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HOUSE ON THE ROCK.
BY THE AUTHOR
"THE DREAM CHINTZ," "A TRAP TO CAT&iA A SUNBEAM,"
"ONLY," "OLD JOLLIFFE,"
BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE:
JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY.
C ~_LI~ _~_ --U--C~I~C--LIIII
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by
JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
THURSTON, TORRY, AND EMERSON. PRl ltBRS.
HOUSE ON THE ROCK.
SUMMER is ripening fast into Autumn, it
is evening, quiet, contemplative evening, -
the sky is gray and calm, the veil of night
is slowly rising, enveloping land and sea in a
soft mist. Yes, sea, -for I would have you
picture yourself by the sea-side on such an
eve as I describe,--the wide, restless, mysteri-
ous sea, coming into the shore so gently now,
with a sweet low rushing sound, playing as it
were with the pebbles, feigning to carry them
with it into its waste of waters, and leaving
them behind after all. How breathless we
feel looking over that wide expanse, that
seemingly unending mass of water;. how its
monotonous murmur seems to whisper of
The moon is rising from that ridge of cloud,
--turning the waves to silver, a few chil-
dren of the fishermen are paddling with naked
legs and feet in the water, their joyous
voices the only sound, save the murmur of the
quiet sea; aye, quiet as though it knew not
how to rage
till the roar makes echo dumb; "
knew not how to run mountains high,-and
dash so furiously upon that shore, and make
deep furrows with its waves as tombs for many
a brave heart, and many an anxious hope; as
though no mighty ship had ever perished
through its fury, no fisherman's frail bark gone
down beneath its waters.
Half way up the cliff, which overhangs the
sea, is a little cottage approached by rugged
steps cut in the rock, with a small hand-rail to
aid in the ascent, -a strange little place it
looks, and yet comfortable too, for it is very
clean, and in summer time there are always
ON THE ROCK.
flowers in the window, and in the winter the
light of a blazing fire, which makes it worth
while to clamber up those steep steps, -for
it seems to welcome you beneath its humble
Three people dwell there -two old men,
and a young and beautiful girl, aye, you
would think nothing of the steps, nothing of
the trouble it gives you to get there, were you
sure that Mabel Raby was at home, to have
one glance at her face, for it is not often such
a face gladdens the eyes of mortal man.
There was something unearthly in its beauty.
They had said as a child she was too beautiful
to live, but twenty years had gone by since
then, and the lovely vision, for such she seem-
ed, was living still. I will not describe her to
you, because no description could equal the
original, but suffice it, the face was a faultless
one; living always by the sea-side, and ex-
posed to all weather, she was tanned, but
nature had made her complexion very fair,
for beneath the thick masses of her rich
brown hair the skin was white as ivory.
The coarsest minds have somehow an
appreciation and intense admiration for beauty
- and in the little fishing hamlet about half a
mile distant, the Beauty of the Rock, as they
call her, is worshipped. She goes to market
there once a week, and they will almost let
her have things for nothing, for they know the
old men are poor, and they think it would be
a pity that such a pretty creature should want
for any thing. A little strange out-of-the-way
place that village is, picturesque too, one
long straggling street built on a hill, old-
fashioned cottages, most of them crumbling
with age, in which every second inhabitant
makes a living by selling shrimps, which lie in
heaps on a sloping board outside the window,
where also those whom it concerns are in-
formed, that "hot water can be supplied at a
moment's notice," or "' picnic parties accom-
modated." The shops are very few, --the
chandler has some meat once a week, there is
no regular butcher, this man sells almost
every thing the humble inhabitants need,--
ON THE ROCK.
his shop is so fill there is scarcely room to
turn in it,--a green-grocer in a very small
way, and a place called The Repository"
kept by an old maid divide the honors with
him,--every one else sells fish.
The aforesaid Repository is curious in shells;
every thing you can imagine, and many things
you cannot, made in shells. Animals which
would have puzzled Cuvier,-houses no archi-
tect with the most fertile imagination could
dream of, -flowers no botanist could give a
name to, -all shells -A few newspapers and
periodicals, and some very stale novels, she
lends out to read; she deals in paper and
envelopes, sealing-wax, ornamental wafers, per-
forated card, beads, netting silk, Berlin wool,
and in short all sorts of "Fancy articles."
I need scarcely tell you how few of such
things she sold; the shells went off the best,
for some of her poor neighbors had friends in
London, and they would save up a little mon4
to send some trifle at Christmas time, as they
considered a present from the sea-side should
be formed of shells; but she managed, poor
old soul, to make a living by doing a little in
the dress-making and millinery way besides,
but, as you may imagine, it was scanty enough.
An old ruin, which was supposed to be a
great many things, which it was quite as likely
it never had been, formed an excuse for picnic
parties frequently to this neighborhood. An-
tiquaries often groped about the village, and
took notes of many things they thought inter-
esting and curious; for it was a quaint old
place. One day an old man, dressed in the
fashion of our forefathers, with a face and
figure well in keeping with his costume,
paused before a small house on which was an
inscription, and inquired of its inhabitants most
anxiously if they could afford him any infor-
mation respecting it. No! they knew nothing,
and evidently as the saying is, cared less; but
at length, as he was about to leave in despair,
a woman put her head out of one of the
cottage windows, and assured him she could
tell him all about it; eagerly he prepared to
ON THE ROCK.
listen, and his disappointment is better imag-
ined than described, when the intelligence
afforded him was contained in this sapient
answer, --" Why, Sir, that ere scription has
been up there ever since the house was built."
I have said that the old men were poor, so
poor were they indeed, that it was oftentimes
a subject of conversation in the village as to
how they lived at all. Matthew Whiting
received a small pension quarterly, on account
of some service in earlier years, as it was
thought, and Mabel supported herself and
father by making nets. The extraordinary
beauty of the girl and the old men's singular
devotion to her, and to each other, was a
continual cause of wonderment, no one knew
the reason of it. Matthew, Mabel called
upcle, but it was only a term of affection, for
they were not related, though the nearest and
dearest ties could not have made them love
one another better.
Having thus introduced you to the principal
personages in my story, I shall take you to
their dwelling, and admit you beneath the roof
of their humble little home. On the evening
I have just described, you must picture to
yourself, in that dim fading light, two old men
seated by the window smoking, the moon
is rising slowly, and her bright rays are illu-
minating the small room with its red brick
uneven floor, glittering on the two brass candle-
sticks and pewter mugs ranged on the shelf,
with some pieces of old crockery ware.
On the table in the centre their supper is
laid; a red herring, some brown bread and a
small piece of Dutch cheese. They smoked in
silence some time, and then old Matthew said,
laying down his pipe, -
"Mabel be late, John."
"I'm glad on it, Matthew,-for we can say
we've had our supper, when she do come,-
for I'm sure there be'ant enough for three! "
he added ruefully casting a glance at the poor
"Ah! she's too sharplike for that, -she'll
say, where's the plates? and remember too she
ON THE ROCK.
will, how much there was lift sin' yester'-
"True, Matthew, your'n's the head. Well,
look here then,--let's dirt two of the plates,
and hide away the cheese as though we'd eat
it all, -and to-morrow it will come in useful."
"Very good," said Matthew, and he rose and
took some plates from the shelf.
"Here give 'em to me, I can do it best, you
go back to your pipe," said John.
"Noa, noa, I'll do it."
Well, we'll do one a-piece then, for I tell'ee
what, Matthew, it's hungry work."
"Nonsense, man," answered Whiting some-
what sternly, I'm never hungry when it's not
John bore the rebuke in silence, and in
silence continued his efforts to make the plates
appear to have been used, and the old men
had scarcely resumed their pipes, and their
seats at the window, when a light voice sing-
ing, in a wild untutored manner some sailor's
ditty, gave notice of Mabel's approach.
"Here I am," she said gaily, as she flung
the door wide open, were you frightened at
my being so late ?"
Noa, child, noa, thou'rt safe enough here-
abouts, there's not a being that would harm
thee, art hungry, lass ?"
"No, father, not very, -it's too warm to
eat, I think."
"Oh, teake a snack, gurl, teake a snack,"
Well, come along then," she said, drawing
some chairs to the table.
Oh, we couldn't wait for 'ee," said John,
with an attempt at a laugh, "we've done."
Done, have you," she said, "what, and
left all this for me? why, what can you have
eaten ? Nothing, "I'm sure," she con-
tinued, rising and laying her hand on her
father's arm. John puffed away vehemently,
and made no answer, but Matthew, drawing
his pipe from his mouth, replied in his usual
"Where's the cheese, gurl? "
ON THE ROCK.
"Ah true, there was some cheese. Then,
if you really have eaten your supper, I shall
sit down and eat a good one, for I am very
The old men exchanged glances of satis-
faction at this speech, and puffed out the
smoke in volumes, while Mabel sat down,
and eat really as though she were hungry.
When she had finished, and cleared away the
supper things, she drew her seat near the old
men and told them where she had been.
"I have sold the nets, and here is the
money, four and twopence, so much for
business, as regards news, Mrs. Warren 's
let her house to such fine folks, and they 're
coming Monday, and she's so pleased, -the
street isn't good enough for her to walk in,
for they 're carriage folks, keep men-servants,
and I don't know what all."
"Sorry to hear it," said Matthew gruffly,
"I heates them sort o' gentry,-what are
they but finery and flummery outside, and
hollowness and heartlessness within? When
14 THE HOUSE
they do come, keep near home; you're safer
here in port with the old men in their jersey
shirts, than among them with their silks and
Oh, but Uncle Matthew, I may just take
a look at them --Mrs. Warren says even the
servants have got gold upon their dresses, and
the gentleman's a Lord, a real Lord."
"If you speaks to one on 'em I 'e 'done
with you," answered Matthew with great
Mabel looked inquiringly at her father.
"Never mind, gurl, do as Uncle wants 'ee,"
he answered, he's alless right; I've knowed
him sixty years, and still I says he's alless
right; --and now my bright clock up there
tells me its time for bed, so God bless 'ee my
gurl; go on now to bed and think no more of
a parcel of foine folks, who'd be above look-
ing at such as thee."
Obedient as a child, knowing no other law
than the old men's simple word, Mabel kissed
them and went into her little room. When
ON THE ROCK.
the door had closed upon her, Matthew drew
nearer to John, and, placing his hand on his
arm, said in a low voice,
This is bad news, John, very bad news;
who is this Lord that be come down in this
quiet place, what do 'ee want? Mabel
mustn't move outside the door whilst he be
"But you don't think, Matthew, it be -
"I think nothing, but that he 's one of that
crew, I would 'nt stretch a hand to save, if
the wild waters there were about to swallow
'em before my face."
Hush! hush Matthew, my man, gently,
years are come and gone since thee and me
had cause to think so hardly 'o such as they.
We're old now, Matthew, the grave which
makes all men equal lies near us both, -so
let 's keep from bad words, for they may be
And poor old John drew the back of his
sunburnt hand across his eyes, and then hold-
ing it out to Matthew, said,
"Beside, old friend, though they did do us
wrong, wasn't it through them as we've been
brought together to be what we are to one
another; they've done us a sort of second-
hand good turn, don't let you and I be loth
to do them one when we can."
Matthew grasped his friend's hand, said
nothing for a few moments, and then burst
"But the gurl, John, the gurl, I tell 'ee,
you must keep her from them or there'll be
mischief, take my word on't; you, that have
seen her grow since she was no bigger than a
gull's egg, don't know what a beauty she
is, you don't see it, cause you're used to
her; but I that have been in them lands,
where they say the womenkind is the most
beautiful on earth, know there bean't one on
'em can touch Mabel. She don't know her-
self what she is,--what then do 'ee think
it'll be to her to hear them, as they will talk
to her of her beauty,--tell her that,---but
there it makes me mad to think on't; keep
ON THE ROCK.
her away, I say, or you'll rue the day you
scorned Matthew Whiting's words."
"It would be the first time if I did, Mat-
thew, the first time indeed; I'll keep the
child as close as you like,--but the night
comes on apace,- we'll to bed, to bed.
God bless you!" and with one more grasp
of each other's hands they retired to the third
room, which was the extent of the cottage.
In it was slung a hammock for Matthew,
and on the ground was a mattress on which
John slept. They were soon stretched in
their respective resting-places, and with the
"lullaby" of the then tranquil sea, as soon
A week passed away, and one bright morn-
ing when the sun was shining, with that
peculiar brilliancy it appears to have always
by the sea, a group were seen seated on the
beach beneath the cliff, the only piece of
shade to be found any where near: the group
consisted of an old woman, a younger one, a
fine boy about eight years of age, and two
young ladies; they were simply attired as
befitted a ramble on the sea-shore, in ging-
ham dresses, and coarse straw bonnets; but
those accustomed to mix with the higher
classes, could not have failed to see the stamp
of aristocracy on the brows of the younger
members of the party.
At some distance from them, a girl appeared
searching for shells, and her picturesque ap-
pearance soon attracted their attention. She
had no bonnet on, but a profusion of dark
brown hair graced her very classically shaped
head; her dress, of some dark material, she
had turned up, to be out of the wet, and
pinned behind, -a crimson handkerchief was
crossed over her bosom, and the short gray
petticoat beneath her gown displayed her neat
foot, in a thick leather shoe and blue stock-
"How nice that girl looks," said one of the
young ladies, "her dress is quite a costume.
I wonder if she is pretty; let us go a little
nearer to her."
ON THE ROCK.
"Pretty, Adelaide, you are always thinking
"Well! I have a notion she is, she has
such a good shaped head. I should like to
see her face: why there's De Vere speaking to
her, I declare. I'll go and call him away,
and then I can see her. What are you doing
De Vere ?" she said, approaching the child.
"I am asking her what she is looking for,"
The young lady's object was effected, for
the girl raised her head, and lifted a pair of
lustrous eyes to her interrogator's face, as she
"Looking for shells, little gentleman, to sell
to the Repository."
Are you poor, then ?"
"Hush! De Vere, come away."
"No, nonsense, Why ? I like to talk
to her. Have you found any yet ? "
"No, Sir, none."
"May I help you, I should like to help you,
you are so pretty."
De Vere, do as I tell you, and come away,
Sir," said the young lady rather angrily.
"You must excuse my brother," she continued,
turning to the girl, he is so very young he
does not know better. Will you, if you find
a good shell, allow me to buy it ?"
Oh! yes, and thank you too, Miss," she
"I shall be about here for some time. I
am going for a sail presently, and by the time
I return, you may have found one:" and the
young lady returned to her sister, who had
been joined by a young man, to whom she
immediately said, -Oh! Herbert, if you could
but see that girl yonder, you would go crazy.
She is the most beautiful creature I ever
SWhere, where, what ?"
There, standing there in that picturesque
sort of dress. You should have her to sit to
you, I dare say she would, she's miserably
"Is she really so lovely, Adelaide?" asked
ON THt ROCK
her sister, as the young man started off to
obtain a glance. I am sure you must be
quite happy, if you have discovered some
I am delighted, for my wildest hopes never
went so far as to imagine I should ever see any
thing earthly so beautiful. Oh what a pity
she is not a lady; when she speaks, and when
one looks at her coarse hands, the charm is
destroyed. Who can she be ? I declare that
impudent Herbert is speaking to her. And
here comes the boat, I must go, you
won't come, Helen ?"
"Oh! no, thank you, and I wish you
would not, with only Herbert."
"My dear, don't insult him with such an
'only,' he thinks himself an experienced
mariner, I can assure you."
Over the calm blue waters glided the little
bark, its white sails slightly swelling in the
breeze, and shot into the shore. A man sprang
out and handed in Adelaide, Herbert and the
little boy, and in a few more moments it had
put out to sea again, leaving Mabel Raby alone
on the beach, watching it as8 it moved so grace-
fully away, Helen and the servants having
Mabel stood where they had left her for
some time, gazing after the vessel with a feel-
ing of anxiety too, for in her long residence
on that wild coast she had learnt how treacher-
ous were the smiles of the sea, and her ex-
perienced eye could tell that shortly the breeze
would stiffen, and that it would need some
skill to manage the boat, and forgetful of
her employment, she stood there watching its
progress, till the squall she anticipated really
darkened the horizon, and she had to seek
shelter beneath the cliffs.
The old men were in the cottage, seated as
was their wont, in the long summer day, at the
open window, looking out upon the sea.
Matthew had been reading aloud to John,
but something in the book had touched the
tender chord in his bosom, and he was des-
canting loudly on his hatred of the rich and
ON THE ROCK.
"Find me one person, John, who can say
they 've cause to thank 'em for a kind act, -
show me the poor creature who 's the better for
their riches, what do 'em spend their money
on ? Horses and carriages, and silks and
satins. Where's the sick they send a doctor
to, --the hungry they feed, the thirsty they
give drink to, the prisoner they visit, or the
naked they clothes ? -When they goes to
their long account, how will they answer that?
-When a poor creature's misfortunes have
brought him nigh to starving, who lends him
a helping hand ? Is it them as has got their
houses full of victuals? No, John, it's the
neighbor in the next cottage, who shares his
one loaf with him who's got none. I've
known 'em send away the beggar at the door,
whilst they have been paying a handful of
gold for a picture."
Well, I don't know," said John, scratching
his head, and looking puzzled at his friend's
eloquence. I don't pretend, Matthew, to be
clever like you, but it seems to me as though
somehow we should be worse off if it weren't
for them rich gentry; how do us come to have
Hospitals for all sorts of complaints, and Re-
figees for all sorts of misfortunes, if it warn't
the rich as builded 'em ?"
That's just it, John, they '11 give their
money to things like that 'cause its put in the
papers, and people hears on it, and praises 'em;
they've no thought but that. Oh I hate to
talk of them."
Still looking puzzled, John made no reply
for a moment, but turning over the leaves of
the Bible which lay on a table near him, lie
pointed with his thin trembling finger to a
passage, and said, -
': Matthew, I'm a weak, sinful old man, with
but little book learning like you have, and this
is the only book as I can be said to know
much about. I do know this I believe by
heart, but I mayn't be clear on some points;
so just tell me what you teake that to mean."
Matthew read the verse, and when he had
finished it, he said, -
ON THE ROCK.
God bless you, John, and the day I first
knew you. 'Charity thinketh no evil and is
kind.' True, old friend, true, I need reminding
this, too often I fear, tell it me again and
again, John, that those blessed words may
make me forget them as are alless ringing in
my ears. Why what fool's that, aboard that
craft," he said, starting from his seat, "all
that crowd o' sail in this squall ? No sailor, I'll
Ah !" said John, "I feared this morning
was too bright to last, it won't be much
"It'll capsize," continued Matthew still
eagerly looking out, "and there'll be mischief,
I shall go out :" and not waiting for his less
excitable companion, Matthew hurried to the
door, and soon the vigorous old man was stand-
ing on the beach, his long gray hair fluttering
about in the breeze, and the misty rain and
spray almost hiding from his sight the little
vessel, now tossing on the waves over which
it had glided so calmly a short hour ago.
Mabel had, as I have said, sought shelter
from the squall beneath the cliff, but seeing
her uncle out, and knowing the peril of the
vessel, she flew to his side.
Uncle, it's only a young gentleman aboard,
and I am sure he don't know how to manage
her, holloa to him to shorten sail."
The wind blew stronger and stronger; the
vessel neared the shore, and a shriek long and
loud echoed among the cliffs, as she heeled
over fearfully, and finally capsized.
Some fishermen, who had seen the danger
of the little vessel, soon put out a boat to its
rescue, and Mabel saw old Matthew run for-
ward to join them and offer his assistance, -
when he stopped suddenly as one of the men
spoke to him, and turning quickly round, with
an altered and stern expression on his face he
beckoned to Mabel, and refusing to allow her
to remain to be assured of the safety of those
in such peril, he put his arm through hers, and
reascended the steps in silence.
But Mabel could not in her anxiety keep her
ON THE ROCK.
eyes from the sea, and as they neared the cot-
tage she gave a slight cry, and catching hold
tightly of her uncle's arm, said, -
Oh look, look uncle, how shocking, they
have not saved the child; he'll be drown'd,
he'll be drown'd !"
Come in gurl they're all right, such as
they come to no hurt," he answered sternly;
there's not one amongst them down there
who won't strain every nerve to save 'em,-
for they can afford to pay for their lives, go
in, go in : "--and with a slight push, he sent
her into the cottage, and following closed the
Quiet old John had remained where he left
him reading, unmindful of the excitement
without; but Mabel, too distressed even to
mind her uncle's anger, eagerly told her father
what had happened, and pointing from the
window, said, -
"There, see, see, father, they're dragging
the child now into the boat. Oh !- he's dead!
I'm sure he's dead. Look at those men in
their fine dresses: they belong, oh! I do think
they must be the Lord and his family, from
Mrs. Warren's. See they are taking the child
from the boat so carefully, oh! father, he is
dead!" again she repeated, with the tears
filling her eyes.
No, no, I hope not, what do you think
Matthew, eh ?"
"I doant know," he answered sternly.
Come and look, do Matthew."
What be the use of that? My looking,
woant bring the child to life if he be dead: "
and, rising from his seat into which he had
flung himself, he entered his room and closed
the door, leaving Mabel and her father still
gazing anxiously from the window.
Slowly along the shore moved the servants,
carrying the child, followed by the fishermen,
and Herbert supporting his half fainting sister,
and at last disappeared from the sight of their
May I go and ask if the boy is dead,
father ? "
ON THE ROCK.
"Yes, child, go, do, -it's very shocking,
make haste home, and I '11 go and see what be
the matter with Uncle ; he's put out somehow."
Swiftly Mabel flew down the cliffs, and
John went to his friend, but he was still stern
and angry, and begged to be left alone.
Never disputing his word, or thwarting his
wishes, John did leave him, and returned to
his book; that book he so valued, that had
been his study, his consolation, his recreation,
through years of privation and trial; and by
the holy influence of which he had grown to
be the gentle, uncomplaining, charitable, hum-
ble being, he was. He did in truth live in
the House built on the Rock, and feared no
tempest, -calmly he let the storms of life
sweep over him, as calmly as when the howl-
ing wind and raging sea kept him waking on
his hard mattress, and he only prayed for
those whose Houses were on the Sand.
On the side of his bed old Matthew sat,
his eyes fixed on the ground, evidently in
deep thought. What was the subject of his
earnest meditation ? Memory has carried him
far, far back over the space of many years, -
if you are inclined to go back so far with him,
He sees a rustic English village, and two
lads, one a bold daring fellow, the other good,
gentle and timid, they were at school to-
gether as little children, -they are friends
and neighbors now, they seek to earn a living
honestly, and each finds employment on the
The quiet gentle boy became a gardener, he
had always loved tending flowers and such
occupations; the other was gamekeeper, -
they are still good friends, but now before
the old man's vision flits a fair form, and a
change comes o'er the spirit of his dream,"
and midst the flowers in the garden, she is
wandering,--by her side one no longer his
friend, but his rival, John Raby.
They are no more together as they used to
be, -he can remember how in the wood he
used to wander alone by the hour, with his
ON THE ROCI.
gun and dog, haunted by the sweet face of the
farmer's daughter, and almost hating his for-
mer friend and companion: and now how his
eye flashes, and his hands clinch, as he recalls
with all the freshness of yesterday, hearing
one day in his solitary ramblings in the wood,
two persons talking earnestly, the voices of
Mabel and his master's son: poisonous words
of flattery fall from the lips of the young
man, and promises of wealth unbounded.
In a moment Matthew stands between the
tempter and his intended victim : he has saved
her for his rival it is true, but he has saved
her: even in memory he seems to act the
scene again, and the heat drops, fall from his
brow with agitation; still thought carries
him on, and he is on board a noble vessel out-
ward bound, an exile from his home, friendless
and alone in the world, dismissed his master's
service on a charge of robbery!--His old
companion of so many years, his ungenerous
rival, is his false accuser.
His fancied injustice of the wealthy and
powerful, and the ingratitude of all men,
makes him hard and reckless, and he roams
abroad, he cares not whither.
Years pass on,--he has gathered a little
money and is coming home,--aye, old man,
it is well you forget not this passage of your
life. A poor Swiss Priest is on board the same
vessel, sick and distressed; misfortunes have
pressed on him heavily, losses of friends and
fortune, imprisonment, ingratitude, illness, all
that falls to the lot of suffering humanity, had
been his to bear. Is he reckless, hard-judg-
ing, unforgiving ? No, from his lips flow
gentle words of forgiveness to his enemies,
leniency to all, submission in affliction, and a
humble spirit tells him he deserves the worst
that has befallen him. With the sound of
the waves breaking upon the shore seems to
come the words of the good Priest, and old
Matthew fancies he feels again that trembling
wrinkled hand laid upon his, and sees the
earnest eyes fixed on him as he tells him, -
Remember that in the Prayer, we pray
ON THE ROCK.
God to forgive us, as we forgive each other;
would you be content to abide by this, -do
you forgive this young man you say has
wronged you, as you hope to be forgiven ? It
is not enough to say you forgive him, you
must act as though you did. Seek him when
you reach England, hold out your hand to
him, and show him you have not learned the
Christian creed in vain; seek to serve him
even more readily than you would serve
another; and if there be left in his heart one
trace of the better nature that you loved 'ere
he sinned against you, in that one spot of
good ground watered by your love and mercy,
there will spring up fresh flowers, bearing
fruit unto eternity :-and you then will have
made the first step towards that perfection we
were bid to strive for, -for you will not, like
man, have revenged your injury, but, like
God, have forgiven it."
The tears are standing in poor old Matthew's
eyes, as he remembers these words of admo-
nition, and tries to think whether he has
followed this advice. He had found his old
companion struggling to obtain a living, for
when he married he had left his situation, and
worked as a gardener on his own account; but
fortune had not smiled on him, and he was
now a widower with one child.
Yes! the girl they had both loved now lay
beneath the green turf in the village church-
yard, where they had played as children; and
all that remained to recall her existence was
the little child, who with large lustrous eyes
like her poor mother, gazed in the stranger's
No word of the past did Matthew utter,
nothing of the false charge, nothing of the
wrong his master's son had sought to work
John's wife, nor how he had saved her. He
only said he was a lone man, and that it would
be kind to come and live with him, and cheer
his solitude; that together they could work
and support the little child. "You must be
my brother John, and she must call me Uncle."
And so it was, the little money he had
ON THE ROCK.
earned abroad he placed in a bank, and the
interest from it, aided by the little work they
managed to obtain, and as Mabel grew up,
what she could do kept them from starving; and
with their contentment and moderate wants
had enabled them to live for many years.
Accident one day revealed to John the secret
Matthew strove to keep. In talking over their
days of servitude, John said he had never
rightly known why Matthew left; this simple
statement and the honest glance of the old
man's eye, was a convincing proof to Matthew
of his innocence, and he told him all; he had
been discharged suddenly, and that he had
afterwards heard Raby had accused him of
stealing. Poor simple-hearted John, to him
this intelligence was bewildering: how could
any one have asserted so base a falsehood
Some enemy must have done this, enemy to
us both;" but he had had none he thought,
and as he talked on, for the first time it
occurred to Matthew, that the guilty coiner of
this cruel charge had been-his Master's son
He remembered then how he had muttered
he would be revenged, when he robbed him of
his prey, and in one short week he was dis-
charged; but he said nothing of this to John,
only begged him not to talk of it again, but to
forget as he should; and years had passed
away again since then, and the monotonous
tranquillity of the lives of the old men had
been undisturbed, and the child had grown up
to womanhood in years, but with the same
childlike heart and nature as when first she
gazed so earnestly at Matthew, until this
accident to the sailing vessel. Why had it
brought such a long train of thought into the
old man's mind; and made him thus feel after
so many years that he had not obeyed the
Priest's injunction,-not forgiven those who
had wronged him, as he hoped to be for-
For years had he nourished feelings of envy,
hatred, and uncharitableness, towards that
class, amongst which he numbered one being,
who had done him wrong, -and now trem-
ON THE ROCK.
bling on the brink of the grave, he had rejected
the opportunity which Providence had accord-
ed him of repairing his sins, by assisting to
save the life of a fellow-creature, because he
was a Peer's son! The hurried speech of the
fishermen, "Make haste, it's Lord Newbery's
son," had turned the tide of good feeling into
the bitter channel of revenge, and thus he had
too truly done as he said he would, refused to
stretch a hand to save one of them from a
Thus in strictly analyzing his own feelings,
Matthew found he had forgiven John Raby,
because it pleased him to do so, because he
liked him, and the estrangement was painful
to him; and because in the face of the young
child were reflected the features of her whom
he had loved.
At the time that he held out the hand of
reconciliation to John Raby, he had fancied
that the admonition of the Priest had alone
induced him to do so; but now a new light
seemed to have burst upon him, and he felt
in how poor a manner had he obeyed that
injunction, and how fearful would the account
have been he must have rendered, had his soul
been required of him ere this; and earnestly
did the old man pray for pardon and for time,
to grow a wiser and a better man, ere he
should go hence to be no more seen.
Long had Matthew remained alone in this
earnest contemplation, until at length Mabel
ventured to summon him to his tea, and
greatly were she and her father surprised at
the alteration visible in him: he had gone
into his room stern and angry, and he was
now all gentleness and kindness, and his first
question was to know if the child had been
Mabel had been to inquire, and had learnt
that it was not dead, but in a dangerous state.
"I am sure, uncle, I had no idea I was speak-
ing to those fine folks on the beach; they had
got no fine clothes on, only cotton dresses
such as Mrs. Warren wears herself; not half
so fine they wer'nt, as our Parson's wife is on
a Sunday. I hope you aren't angry ?"
ON THE ROCK.
"No, child, no, not I, speak to 'em of
course if they speak to you, only remember
their talk aint our'n, and so don't think
they've the same meaning as we have, that's
all. They're fond of talking nonsense to a
poor girl like you, it's amusement to them;
give them a civil answer and get away as soon
as you can, that's all; go down again before
nightfall, and ask how the child is."
The last thing, therefore, before bedtime,
Mabel went to the village, and returned with
the tidings that the poor child was gone, and
the mother was in an alarming state from the
shock, being in very delicate health; the rea-
son for the visit to this quiet retired spot.
Matthew made no answer when Mabel told
him this sad news, only wishing her good
night, went away silently to bed. But he
could not sleep, for the first time the roaring
of the sea disturbed him, and he tossed and
turned uneasily on the mattress he now for
the first time found hard and uncomfortable;
and when he at length fell into an uneasy
slumber, he saw a childish form washed on
shore, and carried out again to sea, and heard
its faint cries for help, and then a shriek rent
the air, and a woman stood upon the beach,
and cried to Heaven to save her child, -and
knelt at his feet, and bade him for mercy's
sake make one effort to rescue her darling; and
he strove to do so, but his feet seemed fastened
to the ground, he could not move, and he
could not answer the distracted mother: and
then it was Mabel, his own young love, whose
life was thus in peril; he saw her tossed on
those waves, dashed roughly against rocks,
and still he could not move, nor render help,
nor call for it from others; and thus in such
dreams the night passed, while good old John
lay sleeping the peaceful sleep of a child.
Morning dawned at length, and Matthew
was glad to rise early, and get out into the
air; he wandered long by the sea, and was
about to return home, when he saw at some
little distance Mabel conversing with a young
man, a stranger to him, and so unmistakably
ON THE ROCK.
a gentleman, that he wondered what could be
his object in talking with her; and again the
old feeling of anger and distrust arose in his
mind, and he was about to call her loudly
to him, when his new determination to be less
suspicious and hard judging, occurred to him,
and, instead of calling to her, he returned
"Mabel is a good gurl, simple and true-
hearted, she'll tell us all about it," he thought
to himself; "mayhap, she be asking how that
poor mother is to-day;" and a slight shudder
passed through his frame, as again the vision
of the drowned child rose up before him.
Mabel returned soon after, and said she had
beenotalking with the boy's elder brother; he-
had been walking since daybreak on the beach,
unable to bear the house which was now so
filled with grief. His mother was too ill to be
moved, and yet the noise of the sea, recalling
so incessantly the mode of her child's death,
made her more wretched; his sisters were em-
ployed in attending her, and, for himself, mad-
dened by the constant self-reproach that it was
through him the child had lost his life, he
knew not how or in what way to pass the
weary hours. Yes, a change had indeed come
over the household, before so joyous and happy ;
Lady Newbery's delicate health had been the
only cause of uneasiness to this otherwise for-
Possessed of wealth and rank, which gave
them the power, for they wanted not the will
of doing good; with talents, in the exercise of
which their days passed swiftly and pleasantly,:t
and with the truest affection for each other,
they had nothing to wish for, which this world
could afford: but now all that they before en-
joyed and delighted in had lost the charm, and
they could only wander listlessly from room
to room, occasionally going to gaze at the
darling whose merry little voice was stilled,
and who would soon be removed for ever from
their sight. On Adelaide, the gay, joyous-
hearted Adelaide, the impression was most
deep, perhaps from the contrast which her
ON THE ROCK.
now extreme sorrow made to her former gaiety
and high spirits.
Helen had been always quiet and serious,
and now wept silently when alone, but was
calm and uncomplaining when with the rest of
her family, and continued patiently and care-
fully to wait upon her mother; but Adelaide
could do nothing but lament, and recall each
word and action of the poor child, and wish
again and again, with bitter tears, that she had
never let him accompany them in their vessel.
Her sorrow was most distressing to witness,
and increased poor Helen's trials excessively;
no one who knew her had seen tears in Ade-
laide's bright eyes before; she often sent forth
a ringing laugh, as she said, "Why do people
cry ? I could not if I tried." Her spirits had
been so untiring, that the sensitive Helen had
often gazed at her in wonder. A short hour
or two before this fatal accident, she had been
screaming with glee and merriment at the
waves, as they chased each other on the shore,
running to meet them, and, as they washed
over her little feet, clapping her hands and
laughing with childish mirth; while Helen
had sat upon the beach gazing over that wide
sea with silent awe, and thinking of it as a
vast tomb beneath which so many busy heads
and loving hearts were lying calm and love-
And yet this bright high-spirited girl, sunk
down at the first touch of grief; and Helen,
who had ever been occupied with sad thoughts,
whose eyes had filled with tears at every tale
of woe, bore up bravely beneath this first great
sorrow, which had befallen the sisters. To
the many, those who knew them not well,
this was strange, they had always thought
Helen would sink beneath a heavy weight of
trouble, but that Adelaide would bear up no-
bly; but they who thus judged, knew not the
heart of the girls, nor the motives from which
these actions sprung.
Had they questioned the old nurse who had
been with them from their birth, she would
have told them how this could be which ap-
ON THE ROCK.
peared so strange; how Helen, from her earli-
est childhood, had loved to sit on her knee,
and listen again and again to stories from the
Scriptures, when too young to read them for
herself; how her favorites were those which
told of sorrows nobly borne, of how faith in
God, and trust in his promises, had never been
disappointed; and her little eyes would fill
with tears, as she heard of the mighty Sacrifice
made for all, and she would raise them to her
nurse's face, and murmur softly, How good
we ought to be;" and that during the hours
thus spent, Adelaide would be romping wildly
with her brother Herbert, or riding an unsad-
dled pony round the park, thinking Nurse's
stories long and wearisome, and wondering how
Helen could sit and listen.
Never, as she grew older, were these lessons
of piety, thus early learnt, forgotten, but in all
her minor sorrows she thought of the holy
men of old, and what sufferings they had ex-
perienced, and how they had borne them, and
then she smiled where others would have
wept. Truly on that Rock where no storm
could shake it, had Helen founded her House,
and thus, when this first storm assailed it, it
It was a touching sight to see these sisters
together in their affliction; when Helen could
be spared from her mother, Adelaide would
come and set herself on the ground, lay her
head in her lap, and ask her to comfort her.
"Why are you so calm, Helen," she would
say, it worries me to see you work and read,
and cease to cry, whilst I can do nothing else?
how can you help it ?"
I think it wrong, dear Adelaide, to grieve
so much at the trials God sends us; besides,
we are so sure that the darling child is happy,
and that is a great consolation; we shall go to
him, although he will not return to us. All our
tears and complaint will not bring him bacle
and rebelling thus against God's will, renders
our hope of seeing him again most uncertai.T
Ah, Helen, you are so good; you can
son about every thing, but I can't indeed, and
ON THE ROCK.
it seems so dreadful for a child to die: old
people we expect to lose, but a child, a little
good child to die, and such a death. Oh, it is
so shocking! and again her tears burst forth,
and she sobbed violently. Helen let her
weep for some time, and then she said in a
low voice, which trembled with emotion, I
always think when children die, He who so
loved them on earth, has called them to him
in Heaven; and, therefore, with the sorrow of
my own loss, is mingled this consolation, the
knowledge of my little brother's great gain,
and I cannot grieve as one without hope."
"Ah! well, you do not feel things as I do.
1 was not made to bear things as you are -
but never mind, it is no use talking to me; I
am miserable, I shall always be miserable;
only love me and kiss me, Helen, and be
patient with me, read to me, I should like
that, I think."
S4 Yes, certainly, what shall I read, dear ? "
"Oh! any thing, a novel, something light,
something to make me forget my sorrow, for
a time at least."
Helen rose and fetched a book, and again
supporting her sister's head upon her lap, read
to her until called to attend upon her mother;
thus taking the most effectual method of dis-
pelling her own sorrow by her unselfish and
unceasing devotion to others.
A week passed, and the child was borne
away from the village he had visited in all the
strength and spirit of his young life, to be
buried at their country seat; the child of
eight years old to be laid beside the man of
eighty, his grandfather, the only other occu-
pant of the family vault.
Mabel and her father came to see the sad
cavalcade pass by; Matthew would not come
out. He was almost the only person in that
small hamlet who was not; for the mode of
the boy's death, his rank, and the fact of its
being something to see, had drawn all who
could come, from their homes.
Old men and women who murmured sadly,
as the carriages passed, Well, we thought it
would have been our turn first." Mothers,
ON THE ROCK.
with children in their arms, and clinging about
them, looking with swimming eyes at their
little ones, and saying earnestly, "God help
his poor mother,"-and one in deep mourn-
ing, standing alone, answered with a sternness,
which her grief excused, I have lost mine, it
is no worse for her; and so by a road watered
with many tears of sympathy, the child passed
on to his last home on earth, and another
angel had joined his voice to the choir, sing-
ing for ever the praises of the Eternal in the
fields of light.
On the evening of this day, the two old
men at the rock sat together after their scanty
meal, and on each of their faces was a more
than usual cast of thought. Matthew had,
since the accident, grown kinder and gentler,
but more silent than ever; and though for the
last few moments, Mabel and John had been
discussing an important subject, he had made
"What is to be done, I don't know," said
John. ," Think of something, Matthew, we've
never been so put to it before; two-pence in
the house, and no means to get more, as I
sees. What shall us do, old friend, eh ? "
"We've had supper," he said gently, haven't
Yes, but to-morrow, Matthew ?"
Thy favorite book there will tell thee to
take no thought for the morrow, for the mor-
row will take thought for the things of itself."
True, Matthew; go to bed, my gurl, and
pray God to give us our daily bread. He will
not desert us in time of need, and with only
two-pence we shan't quite starve;" and, with
a faint smile, John kissed the face of his beau-
tiful child. She went into her little room,
and the prayer she uttered there in simple
faith and earnestness, who will doubt was
heard and answered ?
Do you know," asked Matthew, when she
was gone, "if Mr. Everton is coming down
here again after the funeral, John ? "
I don't know, I'm sure, -why '?
He's for ever talking to Mabel, and though
ON THE ROCK.
I try, Heaven knows how I try, not to be hard
and suspicious, I don't like it, John; I don't
know what he can want to talk to her for,
she's no larning, nothing to talk about for
such as he. I warned you once in anger,
when I felt bitter hatred against his class; I'm
altered now, John, there' no hatred in what I
say now,--I warn you again."
The next morning Mabel started out early,
and succeeded in disposing of a few shells and
one of her nets, so that for a day or two they
might go on without anxiety; and this hand-
to-mouth existence, they had passed for years.
Oh! if those who, in the midst of comfort, and
even luxuries, would remember the hundreds,
-who, eating the scanty dinner of to-day,
know not where they shall seek it on the
morrow,--and compare their own condition
with that of those unfortunates,--how would
they bless Heaven for its mercy to them, and
pray for it for others.
The time went by without further incident.
Autumn came on apace, the days grew shorter,
and in the twilight evenings, more than once
might two persons be seen talking earnestly
beneath the rock, a young man and a girl;
she glancing repeatedly and anxiously up to
the small twinkling light in the cottage win-
dow, then suddenly with a few hurried words
separating from him, and flying up the steps,
while he watched till the door of the little
dwelling would close upon her.
An old shrimper returning home on one of
these evenings, affirmed afterwards, that he
had heard the girl say, Oh! but they will be
so wretched without me;" and then the young
man had answered earnestly, Think over it,
and let me know to-morrow."
To-morrow!- when the sun sunk to rest,
as it seemed, in the bosom of the wide ocean,
tinting the earth and sky with a soft rose
color, the old men's home was desolate; no
more beneath their roof was the bright face,
that had been the light of their declining days:
she was gone, she had left them -the ob-
ject of so many years' solicitude, for whom
ON THE ROCK.
they had prayed and worked, and denied
themselves always comforts and ofttimes ne-
cessaries ; whose merry voice would have
cheered and consoled them in their later days,
whose gentle hands they had hoped would
close their eyes, was gone,-they knew not
where; but, with a heavy curse upon him,
Matthew named Herbert Everton, as the spoil-
er who had robbed them of their treasure.
The scene beneath that cottage roof, when
the old men were first convinced Mabel had
gone to return no more, was truly a sad one to
witness; the stern, inflexible Matthew, his
grief almost swallowed up in anger, paced up
and down the room through the whole night;
never speaking but to utter imprecations upon
Mr. Everton, and reproaches upon Mabel,
whilst old John sat motionless in the same
seat, where he had first heard the tidings of
He might have been an image of stone, but
for the occasional tremulous sigh, and the large
tears which now and then stole down his
When they had first missed her, Matthew
had hurried down to Mrs. Warren's, full of
his suspicions; and he there learnt that Lady
Newbery and her daughters were leaving
almost immediately; that Mr. Everton had
gone on early in the morning; that she had
seen nothing of Mabel for some days, until
that very morning, quite early, when she had
passed hurriedly by with a small parcel, in the
direction of the neighboring town.
He gained no further information of her,
excepting from a woman, a stranger in the
place, who confirmed Mrs. Warren's statement,
that at a very early hour she had met a young
girl, carrying a small parcel, going towards the
He returned with this scanty intelligence to
John, and asked what they should do; but the
shock seemed to have paralyzed him, for he
made no answer, only put his hand to his
head, and looked up with a childish expression
in his old friend's face; and so Matthew, con-
vinced in his own mind of the fate of the poor
ON THE ROCK.
girl, vowed bitterly, that the ruin she had
brought upon herself she should bear, and
would take no further steps to find her,
although her poor old father looked up piteous-
ly and asked him in touching accents to bring
him back his darling, or he should die.
The news of her loss soon spread through
the hamlet, and a thousand reports were afloat;
some, more merciful than others, suggested that
she might have fallen from the cliff into the
sea; but the greater number shook their heads,
and said they thought no good would come of
her, for ever talking to that idle young man,
and that pretty faces were oftener a curse than
a blessing, and that they had always thought
how it would be. A few ascended the steep
cliff to condole with the old men, but Matthew
had closed and barred the door, and would
admit no one.
The night passed slowly for those two in
their bitter sorrow, and when the day at length
dawned, Matthew, utterly exhausted, flung
himself upon his bed, but John remained in
the same position, gazing from the window
with a fixed and vacant stare. The day was
not many hours old, when a low tap at the
cottage door roused Matthew from a fitful
sleep, and looking from the window he roughly
demanded who was there. A little boy had
brought a letter for John Raby. Eagerly Mat-
thew snatched it from the lad, tore it open,
and with some difficulty making out a very
illegible scrawl, he read the following: -
"Father, dear father, and uncle, don't be
unhappy about Mabel, and don't be angry
with her; she is only gone not to be a burden
to you, to try and get money for us all. I am
as happy as I can be away from you, only
afraid you are frightened about me; but don't
be, I am quite safe, getting money, and you
shall have it all, and I will come home when
I have got enough to keep us all. I shall
often write and tell you how I am, but not
where I am, because you would be angry.
Dear uncle and father, I am always your
loving child, Mabel."
ON THE ROCK.
An enclosure had fallen on the ground; it
was a couple of sovereigns in a piece of paper.
Poor John burst into a passionate but refresh-
ing shower of tears, as he ejaculated again and
again, "Thank God!" But on Matthew's
face was a smile of bitterness and contempt.
"You will use that money ?" at length he
asked, when John's emotion had somewhat
"Why not, Matthew ? oh because of rob-
bing the dear child, bless her! but how can us
return it to her ? We can lay it by, true, till
she do come home, but she'd like better to
know we'd used it, Matthew ? Thank God,
she's safe, my precious child!"
"Safe!-Are you a fool, John, or mad?
Where think you she got that money? How
is she earning it ? Is it honest ? If so, why do
she fear to tell us ? I'll starve,--I can starve;
but I won't buy food with the wages of her
For the first time Matthew's meaning flashed
upon the mind of the good, true, simple-hearted
John. He rose from his chair, and fixing his
clear honest eyes upon Matthew's face, he said,
"( I am old and feeble, Matthew, but had any
other man but you dared to say that against
my child, this right arm should have gathered
all the strength it has to lay him at my feet.
Call back those words, Matthew! Ask my
pardon and hers, my spotless child, or this day
I go out from here to beg my bread from door
to door, sooner than rest beneath the same roof
"John! I would not pain you, if I could
help it, and Heaven knows I'd sooner die than
accuse her wrongfully; but tell me, if you can,
why she should fear to say where she be if she
were doing right. Eh! old friend ? I'd sooner
have laid her young head in the grave than
this-- than this! "-- and turning his head
aside, he dashed away the briny tears which
were gathering in his eyes, and then holding
out his hand, said, in a low interrupted voice,
"John! let's not grow angry against each
other, now alone like this,- we must be
ON THE ROCK.
more comfort to each other; it's a sorrow we
share together; you, her father, could scarce
love her better, for John, I believe you never
know'd it; but in her face I saw again the
features of the only creature I ever loved -
her mother, and when I tell you that our
Master's son sought to take her from you,
as this villain has done our Mabel, and that
I, John, saved her, for, for you too, you'll
for that service forgive the hard words I used
just now; and think I've some cause to be
suspicious of that rich and powerful set, who
use their riches but to destroy the poor and
With utter amazement had John listened to
this avowal from his friend, and at the con-
clusion of his speech could scarcely believe he
had heard aright, until Matthew had recounted,
with the faithful memory with which he re-
tained this period of his life, his love for Mabel
Graham, his struggles against it, and finally the
service he had rendered her.
My poor dear wife! and she never told me
this, nor you, Matthew- why hast never
told me ?"
"I thought you know'd, John, from her;
'twas that as hardened me so at first, to think
you I had served, should turn like that upon
me, -get me, by a false charge like that, sent
away without a character; as I thought to
drive me from her. Ah! I had bitter thoughts
when I left England, but I came home altered,
John, determined to forgive you and return
good for evil. The task was easy, when I
saw the child with the mother's face; and I
was happy to bring you here, more happy
though, old friend, when I heard you had never
wronged me, and I'd have died for you or for
her, if I could have served you : but she's left
us, John, of her own free will, or she'd not
write as she do; we're poor and friendless;
the rich man has taken away the 'ewe lamb,'
and we must be content without it; we've
no money to buy justice, we must suffer
"No no! Matthew! The lamb may have
ON THE ROCK.
strayed, but it is not lost, and it shall come
home, for I sha'nt rest till it be found; think
you I can sleep in my bed, and not know really
whether I've a child I dare own or no? I'll
find her if she be above ground and know the
truth, and I'll steake my loife, Matthew, you
ha' judged her wrong. Great people be easy
enough to find, and I'll have my child if she
be there; but she's not, she's working her
fingers to the bone somewhere's for you and
me, but she's pure and honest as when she
left this house."
In a large room, built out from a house in
one of the fashionable squares in town, a group
of persons are assembled. The apartment
bears the appearance of an artist's studio; long
windows reach nearly from the ceiling to the
ground, and across the lower panes the shutters
are closed, the walls are oak wainscot, and the
floor is also of polished oak; a Turkey carpet
covers the middle of the room, and at the end
is a raised platform, on which lie a heap of
shawls and a rich satin dress. Several paint-
ings are leaning against the walls, and a large
easel supports an unfinished picture; casts of
hands and feet, vases filled with flowers, a
guitar with a broad blue ribbon attached to it,
a small lay figure, a Spanish hat with a sweep-
ing feather, books, a dagger with a silver hilt,
pipes, &c. are lying about in picturesque con-
fusion, and on a tiger-skin mat in front of the
fireplace, is extended a huge dog of the blood-
On the platform aforesaid, stands a girl in a
rich Persian costume, and before the easel is a
young man with a pallet and brushes in his
hand, contemplating the lovely model before
him; seated near him is a young lady in deep
mourning, she holds some work in her delicate
white hands, but she is at present gazing alter-
nately at the model and the picture, as though
to ascertain if the artist has been successful in
his efforts to fix on his canvas the beautiful
features before him.
"I do not think the eyes are quite dark
enough, Herbert dear, do you ?" she asked.
ON THE ROCK.
"Yes," answered the young man, "they
are dark enough, but the expression is differ-
ent; I shall never get it right, I'm afraid, but
I expect Maurice Leigh here presently, and he
can give me a few hints."
He did those busts of the Ladies Caroline
and Julia Freeling did he not?"
"Yes, and made excellent likenesses."
"Well, my dear Herbert, I cannot really
spare Mabel any longer, besides I am sure she
must be tired."
She shall rest," said the young artist, if
she wishes, but you do not want her to go
just yet; let her stay till Leigh comes, and then
she shall go directly. Are you tired, Mabel ?"
"No Sir, not very," answered the lovely
"Well, at any rate, you can rest for a little
while; you will find a seat close to you, and
Leigh will be here shortly."
The girl moved from her position on the
platform, the door opened and the artist ex-
claimed, Here he is," as the person he had
just named entered. "Well, old fellow, how
d'ye do ?"
"How d'ye do? Good morning, Miss Ev-
erton. Do you often come and grace your
brother's studio ?"
"Oh, yes, Adelaide is very good, she comes
to cheer my solitude often; I have been want-
ing you all the morning; Leigh, I cannot get
on with this, look! Leigh advanced towards
the picture, and as he did so his eye rested for
the first time on Mabel: he started and looked
inquiringly at Herbert.
That young person is kind enough to be
my model," he said, answering his friend's
glance, but I am very stupid, I think, -
she has stood patiently to me for hours, and I
have got no further than this, and I am sure it
is not like her, is it ?"
His friend made no reply, but looked with
much earnestness, first in the face of the
beautiful girl, and then at the picture.
Whilst he is thus engaged I will pause to
describe him. He was tall and well formed,
ON THl ROCK.
not handsome, but with large gray eyes that
had in them an unusual depth of feeling and
expression; his thin compressed lips spoke
determination, and his high expansive forehead
a powerful intellect; he had a low and thrill-
ing voice, and a manner of saying the simplest
common-places, which made them remarks
worth listening to. He was a sculptor by
profession, but he loved Art in every shape,
and reverenced the beautiful wherever he
could find it.
His father had been the son oE very weal-
thy parents, but, by dissipation and reckless
squandering, he had made it necessary for
Maurice to work for his subsistence; his
mother had died when he was yet young,
and, with many fears, had left him to the care
of such a father. But, strange enough, he be-
came the strictest, as well as the most judi-
cious guardian of his boy; and Maurice Leigh
had grown up to manhood, with a strong
hatred of those vices which had ruined his
father, and with a visionary and romantic dis-
position, which suited well the profession he
had adopted, and kept him also froth mixing
much in society. When in London, he was
always in his own studio, or those of his
brother artists; and in the country he would
wander away into the woods and most wild
and lonely places, caring for no companion,
save a dog or book. When he had sufficient-
ly examined the picture, he fixed his large
gray eyes again on the original for some mo-
ments, then, in a low voice, told Herbert of
the faults ii his work.
Ah! I see, thank you, thank you; I
won't trouble you any more to-day, Mabel. I
am sure you have bad enough of it."
Ah! that's right, I want her," said Miss
Everton. "Come, Mabel," and gathering up
her work, she left the room, followed by
As soon as the door was closed, Leigh
asked, Who is that, Everton ? "
Oh! is she not lovely? Did you ever
see such a face ? "
ON ,HE ROCK.
"Exquisitely beautiful," answered Leigh,
in his calm voice, at variance with the enthu-
"Who is she?" again he asked.
"Why, it's a strange story, quite a roriance.
You know, of course, that we were at the sea-
side, all of us, when .
Yes, yes, I know," interrupted his friend.
"Well, we found this girl that very unhappy
day, on the beach, looking for shells, and were
all struck with her beauty; she saw the acci-
dent, and came afterwards two or three times
to inquire for the poor child. My sisters grew
interested in her, and I frequently, in my rest-
less moods, strolling on the beach, would stand
and talk to her. There was something in her
unusual beauty, and the simplicity of her na-
ture, that seemed to soothe the perturbation of
my mind, and day after day, so long as we re-
mained, I never missed an interview with my
humble and beautiful friend. One day she
came to me looking very sad, and told me that
the old men with whom she lived, her father
and uncle, were in dreadful distress; they
had scarcely food to eat, and it struck her that
to save them from the burthen of keeping her,
she would go out to service, and she had
thought that probably my sister might want
a maid to wait on them. I promised to ask
them. The moment I mentioned it, they
were delighted; they were about to part with
the maid they then had, and Adelaide, who is
mad about beauty, was charmed at the thought
of having Mabel's sweet face always beside
"The girl's delight, when she heard she
was really to come, was extraordinary; she
only begged that nothing might be said about
it to any one in the village, and that she
might be allowed to meet the carriage in the
next town, and not go with my mother and
sisters from the house where we lodged; of
course this was agreed to, although we knew
not her reason. She was punctual to her ap-
pointment, and we brought her to town; and
she is now Adelaide's sole and engrossing
ON THE ROCK.
amusement; she is teaching her to read and
write and work, and says her progress is won-
derful. My mother is willing to encourage
Adelaide in this hobby, as her distress at my
brother's death had injured her health and
spirits so seriously, that the medical men said
that some amusement, which would take her
thoughts from herself, was the only thing to
cure her; this does so effectually."
"A dangerous person to have in the house,
I think, for you, Herbert! "
"My dear fellow, she is a fisherman's
Leigh made no answer, but taking up a
brush, made a few touches on the picture, and
then asked Herbert if he would come out
with him. He consented, but said he must
first go and dress. "1You will find some
books about, and can amuse yourself till I
come down, can't you ?"
Oh! yes, don't hurry yourself."
Herbert left the room, and Leigh, taking
up a pencil and a sheet of paper, began to
draw. "Beautiful," he thought, "Yes, she is
beautiful! I have seen her face before some-
where. Why, yes. That picture in the lum-
ber-room. I'll have it down, and look at it
again, a singular resemblance, I never be-
lieved any thing living could be so beautiful as
that picture: she looks amiable and good too,
-and they say clever. Pshaw! what an
ass I am."
He whistled an air, scratched through what
he had drawn, and, tearing the paper, began
again. "Humph, that's not unlike her, what
on earth made me do that ? I used to think
Adelaide pretty,--good gracious, she looked
quite ugly to-day."
The door opened, and Mabel entered, car-
rying in her arms the gorgeous Persian dress,
which she had exchanged for one many de-
grees simpler, but far more becoming, a blue
muslin dress, exquisitely made, a black silk
apron, and her rich hair, covered by a very
coquettish little cap of white lace.
"I beg your pardon, Sir, I did not know
aniy one was here."
ON THE ROCK.
"It is of no consequence," answered Leigh.
"Allow me, that is too heavy for you," he
continued. She was trying to lift with her
disengaged hand the lid of an oaken chest;
he raised it for her; she deposited the dress
within it, and thanking him with a smile
which seemed to make sunshine in the room,
An hour or two afterwards, Maurice Leigh
was groping in a lumber-room, at the top of
his father's house, in search of a picture,
which he at length found, and, carrying it
down stairs, he seated himself in the first
chair he came to, and, carefully wiping away
with his handkerchief the dust that had gath-
ered upon it, he surveyed it with deep inter-
est. He was contemplating it so intently, and
so lost in thought, that he was quite unaware
that he was being watched, and was roused
from his meditations, at length, by a voice,
"Well, Maurice, I hope you are amused.
What have you got there "
My dear Sir! How you startled me!
Why, this picture I found in the loft; it is a
beautiful face, and very well painted. Who
did it ?"
As he spoke, he turned the picture towards
his father; the old man gave a slight start,
and said, -
"Eh! Oh! I think that was a juvenile
effort of mine -I thought it had been de-
stroyed long ago. What do you want with
it? I am sure it is of no use."
"It is extremely well painted, Sir, -for
an amateur particularly. Was it from life or
Well, I rather think it was a servant of
my mother's, or a country girl, or some one.
I used to be fond of sketching in those days.
What's the news ? I have not read the paper
"A servant of your mother's?" said Leigh,
too much engrossed with the picture to an-
swer his father's query. How very odd!
1 have seen a girl this morning extraordinarily
ON THE ROCK.
You have! Where?" asked his father,
"At Lady Newbery's she is a protegee
of Miss Everton's." For some reason, for
which he could scarcely account himself, he
did not say lady's maid.
Indeed!" answered Mr. Leigh; protegee,
-an orphan? What is she? Where does
she come from?"
From some place near the sea where Lady
Newbery has been staying. Shall I put this
picture back in the lumber-room, Sir? It
seems a pity to hide it, I think."
Oh yes, put it away by all means; I can't
have such rubbish about. I ought to call at
Lady Newbery's, Maurice. I have not been
since the boy died."
Yes, Sir! replied his son, abstractedly,
and rising from his chair, still gazing at the
picture, he walked out of the room, and up to
his own, and in a largo closet ie carefully de-
posited the painting, locked the door, and put
the key in his pocket.
The next morning he received the follow-
ing note from Herbert : -
"Dear Leigh, My mother is, as I expected,
already tired of London, (we have been here a
week to-day,) and we start therefore for Home-
wood to-morrow. I have given her fair warn-
ing, however, that I cannot live in that place
without plenty of visitors; to begin with, I
shall expect you to pack up your tatters,' and
come down immediately. No excuses, you
like the country; I can promise you some
shooting, and lots of beer if you are that way
disposed,- or painting, poetry and sentiment,
if you like that better; but come and save
from suicide or insanity,
Lady Newbery and her family leave town
to-morrow, Sir!" said Leigh, flinging the note
across the breakfast table to his father, So if
you are going to call, it must be to-day. I
will go with you, if you like, and answer in
person this invitation."
ON THE ROCK.
"Very well, certainly. What time ? "
SBetween three and four, Sir, I think."
"I will be ready," and the old man was so,
to the moment. When they reached their
destination and were admitted by the burly
porter, Maurice said he should go at once to
his friend's studio. The old man had of
course asked for Lady Newbery, and was
shown up stairs.
A loud Come in," told that Herbert was at
home and engaged in his favorite occupation.
Maurice took advantage of the permission and
entered the room, and his eyes at once sought
the platform; but there was no model there to-
day, and with a half-feeling of disappointment
he turned them alvay.
Well, old fellow, you got my note," was
Herbert's first salutation.
Yes, and I shall be delighted to come."
"That's a good boy- I'm glad to hear it.
My poor mother cannot get over the child's
death at all, and she says London is so noisy,
and she wants to get away somewhere and be
quiet, and she likes to have us all with her. I
hate the country except just at Christmas, with
a house full of people. I never know what to
do with myself. I miss this jolly room, too,
dreadfully: however, I shall get on better when
one or two more good fellows come down.
Do you like shooting ?"
"Very well: I'm not much of a sportsman."
"I'm a wonderful hand at missing the birds,
I don't know any one who can do it better,"
said Herbert, laughing; but I always go out
with a gun, because it's something to do."
".Have you got on better with your portrait
since yesterday ?" asked Maurice.
"Portrait? Oh!0 of Mabel, you mean. Yes,
rather better, but I don't think it's like her
SWhere is it? "
"Oh, down there, Leigh, under the Scotch
terrier. Is not that a capital little chap? It
belongs to Hamilton of the Guards."
"Oh! yes it is like, though! I should
know it any where."
ON THE ROCK.
"Should you? Have you seen the dog
then ? "
"It is very singular, and the name the same
too," continued Maurice, half aloud; "there is
some curious coincidence in this."
"What are you muttering about there,
man ?" asked Herbert, as he looked round the
easel at his friend. "Oh you've got Mabel's
picture, -I thought it was the dog's. So you
think it more like, do you ? 5
"Yes, much more. How very odd .her
name should be Mabel. There is a picture at
our house, the very image of this, and on the
back of it is the name of Mabel: my father
says he made the sketch, but forgets who it
was; he thinks some servant of my mother's.
Is this Mabel's mother living ?"
"I'm sure I don't know, I think not; I only
hear her speak of her uncle and father; but
really this is becoming interesting and roman-
tic; it will be something to think of and talk
of in the country. Bring your picture with
you, we'll compare them, and trot out Mabel,
and make her tell us her birth, parentage and
"It is very odd," said Maurice thoughtfully.
"Is your Governor here ?" asked Herbert.
"Yes, he is-a fact I had almost forgotten.
I must go up and see after him. Will you
come ? "
"Yes, I don't mind. The girls are up stairs,
I dare say.".
They ascended to the drawing-room, where
they found Lady Newbery and the young
ladies with Mr. Leigh. They were discussing,
with some animation, the propriety of ladies
having pet dogs.
If you could see my little Floss you would
make an exception in his favor, Mr. Leigh, I
am sure," said Adelaide, he is such a darling.
Ring the bell, Helen dear, and we will have
"Ask Mabel to be good enough to bring
Floss, Johnson," she said, when the servant
answered the summons.
"I can quite understand any one loving a
ON THE ROCK.
dog," said Maurice; they are the most love-
able of all animals. One I once had could do
all but speak; I am sure he perfectly under-
stood all I said to him, and would have been
delighted to answer me if he could. I would
rather have a dog, with the mute eloquence of
its honest eyes, for my companion, than many
"They are treacherous and uncertain,
though, sometimes," said Herbert.
"There are different dispositions in dogs as
well as human beings," answered Maurice;
there is a kind of light clear eye that I dis-
trust in men and animals alike, and I would
neither make a pet or a friend of the brute or
man that possessed it."
"Oh! here is my pet," said Adelaide spring-
ing from her seat as the door opened, and
Mabel entered, bearing in her arms a Skye
terrier, whose long hair was like silk; its bright
black eyes shining out from amongst it like
diamonds. There's an innocent darling," she
said, snatching him from Mabel's arms. and
holding him up to Mr. Leigh, he's de best of
dood dogs, is'nt he ?" she continued, burying
the little animal's cold nose in her soft white
throat, her long dark curls falling over its back,
contrasting well with the dog's white glossy
coat. Mr. Leigh made some answer, but not
a very distinct one, and his eyes appeared
riveted, not on the dog, but on Mabel.
Maurice was the only person in the room,
however, who noticed his father's abstraction,
and he managed to conceal it, by talking a
great deal and very fast about the dog; and
then rising suddenly, spoke of some appoint-
ment at four o'clock that his father must keep,
and so they took their leave.
"Well, Mabel, how goes on the packing?"
said Lady Newber.y.
Very well, my Lady, thank you," answered
Mabel, "it is nearly finished."
"Miss Everton has told you, you are to go
with us to-morrow, and not with the ser-
"Yes, my Lady."
ON THE ROCK.
"You may take the dog up to my room,
Mabel,-I am coming up there presently; and
when you have done packing you must come
Thank you, Miss, but I am so much trouble
Nonsense, child, trouble it amuses me
"You are all so good, I shall never be able
to thank you;" and poor Mabel's beautiful
eyes filled with tears.
"Do not cry, then," said Helen, smiling
kindly, but run away now and finish your
packing. Go, Floss, go, Sir, with Mabel, di-
rectly," said Adelaide, as the dog laid down
on the floor, and rolled over to be patted; evi-
dently either unlike the dog Maurice had been
speaking of, who understood all that had been
said to him, or else a very naughty disobedient
animal, for he only rolled over and over, and
fawned on his mistress, and licked her hand,
and wagged his tail, and did every thing, in
short, but follow Mabel; till at length Ade-
laide, in despair, took him up in her arms, and
carried him away herself.
At an early hdur .the next morning, the
house was deserted by all but the porter and
an under-housemaid; the chandeliers were no
longer to flirt with the sunbeams, though a
stray one might come through the half-closed
shutters, for they were to be tied up in bags;
the few remaining purblind flies would no
longer skait upon the mirrors, for they were to
be covered with cloth; the moth, too, would
not luxuriate in the curtains, for they were to
be beaten from their strongholds in the folds,
and the rich damask pinned up in linen; the
dust was not to have a chance with the car-
pets, for they were to be shaken, and rolled
up in one corner of the room; the miniature
fountains in the conservatory were'no longer
to play; and, in short, there was to be a total
cessation from business or pleasure, in Lady
Newbory's town mansion.
The old porter thought he was reading the
newspaper, but he only dreamt he was, when
ON THE ROCK.
a loud ring at the hall-bell disturbed his slum-
bers. "What does that mean? he said,
drowsily; "no one of any consequence, at
this hour; so he took off his large silver spec-
tacles, and rubbed his eyes and his knees,
before he rose from his chair to answer the
noisy summons, and then partially opening
one batten of the door, he peeped out. On
the steps stood an old weather-beaten man,
dressed in a blue jersey frock, and glazed hat,
with,a red handkerchief tied about his throat;
his shoes and stockings covered with dust, as
though he had come a long journey, strangely
unlike the visitors to whom the door was ac-
customed to be opened. The porter stared at
him in wonderment, and then said, "Well,
what is it ? "
"Be this Lady Newbery's ? asked the stran-
"Be her Ladyship's son at home? "
"No, they don't any of them 'be at home."
"Will they be in soon ?"
"In soon? No, the family is away, out of
town, my man. What is it? if you've got a
letter I can forward it. Where do you come
from ? "
Out of town, deary me!" and the poor
old man sighed heavily.
"You seem tired; have you come a long
way? Would you like to rest ? "
No, thank you. What be the name of the
country-place, and how does us get to it ?"
The name's Homewood, and its down in
Derbyshire, and you goes by the railroad; but
what do you want ?"
"I want to see the young gentleman."
Well, I tell you he's out of town, and all
parcels and letters and messages are left with
me, and I forward them."
"I wants to speak to the young gentleman.
Never mind I'll go down in the country
-I feels bewildered here."
"Take a seat and rest yourself, old man."
"Noa, noa, thank you. I'll go on Good
morrow." And, turning slowly away, the old
ON THE ROCK.
man walked down the flight of steps, and the
burly porter resumed his newspaper, and
thought no more of the weary stranger who
had disturbed him.
A day or two only passed, after the family's
arrival at Homewood, before Maurice Leigh
made his appearance, and Herbert, who had
already felt terribly bored," was delighted
to see him. It was glorious weather, fresh
breezes morning and evening, and a bright
glowing sunshine in the day; making it warm
enough to sit beneath the trees in the park, or
under the weeping ash on the lawn, whose
graceful branches swept the ground, the thick
foliage rendering a seat' beneath a perfect se-
"What a paradise you have here, Her-
bert! said Leigh, as they wandered about
the grounds, soon after his arrival.
Yes, it is very pretty, small, but in good
taste, is'nt it ? "
"In perfect taste; that bit of wild nature in
the park is charming."
Yes, I like that. My father had some idea
of grubbing up all that heath, and making it
all level, and I don't know what, but the girls
and I begged so hard to have it left, that he
consented. My father is quite anti-sentiment,
- a sort of practical man; he wishes to turn
every thing to account, and I believe would
like to plant his lawn with turnips, for he
thinks turf and roses a cruel waste of good
land. What are you looking at ?"
"I see some figures amongst the trees there.
Are they your sisters? I have not yet made
my obeisance to them."
"I dare say it is Adelaide and Mabel. Oh!
yes, it is. By the way, did you bring the
picture down ?"
( Yes, I did."
Let us go and meet them; and they hur-
ried forward. Adelaide first caught sight of
them, and throwing the scissors, with which
she was cutting some flowers, into a basket
Mabel was carrying, she advanced towards the
gentlemen. Leigh spoke to her with all polite-
ON THE ROCK.
ness, but, in spite of himself, his eye wandered
to the lovely girl standing at some little dis-
tance, who looked a perfect picture, with the
large wicker basket on her arm, filled with
Autumn's richest flowers; her own sweet face
lie thought the-fairest flower of all. Mabel
had altered much since first Adelaide had
called Herbert's attention to her on the beach;
she had then, in her clean, but coarse clothing,
formed a pretty object, but now, though still
as lovely, her appearance was altered. The
rich masses of her dark brown hair were now
parted in smooth braids over her forehead, and
she wore a small lace cap, which so improves
and softens a young and beautiful face. Her
dress, though only of cotton, was well made,
and showed to advantage her excellent figure;
and, as she stood there, with her basket of
flowers on her arm, Maurice gazed at her till
he forgot the information accorded him by
Herbert, that she was only a fisherman's
"Do not let us disturb your interesting em-
ployment, Miss Everton, I shall be delighted
to assist you, I am ready armed ;" and he drew
from his pocket a clasp-knife.
"Thank you, then you may help me. I
want enough for the drawing-rooms, and
mamma's boudoir; we like to see the flowers
in the rooms as long as we can,--they are
almost gone though, now."
"Yes, but those that are left are quite as
beautiful as the summer flowers, I think, the
coloring is so rich. See here! What a per-
fect dahlia! Shall I cut that ? "
Oh! yes, if you please, it is a very fine
one here, Mabel, the basket."
Mabel advanced and held the basket fo. the
dahlia. Maurice threw it in, and as he did so
he raised his eyes to her face. Something in
their glance sent a glow of crimson to her very
brow, and she turned quickly away. Maurice,
Herbert, and his sister, walked on picking the
flowers and gaily talking, and Mabel loitered
far behind, uttering occasionally a low sigh.
"Oh! Leigh, I wish you would show Ade-
ON THE ROCK.
laide your picture, the one like Mabel, I
mean, when you go in."
"Yes," answered Leigh.
': A picture like Mabel! said Adelaide, I
should like to see that. There's mamma, and
dear good Helen, who has been with her all
the morning; I really must go and relieve
guard; you will excuse me, Mr. Leigh ;" and
calling to Mabel to take the scissors, she flew'
off to Lady Newbery and Helen. The former
was being wheeled about the garden in an
invalid chair; Helen walked by her side, Ade-
laide joined them, and they proceeded down
"Shall I ask Mabel about her mother, now,
Leigh ? said Herbert.
"Eh ? Yes, if you like."
"Mabel, Mabel, come here one moment,
will you? I want to speak to you before you go
in. Have you a mother living?"
"Oh! no Sir, my mother has been dead,
many, many years."
"Do you remember her? "
"A little, Sir, very little."
"Humph! Should you know her if you
were to see her?"
"Bless me! I don't mean that I don't
suppose you would now, -I mean, do you
remember her face well enough to know a
likeness of her if you saw one? "
No, I scarcely think I should, Sir."
During the whole of this questioning, Leigh
had stood with his eyes riveted upon her face;
she felt them upon her, and the color went
and came rapidly whilst she answered Herbert.
"Do you know where your mother was
born ? or where she lived as a girl ?"
"My mother and father lived at a place
called Hartley Dell in Hertfordshire, Sir, and
I think my mother was born there."
"Hartley Dell! then it must be," said Leigh;
"it is very odd, but I think a portrait of your
mother has fallen into my possession. You
would like to see it, would you not?" asked
Leigh very kindly. Mabel had answered
ON THE ROCK.
Herbert with the utmost quietness and uncon-
cern, but a murmured almost inaudible Yes,"
was all her answer to Leigh.
"Come then, into the library," said Herbert,
"and Mr. Leigh will show it to you-come
Leigh;" and the trio proceeded to the house.
That night when the household had retired
to rest, one alone remained waking. On the
table in his own room Maurice had placed the
picture; he had drawn a chair before it and was
gazing earnestly at it. What thoughts were.
busy in his brain, how many airy castles was
he building, doomed as they mostly are to
destruction. His romantic disposition had now
full scope for exercise. It was not a mere
painted canvas which he saw, but a living
breathing woman, a true simple-hearted loving
woman, whose radiant eyes were beaming
with tenderness for him; whose small hands
he held in both of his, as he opened fresh
stores of thought and knowledge to her untu-
tored mind. He could hear the exclamations of
wonder, the innocent artless questions falling
from those rich red lips, and then the dream
vanished, and he was only gazing at a picture.
This is folly," he said, rising from his
seat, "but she is an intelligent creature, and I
could imagine no dearer task than educating
this beautiful girl. There is a mind beaming
out of her face, which would well repay the
trouble of cultivating; there was so much
thought in her expression as she looked at the
picture. It must have been her mother, the
likeness is very strong, but Mabel is far the
most beautiful. Well, this is all folly," again
he said, "I must try and sleep." The picture
was carefully put away, and the young man
was soon sleeping and dreaming of a bright
The evenings are growing colder and colder,
the winds more rough and wintry, wave after
wave comes dashing on the shore; the sky is
heavy with lead-colored clouds and a small,
fine rain is falling: this weather has continued
for some days, and still there seems no chance
ON THE ROCK.
of its clearing. The sun is setting now, but its
light is pale and watery; no rich red glow gives
fair promise of a brighter day to-morrow, no
hope can be gathered from that sickly gleam
of light: the fishermen come to their doors, and
shading their eyes with their hands, look out
upon the sunset, and shaking their heads go
back into their homes, saying, "More dirty
weather by the look on't."
Hour after hour, unmindful of wind or rain,
one figure has been seen pacing the sea-shore
With long strides, till it tired even those \Who
watched" it. It is an old man, strong and vigo-
rous, and yet he seems bowed by some weight
of care, more than by the years which have
turned his locks to gray; the daylight fades,
the wind grows more tempestuous, the sea
comes in more roughly as the tide rises, but
still that lone figure walks backwards and. for-
wards on the shore, every now and then wetted
by the spray from some white crested wave,
yet heeding nothing, seeming to see nothing,
still continuing to pace that desolate shore.
94 THE HOUSE
At length, when night has really set in, he
walks to the rock and climbs the steep steps,
and entering the little cottage he closes the
door, and the poor neighbors who have watch-
ed him can see hini no longer; but One to
whom night and day are alike, whose eye
pierces the darkness, to whom the secrets of
all hearts are known, sees and knows the
suffering of that worn and anxious spirit, and
in His never-failing mercy sends him sleep,
and, for the time, forgetfulness.
Poor Matthew, since the day John had
started to seek his child, he could not rest
beneath the roof where they had all once been
so happy; he would have no fire, no light, but
wandered unceasingly by the sea-shore, only
going in at bed-time, taking what little nourish-
ment he wanted upon the beach. Still believ-
ing Mabel guilty, he was grieved that his old
friend should have left him to seek her, and
the bright light which had dawned on his
heart vanished with Mabel, and the bitter
feelings that had been so long nourished there,
ON THE ROCK.
returned with their old force; for again he saw
in the higher classes, the proud.and overbear-
ing enemies of the poor, and again he felt his
old thirst for vengeance upon those who had so
grievously wronged him.
Old John could not .write, so there was no
hope of hearing from him; but a day or two
after he left, a letter came for him, which, on
opening, Matthew discovered was from Mabel,
enclosing some more money. Angrily Matthew
dashed both aside, ejaculating No, no, I'll
starve first! Then her father has not found
her-it's all over, we've no child now!" And
covering his face with his hands, he rocked
himself backwards and forwards, in an agony
of mind too deep for words.
Could an observer have seen the way in
which the two old men passed that night, the
contrast would have been a strange one to con-
template. Raby was lying on a small bed in a
cottage in Derbyshire, having been found ex-
hausted by fatigue and want of food, by a
laborer who bore him kindly to his own home,