PARABLES FROM NATURE.
PARABLES FROM NATURE.
MRS. ALFRED GATTY,
AUTHOR OF AUNT JUDY'S TALES," &C.
Trust me, that for the instructed, time wil come
When they shall meet no object but may teach
Some acceptable lesson to their minds
Of human suffering, or of human joy."
BELL AND DALDY, 186, FLEET STREET.
[The right of Translation is reserved.]
R. CLAY, SON, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERS,
BREAD STREET HILL.
"Or tu chi se', che vuoi sedere a scranna,
Per giudicar da lungi mille miglia
Con la veduta corta d'una spanna? "-DANTE.
"And who art thou, that on the stool wouldst sit
To judge at distance of a thousand miles,
With the short-sighted vision of a span ?"
LITTLE Siegfried, the widow's son, climbed day
by day up the hill which overlooked his mother's
cottage, and rambled about on the top, running
after birds and insects, and gathering the beauti-
ful wild-flowers that grow on the Swiss Alps.
There the dark blue gentians, and the Alpine
rose,t as it is called, and campanulas and salvias,
Protococcus nivalis. t A dwarf rhododeudron.
are almost as common as the cowslips and daisies
of English fields, and, from the brightness of
their colours, make the hill-sides look like gardens,
instead of uncultivated ground.
Little Siegfried's father had been killed in
battle, some months before his child's birth, and
so, when he came into the world, he was cradled
in tears instead of smiles ; and what wonder if
he grew up less thoughtless and gay than other
boys of his age.
It was his mother who had first shown Sieg-
fried where to climb the hill, and where to find
the finest flowers ; and had made him look at the
hills still higher than their own, by which their
valley was enclosed, and had pointed out to him
Mont Blanc in the distance, looming like a
shadowy giant in the sky.
For thus and thus had her husband shown her
all these things, during the few happy months of
their marriage, before he was called away to the
wars; and on the same heights where the child
now roamed after flowers, his parents had sat
together among them, in quiet summer evenings,
RED SNOW. 5
sometimes talking, sometimes reading, always
praising God for the happiness he was permitting
them to enjoy.
But having thus led her child to the spot so
fondly endeared to herself, and bidden him rejoice
in the sights and scenes of Nature, and told him
of the protecting God of goodness who ruled over
all, the widowed mother went back alone to her
cottage, to weep out in secret her re-awakened
grief. Siegfried, meanwhile, amused himself on
the flowery heights, his new play-ground; and
after he had gathered for his mother the nosegay
she had asked him to bring, he lay down on the
soft turf, and looked round at the hills, and up to
the snowy sides of the huge Mont Blanc, (of
which he could see so much more here than down
in the valley below,) till it took possession of his
fancy as something wonderful and grand; some-
thing far beyond the flowers, bright and lovely as
And ever afterwards, day by day, when he had
had enough of chasing and rambling, he used to
lie down in the same place, and look at the hills
0 RED SNOW.
in the same way, that he might feel again what
he had felt at first.
Yet he found no sameness in the sight. The
clouds that sometimes lifted themselves up from,
and at other times came down over, the moun-
tain, were never quite alike. The shadows that
flitted across it varied from day to day in their
shape and size and course; and the sunshine that
broke over it was of many different tints, and lit
it up in a thousand different ways. At one time
it was wrapt in a silvery haze; at another the
air became so clear, that the child could see the
glittering of the snow atoms, as they seemed to
dance in and out, like the stars in the sky.
So Siegfried never wearied of watching the
huge mountain, but got to love it more and more,
with a love mixed with respectful awe, and a feel-
ing as if it had some sort of life and consciousness.
At last, one day, when his mother was putting
his little basket in his hand, that he might go on
the hill as usual to play, he asked her if he might
go to the top of Mont Blanc instead, and if she
would show him the way.
RED SNOW. 7
It was no wonder that the good widow smiled,
as she told him that neither he nor she were able
to climb up such a terrible mountain. But she
did smile; and although she noticed how the
little face flushed over as she spoke, she thought,
naturally enough, that this was because of his
-disappointment So, kissing him lovingly, she
said, "You must be a great strong man, Siegfried,
before you can scramble up the heights of Mont
Blanc; and even for great strong men the way is
very dangerous. And even if you were there,
you would find nothing but cold and snow and
misery; neither life nor flowers: our own hills
are as pleasant again."
So Siegfried went away with his basket; but
instead of running about and picking flowers, he
threw himself at once upon the ground, and
looked at the mountain, and cried, for he felt
very sorry at what his mother had said. Pre-
sently, however, he wiped his eyes, and looked
again; then sprang up and stared before him as
if surprised. All the distance was bathed in
bright sunshine, and the air was more transparent
8 RED SNOW.
than usual, and, lo! a round rosy-coloured patch
was visible on the far-off snows. He had never
seen it before. What could it be? He thought
he knew; and running hastily down to the cot-
tage, threw open the door, and shouted in delight,
" Mother! there is a rose on Mont Blanc!"
Siegfried's mother did not laugh now, for she saw
the child was excited; and she was grieved for him.
Ah! he had only half the love that should have been
his; she must console him as best she could; he
was not like other boys, she knew-and thinking
this, she took him on her knee, and tried to ex-
plain to him that it must be only some accidental
light from the sky that caused the rosy patch,
for that no vegetation of any kind grew on the
sides of the snowy mountain; there could be no
roses there; and she knew that it often looked pink
in the evening sun-only now it was not evening.
Siegfried was silent for a few seconds, and
hung down his head; but presently he murmured
out, "Why ?"
"Ah, Siegfried !" cried the mother, "is it not
enough that God chooses it to be so ? It is He
RED SNOW. 9
who sends the everlasting snows there, and the
flowery herbage here."
"I am very sorry for the mountain," persisted
little Siegfried, sadly; so sadly that his mother
grieved for the fanciful child, and asked should
she go up with him again to the hill, and see the
rosy patch on the snow herself ? On which the
smiles came back to Siegfried's face, and they
went away together very happily, and with the
basket as usual; for, said the mother, You came
back empty-handed to-day, Siegfried, and brought
me no flowers."
But, by the time they reached the old spot,
heavy mists had come down over the landscape,
and neither Mont Blanc nor its rosy patch could
be seen. Even Siegfried laughed at the journey
they had had for nothing, and, after filling his
basket, was contented to return home; but in
doing so, he began to talk again.
If we had fewer flowers, Mother, we should
be quite as happy, and then the great mountain
could have some too. I wish God would make
"Hush, little Siegfried, hush!" cried his
mother, in a half whisper; "God has a right to
do what He pleases, and we must not dispute
about it, nor wish it otherwise. He chooses that
there shall be desolate places as well as pretty
ones in the world; outcast ends of the earth, as
it were, which nobody seems to care for, as well
as happy valleys. I am afraid it is the same with
human beings-men and women, I mean-which
is much worse. I am afraid there are many out-
cast, God-deserted men, as well as desolate moun-
tains. But you are too young to understand
The mother sighed as she spoke. Verily, she
did not understand such things herself.
And so they walked on a few steps farther,
and then the boy began again.
"At any rate, the top of the mountain is
nearer Heaven than our hill, Mother. It goes
right into the blue."
"No, no," cried the widow, passionately; "it
only looks to be so. It is no nearer the real
Heaven than we are. If it were, oh! would I
not have gone there long ago, at the risk of life
The child looked up surprised at his mother,
for she spoke in tones very unusual to her; and
seeing how sad her face was, he wondered to
himself if she, also, were fretting that Mont Blanc
was so miserable and forlorn.
And, snatching the nosegay from the basket,
he flung the flowers as far into the air as he
could, exclaiming, "There I wish you had wings,
and would fly away to the mountain, and make it
look beautiful, too !"
Nothing more was spoken between them, but
after little Siegfried had said his evening prayers,
and gone to bed, and while the mother was sitting
alone in the chamber below, she heard a sound
of crying ; and, going up-stairs, found the boy in
tears, the only account he could give of which
was, that he could not help thinking about the
poor outcast, God-deserted mountain.
Now, she had not called the mountain God-
deserted. That was his own disturbed idea; a
confusion he had got into from what his mother
had said. But how hard this was to explain!
How painful to touch the chords of a subject
which jarred so cruelly against the natural hopes
and faith of a gentle heart !
How difficult also for one who had known the
stern realities of sorrow, to "feel along" the
more delicate "line" of an infant's dreamy griefs !
He was soothed by degrees, however, and after
she left him, her thoughts soon wandered away
from what she felt to be his fanciful troubles
about the desolate mountain, to her own strug-
gles with her desolate heart.
The next day was Sunday, and Siegfried was
able to walk to the somewhat distant church, and
even to repeat a few of the prayers, and listen,
now and then, to bits of the sermon, when his
mother thought there was something he could
understand, and drew his attention to it.
But on this particular day there was no need
for her to call his attention to the preacher; nay,
had she been able, she would have been very glad
to have prevented his hearing him at all. But
how could he help hearing, when the pastor, ad-
dressing his flock, asked if there was a single one,
young or old, among them, who had not gazed
hundreds and hundreds of times at the giant
mountain of their land-the snow-covered, inac-
cessible heights of Mont Blanc ?
Siegfried and his mother looked at each other,
and his heart leapt within him, to think that now,
at last, he should hear something about his mys-
terious friend; and, clasping his mother's hand
tightly in his own, he listened for every word.
But, alas! for what he heard. The pastor, after
describing the mountain in all the magnificence
of its size and form, painted it as being, neverthe-
less, the region of hopeless desolation; the abode
of everlasting lifelessness and despair. Cold,
hard, insensible, what could rouse it from its
death-like torpor? The life-giving sun shone
upon it from day to day, from age to age; but no
influence from its rays ever penetrated that
frozen bosom. The dews fell upon it, the storms
burst over it, equally in vain. Unmoved, it lifted
up its gloomy crest to Heaven, as if defying its
very Maker to touch the stony depths and bid
the waters flow, or warm and soften them into
life and gladness!
Siegfried was already in tears, but what fol-
lowed was still worse, for the pastor now called
upon his congregation to consider whether there
was not something in the moral world of which
the insensible mountain was but the too faithful
type ? And then he answered himself, Yes!-
the hardened human heart, the wicked natural
heart, the Pharaoh-heart of the multitude, on
whichthe sunshine of Divine Grace and the storms
of Divine Wrath were equally poured out in vain.
Yet, that "offences must needs come," he was
well aware ; that such God-deserted beings as he
had spoken of, must come up and be cut down,
he knew: "vessels of wrath appointed to de-
struction." But, oh! might none of the congre-
gation now before him be of the number of those
lost ones Might all there present take warning
henceforth, as they turned their eyes to the stiff-
necked hill of their native country, and flee from
the wrath of the Lamb .
Siegfried's sobs had by this time become so
uncontrollable, that the neighbours were dis-
turbed; and the widow thought the best thing
she could do, was to rise up and leave the church
with her child.
There was no use in arguing with him; he was
both too young and too much distressed; added
to which, his mother was scarcely less pained
by the stern words than he was.
She, too, could have wept to think of vessels
of wrath appointed to destruction," and longed to
hope against hope for the world of her fellow-
creatures. In the material world she had but
little interest, for she knew but little about it,
and had not sufficiently considered the text which
says that "God's mercy is over all His works ;"
not limited to one class of creatures, or even to
one sort of life.
Feeling as she did, therefore, she entered into
no discussion with her boy, but through the
home evening contrived to divert his mind, by
reading him pleasant stories of good people who
had lived in favour with God, and had died full
of hope and peace.
Nevertheless, Siegfried's last thought, as he
fell asleep, was not of comfort and joy in the
righteous, but of pity and almost love for all the
wretched things for whom there seemed no hope.
The next day, his mother would fain have per-
suaded him to remain below in the valley, and
seek some new amusement, but finding she could
not reconcile him to the idea of forsaking his
favourite haunt, she gave way, though with a
sigh ; and so, after his little daily tasks and helps
to her were ended, he climbed up the heights as
It was well that he had promised his mother
to teaze her no more about the matter. Other-
wise, on that day, he would have made more fuss
:han ever, for, when the sun was at the highest,
the rosy flush reappeared on the distant snow,
only not now confined to one small patch, but
spread in broad tracts of delicate colour, which
threatened to cover the whole mountain with its
Once or twice Siegfried's resolution to keep his
promise nearly gave way, but he held out man-
fully even to the last, contenting himself, on his
return into the valley, with inquiring of a neigh-
bour's son, whom he met driving home his
father's cattle, why some of the snow on the hills
looked pink? At first the boy said he didn't
know, but presently he recollected that he had
heard it said, that red snow fell sometimes out of
the sky. Very likely that was it; but what it
was, or what became of it, he had no notion.
Only it went away as it came. Nothing ever
stopt on the hill but the snow that was always
Hearing this, Siegfried had no longer even a
wish to speak to his mother about it. She would
say it was because the mountain was so cold and
hard, no good thing, even from Heaven, could
stay upon it !
And thus a day or two passed, and the tracts
of rosy colour grew fainter, and finally disap-
peared, as the farmer's son had said was always
the case; and Siegfried never spoke about it
again, bult sat on the hill-side daily, wondering
and dreaming to himself.
But he was interrupted at last. One morning,
when the snow looked colder and whiter than
ever against the blue sky, and he had been sitting
for a while, with his face hidden by his hands, a
voice he did not know called to him, asking what
he was doing. And when he lifted up his eyes,
a stranger stood between him and Mont Blanc.
A child always answers Nothing to such a
question, for children never feel thinking to be
But the stranger would not be so easily satis-
fied, and smiling, persisted in his inquiries.
"What are you thinking of then, little boy ?
One must be either doing or thinking while one
is awake. And I want you to talk to me. I
have come from such a long way off, and am so
Here the stranger seated himself by Siegfried's
side on the grass.
"First," continued he, I want you to tell me,
if you can, whether I can get to the town of- ,
through the pretty valley here at the bottom of
this hill ? Then, I want you to tell me for whom
you have picked this basket of flowers ? Then,
why you are on this wild hill-side alone ? Then,
what you think about when you cover up your
face with your hands ? Now, then, can I get to
the town through the valley ?"
The voice that asked was so good-natured, and
the smile on the stranger's face so kind, that
Siegfried was won at once, and looking full at his
new friend, and smiling himself, nodded assent to
this first question.
"Does your nod always mean yes, little boy ?"
asked the stranger, amused.
Siegfried nodded again.
"Very good. Now we understand each other.
Will you answer my other questions ?"
Siegfried gave another nod, and then they both
laughed, and the stranger went on.
"For whom have you gathered the flowers ?"
"For my mother."
"And why are you here alone "
What, alone ? Why?"
SI have nobody else to play with."
"And what is it you think of when you sit
with your face covered up ? "
Siegfried's heart melted within him, and, point-
ing by a sorrowful nod to the giant mountain, he
answered, I think of it."
"Of it? What can you find in it to think
( I am so sorry for it!" cried little Siegfried,
passionately; "so sorry it is so miserable and out-
cast, and that God will let nothing grow there,
whilee we have all these flowers "
And once more he tossed the flowers contemp-
tuously out of the basket.
S"Ah, little boy," said the stranger, putting his
arm kindly round the child, and drawing himself
nearer to him. You must answer another ques-
tion now. Who put such strange fancies into
your head ? Who told you this about the poor
"They all say so," murmured Siegfried. "The
pastor preached about it on Sunday, and mother
says so, too, and the farmer's son, and everybody;
and I am so sorry, so very sorry!"
The young voice died away, as it were, in
"And why do you care so much about the
mountain, little boy ?"
Siegfried looked up, puzzled for a moment, but
very soon out came the simple, child-like answer,
"I look at it so much when I cometup here to
It was the stranger's turn now to feel his eyes
moisten, as he thought of the solitary child send-
ing out his heart into the inanimate creation
Extremely interested, therefore, he made a few
more inquiries, and, by degrees, brought out a
part, at any rate, of what Siegfried's mother and
the pastor between them had told and taught of
outcast countries and God-deserted men. All
was confusion in the child's account, but the
drift of it could easily be discovered.
Without making a single remark, however, the
stranger smiled again, and said, quite cheerfully,
"I will tell you a secret, little boy. Neither the
pastor, nor your mother, nor the farmer's son,
were ever up the mountain, I suspect, so they
cannot know very very much about it."
Wanted to go, but they would not let me,"
interposed Siegfried. "They said I was not able
to get up."
They said right," replied the stranger. "But
I, you see, am older and stronger, and could go;
and I have been."
Quietly as he purposely spoke, the effect of
what he said was, as he expected, very great.
Siegfried jumped up; then sat down; then once
more started from his seat, and was far more
anxious to run down the hill and tell his mother
the news, than to remain quietly where he was,
and hear what more the stranger had to tell. He
allowed himself to be controlled, however, and
his friend went on talking as if he had not been
And the place is neither lifeless nor deserted.
God sends it the beautiful red snow plant instead
of flowers. I have been gathering it for days."
As he spoke, he unfastened from the leather
strap that went across his shoulders a small tin
box, and, opening it for a moment, let Siegfried
peep at a bright carmine-coloured nAss of some-
The child was speechless at first, overpowered
by admiration and delight, but presently ex-
claimed, Then that was what I saw !" adding,
gently, "And it really came down from Heaven,
Then ?" He was thinking of what the farmer's
son had said.
"All good things come from Heaven, that is,
from the God of Heaven," answered the stranger.
"But this is as much a plant as the Alpine rose
by your side. It did not drop down from the
sky, but grows in the very snow itself, and covers
over miles and miles of the hill you thought so
desolate. God sends good things everywhere,
though not everywhere alike."
Oh, the joy of such a doctrine The simplest
child could understand it, and be glad All was
explained now, too; the rosy patch and the broad
tracts of colour were both accounted for, and
Siegfried was as happy as he now believed the
mountain to be. And, embracing his new friend,
he forthwith began such a blundering account of
what he, and his mother, and the farmer's boy,
had thought about the rosy patch, that the
stranger could do nothing but laugh, and at last
stopped him by exclaiming, Then you see you
were all wrong; but never mind. Take me to
your mother's cottage, and we will tell her all
about it, too, and I will show it to you both, for
even you have not really seen it yet."
Siegfried's mother welcomed the friendly
stranger whom her son brought to her door with
all the heartiness of a Swiss welcome; and not the
less when she found he was an English traveller,
on his way to a neighboring town to visit a well-
known officer there, who had been deprived of
a limb in the same action in which Siegfried's
father had lost his life.
And as the town was but a few miles off, and
the summer evenings so long, the stranger was
easily persuaded to rest for a few hours in the
Swiss cottage, and tell the widow and her son the
history of his adventures on Mont Blanc, and of
the red snow plant he had brought from it. Not
that telling its history only would have been
enough; nor was there anything either beautiful
or wonderful-looking in the red, jelly-like mass
in the tin box, when looked at only with the
naked eye. The stranger had far knore in store
for them than that.
"I am going to show you," he began, at last,
and after busying himself in unpacking that re-
vealer of secrets, a microscope,-" that God has
sent many more gracious things into the world
than people commonly think; because so many
more than our natural eyes are able to see. Do
you like to know this, little Siegfried he added,
turning purposely to the child.
Siegfried nodded his heartiest nod of assent,
and the widow said, with a smile, "You should
have asked that question, Sir, of me. It is I
who have not believed, because I did not see.
He has had an instinct of the truth all along."
Well, then, good Mother," replied the stranger,
" you shall see and believe what will, I think,
comfort you for life-namely, that God makes the
very wilderness to burst forth and blossom like a
rose: that there are no outcast ends of the earth,
uncared for by Him; no desolate corners where
His goodness is not shown forth."
As he spoke he finished the last adjustment of
the microscope, and touching the red jelly in
the tin box with the fine point of a porcupine's
quill, he placed the tiny morsel so obtained in a
glass, to be looked at, and called to Siegfried to
have the first peep.
The widow, struck as she had been with the
stranger's words, had her own doubts as to what
there could be to be seen, for she had not been
able to detect anything on the porcupine's quill,
but she said nothing, and very soon Siegfried's
shouts of delight announced that something, at
any rate, was there.
And, truly, what there was, was a very pretty
sight. Four or five bright little red balls, and
two or three colourless ones among them, were
lying like gems in the few drops of water which
had been put in to keep them separate.
The child believed at once, but at the first
moment the mother could scarcely credit what
she saw. That this should be a bit of the shape-
less stuff she had looked at in the tin box-it
was marvellous indeed.
The stranger now proceeded to explain. He
told them that each of the red balls was a perfect
plant in itself. That it was a lhtte colourless
bag, finer than gold-beater's skin, filled with a
red substance, which shone through, That, as soon
as it was full grown, the red substance within
divided into four, eight, and sometimes sixteen
separate red balls, of course of the tiniest size
possible, all which immediately began to grow
very fast, and grew, and grew, and grew, till the
little bag in which they lived could hold them no
longer, but burst, and dropt them out.
"These," said he, are the young plants;
and when each of them is full grown, the same
thing happens again. The red substance in each
divides into other tiny balls, and, as these grow,
they burst out from the parent bag, (called a cell,
properly,) and begin life for themselves. And
thus comes another generation of the ball-like
plants, and so another and another; and all this
28 RED SNOW.
so quickly, that, in a few hours, millions of them
have sprung from a few single cells. So now,
little Siegfried, you know why, when you looked
the second time at the rosy patch, it had spread
into those great broad tracts of colour which, in
fact, covered over miles of the poor snow with
its beauty. It was no wonder, was it ?"
No, that was no wonder; but that such things
were, of which so many people did not know, was
a wonder from which the good widow could not
easily recover. Besides, she was thinking of the
pastor having made such a mistake.
As for Siegfried, he had not lived long enough
to know why he should be so much surprised
about the red snow plant; was it a bit more
really strange than the growth of the Alpine rose,
which astonished nobody ? So his chief feeling
was extreme delight at there being something on
the mountain to make amends for its want of
"And now," said the stranger, "is there any-
thing more you would like to ask ?"
The mother was about to speak at once, but
hesitated and drew back. She knew so little;
she feared to seem so ignorant and foolish.
Reassured, however, she begged to be told how
the marvellous plant could live amiAst nothing but
snow ; could come up, and bring forth a thousand
fold, with nothing to nourish and support it ?
The stranger repeated the word !nothing with
"Nothing, because we see nothing !"
"Ah, see what a bad habit is!" cried the
mother. "I had forgotten already. Then you
think there may be things I do not know of, in
what we call the cold, barren snow ?"
Ay, ay," was the answer; germs of life,
hidden and buried, perhaps, for years; seeds
scattered no one can tell how or when; and salts
and chemical properties, needing only some acci-
dent of a sunbeam, or dew, or state of the very
air, to make all work together, and the frozen
surface to become moist, and the red snow plant
to spring up by millions."
Here he paused, and seeing little Siegfried
looking wistfully at him, as if trying to under-
stand, he took him on his knee caressingly, and
said, "That microscope is a very curious thing, is
it not ?"
The child nodded his "yes" as heartily as ever,
and then laid his head, contentedly, on his friend's
shoulder, while he went on talking.
Yes ; it is very curious, for it shows us quan-
tities of things we could not see without it; but
the best lesson it teaches is, how much more
there may be of which, even with its help, we
can see and know nothing; for, although there is
a limit to our power of seeing God's works, no
naturalist dares to think he has reached the limits
of the works themselves. In this life we cannot
hope to know a hundredth part of the creations
which surround us. You can believe this now,
good Mother 1"
"With all my heart," was her answer.
And, further," he added, you can judge now
for yourself, that even of the things we do what
we call see with the naked eye, there are a great
many of which we can never know anything like
the real truth, without such aid as this (pointing
to the microscope). What was the red snow
plant to you at first ? A piece of shapeless
jelly. What did it become to your more enlight-
ened eye ? A living organism, unmitakably from
Almighty hands, endowed with a system of life,
if not of life-enjoyment, peculiarly its own. This
is something to have discovered, celainly, but is
it all ? Ah as I tell it, I feel how imperfect the
account is-how much remains behind. All we
have done is but to have made a step or two out
of complete ignorance.
"' The rest remaineth unrevealed.'
Yet a glory comes into our hearts from the
thought of the worlds beyond reach of our present
senses, like the reflection from lightning below
our own horizon, and both faith and hope ought
to be strengthened."
The widow did not speak.
"I have one word more to say," continued the
stranger guest, "if you will allow me to say it,
and can forgive the old traveller for preaching as
well as teaching. I have taught you something of
God's doings in the natural world, which has
given you comfort and hope. What, then, you
believe of His works, believe also of His mercies.
If you cannot find a limit to the one, suspect
and hope that the other, too, may be infinite-far
beyond our comprehension. Will you try and
take this last lesson to heart ?"
The poor mother's eyes filled with tears. She
had passed tremblingly through life, and sadly
needed the good counsel.
After a short pause, her counsellor went on,
firmly, but very kindly:-
"You have seen how weak and short-sighted
the natural eye is; can you for a moment sup-
pose that the spiritual eye is more far-seeing and
better able to acquaint you with God's purposes
and doings ? Are His works to be infinite, and
His mercies bounded, so that a man can point to
the limit, and say, Here God's mercy ceases;
here there is no hope-but only everlasting lifeless-
ness and despair ? Oh, good Mother, to whom is
entrusted the rearing of a very tender plant, take
heed what you teach, and foster in it, above all
other virtues, the charity which 'hopeth all
things,' and then can both believe and endure."
The lesson was not spoken in vain even then,
and it was never forgotten. And Siegfried grew
on, and the stranger revisited the cottage many
times, and by-and-by aided in the education of
the child whose acquaintance he had made in so
singular a manner. And, after many years, the
young man, Siegfried, became a teacher himself-
a pastor-though not in his own country.
But never, through a long life, did he forget
his early hopes, and fears, and fancies, about
the desolate mountain, nor the lesson he learnt
from the stranger traveller. Ana into whatever
scenes of darkness and ignorance he forced his
way; whatever he met with of sin and sorrow;
however often baffled, thrown back, and disap-
pointed, he never despaired; for be used to recall
the past, and take comfort to himself by thinking,
"It may be God's will yet, that the red snow
plant may one day burst into life on the cold
"I see in part
S That all, as in some piece of art,
Is toil c6operant to an end."-TENNYSON.
"THIS is dreadful What can I do i"
"Why, follow me, to be sure Here quick !
sideways to the left! into this crevice of the
rock! there all's right!"
"Oh, it's easy to talk, when people can trip
away as lightly as you do. But look at me with
the ground slipping away wherever I try to lay
Come along; all's right," repeated the Crab
(for such was the speaker) from his crevice in the
And all was right certainly, as far as he was
concerned; but as for the poor Star-fish, who was
left on the sand, all was as wrong as possible, for
he was much too hot; and no wonder.
It was a low tide-a spring tide-and even for
a spring tide, a particularly low one ; for there
was very little wind astir, and what there was,
blew off the shore.
So the rocks were uncovered now, which sel-
dom tasted the air, and the stems of the great
oarweed, or tangle, which grew from them, were
bent into a half-circle by the weight of their
broad leathery fronds, as, no longer buoyed up
by the sea, they lay trailing on the sands.
What a day it was, to be sure! one of those
rare, serene ones, when there is not a cloud in
the delicate blue sky, and when the sea lies so
calm and peaceful under it, that one might almost
be persuaded to believe nothing would ever again
ruffle its surface. The white-sailed vessels in the
distance, too, looked as if they had nothing in
the world to do for ever, but to float from one
beautiful end of the world to the other, in secu-
rity and joy. Yet delicious-unspeakably deli-
cious-as the day was, it brought discomfort to
some who lived under it. The nunkberless star-
fishes, for instance, who had been unexpectedly
left stranded on the shore by the all-too-gently-
retreating waves, how could they rejoice in the
beautiful sunshine, when it was streaming so
pitilessly on their helpless limbs, and scorching
them by its dry cruel heat ? And as for the
jelly fishes, who had shared a similar fate, they
had died almost at once from the shock, as the
wave cast them ashore; so of the merits of the
delicious day they knew nothing at all.
All creatures did not suffer, of course. The
Crab, for instance, who had given such good ad-
vice to his friend (if he could but have followed
it), did very well. In the first place, he liked the
air nearly as well as the water, so that being left
high and dry on the shore now and then was
quite to his taste. Moreover, he could scuttle
off and hide in a crevice of the rocks whenever
he chose. Or he could shelter under the large
sea-weeds, and because of his hard coat was even
able to take a short walk from time to time, to
see how matters went on, and observe how far
the tide had gone down ; and if the sun did hap-
pen to bake him a little too much, he had only
to run off to a pool and take a bath, and then was
as fresh as ever in a minute.
And now, just as the tide was at the lowest,
where it was likely to beat about for some time
without much change, two other creatures ap-
peared on the sands, and approached the very
spot where the Star-fish lay in his distress, and
near which the Crab was hid. Now there was a
ledge of rocks here, which would have furnished
seats for dozens of human beings, and from
the front of it grew almost a forest of oarweed
What the creatures were who came up to this
place and stopped to observe it, I shall not say;
but one of them remarked to the other, "Here
agaiii, you see; the same old story as before.
Wasted life and wasted death, and all within a
few inches of each other Useless, lumbering
plants, not seen half-a-dozen times in the year;
and helpless, miserable sea-creatures, dying in
health and strength, one doesn't know why."
As the creature who spoke, said this, it lifted
up two or three tangle fronds with a stick it car-
ried in its hand, and then let them flop suddenly
down on the sand; after which it4used the end
of the same stick to chuck the unhappy star-fish
into the air, who, tumbling by a lucky accident
under the shelter of the tangle, was hid for a time
"And so we go up, and so we go down, our-
selves," continued the creature ; "a good many of
us, with no more end in life, and of no more use,
that one can see, than these vile useless sea-
weeds; coming into the world, in fact, for no
earthly purpose but to go out of it, in some such
wretched manner as this "
And here the creature kicked three or four
more stranded star-fishes across the narrow
sands, till he had fairly kicked them into the
sea ; muttering as he did so, "What did you come
into the world for, I wonder, and you, and you,
and you? Purposeless life and purposeless death
-the fate of thousands. And I for one as use-
less as any of them, but at any rate having the
grace to acknowledge that the world would get
on quite as cleverly without me as with Where-
unto, whereunto, whereunto ? Answer it if you
can !" As the creature finished speaking, the two
moved on together; but what the companion
answered was never exactly known; for though
the voice sounded as if in dispute, what was said
was not heard by those who were left behind,
for they began at once to chatter among them-
And first out popped the head of the Crab
from the crevice he had taken shelter in; and he
cocked his eyes knowingly, first to one side, and
then to the other, and began to talk; for he had
always plenty to say for himself, and was remark-
ably bold when there was no danger. "Miserable
sea-creatures !" was his first exclamation, repeat-
ing what the land-creature had said. I suppose
I am included in that elegant compliment. I
say! where are you, old Lilac-legs ? Have you
contrived to crawl away after all ? Come out of
your corner, or wherever you are, for a bit. Who
was the creature that was talking such nonsense
just now ? Only let me come across him, that's
all! Helpless sea-creatures, indeed I should
like to have seen him hiding in a crevice as nim-
bly as I can do! He'd better not come within
reach of me any more, I can tell him!"
It was all very well for the Crabto sit outside
the rock looking so fierce, and brushing his
mouth so boldly with his whisker-like feelers,
now that there was nobody to fight'with. How
he would have scuttled away sideways into his
hole, if the creature had reappeared, every body
You happy fellow !" answered the meek voice
of the Star-fish, Lilac-legs; you can afford to
joke about everything, and can do whatever you
please. You have so many things in your favour
-your stiff coat, and your jointed legs, and your
claws with pincers at their ends, and your large
eyes. Dear me, what advantages And yet I
have an advantage too, and that a very great one,
over you all, so I shall not grumble, especially
not now that I am in the shade. That sun was
very unpleasant, certainly; I felt something be-
tween scalded and baked. Horrible! but I am
sheltered now. And how did that come to pass,
do you think ?"
The Star-fish paused for an answer; but the
Crab declared he couldn't think-had no time for
thinking; it was too slow work to suit him. So
Lilac-legs told him how she had been chucked
into the air by the stick, and how she had come
down in the midst of the tangle, and fallen under
shelter. So you see," added she in conclusion,
" that you were quite right in saying what non-
sense the creature talked. Why, he said he was
as useless as these vile useless sea-weeds, and
had come into the world, like them, for nothing;
whereas, don't you see, he was born to save me,
which was something to be born for, at any rate,
that's quite clear; and so was the vile useless
sea-weed, as he called it, too. I, with my advan-
tages, can tell them both that!"
"L You go in and out, and in and out, over peo-
ple's remarks, till you make me quite giddy, I get
so puzzled," replied the Crab; and then you are
always talking of your advantages," he continued,
whisking his feelers backwards and forwards con-
ceitedly as he spoke, and I can't make out what
they are. I wish you would say at once what
"Oh, my advantages, you want tonmow about ?"
answered Lilac-legs. Well, I certainly have one
in each leg, near the end, with which I-but I
don't think I can describe it exactly. You have
several advantages yourself, as I told you just
now, and we have one or two in common; for
instance, the loss of a leg or two is nothing to
either of us; they grow again so quickly; but
still I am very helpless now and then, I must
admit! on the sand, for instance-it is so soft-
and the more I try to lay hold, the more it slips
away. Still these advantages in my legs make
amends for a good deal, for at any rate I know
my own superiority, and there's a great comfort
in that; I can't explain, but you may safely take
it for granted, that with my advantages, I know
a good deal more than you give me credit for. I
know, for instance, that the poor ignorant creature
need not consider himself useless, since he was
the means of chucking me here, and that this
fine old tangle hasn't lived for nothing, since it is
"How conceited some people are with their
advantages !" murmured a silver voice from one
of the tangle fronds. "If the tangle had come
into the world for nothing but to shelter you,
there would have been a fuss to very little pur-
pose, indeed! Can't your advantages tell you
there are other creatures in the world quite as
important as yourself, if not more so, you poor
helpless Lilac-legs ? Do you know who is speak-
ing ? It is the blue-eyed limpet, I beg to say-
the Patella pellucida, if you please. I have an
advantage or two myself! My coat is harder
even than the crab's, and it is studded with a
row of azure spots, as bright as the turquoise
itself. That is something to reflect upon in
one's solitude, I can assure you! and the tangle
plants are the natural home and food of our lovely
race. The creature was ignorant enough in calling
them useless, therefore, of course; But you were
not much wiser in thinking they were put into
the world to shelter you. I flatter myself I have
said enough To be the home ancI the food of
beings like us, is cause sufficient-almost more
than sufficient, I venture to think-for the exist-
ence of any vegetable that fringes these shores.
And while they live for us, our turquoise-gemmed
backs are, in return, their highest ornament and
pride. The whole thing is perfect and complete.
Anybody with half an eye, and a grain of under-
standing, may see that !"
Oh, the narrow-mindedness of people who
live under a shell !" murmured a score of whis-
pers, in unison, from another tangle frond close
by. Oh, the assurance of you poor moveable
limpets in talking about your home, when you do
but stick to first one part of these vast leaves
and then another, moving from place to place,
and never fairly settling anywhere ? Home, in-
deed, you call it? What sort of a home is it,
when an unlucky chance can force you off at any
moment, or some passing creature pick you from
your hold ? The pretension would be disgusting,
if it were not so absurd. Think of mere travel-
lers, as one may say, talking of their lodging-
house as if it was their own, and belonged to
them by a natural right !-how ridiculous, if not
wrong! We can afford to speak-we, of whose
dwelling-places it is the foundation and support.
Talk of the useless tangle, indeed! Yes, the
creature was ignorant indeed who said so. Little
he knew that it was the basis of the lives of
millions. Little he knew of the silver net-work
we spread over it from year to year, or of the
countless inhabitants of the beautiful web-a
fairy-land of beings, so small, that the crab can
scarcely see us, yet spreading so far and wide,
and accomplishing so much; but that is because
we work in unison, of course. We never quarrel
among ourselves, as some folks do-not altogether
unlike the crab in the crevice yonder. We work
to one end, so we are sure to continue strong.
Useless tangles, forsooth! when they have been
Flustra membranacea (Johnston), now Membranipora mem-
the foundations of colonies like ours from the
beginning of the world Of course the thing is
clear enough to those who choose to look into it;
any one who knows us, can tell people what the
tangle is in the world for, I should think "
Hear how they talk," murmured another
shell-fish,* no distant relation of the blue-eyed
limpet who had spoken before, and who lay
hidden in the midst of the twisted ro4ts by which
the tangle stem held fast to the rock; hear how
the poor scurfy creatures talk, to be sure, as if
there was nobody in the world but themselves.
But anything can talk, which has so many mouths
to talk with. I could say a good deal myself, if
I chose to try, with only one; but I don't care
to let out my secrets into everybody's foolish
ears. Much better hold my tongue, than let cer-
tain people, not a hundred miles off, know I am
here. I don't fancy being sucked at by star-
fishes, or picked out of my place by crab's claws.
Of course I know what the tangle is in the world
for, as well as anybody else. For while they are
fighting merely about his flapping leathery ends,
here I sit in the very heart of the matter; safe
in the roots themselves, knowing what's what
with the cleverest of them. Useless tangle, the
creature said-useless enough, perhaps, as far as
he could tell, who only looked at the long, loose,
rubbishy leaves; but those who want to know
the truth of the matter, must use their eyes to a
little more purpose, and find out what's going on
at the roots. Ah, they'd soon see then what the
tangle is for! I don't speak of myself alone,
though of course I know one very sufficient
reason why the tangle is in the world, if I chose
to say. Am I right, little Silver-tuft, in the
corner there, with the elegant doors to your
Now, little Silver-tuft,* the coralline, piqued
herself particularly on the carving of the curious
doors which guarded the front of every one of
Cellularia reptans (Johnston), now Canda reptans (Busk).
"Coralline" is an inaccurate term, being strictly applicable
only to the vegetable Corallinas. But it has been used for so
long for some sorts of Zoophytes, that it is difficult to substitute
the numberless cells in which her family lived;
so she was flattered by the compliment, and
owned that the limpet was righttin the main.
She was, nevertheless, rather cool in her manner,
for, thought she to herself, The rough fellow
forgets that he is but a lodger here, as the sea-
mat said of his blue-eyed cousi#; whereas every-
body knows that I am a bond-flde inhabitant,
though with a little more freedom of movement
than people who stick to their friends so closely
as to cover them up No offence to the sea-mat,
or anybody who can't help himself. Neverthe-
less, my fibres being firmly interlaced with the
roots, I am here by right for ever. These limpets
may talk as they please, but nobody in their
senses can suppose the tangle came into the
world merely to accommodate chance travellers
like them, even though they may now and then
spend their lives in the place. But vanity blinds
the judgment, that's very clear. Roots and plants
have to grow for such as myself and my silver-
tuft cousins, however; but that's quite another
affair. There's a reason in that-a necessity, I
52 WalEREUNTO ?
may say; we want them, and of course, there-
fore, they are here. The thing is as straight-
forward and plain to anybody of sense, as-"
But, unfortunately, the simile was lost; for a
wave of the now-returning tide interrupted Sil-
ver-tuft's speech, by breaking suddenly over the
tangle with a noisy splash. It drew back again
for a bit immediately after; but, meantime, both
plants and animals were revelling in the delicious
moisture, and for a few moments thought of
nothing else. And just then, hurrying along the
narrow strip of sand that yet remained exposed,
as fast as their legs could carry them, came the
land-creature and its companion.
Before, however, they had passed the spot
where they had stopped to talk when the tide
was low, another wave was seen coming; to avoid
which, the friends sprang together on the ledge
of rock, and from thence watched the gathering
water, as it fell tumbling over the forest of tangle
plants. And again and again this happened, and
they remained to observe it, and see how the
huge fronds surged up like struggling giants, as
the waves rushed in below; and how by degrees,
as the tide rose higher and higher,'their curved
stems unbent, so that they resumed their natural
position, till at last they were bending and bow-
ing in graceful undulations to the swell of the
water, as was their wont.
And, "Look at them!" cried the creature's
companion. "For the existence of even these
poor plants in the world, I could give you a
hundred reasons, and believe that ds many more
might be found. Of their use, I could tell you
a hundred instances in proof; there is not one
of them but what gives shelter to the helpless,
food to the hungry, a happy home to as many as
desire it, and vigour and health to the element
in which it lives. Purposeless life, you talk of!
Such a thing exists nowhere. Come, I will ex-
plain. To begin-but see, we must move on, for
the wind as well as the tide is rising, and we might
chance to be caught. Follow me quick, for even
we might be missed; and, besides, it is cowardly
to shirk one's appointed share of work and well-
doing before one's time. For if the vile sea-
weeds are able to do good in the world, how
But here, too, the discourse was cut short by
the roar of a breaking wave, which carried the
conclusion out of hearing.
People talk of the angry sea; was he angry
now at what he had heard? No, he was only
loud and in earnest, after all. But undoubtedly
he and the risen wind between them contrived
to make a great noise over the tangle beds. And
he gave his opinion pretty strongly on the sub-
ject in hand. For, cried he, You foolish crea-
tures, one and all! what is all this nonsense
about ? Who dares to talk of useless sea-weeds
while I am here to throw their folly in their face ?
And you, poor little worms and wretches, who
have been talking your small talk together, as if
it was in your power to form the least idea of
anything an inch beyond your own noses-well,
well, well, I won't undeceive you! There, there!
believe what you like about yourselves and your
trumpery little comforts and lives; but if any
really philosophical inquirer wants to know what
WHEREUNTO ? 55
see-weeds are in the world for, and what good
they do, I will roar them the true answer all day
long, if they please-to keep me, the great sea,
pure, and sweet, and healthy! There, now, that's
the reply! They suck in my foul vapours as
food, and give me back life-supportiAg vapours in
return. Vile and useless! What fool has called
anything so ? Only let me catch himr-thus-"
Bang!-with what a roar that- wave came
down! and yet it did no harm-didn't even dis-
lodge the Crab from the new crevice he had
squeezed himself into for the present. And as
to Star-fish Lilac-legs, she was spreading herself
out in the rocking water, rejoicing in her re-
gained freedom, and telling all her friends of her
wonderful escape, and of the creature who had
been born into the world on purpose to save her
from an untimely death.
It was a very fine story indeed; and the longer
she told it, the more pathetic she made it, till at
last there was not a creature in the sea who
could listen to it with dry eyes.
WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
PURRING WHEN VOURE PLEASED.
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED,
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."-
Matt. xii. 34.
THEY had been licked over hundreds of times by
the same mother, had been brought up on the
same food, lived in the same house, learnt the
same lessons, heard the same advice, and yet how
different they were! Never were there two kit-
tens more thoroughly unlike than those two!
The one, with an open, loving heart, which never
could contain itself in its joy, but purred it out
at once to all the world; the other, who scarcely
ever purred at all, and that never above its
breath, let him be as happy or as fond as he
60 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
It was partly his mother's fault, perhaps, for
she always set the children the example of re-
serve; rarely purring herself, and then only in a
low tone. But, poor thing, there were excuses
to be made for her ; she had had so many troubles.
Cats generally have. Their kittens are taken
away from them so often, and they get so hissed
about the house when people are busy, and the
children pull them about so heedlessly, and make
the dogs run after them-which is so irritating--
that really the wonder is they ever purr at all
Nevertheless, her not feeling inclined to purr
much herself was no good reason for her think-
ing it silly or wrong in other people to purr when
they were pleased; but she did, and she and her
purring daughter were always having small tiffs
on the subject.
Every morning, for instance, when the nice
curly-headed little boy brought the kittens a
saucer of milk from his breakfast, there was sure
to be a disturbance over the purring question,
for, even before the saucer had reached the floor,
Puss Missy was sure to be there, tail and head
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
erect and eager, singing her loudest and best,
her whole throat vibrating visibly; while Puss
Master, on the contrary, took his food, but said
very little about it, or, if ever tempted to express
his natural delight, did it in so low a tone that
nobody could hear without putting their ears
close down to him to listen.
Now this was what the mother cat called keep-
ing up one's dignity and self-respect, so it can
easily be imagined how angry she used to get
with the other child. Wretched little creature!"
she would say to poor Puss Missy, who, even
after the meal was over, would lie purring with
pleasure in front of the fire ; "what in the world
are you making all that noise and fuss about ?
Why are you to be always letting yourself down
by thanking people for what they do for you, as
if you did not deserve it, and had not a right to
expect it ? Isn't it quite right of them to feed
you and keep you warm? What a shame it
would be if they left you without food or fire I
am ashamed to see you make yourself so cheap,
by showing gratitude for every trifle. For good-
62 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
ness' sake have a little proper pride, and leave
off such fawning ways! Look at your brother,
and see how differently he behaves !-takes every-
thing as a matter of course, and has the sense to
keep his feelings to himself; and people are sure
to respect him all the more. It keeps up one's
friends' interest when they are not too sure that
one is pleased. But you, with your everlasting
acknowledgments, will be seen through, and de-
spised very soon. Have a little more esteem for
your own character, I do beg! What is to be-
come of self-respect if people are to purr when-
ever they are pleased ? "
Puss Missy had not the least notion what
would become of it in such a case, but she sup-
posed something dreadful; so she felt quite hor-
rified at herself for having done anything to bring
it about, and made a thousand resolutions to
keep up her dignity, save self-respect from the
terrible unknown fate in store, and purr no more.
But it was all in vain. As soon as ever any-
thing happened to make her feel happy and com-
fortable, throb went the little throat, as naturally
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
as flowers come out in spring, and there she was
in a fresh scrape again! And the temptations
were endless. The little boy's cousin, pale, and
quiet, and silent as she was, would often take
Puss Missy on her knee, and nurse her for half-
an-hour at a time, stroking her so gently and
kindly-how could any one help purring ?
Or the boy would tie a string, with a cork at
the end of it, to the drawer-handle of a table, so
that the kittens could paw it, and pat it, and
spring at it, as they pleased-how was it possible
not to give vent to one's delight in the intervals
of such a game, when the thing was swinging
from side to side before their very eyes, inviting
the next bound?
And when there was nothing else to be pleased
about, there were always their own tails to run
after, and the fun was surely irresistible, and well
deserved a song.
Yet the brother very seldom committed him-
self in that way-that was the great puzzle, and
Puss Missy grew more perplexed as time went
on. Nay, once, when they were alone together,
64 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
and her spirits had quite got the better of her
judgment, she boldly asked him, in as many
words, "Why do you not purr when you are
pleased?" as if it was quite the natural and
proper thing to do. Whereat he seemed quite
taken by surprise, but answered at last: It's so
weak-minded, mother says; I should be ashamed.
Besides," added he, after a short pause, "to tell
you the truth-but don't say anything about it-
when I begin there's something that chokes a
little in my throat. Mind you don't tell--it would
let me down so in mother's eyes. She likes one
to keep up one's dignity, you know."
Had Mother Puss overheard these words, she
might have been a little startled by such a result
of her teaching: but, as it was, she remained in
happy ignorance that her son was influenced by
anything but her advice.
... Yet, strange to say, she had that choking
in the throat sometimes herself! ..
But, at last, a change came in their lives. One
day their friend, the curly-headed boy, came
bounding into the kitchen where Puss and her
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
kittens were asleep, in raptures of delight, followed
by the pale, quiet, silent cousin, as quiet and
silent as ever. The boy rushed to the kittens at
once, took up both together in his hands, laid
one over the other for fun, and then said to the
girl, "Cousin, now they're going to give us the
kittens for our very own, just tell me which you
like best, really ? I'm so afraid you won't choose
for yourself when they ask you, and then, if I
have to choose instead, I sha'n't know which you
would rather have! And I want you to have
the one you like most-so do tell me before-
Oh, I like them both answered the girl, in
the same unmoved, indifferent tone, in which she
"So do I," replied her cousin; "but I know
which I like best for all that; and so must you,
only you won't say. I wonder whether you like
to have the kittens at all ?" added he, looking
at the pale child a little doubtfully; then whisper-
ing, as he put them both to her face to be kissed,
"Cousin, dear, I wish I could see when you
66 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
were pleased by your face! See! give a smile
when the one you like best goes by. Do-won't
you-this once-just for once .....
It was in vain! He passed the kittens before
her in succession, that she might see the mark-
ings of their fur, but she still only said she liked
both, and, of course, was glad to have a kitten,
and so on; till, at last, he was disheartened, and
asked no more.
It is a great distress to some people when their
friends will not purr when they are pleased; and
as the children went back together to the draw-
ing-room, the little boy was the sadder of the
two, though he could not have explained why.
And then, just what he expected happened,-
the choice between the two kittens was offered
first to the girl; but, instead of accepting it as a
favour, and saying Thank you for it, and being
pleased, as she ought to have been, she would say
nothing but that she liked both, and it could not
matter which she had; nay, to look at her as she
spoke, nobody would have thought she cared for
having either at all!
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
How was it that she did not observe how
sorrowfully her aunt was gazing at her as she
spoke; aye, arf with a sorrow far beyond anything
the kittens could occasion ]
But she did not; and presently her aunt said,
! Well, then, as she did not care, the boy should
choose. On which the poor boy coloured with
vexation; but when he had sought his cousin's
eyes again and again in vain for some token of
her feelings, he laid sudden hold on Puss Missy,
and cuddled her against his cheek, exclaiming:
Then I will have this one! I like her much
the best, mother, because she purrs when she is
And then the little girl took up Puss Master,
and kissed him very kindly, but went away with-
out saying another word.
And so a week passed; and though the children
nursed their kittens, they never discussed the
question of which was liked best again, for a shy-
ness had sprung up about it ever since the day
the choice had been made.
But at the end of the week, one sunshiny
68 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
morning, when the boy was riding his father's
pony, and only the little girl was in the house, her
aunt, coming suddenly into the schiol-room, dis-
covered her kneeling by the sofa, weeping a silent
rain of tears over the fur-coat of Puss Missy,
who was purring loudly all the time; while her
own kitten, Puss Master, was lying asleep un-
noticed by the fire.
Now, the pale, silent little girl had been an
orphan nearly two years-father and mother
having died within a few weeks of each other;
and she had been ever since, till quite lately,
under the care of a guardian, who, though married,
had no children, and was more strict and well-
intentioned than kind and comprehending; so
that, between sorrow at first and fear afterwards,
joined to a timid, shrinking nature, she had,
without knowing anything about it, shut herself
up in a sort of defensive armour of self-restraint,
which, till now, neither aunt, nor uncle, nor even
loving cousin, had been able to break through.
But they had gently bided their time, and the
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
time had come at last, and Puss Missy pointed
the moral; for, with her aunt's arms folded round
her, and a sense of her comforting tenderness
creeping into the long-lonely heart, she owned
that she had fretted all the week in secret be-
cause-actually because-it was so miserable to
nurse a kitten who would not purr when he was
Anybody may guess how nice it was, ten
minutes afterwards, to see the little girl, with the
roused colour of warm feeling on her cheeks,
smiling through her tears at the thought of how
like the unpurring kitten she had been herself!
Anybody may guess, too, with what riotous joy
the loving boy-c9usin insisted on her changing
kittens at once, and having Puss Missy for her
very own. And how, on the other hand, he set
to work himself, with a resolute heart, to make
Puss Master so fond of him that purr he must,
whether he would or no; and how that, now and
then, by dint of delicate attentions, such as choice
morsels of food and judicious rubbing under the
70 PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED.
cars, he worked the creature up to such a pitch
of complacency, that the vibrations of his throat
became, at any rate, visible to sight, and percep-
tible to touch.
Truly, they were a very happy party; for
after Puss Master took Puss Missy for friend,
confidante, and adviser, he grew so loving and
fond, that he could not help showing his feelings
in a thousand pretty, pleasant ways: and the
mother-cat herself relaxed by degrees; perhaps
because she found her kittens were not taken
away-partly, perhaps, because Puss Missy's open-
heartedness stole into her heart at last, with a
sense of comfort-who knows ? Certainly she
left off scolding and lecturing, and would not only
watch their gambols, but join* in them at times
herself. And if neither she nor her son ever
purred quite so much, or so loudly as their
neighbours, the reason, no doubt, was only that
tiresome choking in the throat!
Why, the pale little girl herself complained of
having felt something very like it, during the sad
two years before her kind aunt made her happy
PURRING WHEN YOU'RE PLEASED. 71
again! It always used to come on when she
wanted to say what she felt.
And, perhaps, there is always something that
chokes in the throat when people do not purr
when they are pleased.
Let us hope so !
VOICES OF THE EARTH.
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
"Let every thing that hath breath, praise the Lord."
Psalm el. 6.
"WOULD that I could pass away, and cease to
be!" murmured the Wind, as it performed its
circuits round the earth, long ages ago. Would
that I could cease to be Since the creation of
man, existence has become insupportable."
Thou art mad! cried the Mountains and Val-
leys, over whom the wind was passing, with its
outcry of lamentation. Is not man the glory
of the world, the favourite of Heaven? Surely
thou art mad, or else jealous of the greatness of
others-jealous of the master-piece of creation.
Oh thou, ungrateful and unwise, to whom is
76 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
committed the privilege of refreshing the earth
and its inhabitants, why turn aside to hold judg-
ment and condemn? Enough that thou fulfil
thine own appointed work, and, in so doing, exist
to the glory of the Creator."
"Yet, hear me in patience," wailed the Wind.
" It is for the honour of man, and the glory of
his Creator, that I am so troubled. Hence comes
all my misery. I, who know no rest but in His
will, and once went on my way rejoicing,-I now
am, of all creatures, the most miserable. Oh
earth, with thy mountains and valleys, and forests,
and fast-flowing rivers and seas, do me justice !
Thou knowest it was not so with me of old, when
I was first called into being. Thou knowest with
what joy I roamed over thy confines, and beheld
the universal beauty that then was spread around;
how tenderly I whispered through thy flowers,
how joyfully I carried up their fragrant odours
as a thank-offering to heaven; how merrily I
sported on the hills, or taught the branches of
thy lofty trees to bow, as in obeisance to Him
who made them Thou knowest that I even
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH. 77
failed not in due obedient love, when storms
were needed; whether to drive the sluggish va-
pours through the sky, or rouse the sea itself to
healthy action. When have I ever failed ? Have
I not always fulfilled His word ? For even now,
in these my days of misery, I carry put unweary-
ingly the great decree. Still I bear aloft from
tropical seas, in ceaseless revolution round the
world, those vapours which must ~descend in
northern latitudes as dew, or rain, or snow. Still
I labour-still I love to labour' in the way or-
dained. But woe for me another burden than
labour is upon me now Woe for the pollution
I have suffered, since the earth was overspread
by the wretched race of men! Woe for their
civilized lands, which I must needs pass through!
Woe for the cities, and towns, and villages, their
haunts and habitations, which I cannot avoid!
Woe! for I bear thence in my bosom the blas-
phemies of the multitudes, and am laden with
the burden of ingratitude, denial, and doubt.
Woe that I must spread these black results of
misguided reason from pole to pole Woe that
78 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
I must carry up the jests of the scorner and the
oaths of the intemperate, as incense from man to
his Maker : from man formed in His image, and
boasting in his faculties of sense! Oh that I
could pass away, and cease from being and that
with me might perish these fruits of an evil heart
Thou hast numbered curses," breathed the
Mountains and Valleys in reply; and alas! that
such should ever defile thee, thou messenger of
blessing. But this is not all thou bearest upon thy
wings. Other outpourings stream into thy bosom;
other voices are wafted upon thee to the skies;
other sounds are spread by thee from pole to pole.
Hast thou weighed in the balance, against the
utterances of the rebellious, the prayers of the
faithful, the childlike, and the pure; the stedfast
avowal of martyrs; the daily thanksgiving of
saints; the songs of holy praise and joy? "
"Yet what are these but what are due, and
more than due, ten hundred thousand fold ?" ex-
claimed the angry Wind. What merit can you
find in these? How strike a balance between
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH. 79
them and the unnatural sin which says,' There
is no God' ? All His works every where have
praised Him from the beginning: only among
men is there silence and doubt. And shall the
remnant take credit for not joining in their sin?
Inanimate creation and the beasts jave never
swerved from their allegiance. What room is
there for boasting in man? Has he done more
than these, from the foundation of the'world 1"
"But he alone of all creation, with a free, in-
telligent will."-The words came tp in soft re-
sponse from the Earth, and spread like harmony
upon the air.-" He alone of all creation, with a
free, intelligent will. Merit there can be none,
indeed; but acceptability-where can it ever be
found, but in the free-will worship of a spirit
which has choice ? And if choice, then, of
necessity, liberty to err. And with liberty to err,
comes, alas! the everlasting contest between right
and wrong. Yet why do I say, 'alas'? Obedi-
ence to a law which cannot be resisted is not the
service of the heart-not the highest tribute to
the Creator's glory. Far dearer to Him may be
80 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
the struggle by which the human will is subdued
to unison with the will Divine, in anticipation of
that day when all its wisdom shall be made
known. Have patience, then, with the contest
between good and evil, so long as the good is
accepted of Heaven; and while this is so, be con-
tented to labour and to be "
Yet listen once again," sighed the Wind. I
have been jealous for the glory of the Maker, it is
true, and troubled for the honour of man. But
I am also wretched for myself. Oh Earth, Earth,
Earth The Creator has made His human fa-
vourite mortal! The mountains stand fast for
ever, the hills cannot be moved, the very trees
survive from generation to generation; but man
-the chosen-passes away like a shadow; he
cometh up and is cut down as the grass; I go
over him, and his place knows him no more. Alas
for the misery I am doomed to share The breath
of the dying has passed into my soul for ages; it
is borne upon every breeze; it has tainted every
air. I am filled with those bitter agonies, and
loathe my very being. Would that I could pass
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH. 81
away into nothing, and be as though I had never
been, that so I might taste no more the vile dis-
honour of death."
"Thou judges with the judgment of those
who see and know but in part," came up the
soothing answer from the Hills. "aWhat, if the
dying breath, which falls so sadly on thy breast,
releases from its prison-house of clay some spirit
more etherial than thine own, some essence sub-
tler far than thine, which thou must bear before
the mercy-seat? Shall not the Judge of all the
earth do right ? Canst thou not trust the Al-
mighty with His own'? Why grieve for the last
sigh of perishing flesh, if it be also the first breath-
ing of a freed immortal soul 1 How rail at death, if
it is He who strikes the chord of everlasting life"
'"'Yet once more hear me, and be just," per-
sisted the Wind. "Not the breath of the dying
only overwhelms me with this wild desire to be
at rest. The breath of the living who suffer on
is even worse. The sigh of natural grief, which
none can blame; the meanings of the afflicted in
mind, body, or estate; the outcries of the op-
82 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
pressed and desperate; the shrieks of madness
and of pain, the groanings of despair; all, all are
outpoured on me Those dreadful voices haunt
me from all sides. This mass of human woe cor-
rodes my soul. I meet it in the cottage, and pass
through to find it in the palace; I rush from the
battle-field to the cloister, but in vain! for no se-
clusion can shut out man from sorrow. Wherever
the chosen creature is found, there must I gather
up the voices of grief; for lo as the sparks fly
upwards, so man is born to trouble. Oh that I
might pass away for ever, and cease to know the
wretchedness I have no power to avert !"
Yet wait, wait, wait," implored another whis-
perer from the Earth. What, if in human sorrow
may be found an answer to the riddle of human
guilt ? What, if amidst its saddest cries, thou
carries up the voice of heartfelt penitence on
high ? Wilt thou not weigh against the transient
earthly grief the joy in heaven for one repenting
sinner? Or, if amidst the mortal agony of the
righteous, the triumph-songs of faith grow loud
as those the angels sing round the throne,-' Thy
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH. 83
will, Thy will, Thy will--doing or suffering-
Thy will be done ;'-wouldst thou not fear to take
away the one, lest the other perchance should fail
from off the earth ? Watch well the balance be-
tween suffering and its fruits; but while these
rise acceptable on thee to Heaved, well mayst
thou rest contented in thy work, and rejoice both
to labour and to be."
"Yet is man-the favourite-of all creatures
the most wretched," moaned the Wind, since he
alone must purchase happiness with pain."
"Unjust! unjust !" expostulated the Earth.
" Thou keepest record of men's sighs, hast thou
no consciousness of the unceasing breathing of
simple, natural joys ? Yet, number the one by
thousands, and by tens of thousands of the other
will I answer and refute thy words. The peace-
ful respirations of health, unnoticed and, alas !
how often, unthankfully enjoyed through years,
count them if thou canst Count them as they
float to thee, while the night hours pass over the
sleeper's head: count them when he wakes with
the young daylight to a fresh existence. Count
84 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
the laughs of frolic childhood. Count the mur-
murs of happy love. Count the stars if thou wilt,
but thou canst never count the daily outpourings
of common earthly joys. Alas for those who
judge of life only by startling periods, and are
deaf to the still small voices, which tell of hourly
mercies, hour by hour "
"Yet once more listen," cried the Wind, "for
more and worse remains behind. The utterances
of vice-oh innocent Earth, in whom the glory of
the Creator is yet left visible to all!-I sicken at
the thought of what I know; of what I bear unwil-
lingly about. The loathsome words of sin-the
lies of the deceiver-the prating of the fool-the
seductions of the dissolute-the shouts of drunken
revelry-the songs of the profane-the gifts of
speech and thought misused to evil:-those voices
horrible to God and man. .
Be they as dust before thee, and thou as the
angel of the Lord scattering them!" shouted a cry
of indignation from the Earth. Yet wait, wait,
wait I For thyself, be thou still contented to
labour and to be. Wouldst thou be wiser than
THE VOICES OF THE EARTH. 1D
the Judge ? Wilt thou lose patience, while He
yet forbears ? No! watch the balance a3 be-
fore, and weigh the evil and the good. And so
long as the prayers which the faithful pour on
thy bosom outvalue the words of the scorner;
so long as the blessings of the righteous float
above the curses of the blasphemer; so long as
the voice of penitence follows close upon the ut-
terances of sin; so long as pious submission makes
harmony of the cries of grief; so long as thou
carriest up daily thanksgiving for unnumbered
daily mercies; so long as souls of saints are
breathed up to Heaven by death:-so long be
thou contented to have patience, and labour and
"But should the day ever come," shouted the
Wind in return, when the balance is reversed;
when vice, only tolerated now, becomes trium-
phant; when sin reigns on the altars, and no man
pulls it down; when the voice of the good man's
worship is drowned in the bad man's scorn, and
I cannot lift it to the skies; when the wretched
curse God and die, and men have forgotten to be
86 THE VOICES OF THE EARTH.
thankful ;-then, then at last wilt thou acknow-
ledge the justice of my complaints, and help me
to pass away in peace? Promise this, and till
then I will watch the struggle, and be contented
to labour and to be."
And the Earth paused and consented, and the
Wind fled satisfied away.
envoii to the Reader.
And he is still careering round the world; still
gathering in "the Voices of the Earth;" still
watching the struggle between good and evil. In
our public walks he meets us face to face. In
our private chambers he is with us still There
is no secret corner where he cannot come ; no
whisper which is not breathed into his ear. It
behoves us well, then, to be careful, lest, by
thoughtlessness or sin, we add weight to the
wrong side of the scales. For if the balance
should ever incline to evil, and the wind cease to
blow,-what would become of the world ?
MASTER OF THE HARVEST.
THE MASTER OF THE HARVEST.
THE MASTER OF THE HARVEST.
"That which thou dost not understand when thou readest,
thou shalt understand in the day of thy visitation; for there are
many secrets of religion which are not perceived till they be
felt, and are notfelt but in the day of a great calamity."-JEREMY
THE Master of the Harvest walked by the side of
his corn-fields in the early year, and a cloud was
over his face, for there had been no rain for
several weeks, and the earth was hard from the
parching of the cold east winds, and the young
wheat had not been able to spring up.
So, as he looked over the long ridges that lay
stretched in rows before him, he was vexed, and
began to grumble, and say the harvest would be
90 T-n ."ST-R or T.1 1.v1 T
backward, and all thgs would go iong." At
the mere thought of whih he frowned more and
more, nd uttered words of company against tho
heavens, because ther- was no rain; against the
oarh, b-oause it was so dry and unyieldmg,
agmnst the corn, because it had not sprung up,
the orn-seeds lay; and when it reuahed them
thoy murmured out, "Eow cruel to complain i
Are w not dong our best ? Have we let one
on every ohanoa, and sItiven every day to be
idle t e ? re obstinate Are e indif.rent2
Shal we not be fund waiting and rtcmhng?
heand nothing, so the gloom did not pass wry
from hfs fa On the on-rary, he took t wth
hm into his comfortable home, and repeated to
l ts wife the dak words, that thmas weare
TEc iasTo or rtE tAutwEr. 91
going wrng; that the drought would ruin the
ut hi wife sat up fo. a while by th bedside,
and opened her Bibe, and ead, The arrest is
the oad of the world, and the rapmrs tar the
Thon she wrote this text in ponoil, on th fly-
leaf at the ed of the book, ad after it the date
of the day, and water the date the words, "Oh,
Lord, the hlusbandman, Thou. witeat for tho
prodious fruit Thou ha- t eown, and hast long
paltieo olbr ie I Amou, 0 Lord, amon I"
After which the good woman helt down to
pray, and ul he proyed she ept, for she knew
that she ws very il
But what she pmray that night na herd only
And so a few days pasd on ao boforo and the
house wa gloomy with the discontent of its
master; but at last, onea cening, the wind
cbhagod, tho sky beamo hrevy with louds, and
92 uar MASTER OF TsE uAIov-n
before mnidmght there wa rain al over the land;
and when the Master of the Ho est came in next
morning, wet from is early walk by the oorn-
fild, he said it was woell t had come at last, and
that, at lst, the oorn had sprung up.
011 which hs wife looked at him with a smile,
and said, "How often things cme right, about
which one bad been anxious and disturbed." To
which her husband made no answer, but turned
away nd spoke of something else.
sprouts burst out at once and very soon all
along the long ridges were to be sen rows of
tender blades, tinting the whole field oth a
deheate green. And day by day the Mater of
the Harvest saw them and was satiied; but
because he was satisfied, nd his anxiety was gone,
he spoke of other things, and forgot to rejoie.
And a murmur arose among them,--Should
not the Master hnv wolcomod us to o I lie
ws angry but lately, because the seed he had
sown had not yet brout forth ; now that it has
OHn 'ASToo or nH n -sutvan. 03
bought forth, why ishe not gd What mor
does he ranot? 'Have we not done our best?
Are we not doing it minnt by minute, hour by
hour, day by day From the morning and ven-
ing dowe, from the glow of the midday un, from
the juices of the earth, from the btrezes which
freshen the air, eve from clods and rain, are we
not taking in food and strength, warmth and
life, refeshment and joy; so that one day the
valley may laugh and sing, because the good seed
hath brought forth abundantly Why does he
As before, however, of all they said the Master
of the Harest hard nothing; and itneverstruck
him to think of the young corn-blades' struggling
life. ay, once, when his wife asked him if
the wheat was doing well, e answered, "Very
fairly," and nothing more. But she then, becue
the evening s fine, and the fairer weather had
revived hr failing power, said she would wak
out by the corn-fields herelf.
And so it cme to pans that they went out