  preaching of Jonas, and behold a greater than Jonas is here.”

Miss Cox was out of town, and Miss Marvin had the Sabbath School
class. The children liked Miss Cox, but thought nobody could equal
Miss Marvin. “Miss Cox gave them good dinners enough,” Dick said, “but
somehow, Miss Marvin made them taste better.” Dick was trying hard to
make up for lost time, and to get the mastery over his mischievous
propensities. He wasn’t trying in his own strength, either. That
first time he asked for and found a Helping Hand wasn’t the last; and
since Aunty McFane told Miss Marvin about Dick, that lady had taken
especial pains to cultivate his acquaintance, chatting with him on all
occasions, and sympathizing in his little trials and failures, till
the two had become firm friends. That may have been one reason why Will
Carter was a bit jealous of Dick; that, and the way he was rising in
favor with Mr. Blackman.

The greatest change, however, was in Tryphosa Harte. You would scarcely
have believed the quiet, happy face at the end of the seat was the
same, Say had seen peering so disagreeably over the roof of the old
house. The sour, ugly mouth was almost always smiling now; the fierce,
scowling eyes were full of eager desire; the loud, coarse voice low
and gentle, and her whole bearing so subdued and yet so thoroughly in
earnest it was a comfort to look at her.

“Why, I really like Tryphosa,” said Jenny King, walking home one day
beside Miss Marvin; “she is as different as can be. Don’t it seem
queer, rather, she should become a Christian right away, and Sue
Sherman and Nettie Rand and me, who’ve been talked to all our lives and
know exactly what we ought to do, never get a bit nearer, as I see?”

“It’s the old story over and over, away back to the Jews and
Ninevites,” said Miss Marvin, smiling rather sadly.

“The Jews and Ninevites?” repeated Jenny inquiringly.

“Yes; you remember, don’t you, that when God sent his servant Jonah
to reprove the people of Nineveh they repented at once, and prayed to
God for help; but when God sent his own Son to the Jews, his chosen
people, who had been ‘talked to’ all their lives by his prophets and
his providences, and who ‘knew exactly what they ought to do’ when the
promised Messiah came, they refused to listen, they didn’t want to
believe; and ‘publicans and harlots went into the kingdom’ before them.”

“But, Miss Marvin,” began Jenny hesitatingly, “don’t you think such
folks—like Tryphosa, she was so dreadfully wicked—ought—I mean, need
it more than—than—”

“Good people, like you and me, who never do anything selfish or unkind
or hateful,” said Miss Marvin, smiling. “Perhaps; only the apostle
Paul, one of the best men I ever heard of,—a brave, upright, moral
man, before he became a Christian,—called himself the “chief of
sinners”; and if—”

Turning a corner they came suddenly upon a group of boys,—Tom
Lawrence, who had just been taunting Dick with some of his old scrapes,
and Dick, who, in a blaze of passion, had been uttering oath after oath.

“There’s your model Sabbath-School scholar!” Will Carter had sneeringly

Miss Marvin appeared to have heard nothing of all this; she spoke to
them all pleasantly. Dick slunk hurriedly away; Tom disappeared no less
rapidly, followed by the others boys of his set; Say Ellis called to
Jenny from across the street, and Will Carter was left to walk along
with Miss Marvin.

Almost before he knew it, he was talking over all his many plans and
hopes for the future. To fit thoroughly for college, to graduate “A No.
1,” work himself into an “up-stairs lawyer,” to make rousing speeches
that would carry everything before them, possibly to step from the
Legislature into Congress: that was Will’s ambition.

“And a worthy one,” said Miss Marvin encouragingly. “It will fill this
life full of work and happiness. Now, what are you doing for the next,
the life that is to last always?”

The boy drew himself up stiffly. “I do the best I know how, and that’s
all anybody can,” he answered proudly. “_I_ don’t pretend to great
things and make a fizzle of it, as _some_ boys do.”

“The best you know how,” repeated Miss Marvin. “Well, do you know as
much as you ought?”

Will reddened. “I—I don’t quite understand.”

“I mean this, Will. Suppose God were to ask you to-day that same
question—Do you know as much as you ought?—Couldn’t Dick Vance rise
up in judgment against you,—you, a deacon’s son, whose father has
prayed for you every night and morning since you saw the light, has
shown you by example what a Christian’s joy and hope is, and urged you
every day to make it your own? Dick, as you know, has never been in
Sabbath School until very recently; had, before that, scarcely heard
a word at home about another life; and yet, unless I am very much
mistaken, Dick will go home to-night and repent bitterly of the sin
into which he fell just now, while Will Carter, who flung his failure
in his face, will rest satisfied he is doing the best he knows how.”

There was no reply, and Miss Marvin, stopping at Mrs. Forbush’s gate,
said simply, “Please think it over, Will. I believe Dick is trying
every day to learn of Him ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge.’ Be sure, Will, it is not true of you, as God
said of the Laodiceans, ‘Thou knowest not thou art miserable and poor
and blind,’ for not until you see your _need_ of the wisdom from above
will you seek help of One ‘mighty to save,’ and who will let no one who
trusts him ‘make a fizzle of it.’”



  “——and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”

One voice, then a dozen, the cry taken up and swelled into a deafening
clamor by half a hundred boys just let loose from school; then the
clang of bells, quick, imperative, not startling people from their
midnight dreams, but checking them mid-way in the daily rush of toil
and pleasure.

Uncle Thed, taking an early dinner to catch the train, left his fork
sticking straight up in a mouthful of meat, and dashed away to his
shop. Farmer Vance clapped his hat on his head, and then flew round and
round the house to find it. Old Mrs. Pratt threw her silver spoons into
the sink, and locked up her dish-pan in the china-closet.

Ding! ding! ding!

“It’s the factory,” cried somebody.

“The factory where Phosy Harte works,” echoed a group of girls huddled,
with white faces, into Say Ellis’s yard.

“Lucky it’s just noon; all the hands will be out. The old thing will go
like tinder,” said the crowd surging past.

But they were not all out. In the upper story Phosy was busily at work,
making up the odd minutes taken for her walk. Half a dozen of the other
girls had gathered round her, hats in hand, laughing, talking, not
catching the faintest sound from below, not even noticing the smell of
smoke which had emptied the other rooms in half the usual time. Nobody
thought to warn them in the selfish scramble for safety. When at last
they opened the door to go down, a dense, black column of smoke met
them, and through it, enticed by the little draught from the door, came
a sharp, pointed tongue of fire, up, up, wrapping the old stairway
in a sheet of flame, and cutting off all chance of escape in that
direction. They ran to the windows.

“Ladders!” shouted the crowd. But alas! not one was long enough to
reach them.

“Splice it!” “Bring ropes!” “No, mattresses!” “Carpets!” “They must

Men jostled each other in mad haste for they knew not what.

“Jump! It’s your only chance!”

One after another the frightened girls flung themselves down, one to
be caught safely in the strong arms of a stalwart fireman, another
reaching the ground with simply a sprained ankle, still another with a
broken arm; while a fourth, falling beyond the mattress, was taken up
bruised and bleeding, but alive, and life is dear at any cost.

Only Phosy Harte and Judy Ryan were left,—Judy a poor, deformed girl,
half crippled, who would not, dared not jump, and Phosy, waiting,
coaxing, beseeching.

“It will be too late.”

There are soft mattresses and strong carpets below. Phosy begs, almost
pushes the poor girl out, and she reaches the ground safely; but flame
and smoke have driven Phosy back.

“The other window!” shouts the crowd, and half-blinded she springs over
the low sill just as a fireman, who has succeeded in finding a long
ladder, is raising it in place; she strikes it heavily, and drops limp
and lifeless.

They lift her tenderly. One faint moan, a gasp,—that is all.

Back to the old house they carry her, past the little garden she had
risen so early that very morning to weed, into the low room, with its
close, sudsy, smoky atmosphere, which she will never brighten more.

“And nobody’ll never know the comfort an’ help she’s ben to me these
last few months,” said the poor, over-worked mother, wringing her hands
helplessly. “I ain’t been to none of yer meetin’s for years, but if
it’s them what made her so handy an’ happy-like I’d be glad to try it
meself. She’s asked me enough, the Lord knows, an’ I allers meant to go
sometime, jest to please her. Oh! I’ll never forgit how she’s prayed
nights with them childern—”

There four little voices took up the wail of grief, and more than one
rough fireman drew his sleeve hurriedly across his eyes.

“She is through with all suffering,” said good old Dr. Helps, who had
been working busily over the poor, crushed body.

“It’s a blessed thing for the child,” said Deacon Carter, as they
walked away, “but it’s a strange Providence that took the one bit of
leaven out of that miserable batch of humanity.”

Upon the pine coffin, the girls in Miss Cox’s class laid a wreath
of beautiful hot-house flowers; but all over the lid, and inside,
around the pale face and over the white robe, were fresh, fragrant
pond-lilies, their subtile perfume filling the room. No one knew who
scattered them there, only as Miss Marvin laid one tenderly between
the waxen fingers, Bill Finnegan said huskily, “Thank’ee, ma’am; she
liked ’em best of anything.”

The next Sabbath and the next, in the empty seat where Phosy had always
sat, lay a bunch of the same pure, lovely lilies. Nobody knew how they
came there, but their sweet breath seemed like pleasant memories of
her who had gone. The fourth Sabbath an awkward, ungainly figure, in
coarse homespun, shuffled down the aisle and stopped beside the row of
neatly-dressed boys. Dick moved a little nearer to Varley, and motioned
the new-comer to sit down.

“I—it’s Bill Finnegan, ma’am, an’ he’ll not be gettin’ in the way,” he
stammered, as Miss Marvin left her seat to speak with him. “You see,
_she_ was allus askin’ me to come, but I didn’t think so much about it,
then. I’d like, bein’ as this was her class, if you don’t mind. I’ll do
the best I can; she was forever talkin’ about the things she heard tell
of here, an’ ef I could learn, I’m thinkin’ it won’t harm a feller.”

Up-stairs, in the pew nearest the door, sat Mrs. Harte in the faded
black bonnet which had done her service when her husband’s mother died
years before, when “Daniel” was sober and industrious,—sat, with the
tears running down her cheeks, getting, as she phrased it, “a fill of
the good things Phosy talked so much about, to stand her through the
long, lonesome week.”

And not many days afterwards there came to Dr. Helps’ door—for the
doctor’s genial, sympathizing heart was known far and wide—a great,
rough man, with blood-shotten eyes and haggard face.

“I want to sign the pledge, if so be you think it’s any use,” he
said. “I’m only old Dan Harte, that ev’rybody gin up long ago, except
_her_,—Tryphosy. _She_ kep’ talkin’ an’ talkin’ in sech a lovin’ way,
an’ only the Sunday afore, when she went away to meetin’ she kissed
me. I was sober for a wonder, an’ sez she, ‘Father, if the Bible is
true, what will you do when you come to die?’ I can’t git them words
out of my ears, an’ you see I know there must be a something, to so
kind of change Tryphosy from the fiery, hifalutin thing she was, to the
purty-spoken, quiet, happy little cretur she got to be. And I thought
mabbee, seein’ I’d quit drinkin’ ag’in an’ ag’in, an’ couldn’t never
hold out, if there was anything in this ere religion Phosy got hold of,
to help a feller, it’s Dan Harte what wants it.”

Good old Dr. Helps! not content to send away this weak fellow-mortal
with a chapter of good advice, and some harmless tonic from his
medicine-case, but who could and did kneel down beside him then and
there, with a faith strong enough to hold up even this wreck of
humanity for the Divine healing. Surely of him shall it be true,
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will

And down in a dirty alley-way, between two tenement houses, Judy Ryan
was teaching half a dozen ragged urchins a hymn Phosy used always to
be singing about the mill. She had caught it at the prayer-meeting;
and somehow plain, homely Boylston had suited her even better than
the livelier Sabbath-School melodies. In her quaint fashion she had
explained the words to Judy, and now, through her, was she not yet
speaking to the poor, neglected souls in Pinch Alley? Wasn’t the
“little leaven” working still?



  “If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou
  forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever.”

    “My son, know thou the Lord,
       Thy father’s God obey;
     Seek his protecting care by night,
       His guardian hand by day.

     Call while he may be found,
       Seek him while he is near;
     Serve him with all thy heart and mind,
       And worship him with fear.

     If thou wilt seek his face,
       His ear will hear thy cry;
     Then shalt thou find his mercy sure,
       His grace forever nigh.

     But if thou leave thy God,
       Nor choose the path to heaven,
     Then shalt thou perish in thy sins,
       And never be forgiven.”



  “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”

Maybee waked up out of sorts. Nothing went right. Her berries were
sour, her fritters “wrinkly,” her egg-toast “smushy.”

After breakfast she went out to play, and in half an hour had contrived
to break one of Sue’s croquet-mallets, lose Tod’s ball, left by mistake
in her pocket, and upset the board on which Bridget was drying sweet
corn. She came in, hot and tired, and crosser than ever.

“Untie my bonnet, quick!” was the first thing mamma heard.

“How do little girls ask?” she inquired.

“I don’t care! I want it off, quick; it’s hot, and Bridget tied it so
hard I’m most choked.”

“Well, say ‘Please,’ and mamma will try to make her little girl more

“Oh dear! I always have to do something horrid. I’ll untie it my own
self,” whined Maybee, tugging at the strings of her big shaker till she
had drawn them into the tightest of hard knots; then she picked and
twisted and pulled, but the depraved sun-bonnet only screwed around
against her nose, or tilted up till it really threatened to strangle
her. So at last she sat still on the hassock, her elbows on her knees,
her chin in her hands, tears and perspiration making grimy furrows over
her cheeks, the poor shaker bent into a triangle, from the apex of
which looked out two defiant black eyes.

“When Maybee says ‘Please,’ mamma will help her.”

But Maybee wouldn’t say Please, and the little bent shaker wandered
off to the play-room. She was never tired of “keeping house”; but—in
a sun-bonnet! Oh dear! She tried to “make believe” it was a cap like
old Mrs. Pratt’s, but all the same, it would be dreadfully in the way.
When she wanted to look for anything, she must turn way around; she
couldn’t “cuddle up” Loretta Luella the least bit; she couldn’t play go
to parties, and as for going to bed, there would be nothing to do but
lie flat on her back and stare at the ceiling.

She ran hopefully down stairs when the dinner-bell rang, sure that
mamma would relent; for how could she ever manage to find her wee mouth
inside that big bonnet?

“Say ‘Please,’” said mamma.

Maybee shook her head and clambered sulkily into her high chair.

“What’s this,—a small butcher wagon? Bless me! if there isn’t somebody
inside!” said papa taking the shaker between his two hands and tipping
it back till he could see the grimy little face. “Isn’t it time the
colt had its blinders off, mamma?”

“When she will say ‘Please,’” said mamma pleasantly.

“Oh! _that’s_ the way the wind blows,” and papa, after asking a
blessing, began carving the nice roast.

Jenny King had come home with Sue, and try as hard as they could, the
triangular sun-bonnet, bobbing this way and that, was too much for
their gravity. They all laughed at last, which sent Maybee off in high
dudgeon, although she had scarcely eaten a mouthful. There was to be
chocolate blanc-mange for dessert: she really must have some of that,
and slipping into the kitchen she began coaxing Bridget to untie the

“Shure, an’ it’s beyant me,” said Bridget, after two or three
ineffectual efforts. “It’s too big an’ clumsy me fingers are intirely.”

So Maybee stole back into the parlor, curled up on the sofa, and
listened to the cheerful rattle of dishes and hum of voices, growing,
oh! so dreadfully hungry.

By and by she saw Jenny and Sue go off with their baskets. After
berries, to be sure, and she might have gone with them.

A little later mamma came in with her sewing.

“Won’t Maybee say ‘Please’ now, and have on a clean dress?”

But Maybee only sat still, and looked straight out of the window.

It _was_ trying when callers were announced that the poor little shaker
must trudge disconsolately up-stairs again. But it would be tea-time
pretty soon. Wouldn’t mamma let her dear little girl have any supper?
Why, she would certainly starve to death before morning. Didn’t it
make folks sick to starve to death? and wouldn’t they have to have the
doctor? Then how would mamma feel? If she should die—but no; Maybee
would rather not think about that, herself. None but good people went
to heaven, and good people said “Please,” she supposed. _She_ didn’t
want to. She hated “Please.” And—why hadn’t she thought before? she
could just go and get the scissors, and cut that knot right straight
off. Mamma’s work-basket was in the sewing-room. Armed with the big
shears, one little fat hand grasping each handle, she climbed up to the
bureau-glass, carefully put them astride the troublesome knot, and
gave a quick snip.

Something sharp went into her chin, something warm trickled down her
neck. Had she cut her throat? That always “bleeded folks to death.” She
gasped a little, sat down on the floor, and began mopping up the stream
of warm blood with a pillow-sham. She felt weak and tired, but she
couldn’t lie down, for there was the knot tight as ever.

“Sue! Sue!” she called faintly, as somebody ran past the door.

“I can’t stop; Jennie and I are going home with Bell,” answered Sue,
half way down the stairs.

But somebody must help her.

“Bridget, O Bridget! do come up here a minute,” she called softly down
the back stairs.

“An’ shure, it’s not I that’ll be laving me work to look after the
likes of ye,” muttered Bridget, heated and tired with her ironing.

What should she do? She crept slowly down the stairs and through the
back entry, the big pillow-sham stuffed into the front of the shaker,
and quite concealing the tall clothes-bars of freshly-ironed linen
Bridget had just set out to air. Over they came, completely covering

“Mamma! mamma! O my mamma!” she screamed. “Oh-h! please, my dear mamma!
_please!_ PLEASE! ’fore I’m deaded over an’ over.”

That call wasn’t in vain. Strong arms picked her tenderly up; soft,
skilful fingers untied the hateful knot, and bathed the poor, aching
face; loving lips kissed away the tears.

“Oh, but it’s been such a horrid day!” whispered Maybee to papa, when
supper had been eaten and it was time to say good-night.

“Dear me! How did it happen?” said papa.

“I happened it myself,” returned Maybee soberly. “Folks most always do,
don’t they?”

“Exactly,” said papa. “The trouble that comes of sin we mostly put
ourselves into.”

“An’ what does peoples do who haven’t any mammas to pull ’em out?”
inquired Maybee anxiously.

“Whom did Maybee grieve besides mother, to-day?”

“God,” she answered solemnly.

“And only God can help us out of sin. Even mamma cannot keep Maybee
from being just so naughty again, but God can. Remember that, little
one, and ask him to-night to make you always his own good little girl.”



  “Because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but
  transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of
  the Lord commanded.”

“What _is_ the matter?” inquired Maybee, coming suddenly upon Tod,
sitting on the door-step, with one fist screwed into either eye, and
big, round tears dropping off the end of his nose.

“My new knife, it’s all losed!” and Tod buried half his face in a small
square of Centennial cotton.

“Oh me suz! an’ I’ve lost your ball,” returned Maybee consolingly.
“There’s never a shower ’thout it rains, my papa says,” which misquoted
proverb Tod proceeded to illustrate with a fresh burst of grief.

“You see,” continued Maybee, “Sue said I mustn’t fire it that way,
because it would go in the tall grass. I shouldn’t never thought of it
if she hadn’t, and now papa won’t let me go and get it.”

“My hasn’t got anyfing,” wailed Tod, behind his handkerchief.

“It’ll be in the hay if the cows don’t eat it,” said Maybee cheerily.
“Where’d you lose your knife?”

“Over in the marsh; it sinked, you know.”

“How came you playing down there?”

“Wented myself.”

“Who said you might?”

“Nobody,” very faintly.

“Oh!” said Maybee significantly, “naughty boys always lose their knives
or something; but never mind, let’s go an’ see Aunty McFane and little

“Can’t,” said Tod dejectedly.

“Why not?”

“Can’t go frough the gate for one, two, three days; mamma said so.”

“What for?”

“’Cause—’cause—my runned away.”

“Well,” with a long-drawn breath, “let’s go on the front pizarro and
play steam-boat; only—you’d better have a clean apron on. Such awful
patched pants, an’ that jacket! Why, you’re ever so much the biggest!”

“Can’t help it,” said Tod sulkily. “Can’t have no other clothes on for
the greatest long while.”

“Well, if I sha’n’t give it up! What for?”

“’Cause—’cause I played with the grindstone in my best jacket.”

“The-od-o-re Smith! Aunty’s told you over and over again she’d punish
you if you did.”

“My knows it,” said Tod meekly: “an’ my mamma’s so pur-sistent; might
have finked she would.”

“Of course. What a goose! Well, then, let’s go in the shed and play

“Isn’t any fings there. Mamma’s locked ’em all up, ’cause my kep’
forgetting—no, cause my didn’t want to put ’em away when she said it
was time”; and Tod stared straight up at the blue sky overhead.

“I hate ‘becauses,’” said Maybee emphatically,—“_that_ kind, anyhow. I
just had miserable times, my own self, all yesterday.”

“’Cause why?” asked Tod, with alacrity.

“_Be_cause my strings all knotted up tight—no; ’twasn’t, neither; I
just wouldn’t say ‘Please,’ and the ‘becauses’ kept happening right
along,—horrid, all of ’em. There’s always one with things you ought to
do and don’t want to, and things you want awfully to do and mustn’t.
They’re tied right tight on, too. And then there’s a nice kind, when
you get a ticket because you’ve sewed your seam, or something. I wish
they’d made ’em all like that.”

“Are you sure which is the best kind?” asked aunty, coming out on the
stoop, and sitting down between them. “What did papa snip the baby’s
hands for, this morning, Tod?”

“Oh! ’cause her _will_ put her fingers in the sugar-blowl,” returned
Tod contemptuously.

“Was that a good or bad ‘because’?”

“Why, my s’poses her don’t like to be snipped; but you know if we
’lowed her to touch fings, her might burn her on the teapot, an’
spill the gwavy, an’ every-fing; ’sides it isn’t polite, an’ we must
learn her to behave,” concluded Tod, with an air of superior wisdom.

“That is just it,” said mamma, drawing the little reasoner into her
lap. “We all need to learn a great many things that we should not if
there were no ‘becauses.’ God lets the bad ‘becauses’ _happen_, as
Maybee says, to teach us how to be better, or to keep us from something
that would harm us. Let me tell you a little story all in rhyme, and
then we’ll see if we can’t happen the ‘good becauses,’ by doing just
what God wants us to.”



  “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at
  all acquit the wicked.”

    Our Fred, the merriest boy ever seen,
      Was now in disgrace. We were all so sad.
    But saddest of all was his mother, I ween,
      The dearest mamma a boy ever had.

    She had argued, entreated, commanded in vain.
      Poor, foolish Fred still refused to obey.
    Poor, foolish Fred! who would sadly complain
      To do without mamma one single whole day.

    So strong and so loving, so wise and so good,
      So ready to help, so patient to bear,—
    Could any one do what his dear mamma could?
      Or take of her boy such fond watch and care?

    She waited and waited, but Fred only grew
      More sullen and stubborn; then, with a tear,
    She said, oh! so slowly, “It never will do
      To leave him unpunished, tho’ never so dear.”

    The verdict was given,—at home to remain
      That day of all days, the Fourth of July.
    And mother, whose lips framed the sentence so stern,
      Grieved more than we all, her boy to deny.

    Patient to wait, strong and loving to help,
      But firm against wrong,—he’ll thank her, someday,—
    The mother, who, seeing the gain through the pain,
      With punishment barred Sin’s broad, tempting way.

    And so our Father in Heaven doth wait,
      Lovingly, patiently; once and again
    Calling us back from the broad, gilded gate
      Which leads down to death, through sorrow and shame.

    His love, strong and tender to help and to bless,
      Though stern and unyielding, is love no less
    When it bars the way with punishment sore,
      Than when it waits at the Open Door.




  “Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being
  astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”

Farmer Vance and his wife were taking tea at Mr. Sherman’s. Mrs. Vance
and Mrs. Sherman were old schoolmates, and always exchanged yearly

The two gentlemen had talked over the coming election, specie payment,
business prospects, and came finally to the Centennial.

Did Mr. Vance think of going? Well, he didn’t know; should like to well
enough. Fact was, he’d been unfortunate about his help all summer,—had
them off and on; couldn’t think of going unless he found some reliable
man to look after things. By the way, did Mr. Sherman know of anybody
who wanted to hire out for the rest of the season?

Yes; Mr. Sherman was sure he knew of just the man, or at least a man
who needed just such a place. He had been employing him for a few
weeks, and could vouch for his willingness and ability. It was Dan
Harte, living in that little old house on the corner—

“Dan Harte!” echoed Mr. Vance, laying down his knife and fork.

“Yes, Dan Harte,” repeated Mr. Sherman, reaching for another biscuit;
“and a better gardener I wouldn’t ask for.”

“How many sprees has he had in the time?”

“Not one.”

“You’re joking now. Why, I know Dan. He worked for me, years ago. As
you say, he was willing and competent, but he _would_ have his times.
He was soaked through and through with whiskey then, and he has been
going down hill ever since.”

“But you see, he has turned square around and is going up now.”

“Oh, sho! he’s done that time and again. You remember the temperance
flurry we had three years ago? I helped the thing along then, mostly on
account of such fellows as Dan. Don’t believe in so much fuss myself,
although I don’t make a practice of using the stuff. But, as I was
saying, Dan signed the pledge. Wasn’t the least bit of use; he was
dead drunk in less than a week. I wouldn’t give that,”—snapping his
fingers,—“for all his promises and pledges.”

“I confess I should have little faith myself were it not that now he
has an Endorser whose word never fails,” rejoined Mr. Sherman, quietly.

Mr. Vance looked his surprise, and politely waited for his host to

“I do not say he will _not_ fall again,” resumed Mr. Sherman, “but I
_do_ say that so long as he keeps his trust where it is now, on the
Divine arm, he will stand firm. Dr. Helps called my attention to his
case first. He said he believed the man had become a Christian, and
he was anxious to get him employment out of doors, away from those low
groggeries around the mills. I could quite easily create a supply for
the evident demand, and am not sorry I did. One can’t do a better thing
than to extend a helping hand to a fallen brother.”

“Oh, of course, of course; but my word for it, he’ll give in to his
appetite again, sooner or later. It’s in the nature of things. I
haven’t your faith in this church business. Haven’t been inside one
myself for twenty years, to say the least; never brought up my boy
to, either. Folks all prophesied he’d go to destruction, but I ain’t
ashamed to stand him alongside of Carter’s boy, to-day.”

Mr. Sherman lifted his eyebrows slightly.

What but the very church influences the father despised had checked the
boy in his downward career and led him up to better things?

“Dick is very steady at church,” he remarked.

“Yes, oh, yes! he and his mother have taken to it of late. I let them
have their own way; that’s my creed—every man as he thinks—liberal,
you see. Freedom is what our forefathers came over here for.”

“Freedom to worship God,” amended Mr. Sherman, quietly. “I believe in
that liberality. If a man will truly worship God after the dictates
of an enlightened conscience, I won’t quarrel about his creed. But I
want him to let the true light shine on his conscience, not merely the
flickering flame of reason or science.”

“Can’t all see alike; don’t believe in any of it myself,” rejoined Mr.
Vance, pushing back from the table. “Come, let’s have a look at Dan. If
I thought it would last long enough to pay, I’d really like to hire the

Some six weeks later Mr. Sherman met the farmer on the street, and
stopped to inquire after his new workman.

“It beats all!” said Mr. Vance. “The man’s in earnest this time, and no
mistake. Does seem as if he’d hit the right tack at last, and I can’t
help believing he’s going to hold out, in spite of myself. Anyhow, wife
and I are going to start for the Centennial next week, leaving Dan
monarch of all he surveys. Now, I’d like to ask if you really pretend
it’s his religion makes all the difference? for he _is_ different from
what he’s ever been before; there’s no denying that.”

“I do most sincerely believe it is wholly by faith in a helping Saviour
that man is to-day clothed and in his right mind,” rejoined Mr.
Sherman, earnestly.

“Well, I never saw anything just like it,” said Mr. Vance, preparing
to move on. “It astonishes me every time I look at him. I may come to
church myself some day just to inquire into the thing. Be some staring,
wouldn’t there? Plenty of room I suppose?”

“Room and a welcome and a blessing, I trust, for ‘whosoever will,’”
said Mr. Sherman shaking his friend’s hand heartily. “Come, and get on
the ‘right tack,’ yourself.”

“Well, look out for me next Sunday, then. I’ve more than half made up
my mind there’s something in it, after all. Nobody can deny it has
worked a wonderful change in Dan Harte,” and Mr. Vance walked hastily



  “And we declare unto you glad tidings.”

There was to be a Sabbath School concert, quite an elaborate one, and
both girls and boys were interested to make it a success.

“What do you mean by ‘success’?” asked Miss Marvin of her class who
were eagerly discussing the parts assigned them.

“Oh! get lots of people here and have ’em say it’s grand—tip-top,”
said Varney Lowe.

“To go ahead of all the other churches,” said Bell Forbush.

“Not to have one single failure,” added Nettie Rand.

Miss Marvin shook her head smilingly.

“Real success means more than that,” she said. “You are going to tell
once more the ‘old, old story.’ There will be people here not so
familiar with it as you and I may be. Which will you aim to have them
remember,—the manner or the matter?”

The girls looked doubtfully at each other, but the closing exercises
prevented further remark. The class, however, remained after school to
decide when and where to meet for rehearsals.

“You must all come to my home every other night,” said Bell decidedly.

“I’m afraid—perhaps—I thought Miss Marvin didn’t approve,” suggested

“Indeed I do; you cannot take too much pains to speak clearly and
correctly. Shall I explain what I did mean? Suppose you make a feast
for your friends, and they pronounce it the best they ever ate. At the
same time, you find a poor man starving close by your door. You may
give him never so little, but you feed him tenderly, and save his life.
Which will give you the most satisfaction,—the thought of that, or the
praises of your friends?”

“That, of course,” said Varney Lowe. “It’s so splendid to save
anybody’s life. Heroes always do.”

“Well, you are preparing for your friends a feast of good things from
God’s storehouse of truth. You cannot serve it too royally or arrange
it too attractively; but remember, there will be souls here, starving,
absolutely dying,—although they may not believe it themselves,—for
the bread of life. Would it not be the truest success to feed one such
soul with the crumb you are each to bring?”

“Nobody ever notices _what_ we say,” interrupted Bell, rather

“There are two things I wish you would do this week,” continued Miss
Marvin, without noticing the interruption; “one is, to invite your
parents to come——”

“I most think father will, this time,” put in Dick, his face all aglow.

Mr. Vance had been to church for several Sabbaths.

“Of course we shall ask them, we always do,” said Nettie Rand.

“And will you also ask your Heavenly Father to be here and help
you to speak the words so plainly and earnestly as to make
them stepping-stones by which somebody shall get nearer to
Himself,—somebody perhaps, who has not even started heavenward?”

Will Carter shrugged his shoulders, and turned away. There was only one
faint “Yes’m.”

“Can you tell me,” said Miss Marvin pleasantly, “why this is more
strange or difficult to do than the other? Remember, if we really
_want_ that best kind of success, and ask God for it, we shall surely
have it.”

Maybee and her dearest girl-friend, Nanny Carter, stood close by
waiting, as usual, for Sue. Nanny was busily talking:—

“You haven’t seen my new bronze boots, an’ there’s my beautiful
brown an’ gold stockings; won’t they look _el_-egant up there on the
platform? and aren’t you glad we’re all to dress in white? Shall you
wear a brown sash? it’s _so_ fashionable, and which _do_ you think’ll
look best for me, pink or red flowers?”

“I don’t know,” said Maybee absently. “But isn’t it queer—about the
stepping-stones, and helping folks? Don’t you wish we could?”

“Could what?” asked Nanny, who hadn’t heard a single word.

“Why, our verses,—make ’em stones, you know, to help folks along. Just
s’pose, now, everybody’s verse was a really, truly stone, how thick
they’d be, and p’raps lots more folks would go to heaven. I mean to ask

“Ask—who—what? You’re dreadfully poky to-day. I shall go and walk
with Will,” said Nanny; and for once Maybee did not coax her back, she
was so busy thinking.

She kept thinking, too, all the week. Never did she learn a piece so
thoroughly, or take more pains to recite it loud and distinctly.

“It can’t help anybody ’thout they can hear it, course,” she said
when Sue praised her. “An’ please don’t put on my bib-collar with
the crinkly lace be-cause I can’t help thinking ’bout it—it’s so
lov-er-ly, you know; an’ I want to think ’bout the folks who don’t love
God. I’ve asked Him to make my verses help ’em. Have you?”

“Oh, dear, no! I forget all about it only when Miss Marvin is talking,”
said Sue sorrowfully.

“I s’pose that’s why there isn’t more stepping-stones to help folks up
to heaven,—’cause other folks forget, don’t you? But you might ask Him
now before we go, you know.”

So they knelt down together, and two earnest little prayers went up
into God’s great, loving ear.

Even talkative Nanny felt the influence of Maybee’s quiet, happy face,
as the classes took their respective seats, and listened attentively
while the superintendent read a chapter and the pastor prayed.

Then the school sang the hymn beginning,—

    “Our joyful notes we gladly raise,
     To Him whose name we love.”

After which the superintendent announced the subject of the concert by
reading the following anecdote.



  “And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”



“A blind man sat before the door of his hut and read in his Bible. He
did not read with his eyes, but with his fingers. With his fingers?
Exactly so. Blind people have an unusually keen sense of feeling, so
that books have been printed for these unfortunate ones with letters
which stand out from the page. In an incredibly short space of time
they learn the different forms of the letters so thoroughly that
as their fingers swiftly follow the lines, their mouths pronounce
syllables, words, and sentences. Of course this requires much toil and
much patience.

“My reader will now believe what I said, that the blind man who sat
before his hut was reading his Bible. Many people, old and young, stood
near and listened to him with amazement. A gentleman who was passing
was attracted by curiosity and reached the place just as the blind man
who was reading in Acts iv., had apparently lost his place. While he
was searching the lines with his fingers he repeated several times the
words, ‘None other name—none other name—none other name!’

“Several of the bystanders laughed at the bewilderment of the blind
man, but the strange gentleman, sunk in deep thought, left the place
at once. For several weeks the grace of God had been working in the
mind of this man, and had awakened in him the consciousness that he was
a sinner. In vain had he tried one way after another to bring peace
and rest to his heart. All his religious work, his good resolutions,
his altered life,—nothing had availed to free his conscience from so
unendurable a burden and to make his heart truly happy.

“In this frame of mind he had drawn near to the blind man, and like
the sound of solemn music these words had struck upon his ear, ‘None
other name!’ And as he reached his home and sat down to rest, the
words rang still in his soul like the sound of distant bells, ‘None
other name—none other name!’ The longer he meditated upon these
wonderful words, the brighter glimmered the light of grace in his
heart, hitherto so unquiet, so that at last he cried out in wonder and
delight, ‘Now I understand it, now I see it! I have sought my salvation
in my own works, in my prayers, in my own improvement. Now I see my
error clearly. Only Jesus can save and bless. Henceforth I will look
to Him. Beside Him there is no way of life,’ ‘for there is none other
name—none other name—none other name under heaven given among men
whereby we must be saved!’”

The moment the superintendent paused the school began singing,—

    “There is no name so sweet on earth,
       No name so sweet in heaven,—
     The name, before his wondrous birth,
       To Christ, the Saviour, given.
         We love to sing around our King,
           And hail him blessed Jesus;
         For there’s no word ear ever heard,
           So dear, so sweet as Jesus.”

And then Maybee, slowly, earnestly, and so clearly not a word was lost,
repeated the first verse of the hymn,—

    “I love to hear the story
       Which angel voices tell,
     How once the King of glory
       Came down on earth to dwell.
     I am both weak and sinful,
       But this I surely know,—
     The Lord came down to save me
       _Because He loved me so_.”

Like a low, sweet echo, the whole class of little girls began singing,—

    “Jesus loves me, this I know
     For the Bible tells me so;
     Little ones to him belong,
     They are weak, but He is strong.”

Then Maybee went on,—

    “I’m glad my blessed Saviour
       Was once a child like me,
     To show how pure and holy
       His little ones might be;

     And if I try to follow
       His footsteps here below,
     He never will forget me
       Because He loved me so.”

And the class sang again,—

    “Jesus loves me, He will stay
     Close besides me all the way,
     If I love Him, when I die
     He will take me home on high.”


    “To sing His love and mercy
       Our sweetest songs we’ll raise,
     And though we cannot see Him
       We know He hears our praise;
     For He has kindly promised
       That we shall surely go
     To sing among His angels
       Because He loves me so.”

  Class, singing:—

    “Jesus loves me, He who died
     Heaven’s gate to open wide,
     He will wash away our sin,
     Let His little child come in.”

And as the last note died away, the choir took up the sweet refrain and
softly chanted,

“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we
should be called the sons of God.”

Mr. Vance, who had listened indifferently to the prayer and reading,
leaned eagerly forward as Maybee’s clear, earnest tones fell on his
ear; but when the class took their seats, and Dick looked around
inquiringly, his father’s head was bowed on the front of the pew.
Asleep, was he? Dick thought so, with a keen pang of disappointment.

Recitation followed recitation. At the last came Sue Sherman, trembling
a little, for Sue was very timid, but with a strong hope in her heart
that God would remember her prayer.




  “But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God and an
  everlasting king.”

    I have a Friend, a precious Friend, unchanging, wise, and true,
    The chief among ten thousand. Oh, that you knew Him too!
    When all the woes that wait on me relax each feeble limb,
    I know who waits to welcome me. Have you a friend like Him?
    He comforts me, He strengthens me. How can I then repine?
    He loveth me. This faithful Friend in life and death is mine!

    I have a Father, true and fond. He cares for all my needs;
    His patience bore my faithless ways, my mad and foolish deeds.
    To me He sends sweet messages, He waiteth but to bless.
    Have you a father like to mine in such deep tenderness?
    For me a kingdom doth He keep, for me a crown is won.
    I was a rebel once: He calls the rebel child His son.

    I have a proved, unerring Guide, whose love I often grieve;
    He brings me golden promises my heart can scarce receive;
    He leadeth me, and hope and cheer doth for my path provide
    For dreary nights and days of drought. Have you so sure a guide?
    Quench not the faintest whisper that the heavenly dove may bring:
    He seeks with holy love to lure the wanderer ’neath His wing.

    I have a _home_,—a home so bright its beauties none can know;
    Its sapphire pavement and such palms none ever saw below;
    Its golden streets resound with joy; its pearly gates with praise;
    A temple standeth in the midst no human hands could raise;
    And there unfailing fountains flow, and pleasures never end.
    Who makes that home so glorious? It is my loving Friend.

    My Friend, my Father, and my Guide, and this our radiant home
    Are offered you. Turn not away! _To-day_ I pray you “_Come_.”
    My Father yearns to welcome you His heart, His house to share;
    My Friend is yours, my home is yours, my Guide will lead you there.
    Behold One altogether fair, the faithful and the true!
    He pleadeth with you for your love; He gave His life for _you_.

    Oh, leave the worthless things you seek! they perish in a day.
    Serve now the true and living God, from idols turn away.
    Watch for the Lord, who comes to reign; enter the open door;
    Give Him thine heart, thy broken heart: thou’lt ask it back no more.
    Trust Him for grace and strength and love, and all your troubles end.
    Oh, come to Jesus! and behold in Him a loving Friend.

As the school began the closing hymn, Mr. Vance took his hat and
slipped quietly out. All the evening Maybee’s words had been ringing in
his ear,—

    “The Lord came down to save me
      Because He loved me so.”

And now, as he walked slowly down the street, he found himself
repeating, “None other name, _none other name_.” Back and forth, past
the farm-house gate, he paced; then striding hastily through the garden
and orchard, he flung himself on the grass, under a clump of maples.

    “My Friend, my Father, and my Guide, and this our radiant home
     Are offered you. Turn not away! _To-day_ I pray you ‘_Come!_’”

He would settle the matter _now_. Big drops of perspiration stood on
his forehead. He heard the little gate shut. Dick had come home; he
and his mother would be anxious; but still the man sat motionless.
The proud heart was so unwilling to own he had been mistaken, that he
needed a Guide, that the “living God” had any claim upon him.

Fifteen minutes—twenty—half an hour. Mrs. Vance looked up as her
husband entered the door, her questioning eyes met his; he answered her
with a smile and the words from Sue’s hymn,—

    “I was a rebel once; He calls the rebel child His son.”

How glad Sue and Maybee will always be that they asked God to make
“stepping-stones” of their verses for somebody, and that the somebody
was Dick’s father!



  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath
  made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of

You would suppose, now, Dick would be more in earnest than ever; but
we all have to learn that when circumstances are most favorable and
pleasant is the very time Satan will contrive to lay a temptation
in our way and trip us if he can. For some time Dick had been very
regular at the prayer-meeting. The boys sneered and laughed, but Dick
had never minded, and now that his father went with him and Deacon
Carter frequently commended his perseverance, and even the minister
occasionally added a word of approval, Dick began to pride himself on
the fact.

“Remember, we go against the Lyntown Winners to-morrow night. Don’t
fail us for the world!” said Tom Lawrence to him one day. Dick was
decidedly the best player in the base-ball club.

“I must,” said Dick, “because I can’t get back in time for our meeting.”

Possibly Dick did not know how grand a tone he assumed.

“_Our_ meeting!” mimicked Tom. “S’pose they couldn’t run the thing
without his lordship. I say, Dick, it will be a shame! Carter’ll be
hopping mad.”

“I can’t help it. Carter knows nothing will take me away _that_ night!”
and Dick walked rather consequentially off, quite right in his refusal,
but entirely wrong in the spirit of it.

“Won’t, hey!” muttered Tom. “We’ll see!”

Somehow Dick did not enjoy the meeting that evening half as much as
usual. He would keep thinking about the “base-ball players,” wondering
which side had come out ahead, what kind of new uniforms the “Winners”
had, and how soon the “Catapults” could afford the same.

It was queer, after that, how many things happened on Thursday night.
All the croquet parties, the boating, fishing, riding. Perhaps Tom
could have explained the “happen,”—Tom and Will Carter.

The prayer-meetings grew duller and duller to Dick. There were only a
few there regularly, and they always said the same thing. Dea. Carter’s
prayers were dreadfully long, and the minister talked as if he never
would stop. And then the minister must go and start a young people’s
meeting on Tuesday evening. Tuesday, Thursday, and a Bible-class
Saturday nights! What was he thinking of? As if it wasn’t hard enough
to bone down to rules and walk Spanish all day long without having
every other minute full of prayer-meetings and that sort of thing.
Dick’s father, too, as if to make amends for the long, prayerless
years, had prayers twice a day. Dea. Carter only had them in the
morning. Really, it seemed as if duty was leading poor Dick a slave’s

“Be over to the Squire’s, to-morrow night I suppose?” said Tom, the
day before the annual party given by Esq. Ellis to the young people in
“peach time.”

“Yes, after meeting. I must do my sums before that. May get over in
time for the spread,” rejoined Dick somewhat dubiously.

“Pho! that won’t answer. Didn’t you know the Squire had set up half a
dozen croquet sets, and we’re to be prompt at six o’clock? The best
player has some sort of a gim-crack, and nobody stands half a chance
beside you. I told the Squire so. He’ll think you backed out. Most
likely Carter’ll come in next. Better be on hand.”

“Well, perhaps. I’ll think it over.”

And Dick thought it over,—how Dea. Phelps and Dr. Sault and Mr. Bugbee
were very seldom at the prayer-meeting; how many church-members never
came at all; how even Miss Cox stayed away for lectures and concerts.
How many of us, young and old, like Dea. Phelps and Mr. Bugbee and Miss
Cox, will find, away on in eternity, that we have helped somebody to
just such a wrong decision as Dick came to!

He was on the croquet-grounds precisely at six, and played his
best. The Squire applauded vociferously, and there was no end of
complimentary remarks, enough to turn an older head than Dick’s.

“Worst of it is, I stayed too late,” he said to Tom the next morning;
“and there’s those examples,—not a single one done. Had to help father
every blessed minute after I got up.”

“Never mind, here’s my key. Just copy ’em right out,—everybody does.
Don’t be squeamish now; just for once, you know.”

“Pity to fail, so near the end of the term,” said Will Carter. Will
would not have used a key for the world; he was very particular on such
points; but he had not the least scruple about tempting Dick to forfeit
his honor. And after a little hesitation, Dick yielded.

Once it would have seemed cute and quite the thing to deceive Mr.
Blackman; now, it made him feel mean and uneasy, especially when that
gentleman remarked, “I think you are almost sure to take the prize in
mathematics, Dick.”

But for that remark, however, I don’t believe Dick would ever have
touched the horrid old key again. As it was, Tom _would_ lay it so
“handy,” and Satan was sure to raise a doubt in Dick’s mind about the
correctness of a certain multiple or divisor. Just one glance would
determine; and so the glances multiplied and divided into a very common

“You’ll be over to base ball to-night, won’t you?” asked Tom one
Thursday morning, not long after.

“Of course he will,” remarked Will Carter passing by, “or he’ll be
turned out of the Catapults; _that’s_ sure.”

Turned out! just as they’d got their new uniforms! Of course he must go.

“And look here,” continued Tom, “didn’t you see me have a paper, my
grammar exercise, in my hand all finished, when we came over the marsh

“No, I didn’t,” said Dick. “You said you hadn’t once thought of it.”

“Oh, fudge, now! What a poor memory! Why, man, don’t you remember
seeing me lose it? slipped on the stones, you know. Come now, if you
don’t, Blackman’ll keep me in to-night, sure as pop.”

“But you wouldn’t have me tell a lie, I hope?”

“Oh, no; _we_ don’t do such things _now_, _we’re_ too good,—only when
it comes to them examples,” said Tom, forgetting the practical part of
his grammar. “But mind, now, if you don’t trump up something to get me
off—you used to be up to that sort of thing—I’ll let on to Blackman
all about that key; and then where’s your prize?”

Dick turned it over and over in his mind as he walked slowly home at

“My guesses you doesn’t know what this is,” called Tod from his
father’s steps, holding up a leathern belt with something like
shoulder-straps attached.

“No; what is it?” said Dick absently.

“It’s what my mamma used to tied me up wif, when my was vewy little, so
my wouldn’t eat gween apples and curwants an’ goo-woose-berries. Her
don’t have to, now.”

“Why not? Don’t you like ’em?”

“Yes, but my likes my mamma better-er; an’ her says th’ other fings is
weal much nicer, so my doesn’t want ’em. Here’s anover some-fing,”—Tod
was helping Jackson overhaul the tool-room. “It’s to catch fings
in; and once my mamma said, my mustn’t touch, an’ my did, and it
pinched—awful. My couldn’t get away one bit; the more my pulled, the
tighter-er it wouldn’t let go.”

“Quite a lesson for you and me in all that,” remarked Miss Marvin,
overtaking and walking along with Dick.

“Was there?”

“Yes; did you never think how full Moses’ law is, of ‘Thou shalt
not’s’? while Jesus’ commands are, _Do_ this and that ‘because you love
me.’ The Jews were like children, knowing so little about God they had
to be ‘tied up,’ as it were, with strict laws; but when Christ came,
He set His people free from rites and ceremonies, and made _love_ the
motive power. And that trap reminded me how Satan catches and holds
us,—the ‘tighter-er’ the more we try to get away, you know.”

Yes, Dick knew. He, Satan, was holding him fast now, at least Tom
Lawrence was, for him; and if he tried to get away, oh, how hard it
would pull! How did he ever come to put his hand in?

“Miss Marvin,” he broke out suddenly, “if we love God shall we like to
do everything He tells us?”

“I think so, when we love Him with all our hearts.”

“But—there’s the prayer-meetings, you know. Don’t they ever seem dull
and tiresome to you?”

“Yes,” said Miss Marvin frankly. “I think God knew His service would
sometimes conflict with our selfish and worldly hearts when He said,
‘Take my _yoke_ upon you’; a yoke, more or less _restrains_ and
compels; but almost in the same breath He added, ‘My yoke is easy.’
You and I, who once wore Satan’s yoke, know that Christ’s is easy, in
comparison, don’t we, Dick? And the more we love Him the easier it

“Yes,—I mean I did,” stammered Dick when she paused for a reply. “You
see, I used to go to meeting, at first, because I loved to, but lately
it’s been more because I _had_ to. I’ve just left the love right out,
and _that’s_ where I fell in. Miss Marvin, please excuse me. I don’t
dare wait a minute for fear it’ll pull so hard I sha’n’t get clear

He ran down the street to Mr. Blackman’s, surprised that gentleman at
dinner, made a full confession, and although with no hope of winning
the prize, went away happier than he had been for weeks.

“Got that little thing all arranged for me?” asked Tom, with a wink, as
they went up the school-house steps together.

“No, Tom. I don’t wonder you thought I could lie or do anything, but
I’m just going to begin all over again,” said Dick meekly.

“No objections, I suppose, to my telling Mr. Blackman a few things to
start with?”

“Not in the least, Tom, for I’ve told him the whole story myself. And I
don’t mean to draw, in that ‘yoke’ again right away.”



  “I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was
  opened unto me of the Lord.”

The temperance wave sweeping over the country sent a little ripple into
our quiet village of Whithaven. There were a few meetings held, a few
beer-saloons closed, a small amount of earnest, personal effort, and
then the tide of evil flowed on, stronger, if anything, than before.

“Patient, persevering effort—where is it to come from?” said Dr.
Helps, despairingly.

“From the wives and daughters,” said Miss Marvin, hopefully. “We will
pray and work in our quiet way, trusting God for the result. Poor aunty
is almost heart-broken over Warren’s disgrace. You know he was picked
up drunk on the street last week.”

So the ladies met weekly, not for discussion, but for prayer; they
reorganized the children’s “Band of Hope,” they talked temperance at
their tea-parties; and it was Miss Marvin’s suggestion that each member
of the Sabbath School should try to get one new name on their pledge a
week. Even the smallest scholar had his printed pledge with a pencil

“I shall never dare ask anybody who drinks,” said Sue Sherman.

Maybee said nothing. That some grave matter was working behind the
troubled little forehead, mamma knew very well, but she was quite
willing her little girl should solve the problem herself if she could.

The secret was this: Waiting in the post-office one day, Maybee
overheard one gentleman say to another, “So Dan Harte’s been drinking
again? How did it happen?”

“Oh, he was at work for ’Squire Ellis, had a slight ill turn, and was
dosed with liquor the first thing. To use Dan’s own words, it set him
on fire. He couldn’t eat nor sleep till he’d been down to Caffrey’s and
drank himself dead drunk.”

“All over with him now, isn’t it?”

“I don’t think so. He seems more determined than ever. But there’s no
safety for such poor fellows unless we can put the temptation quite out
of their way.”

“Which you won’t be likely to do at present. Of course the ’squire
didn’t mean any harm?”

“Oh, no! and he didn’t mean any harm to Warren Forbush, I suppose.”

“It’s a pity about him. There wasn’t a finer young man anywhere round
when he graduated last fall; talented, too.”

“Yes; and that gay new billiard-room on Pleasant Street is doing for
him exactly what Caffrey’s did for poor Harte; but, mind you, he took
his _first_ glass at the ’squire’s last New Year’s. He visits there
frequently now; the ’squire has an adopted daughter, you know. That
affair last week may open her eyes to the mischief their wines are
working. What’s the use battling against whiskey and lager beer, and
letting wine and ale alone? I believe in trying to save even the
poorest specimen of humanity, but I tell you, all the while the best
blood in our country is going to fill drunkards’ graves.”

“I’ll get ’Squire Ellis to sign my pledge,” thought Maybee, her black
eyes flashing with her new-born purpose.

But how? That was the problem.

The two families did not even exchange calls. The ’squire had some
trouble, years ago, with his brother, Say Ellis’s father, in which Mr.
Sherman had been involved.

Maybee walked around by the big store and looked in. Could she ever
speak to the big, broad-shouldered man, ordering, overseeing,
directing, with his sharp eye and quick, decided utterance?

The next night she coaxed Tod around that way.

“Suppose we go in,” she ventured.

“No, my _won’t_,” rejoined Tod, emphatically.

Evidently she need expect no help from that quarter.

“If I could meet him on the street,” she thought; but the portly
business man passed her as indifferently as he did the hand-organ on
the next corner.

Every day, for two weeks, she extended her walk past the big store on
her way to and from school. Every night after her usual prayer went up
the whispered petition, “Please, dear Father, show me how.”

At last she made a confidant of Sue.

“Mercy on me! Nobody ever could, and besides, you won’t have any

Quite crushed by this chilling response, Maybee fled to mamma.

“He’d ought to; he’s hurting folks when he don’t know it,” she sobbed.
“Won’t you or papa or some big body ask him to please stop?”

“_May be_,” said mamma, wiping away the tears, “it is this little
body’s special work, and if it is, God will provide a way. When He has
a work for us to do He always opens the door. Only be patient, and
watch and wait.”

A week or two afterwards, Tod, neat and clean as a pin, started for
papa’s shop. Esq. Ellis stood in his store door. It had been an
unusually profitable day, and the merchant was in the best of humor.

“Well, my little man, where are you bound?” he smilingly remarked, as
Tod came along.

“My isn’t _your_ little man. Her said my was, but my isn’t; and my
isn’t a beggar neither,” rejoined Tod, straightening up.

“Well, ’pon my word! if it isn’t the little fellow who wanted fifty
cents one day, and I was in such a hurry—”

“Own-y-to-ny papas stop hurwying when their little boys ask weal hard,”
persisted Tod.

The merchant’s lip quivered: there came to him so suddenly the touch of
little fingers hidden away in the grave for more than twenty years, the
sound of childish voices to which he had never answered “Nay.” He sat
down on the steps and drew Tod to him.

“I used to love little boys,” he said, huskily, “but it’s so many years
ago. Will you tell me your name, and come and dine with me some day?”

“But my shall be my own papa’s little boy.”

“Yes, yes; but you could come and see me because I haven’t any little
boys. You shall have something nice.”

“Choc’late ca’mels and ice-cweam?”

“Yes, and I’ll send the carriage for you,—let me see, to-morrow. Wait
a minute and I’ll write mamma a note.”

“Can’t Maybee come too?”

“Who is Maybee?”

“Why, don’t you know Maybee Sherman, my cousin?” asked Tod, in

“Sherman, Sherman? Oh, well! she’s only a small chip, and it is time
bygones were bygones. Yes, I’ll write Maybee’s mamma a note, too.”

Wasn’t Tod on tiptoe with expectation, and didn’t he and Maybee sit
back so straight in the grand carriage, behind the colored driver, as
almost to break their dear little necks? And how splendid everything
was,—the pictures, the fountains and flowers, the china and silver,
Mrs. Ellis in her silk and laces, Miss Georgiana with her diamond rings
and soft, slender hands.

“I wonder if I dare,” thought Maybee, her heart giving a sudden bound
as the waiter came in with the dainty tray of wine-glasses. “If you
please, Mr. ’Squire, would you—so other folks wouldn’t—’cause they
can’t help it,” she broke out earnestly, slipping her little pledge on
top of the glass her host was raising to his lips.

“What? How? Nonsense! What does such a little midget as you know about
such things?”

“Please—I _do_ know; it’s so _very_ bad. You see, they were both
drunk,—Phosy’s father and Bell Forbush’s big brother; an’ he’s so
nice; an’ you’ve only to write your name under there, and never give
anybody any more.”

If she had coupled Dan Harte with Walter Forbush! But she had said
“Phosy’s father.” The ’squire looked at his daughter. She leaned
forward, with crimsoning cheeks.

“We have wanted so much not to use it any more,” she said in a low tone.

He turned to his wife.

“I think it would be better every way,” she ventured. She would never
have dreamed of making the suggestion, knowing how hard and selfish the
worldly heart had grown, missing the touch of those baby fingers.

Walter Forbush and Dan Harte! He coupled them now in his own mind. Was
it a common weakness, and would the one ever sink as low as the other?
Suppose _his_ boys had lived—and been tempted? Even old Dan Harte was
once somebody’s boy, fair and promising.

“Take the wine away,” he said to the waiter, at the same time picking
up Maybee’s little pencil and writing his name in full under the
simple promise.

“I knew there’d be a ‘door,’ somewhere! Mamma said God could make one,”
said Maybee, joyously. “And to think you ’vited me your own self!”



  “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our
  God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”

“It’s coming up fast!”

“Work lively, boys! Do your best and you shan’t be sorry.”

How they raked—great, heaping winrows! How they tossed—huge fork-fulls,
half covering the men on the loads! How they hurried the fat, lazy
horses and slow, plodding oxen hither and thither across the fields!

Meanwhile the low muttering of the thunder grew louder and louder, and
large drops of rain came thicker and faster.

“Pitch on what you can and make for the barn,” called out farmer Vance.
“It’s no use trying for the rest, and we’ve got the heft of it. Drive
up! Steady, Joe!”

 “I reckon there’d a been some pretty tall swearing if the shower’d
come fifteen minutes sooner,” said one of the men, swinging his coat
over his shoulder and walking leisurely after.

“Vance may do a little in that line yet,” rejoined another, who was
shouldering rakes, forks, and a pile of hay-caps. “Look at that load,
will you? Just a lee-tle—there it goes!”

A stone on one side, a slight depression on the other, the unwieldy
mass swayed, toppled, and slid to the ground, carrying with it the
driver and Dan Harte, who floundered out of the drift as the rain began
to fall in torrents.

“Now look out for breakers! Take Dan and Vance together, they’ll make
it hot for Joe.”

These two had helped the farmer through more than one haying season,
and were accustomed to the passionate outbreaks of a naturally quick

 “An’ if there’s one thing more aggravatin’ than another it’s to
have a lot of hay, jest in complete order, get a right down soakin’,”
remarked the first speaker, as they hurried up to the scene of the

Joe, the driver, was staring bewilderedly around; Dan had already
seized a pitchfork; the farmer stood by the horses’ heads.

“You ought to have looked out for that low place,” he was saying.
“Where were your eyes, Joe? Never mind now, the mischief’s done.
Scrabble up, and drive on with what’s left,—no use crying for spilt
milk. We’ll pick up the pieces some other time. It’s coming, boys! Into
the barn all of you!”

The man in the shirt-sleeves looked at his companion and gave a low
whistle of astonishment.

“Beats all!” said the other; and then, as the tree-tops began to
reel in the oncoming tempest, everybody rushed for shelter. There
was ample room on the broad barn-floor. The horses quietly munched
their oats, the men disposed of themselves here and there, some
astride of milking-stools, some stretched at full length on the soft,
sweet-smelling hay, some propped up against the open door, till the
shifting wind obliged even that to be closed against the rain and hail.

“I say, Harte, tune up; give us a rouser. Haven’t heard you sing for an
age; wish you had your fiddle.”

All the frequenters of Caffrey’s groggery knew Dan’s musical powers,
which were really of no mean order, albeit for years they had served to
gratify the lowest passions of vile, half-drunken men. Many a time he
had helped the speaker make night hideous.

The man nudged Dan now, showing the neck of a small flask in his
pocket, as he whispered, “Give us a regular high one, and here’s for

Farmer Vance was busy with his horses. Dan waited a moment, a flush of
red showing through his bronzed cheek. Then in a full, clear voice, he
broke out with—

    “Ho! my comrades, see the signal
       Waving in the sky,
     Reinforcements now appearing,
       Victory is nigh!

  _Cho_:—“Hold the fort for I am coming,
            Jesus signals still.
          Wave the answer back to heaven,
            By Thy grace we will!”

Farmer Vance was the first to strike in on the chorus; he sang a
tolerably good bass. Very soon two or three of the others caught the
strain, and the barn fairly rang with the soul-inspiring words.

“I give it up,” whispered Joe Derrick to our friend of the
shirt-sleeves. “Think of Dan Harte singing psalm tunes! There must be
a something to turn him right square about so. An’ the old place, too.
Been by there lately? Looks like a garding—all the front yard does.
An’ he’s built on a shed for his wife to wash in; actu’ly has a carpet
in t’other room.”

“I suppose you an’ me could have carpets, Joe, if we’d let drink
alone,” said the other, soberly. “But what beats me is the way Vance
held in out there in the hay-field. ’Tain’t natural, ’n I can’t account
for ’t. If anybody’d a told me that man would stand there and see that
hay as good as sp’iled and never say a word—he looked kind a riled,
you could see that—I’d a risked my best hat!”

“But seein’’s believin’, and as for hearin’—Hark, now!”

Dan had struck into,

    “No surrender to the foe!
     Shout the cry where’er you go.
     Falter never! we must win,
     No surrendering to sin.
     No surrender! Let it be
     Battle cry for you and me.
     God will help us, He is near,
     He is with us, do not fear.

    “No surrender! then at last
     All our conflicts over-past,
     Glad will be our welcoming
     To the city of the King.
     Forward, then! fall into line!
     Bright the conqueror’s crown will shine.
     Storm the camp of sin and wrong,
     Sweet will be the victor’s song.”

“I ain’t sure but we’d better enlist,” said Joe, half-laughing, but
drawing his sleeve suspiciously across his eyes. “I never thought much
of psalm-singing an’ new doings; but when you see they’re good for
something—I tell you what: if Vance says anything more about our going
to church, I’m his man. I believe I’ll try a hand at that myself.”



  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they
  received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the
  Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

“Aunty McFane is real sick,” whispered Dick to Sue Sherman in the
Sabbath School class. “I stopped there this morning. The doctor says
she can’t live a great while.”

“I’m so sorry. Who is with her?” asked Sue, her face full of real

“Judy Ryan. Father has hired her to stay all the time. Isn’t it nice?”

“Splendid! Judy is so neat,—and she likes what Aunty McFane likes.”
Sue added the last in a still lower whisper.

“I know,” said Dick. “She had just been reading a chapter in the Bible
out loud, and Aunty McFane said there was a promise for every ache she
had. Isn’t it funny,” he continued, turning to Miss Marvin, “that
folks just as different as can be find exactly what they want in the

“It was provided for everybody by One who knew all hearts,” rejoined
Miss Marvin; “and the more we study it, the more wonderful it seems. I
remember reading once about a silver egg, prepared as a present to a
Saxon queen. You opened the silver by a secret spring, and there was
found a yolk of gold. You found the spring of the gold, and it flew
open and disclosed a beautiful bird. Press the wings of the bird, and
in its breast was found a crown, jewelled and radiant. And within the
crown, upheld by a spring like the rest, was a ring of diamonds which
fitted the finger of the princess. ‘So,’ said the author, ‘there is
many a promise within a promise, in the Bible, the silver around the
gold, the gold around the jewels; and too few of God’s children ever
find their way far enough among the springs to discover the crown of
His rejoicing or the ring of His covenant of peace.’”

“There are great minds who don’t believe a word of the Bible,” said
Will Carter.

“Yes; but in spite of all these great minds can do and say, men, women,
and children go on, year after year, finding comfort, happiness, and
help, as well as eternal life, in its pages.”

“Oh! it’s all well enough for poor, low, ignorant people, who haven’t
any other comfort,” rejoined Will, carelessly.

“Poor, low, ignorant people like you and me, Will,” said Miss Marvin,
quietly. “_So_ poor, we have no right to a foot of God’s great earth
nor one breath of His pure air, save as He suffers us to use it; so
ignorant, we cannot trace one step of the way back to our Father’s
house. I remember an anecdote like this:—

“‘Young Harry was sent on an errand one evening in early winter. After
giving him his message his mother said, “Be sure you take the lantern
with you, Harry.”

“‘“Bother the lantern!” answered the boy, gruffly and disrespectfully;
and he started, muttering to himself, “What do I want with a lantern?
I guess I know the way well enough!”

“‘Very soon Master Harry, in crossing the street, stumbled into a hole
which had been made by a recent rain. By this fall he knocked the flesh
from his shin-bone and covered his clothing with mud.

“‘On his way back he forgot the fence had fallen in near the edge of
the ravine. As he groped his way along the bank, he fell over, and went
sprawling to the bottom of the ravine.

“‘With much ado and after many bruisings, he got into the road once
more; but when he finally reached his mother’s door, he looked more
like a scarecrow than a living boy.

“‘The lantern would have saved him from all this: wasn’t he a foolish
fellow not to take it?

“‘But what shall be said of those boys and girls who know the Bible to
be the only lamp which can guide their feet safely through the paths
of life to their home in heaven, and yet refuse to carry it! Are they
not still more foolish?’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I remember a story something like that,” said Jenny King. “It said,—

“‘A boy was once sailing down a river in which there was a very
dangerous channel. He watched the old steersman with great interest,
and observed that whenever he came near a ball of painted wood, he
changed his course.

“‘“Why do you turn out of your way for these painted balls?” asked the

“‘The old man looked up from under his shaggy brows, too much taken up
with his task to talk, and simply growled out, “Rocks.”

“‘“Well, I would not turn out for those bits of wood,” said the boy; “I
would go right over them.”

“‘The old man replied only by a look. “Poor, foolish lad,” it said,
“how little you know about _rocks_!”’”

“Yes,” said Miss Marvin, “many a poor soul has looked at the buoys
in the Bible, pointing out some danger, and said, ‘I know better; I
shall sail right along,’ and has gone down in a sea of darkness and
desolation. Remember, too, a good sailor _studies_ his course: he is
not content with a glance at the map or chart now and then. So, my dear
boys and girls, let us _study_ God’s Word, searching in it for hidden
treasures, for only those who find its pearl of great price can ever
be truly rich or wise or happy. Sceptics and unbelievers seldom search
the Scriptures. They deny without examination and reject without trial.
Their Bibles have no ‘pins’ in them like the old lady’s, of whom I read
not long since. As her sight began to fail, she found it hard to find
her favorite verses; but she could not live without them; so what did
she do? She stuck a pin in them, one by one, and after her death they
counted one hundred and sixty-eight. When people went to see her, she
would feel over the page after her pin, and say, ‘Read here,’ or ‘Read
there’; and she knew pretty well what promise was by this pin and what
by that.”

“I think Aunty McFane knows her Bible almost by heart,” said Susy, with
a tear in her eye. “And did you ever hear her repeat that beautiful
hymn? I learned it from her one day, it was so pretty.”

“Tell it to us, please. I think there will be just time enough before
the bell rings.”



  “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the
  man Christ Jesus.”

    Weary of earth and laden with my sin,
    I look at heaven and long to enter in;
    But there no evil thing may find a home,
    And yet _I hear a voice that bids me come_.

    So vile I am, how dare I hope to stand
    In the pure glory of that holy land,—
    Before the whiteness of that throne appear?
    _Yet there are hands stretched out to draw me near._

    The while I fain would tread the heavenly way,
    Evil is ever with me day by day:
    Yet on mine ears the gracious tidings fall,—
    Repent, confess, thou shalt be loosed from all.

    It is the voice of Jesus that I hear,
    His are the hands stretched out to draw me near;
    And His the blood that can for all atone,
    And set me faultless, there, before the throne.

    ’Twas He who found me on the deathly wild,
    And made me heir of heaven, the Father’s child;
    And day by day, whereby my soul may live,
    Gives me His grace of pardon, and will give.

    Yea, thou wilt answer for me, righteous Lord!
    Thine all the merit, mine the great reward;
    Thine the sharp thorns, and mine the golden crown;
    Mine the life won, and thine the life laid down.



  “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”

“Oh, dear! I wish I had something to do,” sighed Maybee one afternoon.
“I think it’s real mean for Tod to have the measles ’fore I catched
’em too; ’cause we could have played sick all together; and now, mamma
stays over there and leaves me all alone—”

“That is just like _some_ little girls,—wanting to make their mothers
all the trouble they can,” remarked Aunt Cynthia, severely. “Get your
little chair and I’ll read you a story out of my basket.” There were
always a great many slips of paper in the “patch-work basket,” mostly
poetry, with now and then a story.

“Mamma always holds me,” pouted Maybee, dragging up her little rocker
rather reluctantly.

“Such a great big girl! I should be ashamed. I never wanted to tire
_my_ mother that way,” said Aunt Cynthia, turning over one paper after

“I don’t believe she ever wanted you to,” muttered Maybee, curling her
head down on the sofa-pillow, and preparing to listen.

Aunt Cynthia put on her glasses, cleared her throat, and began:—

“‘Ma! get me the Bible, ma! I’m going to commence to be good, for there
is a comet coming that’s going to strike the earth and burn it up!’
said little Frank one day, as he ran with great haste into the room
where his mother was sitting.

“‘There is a Bible on the table, my son,’ said his mother; ‘but who has
been talking with you about the comet?’

“‘Oh! I heard the men in the yard say so. Where shall I read? It has
opened here itself. Shall I read aloud, ma?’

“Frank answered his mother’s question, and then without waiting for his
mother to reply to what he had asked her, began to read from the book
of Malachi as follows: ‘For behold the day cometh that shall burn as
an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be as
stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of
hosts.’ Here he paused, and seemed to be reading to himself; then in a
manner more composed he said, ‘Is that about the comet, ma?’

“But his mother was prevented from replying by the entrance of her
brother, who presently, noticing Frank was reading the Bible, inquired
if he was studying his Sabbath School lesson.

“Frank replied that he was not, and added ‘I’m afraid the comet is
coming to burn the earth, uncle.’

“‘And where is Charles?’ said his uncle. ‘Is he not afraid, too?’

“‘Charles is out in the yard piling wood. I told him he’d better come
in and read the Bible, but he said pa had told us to pile the wood,
and that he remembered his last Sabbath School lesson, and could think
of that if he _wanted_ to, without reading the Bible; but I meant to
be good, so I came right in as soon as I could. And now shall I call
Charles, uncle?’

“‘Has he got the wood all piled?’

“‘I don’t know, uncle, but I don’t think he can have piled it all by
this time.’

“‘And if he comes in, who will pile the wood?’ asked his uncle.

“‘I don’t know; perhaps pa will,’ said Frank, somewhat thoughtfully.

“‘And would it be better for your father to pile the wood than for his
two little boys to do it?’ inquired his uncle.

“Frank waited awhile before he replied, and then said, in a tone of
earnest surprise, ‘Why, Uncle Thompson, do you think it is being as
good to pile wood as to read the Bible?’

“His uncle replied, ‘To pile wood when it is the proper time to pile
wood is as much an act of goodness as to read the Bible in the proper

“‘Why, uncle, I thought it was always proper to read the Bible at any
time. Isn’t it?’

“‘The truths of the Bible you should have stored in your mind,’ replied
his uncle, ‘and be always ready to act upon the precepts which it
teaches; but _duty_ can never call you two ways at the same time, so
there may be times when it is more proper to do something else than to
read the Bible. As you have the Bible before you, you may turn to the
sixth chapter of Ephesians and read me the first three verses.’

“‘I can tell without looking, uncle, for that was our last Sabbath
School lesson. It is, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for
this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother, which is the first
commandment with promise. That it ‘may be well with thee, and that
thou mayest live long on the earth.’” I said that last Sabbath to my
teacher; isn’t that right, uncle?’

“‘Yes, you have the precept in your mind; you can repeat it very
correctly. You can repeat the fifth commandment, too, can you not,

“‘Yes, sir, I can say them _all_,’ replied Frank, in a very happy tone.

“‘And what does the _fifth_ teach you to do?’

“‘To obey my father and mother. Is _that_ right, uncle?’

“‘Yes, Frank. The Old Testament and the New give you the same
instruction. Now, _when_ must you obey?’

“‘My teacher said we must obey when we hear the command.’

“‘Yes, that is the time; not like a little boy I knew of last winter,
who went into the room where his mother was sitting, with a snowball
in his hand which he was eating. His mother bade him put it into the
urn, for she was afraid it would make him sick. He kept taking bite
after bite, and at length, when asked which he loved best, the snowball
or his mother, replied, “I love my mother best, but I can’t _eat_ my
mother.” Then to please himself he dropped the small piece he had left
into the urn. He might have said he loved _himself_ the best, for we
always try to please those most that we love best.’

“‘That was _me_, uncle; I remember it,’ Frank replied. ‘And _can it
be_, uncle, that my heavenly Father is as well pleased with me when I
pile wood as when I read the Bible?’

“His uncle replied, ‘To perform any duty with the spirit of obedience
is pleasing to your heavenly Father. “To obey is better than
sacrifice,” and great knowledge of the Scripture without practising it
cannot make a Christian any more than great knowledge of geography can
make a voyager of one who never leaves his home. The supposition that
a comet is about to destroy the earth is groundless; but if you fear
God and keep His commandments, not forgetting to do your duty after you
have closed your Bible, you will be prepared for any event that may
await you. Do you understand me, Frank?’

“‘Yes, sir,’ replied Frank, smiling, ‘and I’m going to help Charles,
and to tell him what you say.’

       *       *       *       *       *

“There! isn’t that a nice story?” said Aunt Cynthia, complacently. “You
see, what God wants is for every little boy, and girl, too, to mind
their fathers and mothers. Praying and reading the Bible doesn’t do the
least mite of good unless we do all our stents without fretting, and
remember to hang up our hats, and when mother wants—”

“I don’t like morals stuck on behind,” said Maybee, with a defiant toss
of her head. “It’s a good ’nough story, an’ I’d just as lieves not hear
any more about it.”



  “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in
  power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.”

“Wasn’t it perfectly splendid?” said Bell Forbush, coming out of church.

“Did you think so?” queried Jenny King, stretching her neck for another
glimpse of Miss Georgiana’s new fall hat. “I thought it looked for all
the world like an L with a French roof, built right on to the back of
her head.”

“Oh! I meant the sermon,” said Bell, coloring, with a consciousness how
much more frequently it was bonnets than sermons she meant. “I do think
it was lovely. Don’t you, Cousin Mate?”

“‘Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things,’” returned Miss
Marvin, smiling, and dropping behind to speak with Judy Ryan.

“Do you suppose we could read the Bible to poor folks and show them how
to be real nice, as he said that beautiful young lady did?” resumed
Bell, walking along with Jenny.

“I don’t know. It’s always ‘_beautiful_ young ladies’ in books. Don’t
you remember in ‘Ministering Children’ about the ‘snow-white pony,’ and
the children all running to meet her, and the old blind women so glad
to see—hear her, I mean—”

“You know,” broke in Bell, “there’s lots of poor folks down to the

“Yes; but they wouldn’t like it, I don’t believe; we’re so small.”

“Why, I’m most as tall as my mother, Jenny King; and besides, doesn’t
Cousin Mate say the Bible can help everybody? That’s enough to convert
them, of course.”

They stopped to ask Sue Sherman to join them.

“We’ll go separately, and see who reads the most chapters to the most
folks,” said Bell.

“Does Miss Marvin approve?” asked Sue.

“Yes, indeed. She told us we ought to first,” returned Bell, enlarging
a little upon her cousin’s suggestion.

They set out promptly Monday afternoon,—Sue with some misgivings, as
Bell would not allow her to consult her mother, because no one was to
know anything about it till all the folks down at the Mills began to
come to church. Wouldn’t people be so surprised!

At the first house Bell found a big, red-faced woman, washing, with a
dozen children, more or less, rolling around on the floor. “Wouldn’t
you like to send the dear little things to Sabbath School?” inquired
Bell, in her sweetest manner.

“Faith, an’ haven’t they a church of their own, an’ a praste to look
after them, letting alone it isn’t your business at all, at all?” was
the rather indignant response.

“Perhaps you would like to hear me read a chapter in the Bible,”
persisted Bell, very graciously, at the same time drawing her light
muslin dress away from the wooden chair one of the “little dears”
pushed towards her, without the dusting process so common in stories.

“Get out wid your hiritic books, an’ you a turning up your noses at the
likes of us!” snapped the frowzle-headed woman, facing her visitor with
arms akimbo. Bell took a rather informal leave, and hurried on to the
next house. A little, meek-faced woman, who had evidently been crying,
opened the door.

“Shure, an’ I wish you’d do something to make my poor Tommy feel
aisier! The docther says he’ll die for sure,” and she broke out in
violent demonstrations of grief.

“I’m certain he’ll be glad to hear some of these beautiful verses,”
rejoined Bell, opening her Bible,—“only,” she added, as a sudden
thought struck her, “I hope it isn’t anything catching?”

“It’s some kind of a faver with a quare name. Poor little Tommy! he’ll
be so glad to see somebody.” And the mother opened the door into a
small, close, although passably clean room.

“I—I don’t believe I can stay now,” stammered Bell. “Here’s a nice
tract. I really can’t stop.” And away she went, thinking to herself,
“It may be the _yellow_ fever or something horrid, and I should
certainly catch it. Dear me! look at the children’s heads in that
large tenement house; it will be such a bedlam it’s no use to go in.
And next comes Molly Dinah’s; she’s so dreadfully dirty, I shall just
lay a tract right in at that open window.” As she did so, a coarse,
tawdrily-dressed woman looked out of the house opposite.

“Molly’s not at home. Won’t you come in and wait, dear? It’s seldom so
purty a face comes our way. An’ I should know you was a born lady just
by your walk. Do sit down, miss,” and she wiped a chair with her ragged
dress, after the most approved style.

Bell was on tiptoe at once. Here was just the opportunity.

“Would you like to hear a chapter from the Bible?”

“Sure, wouldn’t I? It’s long since the likes of me has been that lucky.
You have beautiful eyes, miss, and such a lovely complexion!”

Bell, highly gratified, selected the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm.

“How beautifully you read!” exclaimed her listener when she had
finished. “Haven’t you a bit of loose change a body could buy a sup of
tea with? What with the hard times, it’s meself hasn’t tasted tea for
months, an’ you see how the old room looks.”

“Yes, indeed,” said Bell, dignifiedly. “I was just thinking how much
better it would be if only the windows were washed and those shelves
cleared up. Your dress, too, is very ragged, and it doesn’t take money
to keep ourselves clean and neat. _I_ am not allowed to drink tea,

Presto! what a change! Bell was glad to get out of hearing.

“Is that you?” called Jenny King, from across the street. “How _do_ you
make out?”

“I’ve called at four houses,” returned Bell, evasively.

“Honor bright? Why, I’ve been reading the whole time to one real old
man. Had to holler like anything. I declare! here comes Sue with a big
pail and a mite of a boy. Where have you started for now?”

“Berrying. Want to go?” laughed Sue.

“A queer way to read the Bible,” remarked Bell, loftily.

“Well, it all seemed to go together. I found a little girl with a
sprained ankle and read her some Bible stories; one was about the
healing of Jairus’ daughter, and she cried right out and said, ‘O
mother! don’t you wish that Man would make me well? we want the berries
_so_ bad!’ and I coaxed her to tell me all about it. Some crusty old
woman has engaged to buy all the berries they will bring her every
day for two weeks, and the money is to pay their rent; but she’s
so fussy if they disappoint her one single night they’ll lose the
chance. Saturday night Abby hurt her foot, and this little chap can’t
go alone, although he’s a dabster at picking, aren’t you, Bub? To-day
and to-morrow the mother has to wash for folks; after that she can go
herself; so I’ve offered. Let’s all go and get them a lot.”

“The idea of _my_ picking berries to sell!” exclaimed Bell.

“Or to give away, either,” laughed Jenny. “Never mind, I’ll go with
Sue, and you can call at all the other houses, you get along so fast,

“I do believe that good Man sent you,” said little Abby, clapping her
hands, when Sue came back with three well-filled pails.

“I think He did,” whispered Sue, with tears in her eyes. “And you must
be all ready early in the morning, Jaky, before it is so hot.”

“And will you bring the Book and read another bit?” asked Jaky’s
mother. “I’ve never believed a word of it before, but it sounded
wonderful comfortin’ to-day with your doing and all. I’ll never say
’em nay again when they ask for the childers to go to Sabbath School.”

“It needed the berries and Bible both, didn’t it?” said Jenny,
thoughtfully, as they walked home. “How came you to think to offer? I
never should.”

Sue hesitated.

“I guess I know,” said Jenny, hurriedly. “You prayed beforehand, and I
forgot all about it. I do believe that makes all the difference in the



  “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than
  any two-edged sword.”

“I don’t think reading the Bible to folks is any sort of use,” said
Bell, coming out on the piazza where her cousin was sitting, the next
Saturday night.

“Have you been trying it?” asked Miss Marvin.

“Why, yes; last Monday I went all the whole afternoon, and I never saw
such hateful, disagreeable people in all my life,—they didn’t seem to
care the least bit; and then Sue and Jenny went off berrying—”

“I met Sue this afternoon, and she says some little boy and his mother
are coming to Sabbath School to-morrow.”

“They are? Dear me, I couldn’t get a single one to say they would
come. I don’t think the Bible is so very powerful.”

“Let me read you a bit of poetry,” said Cousin Mate, opening her book.

“Let me hear, too,” said Jenny King, coming up the path and sitting
down on the steps.

    “Thy Word, a wondrous guiding star
       On pilgrim hearts doth rise,
     Leads to their Lord, who dwells afar,
       And makes the simple, wise.

    “Thy Word, O Lord! like gentle dews
       Falls soft on hearts that pine.
     Lord, to thy garden ne’er refuse
       This heavenly balm of thine.
     Watered for Thee, let every tree
       Break forth and blossom to thy praise,
       And bear much fruit in after days.

    “Thy Word is like a flaming sword,
       A wedge that cleaveth stone;
     Keen as a fire so burns thy Word,
       And pierceth flesh and bone.
     Let it go forth o’er all the earth,
       To purify all hearts within
       And shatter all the might of sin.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with our Bible-reading,” said Bell,

“I was thinking,” said Miss Marvin, “how carefully the gardener needs
to loosen the earth around his plants to help the dew in its work; and
how, although the sword may be keen and studded with jewels, there must
be a strong, willing arm, obedient to a wise captain, before it can
accomplish its whole mission.”

“But what has it to do with us?” repeated Bell, impatiently.

“Why, can’t you see?” said Jenny. “We didn’t do our part of the work

“I should like to know why.”

“Well, for one thing, I forgot to pray,” said Jenny, hesitatingly;
“and—well, to make folks love the Bible I guess you have to show them
you love their bodies, somehow, don’t you, Miss Marvin?”

“Exactly. When God sent the apostles out to preach the gospel, He gave
them, not only the Word, but power to heal the sick and work many
miracles. They had also, what you forgot to ask for, the help of God’s
Holy Spirit.”

“But you told me your own self about a man who found just a torn page
of the Bible, and it made him a Christian,” said Bell, sulkily.

“Yes, God can make His Word accomplish what He will in any way He
pleases. But _we_ need, when we use it, the Holy Spirit, and warm,
sympathizing, helping, human hands as well.”

“I’m going to try again,” said Jenny. “I’ve been picking out some
verses for my old man, and I’ve made him a little pocket for his
spectacles; he said he was always losing them.”



  “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
  ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

“Let me read you something else, Bell, dear,” said Miss Marvin, after
Jenny had gone. “Perhaps it will show you another reason why you met
with so little success, last Monday.


“A great artist called together his friends to view a magnificent work,
on which he had been long engaged.

“‘Tell me,’ he said to the friend on whose judgment he most relied,
‘what do you think is the best point in my picture?’

“‘O brother,’ said the enraptured artist, ‘it is all beautiful; but
that chalice,—that is a perfect masterpiece, a gem!’

“Sorrowfully the artist took his brush and dashed it over the toil of
weary days, and turning to his friends, he said, ‘O brothers, if there
is anything in my piece more beautiful than the _Master’s face_ I have
sought to put there, let it be gone!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“St. Bernard once preached an eloquent sermon which all the great and
learned went away applauding; but he walked sadly home with downcast
eyes, while occasional sighs revealed a mind deeply dejected.

“The next day he preached a plain but earnest discourse, which touched
the hearts of many, but elicited no applause. That day his heart was
glad and his countenance glowing. On being questioned why he should be
sad when so applauded, and yet so cheerful when he received no praise,
he answered, ‘Yesterday I preached Bernard; to-day, Jesus Christ.’

“So we shall have most comfort ourselves in our teachings when we have
most of Christ in them; then, too, we shall do most good to the souls
of others.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Bell sat still, listlessly twirling her rings.

“My dear little cousin,” said Miss Marvin, “was it God’s glory or your
own you thought of, when you set out to draw all the people of Mill
Village into our Sabbath School? Did you want them to admire and love
yourself, or the Lord Jesus of whom you read? Was it Self or Christ you
were trying to serve?”

“You always make me out wrong! but I shan’t trouble people reading the
Bible any more,” said Bell, flinging herself into the house.

Cousin Mate resumed her book with a sigh. “Poor little Bell!” she
thought. “How much harder a master Self is than Christ! One makes us
willing servants to our fellow-men, the other makes us miserable slaves
to our own passions.”



  “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not
  unto men.”

Miss Lomy was helping Mrs. Sherman with her fall sewing. There were
three sisters who lived in the square two-story house on the hill. The
house full of old-fashioned furniture was all their father left them,
so Miss Lomy “went out” sewing, Miss Nancy “took in” work, and Dolly,
the youngest, a staid, sober woman of fifty-five, attended to the

Miss Lomy had lost all her teeth, which puckered her mouth into the
funniest little O; there were wrinkles all around her eyes,—in fact
her face was so covered with wrinkles that when she laughed, as she did
every five minutes, it made you think of the ripples chasing each other
over a lake after a handful of pebbles has been thrown in, and her two
merry blue eyes lighted them up for all the world like the sunshine.
Everybody was glad when Miss Lomy came, and nobody could decide which
flew the faster, her tongue or her needle.

“You know you promised to make my dollie a severless jacket to-day,”
said Maybee, one morning.

“Yes, dear, if I get through with this mending before your ma has that
other suit cut and basted,” returned Miss Shelomith, cheerily.

Maybee watched her needle creep in and out of the frayed edges of a
fearfully long gash.

“I tore that getting through the hedge. It’s my every-day dress though:
what makes you take such teenty-tonty stitches?”

“So it’ll look nice, to be sure.”

“Nobody’ll ever see it, because most always I wear an apron.”

“I reckon the Lord’ll know about it,” said Miss Lomy, with so much
reverence in her tone you knew there was no levity in her meaning.
Involuntarily, Maybee’s eyes went up to the ceiling, and then her wee
bit of a nose followed, disbelievingly.

“You don’t suppose God looks at such things! Of course He don’t,” she
said, slowly.

“Well, now, if He cares for the sparrows and the weeds and all such,
and numbers the very hairs of our heads, it stands to reason He’ll
notice whether little girls’ dresses are neat and whole,—which they
wouldn’t be ketched together the way some folks do their darning. I
reckon He sees all we do, big _and_ little, and it ain’t so much the
‘what’ as the ‘how’ he takes account of.”

“But, Miss Lomy, He has to see to the sun and the rain, and the ocean
full of ships, and the things growing, enough to feed everybody.”

“_To_ be sure; and that’s what’s so wonderful,—to think of His holding
the sea in the hollow of His hand, and not forgetting to show the
little ant where to find its supper.”

“But He _has_ to do that; and He don’t have to notice everything we do.”

“No, He just wants to, and that’s the most wonderful of all. Because,
you see, it’s as easy again to do things well when you are trying to
please Him. Pleasing folks is a doubtful matter: you may, and then
again, you mayn’t,—accordin’ as they’re cross or over-particular or
feeling down in the mouth; and there may be times you mean well and
don’t make out much, an’ they’ll blame you all the same. But the Lord
knows just what we try to do, and gives us credit for that. He ain’t
never out of patience neither. Then there’s another thing. Folks can’t
watch you all the whole time, and there’s a temptation to sort of slip
things over, the way we oughtn’t; but the Lord, He’s looking every
minit, there’s no getting away from His eye; and so when you’re working
to please Him, you’ll just do your best right straight along.”

It was a short sermon, so short and simple Maybee could stow it all
away in her busy little brain. Some time afterwards she went with Sue
to see Molly Dinah. Molly Dinah had happened in to Mrs. Flynn’s one day
when Sue was reading to Abby.

“I’ve most forgot all I knowed of the Bible,” she said, sorrowfully.
“You see, I can’t read a word, myself. I’m a member of the church,
though, in good an’ reg’lar standin’, if I ain’t sot down in one for
years. I ain’t lost my hope, neither, but it’s so old, sometimes I’m
most afeared it’s worn out. I wish you’d come and read to me onct in a
while, to sort of patch it up.”

So Sue went. Poor Molly! Cleanliness, like godliness, was with her a
thing of the past. Once a year, perhaps, some of her neater neighbors,
out of pity, gave her the benefit of a little lime and soap. Otherwise,
dirt and disorder reigned undisturbed. Sue longed, but did not quite
dare, to suggest a reform, although Molly listened very attentively to
her reading.

That day, however, when Sue had shut up her Bible, Maybee broke out
with, “Do you s’pose the Lord likes the way your house looks?”

“Well, whatever does the dear child mean?” said Molly, holding up both

“Why, Miss Lomy says we ought to do things to please God, ’stead of
men; so now, I don’t darst to throw in whole pods when I’m shelling
beans. You get through quicker, but you don’t feel so nice when you
shirk. Of course, if He’s looking, you want to do everything just
perzactly right.”

“Well, to be sure! I never thought of that; but I don’t really think He
sees in here much.”

“I shouldn’t think He _could_, through that window,” said Maybee,
severely; “but if He counts the hairs on our heads, don’t you s’pose
He’ll know whether our faces are clean?”

“Well, I _do_ declare! Didn’t seem as if it paid to slick up, so few
folks come in; but if I thought the Lord really minded—”

“I’ll help you wash the window,” said Sue.

What a busy time they all had for the next two hours! The sun actually
looked in and laughed before he said good-night. And at the end of the
week—for Molly was capable enough when she set out—you would scarcely
have known the place.

That Saturday afternoon it was that the minister sat in his study,
utterly discouraged. What had his year’s work amounted to? Not one
soul saved or comforted that he knew of. His eye fell upon his church
manual; he took it up and read the name, Molly D. Inan. Some one had
said that was the woman down at the Mills known as Molly Dinah. Some
one ought to have looked her up, long ago. He took his hat and went out.

“To think the minister has actu’lly come to see me!” said Molly,
drawing out her one wooden rocking-chair. “I do suppose if the church
folks had only noticed me a leetle more, I shouldn’t never have stopped
going. You see, I hadn’t thought _then_ about the Lord’s minding.
I’m proper glad I’m slicked up. You ain’t no idee how it looked, an’
I never even mistrustin’ the Lord cared, till that little Miss put
it into my head, how we should do everything to please Him instid of
folks. And it does help wonderful, to think He’s lookin’ and mindin’. I
jest scrub with a will, now.”

“You’ve cheered me up, ’mazingly,” she said, as the minister took his
leave; but he carried away more cheer than he brought. He, too, could
go to work “with a will,” remembering it was the Lord, not men, he was
seeking to please.

And the next Monday morning little Benny Cargill, when he opened the
store, swept down all the cobwebs he could reach, and brushed out all
the corners, because the minister said in his sermon, “_Whatsoever_ ye
do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men.”




  “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear
  unto myself.”

“I should like being good well enough, if we could only do it once for
all, and have it done with,” said Maybee, despairingly; “but to just
keep at it and _keep_ at it! Don’t you ever get tired, mamma?”

“How little children know about the doctrines nowadays,” remarked Aunt
Cynthia, severely. “Now, I knew them all by heart before I was old as
Maybee,—sanctification, perseverance of the saints—”

“It was sinners I meant,” said Maybee, scowling, “folks what have to
be forgived every single day. I do believe, mamma, the harder you
try the worse it is. So many things keep happening, things you don’t
like, while things you _want_ to happen, won’t; and Miss Nancy says if
anybody ever gets real good and happy, they’re most sure to die.”

Miss Nancy was very different from Miss Lomy. She had a thin, peaked
face, a mouth always drawn down at the corners, and reminded you of a
northeast drizzle as much as anything.

“I thought somebody had been talking to my little girl to make her so
blue this morning, or else that she had lost her way,” said mamma.

“Lost what, mamma?”

“What was the hymn you learned last sabbath? Wait a minute,—let’s
smooth out some of the scowls, and shake a little sunshine into these
cloudy eyes. There! that’s better. Now we’ll listen.”

Maybee laughed, and climbing into mamma’s lap despite Aunt Cynthia’s
warning “Ahem!” she began,—

    “The world looks very beautiful
       And full of joy to me:
     The sun shines out in glory
       On everything I see.
     I know I shall be happy
       While in the world I stay,
     For I will follow Jesus
               All the way.

    “I’m but a little pilgrim,
       My journey’s just begun;
     They say I shall meet sorrow
       Before my journey’s done.
     The world is full of sorrow
       And suffering, they say.
     But I will follow Jesus
               All the way.

    “Then, like a little pilgrim,
       Whatever I may meet,
     I’ll take it, joy or sorrow,
       And lay at Jesus’ feet.
     He’ll comfort me in trouble,
       He’ll wipe my tears away.
     With joy I’ll follow Jesus
               All the way.

    “Then trials cannot vex me,
       And pain I need not fear;
     For when I’m close by Jesus,
       Grief cannot come _too_ near.
     Not even death can harm me,
       When death I meet one day.
     To heaven I’ll follow Jesus
               All the way.”

“I know what you meant, now, mamma,” and Maybee jumped down, with the
discontent quite gone from her face and tone. “If we are ‘following
Jesus,’ we shan’t mind the bad things, and only be all the gladder when
He takes us up to heaven.”



  “The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have
  persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

Tod came home from school one day, his eyes red and swollen, his
clothes dusty and tumbled; with him came Maybee, fierce, angry,

“They’re such dre-eadful boys!” she sputtered,—“such mean, hateful,
wre-etched boys! I wish I could pound ’em! I wish they’d catch the
measles or lock-jaw, an’ mos’ pretty near die! I wish—”

Aunty laid one hand over the angry lips.

“Let’s wait till we feel pleasanter,” she said. “Run up to the
bath-room, both of you, and then into the nursery for a nice play with
baby. After that we’ll hear about those ‘dre-eadful’ boys.”

“It was some of those new ones and Tom Lawrence. You see, Tod
wouldn’t, and they hung him right straight up. It’s just that way
always when folks try to be good! they’ll make fun, and I wish—”

But aunty playfully drove the little talker through the hall and up the

Half an hour later two clean, happy-faced children came into the cool
back-parlor, and nestled down beside her.

“Well, what is it?” she said.

“Wam, we play marbles, you know,” began Tod.

“Big boys an’ all,” interpolated Maybee.

“Yes; and my beat ’em—”

“_Who_ beat?” asked mamma.

“My—me—no, _I_ beat ’em,” amended Tod, who was learning the
nominative case; “an’ then they wanted to play for keeps, an’ I said my
mamma wouldn’t ’low it; and they laughed real loud and teased me to put
up my new dime ’gainst Tom’s knife, you know; _and_ I said I couldn’t
’cause it was wicked, _and_ then they said ‘Pish!’ and ‘Pho!’ and
spwinkled sand in my hair, and made b’lieve pweach, and then somefin
fell out of Joe’s pocket,—I mos’ know it was Mr. Blackman’s pencil,
what he scwews out of a hole when he w’ites; but Tom said I must
pwomise to say it wasn’t if anybody asked me; an’ I couldn’t, ’cause it
would be a lie; an’ then they put a wope awound my neck and tied it up
in a twee. It scairt me some.”

“I saw ’em,” said Maybee, her eyes flashing; “but we can’t go one step
off our own side, now; and if you say a word to Mr. Blackman, he calls
you a tell-tale. I’m glad he’s going over to the ’cademy; we’ll have a
woman-teacher, and I guess she’ll ’tend to things and not be flustrated
to bits, neither.”

“But what became of my little boy?” asked aunty rather anxiously. “Did
he stick bravely to the right?”

“I wasn’t vewy bwave,—I cwied,” said Tod, carefully examining his
thumb, “‘cause they kep’ pulling; but I didn’t pwomise, an’ then the
bell wung—”

“But the minute school was out they went at it again,” broke in
Maybee, unable to wait Tod’s slower utterance. “An’ Tom followed us
coming home and told Tod to get right down on his knees and say his
prayers. It _is_ nice to pray, isn’t it, Aunt Sue? and all good folks
do, don’t they? and God tells us to, doesn’t He? But when they talk
about it so, they make you feel perzactly as if it wasn’t nice at all,
and they always will, if you are trying to be good; they’ll just poke
fun at it and make you feel awful. And then they shut Tod in Mis’
Lynch’s yard and fastened the gate. I wouldn’t let Tod go to that
school another single day.”

“_I_ would,” said aunty, stroking the downcast face beside her.

“Well, then, he’d better not say much more about being good.”

“He’d better not _say_ much about it, only when it’s necessary, but I
hope he’ll _be_ just as good as he knows how.”

“An’ be laughed at, an’ screwed round, an’ hung up?” queried Maybee,
with wide-open eyes.

“I am sorry the boys were so unkind, but it is better to bear it than
to do wrong. I don’t really think they meant to hurt you.”

“It hurts ’nough to be scairt, and poked fun at, _I_ think.”

“Yes; but whose little servants are you trying to be? Who tells you to
be brave and honest and truthful?”

“Jesus,” said Tod, softly.

“Well, once, when papa was a little boy,”—how eagerly the four little
ears listened!—“he went a long journey, away up into Vermont, with
his father and mother, Grandma Smith, you know. They missed their way
one night, and had to sleep in a log cabin, with only dry bread and
cold johnny-cake for supper. The little boy looked pretty sober; there
wasn’t much johnny-cake, and dry bread he didn’t fancy at all. Their
host, who had given them the best he had, said, possibly, by going a
quarter of a mile, he could get the boy a drink of milk. Theddy’s eyes
began to shine; but he happened to look around, and there was mamma
eating her dry bread without a drop of tea or coffee to moisten it. ‘I
can eat dry bread too, if my mamma does,’ he said, bravely, putting
away the johnny-cake, and taking the dryest crust on the plate.”

“Oh, wasn’t he nice!” cried Tod, clapping his hands.

“I mos’ know _my_ papa would have done perzactly so, only he wasn’t
there,” remarked Maybee.

“I think so, too,” said aunty. “And should not all Jesus’ little boys
and girls be willing to suffer, if He did?”

“Not—to—be—crucified?” inquired Maybee, huskily.

“Yes, if need be; but Jesus suffered many other things. The Jews used
to stone Him and tell stories about Him and call Him names; and don’t
you remember, when He was before Pilate, how they spit in His face,
and put a crown of sharp thorns on His head, and mocked Him and struck

“Boys just like Tom Lawrence, do you s’pose?”

“Yes, I suppose the men and boys then were very much like the men and
boys now; and you remember Jesus told His disciples if they persecuted
Him, they would also persecute them.”

“Well, but did they?”

“Yes; all the disciples were treated very unkindly, and most of them
put to death by those same wicked Jews.”

“Folks don’t do so now?” said Maybee, rather anxiously.

“Not in our own land; but they sometimes laugh at those who follow
Jesus, and try to frighten them out of being good.”

“Is that being _persecuted_?” asked Maybee, in astonishment.

“’Tisn’t but a little mite of a persecute, when we fink about Jesus’s,
is it, mamma?” said Tod. “I don’t mean to even cwy, next time.”

“And remember,” added aunty, this time stroking Maybee’s rosy
cheek,—“Jesus never answered back nor wished any evil upon His
persecutors. He pitied them and asked God to forgive them.”

“Yes’m,” said Maybee, drawing a long breath. “I guess—I’d better not
think ’bout that Tom Lawrence any more.”



  “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye
  shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.”

“Seems’s if our minister never preached such helpful sermons,” said
Miss Lomy.

She would never know _how_ helpful her own little sermon, handed over
from Maybee to Molly Dinah, and from Molly Dinah to her pastor, had
proved to the latter.

He had written over his study-table,

    “_Unto the Lord and not unto men_,”

but men found the simple, earnest, glowing words he brought from thence
strangely attractive. The congregation grew larger, the prayer-meetings
were never so full. Some of the boys, Tom Lawrence among them, began to
drop in and fill the “back seats,” not to laugh and whisper, but to
listen with apparent seriousness.

“Like as not they would come into Sabbath School if we asked them. Our
class is running-over full, but we could have another seat, and Miss
Marvin might work wonders with Tom,” said Dick to Will Carter. The two
were good friends now, having entered the academy together, with Will
ranking too far ahead to fear Dick’s rivalry at present. The misspent
years in the past would always bother poor Dick.

“For goodness sake, don’t get any more riffraff into our class!”
rejoined Will, contemptuously. “That Bill Finnegan is bad enough. Count
me out if there’s to be any more.”

“But what can we do? They’ll expect to come in our class if we ask

“Let them alone, then. I don’t see any particular need of doing
anything. I give you fair warning, there’ll be trouble if you do.”

Varney Lowe walked home with Will that Sabbath, and talked about the
meetings, the sermon, and the Sabbath School lesson, till Will broke
out impatiently, “One would think you were about setting up for a saint
yourself, Lowe. Do talk about something else. I’m disgusted with the
whole matter.”

Varney was a little surprised, but on the whole rather relieved to hear
that. The truth was, he had almost made up his mind he ought to be a
Christian. He had thought while Mr. Sampson was preaching he would say
so in meeting that evening. First, however, he determined to sound Will
Carter. Will was the deacon’s son and prided himself on doing exactly

This was the result, and if Will was simply disgusted, he, Varney Lowe,
would drop the matter altogether, which he did, much to Miss Marvin’s

A week or two afterwards the minister met Will on the street, and after
a few pleasant remarks, asked very earnestly, “Will, my boy, when do
you mean to become a Christian?”

Just at that moment Tom Lawrence went sauntering past, and Mr. Sampson,
turning quickly, laid one hand on his shoulder, saying, “And you, too,
Tom,—don’t you want to be a Christian?”

Will drew himself up stiffly. Didn’t Mr. Sampson know he and Tom were
two _very_ different boys?

“I have more than I can attend to, now, sir,” he replied; “what with
all my studies and the Lyceum; you know I have Geology and Chemistry
this term, and I really haven’t time for those other things even if I
felt any desire.”

Mr. Sampson looked grieved, and transferring his hand from Tom’s
shoulder to Will’s, he stooped and whispered something in his ear.

“Wish I knew what ’twas,” thought Tom, walking slowly on.

Directly Mr. Sampson was beside him. “You didn’t answer my question,

“I—oh! I’m dreadfully busy, too; you know there’s hen-roosts to rob
and melons to hook and all the circuses to tend to. I really couldn’t
if I wouldn’t.”

It was very rude and saucy in Tom, but street-corners and saloon-steps
soon teach a boy to be that.

Mr. Sampson, however, instead of looking horrified and disgusted, laid
his hand on Tom’s shoulder again, and said, “My dear boy, you may work
for Satan all your life,—work hard, too,—and depend upon it, he’ll
turn you off at last without even a reward of merit. He promises well,
I know. He may pay up a while in counterfeit coin most as good as the
real, except that it won’t pass in another world, but he’ll give you
the slip some time. There is only one Master whose ‘promise to pay’ is
good for this world and the world to come. I’ve served Him twenty-five
years, and I ought to know something about it, hadn’t I? Come to my
house to-night and let us tell you what a good Master he is. A few
of us are going to meet to talk over this very thing. This evening,
remember, at seven o’clock.”

“Going over to the parson’s?” inquired Tom, strolling around by the
deacon’s that night, and finding Will on the steps, using the last bit
of daylight for his book. “Thought I’d go along, if you was.”

Will looked at him a full minute without speaking. What a battle there
was between good and evil in that sixty seconds! Then he said coolly
and deliberately, “No; I’m not going, and I don’t know what it is to
_you_ if I was.”

“Nor I either; haven’t the least idea,” rejoined Tom, turning on his
heel and whistling his way back to Jack Mullin’s, to play “toss-up” as

Will sat still in the gathering darkness, recalling the words Mr.
Sampson had spoken in his ear:—

“You may be shutting others out of heaven, as well as refusing to go
in yourself, Will. Remember what Christ said of such. You know you
are a leader among the boys—” (Yes; Will straightened even now at
the thought,—but what was it Mr. Sampson added?) “for good _or for
evil_.” For _evil_! The idea! Will Carter, with his character and
scholarship and high hopes of becoming a brilliant orator, who meant to
lead men some day to help elevate the world. But suppose, meanwhile, he
had hindered Varney Lowe or even Tom from becoming a Christian. Would
it be shutting them out of heaven? And what was it Christ said of such?

Away off in the wood a whip-poor-will seemed to make reply,
“Woe-to-poor-Will! Woe-to-poor-Will!” while close beside the step a
cricket chirped sorrowfully, “Shut-out-of-heaven! Shut-out-of-heaven!”



  “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by
  which he spake.”

Dick could not quite give up his Sabbath School project. He first did
what the apostle James tells all those who lack wisdom, to do, and
then he consulted Miss Marvin. She proposed that the boys of her class
should withdraw and form a new one, inviting as many as they pleased
from outside to join them.

“But none of us want to leave you,” said Dick, regretfully, “and it
won’t help the matter for Will any.”

“I shall be sorry to lose you, but it is the good of others, not our
own pleasure, we are seeking. And Judy tells me there are several of
the mill girls who would join the school if they could come into her
class. Wouldn’t Will take hold of it if you should let him go ahead
about organizing, etc.?”

“Sure enough, that will suit him exactly. I wish Miss Cox hadn’t moved
away, so she could take the girls. Whom shall we have for a teacher?”

“Oh! we will find somebody. First, catch your class—”

“No, it’s first catch Will Carter; and I rather think I can if I set
about it right,” said Dick, musingly.

“Be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove,” laughed Miss Marvin.
“Fishers of men sometimes need to work as warily as those who go down
to the sea in ships.”

Dick went around to Will’s that very night and began earnestly setting
forth the advantages of the new class and the necessity of Will’s
taking the lead.

“You know we’ve always depended on you for the reasoning out of things,
and the making it interesting generally,” he said.

And it was true every word. Will always had his lesson well learned,
was posted on the historical parts, could see straight through an
argument, kept all the dates on his tongue’s end, and could ask
questions by the half hour. It was only when they came to the practical
parts he shrugged his shoulders and looked listlessly out of the window.

“The boys will all think as much again of the class if you get it up,
and there’s no telling how much good you might do,” continued Dick;
and to his great surprise Will raised no objection whatever. Whether
Dick’s pleasant way of putting things, or the steady chirp-chirp of the
cricket under the doorstep, had most to do with it, nobody knew.

He preferred, however, that Dick should see the other boys, and invite
anybody he liked,—yes, Tom Lawrence, and even Jack Mullin, for all he

Varney Lowe consented as soon as he heard Will had. Dick went to see
Bill Finnegan; but the good, honest soul knew he wasn’t expected to
have any opinion. He did not relish leaving Miss Marvin, but said he
knew lots of fellows down by the Mills who ought to come only “they’d
never hear to his askin’.”

“Show ’em to me. I’ll pitch into ’em,” rejoined Dick, hopefully. “I’ll
come over to-morrow noon, and you and I together will fetch ’em, see if
we don’t.”

He met Tom Lawrence next, and was quite taken aback by a prompt,
decided “Not by a long shot!”

He had felt sure of Tom. How he did coax and persuade! What inducements
he offered! How skilfully he parried every excuse! till at last Tom
wound up with,—

“For pity’s sake, hush up! Go it is. You’re dead set, now, Dick, since
you ‘begun over,’ and you ain’t none the worse for it either.”

Wasn’t that a compliment worth having?

“And I shall depend on you to bring Jack Mullin,” said Dick. “He and
some of the other boys do just about as you say.”

Tom straightened as proudly as Will ever did. It is a weakness of
human nature, generally, to prefer leading to being led.

“They’ll be on hand, trust me,” he said; and Dick went his way, so
thoroughly happy he had to turn a somerset every other step. He must
run around and see Robert Rand; but Rob wouldn’t care a straw,—he
never said anything any way.

What was Dick’s astonishment when Rob declared his intention of leaving
Sabbath School altogether. It took him so completely by surprise he
could not think of a thing to say; he had never dreamed of opposition
in that quarter, and just did the very first thing his Master put it
into his heart to do. He threw both arms around his friend’s shoulder,
and said very earnestly, “I’m so sorry, Rob, because I’ve been hoping
this great while you’d be a Christian, too.”

And then he stood back, utterly confounded, to see the usually
impassive Robert hurry off into the orchard and fling himself down on
the grass, sobbing like a child. He followed him, half-frightened,
half-hopeful. “What is it, Rob? Tell a fellow, can’t you?”

“It’s—you know—I didn’t suppose anybody cared. I’d have been glad to,
if I knew how; but you never said a word, and she never even looked at
me in particular.”

You could detect something of Nettie’s jealous disposition, but there
was more of a real longing for personal help and sympathy which had
been withheld. Even Miss Marvin, faithful Christian that she was, had,
as too many of us do, looked into the eyes full of eager questioning,
wilful defiance, or forlorn hopelessness, but had passed thoughtlessly
by the dull, ordinary, well-enough boy.

“She didn’t mean to,—indeed she didn’t,” said Dick, slipping one hand
into his friend’s; “and I never supposed you ever thought of the thing;
but I have—prayed for you, Rob, lots of times; and only think, if
there’s two of us to pray for the rest—oh, I’m so glad you’re really
going to try!”

Was he going to? Had he really decided? People of Robert’s temperament
seldom fully make up their minds without strong outside pressure.
This, Dick’s earnest, taking-for-granted manner had furnished.

Almost before he knew it, they were going in Mr. Forbush’s gate. “Miss
Marvin could tell him how, so much better,” Dick said. There seemed no
way of backing out, even if Rob had wanted to, and he certainly went
home that night more thoroughly in earnest than he ever was in all his
life before.



  “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment
  to come, Felix trembled.”

Mr. Vance was to take the new class in Sabbath School. He declared it
was the most absurd thing ever thought of, but Mr. Sampson insisted. He
knew the farmer to be a well-read man, and that, although but a learner
himself in Bible lore, he had that quick, keen, sympathetic grasp of
human nature which enables one to attract and influence others. Only
Will Carter objected. He had supposed Mr. Sampson would take the class
himself. What could Farmer Vance, who had only recently begun to attend
church, teach a boy well versed in algebra, geometry, and all the
’ologies? Will made extra preparations for that first Sabbath, studied
up on Biblical history, primed himself with contemporary events, and
fully expected to utterly confound the plain farmer at the outset.

The latter had his hands full, to say the least,—what with the
factory boys, to whom everything was new and strange; Tom and his
set, who meant to have a good time out of it; stupid Bill Finnegan,
indifferent Varney Lowe, and wise Will Carter,—but his ready tact,
a suggestion here, an illustration there, a hand upon Jack Mullin’s
knee when the latter’s risibles threatened to become unmanageable,
a quiet deferring to Will’s gratuitous information, all together,
maintained at least a show of interest and order. Very plainly,
however, he considered contemporary events of minor importance. Will
secretly chafed at the way everything drifted round to the one first,
foremost thought,—Christ and Him crucified. Heretofore he had always
been able to dodge the practical questions, but Mr. Vance made them
all practical. The lesson was in the twenty-sixth chapter of Second

“_Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign._”

“Just a year older than Dick and Will,—and only think how much more he
knew!” said Robert Rand, so honestly even Mr. Vance smiled.

“Was knowing so much the cause of his prosperity, Robert? Read the
fifth verse.”

“_As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper._”

“Do you suppose the Jews invented the engines of war mentioned in the
fifteenth verse?” interrupted Will.


“It seems we made a mistake when we named our Base Ball Club. It’s the
Catapulta, you know; but the catapultæ were used for casting _darts_,
and the balistæ for _stones_. Sometimes the stones weighed three
hundred pounds. Rather awkward things, compared with weapons of war

“Yes,” said Mr. Vance. “Men have spent a great deal of money and genius
to perfect the art of killing each other. But some day—”

“Josephus says,” interposed Will, “that engines of this sort were used
with tremendous effect in the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans. They
would discharge stones to the distance of two furlongs. There was an
elastic bar, you see, bent back by a screw or cable, with a trigger to
set it free, and a sort of spoon towards the top to fling the stones.
At the siege of Jotapa, they were sent with such force as to break down
the battlements and carry away the angles of the towers. Both sides
used them at the siege of Jerusalem.”

Here Tom Lawrence puckered up his mouth and rolled his eyes around in
such mock amazement that a broad smile over-spread Bill Finnegan’s
freckled face, and Jack Mullin giggled outright.

“The main point was, which side used them with the greatest effect,”
said Mr. Vance, who had read Josephus thoroughly, but who had quite
another thing in his mind. “By the way, Jack,” and he turned suddenly
to that young scapegrace who was slyly slipping a bent pin in Will’s
direction,—“I saw an enemy slinging stones, or something worse, at you
the other day, and you not doing the first thing in self-defence.”

“Who?—me!—what?” stammered Jack. “Reckon there don’t nobody fire
stones at this chap and not get as good as they send.”

“Yes, there’s an enemy who must have machines something like those Will
has described. He begins with very small stones. You wouldn’t really
think _Satan_ had anything to do with that little game of ‘toss-up’
you and Tom were having. He flings very little sins at first,—just a
bad thought, a wrong desire,—and we think it’s all fun; but by and
by there comes a three-hundred-pounder and takes men right off their
feet, puts them in state-prison, or sends them to the gallows. We need
something to hurl back in self-defence, you see. Do you remember what
telling shots Christ sent against the tempter on that high mountain?
_Bible truth!_ That’s what you want for ammunition, boys. Have plenty
of that, keep close to your great Captain, and you are safe. Uzziah
forgot that last part. Dick, tell in your own words what happened to

“He grew proud as he grew great, and insisted on burning incense, which
only the priest had a right to do, and God sent leprosy upon him.”

“Josephus says,” put in Will, “that there was an earthquake just at
that moment, and a rent made in the temple through which the sun shone
upon Uzziah’s face, and he was immediately struck with leprosy.”

“That should remind us of the day of judgment,” rejoined Mr. Vance,
solemnly. “Then all the earth shall be shaken, and Christ, the Judge,
shall sit upon His throne, the brightness of His glory far exceeding
the sun; and in that clear light all who have not been washed in the
blood of the Lamb will be shown covered with the dreadful leprosy of
sin. It says of Uzziah not only that the priests thrust him out of the
temple as unclean, but that he himself ‘hastened to go out,’ he was so
ashamed and confounded. Just so sinners in that dreadful day will call
on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them. Will you, my
boys, be of that number who must go away _forever_ from the presence of
the Lord?”

The superintendent’s bell announced the closing exercises, and then the
boys rushed noisily out.

“Every word forgotten already,” thought Mr. Vance, watching Tom and
Jack go whistling down the street.

“What does make our Will so uneasy?” his mother said that night, as the
former sat down to read, first on the doorstep, then in the garden, in
the parlor, and lastly in his own room.

_She_ couldn’t hear the cricket, the bees, even the clock, saying
over and over, “Shut out of heaven _forever_! Shut out of heaven



  “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the
  heavenly vision.”

“When one has a ‘leading,’ it is best to follow straight on, isn’t it,
mother?” asked Farmer Vance, bringing in a basket-full of sweet corn
for dinner.

“It’s the safest way, I suppose,” answered his wife, with a smile. She
was busy over her ironing table, the week’s mending yet untouched, the
fall sewing ready to step into line, corn and apples waiting to be
dried, with no end of pickling and preserving. Her hands still kept
time to the old tread-mill measure of household duties, but her heart
had now a rhythm of its own. She could afford to smile,—to watch and
even wait for God’s opportunities.

“It’s about those boys of mine,” resumed Mr. Vance, with a peculiar
emphasis on the possessive case every Sabbath School teacher would
do well to feel. “It seems clear to me that when folks haven’t an
appetite for good, wholesome food (remember, it isn’t stomachs, it’s
_hearts_ I’m talking about), you want to begin with something that’ll
relish, and work round gradually to the right sort. In other words, if
you want to get hold of a fellow’s heart, get a good grip of his hand
first. Now, suppose I should take the whole class over to the beach for
a couple of days, camping out, you know. It would be something of a
treat to those factory boys, and I’ve an inkling young Carter wouldn’t

“You couldn’t have thought of a better plan,” said Mrs. Vance, changing
her irons. “Only do be careful! I’m so afraid of a sail-boat.”

“Oh! Griggs will take us out, and he is an old seaman. All the trouble
is, everything is hurrying me just now,—corn, apples, and potatoes to
be harvested. I don’t know how to spare a day, but we ought to go next
week if we go at all, and I can’t help feeling it may help amazingly by
and by. It’s what I call a ‘_leading_,’ and I take it, obedience comes
next in order.”

“I don’t think people look for such ‘leadings’ as much as they might,”
remarked Mrs. Vance, leaving her ironing to beat up a pudding.

“Don’t _obey_ them, you mean,” said Mr. Vance, stopping in the doorway.
“That’s the point. It’s superstitious folks who keep looking and
listening for them. I reckon they _come_ when we need them, and all
we’re to do is to follow.”

A “leading” or nor, all the boys were delighted with the project.
Will Carter pronounced Mr. Vance a “brick,” and the factory boys gave
three cheers and a “tiger” when he came out of the office with a
leave-of-absence for the whole half-dozen.

The appointed day was the very perfection of an Indian summer. They
were on the road long before sunrise, the big moving-wagon having been
duly packed with cooking utensils, bedding, and provisions the night
before. There were sixteen in all, including Mr. Vance and the driver.
They reached their destination in time to catch the fish for their
dinner. Cooking it, eating it, getting up the tents, going in swimming,
hunting for crabs, and strolling over the beach used up the afternoon.
Everybody declared the sun had cheated them, and slipped out of sight
an hour too soon.

And then, all the long, cool, delicious evening, they lounged on the
rocks, telling stories, guessing riddles, singing familiar songs,—was
there ever anything half so jolly?—with the round, full moon overhead
and the great tranquil ocean spread out before them.

“And not the least bit of a preach,” thought Will, as he rolled himself
up in his blanket and stretched out beside Dick, already sound asleep.
“I had my suspicions he’d contrive to make us feel earthquake-y before
he let us off for the night. But that little short prayer was well
enough, and I certainly never heard anything like that one hundred
and seventh Psalm. I wonder if it was the way he recited it, or having
the ‘wonders of the deep’ right before us. You could almost see the
‘stormy winds’ lifting up those huge waves. And how grand it was when
we all repeated together, ‘_Oh, that men would praise the Lord for
His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!_’ I
don’t see how Mr. Blackman can help believing there is a God. I wonder
if he ever read that Psalm. There’s something in this religion. What a
different boy Dick is! But then, there was room enough for improvement.
Now, I’ve always done the best I could, unless it is about going to
those meetings, and I mean to go some time when it comes right. I’ve
really meant, ever since that first Sunday Mr. Vance talked to us, to
think more about such things, and—What’s that? Somebody singing!”



  “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuades me to be a

Somebody was singing,—a rich, clear, tenor voice. Will could hear
every word distinctly:—

    “‘Almost persuaded’ now to believe,
     ‘Almost persuaded’ Christ to receive.
     Seems now some soul to say,
     ‘Go, Spirit, go thy way,
     Some more convenient day
       On thee I’ll call.’

    “‘Almost persuaded,’ come, come to-day,
     ‘Almost persuaded,’ turn not away.
     Jesus invites you here,
     Angels are ling’ring near,
     Prayers rise from hearts so dear.
       O wand’rer, come!

    “‘Almost persuaded,’ harvest is past,
     ‘Almost persuaded,’ doom comes at last.
     ‘Almost’ cannot avail,
     ‘Almost’ is but to fail.
     Sad, sad that bitter wail—
       ‘Almost, but lost.’”

“It must be somebody from those tents around the Point,” thought Will,
turning over; “but what do they sing such doleful words for? I wish
Dick would wake up, or else that I could go to sleep. That water makes
me nervous,—such a steady swash, like a great sob somehow, or as if—”

Will buried his ears in his blanket and began counting backwards, to
shut out the “sad, bitter wail” softly echoed by the waves as they
chased each other over the moon-lighted beach.



  “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”

Griggs took them out sailing the next day, but was obliged to be back
before noon to accommodate a second party; so Mr. Vance concluded to
stay over another night, enjoy a sail by moonlight, and start for home
early in the morning.

Meanwhile, he took one of the horses and set out to hunt up an old
friend settled somewhere in the vicinity. The boys were to spend the
time as they pleased, provided they kept out of danger. Half a dozen of
them, headed by Jack Mullin, started on a tramp along shore, with their
lunch in their hands. Two or three others borrowed a gun of Griggs and
struck off inland.

“Let’s we have dinner over on that big rock,” suggested Dick. “The
Point makes nearly out to it,—just one or two hops, and there you are.”

“Griggs says those low rocks and that strip of sand are all covered at
high tide,” remarked Bill Finnegan.

“High fiddle-sticks!” said Will Carter, who never lost an opportunity
of snubbing poor Bill. “Better wait till you’re asked for advice. We’ll
dine on the peninsula, and if it changes to an island, so much the
better. _I_ shouldn’t suppose such a swimmer would be _afraid_.”

Will could not forgive Finnegan for being the best swimmer in the
party. Why couldn’t he have told he was born and brought up beside the
water, and was as much at home in it as a water-rat?

Will had expected to lead off himself, most of the boys being novices,
and chose to consider Bill’s accomplishments a personal grievance.
Dick, on the contrary, was overjoyed to see how Finnegan “blossomed
out,” as he termed it; dull, awkward, uncouth at home, down here among
the rocks he was as ready and wide-awake as any of them.

“You know your father said we were to keep out of danger,” he remarked
to Dick, as the latter began preparations for his picnic.

“Yes; but man alive! don’t you know the tide can’t come in in a minute?
I don’t see any harm, only the trouble, and ‘many hands make quick
work.’ Lend us a couple, won’t you?”

Needle Rock seemed especially suited to their purpose. There was a
broad, shelving base large enough to accommodate them all comfortably
on the shady side of the sharp, conical peak which gave the small
promontory its name. They found a sort of natural fire-place on the
opposite side, where they built their fire, broiled fish, and made
coffee. If one was smoky and the other muddy, nobody considered it any
objection, and nobody so much as looked at the sky, till a loud peal of
thunder sounded just over their heads. They were on their feet in an
instant. The sky was fearfully black.

“Take what you can and hurry over to the wagon!” cried Dick, seizing
the coffee-pot and one lunch-basket.

“But the path—where is it? Oh! it’s all gone—all _gone_! We are
drowned! We _are_ drowned!” and poor Robert ran this way and that, half
frantic with fear.

“Don’t be a goose, Bob!” said Will, his own voice a trifle unsteady.

“I’m not sure it wouldn’t be a good thing if he was,” said Dick, taking
a quick survey of the situation. “You were right, Finnegan; we oughtn’t
to have come over here, but I meant to keep a good lookout.”

“Pho! all ’tis, we must climb up on that high shelf,” said Carter,
carelessly. “Of course the rock is never half covered. Out of the way,
Bill, unless you are too scared to move.”

Bill shut his teeth tightly together and moved a little nearer the
edge. He had heard Griggs say the water sometimes rose to the very tip
of the Needle. Most likely that was in a storm; but if the wind should
go on increasing, and nobody knew where they were!

“We shall be ‘high’ if we aren’t ‘dry,’ up here,” called out Dick.
“Only it’s a dreadfully narrow ‘shelf.’ Next time we’ll look twice
before we leap.”

“Oh dear! the water’s clear up to our fire-place,” cried Robert,
shivering with the rain and fright. “Don’t crowd so, Varney. What
_shall_ we do if it comes any higher? Oh, I shall certainly blow off!
Do get up here quick, Bill, so I needn’t be right on the edge.”

“He’s looking out for a more comfortable berth, where he won’t be
crowded,” sneered Will, wedging himself into a corner.

“I’m going around the other side,” Bill spoke sharp and quick, and
disappeared under the overhanging rocks.

“Come over to me, Rob,” said Dick. “There! brace your feet and you’ll
be all right. It’s going to be more wind than rain, and if we only
stick close—” but there was a tremor in his voice which silenced the
oath on Tom Lawrence’s tongue, and sent a paleness over more than one

For the next fifteen minutes nobody spoke a word, or could have heard
themselves if they had, it thundered so incessantly. The wind came in
gusts, seeming to gather strength in each lull of its fury.

“How high is the water now?” asked Rob, when only the lashing of the
waves broke the stillness. “Has it carried away the tea-kettle?”

“I guess it’s gone to sea by this time,” said Dick, trying to speak
cheerily, although he shuddered at the steady rise of the angry waves
towards their narrow refuge. Pretty soon Varney uttered a sharp cry as
the white foam broke over his feet.

“Couldn’t a fellow swim ashore, if he knew how?” asked Tom, huskily.

Will Carter stood up and looked around.

“Not in such a sea as that, and there isn’t a boat in sight,” he said,
shortly. “There’s no way; we might as well give up; it will be over our
heads in less than an hour.”

He dropped down again, face to the rock. One loud, bitter cry for help
broke from them all. The wind caught it up mockingly, shivered it into
a hundred little echoes, and went shrieking away again. The boys crept
still nearer together.

Suddenly Robert, who was clinging convulsively to Dick, cried out, “Say
it over, Dick! Say it out loud! Will said there wasn’t _any_ way, and
that’s so dreadful. Please, Dick!”

“I can’t think of the beginning,” Dick said slowly. “I learned it last
winter, you know, but the third verse came to me when Will spoke.
Perhaps I can think of the rest,” and in a voice low and tremulous at
first, but growing stronger and clearer as the wind battled against it,
he repeated,—

    Once, tossed upon an angry, boiling sea,
      A boat was dashed upon a dreary shore;
    Heart-sick and like to die, his comrades three
      Cried, “Cuthbert, let us perish! hope is o’er.

    “The furious tempest shuts the water-path;
     The snow-storm blinds us on the bitter land.”
    “Now, wherefore, friends, have ye so little faith?”
     God’s servant said, and stretching forth his hand,

    He lifted up his reverent eyes and spake:
      “I thank Thee, Lord, the way is open there!
    No storm above our heads in wrath shall break,
      And shut the heavenward path of love and prayer.”

    Sweet to me comes old Cuthbert’s word to-day,
      Sweet is the thought that Christ is always near;
    I seek Him by the ever-open way,
      Nor yield my courage to a shuddering fear.

    The storm may darken over land and sea,
      But step by step with Christ I walk along.
    Dear Christ, the storm and sun are both of Thee,
      And Thou, Thyself, art still my strength and song!



  “He bringeth them unto their desired haven.”

Dick sprang suddenly to his feet. “There’s something—I do
believe—yes, it is—it _is_ a boat. Call, boys, as loud as you can!
_All_ together, _now_!”

The wind stripped the frail sound into shreds, but all the same the
boat came steadily that way, and was evidently making directly for them.

Brave Bill Finnegan, when he disappeared behind the rocks, had stopped
only long enough to pull off his clothes and cast one quick, appealing
glance up into the blackened sky, with a thought of Him who he had
been told could still even the raging sea; then he struck out into the
boiling, seething waters. It was their only chance. Help, if it came
at all, must be summoned. He might reach the shore, and he might not,
but he would make the attempt. What a plaything he was for the mad
waves! How they whirled and tossed him, blinded him with the spray,
deafened him with their roar, strangled him, chilled him, laughed him
to scorn!

But his strong muscle and early training stood him in good stead now,
although it was some minutes after he was seemingly flung upon the
shore before he could more than crawl out of reach of the cruel water.
He climbed the cliff at last, and fortunately found Griggs close by,
in a sort of shanty, taking a smoke with two other brawny-armed,
bronzed-faced seamen. In less time than we can tell it, although not
without some growling about the foolishness of boys in general and the
fool-hardiness of Bill in particular, the three were on their way to
the Needle. Bill insisted on going back with them, but was peremptorily
ordered up to the house, where he was taken in hand by Mother Griggs,
sent to bed, dosed with hot drinks and rubbed with warm flannels till
even his anxiety for the boys was lost in a sound sleep.

When he opened his eyes they were all there. Dick sprang on the low
couch, and gave him a suffocating hug. Mr. Vance leaned over, with
tears in his eyes, and said, “How shall we ever thank you, my brave
boy!” Then Tom and Varney and the rest crowded up, laughing, talking,
sobbing,—a little hysterical yet, in spite of Mother Griggs’ herb teas
and hot baths.

The clouds were all piled away in the southwest, their gold and crimson
linings fluttering in the sunset; the tired waves rolled heavily in,
scattering pearls and diamonds over the black, pitiless rocks; the moon
crept quietly up in the background: but a sail was out of the question
even had any one felt inclined. Robert and Bill were content to lie
quietly on their couches; none of the others were apparently the worse
for their exposure. Mother Griggs insisted on making a chowder for
the entire party; Griggs himself regaled them with “yarns” about life
in mid-ocean; but it was a very quiet evening, and the talk would
continually drift back to the day’s adventures.

“Cur’us, ain’t it, now, how things work round?” said Griggs. “I’d a
good mind as ever I had to eat to put in at Long Wharf where I left
t’other party, and wait till the blow was over,—I could see it comin’;
but Larkins an’ Sam wanted to git on towards home. Ef we hadn’t, ye
see, there wouldn’t a been a man anywheres round. It’s what _I_ call

Bill looked up eagerly at Mr. Vance.

“I see Mother Griggs’ garden survived the shower,” the latter remarked
carelessly, going to the window; “I expected to find it washed away,
lying on a slope so. Ah! there is a sort of breakwater to turn the
freshet. How fortunate that should be there, in the nick of time!”

“Guess I think too much of my wife’s posies not to look out for the
wash,” said Griggs, slapping his own knee approvingly. “I fixed that
there thing more’n a month ago on purpose.”

“And don’t you suppose the God who rules the tempests loves His
creatures enough to provide a way of escape from any or all dangers?”

“Well, now, you’ve come it over me slick,” said Griggs, taking out his
pipe, and thoughtfully wiping his mouth.

“And not only from temporal dangers,” continued Farmer Vance, “but he
has also provided a ‘way of escape’ from temptation, sin, and death.”

“I’ve allus reckoned there _was_ a God,” said Griggs, slowly. “One
can’t live close t’ the sea and disbelieve that there; an’ I’d like to
believe He ’tends to things down here, but it never struck me jest so
afore. Take an early start to-morrow, sir?”

“We must have a short sail first, to leave a pleasant taste of old
ocean in our mouths,” rejoined Mr. Vance, smiling; “and now, boys,
before we separate” (half of them were to sleep in the big covered
wagon and the others on Mother Griggs’ kitchen floor), “let’s have our
Psalm again. I don’t believe anything could express our feeling like
that grand one hundred and seventh”; and in a voice slightly tremulous
he began,—

    “_Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is good_;”

and, as they had done the night before, but with a far different
understanding of its meaning, the boys joined in the refrain,—

    “_Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness
    and for His wonderful works to the children of

Once and again and again; but after the words—

    “He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up
    the waves thereof.

    “They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths.

    “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth
    them out of their distresses.

    “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are

    “Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them
    unto their desired haven,”—

one and another voice trembled and broke. Even old Griggs
cleared his throat suspiciously.

Mr. Vance quietly added the last verse,—

    “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall
    understand the loving-kindness of the Lord,”

and with a short, simple prayer, closed a day the events of which no
one of them could ever forget.

Even old Griggs would never again look out anxiously over the stormy
seas, without a thought of the words—

    “So _He_ bringeth them unto their desired haven.”



  “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to
  the wise and to the unwise.”

“I’m sorry, Bill, and _so_ ashamed.”

Will Carter said that, sitting beside Bill Finnegan, in the big covered
wagon. The others had all jumped out to run up the last, long hill on
their way home.

Finnegan’s pale face flushed scarlet. Will had not spoken to him the
night before, had avoided him all that day, and his quick Irish blood
had felt it keenly.

“It was downright mean, the way I treated you,” Will continued, “and
meaner still not to have owned up sooner, and before the boys too. I’ll
do it yet. Only say you forgive me, Bill, and if there’s anything in
the world I can do for you—ever, please let me. I shall never forget
you just the same as saved my life.”

Bill was looking back, out of the carriage. “It’s queer, folks do
forget—that,” he said, absently, and then, flushing more deeply, he
continued hurriedly, “I didn’t mean—I was thinking—it’s all right,
Carter, an’ you needn’t never say no more about it, afore the boys nor
no time. ’Twas just as much for Number One you know, what I did; and
them other things ain’t worth minding, now. Only if—maybe, you could
help me a bit; you know how so much better.”

“About lessons?” asked Will.

“Well, no, not exactly; I’m dull enough at them, but it’s the
‘_understanding_,’ I’m thinking about; because I ain’t the least bit
‘_wise_.’ I’m going to try all the same, though.”

“Try what?” asked the other, in surprise.

“Why, the ‘way,’—provided, you know. It come all plain to me last
night, after Mr. Vance had prayed, and we’d all got quiet, how we
belonged to whoever made us, an’ if the waves obeyed Him, it was
certain we’d ought to; and if we was so thankful to Him for taking us
out of danger yesterday why didn’t we thank Him for keeping us out
every day? I never had, you see; an’ it struck me we should call it
mighty mean in folks to take so much kindness from one another and
never say ‘Thank ’ee.’ And then I thought if this great, kind God had
provided a ‘way,’ why shouldn’t folks choose to go in it; there can’t
be a better one. I’d always supposed being a Christian meant sort of
giving in to a Master, knuckling right under, and never having your
own way nor nothing. I think people do have an idea it’s a come-down
to pray and all that, don’t you? I did, anyhow; and when I see how,
instead, it was Him doing all those ‘wonderful works’ for us, and we
just turning our backs on the way He’d provided,—why, I made up my
mind I’d turn right square round. That’s all there is to it, ain’t it?
to begin I mean; and if you’d tell me what comes next.”

“You’re a great ways ahead of me now,” said Will, thoughtfully. “I
haven’t even made up my mind.”

It was Bill’s turn to look surprised.

“I believe I’ve felt a good deal about it as you have,” continued Will,
“as if it was something beneath me; but you’ve made out it is mean and
ungrateful _not_ to be a Christian. I thought it would be giving up
a great deal, and you talk as if it was just stepping into the best
possible ‘way.’”

“Well, isn’t it, don’t you think?” asked Bill, earnestly.

“Why, yes, it does look so; but what are you going to do about
‘conviction’ and ‘change of heart,’ and lots of things nobody can

Bill shook his head.

“I don’t even know what they mean; all I know is, I’d ought to serve
Him that made me an’ takes care of me, an’ I mean to. O Mr. Vance,
won’t you tell us how ’tis?”

That gentleman had looked in at the back of the wagon, but seeing the
two boys in earnest confab had quietly withdrawn; now, however, he
climbed in.

That he made plain things even plainer may be inferred from the happy,
hopeful look that replaced the puzzled expression on Bill’s face. Will
drew quietly back when the noisy crew came trooping in, and scarcely
spoke till they were nearly home. Then he leaned forward, and under
cover of the loud talking, said quietly, “It’s queer, Bill, but you’ve
set this thing straight for me, and helped me make up my mind at last.
That leaves me doubly in debt, you see.”

“No, oh no, indeed!” returned the other, earnestly. “It was all Mr.

“Well, both of you together, then; but remember, old fellow, I’m ‘yours
to command’ for life, or ought to be, whatever this old proud heart of
mine may say to the contrary.”

“And we’ll both be _His_ ‘to command’ _always_,” said Bill, his plain,
homely face glowing with the thought.



  “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at home also,
  for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

“I hope the c’mmittee’s satisfied now,” sputtered Maybee. “They’ve got
a degraded school, with me in one room and Tod in another. I don’t
care! Mr. Blackman’s gone to the ’cademy, and we have wimmins to teach
us. Mine has curls, and Tod’s hasn’t, and mine prays a real nice little
prayer before she says ‘Our Father.’ Mr. Blackman never said only that,
quick’s ever he could,—Amen! ring-a-ling-a-ling, right along together,
as if it didn’t mean nothing ’tall.”

Maybee was right. “Our Father” had no meaning to Mr. Blackman.

Dick and Will, who were both trying to be Christian boys now, were
talking it over one day. “It isn’t so much what he _says_,” Dick
remarked, “as the feeling he gives you that the Bible and such things
are of no account, anyhow.”

“Yes, and then it sounds so grand,” Will rejoined, “when he talks about
the Good and the True and Beautiful,—how they of themselves will help
men up, and how Reason teaches us all we need to know, and about matter
and law and evolution. I couldn’t understand it any more than I could
father’s free agency and election, but it made me feel easier, and
didn’t say _do_ anything in particular, so I liked to think it might
be true. Queer, wasn’t it, Bill Finnegan should be the one to open my
eyes? but queerer yet, as he said, that I or anybody could ever forget
or not care that Christ died for us.”

Dick looked thoughtful. “It seems stranger anybody can believe there
is a God, and not care to know about Him or try to please Him, than it
does not to believe in Him at all, like Mr. Blackman. I wonder if he
reads the Bible? He never goes to church. Would you dare ask him to?”

“To go to church? Mr. Blackman? No, indeed!—that is, I shouldn’t like
to. He is so much older, and he turns up his nose,—that is, he makes
you feel as if it was all nonsense.”

“But it ought not to make us feel so. If he should turn up his nose at
the sun, we shouldn’t think any the less of it. I’ve a good mind to. It
would come a little tough to say anything of that sort to him, but—I
guess I could.”

“I do wish you would, then. Oh, dear! you are so much braver than I,
Dick, about these things.”

“Oh! that’s something in the grain, I guess, but I don’t see why we
should be ashamed of our Master. It would be mean enough for us to feel
ashamed of Bill Finnegan anywhere after what he did for us; and Jesus
Christ has done so much more, besides being God’s own Son and the Lord
of heaven and earth.”

That evening Mr. Blackman’s bell rang,—the very faintest tingle;
but when he opened the door, Dick looked him straight in the face,
his honest blue eyes full of eager longing. “Please, Mr. Blackman,
I called—I don’t know how to say it,—but I—I wish—you was a
Christian. Couldn’t you—won’t you go to the meeting to-night?”

The Bible tells of a certain king who went into battle disguised, and
who supposed himself quite safe, covered as he was with a strong armor;
but somebody drew a bow at a venture and smote him between the joints
of his breastplate and killed him.

Now, Mr. Blackman prided himself that nothing Conscience or anybody
else might say about God and religion ever had made or ever could make
the least impression upon his armor of arguments and proofs; but just
those few simple words, so earnestly spoken, found a crevice somewhere,
and struck right home to his heart.

“What makes you wish so?” he asked, taking the boy’s hand.

“Because—because you’re so good and kind and know most everything, and
God wants just such men for his servants. Besides, you couldn’t help
loving Him if you knew Him.”

“Do you think so? Well, suppose I go to-night, just to please you,” and
Mr. Blackman reached at once for his hat.

Dea. Carter looked at Mr. Sampson, and Mr. Sampson said “Thank God!” in
his heart when the two came in together.

Mr. Blackman was an excellent teacher for the older pupils, and had a
great deal of influence over them; many a parent had been praying it
might yet weigh on the Lord’s side. Who shall say that was _not_ the
reason Dick’s bold effort for the Master was so successful?

“He went to please me, that night,” Dick said joyfully, some four weeks
later. “Now I guess he goes to please himself. I’m _so_ glad I asked

And well you may be, Dick; only remember the results are not always
thus speedy and pleasant; but all the same, _never_ be ashamed of your



  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
  kept the faith.”

A bit of black crape hung from the door of the little red house in the

Aunty McFane had gone home.

Kind friends placed the poor wasted body in the plain coffin, covered
it with fragrant flowers, and laid it away under the new-fallen snow.

“Fought the fight, the victory won!” sang Maybee that night, sitting in
her little rocker before the open fire.

“I shouldn’t think you’d sing wight after you’ve been to a fooneral,”
said Tod, curled up on the hearth-rug.

“Why, they sung it to-day, right beside the coffin,” said Maybee,
“and mamma ’xplained it to me coming home, how Aunty McFane has been
fighting most seventy-seven years, and trusted Jesus all the whole
time, and how she has got through, and gone to stay with Him always.”

“Wimmins don’t fight,” said Tod, disbelievingly.

“Yes, they do; everybody does that kind of fighting. Don’t you know our
Sabbath School hymn says,—

    “‘I’m glad I’m in this army’?”

“Yes, but I thought it meant when we march Fourth of Julys and have
flags and cannon and evewyfing.”

“Why, The-od-o-re Smith! I’m surprised! Don’t you know what fighting
means, the Bible way? Suppose it’s time for you to go to bed and you
don’t want to. It’s the ‘_don’t want to_’ you fight with, and if you
beat and go straight along, just as aunty says, all pleasant, that’s
being a conqueror; but if you don’t—”

“I’m weal hungwy, ain’t you?” interposed Tod. “Let’s go out and
snowball so ’twill be supper-time quicker.”

Maybee was nothing loth, and after a nice frolic they sat down on the
steps to rest and make snow images.

“Wouldn’t you like to be a sure-enough soldier?” asked Maybee, rolling
up a tiny ball for a head.

“I’d wather be a cap’n or a gen’wal,” said Tod, “an wide a horse, and
have folks say ‘Hurwah’!”

“Yes, but everybody can’t be generals, ’cause who’d carry the guns? And
you know we can be ever so much greater.”

“No; how?”

“We can be greater than Napoleon or George Washington. The Bible says
so. My mamma showed me the verse. It says, ‘_He that is slow to anger
is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that
taketh a city._’”

“What is wuling his spiwit?” asked Tod.

“Oh, it’s being real mad and not saying a single word till you feel
pleasant. I guess it means _feel_ right, soon as you can, too. I’ll
show you. There comes Tom Lawrence and Jack Mullin. They’ll be sure
to say something awful provoking, and I shall be just as polite.
Good-morning, Tom—I mean good-afternoon.”

“Did anybody speak—I mean squeal?” queried Tom, staring all around. “I
saw a couple of magpies—no; ’pon my word, one is a bumble-bee. Hear it
buzz, now.”

But Maybee worked on without a word.

“Oh, she’s mad; regular spitfire, _she_ is. I wonder what she’s
making,—a duck or a toad.”

Maybee reddened, but rejoined quite cheerfully, “Tod’s making a house.
Mine is a soldier, and this stick is for a gun.”

“Look out, then! Here comes one of Carter’s three-hundred-pounders,”
and sending a huge snowball over the fence, the two boys moved
leisurely on.

It fell directly on the roof of Tod’s house, quite demolishing it.

“Never mind,” said Maybee, pulling a feather out of the wing on her
hat, to stick in her soldier’s cap. “You saw how pleasant I was, didn’t

“They didn’t skwush _your_ house all to nuffin, an’ you was just
showing off, _you_ was. I wish I could fump ’em,” said Tod, excitedly.

“That’s very wicked; you can’t be one of Christ’s soldiers and wish
such bad things,” said Maybee, plastering a knapsack on to her soldier.
“I do, sometimes,” she added, more humbly, “but I don’t mean to ever
again,—much,” and she began singing, louder than before,

    “Fought the fight, the victory won.”

Tod worked away, rebuilding his house, putting on _two_ “chimleys” this
time. By and by, just as Maybee was giving the finishing touch to her
image, he reached over for a fresh handful of snow, lost his balance,
and in trying to recover himself, managed to hit the poor soldier in
the breast with his elbow, leaving him a shapeless ruin.

Maybee’s black eyes blazed. “Tod Smith! you did it a purpose.”

“Yes’m,” said Tod, sitting coolly down and facing her.

She turned quickly, and lifted one foot. Another moment and Tod’s
pretty cottage, with its “merandah” and bay-window, would have shared
the fate of its predecessor; but a better thought came suddenly to
Maybee, in the words of her song,—

    “Fought the fight, the victory won.”

A _real_ victory this would be,—no make-believe, no mere
“showing-off,” as Tod had called it; and to tell the truth, she _did_
feel just like the Pharisee mamma read about all the time she was
being so polite, but _now_ she was—oh, so dreadfully angry! If she
_could_ speak pleasant, wouldn’t that be “ruling her spirit,” “real,

“I’ll try not to mind,” she said, slowly. “Let’s build some more
houses, a whole village; yours is so pretty.”

“Oh, my gwief!” ejaculated Tod. “I wanted to see if you _would_ fight
that Bible way, an’ you _did_, an’ I’m awful sorwy I made you, ’twas
such a splendid soldier.”

“I just wanted to show it to papa,” sighed Maybee, furtively wiping
away a few tears.

Tod sprang up, and set both feet squarely on the dainty snow-house.
“There! my’ll punish my’s own self,” he cried, forgetting his
nominative case in his excitement. “My is sorwy as my can be, my never
will do so again. Please, won’t you forgive my this time?” and putting
both arms around her neck, the little fellow burst into tears.

“I declare, there must be a thaw,—such a freshet! What _is_ the
matter?” asked Dick Vance, coming up the walk, and sitting down beside

Tod explained as well as he could.

“I don’t feel much bad now,” said Maybee, “but I think that kind of
fighting is better to _talk_ about than ’tis to _do_! Seems’s if it
was a miser’ble kind of a world,—the good times all chopped up so you
can’t get only the littlest bit to once.”

“That’s so,” said Dick, gravely. “I’ve just been riled myself, and know
how it feels.”

“Did you fump ’em, or fight th’ other way,” inquired Tod, eagerly.

“I’m afraid I ‘fumped,’—that is, I felt real cross—”

“What’s the matter with you?” laughed Sue, coming out on the piazza.

“Oh! it’s Tom and Jack. You know they don’t come to Sabbath School
scarcely any, now, but they keep promising to, and just now, when I
asked them, they were so awfully provoking. I don’t believe I’ll ever
say another word to them.”

“We mustn’t forget it’s a fight for life,” said Sue, gently. “You see,
I’ve been talking with mother about this very thing. I do so want
Bell to be a Christian, and I get _so_ discouraged. But mother says a
soldier must not expect to win every battle with the first shot. Some
places have to be besieged for months. And she says the very hardest
kind of fighting is waiting patiently and bearing meekly, because it
is then we get discouraged and give up trying. So I’m going to keep on
praying for Bell and do everything I can. And we must remember how wild
Tom has always been—”

“I’d better remember I was just as bad, and might not have been a bit
better now if I hadn’t been shut right up there with Aunty McFane. Oh,
how good she did use to talk!”

“Dear old aunty! Isn’t it nice to think of her up in heaven, all well
and happy? Think what a Christmas she will have.”

“O me! I’d most forgot the miser’blest thing of all,” broke in Maybee,
dolefully. “Uncle Thed isn’t going to have any Christmas tree. I heard
him tell mamma so.”

“Not have any Christmas tree!” exclaimed Sue and Tod together.

“That is as you say,” said mamma, standing in the door. “He will leave
it all to you. Come in to supper now and we will talk it over,—you,
too, Dick, for if we decide on the new plan you may like to join us.”

They listened with wide-open eyes while she told them that, because
of the hard times, a great many little boys and girls would have no
Christmas at all, no presents, no dinner even; that what Uncle Thed’s
annual Christmas party, tree, presents, supper and all cost would go
a great ways towards making such children happy, and if they would
agree to go without their nice presents, Uncle Thed would help them
make out a list of names; they should decide on a present for each one,
and Christmas Eve they could go around and leave the parcels on the

“Oh, oh! in a sleigh an’ eight tiny weindeer, just like St. Nicholas!”
screamed Tod. “Won’t that be nice?”

“With Steady and Frolic instead of the reindeer,” laughed mamma.

“That would be a little bit nice,” said Maybee, gravely. “And then
there’ll be the miser’ble part,—not having a single thing our own

“Not exactly so; we’ll make each other some little pretty present not
costing any more than what we give the poor children. But take plenty
of time to think it over before you decide,” said mamma.



  “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the
  knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”

The children could talk of little else. They thought over it, slept
over it, and one at least cried over it. Maybee had so set her heart
on a little cooking-stove like cousin Daisy’s and a new doll with a
Saratoga outfit. And Daisy’s papa, who lived in New York, and who,
whenever he could not come himself and bring the twins, always sent
such _elegant_ presents to them all, might,—who knew? But now, Uncle
Thed wanted them to ask Uncle Grant to send the money instead, unless
he preferred giving it to poor children in the city. It would be just
the _forlornest_ Christmas!

“But not to have the least bit of a present nor any dinner either would
be forlorner yet,” said Sue, who had as secretly been hoping for a
pearl ring like Bell Forbush’s, and found the hope almost as hard to
give up as the ring itself. She had decided, however, to try the new
plan; so had Jenny King, Will Carter and his sister Nanny, and Dick
Vance. Bell declared it the most ridiculous nonsense; they would be
sorry enough when they saw her presents. Her mamma was going to have
a tree, and invite Esq. Ellis’s family. Miss Georgiana was engaged to
her brother Walter, and most likely the ’Squire would bring something
_perfectly superb_.

“Well, but—”

Sue laid a warning hand over Maybee’s mouth. It was not to be told
how one day the ’Squire met Tod and Maybee on the street and asked
them what they wanted for a Christmas present; and how, when they
told him Uncle Thed’s plan, he laid a five-dollar bill in each little
palm. _That_ money was to provide new winter cloaks, trimmed with fur,
for Say and Tilly Ellis. You see, Say had asked if she might _make_
something for the poor children, because her mother “never gave her
anything that cost money, and there was nobody else to.”

Nobody else! And the ’Squire, her father’s own brother, rolling in
riches, with only an old grudge to hinder him from making the widow’s
and orphans’ hearts sing for joy, once a year at least.

“It is his own loss,” thought Uncle Thed, taking Say’s thin, pale face
between his two hands, and leaving a fatherly kiss on the pleading
lips, Maybee all the while tugging at his coat and making almost
audible demonstrations of her wonder what would be done with the two
cloaks if Say was allowed to be of the party.

“We’ll send Jackson with them while you are gone,” whispered mamma; and
away danced Maybee to charge Nanny Carter “not to breathe one single
word about cloaks to a living soul, ’specially Say Ellis.”

What a long list they made out! Thirty-four names, among which were
the McFanes,—Mose and little Peter,—the Hartes, Judy Ryan, Bill
Finnegan, Jack Mullin, Benny Cargill and his mother, Abby and Jakey
Flynn, Molly Dinah, and some half dozen Catholic families suffering
from the dulness of business at the Mills.

The Hartes lived very comfortably now, Dan having steady work at the
’Squire’s; but sickness and the “hard times” would prevent their
indulging in anything but necessities. Jack Mullin lived with his
uncle, a hard, close-fisted man, never known to give his own children a
penny’s worth.

“Jack doesn’t deserve a thing, any way,—he acts so,” said Jenny King.

“But none of us deserve anything,” said Sue, “and you know Christ said
His Father was ‘good to the unthankful and the evil.’”

And Jack’s name was added, although Maybee demurred about trying to
“mind the whole Bible to once.”

It was real fun deciding what each one would like. The children puzzled
their heads over it a week, and then the wonderful order went to Uncle
Grant to be filled.

Christmas Eve was as clear and cold and shining as crystal and
moonshine could make it. The big and little bundles, tied and ticketed
with due care, nearly filled the double sleigh, but Uncle Thed
contrived to squeeze in the whole party besides. Of course they left
the bells at home, and the little tongues managed to keep tolerably
quiet as they skimmed lightly along.

I wish I could tell you what they left at each house, and how sometimes
they looked in at the windows and watched them undo the parcels; and
how Mrs. Harte was in the front room alone, fastening three bits of
candle, half a dozen cornballs, as many tiny bags of candy, and one or
two penny picture-books to the scrawniest little bush, and how, when
she left the room a minute, Uncle Thed raised the loose sash, dropped
the big bundle under the bit of pine, and hurried away as fast as he
could; how Tod begged to hang the basket on Molly Dinah’s door, and how
the infirm old latch suddenly uncaught, and the roast chicken, round
yellow apples, Tod, and two mince pies rolled in all together, and
how Molly Dinah laughed and hugged him, and then sat down and cried
over the merino dress Sue handed her; how the little Mullins clapped
their hands when Jack cut the string of the big brown-paper parcel; and
how they saw Abby Flynn’s mother, after she had filled the two little
stockings hung beside the old cracked stove with the toys she found in
the bundle of bright plaids and nice warm flannel, go softly into the
little bedroom and kneel down beside the bed on which the children lay
fast asleep.

“Oh, it has been so much better than pearl rings!” said Sue, when the
horses’ heads were at last turned homeward.

“Wait till other folks show you their things, and you haven’t got
nothing much yourself,” sighed Maybee. “I ’xpect to feel miser’ble

“You couldn’t feel miserable if you should try,” said Dick. “Seems as
if this was the first _real_ Christmas I ever had.”

“I don’t envy Bell the least bit,” said Jenny, as they passed the
brilliantly-lighted house.

“There’ll be something miser’ble, even to a party,” said Maybee,
brightening. “If it isn’t anything else, it’ll be the fruit-cake; the
molasses or something’ll make you, oh, just as sick! when you’ve most
pretty near ate enough. But then, I s’pose the miser’ble times run
along between the good ones same’s the mud and mire down to the marsh,
and we’d better jump right over and never mind.”

“Then the good times are stepping-stones,” added Sue. “So much better
than a plank walk, you know Tod said.”

“Hasn’t this been a bouncer?” laughed Dick. “I wonder how Bill likes
his skates and the other fixings. I wish Rob could have come with us,
but Nettie wouldn’t hear a word to it.”

“I know that money Rob gave me was some his grandfather sent him to buy
a pistol with,” said Will. “Rob asked if I thought it would be any like
a ‘thank-offering.’ We boys have enough to be thankful for this year,
without any presents.”

“Not forgetting the Gift for which none of us can ever be thankful
enough,” rejoined Uncle Thed. “Beside that, all temporal blessings
and deliverances are as nothing,—God’s best Gift to dying men, the
Lord Jesus Christ, a saving knowledge of whom makes the only ‘real
Christmas.’ Suppose we sing one verse of our Christmas Carol.”

Out upon the clear, frosty air floated the happy voices:—

    “Merry, Merry Christmas everywhere!
     Cheerily it ringeth through the air.
     Christmas bells, Christmas trees,
     Christmas odors on the breeze.
     Merry, Merry Christmas everywhere!
     Cheerily it ringeth through the air.
     Deeds of Faith and Charity,
     These our off’rings be,
     Leading every soul to sing,
     _Christ was born for me!_”

Transcriber’s note:

Punctuation has been standardised; spaces have been removed from
contractions. Hyphenation and spelling have been retained as they
appear in the original publication except as follows:

  Page 39
    He eat so much he _changed to_
    He ate so much he

  Page 68
    isn’t it, dear? “——” _changed to_
    isn’t it, dear?——”

  Page 84
    and Say Ellis’ mother is real poor _changed to_
    and Say Ellis’s mother is real poor

  Page 98
    whole story at the Ellis’ _changed to_
    whole story at the Ellis’s

  Page 110
    said Tod encourageingly _changed to_
    said Tod encouragingly

  Page 116
    in your chateleine pocket _changed to_
    in your chatelaine pocket

  Page 134
    I’ll sew it righr straight _changed to_
    I’ll sew it right straight

  Page 147
    into Say Ellis’ yard _changed to_
    into Say Ellis’s yard

  Page 159
    Wonldn’t mamma let _changed to_
    Wouldn’t mamma let

  Page 166
    t’wasn’t, neither _changed to_
    ’twasn’t, neither

  Page 335
    Seem’s if _changed to_
    Seems’s if

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