~1111 1 I' 'lpI II I
The Baldwin Library
R n l3University
0 I 2
SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
WRITTEN FOR THB AMBRICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION.
AMERICAN SUNDAY.SCHOOL UNION,
No. 146 CHsSTNUT STREET.
Nuw YoaK, No. 147 Nauau street....,BosTON, No. 9 Cb~rh.
LOUISVILLE, No. 103 Aburthi Strmt.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852, by the
AMERICAN SUNDA Y-SCHOOL UNION,
in the Clerk's Ojice of the District Co ~'t of the Eastern District of
4j- No books are published by the AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION
without the sanction of the Committee of Pablication, consisting of four-
teen members, from the following denominations of Christians, viz. Bap-
tist, Mlthodist, Omgregationatist, Episcopal. Presbyterian, Lutheran, an I
Reformed Dutch. Not more than tA of the members can be of the same
denomination, and no book can be published to which any member qf the
Committee shall object.
THE following'pages have feen prepared for
publication in consequence of requests to that
effect from some who had heard of the little
effort to do good to the ignorant poor which is
here described. There are so many children
in our land perishing for lack of knowledge,
and so few doing any thing for their instruction,
that the individual whq as enjoyed the privi-
lege of doing the little which is described in
this small volume, cannot but earnestly desire
to persuade others to "go and do likewise."
The general information in this little work is
of course collected from many sources. As
regards the lessons and mode of teaching, it is
May those who desire the welfare of our be-
loved country, in all its length and breadth, be
stimulated to work with greater earnestness for
the glory of God and the good of their fellow-
"Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing-
LeaA to labour and to wait."
SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
part of the
Virginia, on the side of what is called
the main road, stands a log cabin, built
in the rudest fashion. It is shaded by
oak-trees and dwarlAestnuts, and there
is nothing in its general appearance to
attract the notice of the few travellers
whom business or pleasure may occa-
sionally chance to take that way in a
carriage or on horseback. For you must
know, dear reader, that there are no rail-
8 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
cars, or even stage-coaches near, to break
in on the deep seclusion of this remote
From the time this house was put up,
it was an object of peculiar interest to
me, from the fact that a large numhbr
of poor children were collected here, dur-
ing the summp season, to be taught to
read. And as I would pass by, in taking
my daily exercise on horseback, it was
always an amusement to watch them
peeping at me through the logs, as if 1
were an object of great and ceaseless
Occasionally I woud'see them at play-
time; and, long before I would come in
sight, their merry Voices would echo
over the hills-through the woods--and
down the meadows. But these pleasant
sounds of careless childhood would'fall
painfully on my ear and fill my heart
THE SCHOOL IN THE IOODS. 9
with sadness, for it was only too evident
from their language that God was not in
all their thoughts.
As they spied me in the distance, I
would hear, "Hush! she's coming !" and
instantly becoming quiet, they would hide
themselves in the bushes or climb the
trees, always taking carC) however,-
leave a convenient spot from which to
look out. If I stopped, as I sometimes
did, and bid them a kind Good morning,"
a stare of wonder or a rude laugh was the
inly return they made.
My spirit was stirred within me,
how to do these chmdren good, was a
question often asked- ten pra4A over;
but the answer came not then. A Sun-
day-school, (that greatest and wisest of
human inventions for such poor children,)
was what I wished; but owing to pecu-
liar local circumstances, this could not be
10 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
undertaken, much as I desired it. He,
who when on earth went about doing
good, and had compassion on the multi-
tude, finally paved the way for this work,
which I longed to do, though I knew not
where to begin.
SIt was in the fall of the year, that I
was called out of my room to see an old
men, and I soon found that he was the
teacher of these poor children. After
some conversation about his business,
which was soon happily arranged, I began
to talk about the school, and asked him
ile had a Bible there? "No," he re-
plied, "and we are very badly supplied
with books; which is a great hindrance
to my teaching."
We parted with kind words on both
sides; and he invited me to call and see
ihis school, and examine his scholars:
an invitation I most gladly accepted.
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 11
Some weeks passed, and, by a remark-
able providence, I was called to another
part of the country. During that time a
heavy affliction was laid on me, and when
I returned to my parentless and desolate
home, the whole plan of my life was
changed; and looking round in anguish
of spirit, I was forced to exclaim, "I'
there any sorrow like unto my sorrow?"
Books, work, exercise, were all triel,
through that long dark winter: the hu-
man will was exerted to the utmost; but
though feeling that the Judge of all the
earth does right, the days came not
which I had any pleasure. Feeble
body-always struggling to be calm, and
to do my duty, in the new state of life in
which I was placed-life was a night of
toil, such as our kind Creator never de-
signed it to be.
Spring came, and with it the loveliest
12 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
of spring flowers; but they only increased
my deep sadness, and, looking round, I
would often say,
"There's nothing left to care for now."
As spring advanced, and I was again
able to take my accustomed rides, a more
healthful tone was given to my feelings
As I rode past the school-house and saw
the children looking at me through the
logs-my deep mourning-dress making
them stare more than ever-I determined
that on the following Tuesday I would
pay them a visit; that day being fixed
%p, as less occupied by home-duties.
After breakfast, about nine o'clock, I set
off, and found the children as usual, on the
look-out for me. The old man met me
with politeness, helping me to dismount,
and kindly fastening my horse to the
bough of a tree. .
Never did I behold a scene that mor4
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 18
deeply interested me. About thirty chil-
dren were arranged around the room on
but perfectly quiet: the old man main-
taining very good authority over them
Had an elephant been suddenly intro
duced to them they could not have gazed
more intently at him. My riding-skirt-
gloves-whip-parasol, all came in for a
share of attention, which was perfectly
The first thing was to find out what
they knew, and to examine the books in
which they were taught. This was soip
done. Many did not know who made
them! And as for books, in this age of
abundance, the reader will scarcely credit
me, when I mention what these poor chil-
dren had been taught in. One child had,.
by way of reading-book, a "Lindley Mur-
ray's Grammar." Another, an odd vo
14 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
lume of "The Tattler." Another, a part
of an old theological treatise, printed in
Williamsburg, Virginia, before the Revo-
lution. A volume of "Goodrich's History
of New York," with the greatest variety
of tattered and torn spelling-books, com-
pleted the collection. Only one child in
thirty knew that the world was round;
and, when I asked him how he knew, he
showed me, with great glee, a part of a
torn number of "Peter Parley's Maga-
zine," saying he had seen it on the maps.
Nine, out of the thirty children, had at
different times attended a Sunday-school
held in the parish church: and in these
there was the most marked difference of
manners and appearance. They were
evidently conscious of their superiority,
and pleased with it.
After reading a chapter in the Bible,
talking, and promising to come again, I re-
THE SCHOOL IN THB WOODS. 15
turned home, with the fixed determination
that, with the blessing of Heaven, I would
see what effect a system of Sunday-school
teaching would have on these little half-
savages. It is strange and startling to
think of so much ignorance being within
thirty miles of Richmond, the capital of the
old commonwealth of Virginia, and in the
county which gave birth to some of the
most distinguished statesmen of the age.
I am induced to write down what was
done for these poor children, by the
strong desire- that all who are more high-
ly favoured may thank God more abun-
dantly for his goodness; and that none
may feel discouraged, in undertaking any
work of the kind, however hopeless it
may at first appear.
I will now tell you, dear children, in
what Ay I endeavoured to open the
eyes of their understanding, hoping itL
16 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
may interest you, and prove a useful
lesson; for never do we feel how little
we know ourselves, until we try to in.
struct others. And it is far more difficult
to teach those who have lived for years
in a state of moral darkness, their eyes,
ears, and minds all shut up, than to teach
children who live in the broad light of
day, and are alive to whatever is going
on around them.
In order to impress the facts as much as
possible upon them, the Bible stories were
first told them, and then the accounts were
read to them from the Bible. They would
listen to the story of each Scripture cha.
racter with intense interest; not losing
one word or one tone of the voice, watch-
ing my every look and action.
There were bright eyes and intelligent
countenances among these childhn, and
it was delightful to observe them and see
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 17
what pleasure a new idea would give.
them. Things that to you, dear children,
are familiar as household words, had for
them all the charm of novelty. Such
books as my own home afforded, I gave
to those who could read, and my kind
friends furnished me with what they
could spare. But their principal instruc-
tion was from my lips; and for some time
my memory, often taxed to the uttermost
to supply every deficiency, was their chief
And here I will say to any little boy
or girl who may read this book, and
may hereafter, by the providence of God,
be called on to instruct the ignorant,
that I found the benefit of having my
mind well stored in childhood with Scrip-
ture and hymns. And many and various
were thlthings new and old, long laid by
in the storehouse of memory, which were
18 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
then brought out and made useful. One
Scripture lesson I will put down for you,
showing the manner in which my poor
children were taught.
Q. "How is the Bible divided ?" (An.
swer all at once.)
A. "Into the Old and New Testa-
Q. What is the name of the first book
in the Bible ?"
Q. "What is the name of the last
book in the Bible ?"
A. The Revelation of St. John the
Q. "Who wrote the Psalms?"
A. "King David."
Q. "Who wrote the Proverbs?"
A. "King Solomon."
Q. What are the names of 4he four
great prophets ?"
THE SCHOOL IN THB WOODS. 19
A. "Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Eze.
Q. "Who wrote the first five books in
the Bible, and what are their names ?"
A. They were written by Moses, and
are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
Q. "How is the New Testament di-
A. "Into the Gospels and Epistles.
Q. "Name the Gospels."
A. "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."
Q. "Who wrote the Epistle to the Ro-
A. "St. Paul."
I also taught them the names oY the
other books of the Bible, with the hope,
that when they heard preaching, (which
I grieve to say was not often,) the text
might nake an impression on them. In
the same way I taught them the numeral
20- THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
letters; all repeating them at once. This
was to assist them in finding their places.
But, my dear children, my first and
most important lesson, and one which I
hope no little boy or girl who reads this is
ignorant of, was, that we are all born in
sin; that we are by nature the children of
wrath, even as others; and that we can-
not be made the children of grace, with-
out the Holy Spirit, through the merits
of the Saviour, who died for us. And
that we must all seek in humble prayer
for grace to love, obey, and trust in Him.
Perhaps, when you hear of the great
pleasure expressed by these children, on
receiving a set of well-used Youth's Penny
Gazettes, which were carefully preserved
and sent me by a lady; and of the sorrow
expressed in their countenances, when
there were no more for them; and the
thankful spirit in which half-used books
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOOS. 21
were received before we could procure
new ones,-it will make you more careful
in the use of papers and books, and prevent
the abuse of them; and lead you to thank
God in your hearts for the blessings you
enjoy. It is a serious question, and one
you may each ask: "Who maketh me
-Meantime, "my children" (as I began
to call them) were greatly improved, and
one striking point was in neatness. I
had endeavoured to impress on them that
"cleanliness is next to godliness." I
told them how healthful it is to make a
free use of cold water, and that much
suffering and trouble might be saved in
after years by taking care of their
teeth. Very soon the tangled and mat-
ted hair was cut and combed-ragged
clothes were mended-and their faces
and hands, ears and necks, were as
22 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
clean as soap and water would make
I found, on further intercourse with
these children, that they were in the
constant habit of using ardent spirits!
and I have had to reprove even one of
the girls for using tobacco! I determined
to try the effect of a temperance society
among them; and after talking and ex-
plaining to them the nature of a promise,'
on my next visit I carried a pledge for'
them to sign. They did it cheerfully,
some few scrawling their names; others
making their mark, as I would sign for
There was one boy in whom I felt a
great interest, from his eagerness to learn
and the delicacy of his appearance. That
morning he looked so unusually pale,
that I thought he was sick. On inquiring
if this was the case, I could get no an-
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 28
swer, but he buried his face in his hands.
I passed him by, and after a time carried
him the pen and paper to sign the pledge.
With a flood of tears, but with great
energy, he said, I never drank. I will
keep my promise, but I don't want to
sign my name to this paper." Why he
should have felt such dread of the pledge
I could not discover: it seemed to be a
deep sense of the solemnity of such a
written obligation. Of course I did not
insist on it; and it was the testimony of
the other boys that he spoke the truth.
It was his sister who chewed tobacco!
But I am glad to inform you that the
promise of a new book induced her to
give up this unhealthy and disgusting
practice; and now her complexion, which
was before very sallow, shows the clear
red and white.
24 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
I will now give you a little extract
from my school journal.
June 11th.--"Entertained the children
at my own home. The tables were spread
in the open air, with stores of all that'
nice. An address was made to them by
the Rev. W. V. B., the minister of th
parish. The children were all neat an
clean, with shoes and stockings on."
Perhaps it may surprise you to hea
that the children at this time had in
proved so much in singing as to be abl
to join in a most beautiful chant: Glo
be to God on high, and on earth peace
good-will toward men." They also san
that sweet little hymn, with which I hopl
you are all acquainted,
"There is a happy land."
My plan was to teach them the
notes, which are called a musical sca
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 25
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, ascending and descending, telling
them, that if they could sound each note
perfectly, they might learn any tune they
wished; just as when they had learned
the letters of the alphabet, they would
be able to read; or figures, they might do
sums in arithmetic.
It was a great amusement to them,
and produced roars of laughter; but they
persevered, and it proved a very success&.
ful effort. These children had never seen
a piece of music; and when I carried a
card to show them the way in which
notes were printed, it was an object of
When the Fourth of July came, alf
had heard of General Washington, and
26 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
knew that this was a day of rejoicing; or
rather to them a day of ceasing from
work. Oh how often it had passed in
drunkenness and revelry! But none had
any distinct idea of him, who has been
called the Father of his country. And
here I told them the story of General
Washington and the cherry-tree, to im-
press on them the importance of truth.
I do not give it here, because, though new
to them, I have no doubt it is well known
About this time I missed from his seat
one of my brightest-looking boys. He
had fine dark eyes, and his earnest and
thoughtful expression of countenance had
often struck me. From the time the
school was first opened he had never been
absent, though he had to walk a distance
of five miles. You may judge of my sur-
prise and sorrow on being told, when I
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 27
inquired after him, that he was dead!
He had a short but severe illness. How
far the Spirit of God had acted on his
young heart, is known only to Him from
whom no secrets are hid; but though
since that time I have never heard any
thing of him, except that he was dead, I
always think of him with the hope that,
on the great day, when God shall make
up his jewels, John may be among those
" whose names are written in the Lamb's
book of life." He was one of the nine
who attended the parish Sunday-school,
and his teacher there gave him the same
character for good behaviour and strict
attention to his duties.
My hope of his safety does not depend
on this, however. If he is saved, it is
by the free and sovereign mercy of God
in Christ Jesus, and not by any works
28 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
of righteousness which he had done or
You, who are so highly favoured as to
be able to attend regularly at a place of
worship, and are privileged to hear the
blessed gospel preached, Sunday after
Sunday, can scarcely imagine the excite-
ment which these poor children felt, on
being told that, the next week, a minister
of Christ, Mr. N., would address them at
The minister came, and most touch-
ingly did he talk to them of a dying
Saviour's love for poor sinners, warning
them of the shortness and uncertainty of
our present state of being, telling them
that "in the midst of life, we are in
death," entreating them from that time
to choose whom they would serve, and
to say with their whole hearts, "My
Father, thou art the Guide of my youth!"
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 29
He spoke to them of the great blessing
children enjoy who are able to attend
Sunday-school; and told them, that in
the wild mountains of Western Virginia,
where he often preached, the poor peo-
ple were destitute of such blessings; and
how gladly they would send their chil-
dren, if there was any one to teach them.
He mentioned that on one occasion,
when riding through the mountains,
he met a little boy with a book in his
hand; a circumstance so very unusual,
in that region of country, that he asked
the child where he lived. Learning that
his home was not far off, he went with
the little boy to see his grandmother, who
welcomed him kindly. Their simple
story was soon told. About fifteen years
before, they lived in this same county
where we then were,-some twelve miles
from that very school-house.
30 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
In one of the old Episcopal churches,
a Sunday-school was held, two Presby-
terian ladies being teachers. The old
woman told Mr. N. she walked six miles
every Sunday, to carry her only child, a
little girl, to this Sunday-school; and
there she learned to read! When they
removed to a distant part of the country,
where there were no schools, her little
grandson would have grown up in igno-
rance, but for his mother's ability to teach
him-a duty she had discharged most
faithfully. The old church has long since
been burned down; but here, dear chil-
dren, was some of the fruit, after the seed
had been sown for years. The children
were much pleased with all this, and the
meeting passed off happily.
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 81
WHAT I have written here is all strictly
true, and just as it happened. I have
kept a diary of my visits to the school,
and I now come to the seventh visit. Of
this I made the following record:-
The children have learned the cate-
chism as far as to the sacraments, and
several little hymns:
"Lord, look upon a little child,"
"There is a happy land,"
"When daily I kneel down to pray."
Returning home one day, I called to
see a young woman who was just married.
She expressed to me the great satisfaction
the parents of the children felt in having
them taught, saying, "Mother always
makes Eliza sing
'There is a happy land,'
for everybody that comes in; and I do
82 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
think it is the most beautiful thing I ever
heard with my ears."
This young woman, who is respectably
married and comfortably fixed, is, I am
sorry to tell you, unable to read: she
never attended the Sunday-school, and
there was no other way for her to learn.
The children have learned several
texts; such as, "God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in time of
The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God."
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God."
A part of my plan was to make them
learn each day one text of Scripture per-
fectly: this they were charged to re-
peat at home. In teaching them the
commandments, one little boy, on hear-
ing the eighth, "Thou shalt not steal,"
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 88
said, "I never heard that before !" In
order to impress it more fully on them, I
taught them the little lines-
"In God's pure sight, it is a sin
To steal a penny, or a pin."
By way of explanation of the ninth,
" Thou shalt not bear false witness against
thy neighbour," I asked, What is bearing
false witness? (Answer all at once.)
" Lying and slandering." And to ex-
plain this, I made them learn the lines
from Watts' "Divine Songs"-
"Oh 'tis a lovely thing for youth
To walk betimes in wisdom's way,
To fear a lie, to speak the truth,
That we may trust to all they say."
My health obliged me to leave home
for the summer months; but, though
absent, I did not forget my poor children.
The*beauties of nature-the works of art
-sweet sounds, and saddening sights-all
were impressed more deeply on my me-
34 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
mory, from a desire to convey to these
children, ideas that should enlarge their
minds and improve their hearts.
After an absence of four months, I re-
turned home; and as soon as it was
possible to convey intelligence of my
arrival, we met in the school-house.
Never was there a more pleasant meet-
ing. The November frosts had dyed the
leaves of the forest-trees with all the
hues of the rainbow. Without, all was
sparkling and bright in the beautiful sun-
shine; while within, a cheerful fire on the
hearth gave quite an air of comfort to all
around. The books and papers which I
had collected were received with lively
satisfaction. As was to be expected, the
children had fallen off, for during my
absence, they were as sheep without a
shepherd, and no one cared for them.
After our religious exercises were over
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 85
my journey was the subject of conversa-
tion. To see one who had been farther
from home than Richmond, was in itself
a wonder. Not one child present had
ever seen a steamboat, but in a picture;
and my powers were taxed to the utmost,
to convey to them an idea of railcars, and
the steamships which "walk the waters."
I was much pleased at their repeating
verses of Scripture. One girl said fifteen,
and one boy twelve verses. Twelve verses
in the Bible, in four months, may appear
as nothing to you, dear children, who have
been taught, every week-day and every
sabbath, the truths of the blessed gospel.
But to these poor children, many of
whom, six months before, had never seen
a Bible, it was an amount of knowledge
greater than all they had acquired in
their whole lives.
And now, as some of my young friends
36 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
may like to hear of some of the wonderful
sights which I beheld in my travels, I will
tell you just as I told them.
Philadelphia, the first place at which
we stopped in our journey, is a great
city, the second in the United States. It
is a large and beautiful place, with many
fine streets, handsome houses, and beauti-
ful squares full of noble trees. The State
House is in this city, where the Declaration
of Independence (the paper declaring that
we were a free people) was signed, on the
4th of July, 1776. This paper is thought
so valuable that it is kept in a glass case.
There is a great building here, called the
Academy of Fine Arts, where there are
many beautiful pictures, and figures of
men and women cut out of white marble.
One picture I told them of, that made a
deep impression on me. It is a Prison
Scene." A poor mother is taking leave
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 87
of her son, who is condemned to death
for some dreadful crime. She is perfectly
calm, though her eyes are red and swollen
from the tears she has shed. The poor
youth is on his knees, and looks sad and
sorrowful. The jailer, who is present,
with his heavy iron keys in his hand,
has his back turned toward them, and
the tears are rolling down his face.
Accustomed as he is to crime and distress,
this is more than he can bear. The
scene was so natural and lifelike, my
tears fell freely in looking at it, and I
felt as if I wished to step in and speak a
word of comfort to that poor child of sin
and sorrow. I thought, dear children, as
I looked at this picture, (which is too
often acted in real life,) that this poor boy
was never taught to fear God and keep
his commandments. Perhaps he never
88 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
attended a Sunday-school or was taught
to pray, Lead us not into temptation."
Having told them of a picture of Queen
Victoria, which excited in them no little
interest about England, I carried with me
a Geography; and, to make things as dis-
tinct as possible, showed them the little
maps, telling them all about the different
quarters of the globe, and the countries
of Europe and America. With these
things my little readers are, I hope, ac-
quainted. One little boy was so inte-
rested, that he stepped forward, saying,
"Oh, do let me take it all home."
You must not suppose that all these
things were told them in one lesson.
There were more important things than
these to be thought of. But each day's
lesson would bring out something they
liked to hear, and surely no one ever had
more unwearied listeners.
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 89
I took great pleasure in describing to
them the Mint in Philadelphia, which is
a large marble building, where money is
coined-the gold and silver being first
dug out of the earth. These children
had, some of them, been to the coal-pits
in Virginia, which are not more than
twenty miles off; so they could form
some idea of a gold-mine.
"Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold,
Molten, graven, hammered, roll'd,
Hoarded, bartered, bought, and sold,
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled,
Price of many a crime untold.
Gold, gold! Gold, gold!
Good or bad, a thousand-fold,
To save, to ruin, to curse, to bless."
November 12th.-Attended the school.
Taught them as the day's text, "Be not
deceived, God is not mocked; for whatso-
ever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Explained to them a Scripture print,
40 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
"Abraham offering up Isaac." Taught
them the following hymn, which will
convey a useful lesson on prayer, both to
children and grown people.
"I often say my prayers,
But do I ever pray ?
Or do the wishes of my heart
Suggest the words I say?
"'Tis useless to implore,
Unless I feel my need,
Unless 'tis from a sense of want
That all my prayers proceed.
"I may as well kneel down
And worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God
A prayer of words alone.
"For words without the heart,
The Lord will never hear;
Nor will he ever those regard
Whose prayers are insincere.
"Lord teach me what I want,
And teach me how to pray;
Nor let me e'er implore thy grace,
Not feeling what I say."
One morning, I missed one of my
little girls from her seat, and on inquiring
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 41
for her, was told that her father had
died that morning, after being in a drunk-
en frolic. It is heart-sickening to think
of the scenes these poor children witness
in their own homes. The next week she
came, looking very sorrowful: she was
dressed in a bright pink chintz, with
a little piece of black crape pinned round
her throat. Had she been arrayed in
the deepest mourning robes, it would not
have touched me as did this simple at-
tempt to pay respect to the memory of
her poor, degraded father. And now it
was my effort, as much as possible, to in-
terest them in the cause of Temperance,
without being too pointed. And here let
me remark, that in no situation of life
is delicacy or tact more necessary than in
talking to people in this condition of life;
for in proportion to their ignorance is their
pride; and the constant endeavour must
42 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
be not to show what we think our superior
knowledge, or make them feel too pain.
fully their inferiority. I gave my young
friends a lesson on Influence, explaining
what a powerful engine it is, either for
good or for evil; that no little boy or girl
is without it; and that each one should
pray to be enabled to do some good in
their own homes. I called in the power
of music to aid me in this cause; and
taught them to sing a little song to a
merry little air which I learned on
purpose for their benefit.
I have not told you that my scholars
got their living by working in the open
fields, cultivating wheat, corn, and to-
bacco. I have endeavoured to impart to
them some of my own taste for flowers,
and to induce them to ornament their
homes, by planting shrubs and vines.
a For know, dear little girls and boys,
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 48
there is nothing more refining than a
love for this most beautiful part of God's
creation. And the home l st habitation
can be made to present a Fasing appear-
ance, by paying attention to these things.
I was much gratified, this spring, by a
little girl bringing me some beans of the
scarlet-runner kind. And to make me
some return for a rose I had given him, one
boy brought me a rare and beautiful flower,
which he had carefully taken, in full
bloom, from the woods. No flower that
I ever received gave me more pleasure.
I will put down here for my little read-
ers, some beautiful lines on flowers, by an
THE USE OF FLOWERS.
God might have made the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
Without a flower at all.
44 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
He might have made enough, enough
For every want of our's,
For luxury, medicine, and toil,
And yet have made no flowers.
The ore wi the mountain mine
Requireth nbne to grow,
Nor does it need the lotus-flowers
To make the rivers flow.
The clouds might give abundant rain,
And nightly dews might fall,
And the herb that keepeth life in man
Might yet have drunk them all.
Then wherefore were they made,
All dyed with rainbow light,
All fashioned with supremest grace,
Up-springing day and night.
Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountains high,
And in the silent wilderness,
Where no one passeth by 1
Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth.
To comfort man, to whisper hope,
Whene'er his face is dim;
For who so careth for the flowers,
Will care much more for him."
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 45
Some weeks after my return home, I
was greatly disturbed. The old man
who still taught during tle week, told
me that, as he was going away, he fear-
ed my school would be broken up, for he
would be compelled to take with him the
benches and shutters, as they belonged to
him. The boys immediately said, "We
will bring in stones to sit on," and all
promised to meet me regularly on Tues-
day. The next day I set out to visit the
owner of the school-house, to see if we
could get the further use of it secured to
us. After riding three miles, I stopped at
the house of a man who, though poor, is
not needy. The owner of the house, an
old blind man, came out to meet me. He
promised to let me have the school-house
rent free, provided he could get released
from the people to whom he had previously
46 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
Soon after, he sent me word we could
not meet at the school-house, but might
come to his wn house. It was a sad
breaking up; but we would not give up
our school, though the increased distance
made it a much more arduous undertaking
for both teacher and scholars-and, be-
sides all this, the parents objected to the
children going to this house. The only
comfort I had was that the old blind
man would come and take his seat in
the room, and be present during the
Meantime, while greatly disturbed
about the loss of the school-house, I was
surprised one morning by a message from
one of the boys, saying it was at my
service. We again met there, and had a
very pleasant time, though the shutters
A kind neighbour put up some rough
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 47
benches; one of the boys nailed up the
windows with some bits of old plank;
and then we had to keep tp door open
to admit light. I take pleasure in say-
ing that while I was at home, we met
regularly through the winter.
From my diary:--"January -. At
tended the school; taught them the se-
cond part of the Catechism. Only a few
had ever seen a baptism, and those alone
who had been to Sunday-school had any
idea of the Lord's supper. Showed them
a print of Ananias and Sapphira, and gave
them for a new singing-lesson, a beautiful
It will serve to show the habits of the
people, when I tell you that a little boy
of four years old, in one corner of the
room, upon hearing this song, called out,
"I don't drink !" match to the amusement
of the whole school.
48 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
At this time I received a donation of
a dozen Prayer Books from a society in
Richmond. As I was giving them out,
I presented one to a large boy; but find-
ing he could not read, I was about to take
it from him, and give it to some one who
could make use of it. He came forward,
and said very feelingly, "I can't read,
but I will learn. I ought to have one. I
work out all the week, but I go to the
Sunday-school, and I come here on Tues-
day." I gave him the book, and he has
learned to use it.
Again it was necessary for me to
leave home on account of my health.
And on my return from the seaboard of
Virginia, I collected a large number of
books. True, they were half-worn, and
some of them quite old-fashioned, but
they were very useful, and of great value
in the sight of these children. Some
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 49
time after, while distributing thirteen new
ones, that had been sent me, I said to a
"You have a Prayer Book."
"Oh yes," said he, holding up a very
old one, "but it has got no hymns in it."
And when I remembered what good
use he had made of it, I was happy to
have it in my power to gratify him with
a new one.
Extract from my journal:-
"April 2d.-Attended the school-
twenty-five in the reading class-forty-
one children present, sixteen new ones.
One woman came and sat in the door all
the time. At the close, she told me I was
teaching her children what would profit
them at the day of judgment."
About this time we were so happy as
to have another visit from the Rev. Mr.
N., who had recently been appointed a
50 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
missionary to China. To prepare the
children to profit by it, I taught them the
following hymn, which I put down for
any of my readers who may not know it.
PRAY FOR THE HEATHEN.
Little children, when you pray
To God, to keep you through the day;
When you ask that he would take
Your sins away, for Jesus' sake;
When you thank him for your friends,
And the comforts that he sends,-
Don't forget to breathe a prayer
For those who know not of his care.
Many little ones there are
O'er the sea, so very far,
Who never heard of God above,
Who do not know of Jesus' love;
Children who have never heard
From Christian friends this blessed word,
That gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Dearly loves a little child,
And bids them always come and pray
To him to take their sins away.
This Saviour they have never known,
And therefore bow to wood and stone.
Oh, children, ask of him to send
Some one to be the heathen's friend,
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 51
To guide them from destruction's road,
Into the path that leads to God;
That they may have their sins forgiven,
And, when they die, may go to heaven;
That they and you at last may stand
Within that happy, happy land.
On this occasion there were fifty-two
children and twelve grown persons pre-
sent. Most touchingly did Mr. N. speak
to them the words of eternal life, telling
them he should see their faces no more,
till they should meet at the bar of God
-warning them to flee from the wrath
to come, and to seek first the kingdom of
Heaven. He spoke to the boys of the
great work to be done in heathen lands,
called on them to become missionaries,
and from that little spot to let the seed
go forth, and, even as they had been
taught, to teach all nations. After
closing his address, which was listened to
with breathless attention, he proposed to
52 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
the children to form a Missionary Society,
as in this way, at least, they might aid in
the great work.
At the close of the school on the follow-
ing Tuesday, we organized The New-
found River Missionary Society," for the
benefit of the heathen in China. This
little stream (New-found River) which the
children pass on a log in getting to the
school-house, will, after a heavy fall of
rain, be too deep to ford; and, in a few
hours, will come rushing and roaring
down like a mountain torrent, sweeping
over the corn and the tobacco fields
which are planted near it. I told them
their little society might hereafter in-
crease in strength and power, and be-
come a great river, bearing onward in its
might the bread which perisheth not,
and the water of life, to millions of the
destitute heathen. The choosing officers,
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 58
afforded much amusement to the whole
Knowing how very poor they were,
and that money was a thing very rarely
in their possession, I limited the sub-
scription to one cent a month; and I told
them, if they could not raise a cent, they
could bring an egg, and I would buy all
the eggs at that price. The following
Tuesday, I went prepared with cents, to
give in exchange for eggs, but was sur-
prised and gratified to find no eggs. All
were ready to give as God had blessed
them. Our first collection was thirty-
seven cents, proving the truth of the
proverb, "Where there's a will there's a
way." This, to you, dear children, may
seem almost too trifling a sum to be
mentioned; but it is written in the Holy
Scriptures, "Despise not the day of small
things." And I thank God for the oppor-
54 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
tunity to tell you that the little stream
increases still. We now take up our
collections once a week; and the chil-
dren often put in six cents instead of one.
And now, to keep up their interest in
this good cause, I began again to explain
the commandments, beginning with the
second:-" Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, or any likeness of
any thing that is in heaven above, or that
is in the earth beneath, or that is in the
waters under the earth. Thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth ge-
neration of them that hate me." Here I
told them of the idols used in different
countries-of the crocodile of Egypt, an
animal they had seen pictures of-of the
great river Ganges in India, in which so
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 6
many little infants are thrown by their
poor, ignorant parents-and described to
them the hideous idols of wood and stone,
" which have eyes and see not, ears and
hear not, hands and handle not."
I was much pained to hear that some
of the boys continued the dreadful prac-
tice of swearing; though no bad language
had ever come to my ears, since the first
day I opened the school. In talking to
them on the third commandment, I said
I would not ask who broke it: I could
only show the sin against God, and they
must pray and strive to break off this
bad habit. As I looked around, their
conscious looks easily betrayed the guilty
tongues. Many hung their heads and
blushed deeply. Let me tell you, dear
little boy, as I told them, Swear not at
all;" and how constantly we stand in
need of the beautiful prayer found in the
56 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
Psalms: Set a watch, 0 Lord, before my
mouth, and keep the door of my lips./
Should this little book fall into the hands
of any child who is so thoughtless as to
take God's holy name in vain, I trust such
an one will pray to the Holy Spirit to as-
sist him in giving up this sinful practice,
which I fear too often prevails among the
high and low, the rich and poor.
In explaining the fourth commandment,
"Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it
holy: "I set before them the promises of
the Bible to those who remember, and the
dreadful judgments on those who profane
the sacred day of the Lord. Many of you,
dear children, are, by the good providence
of God, so hedged in by circumstances, that
you are little liable to the temptation of
Sabbath-breaking. And this should ex-
cite a feeling of thankfulness, rather than
pride, in your hearts. You have Sabbath
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
privileges which are of inestimable value.
Should you at any time, when Sunday
morning comes, feel inclined to stay
from Sunday-school or church, perhaps a
thought of those who are deprived of
such blessings will make you more
earnest in the service of your Maker.
Shall I tell you how Sunday is spent
among many poor people? You will
then realize what I mean, and can better
contrast your situation with their's. Some
do not even wash and dress themselves
on Sunday morning. And I have seen
clothes hanging out, as if they had been
put out late on Saturday evening. After
a late breakfast, they go off to the woods,
and spend the day in roaming about-
climbing trees-making and setting traps
-bird's-nesting and bee-hunting. Some
go fishing, others bathing. During the
58 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
fruit season, strawberries, whortleberries
and blackberries are gathered. In the
fall of the year, they may be seen re-
turning home, of a Sunday evening, laden
with chestnuts strung on thread and
hanging in yards around their necks.
These are boiled and kept for future
use. Hazel-nuts and hickory-nuts form
part of their spoils. Hunting, again,
presents great temptations to the poor,
as it enables them to provide a com-
fortable meal for their families. Par-
tridges, squirrels, (which are often very
troublesome to the farmers,) wild turkies,
and hares are secured on that day;
and the ear is too frequently pained by
the crack of the sportsman's gun, which is
sure to betray them in their unhallowed
I am glad to say that there is an im-
provement in these respects in our neigh-
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 59
bourhood. In the increase of Sunday-
schools and regular preaching, these
things gradually die away. You can
now feel how necessary it was to give my
children line upon line on this subject,
and, as much as possible, to make them
feel the importance of resting from labour
on this sacred day.
On one of the last days of April, I re-
ceived a package of Sunday-school books
from Philadelphia; and on the second of
May, I carried them to the school. This
was a very pleasing incident, and, though
it may seem a trifling circumstance, will
long be remembered by us. There were
cards-First and Second Reading Books
-Penny Gazettes-Sunday-school Jour-
nals-Penny Hymn-books -and what
was more valuable than all, a library!
Would you wish a striking scene ? I
can tell you of the pleasure sparkling in
60 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
the eyes of these children as they gathered
round me. Excitement was strongly
marked on every countenance; and yet
no word was spoken-all sat in mute as-
tonishment at the sight of so many books.
When the books were presented, there was
a burst of joy, and an earnest Thank
you, ma'am." Then back they went to
their seats, and seemed as if they would
fairly devour the books.
On that day I loaned out eighteen vo-
lumes, and was pleased to learn that they
were read by both parents and children.
Four of them asked at one time for "The
Burnt Girl," and one woman sent me word
that her husband sat up the greater part
of Sunday night, and used a whole candle
in reading Village Boys," though he had
to go to his work at daylight. "Scenes
of Intemperance" was read by them; and
these pleasant little messengers are work-
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 61
ing their way silently but surely, and
going into hearts and homes that were
inaccessible to me.
On this occasion we took up a collection
of thirty-three cents, and I proposed to
the children, that as we had been so kind-
ly supplied ourselves, we should try and
do something toward buying a library
for "the West." This they gladly agreed
to do, and, not long after, I had the satis-
faction (no light one, I can assure you) of
forwarding a dollar for this good purpose.
Some of you, dear children, who are sup-
plied with pocket-money by kind and
indulgent parents, when tempted to spend
it in gratifying yourselves, may think of
this small sum given heartily by these
children, and may likewise give of your
abundance as God hath blessed you.
On the first Tuesday in every month
we held our regular Missionary meetings,
62 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
and many of my lessons, after teaching
them to sing Bishop Heber's beautiful
"From Greenland's icy mountains,"
were devoted to explaining different parts
In order to give my children definite
ideas of places, it was necessary to give
them some little lessons in geography.
With these things many of my readers
I told them that Greenland, about
which the hymn begins, is a cold, desolate
country, abounding with ice, where for
half the year the sun does not shine. The
people are wretchedly poor, and live on
fish, seabirds, seals, and whale-oil. At
certain seasons of the year, people from
various parts of Europe used to send out
whale-ships, which traded with the savage
Greenlanders for seal-skins, &c.
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 68
May you be thankful, dear children,
for God's goodness, in placing you in a
country where you do not suffer either
from heat or cold-where you have food
to eat and comfortable clothes to wear-
and where, above all, you can learn God's
holy will and commandments. Should
you at any time feel dissatisfied with the
state of life in which it has pleased God
to place you, perhaps the thought of the
poor Greenlanders, struggling amid ice
and snow for a scanty meal, may make
you cultivate a contented spirit, which
in the sight of God is of great value.
As spring advanced, being again pro-
strated by illness, it was determined that
I must seek change of air and gcene in
the mountains of Virginia. On my return
home I met a warm welcome from a very
full school. There was much to tell of
64 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
concerning the rich country through
which I had passed, in which mountains,
hills, and valleys are so beautifully ar-
ranged, that from Charlottesville to Staun-
ton the eye is delighted at every turn.
During my visit I attended exhibitions
of the deaf, dumb, and blind.
My children had seen the blind, but
had never seen a deaf and dumb person.
Great was their astonishment to hear of
their being taught by signs to read and
know every thing that is going on in the
world. Having learned to spell on my
fingers, I was able to explain to them the
way in which this was done, showing
them signs, and how to make the letters.
It gave them pleasure to see a piece of
printing for the blind, with the raised let-
ters. Here I told them of the five senses
given us by God-seeing, hearing, tasting,
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 65
smelling, and feeling; and of his good-
ness in providing that, when any person
is deprived of one of these senses, the
others become much more acute; so that
by the sense of feeling, or delicacy of touch,
the blind are enabled to learn to read.
How thankful, dear readers, should we
be, who are blessed with eyesight and
the power of speech, for the wonderful in-
ventions whereby these afflicted, if not
unhappy ones, can be rendered useful and
independent! It is really wonderful to
see how many things the blind can do.
They can find their way about the house
and grounds, (which are very beautiful,)
without a guide. They are also taught
music, of which they are always fond,
and to do many kinds of work. The
children were once asked whether they
had rather be dumb or blind. Each one
66 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
preferred being as he was; and the blind
said, "We can read our books in the dark."
The blind are generally cheerful; and
you, dear children, would be surprised to
find how much of geography and arithme-
tic they know, being always ready to an-
swer any question put to them.
You remember, that when our blessed
Saviour was on earth, the blind received
sight, the dumb spoke, and reason was
restored to the lunatics.
Dear children, if you should at any
time be thrown with those who are dis-
tressed in mind or body, try and not
laugh at or mimic them in any way.
They are very sensitive, and a "small
unkindness is a great offence" to them.
In your prayers, remember to pray for the
afflicted, that it may please God to re-
lieve them, and to give them patience
THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 67
under their sufferings. Then you will
never fail in your duty, but, by every
pleasing little attention, will try to lighten
the trial with which it has pleased the
Almighty to afflict them. "Bear ye one
another's burdens," is an injunction too
little regarded by both grown people and
I put down here some lines written by
a gentleman, which will, I hope, assist you
to remember what I have said on this
ON VISITING THE DEAF AND DUMB ASYLUM.
The deaf shall hear, and the dumb shall speak,
In the brighter days to come;
When they pass, through the troubled scenes of life,
To a higher and happier home.
They shall hear the trumpet's fearful blast,
When it breaks the sleep of the tomb;
They shall hear the righteous Judge declare
To the faithful their blessed doom.
68 THE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS.
And the conqueror's shout, and the ransom'd's song
On their raptured ear shall fall,-
And the tongue of the dumb, in the chorus of praise,
Shall be higher and louder than all.
Oh! Thou, whose still voice can need no ear,
To the heart its message to bear,
Who can't hear the unutter'd reply of the heart,
As it glows in the fervour of prayer,-
Speak in thy pity and power to those
Who only Thee can hear;
And bend to the call of their speaking hearts
Thine everlasting ear.
And now I must bid my young readers
an affectionate farewell. My object, in
asking your attention to my story, was to
enlist your sympathies in the cause of
truth. Should a desire to do good among
the poor have been excited in one young
heart, I shall not have told my story in
vain. And if "the School in the Woods"
finds favour in your eyes, and my life
shall be spared, you may hear from me
TIE SCHOOL IN THE WOODS. 69
I commend you to His care whose life
was love; and with a grateful recollec.
tion of the good derived to myself from
the society of children.
I I IP~ r~L~r
21. ',?~n 2