Page images
PDF
EPUB

the one of which we are speaking ; indeed, when we were at Canterbury, your mamma and I saw the remains of a fine old abbey said to have been founded by St. Augustine, and called after his name."

"St. Augustine, papa! was he made a saint of, then?”

Yes, Robert; some years after his death he was canonised, or, as you call it, made a saint of, by one of the

popes. That is, his name was placed among those of the great and good men who have distinguished themselves in the cause of religion, and churches and shrines were raised in his honour."

“And used people then to pray to him?"

“When a person had been canonised,” said Mr. Morton, “it was thought right that his protection should be implored, and persons used to come and kneel at his shrine, beseeching him for help, and fancying that he was able to procure for them the favour of the Almighty.”

Oh, papa,” cried Emma, “ how could that be thought right when—but then, to be sure, people in those days hadn't the same means of knowing the Bible that we have now. I suppose most of the people couldn't even read."

“No, certainly not; the monks were almost the only persons who possessed any learning, and we cannot suppose their knowledge to have been very great, for it appears that one copy of the Bible used frequently to serve for two or three monasteries in turn. Nevertheless, we owe a great deal to the monks for keeping up the knowledge of reading and writing, and of some of the sciences and arts, which without them, might, for a time at least, have been almost lost; and I must not forget to tell

you of a remarkable monk, named Bede, who lived about a hundred years later than Augustine, and who wrote a very valuable Church history, the contents of which are still preserved."

** Oh, what a curious book it must be; how I should like to read it !" cried Emma.

Her father smiled as he assured her that she would find it rather heavy reading, and would soon, probably, throw it aside in despair. Bede, or the Venerable Bede, as he is usually called," continued he, "seems to have been an enlightened man for his age, and at the time of his death he is said to have been employed in translating St. John's Gospel into English.”

“That was a good work, indeed,” said Emma, “ did it do the people any good, do you think, papa ?"

That I cannot tell you, dear. The death of Bede was followed by a period of great darkness and ignorance, and little that is satisfactory is known for many years of the state of religion in this country. In the year 1017, however, when Canute the Dane became king, an improvement began to take place in the condition of the people."

" Ah,” cried Emma, “I remember a story about Canute sitting by the sea shore, and I often thought of it when we were at Scarborough last summer.” The word “Scarborough ” caught Robert's rather flagging attention. “Oh, didn't we enjoy ourselves there," he exclaimed. “I think the sea-side's the nicest place in the world ; we only wanted to have

you

with us, papa!" Mr. Morton smiled, and suffered the conversation to be changed to the donkey rides, boating excursions, rambles on the sands, and all the other delights of their summer stay at Scarborough, which his children were never weary of describing.

WHAT JACK DID WITH HALF-A-CROWN.

(Concluded from page 53.)

CHAPTER III.

Is the two experiments Jack had made with his money since it was given him, he had found the unsatisfactory result of spending it on mere sensual pleasure, and of employing it to gain other people's money. He was so much disappointed to find his half-crown dwindled down into two shillings, without any happiness having been gained by means of it, that he went straight home and deposited these two shillings with his mother, telling ber the whole story, and asking what he could do with

the money

.

that would be best for Polly. His mother could not spare time to talk to him then. But at night, when it was almost bedtime, when Polly was already in bed and asleep, and mother and son were seated by the fire, she allowed him to go as deep as he liked into the subject. There was a third chair by the fire, and a friend whose advice had often proved useful to Jack, sat in it. “Old Benjamin ” was a little, broad, dark-complexioned man, who lived up a neighbouring court. His occupation was selling fish about the streets, and all day long he was slowly pushing his wheelbarrow before him, as he shouted in a measured tone “ Cokells, and Mosells, buy-'em-alive-oh!" Having no one to live with, he often spent an hour by the widow's fire; and having thought a good deal during some sixty years' experience, his conversation at such times, when he spoke without restraint, was of a higher character than would have been expected.

“I saw many things I could ha' bought,” said Jack, in a musing tone. “There were picture-books in one window, and I know Polly would like one of them, wi' posies in. Then there's a very good cap, looks like new, in Jacob Levi's, that's marked only a shilling. Just what I want, a cap is. Then I thought I could buy mother two ounces of that prime tea, like what she had at Aunt Betsy's, she said it were same as Queen drinks. Eh! what a sight o' things you can get wi' money. It's a fine thing is money.'

“ Bless the boy,” said his mother, “he thinks two shillings 'll ne'er be spent. Thou cannot but spend it once, Jack, and it 'll none go so far, lad, thou'lt see that. But hows'ever it's thine, and do what thou'st a will, I'll none stop thee. Its a rare thing for thee to have ought to spend; and we'n see how wise thou can'st be o'er it."

"Money is a fine thing," remarked Benjamin, “ for them as knows how to use it. But there's many a one, as I've often noticed, is waur wi' money than beout it. It leads some folk to think o' nought nobbut drinking and roistering, and doing such things as is neither pleasin' to God nor man.

Aye,” sighed the widow, “like my poor maester, when he'd had a good job and drawed the wages.”

"

“ There's others again," continued Benjamin, without regarding the interruption, “that can live in peace and quietness when they're poor, but when they get a bit o' money, they fall out ower it, because they never can abear to see another ha' more than theirselves."

“Just as Dennis and me got to fighting to-day,” said Jack. “But th' money shannot do me no harm. I'll buy Polly a book—that'll be sixpence; and mother two ounces of the tea, and then there'll be a shilling left

for the cap."

Well, lad,” said Benjamin, looking hard at him, "thou art right not to spend it all on thyself; but then the tea won't last long, and the cap 'll wear out; the book mayhap 'll get torn or lost. Suppose we could always ha’some money,—not just once, but more when that's gone."

“I shall have,” said Jack, “when I'm old enough to work at factory.

But some folk," persisted Benjamin, “ha' money wi'out working at factory. There's Wilson sells tea as thou talks o' buying for mother ; he works none, and he's getten money enough.”

" The men i' the shop gie him the money they sell tea for," reasoned Jack, "and that's how he does."

"Aye, but," persisted Benjamin, "I mind when he were a poor lad, and had no tea to sell. When he were thy age, he had none two shillings. But he gathered pennies till he geet enough to buy a pound or two o' tea, and I seen him going round, all up and down the country, to tempt folks to buy his tea, and then he saved money enough to start a little shop, and then little shop grown into big un, and now he's an old man he needs do nought but find tea and pay other men to sell it for him.”

"Oh, I see !” exclaimed Jack, “I'll buy half a pound o' tea wi' two shillings, and I'll take it to the folks' doors and tell 'em mother says it's same as Queen drinks, and sell 'em a bit here and a bit there, and get • as rich as Mr. Wilson."

"Eh, lad," cried his mother, after a hearty laugh, get thee to bed, and dunnot talk such nonsense." “Stop, stop,” remonstrated Benjamin, with a quiet smile. “Now-a-days people like to go to a shop for their tea, Jack, and thou'd never get on that-a-way. But there's other things sold besides tea. Fish now,folk allus wants fish, oysters, and cokells, and mosells,– it's a sure sale, and one or the other's in season all the year round. Then there's herrings, and flukes, and shrimps betimes. Now I've got a small barrow as 'ud be light enough for thee, and if so be thou'll like to spend one of thi shillings in fish, I'll see thou gets 'em good, and at a fair price, and I'll set thee going. Thou'lt sell 'em for one shilling and sixpence

“I shall ha' my half-crown back," interrupted Jack.

“But,” said Benjamin, “there's two rules to be attended to. Whether it's cold, or wet, or late, thou must never come home till thi barrow's empty- that's number one; and when thou gets thi money, thou must bring it home and save it, because thou'lt want a new barrow in a bit, and a bigger stock for every day. So no pennies for apples nor tossing, Jack !- that's rule number two."

“ You shall see,” said Jack, “I'll earn — how much do you earn, Benjamin ?"

· Well, one week wi' another, mayhap ten or twelve shilling."

• Then, when I get like that, I can buy lots of tea for mother, and books for Polly.”

“But dunnot be impatient, lad. Now go to bed, and be up at six to go wi' me to buy thi cokells; and Jack, dunnot be so full of thi new fancy as to forget thi prayers. Ask God to bless thee, lad, and to make thi money a good for thee.”

CHAPTER IV.

From this time Jack might be seen, every day, wheeling his little barrow, with its small heap of shellfish, in the rear of old Benjamin, and imitating, with his thin childish treble, the lusty shout with which his friend proclaimed to the public the wares he had to dispose of. It was no very light or easy task Jack had undertaken. Every morning he had to be ready to accompany Benjamin to meet the early train, which brought the fish to supply the day's stock. Then after

« PreviousContinue »