Page images

his own.

play and study. How changed! I do not understand it, unless it was the blue-coat he was labouring so hard to pay for, which crushed him. But he wears it still ; and it was only yesterday I saw him looking at the worn elbow with regret, while he said laughingły, “My dear blue coat, under your arms I have learned a precious lesson ; and while there is a rag of you left, I will not part with you. Can you see clearly what has wrought this change, mother?"

· I think I can. He has learnt the relation in which he stands to our Father. He is now a humble, trusting child, receiving, enjoying, and using every good that is offered him. Love flows into his heart, and immediately goes

forth to warm and bless all that meet him. He is open to every joy, and yet grasps nothing as

That haughtiness and pride which led him to work for independence, has given place to humility and love.

The weak, fearful arm of self-reliance has given way; and in its place is the sweet trust and reposing confidence of a child in the bosom of an omnipotent Father. And you are right, Harry, in saying, how changed! For the change in his inner life is so great, that it must be outwardly visible. He felt himself a poor orphan, with a mountain of work resting on his shoulders: now, he has found his father, and brothers, and sisters. Love is kindled in his heart: he is warm : he is no more alone. Oh! how changed ! 'Tis not strange that he is joyful: stranger if he was not."

Years passed. Both Harry and David left the town of L- The former joined his father in the mercantile business in one of the southern cities, and for a long time kept up a pleasant correspondence with his early and dear friend : but at length it ceased ; and he had not heard from him for many years, when the following unexpected meeting took place :

Harry, now Mr. Grey, was travelling for the benefit of his widowed mother's health. They stopped a few days in the large town of C

Each pleasant morning they rambled over the town, learning what they could of the place and people. Here their attention was arrested by a cozy and tasteful white building, balf hid by flowering shrubbery and trees. They walked together towards it, and soon came to an iron gate, over which was written, “A home for homeless children, open to visitors Wednesday afternoon."

This is the day,” said Mr. Grey to his mother ; “ let us go in and see this home: it is surely attractive enough outwardly to merit the name it bears. How beautiful! It must be · Home, sweet home.'”

They met at the door a gentleman who very politely invited them in, and showed them the Home. There were twenty-five of the family.

“ Here," said the gentleman, “is the school-room. The children are now all out, as this is a time of recreation. If you would like, I will show you over the building, and then we will visit the more attractive parts--the garden and grounds belonging to it. They are not extensive, as the funds of the Home will not allow of large purchases at present. It is yet in its infancy, founded only two years since by a gentleman whom these little ones love as a father: and well they may; for one would think, to see him here, he lived only for them, he is so careful of their happiness. They are a happy family. Look from this window: see them at play with their hoops, balls, and kites."

Look, mother,” said Mr. Grey, see what a fine playground they have, and what a joyful group they

I should much like to see the father of this institution."

“There he is," said the gentleman, "just entering the playground; see how the children flock around him. He has always a pleasant word for them, and sometimes joins them in their play. Now he has the little pet of them all in his arms. You'd think, to see him kiss and caress that little boy, it was his own child. He always sleeps with him; and his mother, who is an elderly lady, takes all the care of dressing and washing him. Come, walk out with me, and you can converse with this young father; for young you see he is, to have so large a family."

Mr. Grey offered his arm to his mother, and they descended the steps that led to the playground. They approached the group, and in a moment the hands of Harry Grey and David Earl were clasped in a warm


embrace. Then Harry presented his mother, whom sickness had so changed that David did not recognise her; she pressed his hand warmly, saying, “ This is an unexpected pleasure. We entered here, to view this delightful home, never dreaming of meeting our early friend. But you are changed, and yet the same David, and in a blue coat still."

Yes, my dear lady, there are pleasant associations connected with a blue coat, and I cannot throw it aside; you see my children wear the same colour. You smile, and you remember the cold, proud boy that laboured in his weakness to gain independence.”

“I do, indeed. He was poor then ; but how suddenly did he become rich. In a day he turned from self-reliance and self-dependence; then pinching poverty and cold misery left him, and in their stead came an abundance of goods and a heart of happiness.”

Yes, Mrs. Grey; yet all that was not the work of a day. The light dawned one morning, and it has since continually increased in brightness.

I think I am learning every day a new lesson of our Father's goodness; and I hope that I am gaining an increase of wisdom to use his gifts. But it is only by constant prayer and watchfulness that I can keep myself a child. · Here am I,' you know, was little Samuel's answer, when the Lord called him. And here am I,' I strive to keep ever the language of my heart. It was your words and Harry's that first led me to see that every gift is from our Father, and that we should receive them and use them that they might be multiplied tenfold. Had I refused to accept, as a present, my first. blue coat, I should never have been the happy medium of joy, and a home to these little girls and boys. But I have had great help through many a Mr. Lane that understands the true and only value of property. Come, you must walk in again to our home, and see my mother, she is the matron of this establishment." A warm welcome awaited the visitors in Mrs. Earl's room, which was beautifully ornamented with her son's choicest painting. From this they entered the artist's study, where they passed pleasant hours. Among his early sketches they recognised many a familiar scene

"And what is this ?” said Harry ;

[ocr errors]

upon my word


Give me

striking picture,-a proud boy in a blue coat with an axe in his hand, impatient to strike a blow, while he feels compelled to hold back a minute to listen to an earnest appeal from a young lad at his side. this, David ?"

“Yes, if you take with it this, dated only two days later."

Oh this is indeed better, but I must have them both. There is the same boy in the same blue coat,yet how changed; humble now, and altogether happier. He is at our drawing-table with pencils and paper ; there is Mr. White and my mother. I thank you most of all for her likeness in those by-gone days. David, you enjoy your profession?" “ Yes; for it has enabled me so much to enlarge my sphere of useful

Will you, Mrs. Grey, please accept this, as one of my favorite pictures, and say if it reminds you of any particular scene?"

Indeed, David, 'tis that glorious sunset of my early days. And you have written beneath it the angel's words, . And hast thou thanked the Giver ?' I shall prize it more than all my pictures.”

A week thus pleasantly passed, before Harry Grey and his mother could say “ Good-bye” to the “Home.”


TWILIGHT TALK. ONE evening as Mr. Morton was settling himself in his easy chair, and was about to call his children to his side, his ears caught the sound, happily the very unusual sound, of something like a dispute going on between them. Robert seemed to be teazing bis sister, by calling her stony-hearted, and she, on her part, was defending herself with rather more warmth than the occasion appeared to require.

“ What's the matter there ?" asked Mr. Morton, goodhumouredly, "I don't allow of quarrellers, you know; come to me, and let me see if I can't set you right in half a minute."

“Oh papa,” said Emma, stepping forward, “it's too bad of Robert, he says I'm cruel because.

"Emma says," interrupted Robert, "she's glad the poor Lollards were burnt, and that is being cruel, I think."

Nay, nay my boy,” said Mr. Morton, that's not fair, I'm sure your sister never said such a thing as that. Let me hear what you did say, Emma dear; when you're cool enough, at least.”

“Oh papa, I hope I'm quite cool now,” cried Emma, "I ought never to have been warm I believe, for I don't think Bob meant any thing—except to tease me a little."

“No, that I did'nt," said Robert, taking his sister's offered hand, "and I ought not to have teased you,

for I know you did'nt really mean what I said you meant.”

All this was not very clear, but Emma soon made it somewhat clearer by explaining to her father that they had been talking about the Lollards, and that she had said she liked to read of men who had endured suffering and even death, rather then abandon what they believed to be the truth, "But Robert can't bear to hear of such cases,” added she, "and he said I was cruel to like to know of them, and so when I wanted to tell him a story about a poor man who was burnt in the reign of king Henry IV, he would'nt listen to it.” “But I should like to hear it,

” said Mr. Morton, so tell it my dear; Robert, I hope, will not mind hearing it if I wish it.”

‘Henry V., when Prince of Wales,” said Emma, "was once present while a Lollard was being burnt. The fire had been lighted round the poor man, when the Prince rode up to him, and ordered that the flames should immediately be put out. This was done, and —”

"Oh Emma," interrupted Robert, interested in spite of himself, “well—what did Henry do?”

Henry told the Lollard that he would save his life, and would give him a pension to make him comfortable for the rest of his days, if he would but say that he now believed in all the doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church, but, though in great pain from the fire, the poor man steadily refused to save himself by telling an untruth, so the Prince gave orders that the fire should again be lighted, and the good noble Lollard was burnt."

“How shocking he should have died after all, when he had acted so well,” said Robert, “but. I suppose

he did'nt want to have his reward here, any more than the

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »