" L( pe laft C thiw down N.IOk tq P6 S.
"SWIAR NOT AT ALL."
WRITTIN FOR THE AMEIICAN 8UNDAT-SCHOOL UNION.
AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION,
No. 146 CHUTNUvT STRZlT.
Nw YOaK, No. 147 Nauau Stret.....BoTox, No.9 CbrMiQ.
LOUIBVILL, No. 103 bFurth Strut.
Adwed muihfg to ad of Owpinm% io do you IO, by the
AMNUZZ OVIDAY-SCHOOL UNIGE,
in te awOn OWas of the Vltft 0omit of the isism DiUc Of
4& o books we pablicd by the Ainza Saumummom Usn=
witout the sundim aSof theUM CapOf Phbi~ccdcm 00iuft CC
howtlm memob M4b the 6 lowhng demoulmocl wof Ohlsdsa, yTb
ZspbA KlStOWM Oopepdcmsf*lat srlscopAl, Pnsbytesls, mL
Imd IDUtc Not nm tha ths ot the m uss am be of the
"m dssommatim,d no bock an be pblshd toIs whh any m-
oIr at th Oomah~ a mb@U dt.
THRaE children were amusing themselves in
the front piazza of an elegant country dwelling
situated on the outskirts of one of our most
picturesque villages. The interest of our tale
does not require that we should mention either
the real name of the owner of the hot*, or
even that of the village near which it stood.
For convenience' sake, however, we will call
the former ROBERTS. Our readers must think
of him as a gentleinan of large property, ac-
quired partly by inheritance; and partly by
commerce, in which he had been so success-
fully engaged, that, though his name still re-
mained at the head of his firm, he had almost
entirely withdrawn from active participation in
business, and wdl thus enabled, at the time of
which we speak, to devote his attention to lite-
ray and agricultural pursuits, and to the su-
priatmdence of his children's education.
6 THE BOBNBT8 FAMILY.
Mr. and Mrs. RB rt were enaed in the
iyrior of the hose in conversadon with a
caeh esteemed visitor, while the three children,
already mentioned, were at their amusements
in the piazza. It was their holiday-time in the
middle of August. Their governess was absent
on a visit to her relatives, and they were there-
fore left somewhat to their own resources. As
the day was intensely warm, they were glad to
keep out of the glare of the sun, and to devote
themselves to such employment as were suited
to the season. The oldest, a pretty, cheerful-
looking girl, was busily at work upon a silken
purse; an4 the two boys, of the ages of nine
and seven, were equally busy, the former finish-
ing a kite of his own making, and the latter
endeavouring to fasten a whip-thong to its han-
dle. For some time not a word was uttered by
either of them; but the youngest seemed not
as successful nor as well pleased as his brother
and sister. He was evidently becoming irri-
tated and peevish. Many an angry excla-
mation escaped his lips; and at last, losing all
patience, he threw down his toy, and, while
tears started to his eyes, he stamped upon the
btqd, 4and uttered aloud a wicked oath.
"Oh, A .y! fie! for shame!" exclaimed
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
his sister, looking up in ii w and surprise.
The oldgr )oy also caes om his wo, j
gazed at his brother.
"Well, I do not care!" returned the little
fellow, giving way to his passion, and unable
longer to restrain his tears. "The plaguy
thing!" he sobbed,-" J cannot mend it."
"Well, but, Henry, is that any reason why
you should use such bad words ?" expostulated
the sister, in a soothing tone. "Oh, what
would mother and father say!"
"I do not care," the angry boy repeated,
sullenly. You need not look so at me, Mary.
I am not the only one. I heard William say
"Me You heard me say so, Harry !" ex-
claimed his brother.
"Yes, I did. You cannot deny it," the other
answered, in a loud voice. "I heard you say
so the other day, when you and Charles Rad-
nor were racing hoops."
Oh, Willie! did you say so ?" asked Mary.
William hung his head for a moment or two,
as if conscience-stricken and abashed; but he
suddenly raised it, and, looking at Mary, re-
Yes, Mary, I remember it now. I had fr-
8 THE ROBERTB FAMILY.
gotten it at the moment. I did say so. I was
playing with Charles Radnor, and you know
he often says such things. I caught it from
him: but I thought no one heard me."
"Oh, Willie! Did you forget that God
heard you? Did you not know that it was
wrong ? How sorry mother would be if she
knew it, and father too! How often has
he warned you against using such bad
"I know he has, Mary," answered William,
quite ashamed. I was sorry for it as soon as
I had said it. But it is so difficult to hear
others and not imitate them."
"I am sure I did not know Charles Radnor
was such a bad boy," said Mary in reply.
" And I am sure too, if father knew he was, he
would not let you play with him."
"Well, Mary, you need not make such a
fuss about it," rudely interposed her younger
brother, who had picked up his whip. "You
often do wrong yourself. Remember when-"
Hush I Harry," said William, interrupting
him. If Mary does do wrong, that is no ex-
cuse for us. Besides," added the noble boy,
in vindication of his sister, you know you are
wrong to say, 'she often does wrong.' She is
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
very careful to obey both our parents, and ]
wish we were as careful as she is."
Henry looked both surprised and confused
by his brother's words, while their sister blushed
deeply at her own praise. But it was well
deserved. She was careful in her obedience
to her parents, and in her exertions to merit
Mary and her brothers were blessed with,
perhaps, the greatest of all blessings-religious
and judicious parents, who had endeavoured to
prove their affection for their children not only
by kindness and prudent indulgence, but also
by an unvarying anxiety to imprint upon their
youthful minds the knowledge of the duties re-
quired from them. These children, young as
they were, well knew that they were responsible
creatures. They had been wisely trained to
remember that the eye of God was always upon
them, and that from him they could hide no
act or thought. They had been trained to fear
the displeasure of their Creator, and to reve-
rence his laws; devoutly to love their Re-
deemer, and to strive to imitate his example.
Obedience to their parents was with them a
habit, one which they rarely disregarded; and
experience had taught them that a frank on-
10 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
session, when duty had been infringed, or a
fault committed, was the best and surest way
to regain their parents' confidence, and to se-
cure pardon and peace of coioce to them-
selves. Acting under this convi ea, William
thus continued, after his gentle rebuke to his
Yes, Harry," he said, "Mary is right, and
we have both done what is wrong. Father and
mother will, I know, be grieved when they
hear of it."
What! are you going to tell them?" asked
little Henry, in consternation.
Yes," answered William, "I am. I have
often promised them that I would try never to
swear, or make use of bad language. They
said it was not only ungentlemanly, but very
wicked.-I have broken my promise, and I
must tell them of it."
"Ah!" exclaimed Henry, who was greatly
alarmed at the idea of informing his father;
" but pray why did not you think of that before,
William ? Why did you wait till you had me
in the scrape ?"
I am sorry that you are in it, Harry," an-
swered Willism, ingenuously, "for I see now
that it only makes my conduct worse. I did not
TIE RODENTS FAMILY.
think mueh of what I said the other day, be.
cause I was busy playing, and I thought you
did not hear me. I had almost forgotten it.
But now I tqkw that I was wrong, and I have
made you '44Srong too. So I must tell my
their and bear what punishment he thinks
proper to inflict upon me."
Henry looked still more frightened and
abashed. He felt that he also had done wrong,
and that he ought to confess it, and be sorry
for it. The latter he certainly was, though I
very much fear his sorrow was not caused by a
proper feeling of repentance, but by the fear
that his parents, knowing his fault, might pre-
vent his joining a party of his young friends
to be assembled that evening at the house of
their Sunday-school teacher. While he wa
thinking of this, his father and mother, accom-
panied by that vey gentleman, the teacher,
Mr. Wrayley, cae upon the piazza.
"My children," said Mrs. Roberts, "here is
Mr. Wrayley, who has been kind enough to
come to-bat-hey-day what is the matter?
You all look as if something very bad had hap-
pened! And you, Henry! Why, you have been
crying! What has occurred? -Mary, what
is it all?"
12 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
Mary cast her eyes to the floor, Atier ftce
and neck were covered with a deepB .
"Henry," continued the father, "come tell
me: what is the matter ?"
,Poor Henry said not a word, but burst into
"Well, then, William, since I can obtain no
answer from the others, I must apply to you."
William raised his eyes to his father. The
glance was but for a moment, pet it spoke of
both shame and sorrow. Layipg aside the kite,
he approached his parents, and though his face
was deadly pale, answered in a firm tone.
" Yes, sir," said he, "I am the proper one to
answer your question, for I am the one who has
done wrong. Something bad has happened;
but I was determined to tell you of it sfe
you came here."-He then proceeded isa ly
to relate what had occurred, mentioning his
own transgression first, and then endeavouring
to soften that of his brother by attributing
it to the bad example which he himself
I am sorry to hear that you have legun to
contract so wicked a habit as that of using pro-
fane language, my dear son," said his father,
in a sad tone. I never knew you to be guilty
THE ROBERTS FAMILY. 1I
of it before. You must have learned it from
others' Who has led you into this sin ?"
William did not immediately reply. He was
a boy of kind and generous impulses, and was
therefore unwilling to mention the name of his
playfellow, Charles Radnor.
Speak out, William," continued his father.
"If you have companions who set you bad ex-
amples, and from whom you are likely to learn
evil, it is my duty to keep you from them.
From whom, I ask, did you learn bad words?"
Againwas William reluctant to answer;
but the sterner tone of his father's voice and
his own habits of prompt obedience compelled
him to reply, though in an almost inaudible
voice, "From Charles Radnor."
"From Charles Radnor !" repeated his father;
"Nom one whom you have known but little
more than three weeks! Is it so, my son? You
have then allowed one who is a mere acquaint-
anee-a boy of your own age-to have more
influence with you than your parents, who have
watched over and instructed you for long
years I Nay, you have allowed his evil exam-
ple to lead you to that which you know the
word of God has strictly forbidden. You have
sinned against him, as well as disobeyed your
14 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
mother and myself; and, as is always the case,
your sin has not remained with you, but has
led another-your own brother-to the com-
mission of the same. Tell me, William, is this
the first and only time you have been thus
Indeed, indeed it is, sir," said William,
who had been struggling with the tears that
now streamed down his face. "I never used
such before nor since. When I used them, I did
not know that Henry heard me; and-"
Well did Mary suggest to you the thought
that God heard you," said Mr. Roberts, inter-
rupting him. "You seem surprised, my chil-
dren; but we heard all-Mr. Wrayley, your
mother, and I-we heard all that passed."
The three children looked anxiously at each
other, but did not speak.-" To you, Mary,"
continued their father, "I have only to say,
that you have acted and spoken as a good child,
and a kind and affectionate sister. You have
delighted both your mother and myself, and
highly pleased your friend Mr. Wrayley."
,,ry's face agd glowed; yet, though her
eye sparkled for a moment at her father's
praise, she approached him with a sad aad
anxious look, and drawing him down to her,
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
she first kissed him, and then whispered-
"Pray do not be angry with the boys, father.
I know they are sorry for it"
Sorry for it, are they t' repeatedd Mr. Ro-
berts, aloud, as he placed his hand affection-
ately upon her head. "Well, my love, I hope
and trust they are; but remember that soerr
is of no avail unless followed by amendment.
And I am not angry, my child: we are grieved,
deeply grieved, both your mother and I, to find
that sons of ours, whom we have so carefully
instructed in their duty to God, and for whom
so many prayers have been addressed to the
throne of grace, have so far forgotten them-
selves as to utter an oath. Swearing and all
use of all profane words are strictly forbidden
by our Divine Saviour. They have, therefore,
sinned against him who died for them, and have
thus crucified the Son of God afresh. Sincere
penitence, and a determination, aided by the
grace of Christ, to shun such sin for the future,
can secure pardon where alone pardon must
be sought. William, you expressed your sor-
row when you did not know that you wre
heard by others besides your brother and sis-
ter. So far you did well, and your confession
gives us the best assurance that you will not
b. C **
16 THE ROBERT8 FAMILY.
willingly repeat the sin. But guard your
tongue well, my dear boy; remember what the
apostle James has said-' It is an unruly evil,
full of deadly poison.' You did well, too, in
your gentle defence of your sister; in the en-
durance of your brother's reproach; and in
your generous endeavour to palliate his fault.
In all this you have pleased us highly; yet as
you have been guilty of a sin, which, like all
sin, will grow by indulgence; and as you have
set a bad example to your brother, to which he
attributes his own fault, you must go to your
own room, my son, and remain there for a time,
and give yourself an opportunity for meditation
and self-examination. If your own conscience
accuse you, you know where to apply for par-
don and for peace of mind."
William bowed, and withdrew, not in anger
or sullenness, as many boys would have done,
but in sorrow for having offended, and in a de-
termined resolution to avoid any such offence
for the future.
It was now Henry's turn. The little fellow
had listened in tears and with a beating heart
to his father's words. He knew that for him
there was no palliating circumstance-no com-
mendation to be expected, and he therefore
THR ROBEBa FAMILY. 1T
vainly endeavoured to stifle his sobs when his
father turned to him.
And now, my little boy," said he, extend-
ing his hand and drawing Henry toward him-
self, "what shall I say to you? I am sorry
that there is no part of yor conduct in all this
sad affair that I can praise. You did wrong,
and to defend that wrong you did not hesitate
to commit still farther wrong. When reminded
by your kind sister of your fault, instead of
confessing it at once, and feeling sorrowful,.
you expressed a contemptuous 'I do not care;'
you endeavoured to throw the blame from your-
self on your brother; censured, rudely and
unjustly, your sister; and uttered a mean in-
sinuation against William's conduct, while he
was willing to offer an excuse for yours. So,
in addition to your first fault, you have been
guilty of stubbornness, of rudeness, of injus-
tice, and of ingratitude. Your first fault was
disobedience to the command of God, and to
the injunctions of your parents. Now, my son,
all this is very bad; and though you are very
young, you must be conscious you deserve
punishment. You dreaded to have your con-
duct known to your mother and myself. Did
you not ?"
THE ROBERT8 FAMILY.
"Yes, sir,"-sobbed Henry, after a short
"And why so? Are we accustomed to be
so severe with you as to make you afraid
"No, air; I-I wau afraid of-." He was
unable to finish the sentence.
"Afraid of what? Dry your tears, and let
"I-I was afraid-you-would not let me
go-4o Mr. Wrayley's to-night," he managed
to say, and then burst into a fresh flood of tears.
That was your fear, was it ?" said Mr. Ro-
berts. "It was a just fear, my son, and one
which your own conscience suggested. Under
other circumstances I should most certainly
forbid your going; but Mr. Wrayley has parti-
cularly requested me not to keep you away, and
as I know he would not ask this without having
some very good reason for it, I shall still let
you go. I think, however, that you have
spoiled your own hopes of enjoyment; for there
can be none with a conscience ill at ease. I shall
let you go, but in the mean time you also must
go into your own room, and remain there until
dinner. If by that time you have felt truly
sorry for all your faults, and if you have Inade
THE ROBBBTS IAMILT
an honest resolution to try to avoid thbm he-
after, you may then oome down to us. You
are generally in honest boy, and I think you
will not pretend sorrow if you do not feel it.
Now you may go,"
Henry went, bat in frame of mind very
different from that of his brother. He was
naturally passionate, and somewhat head-
strong; and though the kind teaching ead jue
dicious treatment of his parents had done
much toward curing him of these evil propen-
sities, yet they were still strong enough to ren-
der him less tractable than his brother. Be-
sides, having promised himself much pleasure
in his anticipated visit to Mr.Wrayley's house,
where were several children nearly of his own
age, and having felkvery certain that his fa-
ther would forbid his going when he knew of
his transgression, he now, in the assurance that
he would not be detained at home, was so de-
lighted at his escape from the expected punish-
ment as almost to forget that he had been guilty
of any fault. This, however, did not last long.
He was condemned to solitary confinement in
his own room for at least three hours, and his
habits of active amusement, and the loss of the
society of his brother and sister, made him
STHRE OBnRTS FAMILY.
heartily tired of it long before one third of the
time had passed. He endeavoured to find
some diversion in gazing from his open win-
dow; but every spot, every tree in the view
before him was a familiar thing, and not a living
creature of any kind was visible. He turned
away, wearied and dispirited, and sought among
the.few books in his room for one with which
to while away an hour. Here, too, he was dis-
appointed. He had read them all again and
again; their very pictures he had pored over
so often that it seemed to *i as if he knew
their every line. There was a small Bible upon
his bureau, but this ke did not touch. He was
in no mood for its sacred teachings. More and
more at a loss how to spend the tedious time,
he threw himself sullenly upon his bed, and be-
gan to reflect upon what had passed. His first
thoughts were of an angry and rebellious na-
tare; for he tried to satisfy his own mind by
the excuse that he was too severely punished
for a slight fault.
"And, after all," he said, half aloud, what
did I do? I only said a few words that
did not hurt anybody:" but at that moment
the sad look of his mother when she came
upon the piazza suddenly occurred to.. his
THB BOBERTS JAXILY. at
memory, and then he, unconsciously almost, ut-
tered aloud the words he had so often repeated
to her in his catechism, and which she had so
affectionately explained-" Thou shalt not take
the name of the Lord thy God in vain." His
conscience at once smote him, and he felt (not-
withstanding his endeavours at self-justifica-
tion) that he had been guilty not only of 4is-
obedience to his parents, but also of a great
sin against his Maker. Tears again started to
his eyes. He felt very unhappy, and he no
longer thought do the punishment he was en-
during, but rather of the fault which had pro-
cured it, and of the pain that he had inflicted
upon his mother, whom he dearly loved.
While he was in this softened mood, he heard
a gentle tap at his doe, and before he could
answer it, his sister Mary entered the room.
For a moment his evil feelings returned; for he
unjustly regarded his sister as the chief cause,
of his present disgrace, and he saluted her with
a rude-" What do you want ?"
"Oh, Henry !" she answered, "how can
you be so ill-tempered and so sullen, when-"
"I do not care! I do notwantyou! It was
all your fault. If you had not made such a fuss,
nobody would have known any thing about it."
22 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
How unjust you are, Henry! You know
that father said he heard it all: and besides,
even if he had not, would that make your
fault any less?"
"It is none of your business," Henry an-
swered, very roughly. "Father said I was to
stay here alone. So you are disobeying him
by coming here now."
"Indeed Ism not. I would not have come
without his permission. And, oh! Henry, I
am sure if you had seen how mother cried when
Mr. Wrayley went away, you would feel sorry
for what you have done."
Henry looked at her with glistening eyes.
His lips quivered, but he said not a word.
Yes," continued his sister, finding that she
had toqphed his better feelings, mother cried
very much, and was very sad. She said she
was shocked to think that such young boys as
you and William, her own sons too, whom she
had so carefully taught, should learn to use
wicked words; and she said too, that it made
her feel still more sad to think that you did
not seem at all sorry for your fault."
Did she say so ?" asked Henry, while tears
streamed down his face.
"Yes, she did indeed: and this made me
THI ROBERTS FAMILY. 28
feel very sad too; for I was sure that you
would be sorry when you heard it; and so, after
thinking it over a long while, I asked father to
let me come and speak with you. He gave me
leave, but told me not to try to make you say
you were sorry if you did not really feel so."
"Father need not have said that," inter-
rupted Henry; "for I am sure I would not
tell a lie about it."
"No, I am sure you will not, and so I told
him. So now, dear Henry, let us talk it all
And talk it over they did. Mary's affection-
ate good-nature, aided by her gentle remon-
strances and by her evident sorrow for his dis-
grace, soon drove away all his evil feelings.
He was now ashamed of his rudeness po her,
and listened attentively to all she said. Their
conversation lasted for a long time, and at
length ended by Henry's asking his sister to go
to their mother and beg her to come to him.
A few minutes only had passed when his
mother entered his room. Henry could not at
first meet her eyes; yet he voluntarily, and
with frankness and apparent sincerity, told her
that he was very sorry for the sin of which he
had been guilty, and for the pain which he had
24 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
caused her and his father. He begged her for-
giveness, and promised that he would, for the
future, endeavour not only to refrain, from all
improper language, but also to keep a better
guard over his temper.
All this he said in his own boyish way, and
with an emotion which showed that he really
felt what he expressed. Mrs. Roberts was de-
lighted by her son's penitence and promises of
amendment. She therefore spoke kindly and
soothingly to him, and assured him of her own
and his father's forgiveness. "But, my dear
boy," she added, as she drew him affectionately
to her, "though your father and mother are
ready and willing to forgive you, and to love
you, as we have always done, yet you must re-
member that there is One whom you have of-
fended, and whose pardon and favour are of far
more importance to you than even the forgive-
ness of your parents. You have offended your
Father in heaven, and his pardon, my son, you
must now seek to gain. Are you willing and
anxious to pray to him for this ?"
Oh, yes, dear mother, I am-I am willing,"
sobbed Henry, through his tears. "Only do
you pray for me!"
"Gladly, my son," answered his mother.
THB BOBERTS FAMILY.
" Come kneel by me, and let your whole heart
aooompany my words."
The mother and her son kneeled together,
and as she gave utterance to her heartfelt sup-
plications to the throne of grace, the now pepi-
tent boy listened and responded to every word.
When they rose, she kissed him kindly, and
then advised him, as his father had directed
him to remain in his room till the dinner hour,
to spend the rest of the time in meditation upon
what had passed. This Henry cheerfully pro-
mised to do, and when his mother left him, he
no longer fretted at his confinement; and if he
was anxious for the moment of his release, it
was only that he might express to his father his
sorrow for his misconduct, and his resolve& for
It came at last. The dinner-bell rang, and
Henry, leaving his room with a far lighter
heart than that he had when he entered it,
hastened to his father, who received him kindly,
freely forgave him, and when he had added a
few words of advice and warning respecting his
future conduct, this Christian family were re-
united around their happy board.
26 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
AT the appointed hour the three children
started on their visit to Mr. Wrayley't hoase.
Of this gentleman all that need be said is, that
he was truly a Christian in all his deportment.
His whole life was devoted to the good of his
fellow creatures, and children particularly at-
tracted his benevolent efforts. He loved to
be with them, to guide and instruct them;
and he was endowed with a peculiar faculty
which enabled him to interest their feelings,
and to rivet their strictest attention to his in-
structions. Consequently he was a universal
favourite among the young.
Mary and her brothers found the whole of their
Sunday-school class assembled at Mr. Wray-
ley's, and among them was the delinquent
Charles Radnor. With all of these they were
acquainted, and the little party were soon bu-
sily engaged in their amusements on the spa-
cious lawn before the house. The loud bois-
terrus shouts of the boys, and the gay, merry,
ringing laughter of the girls, mingled every
now and then with their shrill screams of sur-
prise, or half-feigned alarm, gave evident to-
kens of their joyous mood. For some time
they gamboled and frolicked uninterruptedly,
to their hearts' content, until, half-breathless,
THE ROBBITS FAMILY.
and with pushed cheeks and beaming eyes,
they eme laughing around their host, who,
between five and six o'clock, suddenly made
his appearance among them.
"Oh! Mr. Wrayley!" cried a merry-eyed
little girl, "I am so glad you have come! I
have been playing so hard that I am almost
tired of it."
Not only almost, but quite, my dear, if I
may judge from your looks," answered Mr.
Wrayley. "Indeed, you all appear to have
played enough; at least you have played
with all your might! You are all heated by
your exertions. Will it not be wiser to remain
quiet for the next half hour, till we are sum-
moned to tea ?"
Oh, yes! Mr. Wrayley," said another lit-
tle girl; "we will all be as quiet as mice, if
you will only take us into the summer-hous^
and tell us some story."
Come then," answered their host, good-
humouredly; let us do as this little girl says;
and though I may not promise you a story, I
will at least try to interest you for half an
"And will it be all true, what you tell us ?"
asked the proposer of the scheme, as she seized
28 THE ROBERTS FAMILY..
Mr. Wrayley's hand and accompanied him to
"Yes, my dear," Mr. Wrayley answered;
"it will be all true-true in all respects ex-
cepting the names."
"Oh, dear! how pleasant that is!" said
another little girl, as they entered the summer-
house. "Listen, girls; Mr. Wrayley is going
to tell us a story."
"You all know, I believe," said Mr. Wray-
ley, looking around, with a kind smile, upon
his youthful audience, "that though I have
long lived here, this is not my native place. I
was born in the sunny South, where my pa-
rents, induced by commercial considerations,
had taken their temporary residence. My fa-
ther was a true Englishman. He had left his
friends and his native country with much re-
gret and reluctance, and his first wish and most
earnest desire was to return to them. Ac-
cordiagly, when I was about seven years old,
my father, having been eminently successful in
commerce, gladly closed his business on this
side of the Atlantic, and once more removed,
with all his family, to his dearly-loved country.
For several years my education was attended
to at home, and I was nearly fifteen when my
THE NOBEITS FAMILY.
parents determined to place me in an eminent
boarding-school, under the superintendence of
a clergyman of the Church of England.
"This school was conducted on a plan very
different from that adopted in the schools'of
this country. Though a private seminary, it
was carried on after the example of some of the
large English institutions, such as Harrow and
Eton colleges, in which the system of fagging
is practised. This system, and perhaps the
word itself, is hardly known in America, and
our republican ideas would scarcely tolerate it,
yet in England it was found, and for aught I
know, may still be found in use."
Will you please to tell us what fagging is,
Mr. Wrayley ?" asked one of the boys. "I
have often heard and read of it, but I never un-
derstood what it meant."
"It is simply a connection formed between
boys of different ages or different attainments,"
answered Mr. Wrayley. "Those in the lower
classes are the fags of their schoolmats that
are farther advanced than themselves. The
duties of the fag depend very much pon the
disposition of him whom he serves, or who is,
in other words, his master. Sometimes ser-
vices almost menial are required from him, and
THE ROBIRTO FAMILY.
then the fag is, of course, in an unpleaant
predicament; but generally these services are
confined to doing slight errands, when his mas-
ter- is himself too lazy to move; to taking care
of his books, balls, bats, and other implements
either of study or of amusement; and then, on
the other hand, the master is expected to re-
turn these services by protecting his fag from
the oppression of other and older lads, and by
instructing and assisting him in his studies."
"Well, all I know is, I should not like to
be a fag," said the same boy who had before
"Perhaps not," responded Mr. Wrayley;
"but I must proceed with my tale. The school
in which I was placed was divided into six
forms or classes, the first being the lowest and
least advanced. The boys of this form were
generally very young, few being older than ten,
an4 they were therefore exempt from fagging.
TIMe, however, of the second and third forms
were always fags, while those of the fifth and
sixth were their masters. The boys of the
fourth form were considered as having worked
their way through bondage, though they were
not advanced to the dignity of masters till they
reached the fifth. eae good result of this sys.
THa OaTS A MILY. 81
ter was, that it was a constant incitement to
industry; for every boy was sure of advance-
ment into a higher form whenever he proved
himself fitted for it. The discipline pf the
school was very strict, and always impartially
maintained and enforced; and particularly se-
vere was. one excellent old teacher upon two
offences, which are, unhappily, but too common
among boys-lying and swearing."
The last word caused deep blushes to appear
upon several of the faces of Mr. Wrayley's
youthful auditors, and particularly upon those
of our young friends William and Henry, be-
tween whom and their sister Mary rapid and
uneasy glances were exchanged. Mr. Wray-
ley, however, took no notice of these tell-tale
The doctor," he continued, as we always
called our master, frequently warned us against
these two vices. 'I wish to make my bqes'
he would say, both' Christians and gentleman;
but he who contracts these abominable habits
can be neither one nor the other. The first is
a mean and cowardly vice: it is a sin against
both God and man; it destroys all confidence
in mutual intercourse, and is sure to bring upon
him who is guilty of it t)well-merited con-
TEI BRoTS FAMILY.
tempt of his fellow beings. And as for swear-
ing that is the fool's vice. Of all sins, it is
the most absurd, the most senseless. It is a
sure mark of a low, vulgar mind. Other sins
have some fancied gratification, some desired
end as their cause and excuse; but swearing is
both causeless and aimless: it is a mere vicious
habit, generally contracted from intercourse
with the low, the base, and the ignorant; it
cannot produce even.a moment's gratification
to him who indulges it, while it is disgusting to
the man of refinement, painfully shocking to
the Christian, a wilful violation of the divine
law, and a gratuitous insult to the Almighty.
Avoid these habits, my dear boys, if you wish
to be either gentlemen or Christians.'
Such were the usual warnings of our
teacher; but I am sorry to say, that while his
remarks upon the first vice, that of lying, made
their full impression upon our minds, those
upon swearing were almost universally disre-
garded. This habit many of my older school-
fellows had learned elsewhere. They indulgedin
it frequently and recklessly, and some of them,
I believe, were even silly enough to imagine
that it helped to make them seem manly. They
therefore laughed at the doctor's preaching, as
TrI ROBnETS FAMILY. 88
they termed it, and their bad example was too
often followed by the younger boys. Now I
will return to myself.
"When I entered the school, I was placed in
the fourth form; but after I had been there
six months, a general examination was held,
and I was advanced to the fifth. At the same
examination a number of the boys of the first
were promoted to the second, and among them
was one lively, bright-eyed little fellow, whom
I will call Edward Nolton. His parents and
mine were acquaintances, and immediately after
the classes were dismissed, he ran to me and
entreated me to take him as my fag. To this
I willingly consented, and it is now a pleasure
to remember that we were always upon the best
terms. He did, cheerfully, all that I required
of him, and I in turn as constantly aided him
in his studies.
One day (I remember it as well as if it had
happened yesterday) I was sitting and reading
under one of the trees in our play-ground, and
at a little distance from me Edward was busily
engaged with several boys of his own age,
playing at marbles. They were talking rather
loudly, some rejoicing at their great success,
and others complaining aud.rumbling at their
84 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
'ill-luck.' Among these was my fag. I paid
little or no attention to them, but continued to
read until I heard the utterance of an oath.
It was a bold expression, 'taking God's name
in vain.' I looked up. It was Edward's voice!
Our eyes met, and his face was instantly covered
by a deep blush. Nothing, however, was said
on either side, and shortly afterwards he with-
drew from his playmates. I did not see him
again until the evening, when he came to me as
usual to hear his lessons for the next day. His
manner then was quite unlike his usual bear-
ing. He was naturally of a lively cheerful
disposition, full of fun and frolic; but that
evening he seemed sad and thoughtful. Hap-
pily for myself, I had been early taught to
abhor every kind of profane language. None
of my school-fellows had ever heard me utter
an oath, and I therefore felt that I could con-
scientiously rebuke my li1'6g. I am sorry
to remember, however, tI& I founded my re-
marks to him, not ea the sin incurred by swear-
ing, but solely on its vulgarity.
"'I was surprised, Edward,' I said to him,
after the lessons were finished, 'to hear you
utter such a shameful oath this morning'
THU RODURTI 1 MJLY.
"He looked down upon his books, but made
Do you not remember,' I resumed, what
the doctor has so often told us,-that swear-
ing is a low, grovelling vice? And I wonder
what your father, who, though a soldier, is so
remarkable for his correct and gentlemanly
language, would have said if he had heard it.'
"'Why, I know he would be very angry,'
answered Edward, somewhat reluctantly, 'and
mother too; for she is very religious.'
"' I think so too,' I said. Why, that oath
would have sounded bad enough coming from
the mouth of some low fellow; but from such
a little boy as you, it was really horrible.'
Do not say any more about it, Richard,'
he answered, evidently ashamed; 'I do not
like swearing myself. You never heard me
swear before, and I do not think you will'
"I told him I wilad to hear 4 and with
that we parted. Poor little fellow! he never
did swear again, but that one oath caused him
much pain afterwards.
Some few weeks after this occurrence, we
heard that' he measles raged in the country-
town near whilh was our school, and it very soon
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
broke out among ourselves. Its attacks had
been unusually fatal, and there was, therefore,
some alarm among those who had not had the
disease. It attacked about twenty of the boys,
some very lightly, but twelve of them so se-
verely that much anxiety was felt on their
account. These were placed in a room apart
from the rest of us, and we were all forbidden
to enter it.
For many days the most of them trembled,
if I may so speak, between life and death. A
general gloom overspread the whole school; the
usual noisy sports were suspended, and every
night we stole, shoeless and noiseless, to our
beds, fearing our steps might disturb the re-
pose of the sick.
"At last the crisis was past, and, in a day
or two after, favourable answers were given to
our constant inquiries. First, they were no
worse; then, they were a little better; then, the
danger was passed; now, they were improving
rapidly; and, finally, the day was named on
which most of them would probably be per-
mitted to leave their room. When this intelli-
gence was conveyed to us, it gave sincere plea-
sure to the hearts of all: it t4 seemed as
if each was prepared to hail with joy the retup
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
of beloved brothers from the brink of the
"On the morning of the promised day we
rose cheerfully, anticipating the return of our
schoolmates; but the first news greatly disap-
pointed us. We were told that one of the
seemingly convalescent boys had, during the
night, suffered a relapse, and that he was in
greater danger than before. It was Edward
Nolton, my fag! The little fellow had regained
his strength even faster than his companions,
and on the preceding evening, during the ab-
sence of the nurse, had left his bed, and wan-
dered for some time about the room, in only
the slight covering of his night-clothes. The
consequence was, he took a severe cold; and
this had advanced so rapidly that it had al-
ready produced internal inflammation. The
parents of most of the sick had been called to
them during the danger of their children; but
those of Edward were excepted, because he had
suffered the least. They were now immediately
"In the course of the afternoon, Mrs. Har-
ley, the wife of Dr. Harley, our teacher, desired
to see me 4er private parlour. She told me
that Edwat had been, for two hours past, beg-
THU ROhERTS FAIT.'
going most earnestly to see me. 'So anxious
is he about it,' she added, 'that, though the
physician left strict orders to keep him per-
fectly quiet, I am afraid to deny his request
any longer. You must therefore go to him;
but do not stop long, for we fear he is in a
very critical state, and talking may exhaust
him.' I promised to be prudent, and was then
led to my little fag.
I was indeed shocked-almost frightened-
by his appearance; and had I not known that
it was Edward Nolton lying there before me,
I should have thought that I was gazing upon a
stranger, so entirely were his features changed.
He received me with a faint smile, and beckoned
me to his bd. I took his hand: it was dread-
fully emaciated, and it seemed as if there was
nought between my touch and the bones of his
finger, save the thin burning skin.
"' My dear Edward,' I said to him, in a low
voice, it is a sad sight to see you lying here.
Tel me, bow do you feel?'
"'Dying,-Richard,' he feebly answered; 'I
feel,-I know I am dying; and, oh! I have
wished so much to see you.'
"'So MrS Harley told me, aad now I am
here. Tell me what I can do for you.'
TIN IBURTS FAMILY.
S' I want--I want to talk to t you. Nurse hu
been very kind, but I do not want her to hear.
Ask her to leave the room for a little while.'
The nurse heard his request, and after cau-
tioning him not to talk much, she did as he
wished. He then pointed to a chair 'by the
side of his bed, as if he wished me to take it;
and as I saw he was exceedingly agitated, I
thought it best to humour him, and therefore
took my seat as near to him as possible.
"' Richard,' he said, dear Richard, tell me,
was not that oath a dreadful one?' and he
looked at me as if in painful impatience for my
answer. I hardly knew what to say; I was
fearful of increasing his agitation if ; told him
what I really thought, and a falsell I would
"Before I could make up my mind, he again
spoke-' You need not say any thing about
it, Richard. I see what you think. It is just
as you said before: it was horrible, very
horrible! I remember the words: I casAt
drive them from me. They are always sounlpg
in my ears, and I cannot help repeating them:
Oh, Richard! It is very dreadful. I know-I
know I shall die-die very soon, and yet it
seems I am swearing-swearing all the time.
40 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
Dear Richard, have pity on me, and tell me
what I can do ?'
"It was evident that the poor boy spoke
with much pain, but his bodily suffering seemed
absorbed in his greater mental agony. He
looked up in my face, and tears trickled slowly
down his cheek. I could hardly restrain my
own as I answered,
"'Dear Ned, I am sorry to see you suffer
so much, and I wish I knew how to advise you.
You must not think of dying'-he shook his
head-' at least you must not let the thought
of it increase your sickness. You are very
young, and you may yet recover. I hope sin-
cerely that you will; and then you can prove
by your future conduct that that unhappy oath
did not come from your heart. You must not
think so much of it. You meant no harm by it,
and'- Here he turned his head away from me,
as if he found no comfort from my words; and
the thought immediately struck me, that I was
indeed a miserable comforter; and that I was
myself doing wrong in endeavouring to deceive
him into the belief that he had not sinned. My
own conscience smote me; for I, too, knew that
he must be in great danger of death, and I im-
mediately added, But you know, my dear Ed-
TI KOBDTI FAMILY. 41
ward, I am not fit to advise you in such a mat-
ter as this. Why do you not speak to Mrs.
Harley, or to the doctor about your feelings ?'
"'I wanted to do so,' he said, in a still fee-
bler voice than before; but dear Mrs. Har-
ley, she is so good! I was ashamed to tell her
how wicked I had been. She read the Bible
to me this morning: she read the beginning of
the 18th chapter of Matthew. I know she
thought it would comfort me; and it did, till
she came to the words, It must needs be that
offences come; but wo to that man by whom
the offence cometh!" I remember them well;
and then I thought again of my swearing, and
the horrible words came again upon my tongue,
and I could not help repeating them till she
read the verse which says, Take heed that ye
despise not one of these little ones; for I say
unto you, That in heaven their angels do al-
ways behold the face of my Father, which is
in heaven;" and then I thought that these
words could not be meant for me; for I remem-
bered many, many things that I had said and
done which 1 never thought of before; and that
oath too! when I cursed my own soul, and-
and, oh, Richard! I am very miserable: I wish
my poor mother was here.'
4t THSU A033T8 FAMILY.
"It was a sad and solemn sight to see a
child so young, so lately full of buoyant life,
of free, and glad, and stirring spirits, prostrate
upon the bed of pain, self-accused, and trem-
bling at the approach of death. It was a sad
and solemn sight, yet good and salutary in its
effects; for I, too, was humbled when I thought
that if death could strike at one so young, and
if conscience, wakened by the memory of a sin-
gle sin, could inflict a wound so deep, I, too,
might be so stricken, so grieved, so self-con-
victed. I was silent from the thought, but
gazed long and wistfully upon my suffering
friend. To my great relief, the anxious nurse
re-appeared, and I gladly withdrew after I had
again pressed the hand and kissed the cheek of
my little fag. My own tears were flowing fast
when I again sought Mrs. Harley's room. I
told her what had passed.
"The good lady-she was a mother to us all-
a sincerely pious and most exemplary Chris-
tian, was deeply grieved by my intelligence.
She said that she would wait until he had re-
gained his calmness, qnd would then try, by
Divine permission, to soothe and comfort him
if he was penitent.
You may be sure, my young friends, I was
THB BOBnUn fuILY.
very anxious to hear from Mrs. Harley the re-
sult of her kind intention. In the evening of
the same day she told me that she had had a
long conversation with Edward Nolton, and
that she had endeavoured to comfort him by
the scriptural promises of Christ's mediation,
and of God's acceptance and tnerciful forgive-
ness of all who turned to him with penitent and
contrite hearts. She said that he was at first
much troubled and deeply grieved; but that
he at last appeared to derive great comfort from
her reading of the Scripture, and that he had
desired her to pray for him by his bedside. She
added, that in an after-interview he was calmer,
and seemed to delight in the remembrance of
his Saviour and the goodness of his God.
Poor little fellow !' she continued, 'for one
so young, he has indeed a wonderful conception
of the enormity of sin, and of God's abhorrence
of it. Yet I hope he now realizes the worth
of a Saviour, and his need of an upholding arm
as he passes through the dark valley of the
shadow of death; for that, I grieve to say, he
will soon, very soon, be called'upon to tread.'
"The next day Capt. and Mrs. Nolton ar-
rived. I need not dwell upon their grief. He
was their loved and only child, yet they bowed,
44 TmH OBeiT8 FAMILY.
though sorrowing, humbly and submissively, to
the Divine will.
"On the morning of the third day I was again
summoned, by his own request, to the bedside
of the dying boy. I gazed, awe-struck, upon his
livid face. Death's imprint was already there;
yet a sweet smile gleamed for a moment upon
his parched lips as his eyes met mine.
"He strove to speak. I bent my head. I
am happy, Richard,' he feebly and slowly whis-
pered. 'Tell them all-the boys-to remem-
They were his last sounds: his lips faltered,
and his spirit fled ere he could give utterance
to all that was on his tongue."
The young people had listened attentively to
the narrative of their kind friend; and even
when he ceased to speak, they were for a little
while silent, as if expecting him to continue,
when one of the girls suddenly exclaimed,
"And so he died! Poor little fellow! Oh,
Mr. Wrayley! Were you not very sorry ?"
"I was, indeed, Maria," answered Mr.
Wrayley. "I was at that time very sorry;
and so, I believe, were all his school-fellows.
SHe wM a universal favourite, always kind and
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
considerate to others, and his talents were of
so high an order that they gave promise of an
eminent and useful manhood. Nevertheless,
now I am not sorry that he died."
"Not sorry 1" cried another of the girls:
"why, Mr. Wrayley, I thought you loved him."
"And so I did, my dear; and for that very
reason I am not sorry. You seem surprised;
but I think I can explain it to you. You must
remember that in this world every man,-yes,
and every woman and child too,-is surrounded
by evil examples and by temptations to sin;
and is but too likely, unless upheld by divine
grace, to be led astray. Now I do not say that
this would have been the case with little Ed-
ward Nolton; yet it might have been. Why
should I grieve, then, that God, in his good
pleasure, saw fit to take him to himself, if he
was prepared to leave the world."
For a moment or two they were all again
silent, and then Maria, one of the little girls,
said in a slow and thoughtful manner, "Oh,
Mr. Wrayley! but to die so young, to be taken
away all at once from his playfalhre, from his
poor mother and father too; fro all he loved!
It was very sad !"
"It was, my dear," answered hqgri~p and
46 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
teacher, "very sad; not for himself, but for
those he left behind. And it is true that he
died very young: but remember, my little
friend, that multitudes of others are dying
every day, quite as young, and even much
younger. Death is constantly at work, and he
often spares the sick and infirm and old, and
takes away the healthful and the young."
Another brief but thoughtful pause ensued.
It was at last broken by an intelligent-looking
lad, about thirteen years of age.
"But, Mr. Wrayley," he said, "was it not
strange that little Edward Nolton thought so
much about a single oath! Why, sir, father
took me last summer to New York, and I used
to hear boys of all sizes, some no bigger than
that," holding out his hand-" very little boys-
swearing and cursing dreadfully, and they
seemed to think nothing at all about It."
"That is quite likely," Mr. Wrayley an-
swered. "It is terrible to think of it; but
swearing is a sin so common among men, that
little children learn it among the first words
which they Ater. It seemed dreadful to you,
however, did it not ?"
"Ye ai. did."
THUI OBERTS FAMILY. 47
"Why, I do not know, except that I have
been told that it is wrong; and because I know
it is forbidden in the commandments."
"In which of them ?"
"In the third-' Thou shalt not take the
name of the Lord thy God in vain; for he will
not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in
"Very well; and remember, my boy, that
this commandment, like all the others, while it
mentions only the greatest, includes also all
the minor degrees of the same sin. Profane
language, therefore, of all kinds, is forbidden
by it. Jesus Christ himself said, Swear not
at aU; but let your communication be Yea, yea;
Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these
cometh of evil.' Those boys whom you heard
had, probably, never been taught better; or,
if taught, the force of evil example had coun-
teracted the instruction they received. They
are objects of our pity and our Christian ef-
forts: and sad, indeed, in all probability, will
be their fate if their progress in sin is not sea-
sonably checked. But little EdWard Nolton
had not even ignorance to plead in expuse. He
had been well taught, and freqnt .warned
against the very sin which he oonmiutn; dad
48 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
therefore it was, that when his attention was
directed to it, his conscience smote him, and in-
flicted upon him, on his death-bed, the keen
sufferings of a remorse which could be alleviated
only by sincere penitence, and by an humble
reliance upon the mercy of his God through a
Here Mr. Wrayley was interrupted by a sud-
den movement made by Charles Radnor. This
boy had listened to him throughout with marked
attention, and had shown, by the changing
colour of his face, the deep interest that he felt.
He now approached Mr. Wrayley, and spoke
to him in a low and somewhat faltering voice.
"Mr. Wrayley," he said, "I, for one, am
very much obliged to you for your story. I
have been in the habit of swearing, sir, without
ever thinking of the sin. Before I came here,
I used to hear my school-fellows constantly
swearing, and I learned it from them; but now,
sir, I will try never to swear again."
"I am delighted to hear it, my boy," an-
swered Mr. Wrayley, taking his hand; "and I
trust you will be successful in your endeavour.
I learned to-day, for the first time, that you
had contracted that hateful vice; and I msure
yow it gave me deep pain. Shall I tell you
TnI OBMIRTa 1MILY. 49
htw I learned it? It was by hearing another
who had omght it from you., Nay," continued
Mr. Wrayley, in reply to Charles Radnor's
look of surprise; I will not tell you who it was.
I wish no more to be said upon the subject.
Only remember,-you, Charles, and all of you,
my young friends, that while it is very easy to
acquire sinful habits, it is very difficult to get rid
of them-I may almost say it is impossible, ex-
cept by the assistance of divine grace, which
must be humbly sought in earnest prayer.
And now, since you all seem interested by the
account of my little fag, after tea I will, if you
wish it, read to you another of an old English
sailor, who was at one time an inveterate and
most profane swearer, but who afterwards be-
came an exemplary Christian.
"And will that be true too?" asked the little
girl, who had before put the same question.
"For its truth I cannot vouch," answered
Mr. Wrayley, "as I was not personally con-
cerned in it; but it was told me by a friend,
upon whose word I have every reason to de-
pend. Hark! there is the tea-bell. By and
by you shall hear the tale."
The young party entered the house: their
evening meal was soon despatched, and they
50 THE ROBBETS FAMILY.
then eagerly gathered round their host, beg-
ging him to fulfil his promise. Mr. Wrayley
produced a manuscript, and read from it as
"I was spending the summer of the year
1805 in a small town situated on the banks of
the Thames, some eight or nine miles distant
from London. While there, in the absence of
other recreation, I was in the almost daily
habit of passing an hour or two every after-
noon on the water. My companion was gene-
rally an old weather-beaten tar, who owned the
small boat in which I took my amusement.
With this man I was accustomed to converse,
while he rowed me up and down the river; and
I thus gradually formed an acquaintance which,
in the course of a few days, drew many com-
munications from him respecting his former
course of life.
He had visited almost every portion of the
globe, and had been in several engagements,
in the last of which he was so severely wounded
(having lost a leg) as to entitle him to a pen-
sien from government. He loved to talk of
the dangers through which he had passed, and
his dewriptions of them were highly interesting,
TEN ROBEBTS FAMILY. 61
as they were always accompanied by a thank-
ful recognition of the divine power that had
guarded him through all.
"One day, after we had been upon the
water nearly an hour, black and threatening
clouds suddenly rose in the east; a storm was
evidently approaching, and we therefore used
our utmost expedition to regain the shore.
We were just in time: for large, heavy drops
of rain were beginning to fall, and I was anti-
cipating a thorough drenching, when the old
sailor invited me to take refuge in his cottage.
It is a poor place, your honour,' he said;
'but such as it is, it is heartily at your service.'
"I gladly accepted his offer, and in a minute
or two we reached his cottage close by.
The house did not boast an entry, but its
front door opened into a room which seemed to
serve the purposes of both parlour and kitchen.
We had hardly passed the threshold, when we
were hailed by a sharp, shrill voice, with-
"'How d'ye do? How d'ye do? Heartily
welcome! Take a chair! Take a chair!'
"Surprised, and seeing no one, I looked
with some curiosity around the room. A-(Bw
brightly polished tin utensils, several plates,
and sundry cups and saucers, mugs andpitchers,
52 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
were ranged upon a nicely scoured dresser on
one side of the huge chimney, while a deep cup-
board, with glass doors, occupied the other.
On the mantel-piece was an old-fashioned clock,
flanked on each side by metal candlesticks,
and by grotesque-looking porcelain ornaments,
and surmounted by an old cutlass and a fish-
ing-rod suspended above. Two tables (a large
Bible on one of them) stood in the opposite
part of the room, one on each side of the front
door. A few fiery-coloured prints decorated
the walls, and in one corner, near a side door,
was a tin cage, in which was a gray parrot.
By this bird I at once perceived our welcome
had been given; for he was still uttering a low
chuckling laugh as he climbed around his cage.
"'You have a fine bird there, I see, my
friend,' I said to the seaman.
' Yes, sir,' he answered;-' he is a queer
one-he is. He'll talk, mayhap, as well as any
bird your honour ever saw; and when he is in
the humour he'll whistle like a fifer: but take
a chair, if you please, sir.'
Take a chair, take a chair; how d'ye do?'
was instantly repeated by the parrot.
"' Stop your clapper, Poll,' exclaimed his
master. The bird responded by a rattling
THE ROBBRTS FAMILY.
laugh. Ah! he is a queer one,' continued my
host; 'he is a great pet with the old woman
and me, and the boys. I sometimes think he
has got nigh as much sense as some Christians.
When a stranger comes with any one to see us,
he'll just talk to him as he did to your honour;
but if one haps in alone as he doesn't know,
he'll shout out, "Old woman wanted!"'
Old woman wanted! old woman wanted!'
chimed in the parrot, in evident glee. Ha,
he, ha! Poll's a fine fellow: good Poll, good
Poll,' and another laugh.
"Highly amused, I turned to observe the
bird more closely, while the old man continued
talking. We've had the creature for many,
many years, your honour, and sad would we be
to part with him; yet he's given a deal of sor-
row and shame at times, and I have been almost
tempted to wring his neck, poor fellow!'
Indeed!' I said, surprised by this declara-
tion. What could have put such an idea into
your head ?'
"'Why, sir,' he answered, 'you see it was
all my own fault. I had been a sad dog my-
self, and used to teach the creature bad words.
At those times I was greatly pleased with them.
But when I learned better myself, the bird still
54 THAU OBTS FAMILY.
stuck to its own bad habits, and so made me
ashamed and sorry for what I had taught it.'
Well, my friend,' I. answered, 'I must
own you have raised my curiosity; and if'you
have nq objections, I should like to hear the
"'Objections, your honour! none at all:
only the thing tells to my shame. However,
thanks be to the Lord, I am no longer what I
was; and as it is somewhat curious how a poor
senseless creature like him-I can't call him a
dumb one-could make a man feel shame and
sorrow, I'll tell it to your honour; though there
is not much in it to amuse you; but it makes
me like Poll now all the better.
"'Well, sir, as I was a saying, I was a
sad dog when I was young, and for the mat-
ter of that, long after. My father was a
decentish sort of a man; he used to keep a
small shop near London docks, and would
*have done very well, I believe, if he had not
had so many little ones to take care of. But
he was a good man, and I do think a good
Christian, as well as mother. I was the young-
est of four boys, and then there were two little
girls besides-many mouths for a poor man to
feed. As soon as they got old enough, my bro-
TIU OBU nPAxLt. G6
them went-to different trades, and father wanted
me to do the same. But, worse luck for. me,
I had seen so much of shipping, that nothing
would do me but going to sea. So the old man
at last gave his consent, and to sea I ent.
'At home I'd been used to go to church,
regularly, with the family, and had got some
little idea of what religion was; but your ho-
nour knows the forecastle is no place to make
a lad better. At first I was almost frightened
by the horid oaths that I heard every few
minutes from my shipmates; but that did not
last long: they laughed at me, and in a little
time I got used to it, and even begun to think
it sounded manly to utter a big one now and
then. All the little good I had learned at home
soon went, and I was at last, young though I
was, as bad as any of the men. To be sure, this
used to give poor mother many a crying spell
when I came home, and father used to scold; but
it made no manner of difference with me. I got
from worse to worse, till it makes me shudder
now to think what a sad, swearing, drunken
wretch I used to be when on shore. However,
I was a good seaman, though I say it as should
not say it, and so I always got a ready berth.
"' The old people died off pretty soon-one
6 rI zonaum A IAr. r.
after the other. This made me sorry enough
at first; but it soon wore away, and then, as I
hadn't any home, and had a little money left
to me some time before, by an old uncle, I took
Maggy at once, left off- drinking and some
other sins for her sake, but still I hadn't the
fear of God before me, and I was a terrible
swearer to be sure-may he forgive me!-so
much so, that my shipmates always called me
'Swearing Dick.' I still kept on going to
sea, and Maggy, she took in washing, and so,
in money matters, we got on very well,-much
better than I deserved.
"Well, your honour, time went on, and I
was getting older and older, and worse and
worse, till about ten years ago, when, in one
of my trips, I bought Poll there. He was a
dumb creature then, and hard work me and my
messmates had to make him learn to speak-
to curse and swear I should say; for that was
all we taught him. But he took to it at last,
and then the creature-how he did swear! it
was even almost as bad as myself! When I
brought him home, Maggy, to be sure, was sad
enough to hear him go on so; but to me it was
all fun, and I did not mind what she said. We
lived in London then, and I used to hang him
TXB nOa-e AmIKY. 67
out of doors, that he might swear at the people
going by; and many and many is the time a
crowd of boys and idle men would stand to hear
him; and then they would swear to make him
swear more. It makes my blood run cold now
to think of it, and of the many little innocent
boys that, mayhap, learned their first oath from
a creature that ought to have been flying about
in the woods of its own country, and praising
God in its own wild notes. But I never thought
of that then, till I learned it in a strange way.
"One day when Poll was hanging out, and
a crowd of boys, as usual, stood round his cage,
mocking and laughing at the creature's horri-
ble swearing, up comes a nice good-natured-
looking old gentleman, with a bright smile upon
his face, as if it did his heart good to see the
little chaps so glad and merry. That was when
he was a little distance off, and couldn't hear
what was going on. But bless you, when he
did come nigh, and heard the cursing and
swearing, I never did see such a change! The
merry look and smile were gone, and there he
stood-not angry: oh, no: but shocked and
sad, as if he was cut to the very heart. I was
standing at my window and watching him close,
though he couldn't see me. I thought he would
68 THUI OBTB FAMILY.
speak to the boys, and then I expected more
fun; for I knew they wouldn't mind him: but
no such thing. After a little while he walks
straight up to the door, and knocks with his
stick. The house was a little one, and our
rooms were on the lower floor. Maggy was
out; so I opened the door at once, and there
stood the old gentleman. I shall never forget
him nor the look he gave me. It was a very,
very sad, though a kind one. It brought me
down at once. I feltso ashamed I could hardly
look at him.
"'Friend,' says he to me-he was dressed
like the people they call Quakers--' Friend,
if thou art the master of this house, and the
owner of that bird, I would speak a few words
"'Surely, sir,' I answered, 'the creature is
mine, and so be these rooms; but as for the
matter of the house, there is many a one living
in it besides me.'
"' Well, then,' says he, 'let me go into the
room, and speak to thee for a moment.'
"' You are kindly welcome, sir,' says I, again.
Well, as I was saying, I asked the gentleman
in, and shut the door upon the gaping boys
Then I gave him a seat.
TH1 ROBBMss 1AMr. 69
"'Thank thee, friend,' bI sys; I will be
seated, for I am old and a short walk fatigues
me. Now, friend, I came in to ask thee if thou
wilt part with the bird that is outside. I will
pay thee thy price for it.'
I was taken all aback. I expected the old
gentleman was going to scold me about the
creature's swearing; but I had no thought he
would want to buy it. I'm sorry, sir,' I an-
swered, that I can't oblige you. No, no: Poll
and I are old friends.'
'Thy,friend speaks not well for thee,' he
ays, with a kind of sigh. It is a wicked and
most profane bird.'
I am afraid it is, sir,' said I, laughing;
'but what is bred in the bone, you know, your
honour, will come out.'
"The old gentleman looked hard at me:
it seemed as if he was looking me through
Oh, man! man!' at last he said in a low
sad way, 'hast thou no regard for the com-
mandments of thy God; no fear of his destroy-
ing wrath, that thou canst make a mockery of
that which should cause thee to bow in shame
to the earth ? How cant thou, made in the
image of thy God, with a rational soul, and
60 THE lOBnRTS FAMILt.
responsible to him for thy acts, how canst thou
permit-nay, how canst thou glory in permit-
ting a poor irrational bird, dumb by nature,
and taught to utter speech only by the art of
man, to curse and profane that holy name that
should be mentioned in deep and heartfelt re-
verence ? If thou dost not care for thine own
soul, at least have pity upon those of thy fel-
low-beings. Look at the children that are there,
some scarce able yet to speak! and think that
from thee they are learning, almost in their first
words, to sin against him in whose hands is
their very breath. Truly, friend, thou wilt
be held responsible for the sins of those little
ones in the day of thy final judgment.'
"Those were almost his very words, for I
remember them well; and, bless your honour,
I didn't know which way to look. If he had
been angry, and scolded, I could have scolded
too; but he was so kind, and seemed to take it
so much to heart, I couldn't say one word.
"' I mean no harm nor offence,' he went on
to say; I speak only for thy own sake, and
for the sake of the little ones that are without.
I would take so bad an example from their
sight and hearing. Sell me the bird. I will
pay thee thy price.'
Um ROBERTS FAMILY. 61
"'And what would you do with the creature,
mater?' I asked.
"' I would keep him apart from all human
beings but myself, to try if he would not forget
the terrible words that have been taught him;
and if that failed, I would even put him to
death; for better that a bird should die, than
for souls to perish."
You think a great deal of a few oaths,
sir,' I answered; 'but for all that I can't let
Poll be put to death. He must live his own
"'I am sorry to hear it, friend,' he said,
rising; for the bird's life may be the cause of
death to thy fellow-beings. Remember, that
the few oaths of which I think so much, have
been forbidden by thy God and thy Saviour;
and what he has forbidden must be sinful. But
is there nothing that I can do ? Can I not pre-
vail with thee ? At least let me entreat thee to
keep the bird from the sight and hearing of
those untaught little ones! I will even pay
thee whatsoever in reason thou canst ask, to
"This showed he was in earnest; and
though I was a little hurt that he should think
I was so fond of money, I promised that, for
0U THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
his sake, since he was so gentlemanlike about
it, that I would keep the creature in the yard,
where the children couldn't see or hear him.
The old gentleman thanked me for this, and then
turned to go. I held the door open; he walked
through very slowly, looking first at me, then
at his stick, then at me again; but he did not
say a word till I took hold of the street door.
Then he says to me, Friend, if thou wilt not
be angry, there is one thing more I would
gladly say to thee.'
Speak out, sir,' I said. You mean it all
kindly, I dare say.'
"'You are right, my friend; I mean it
kindly; and therefore take it so. That bird is
thine. It speaks most profanely and blasphe-
mously: cure it, I beseech thee. Remember
that thou art responsible for all the sins that it
utters, even though the words be meaningless
to itself; and also for all that its evil example
may have taught to those little ones. Our God
is a merciful God, but at the same time a just
God, and he will surely punish those who wil-
fully transgress his laws. Think of it, frieMh;
it is worth thy thoughts.'
These were his last words. I opened the
door for him, and he walked out with another
THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
of his kind looks. I do not know how it was,
your honour, but the old man's words hit me
harder than all that my poor father and mother
and wife and all oould, eversay. When he had
gone, I turned over all he had said, and the
more I thought tbhmoem ashamed and uneasy I
felt about what Ihad done. However, I was
as good as my promise. I drove away the boys,
took down the cage, and hung it-up in the
Pretty soon after Maggy oame in, and I
told her what had passed. Right glad she was
to hear it; for she used often to try to get me
to do, what I had just done for the sake of the
old gentleman. Well, your honeur, there was
PolL. I soon found he didn't swear half as bad
when he had nobody to tease him; and I be-
lieve he would have left it off entirely, only the
sight of me seemed always to bring it back to
him. I was sorry enough for this, particularly
when I used to see the old gentleman pass al-
most every day, and look ap for him. He
seemed please that I had kept my promise,
.*a weald gip me a kind nod. as much as to
sayu 'W hodae.' At last, about ten days
afte, he fIni:.are, he stopped again, and
walked into ol9op9a., He asked after the bih.
64 THE ROBERTS FAMILY.
and seemed glad enough to hear that he wa
leaving off his swearing.
"Well, your honour, the upshot of it all
was, that the old gentleman used to come very
often. He was rich, and spent most of his time,
I believe, going about doing good. He talked
to me again and again about religion, and our
duty to God and man, till at last he made me
begin to see how wicked I had been. Many and
many a half hour after he was gone I used to
sit thinking over all he had said to me, and
over a part of my past life. I began to wonder
how I could have been so foolish, and to ask
myself what I had gained by it all. Some-
times I would try to persuade myself that all
the old gentleman said about the sin was only
talk, and that there couldn't be much harm
any way in a few words. But it wouldn't do:
the words that he often used, and that he had
pointed out to me in the Bible, would always
come up against me. Your honour remembers
them-our Saviour's own words-" But I say
unto you, That every idle word that men shall
speak, they shall give account thereof in the
day of judgment." This was hard against me,
for my words had been worse than idle. I was
very uneasy, and I thought I would try to leave
rE ROBunTB WAMILT. 65
fd rearing. Ah, master I it's easy getting
into bad habits, but hard work enough to get
out of them. Oaths would come in spite of me.
Besides, I went to work the wrong way about
it. I depended all upon myself, and never
thought of praying for help. Howsoever I did,
by degrees, get the better of it, and at last
almost stopped swearing entirely.
I forgot- to tell your- honour, that I had
come home very sick from my last voyage, and
that it was that which had kept me so long on
shore. However, about a month after the old
gentleman had got into the habit of coming to
see us, I thought it was time to be going to sea
again, to help Maggy. So one day I went out
to look for a berth. It was the Lord's will. I
had hardly got a hundred yards from my own
door, when I fell in with an old shipmate. May
the Lord forgive him! for I believe he took me
into what he called his lodgings on purpose to
betray me. We hadn't been there more than
five minutes when a pressgang rushed in and
took us both! Him I never saw after, but me
they sent to the receiving ship. I knew it was
of no use to grumble, so I determined to do my
duty like a man. I got leave to write home
and tell Maggy what had become of me, and
66 THI IonBT IAMILT.
then they shipped me into one of his mJty's
frigates for a cruise along the French cost.
In a few days after we put to sea, we fell in
with an enemy's ship, and to it we went, broad-
side for broadside. We hadn't been long en-
gaged before a shot shivered my right leg, and
I knew no more about it till I found myself in
the cockpit, and the surgeon ready to take off
my limb. They told me the enemy was taken,
and that we were going back into port to refit,
for both ships were dreadfully cut up. I was
sent to the hospital at Portsmouth, and there I
got the chaplain (a good man he was) to write
to my wife. She came to me at once, and who
should come with her but the good old gentle-
man! It would have done your honour good to
hear him talk. Under the blessing of God, it's
all owing to him that r at last saw through
my own great wickedness; and when he was
obliged to go away, he left me in the hands of
the chaplain, who, by the grace of God, finished
the good work. A sick bed is a place, your
honour, for overhauling the log-book of one's
life. Mine was a terrible one to look at; but
thanks be to his name, I was able to pray
heartily for pardon, and to resolve to turn over
a new leaf.
THE ROBIRBT8 FAMILY. OT
Well, sir, the weather is clearing, and my
storyis nearly over. When I got well enough,
Maggy and I started off for London. The old
gentleman left us plenty of money, and then I
got my name placed on the pension list, and,
through him, a river license. So we packed up
and moved to this place, bringing the bird
along with us. It's a strange thing, your ho-
nour, but so it was, the creature hadn't uttered
one oath since I left him; but as soon as he
saw me it seemed to bring it all back to him,
and he swore again almost as bad as ever. This
was a sad blow to me, and many and many is
the heart-ache it used to give me, and for the
matter of that gives me still, when I remember
it was all my doing. It was like the ghosts of
my own sins coming back to haunt me. I used
to tremble when I heard him; for I felt that I
was the sinner. Then I learned to know why
swearing and taking God's name in vain is so
shocking to Christians. It seemed like cursing
one's own father or mother. Well, sir, I was
determined to cure Poll of swearing, and I tried
hard to do it, but for a long while it was all of
no use. At last I hit upon this plaq: when-
ever he began, I used to hang a large cloth
over his cage and keep him in darkness; and
68 T!n I3OBTeB AMILY.
glad was I to find that after a time this cared
him, particularly as he never heard any more
of it from me. The old gentleman is dead
now, but he remembered me in his will; and
so you see, your honour, that Poll, though I
was wicked enough to teach him what was bad,
did me much good, after all; for if it hadn't
been for him, I never would have known the
old gentleman, and I might have gone on sin-
ning and sinning till death cut me short. Ah,
your honour! under God, I owe a good deal to
Poll. He is still of use to me; for I know if I
was to give way to passion, and to raise my
voice ever so little, he would begin again; so,
you see, he keeps me in good temper, and
makes me a better man."
The 1in had now ceased; I therefore
thanked the seaman both for his shelter and his
story, and went my way homeward, meditating
upon the inscrutable ways of Providence, and
upon the very slight and apparently inadequate
means which he sometimes deigns to use for his
own good purposes.
Here Mr. Wrayley closed his manuscript,
and, looking around, was greeted by smiles and
thanks from his young audience.
TH OBu nonTs AIII. 6
"Ii that all, Mr. Wrayley?" cried a little
girl. Oh, what a good parrot that must have
been How I should like to have him 1"
"Not in his younger days, I hope," Mr.
Wrayley answered. "He must have been a
sad bird then. But is it not dreadful to think
that man can pervert the faculties of even an
irrational creature, and make them the means
of spreading sin among his fellow men? You
remember the sailor said, 'that the parrot's
words were like the ghosts of his former sins
coming to haunt him!' It was conscience made
them seem so; for they were his own oaths re-
peated to him by an outward, audible voice.
This voice we cannot all hear; but conscience
will take its place, and will assuredly continue
to haunt us until either the sins are repented
of and pardoned, or until the sinner has become
so corrupt and hardened in sin as no longer to
regard its warnings. What then must be the
fate of such a one when brought before the judg-
ment-scat of his offended Saviour !"
No reply was made to these words, for they
seemed to cast a momentary gloom over the
young people; and before they recovered from
it, Mr. Roberts and several other gentlemen
entered the room. These gentlemen joindl in
70 TBH ROBERTS FAMILY.
conversation with Mr. Wrayley, and the chil-
dren were again left to their own amusement
till nine o'clock, when all separated for their
The moon was shining brightly, and Mr. Ro-
berts and his children had a pleasant walk
home. On their way, he asked Mary and her
brothers if they had passed a pleasant afternoon.
All three expressed themselves highly grati-
fied with their visit, and Mary gave her father
a short sketch of the two stories which Mr.
Wrayley had related to them.
p "Now, Henry," said Mr. Roberts, when she
had finished, "you can see the reason why I
permitted you to accompany your brother and
sister to Mr. Wrayley's house. I knew that he
had some good reason for urging his request;
and therefore you may consider the trouble
which he has taken as intended for your bene-
fit, and that of all others who have broken the
third commandment. I hope you listened at-
tentively to him ?"
"Yes, sir," said Henry, in a low tone.
"And can you think of any reason why Mr.
Wrayley told you these two tales ?"
"Yes, sir, I think I can."
"Let me hear it."
2T IOBTIIR FAItLY. 71
ir, I suppose he wanted to warn me
"Assuredly: but in what way ?"
Henry hesitated for a few moment, and
then modestly said, "I think I know, father;
but it is hard to explain. I think Mr. Wray-
ley wanted to show us that those who sin are
likely to be sorry afterwards."
"Exactly so; and a blessed thing for them
is it if they do feel real godly sorrow; for such
sorrow is necessary to repentance; and true
repentance will, through the merits of our Sa-
viour, be followed by pardon. By his first tale
I think Mr. Wrayley meant to show you that
even a little boy, not older than yourselves,
could sin grievously, could be conscious of that
sin, and could be sorely afflicted byits curse
even in this world. You see that it made the
thoughts of death and of an offended God ter-
rible to the poor child, until, by penitence and
prayer, he dared to hope for pardon. As for
the sailor, if the tale be true, his sin was great
indeed, for he made it a mockery and a jest;
but his sorrow also must have been great, and
his penitence sincere. Both stories seem cal-
culated to show you, that swearing, like all
other sins, is not confined to the impious sin-
72 THu BOBUITs 1FA T.
ner alone, but tends to mislead and rupt
others; and be assured, that we are respMli-
ble for every evil example which we set to those
around us. Re'inber, my dear children, the
words of our Saviour-' It must needs be that
offences come, but wo unto that man by whom
the offence cometh.' Avoid, therefore, all sin.
Swearing is, unhappily, a sin very common
among boys; and this arises, I think, in a great
degree, from want of reflection. They hear bad
men swear, and, forgetting thatit is forbidden by
the great and holy God, they think it something
manly. Little do they know how their profane
language disgusts and grieves all sensible and
piqus people: disgusts them by its vulgarity,
and grieves them by its sinfulness. Be assured
that even the refined man of the world, the
mere gentleman, will not swear, because he re-
gards it as too low and vulgar and as debasing
to his refiement: the Christian will not swear,
because he will not and he dares not offend