« PreviousContinue »
Thus, Richard and Lucy Clark became the happy means of embellishing God's earth with two really blessed homes; blessed, because honoured by God with the power of doing good—for a very small part of doing good is that performed by merely giving money-and, who can tell, how the sight of such calm and holy home happiness may have influenced and improved their neighbours? There is a converse to the proverb, “ Evil communications corrupt good manners ;" yet the good and wise do not improve the wicked and foolish by yielding their principles of duty and right, but by a firm and gentle adherence to what is good, true, and just. Still, the good and wise do not walk through “the strait gate and narrow way that leads to our better life," with sour lofty looks, intent only on keeping their own spotless robes unsullied ;-they help on with sunny smiles and gentle kindness their fellow-travellers.
Christ never stooped to conciliate sinners, by acting in accordance with their ideas; he pitied the sinners, but he loathed their sins. We can see, as we read the Gospels, the dear, the beautiful records of his short life, how the society of our Lord improved his constant companions—all but the wretched Judas, who loved gold better than his good and gentle Master-how John, the proud, the ambitious John, who longed for a throne next that of the “ Lord Christ," became meek, gentle, and loving, the duteous son of Mary, after his master's death ; and we learn that his last words to his church were, “ Children, love one another !” and Peter, ardent, excitable, and like persons of such temperament, subject to sudden impulses, though for a moment he lost courage in the hall of the high priest of his nation, became afterwards so calm, firm, full of high, unbending, quiet courage, maintaining his truth and integrity before Jewish and Gentile tribunals.
Perhaps, dear readers, we may at some future time, trace the opward and upward progress of our friends, Richard and Lucy.
readers will doubtless like to have a short account of George Stephenson, whose life has just been written in a big book. He rose by his own industry and perseverance from being a poor labourer in a coal pit, to a very high station of usefulness and honour. Railways and steam-carriages are now so common, that to the very young, they must appear as having always been, and boys and girls may never have thought about the inventor of them. George Stephenson was the man who contrived them, and brought them to perfection. His perseverance, under great difficulties, is an example to all, but especially to those who have to teach and support themselves, and make their own way in life. No one would think of calling George Stephenson a lucky man, for his success seemed to rest mainly upon his own talent and industry. His genius was the gift of God, but had he not been sober and righteous and industrious, this great gift would never have been of any value to him.
He was born in the village of Wylani, eight miles from Newcastle, on the 9th of June, 1781. His father and mother were a respectable couple, careful, and hard working, “ of the honourable family of workers.' The father, though much respected by the neighbours, got to be called “Old Bob," and his wife was spoken of as a rale canny body. We therefore see that the celebrated George Stephenson had that best fortune, to begin life with, good and respected parents. His father was a great favourite with all the boys of the village as he used to tell them stories of Sinbad the Sailor and Robinson Crusoe, and others of his own invention. He had also a strong affection for birds, and animals of all sorts. In the winter-time he had usually a number of tame robins about him, and they would come hopping familiarly round the engine-fire, to pick up the crumbs which he bad saved for them out of his slender dinner. His son inherited these tastes of his father, which must have tended to soften his character. George Stephenson when a boy, led the usual life of working-people's children. He played about the doors, went bird-nesting when he could, and ran errands to the village. In course of time he was promoted to the office of carrying his father's dinner to him while at work, and he helped to nurse his younger brother and sisters at home; for in the poor man's dwelling every band must early be turned to useful account. None of the children then went to school, the family was too poor and food too dear to admit of that. The family removed to Dewley Barn where George Stephenson was employed in herding cows, and keeping them out of the way of the coal waggons : for this George only had two-pence a day. It was light employment, and he had plenty of spare time on his hands, which he spent in bird-nesting, or making whistles out of reeds and scrannel-straws; but his favorite amusement was making little clay engines with a playmate.
He was next employed in hoeing turnips, for which he was paid fourpence "a day. He was then full of fun, and fond of sports, but always steady at his woak; even then he saw nothing clever in the way of tools, that he did not try to imitate. We have said before, that he had his father's fondness
for birds and animals, and blackbirds were his .especial favorites. There was not a nest near Dewley Barn that he did not know of.
When the young birds were old enough, he would bring them home and feed them, and teach them to fly about the cottage, unconfined by cages, he had to feed them, let us remember, from his own portion of food. One of his blackbirds became so tame, that after flying about the doors all day, and in and out of the cottage, it would roost upon George's bed-head at night. Ever since he had made his clay-engines in the bog, his great ambition was to be an engine-man, and to his delight, at the age of fourteen he was made a fireman, which was the first step towards the fulfilment of his wishes, and for this he obtained a shilling a day. He tried to learn everything about a steam-engine and its ways, and as soon as he was raised to twelve shillings a-week he said, “ he was a made man for life.” At this period he was a steady, sober, hard-working fellow. As he began to work at eight years old, he had little time for learning to read, but in a few years he gained instruction at evening schools, and obtained a knowledge of arithmetic, reading, and writing; and George seized every opportunity of improving his own mind by the wisdom of others. He tried many experiments with steam as a moving power whilst working at the collieries, and he examined into the machinery of different engines.
He became, by practice, very skilful in the delicate mechanism of clocks and watches, and by this means he gained a considerable sum by mending his neighbours' watches, at 2s. 6d. each ; and he once owned that he had gained and saved £100. by the work. Thus working and saving, George Stephenson was enabled prudently to marry. But before we continue our account of George's progress as an engineer, we must give an instance of his bravery : good and great men are always brave.
One day a workman hurried into Mr. Stephenson's cottage with the fearful news that the 'deepest main of the colliery was on fire. He immediately hastened to the pit's mouth, about a hundred yards off, where the women and children of the colliery were fast running,
with distress in every face. In a commanding voice, Stephenson ordered the engineer to lower him down the shaft in the corve. There was danger-it might be death-before him ; but he must go. As those about the pit's mouth saw him descend rapidly out of sight, and heard from the gloomy depths of the shaft the cries of despair rising from the work-people below, they gazed on the heroic man with amazement. He was soon at the bottom and in the midst of the work. men, who seemed struck helpless at the danger threatened to all in the pit. Leaping from the corve on its touching the ground, the brave man called out, “Stand back! Are there six men among you who have courage enough to follow me? If so, come, and we will put the fire out !” There were bricks and mortar at hand, they built up a wall to keep out the air, the fire was put out, the people saved from death, and the mine preserved. This account was related by a man who helped George Stephenson in this noble act. Seeing the evil attending the lights in the pit, he set about making a lamp that would prevent the danger. His safety-lamp was called a “ Geordy," and many people think it was that which lead to the invention of Sir Humphrey Davy for the same purpose.
To be continued.
OLD NURSE'S STORY.
(Continued from p. 28.) So you want me to describe this Christmas tree to you, do you? I am afraid that's beyond my powers, wait until you have seen the tree Miss Catherine is going by and bye to show you, and then you will be able to picture it to yourselves. The tree of which I speak looked very pretty, however, for the flags, sugar plum boxes, apples, oranges, ornamental baskets. and glittering pewter, had altogether a remarkably gay effect, as they hung among the dark fir branches, to which were fastened many lighted tapers of different colours. It did
my heart good to see the girls' delight, though some of them, to be sure, expressed it in a very odd