• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The buried talent, or "lost"
 The young carver's experiment,...
 The father's reasons, and the way...
 The head of the family cut off
 A little more fruit from the hidden...
 "If at first you don't succeed,...
 The work interrupted
 Richard at the exhibition
 The path open
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: trials of a village artist
Title: The Trials of a village artist
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00004058/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Trials of a village artist
Physical Description: 140, <2> p., <1> leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lamb, Ruth, b. 1829
Morgan, John, fl. 1862-1867 ( Publisher )
Burt, Robert K ( Printer )
Kronheim & Co ( Lithographer )
Publisher: John Morgan
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Robert K. Burt
Publication Date: 1866
Copyright Date: 1866
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Artists -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Diligence -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1866   ( local )
Gold stamped cloth (Binding) -- 1866   ( local )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1866   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1866
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories   ( local )
Gold stamped cloth (Binding)   ( local )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Ruth Buck.
General Note: Frontispiece chromolithographed by J.M. Kronheim & Co.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy inscribed date: 1866.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00004058
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH3158
oclc - 13366215
alephbibnum - 002232762

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The buried talent, or "lost"
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    The young carver's experiment, and how it sped
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    The father's reasons, and the way in which Richard kept his resolution
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    The head of the family cut off
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    A little more fruit from the hidden seed
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    "If at first you don't succeed, try again"
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    The work interrupted
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    Richard at the exhibition
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    The path open
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Advertising
        Page 141
        Page 142
    Back Matter
        Page 143
        Page 144
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text




















































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THE TRIALS OF A VILLAGE ARTIST.































































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TRIALS OF A VILLAGE ARTIST.






BY


RUTH BUCK.


"For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have
abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even
that which he hath."-St. Matthew xxv. 29.






LONDON:
JOHN MORGAN, 10, PATERNOSTER ROW.






































LONDON

ROBERT K. BURT, PRINTED

3OLBORN HILL.












CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAGE
I.-THE BURIED TALENT, OR LOST." A WASTED
LIFE .. .. . ..... ..... 7

II.-THE YOUNG CARVER'S EXPERIMENT, AND
HOW IT SPED .. .. .. .. .. 29

III.-THE FATHER'S REASONS, AND THE WAY IN
WHICH RICHARD KEPT HIS RESOLUTION. 59

IV.-THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY CUT OFF. A NEW
STONE IN THE CHURCHYARD .. .... 73

V.-A LITTLE MORE FRUIT FROM THE HIDDEN SEED 83

VI.--"IP AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY
AGAIN" .. ........... 94

VII.-THE WORK INTERRUPTED. FINISHED AT LAST 107

VIII.-RICHARD AT THE EXHIBITION. THE REWARD
OF PERSEVERANCE .. .. ... 120

IX.-THE PATH OPEN. WON ........ 131











THE TRIALS OF A VILLAGE ARTIST.



CHAPTER I.

THE BURIED TALENT, OR "LOST." A WASTED LIFE.

ONE sunny afternoon, a good many years
ago, a troop of boys might have been seen
rushing out at the door of a country school-
house. In their haste they almost forgot the
bow which was due to the teacher; and as they
poured forth, cap in hand, and scattered them.
selves across the favourite playground, they
looked very much like a swarm of bees issuing
from the hive and dispersing amid the flowers
of a garden.
The lads, rough fellows most of them, were
glad that their school hours were over, and
now prepared to enjoy a hearty game before
going home to tea and to prepare lessons for
the morrow,





THE TRIALS OF


But there was one exception to the rule.
He was not a very big lad, but he was much
looked up to by his companions, who boasted
of his cleverness in carving all sorts of things
out of bits of wood. They liked to tell what
wonders little Dick Fraser could do with no-
thing but a pocket-knife and the stray odds and
ends of hard wood which he picked up in his
father's workshop. Lads who could do nothing
in that line themselves were proud of Richard's
productions, and there was not one in the school
but could thrust his hand into his pocket and
bring out a sample of the boy's handiwork.
What boats Dick could make to be sure!
Beautiful little delicate things, with the tiniest
of faces for figure-heads! And what dainty
boxes for small girls of his acquaintance to put
their thimbles and cotton into !
His little sisters had the most substantial and
prettiest of dinner services, all cut out in wood;
and even the very handle of his mother's potato
bruiser was found decorated with a specimen of
carving, after that useful implement had been
missed and vainly sought for two or three days.






A VILLAGE ARTIST


The good dame was at first inclined to scold
when she thought of her long and fruitless
search. But the frown turned to a smile, as
she could not help owning that "the flowers
and leaves were very pretty, for certain, but
the potatoes would have been mashed just as
well without all those fine things on the
handle."
When Dick was gone to school, though, she
exhibited his work to all the neighbours, as she
had done many a time before after the comple-
tion of a new toy for his sisters. And all the
said gossips held up their hands in astonish-
ment and said, "Wonderful!" "How ever
does he manage it?" and, "IWell, Mrs. Fra
ser, but you have a clever son! He beats all
our lads, and you may well be proud of him! "
-and so on.
There was one voice, and only one, raised in
disparagement of this new proof of little Dick's
ingenuity, or rather, of the particular purpose
to which he had applied it. The speaker was
a somewhat slatternly dame, of whom good
Mrs. Fraser was in the habit of saying she






THE TRIALS OF


should not like to dine with her unless she her-
self acted as cook, and moreover quoted the old
proverb, "An egg and a nut you may eat with
a slut"-in allusion to some of her neighbour's
peculiarities.
This individual, then, suggested that little
Dick's ingenuity was sadly misplaced as re-
garded the potato bruiser. "For," said she,
"the more crevices the more dirt. I like
things plain for my own part."
Mrs. Fraser gave her a look of withering
scorn-in itself a sufficient reply-and answered,
"'That people who kept plain things clean would
keep carved ones as they should be too. But it
mattered very little to herself, carved or NOT
carved, any person who found dirt on her
cooking utensils would have most uncom-
mon sharp eyes." Then, without waiting for
further comment, the good woman marched off
home again, carrying in her hand the orna-
mented potato bruiser, with something of the
dignity and pride with which a queen might
bear a sceptre, and inwardly resolving to set
extra store upon that implement, and wage






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


additional war against dust in every shape,
because of the remark which had so offended
her ear, and which showed that her neighbour's
notions of cleanliness were by no means what
they ought to be.
Mrs. Fraser met her husband, a rather
sickly looking man, on the threshold, and to
him she displayed the potato bruiser.
Just look here, James," she said, holding
it up for him to examine.
"What, you have found it," he replied,
scarcely glancing that way. "I was going to
set one of the boys to make you another."
But look, James, what our lad has done,"
remarked the mother, not willing that Dick's
work should be so lightly passed over. Our
lad will not always be a country joiner, as
you and his grandfather have been all your
lives."
James Fraser shook his head. "I shall be
quite contented if he turns out a good hand at
a respectable business. A vast number of lads
have got it into their heads at one time or
another that they were artists, and geniuses,







THE TRIALS OF


and I don't know what beside, and grown dis-
satisfied with a good honest business they might
have lived by if they would have stuck to it.
Then, in the end, they have turned out good for
nothing at all, and been a plague and a drag to
everybody belonging to them. My lad shall be
a plain joiner."
As he finished speaking, James Fraser went
back to the workshop, leaving his wife any-
thing but satisfied with his mode of treating
this new proof of little Dick's talent, of which
she was so proud. "I can't understand my
husband," said she to herself, as she went
about her household work; "he always seems
to want to keep that lad back, and, if he were
not such a good, kind father in other things, I
should think it very hard. But he has some
reason that I don't know, for James was of
rather a close disposition from a lad. Ah, well!
he is a good husband and one can't expect
people to be ah perfection."
A little sigh ended this mental speech, and
then Mrs. Fraser dismissed the affair from her
mind, in order to consider whether the kitchen






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


walls should be whitewashed or whether she
should mix with the ready-prepared whitewash
a dash of yellow ochre, to make them of a pale
cream colour. By the time that she had
decided on pure white as the sweetest and
cleanest-looking, she had forgotten all about
little Dick's handiwork in anxiety about the
completion of her own during the absence of
the children at school and her husband in the
workshop.
But James Fraser's thoughts were occupied
by his only son long after he returned to his
work. It is true that he always discouraged
the lad's efforts to reproduce, in wood, various
objects that attracted his fancy. Yet he was
also aware that the lad possessed very con-
siderable talent, which showed itself more and
more every day; but, as his wife said, he had
his reasons.
In the first place, his own beloved younger
brother had shown similar tastes to those which
his son now displayed, but they had produced
no good results either to himself or others.
As a lad he had been flattered, and his







THE TRIALS OF


labours praised, until, dissatisfied with the
occupation by which he earned his bread, and
believing that he only needed to be known to be-
come famous, he left his country home and went
to London, to find-as he thought-the proper
field in which to labour. But he did not take
with him two things without which the brightest
genius will avail but little-industry and perse-
verance. He soon found, too, that the works
which were the admiration of a country town,
and of the simple people who judged them, as
things far better than anybody else in their
neighbourhood could do, were not to be com-
pared with those of many other wood carvers in
the great city. At home, he had been almost
worshipped as the one who could produce such
imitations of nature; in London he was only an
item in the great sum total of similar workers.
And yet this man-James Fraser's brother-
possessed true genius, only he expected to
arrive at the summit of art, as the bird flies,
lightly, swiftly, and with little apparent effort,
to the top of a hill, leaving far behind the
plodding mortal who must ascend it with toil-







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


some steps. When the young man discovered
his error, and found that he must labour long
and steadily to arrive at eminence, he failed
utterly. The good people at home had spoiled
him by their kindly meant but injurious flat-
tery, and when he failed to obtain the same
meed of praise elsewhere which had attended
all his efforts in his native village, he blamed
others-not his own want of perseverance-and
said that the talents of the humble stranger
could not obtain that recognition which birth
and money could always procure for their
owners.
He said that "Envy, not Justice, gave the
verdict against him."
Yet the young man did not profit by his
want of success, or allow it to stimulate him to
new efforts. He did not recognize the truth
that we obtain experience by every failure, and that
it is by oft-repeated failures, rightly used, we arrive
at last at perfection.
He brooded over his disappointments, joined
others in railing at the world for not giving
them unmerited credit, fell into evil habits, and






THE TRIALS OF


gradually sank lower and lower in weakness,
both of mind and body.
Meanwhile, his good friends at home-the
father, mother, and elder brother-who had
sent out the young genius with so much pride,
never doubted that he was winning fame, and
would make them all exult at the thought of
being able to claim kindred with him. Perhaps
their disappointment at the real result was
greater than that of the youth who had by
idleness and want of perseverance buried his talent.
They could not rail against those who con-
demned his works. They could only grieve,
though they knew not how much cause they
had for regret.
The young aspirant after a "royal road"
never let them know the full extent of his fall
until he could no longer keep it a secret. One
or two letters, written soon after he reached
London, told them a little, but the youth was
too proud to complain or to return to be the
village idol after having hoped to reign amongst
artists.
There was vague talk of his doings, and the







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


country folk spoke about "that young Fraser
that went to London," as though he had been
removed to a higher world, For these things
happened before the world ran from place to
place in railway carriages as it does now.
At last a letter came to the brother at home.
It was written in such a poor feeble hand, that
it was almost a wonder it ever reached its des-
tination. It said, Dear James, come to me.
I am dying, and in want of common necessaries.
I have utterly failed in the object for which I
came here; but time is so short for me now,
that it matters little, only I would fain see one
friendly face before I die."
Then, in a postscript, a little of the old
lingering pride crept out; for, though it plainly
cost the writer a great effort to complete the
wretched scrawl, he added, "Do not let the old
neighbours know."
With a heavy heart, James Fraser hastened
to London, and in a miserable lodging found
the much-loved brother, whom he had always
pictured as winning his way to fame and
honour. With his own hands he ministered to
B







THE TRIALS OF


the wants of the dying man--dying while yet
in his first, fresh youth. He watched him with
unwearied eyes, until at last those of his brother
were closed in death. But before that hap-
pened he heard the sick youth say, I wish I
had been contented to stay at home and work
like you as a plain mechanic. VMy early life
was only a dream of happiness, and since I left
home each day has shown me that the vision
had no reality in it."
"But you may yet prove it real," replied
James; "or at any rate, you can be a plain
mechanic like me."
Richard shook his head. '"Too late, too
late," he cried. "I am dying. I know that is
no dream, and you will find Death real enough
soon. And if I were likely to live, do you
think I could go back home for people to point
at me as the man who tried and failed miser-
ably? I could never bear it. Far better that
I should die. My talent has paid me no interest,
why should I wish to live?"
It was no time for James to contradict him,
as he lay there so wan and( changed. Besides,


18







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


he had nothing but his village experience to set
against his brother's greater knowledge of the
world, so he was silent, though unconvinced.
But, after the poor remains of his brother
were buried, and tongues which had been silent
while Richard was still alive, were loosed, and
told what his actual mode of life had been, the
village joiner thanked God that he himself was
not tempted by the possession of superior
talents to neglect the common business and
duties of his position,
And was it wonderful that he returned to his
country home to find it more precious than
ever, and that he thought those humble abilities
which made him a steady, hard-working
mechanic, were preferable to those higher
powers which had proved a snare to his erring
brother ?
But the village folk did not forget their
young genius. They lamented his early death,
and said what he might have done to make
them prouder still had he lived.
Only James Fraser knew all, and mourned
not so much his brother's early death as his


19







TRE TRIALS OF


wasted life. And when, in after days, he mar-
ried, and had children of his own-aye, even
when he called his only son Richard," after
the dead artist youth, he trembled lest his boy
should display similar talents to produce similar
results.
No one could well understand why James
Fraser shook his head and turned away with a
look of annoyance when his little lad first
began to cut and carve with a pocket-knife, to
the delight and admiration of his mother and
his school-fellows. They could not feel the
spasm that wrung the poor man's heart when a
neighbour who had been a boyish companion
of that other Richard said, "Fraser, your
lad will just be his uncle over again; look
how he is whittling away there, as though
there were no such things as balls or tops in
the world, or at least as if he cared only to cut
them out."
May God in mercy forbid," replied James,
with a shudder, and then, seizing a plane, he
worked away with such good will that the big
drops of perspiration soon stood on his brow.






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


His neighbour looked on curiously, then
waited till the sound of the plane ceased, and
Fraser began to make an alteration in the posi-
tion of the plank, when he again spoke. You
are a queer fellow," said he. "Most people
would be proud of that lad, and try to bring
him out, instead of keeping him back. Your
poor brother would have made a grand carver
in wood, and may be in marble, if he had
lived."
James had ever been too tender over the
memory of him that was gone to make his
faults and failures a subject for village gossip.
Even his own good wife knew them not; for
his mother, now dead, and he, while they min-
gled their tears for the departed, had resolved
that his very weaknesses should be respected.
"He said, 'Do not let the old neighbours
know,' and we will not," was their determina-
tion, and it was faithfully kept.
James turned sharply round to the speaker
who had thus reminded him of the past, and
said, "Neither you nor I can tell what my
brother would have been; but, as for my boy,






TIHE TRIALS OF


I want him to be just what I am-in trade I
mean. God grant that in all else he may be a
far better man than his father;" and James
lifted his paper cap reverently, and spoke in a
lower tone as he named that Holy Name.
"But I did not mean to speak sharply," he
added, seeing that his neighbour looked hurt;
" only I am not a strong man, and, if I should
be taken away from my wife and the little
girls, Richard, as a plain, hard-working lad,
would be a staff for them to lean on, and would
keep a home over their heads, Better be a
home-bird than go flitting the world over to
find a grave among foreigners in a strange
churchyard as the end of it all."
James Fraser dashed his hand across his
eyes, and then swept the moisture from his
brow also with hi.-. hL..lkerchief. The tone-of
deep feeling with whi. h he spoke moved his
listener far more than sharp words could have
done.
"I don't wonder at your thinking as you
do, James," he replied. "It was hard for
you to go and find the lad we had been so






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


proud of dying in a strange place; and you
loved one another better than most brothers
do, James."
"Aye, lad, we did," was the answer; and
then the plane moved faster and faster, as
though the worker would force the moisture
from his brow to keep it from flowing out
at his eyes.
"You wish to make your child happy,
James, and to choose that path in life for him
in which he will find the fewest rough places;
but don't be too hard on the lad, or try to
crush the talent out of him. I take it these
gifts are all from God; and it is neither for
you nor me to presume to say that his was
not bestowed for a wise and good end."
James looked thoughtful when his friend
made this last remark. "Well," said he, "I
didn't exactly think of my little lad's gift in
that light; but, to be sure, how it brings to
mind what I was reading only last night. It
was about the building of Solomon's temple.
That sort of work seemed, in a way, to be
in my line, though a long way above, in





THE TRIALS OF


another sense. However, I have read that
description many a time about the walls of
'the house carved round about with carved
figures of cherubims, and palm-trees, and
open flowers, within and without;' and 'the
doors of olive-tree,' with carvings of the same
sort, in the wonderful place that was put
together without so much as the sound of
Hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard
in the house while it was in building.' I have
read about it, bit by bit, and then I have
shut my eyes and tried to fancy how the
parts looked.separate, and then all together;
but I never could do it. I always got be-
wildered, and only came to the conclusion, that
though I call myself a master-man at my
business, I am only a poor bungler in com-
parison with those men of old."
James Fraser's pale face was lighted up
with enthusiasm as he spoke, and, for the
moment, he looked a different individual from
the plodding mechanic who seemed to have
no soul beyond the present homely every-
day work in which he was constantly engaged.






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


His neighbour smiled, and gave him a good-
humoured slap across the shoulder. "Why,
man," said he, "I believe your boy is not
indebted to his uncle only for that talent of
his. You have the same sort of fire smoulder-
ing in you, only you never will let it break
out. You keep it down with sawdust and
shavings in your country workshop; but, mark
me! these talents are from God."
"I can think of beautiful things, and love
to see them; but it is the truth that I have
no hand to execute such, and I am content.
I try to do my duty; and if you wish to be
kind, don't praise and flatter my lad into
thinking he is cleverer than his neighbours.
I was going to say I would give my right
hand, but I want that to work for him and
the rest. Still I would make any sacrifice to
keep him in his own station."
"Then you wouldn't like to see your Dick
at work chipping and carving in the old church
yonder a few years hence?"
"I aren't say that exactly; but I believe
he will not have the chance. The old Squire






THE TRIALS OF


is no man to forward such a work, and the
young one has not the chance now."
"Well, do you think it matters? The God
that heareth prayer will hear and answer
those who worship in sincerity, whether their
hymn of praise be sounded amid the lofty
aisles of a cathedral or under the low roof of
our old church, which is ready to tumble down
almost."
James threw down his plane. "That's all
right enough; but still it isn't the only way
one should look at things. It seems to me
that we ought to offer of. our best for God's
service, and that there should be in us some-
thing of that spirit which moved David, as
soon as the Lord had given him rest from
his enemies round about, and made him say,
' See, now I dwell in a house of cedar, and
the Ark of God dwelleth in curtains.' I would
like to see rich and poor join together, thank-
ing God that they were esteemed worthy to
help in the adornment of His house; and yet,
when they had done their best to make it worthy
of its sacred purpose, to say in the spirit of the






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


builder of the temple, But will God indeed
dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and
the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee!
how much less this house that we have
builded ? '"
James Fraser's words, or rather his simple
and earnest application of the words of Scrip-
ture, had a visible effect on his listener. The
man made a movement of assent, and added,
" I believe you are right after all; but it isn't
often that folks like us look at things in that
light; though, to be sure, all have the same
interest in them, or ought to have. But I
must go now. Good day; and don't forget
what I have said about your lad."
The friendly nod was returned, though no
answer was given to the concluding remark;
and the man went his way, thinking to him-
self that Fraser was a queer, crotchety fellow,
and that if Dick were his lad he would sa-
crifice anything to cultivate the boy's natural
gifts.
And James Fraser was in some degree to
blame. There was no need to grieve that his






28 THE TRIALS OF

boy displayed talent of a peculiar kind, as his
uncle had done before him; it was only to be
regretted that in the latter it had been buried
and lost.
Yet the father was earnest, very earnest,
in desiring the child's welfare, and thought
that by discouraging him from exercising his
ingenuity, he was shielding him from tempta-
tion. Many a parent has erred in like manner
out of anxiety for a child's good; and children
should be slow to think those measures harsh
which, though irksome to them, are never-
theless the fruit of a true regard for their
welfare.







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


CHAPTER II.

THE YOUNG CARVER'S EXPERIMENT, AND HOW
IT SPED.

JAMES FRASER and his neighbour had not
been alone in the workshop while conversing
on the subject mentioned in the last chapter.
Behind a number of flooring-boards, which
were propped in a sloping position at the
farther end of the workshop, and in a line
with the door, crouched a lad of somewhat
delicate appearance, and with an earnest,
thoughtful countenance. He had not con-
cealed himself for the purpose of listening;
but it was his fashion to hide behind the
flooring-boards in order that the companions
who came, marbles or ball in hand, to draw
him from his favourite pursuit, might not suc-
ceed in finding him. Busy as usual with his







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pocket-knife, the only graving-tool he pos-
sessed, and a bit of hard wood, little Dick
Fraser heeded not what was passing outside
his retreat, until the allusion to his talent for
carving, and his father's prayer that it might
not be with him a ruling passion, caused him
to suspend his labours and listen for more.
And the two men, all unconscious of his pre-
sence, talked on.
James Fraser's back was towards the row
of flooring-boards, or he might have seen a
little figure steal softly from behind them a
few moments after the sound of his neighbour's
departing footsteps ceased to be heard. The
lad's cheek had become pale and red by turns,
as his favourite occupation was in turn praised
or blamed. But high above all the rest came
the idea, "It is a gift from God. This power
is a talent, and it ought to be used; even father
himself can't deny that. The master at school
says our talents should be made to pay interest
to Him who gave them; and must I bury this
one of mine?"
The lad began to consider from that moment






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


how he might use it, and that too with his
father's consent; and he resolved to give such
a proof, both of his powers and perseverance,
as to win over his parent to sanction the appli-
cation of them as a means of earning a living
when he should be no longer a child.
Four months after Dick accidentally heard
this conversation, he formed the one exception
amongst the swarming schoolboys who rushed
off to play on the common on that afternoon
when I first gave a glimpse of him turning
homewards, instead of joining them in their
sports.
Richard's companions were not, however,
inclined to let him off so easily. They crowded
round him, one protesting that he never did
"play a single game now;" another coaxing
him "just to have a round, instead of going
home directly," and so on. But Dick made
a motion of refusal, and turned in an opposite
direction, though not until he had stooped to
pick up something from the ground.
"' He has got a new bit to carve," cried one
of the boys, who was looking most regretfully







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after Richard. "I'll run and see what it is;"
and suiting the action to the word, he bounded
after his schoolfellow, and said, ."What
are you going to carve now, Dick? Show
me,"
The boy smiled, and without a word held
out a spray of oak, Such a beautiful piece,
with three or four acorns, and all the leaves
perfect except one, and that was only sufficiently
injured to show off the beauty of the rest more
fully,
'" Oh! what a pretty piece. When shall you
begin ?"
Just now, or at least as soon as I get
home, I have a bit of nice wood that will
just do."
"I should think you would always have
plenty of wood to choose from, as your father
has so much," remarked the other.
You are mistaken though; father only lets
me have bits that he can make no use of, for he
says I waste wood."
I don't call it waste though," replied the
other, looking very wise, and as if he were lay-







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


down the law, and could convert Richard's
father to his opinion with a word or two.
"It does not matter what we think, it is
what father thinks; and by his good will I
should never so much as carve a toy for one
of you again."
"Well, that is queer! Now I must go
back if you really will not come. Show me
that when you have done it."
To be sure I will," Richard answered, with
a nod of the head; and he added, when his
friend was out of hearing, while a look of
satisfaction stole over his face, "I have two
or three more bits at home that no one has
seen yet."
When he reached home he found the work-
shop vacant; for the master and his workmen,
including the two apprentices, were up at the
Hall, making alterations before the arrival
of the Squire's only son and heir, who, with
his young wife, was coming to the country for
the shooting season. Indeed, Mr. Frederick
Millman, the young Squire, had already come
down to give orders as to some alterations






TIE TRIALS OF


which he wished to be completed before his
wife's arrival.
Little Dick felt pleased at the thought that
for some days to come his father would be so
constantly engaged at the Hall, as to leave
him at liberty to pursue his carving unnoticed.
Resolved to make the most of this opportunity,
Richard at once chose from his little hoard of
wood a piece suitable for his purpose, and set to
work. So intent was he upon reproducing, in an
enduring form, the beautiful spray of oak with
its acorn fruit, that he never heard his mother's
summons to tea. And, as he sat screened from
view, in his old nook behind the deals, the
good dame never saw her busy son, but mentally
scolded him as a truant who could not leave
his playmates in time for the evening meal.
It was only when the boy heard the return-
ing footsteps of his father that he crept from
his hiding place, and, after surveying his
progress with much satisfaction, put away his
tools and entered the house. He guessed well
that his mother would say nothing about his
absence while his father was there; so, hastily


34






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


swallowing his meal he was soon deep in pre-
paring his lessons for the morrow. But, when
Richard went into his little bed-room that
night, the wood, which already began to bear
some resemblance to the model, was carried
thither also.
Country folk keep early hours, and little
country boys have not generally much chance
of sitting up late in order to indulge their
liking for study or handiwork of any kind.
Richard looked longingly at the graceful
spray and then at the end of candle, and
wished he could increase the latter to an almost
indefinite length in order that he might have
light to pursue his work through the still hours
of the night. This was, however, impossible,
and a second thought warned him that even
had he the means of continuing his labour he
could not do so undiscovered. It was well for
him that he had not the means of turning the
hours set apart for rest into a time of labour,
for nature, when overtasked, takes revenge
both on mind and body sooner or later. So
Richard could only take one look at his box







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of treasures, and was just handling them with
gentle touch and admiring glance when down
popped the end of wick into a pool of grease,
and he was left in darkness to replace his
precious pi. i i and grope into bed as best
he might. But with the early dawn he was up
and at work on his oaken spray.
There was a true love of the beautiful in
this lad, for he gazed upon his simple model
as though .1;.!-ilg in its loveliness with his
eager eyes. "If I can only copy it exactly,"
he murmured to .;,. .it. "the set will be
complete and father must be pleased this time,
though he never was before." With renewed
energy he worked until he heard i,.- father
astir and his mother's voice calling, Richard,
Richard, it is time to get up." Then after
briefly comparing his copy with *-:.. original,
he went down stairs to breakfast. For three
more days the lad laboured thu devoting
every spare moment--stealing hours from
sleep, denying himself play, and scarcely
giving himself time for meals But on the
evening of the third day he looked at it with






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


beaming eyes and joyful face. It was finished.
And truly as he laid it and the original spray
side by side, it was hard to discover any very
great difference. He had thrown his whole
soul into the work, and by zeal and patient
labour had attained success. His face was pale
and his eyes weary, but they were lighted up
by a feeling of natural and entire satisfaction.
But Richard did not spend many moments
in gazing at his finished work. He had
laboured with a particular end in view, to
which this oaken -'.i'. was only an auxiliary.
He turned from it, and running quickly to his
bed-room brought down the treasure box
before alluded to, and then taking out its
contents, spread them in order upon his
father's bench, -having first carefully cleared
away the stray curls of shavings and chisel-
ings of wood which were plentifully strewed
around. Richard's heart beat loudly, and his
hand trembled as he did it, for this evening
would test the success of an experiment which
had occupied him for several months and cost
him an immense amount of self-denial and






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painstaking. And truly Richard had cause to
be proud of his handiwork; for there, upon
the bench, were laid specimens of foliage in
wood, enough to delight any young lover of
art. There was a single leaf of the vast horse-
chestnut-the cone of flowers would have been
too delicate for his yet growing skill-there
was a little sprig of elm, and there were similar
sprays of birch and of walnut. There was the
fir-cone, wonderfully well carved, a sycamore
leaf, and a sprig of beech, with a nut or two,
which made a pretty companion for his best and
crowning work, the i:- of oak. Nor was a
bunch of filberts and its leaf forgotten. With
true taste the lad grouped the several portions
together, so that they seemed to form one piece,
or rather cluster of foliage, in wood, and then,
hiding behind the flooring boards in his old
corner, he awaited the coming of his father.
Well, he had worked, and now he waited
with throbbing heart and prayerful lips, for
it seemed to him as though on the success of
this scheme would depend his future happi-
ness. But he was very young, and he could






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


not see far, or judge for the future, or guess
that just as a dim and misty morning is often
the forerunner of a glorious noon, so might the
very clouding of his hopes in early youth be
the presage of a happy manhood. Our bless-
ings would oft lose their charm, and we should
fail to know their value, if we were not pre-
pared for them by previous trial and chastise-
ment, sent in love and mercy.
James Fraser was a first-rate judge of wood,
and possessed, though he was most careful to
hide it, something of that taste which had been
so marked in his unfortunate brother, and
which was now showing itself in his own
child. He was a great admirer of trees, not
merely because as a carpenter and joiner he
could cut them up and use them in his trade,
but because of their majestic beauty and varied
loveliness of form. He was especially fond of
marking their foliage, and many a time had he
unconsciously given little Richard a lesson in
grouping by the artistic way in which he
arranged a few green sprays brought from the
wood at his son's request, or which he was






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accustomed to reach for the lad when they
were out together in the fields during the
summer evenings. The lad had discovered
this liking in his father, and it was in the hope
of gratifying his taste, giving him pleasure and
obtaining leave to pursue his work unchecked,
that he had carved these specimens of foliage
as a surprise.
Richard was still waiting for the appearance
of his father, when he heard a light step ap-
proaching the door of the workshop. It was
that of his sister Margaret. He peeped from
his hiding-place hoping to see her turn back;
"For," thought he, "it will spoil all if
Maggie sees the carving, and tells mother or
anybody about it." But Maggie stepped into
the shop and began looking about for stray
bits of wood for fire-kindling purposes. It was
some consolation to Richard during this time
of suspense to observe that her eyes were
always turned floorwards, and that she
trudged round and round filling her pinafore
and singing as she moved without thinking of
anything but her employment. All at once


40






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


Maggie found out that stooping continually
made her back ache, and she raised herself
into an erect posture close to the bench on
which lay the carving. Her quick eyes saw it
in a moment, and she exclaimed, "Oh, how
pretty! mother, mother !" she added, intending
to call her mother to look at the pretty things
she had discovered on father's bench.
Fortunately her cry was not heard, and before
she had time to utter another word, Richard
came from his hiding-place and stood before
her. The little girl was so startled at his
sudden appearance that she forgot everything
else for the moment, and thus he gained time
to tell her his project in a few hasty words.
" And now you won't tell, Maggie, will
you?" said he, "most likely you will all
know about the carving as soon as father
has seen it, and if you tell now you will spoil
everything."
But Maggie wouldn't tell. She would have
been very sorry. Quite alarmed at the sight of
her brother's pale, anxious face, she left hold
of her pinafore and never heeding that all her


41






TIE TRIALS OF


fire-wood fell to the ground, she threw her red,
chubby arms round Richard's neck, gave him a
hearty kiss, and said, "Dick, don't look so
frightened. I won't tell. I wouldn't for ever
so much."
Richard heartily returned the little sister's
kiss, and said she was a dear, good Maggie.
Then, hearing her father's step and voice, she
hastily snatched up the bits of wood she had
collected, and scampered off into the house,
while Richard went back to his hiding-place.
The sound of his father's voice in conversation
was a disappointment to the lad, for it showed
that he was not returning alone. He had in-
tended to watch James Fraser's face as he
caught sight of the carved foliage, and then to
run from his hiding-place and ask him to accept
it. "He must see how hard I have worked,"
said he to himself when he formed this plan.
But now this could not be done. His father
would not be alone when he first saw the fruit
of his son's labour, and it would be useless for
him to remain concealed. The boy was on the
point of leaving his hiding-place when his


42







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


father entered the shop in company with Mr.
Frederick Millman, the young Squire.
James Fraser and his employer were talking
of the alterations going on at the Hall, and
the joiner, in order to make something plainer,
took up a piece of chalk and advanced to the
bench to make an outline on it in chalk for the
young gentleman's information. The young
Squire was just at his heels, and both uttered
an exclamation of surprise at the sight which
met their eyes.
"Why, Fraser," exclaimed Mr. Frederick,
"is this your work? What tasteful grouping
and well-executed foliage! Upon my word, it
does the artist credit, whoever he may be. I
had no idea any of our country hands could do
this sort of thing. Is it for sale ? "
"Like yourself, sir, I see it for the first
time," replied Fraser, without showing any
very great satisfaction. Indeed, a sort of
pained expression crossed his face, for in this
new proof of his child's talent he seemed to
see a fresh temptation to lure the lad from
the path in which he wished to keep him.


43






TIE TRIALS OF


I presume you know whose work this is,
though, Fraser," returned the young Squire.
"You have, doubtless, a rustic genius among
your workmen."
I don't think it was done by a man's hand,
sir."
"What! is it a woman's doing? I know
there are and have been female artists, but I
should never expect to find one here," returned
the young man, interrupting the explanation
that Fraser was about to give.
Fraser could not restrain a smile as he replied,
" 0 dear, no, sir." Then turning to his boy,
who stood just where he had been when they
entered, half afraid and altogether too shy to
advance, he said, Richard, come here and tell
us who carved this group of foliage."
The lad's voice was scarcely audible as he
answered, "I did, father," in a tone more like
that of a culprit before his judge than of one
who had achieved what was, for his years, a
great success, and felt proud of having done
So.
"You! impossible," said the young Squire,


44






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


" Why these little sprays, especially the oak
leaves and acorns, are really beautiful. If you
have carved them I-, but no, it cannot be."
Indeed I did, every bit; some at nights
and some in mornings before father and mother
were up," replied Richard. "I finished that
piece of oak this very day. If you don't
believe me, sir-though father knows I would
not tell you a lie-you may set somebody to
watch me while I cut some more leaves and
things just like these."
Then all I can say is that your work does
you great credit, and, Fraser, you ought to be
proud of your son, for he has not only an
artist's talent, but the industry which will enable
him to turn it to good account."
"You are very kind to say so, sir," replied
Fraser; and, in spite of himself, his own face
lighted up with the pride and pleasure he
could not help feeling at hearing his only son
so highly spoken of. He knew, too, that the
young Squire was no mean judge of art, and
that Wellesby Hall had been enriched by a
choice collection of beautiful objects which he





THE TRIALS OP


had gathered both in England and abroad.
But by a strong effort Fraser mastered that
first flush of pleasure, and, turning to his
employer, said, I dare say you will think me
mistaken in my notions when I tell you that I
would rather see a model door, window, or
even washing-tub made by my son than this
group of foliage which you are pleased to
admire. A thorough workman at my own
honest trade is better than a vagabond 'artist,'
as too many call themselves, who are too idle
to work at a homely occupation, and therefore
pretend to be above it."
Mr. Frederick smiled. "In one sense, Fraser,
you may be right. There are many lads who,
from being praised beyond their due and made
to believe that they are too clever to live in an
every-day world, become fit for none at all.
For my own part I do think that we do as cruel
a thing when we over-praise as by over-censure.
But again, there are others who could succeed,
but fail for lack of the industry that would
have made them great men. Yet when there
is a real talent, no matter for what, so long as






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


it can be used for the good of our fellow-men,
I think we have no more right to try to crush
it than the man in the parable had to bury the
one entrusted to him, instead of using it for
the honour and benefit of his Master. Let me
persuade you to cherish the powers your boy
manifests. He who gave it gives nothing in
vain or to be useless."
While the young gentleman spoke little Dick
listened with kindling eyes and glowing cheek.
Some such thoughts had been in his boyish
mlind, though he could not have put them into
words. And he durst not have said them to
his father even had he been able to express
them. Indeed, had any other person spoken as
the Squire did, most likely James Fraser would
have refused to listen. But he being son to
the great man" of the village, owner of all
Wellesby, and the joiner's landlord besides,
there was nothing for it but to wait patiently
until the young gentleman had said his say,
though he would gladly have sent his son out
of hearing. "Now," he replied, "there's no
doubt a deal of truth in what you say, sir;


47





THE TRIALS OF


but I stick to my first thought, and shall not
further any of Dick's fancies about carving. I
wish from my heart he had never tried a thing
of the sort. I would give fifty pounds at this
minute, though I have no such sum to spare,
and should have to work early and late to
make it up again, if I could be quite sure he
would never carve another."
Young Millman shook his head. "Well,
well, Fraser, I can only quote the old proverb,
'A wilful man must have his way.' Apply
it as you choose. I have no business to
interfere between a father and his child; only
I would gladly have served your son if you
would have let me. I wonder how the carved
work of 'open flowers,' of cherubims and
palm trees' overlaid with gold, that you and
I have talked about, and which adorned Solo-
mon's glorious temple, would ever have come
into existence if all fathers had been like you.
They would have sought in vain for 'all
manner of cunning men for every manner of
work.' And your lad might have been my
right hand man some day, to help me to restore


48






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


the old church and to execute oak carvings
which should not shame those beautiful frag-
ments which alone are left to tell us what
glorious things were there in bygone times."
L"I hope my lad will work for you, sir, as my
father laboured for yours before I was born,
and as I do now," answered Fraser with a
respectful bend of the head.
"Well, I must have a word with the lad
before we say any more about repairs and
alterations. Now, Richard," said he, ad-
dressing the child artist, "if you want to sell
this group of foliage tell me the price, and I
will buy it of you."
The boy's face worked as if moved by some
strong inward feeling, and for a few moments
he was silent, as though, try as he might, his
lips refused to utter a word.
Do you not know its worth ? Then I shall
have to fix it for you," continued the young
gentleman in a pleasant tone, and taking out
his purse as he spoke.
"I don't want money; I will not sell it,"
cried Richard in an agony of disappointment.


49







THIE TRIALS OF


"I worked so hard, I got up by daylight for
months and months to c:rve these things be-
cause I thought of surprising father, and pleas-
ing him too, with such a present. And now all
my work is of no use. He does not care for it,
so no one else shall have it."
Without giving his father or the young
gentleman time to speak again or himself to
think, Richard swept the whole of the carved
foliage from the bench to the floor, and by
stamping upon it with his feet destroyed or
injured in a moment of passion a great part of
the labour of months. Then, bursting into an
agony of weeping, he was about to dart from
the shop without bestowing another glance on
the wreck of all his pains and labour, when he
was stopped by a kind but firm hand from
which he vainly struggled to escape. It was
young Mr. Miillman who held him.
James Fraser stood still, but on his face was
a look of pain. In fact, the tears which rolled
in a torrent down little Richard's face and the
words which showed how very strong had been
his desire to please his father, had stirred the


50







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


current of paternal love in the man's heart,
and caused it to well up to his very eyes.
Perhaps it would have been hard to tell which
suffered the most at that moment, the man or
his son.
Finding it was in vain to struggle against the
young gentleman's firm hold, little Dick at
length ceased his efforts to escape, and stood
quite still, though he sobbed bitterly. For a
little time the sound of his weeping was the
only one that disturbed the quiet of the country
workshop.
Mr. Frederick Millman, though young, was
a sensible and right-minded man. He was far
above the petty feeling which would have been
wounded by Richard's rejection of his offer, or
which would have sent him away offended on ac-
count of a child's burst of passion and disrespect-
ful conduct towards himself. So far from con-
sidering himself at all in the matter, the young
man looked below the surface and grieved to
think how deeply both the filial affection and love
of art-so strong in this poor lad's breast-were
wounded by his father's harsh reception of his


51






THE TRIALS OF


beautiful offering. During that short pause
the young Squire was considering how he might
best promote a good understanding between
James Fraser and his son. When Richard's
sobs became less violent he spoke to him in
that low, firm voice, which always commands
the most ready obedience, and desired him
to pick up the broken foliage and place it on
the bench.
The lad obeyed without hesitation. Perhaps,
now the storm of his passion was over, he
might feel some regret for having so hastily
destroyed what had been with him, in a double
sense, a labour of love. There was even a
gleam of satisfaction on his face as he saw on
raising the oaken spray from the ground that
it had escaped uninjured, though it was the
only one. The young Squire marked this look,
and augured good from it.
When Richard had finished he turned an
imploring face towards him and said, Please,
sir, may I go now ?" He was longing to rush
away to weep unseen and unchecked.
"Not just yet, Richard," was the reply.


52






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


" Let us first talk a little as friends, we two,
you know."
The boy gave an impatient movement, as
though he would escape if he could; but Mr.
Frederick passed his arm round him in a kindly
way, and, with a touch as gentle as a mother
might use when uttering words of advice to her
child, thus detained him. There was something
soothing to the wounded heart in this half-
caressing touch, especially as Richard could not
help bearing in mind the fact that it was the
young Squire, son of the greatest and richest
gentleman in all Wellesby, that thus treated
him. Tears came again, but they were tears of
regret for the passion and ingratitude which
had been his return for the young Squire's kind
offer.
"My poor boy," said Mr. Frederick, "you
have had a great trial to bear with in the last
half hour, and I feel much for your disappoint-
ment; but I am afraid if you go away without
our talking a little more, you will think I
blame your father and encourage you to do it
also. Then I should have more cause to be






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sorry, for I should grieve if either word or act
of mine helped to build up a barrier between
father and son. So, before I go, let me tell
you that I believe your father acts in the way
that he thinks the best for you, that he wishes
to guard you from temptation, and has some
good reason for all, which I do not know any
more than you. And it is not always possible
for a father to tell his reasons to his children.
Yet, if a child can feel that his parent loves him,
labours for him, and tries to make him happy, that
child should trust his parent, even though his own
inclinations are crossed and he knows not why.
You know what God's Word says, Richard, I
mean about what is the duty of children?"
The young gentleman waited, and Richard
replied in a very low voice, "' Children, obey
your parents in the Lord, for that is right.' "
And you are a child, and there stands your
father. Obey and honour him if you would
claim a share in the blessings promised by the
Most High to dutiful children."
Little Dick Fraser was a boy of noble
thoughts and generous impulses. Without a


54






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


i. mi men's hesitation he stepped up to his father
-for with him the being convinced that he was
wrong was ever followed by an acknowledgment
of the fault and a petition for forgiveness-and
said, Father, I know you love me. I grieved
you by being in such a passion just now. For-
give me, father, I will try to do as you wish
me."
Not a syllable about his own bitter disappoint-
ment, his lost labour in the work which lay
half-crushed and scattered on the bench. With
a delicacy that would have done honour to a
hero, the boy refrained from alluding to all his
strivings-vainly pursued-to win a father's
favour. He simply owned the fault of which
he was conscious, and added to the confession a
promise-which it cost him a great effort to
make-that, for his father's sake, he would try
to give up his own cherished hopes.
James Fraser dropped the chalk which he
held in his hand, and threw his arms round the
boy. My son, my dear Dick," he exclaimed,
Sif ever a father's prayers deserved an answer
on account of their earnet ;ss, mine will gain


55





TIE TRIALS OF


one now as I pray God to bless you and make
your days 'long in the land.' "
Fraser tried to say more, but he could not.
Strong feeling, which sometimes gives the
power to speak with eloquence, as often takes
it away.
The young Squire, rejoiced at the success of
his mediation, walked towards the door, and
thus placed the length of the workshop between
himself and the two Frasers, that his presence
might be no check upon them. Soon his atten-
tion was called by the voice of the boy, I
want to beg your pardon now, sir, for having
behaved so badly when you spoke so kindly to
me. I have nothing to say for myself, only I
hope you will forgive me. I am sorry for my
anger now."
"Most freely and willingly, Richard," re-
plied the young gentleman; "but my dear lad,
do not forget who sees and hears us at all times
when you are again tempted to give way to
anger. Better offend all the people in the
world than grieve our Maker by giving way to
sinful passions." Then shaking the boy.kindly


56






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


by the hand, he re-entered the shop and joined
its master.
Richard appeared very anxious to say some-
thing more, and at length, mustering courage,
he picked up the one uninjured bit of carving,
the beautiful spray of oak leaves and acorns,
and offering it to Mr. Frederick, said, "Will
you accept this, sir, from me? It is the only
one left whole, and I think it is the best, for I
carved it last. I can't offer to do you some
more instead of the broken ones, for "-he tried
hard to say it firmly--"I am going to be a
joiner now."
"Thank you, Richard, I will keep it for
your sake. It shall lie under a little glass case
in the drawing-room at the Hall, and shall
remind me how much may be done in spite of
all obstacles by perseverance."
Richard's face brightened again at these
kind words, far more precious than money
would have been, and with a respectful bow
turned to quit the shop. "Another word,"
said Mr. Frederick, stopping him. "You say
you are going to be a joiner now, and I com-


57






58 THE TRIALS OF

mend the self-denial which makes you give up
your own will to your father's. At the same
time let me say, I think you ought not to bury
your talent; for remember the very rarest gifts
of mind, and the brightest artistic powers, are not
unsuited to pair with the homeliest in the per-
formance of our every-day duties. And Richard,
if you live to be an old man, you will look back
all the more happily on the days of your youth,
if you can reflect that you did not fail in duty
to your father. Good bye for the present."
The young Squire shook the childish hand
once again, and then Richard left the work-
shop, his heart cheered and lighter that he
had owned his fault, and that in his trial he
was sure at least of his father's sympathy and
blessing.





A VILLAGE ARTIST.


CIH PTEI III.

TIE FATHER'S REASONS, AND THE WAY IN WHICH
RICHARD KEPT HIS RESOLUTION.

MR. FREDERICK MILLMAN finished his talk
with James Fraser, and little Dick saw him
start homeward; but he never observed his
father leave the shop. Still he thought he
must have gone out unperceived, for he went to
the door and listened, but heard no movement
within. And James Fraser was rarely within
his workshop without letting his busy hands
give token of his presence. Richard had taken
no small pains to elude his sister Maggie, for
he felt he could not bear any questioning. The
moon was shining in at the latticed windows,
and giving a glitter to the sharp-edged tools
that lay about on the benches, as little Dick
crept softly into the shop to execute a plan he


59






THE TRIALS OF


had formed. He went up to the bench on
which lay the broken carving, and was about
to sweep all the fragments into the empty box
that had contained them in their beauty, when
he was startled by seeing his father sitting
with his head leaning on his hands, and appa-
rently in deep thought. "I did not know you
were here, father," said he.
That need not frighten you away, Richard,"
was the reply. I want to talk to you, and so
come and sit beside me here in the moon-
light."
Fraser made room for the boy by his side,
and as Richard looked in his face, its ashy
colour made him feel afraid. He had seen his
father pale before, but never as he did just
then. He tried to think it was the silvery
moonlight which gave his father's face that
ghastly hue, but in spite of this he felt uneasy,
and whispered, "Father, are you ill?"
"I have not been well, but I am better, and
I have a deal to say. You heard the young
Squire's words about trusting your father, even
though he might cross your inclinations ?"


60






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


The boy assented, though his words were
but a faint whisper.
"And you showed yourself willing. Well, I
think I understand better than I ever did
before the heart of my only son." Richard
made no reply this time, but he laid his hand
in that of his father, and the mute pressure of
the two palms said more than speech. "You
shall look into my heart, too, lad, now, and be
told my reasons for so dealing with you. You
have heard me talk about your uncle Richard,
who died young, and was buried among
strangers, but you cannot know how I loved
him. And people have said you are so like
him, as, indeed, you are. Well, the talents
that the folks praised as they now praise
yours, ruined my only brother, and I sought
to save my only son from falling into the same
temptations."
Then James Fraser repeated in his child's
ears all his unfortunate brother's history, and
ended by saying, "It is a terrible thing to die
and feel that we can only look back on a
wasted life and talents which have been given


61







THE TRIALS OF


to us in vain. Fearing you, my dear child,
might follow in your uncle's footsteps, I dis-
couraged your love of carving, and I have now
told you his story which only my mother ever
knew the whole of before. Respect the
memory of your uncle, and do not speak of
the failings of the dead."
S"I will not, father," said Richard, much
impressed by his father's earnestness, and
the evident pain with which he recalled the
history of that dear, dead brother. "But,
father," he added, not quite convinced that
because one had wasted his talent the other
must needs do so, "if I were to labour
and persevere I might succeed, though my
uncle failed. You say that he was not in-
dustrious, and that without hard work no one
can succeed."
"I expected this answer, Richard; but
listen, I have something to tell you about
myself. I am not a strong man. I never have
been one, and lately I have suffered more than
I can make you understand. But I can tell
you what will be the end of this pain, Richard.


62






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


I shall never live to be old, I may die soon,
and"-
Here Fraser was interrupted by a great
pitiful cry. He felt the lad's arms round his
neck and his wet cheek pressed close to his
own while h sobbed out, "Oh, father, to
think I should ever have grieved you."
"Hush! my boy, my dear boy. It goes
through my heart to tell you, because I know
how hard it is for you to hear. But it is better
that you who are willing to give up your
dearest wish to me should not think that I
cross your hopes because, as your father, I
have the power. You are my only boy, but
there are three girls in the house with your
mother, and Maggie is the eldest and eight
years old. Now, if I should die in a few
years, all these, as well as your mother, would
be left unprovided for, unless you will bend
your whole mind to learning a plain business,
so that you may fill my place and earn a living
for them when I am gone. It would be a long
while before you could do that in the path you
would have chosen."


63







THE TRIALS OF


It was hard to say whether the lad or his
father was the paler as they sat in the white,
cold moonlight. But Richard's voice was firm
when he answered, I will give all my strength
and will, and try to learn the business for your
sake and theirs." He pointed to the house
in which were his mother and sisters, as he
spoke, to indicate who "they" were. Thank
you, dear lad; now I shall have an easier mind,"
was his father's answer.
"But, father, are you sure of what you told
me last ?" The doctors all say the same. I
may live a few years, or I may die soon; but
there is no hope of cure or of long life for
me."
Does my mother know ?" inquired Richard,
with faltering voice. No, my boy. No one
at home or near it. The secret is mine and
yours now, and we must keep it between us;
for how could we bear to see your mother
grieving, as she would grieve if she knew?
Better not to make her life a daily dread that
death is on the threshold. Now let us go into
the house.'


64






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


They turned to leave the place; and then
only did Richard bethink himself of the object
which brought him there. By the light of the
moon he gathered up his broken carving and
placed the pieces in the box.
"Aye, keep them," said his father; "I am
sorry they are broken."
"If you like, father, but not without, I will
join the pieces together with glue and keep
them to remind me "-
"Of your promise to me, Richard, eh ?"
"Not that, father," said the boy sadly. "I
shall not need anything to remind me of it.
But when I have put these pieces together they
will teach me not to destroy by one moment's
indulgence in sinful passion the work of
months."
"Good. Put it together, Richard, by all
means. Lock the door when you come out of
the shop."
The father went into the house, and Richard
lingered behind. As soon as the sound of the
closing door told him that he was alone save
for the presence of Him who never slumbereth


65





TIE TRIALS OF


nor sleepeth," the boy knelt in his accustomed
place and prayed for strength to perform the
promise he had made. He did not forget to
seek pardon also for his burst of angry passion.
When Richard, after much pains and labour,
had succeeded in joining all the broken frag-
ments of his carved work, he found there was
still something wanting. It was a small bit of
fir with a cone, on which, next to the spray of
oak, he had bestowed the greatest amount of
time and patience. He sought for it on the
bench in the shop, raked over the shavings,
examined all the odds and ends that were
lying about; but still in vain. Neither by
search nor inquiry could he discover the miss-
ing piece; so he was fain to arrange the rest
as well as he could upon a small mahogany
stand which his father made and gave to him
for the purpose.
Richard called his father's attention to the
deficiency, saying as he did so, It seems I
am to learn another lesson still, that the bad
effects of ind-ulgiug in evil passion cannot be
quite erased."


66






A VILLA G\E AiR'LT.


Years after Richard found that missing frag-
mnent.
Many visitors to James Fraser's house saw
and admired the carving after it had been
repaired; but only the boy, his father, and
young Mr. Millman knew its whole history.
Even sister Maggie failed to obtain any in-
formation, though the inquisitive little maiden
tried hard to find out what father said whnll
he saw Dick's carving.
But it vwas remarked that, from' e tat ni1/g7,
the young carver laid aside his art. His mother
wondered what had come over the lad; his
schoolfellows asked why he pleased them no
longer with specimens of his handiwork.
IRichard's only answer was, "I am going to
be a joiner; and I will never carve another
bit till I am master of my father's trade."
In accordance with this resolution, Richard
began to give up his spare hours to the woik-
shop, as though he took as much pride in
using a joiner's tool as he once did in re-
producing those beautiful objects in wood.
He would stand beside his father in the shop,




THE TRIALS OF


and ask hin the meaning and purpose of all
he saw there; he would listen when Frauer
gave orders, and accompany him when he
went from home to execute others.
There were some, both boys and older per-
sons, who did not hesitate to taunt Richlard,
and say, "Well, we thought you were going
to turn out a clever fellow, and be a credit
to us Wellesby folks; and now you are going
to settle down and be a plain mechanic after
all."
In time, Richard left school, and applied
all his waking hours to work. His mother
wondered at the way in which he and his
father "hung together now-a-days;" for the
two were inseparable. She guessed not the
secret that he carried about with him, or that
any moment a sudden blow might make her
a widow. This knowledge was no light burthen
to him who bore it. It made him cling more
and more closely to his father. Dreading that
he might not keep him long, Richard seemed
to grudge every moment spent away from him;
and besides, he was in constant terror lest the


68





A VILLAGE ARTIST.


sudden death which threatened his parent
should come upon him when no one was near.
"Who would have thought," said a Wel-
lesby wife to her neighbour, as they saw James
Fraser and his son coming home in the evening,
side by side, and the lad bearing the weight of
both sets of tools,-" Who would have thought
that young Dick Fraser would play 'shadow'
to his father in yon way. They can't be
parted."
From this remark, people learned to call
Richard his father's "shadow," until the "sub-
stance" was no longer left.
Time wore on. Almost before Richard ceased
to be a boy he became a thorough workman.
At seventeen years of age his father said that
Dick's help was invaluable to him; that it
had improved his means and helped to ex-
tend his business. "You are my right hand,
lad," he said to Richard himself. "I can
trust to you as I would to myself." And
Richard, when he heard his father say this,
felt rewarded for his daily and hourly sacrifice
offered to filial love.





THE TRIALS OF


But the youth had another still holier and
purer source of comfort and encouragement.
He had read about Him of whom the Jews
said, "Is not this the carpenter's son?" and
who, though He po,-sessed all power and wis-
dom from on high, was yet willing to go down
unto Nazareth with His reputed father and
,lowly mother, and there be subject unto
ilhem until ripe manhood, that He might
leave an example to the young of all succeed-
ing ages; that sons might learn from Him,
who wa s "meek and lowly of heart," how to
honour father and mother.
Richard Fraser not only read, but strove
to profit by the greatest of all examples, and
said to himself, "If I labour earnestly and
strive to do my duty in my present position,
if I am found faithful now, a time may come
and a way be opened for me to use those
power-'; which are lying dormant. I do not
believe that any talent is given for nothing,
or that mine will produce no fruit, though I
cannot at present see how it will be made
fruitful."


70





A VILLAGE ARTIST.


Yet while Richard's talent was lying still
it was not rusting. Like an article of fur-
niture, which the careful housewife puts aside,
because ohe deems it too good for every-day
use, yet keeps bright and spotless, and ready
when wanted, was that talent of which Richard
Fraser denied himself the present exercise,
but kept in good working order. No beau-
tiful object met his view but he noted down
its peculiarities in his memory, with the intent
to turn this mental experience to account at
some future day. Thus he made his memory a
sort of storehouse of beauty, while his hands
fashioned the homeliest articles for domestic
and rustic use. Often, too, he gave these a grace
of form unknown before in his country home,
so that he got the character of being able
to combine usefulness with attractive appear-
ance; and thus he greatly increased the de-
mand for work from his father's shop.
7Many a time, too, did the young Squire,
when down at Wellesby Hall, put his head
in at the door of the joiner's workshop and
give Richard an encouraging word. "It will


71






72 THE TRIALS OF

all come right some day," he would say. The
good God who gave you powers will bestow on
you the means to use them by-and-by."
"Thank you, sir, for all you have said to
cheer and help me on in the path of duty,"
Richard would reply. "I am not unhappy
at my present work, for I never regret having
given up something for my father's sake."
"I believe you, Richard. 'A wise son
maketh a glad father;' and there is true
wisdom in denying ourselves for our parents."
Richard had felt the truth of this daily for
years.






A VII.&.i;-E ARTIST.


CHAPTER IV.

TIE HEAD OF THE FAMILY CUT OFF. A NEW
STONE IN THE CIIURCHYARD.

RICHARD FRASER was just turned eighteen,
and a little brother had been added to his
father's family when the blow came which
he had so long dreaded. Though himself
but a boy, he must be the prop on which
his mother must henceforth lean, and stand
in his father's place with respect to the other
children the youngest of whom, little George,
was only four years old. The secret which
Richard had borne about with him from almost
childhood was not a secret now; but in place
of that burthen had come this other one of
-:ianaging the business and providing for the
wants of a family.
It chanced that Richard made a most affect-


73





THE TIZTALS OF


ing discovery at this time, which did much to
strengthen all his good resolutions with re-
gard to those whom a father had confided to
his care.
On the day of the funeral, the youth found
it would be necessary for him to look in the
desk that had been James Fraser's, for some
paper of importance. There he found a
little packet, which he opened, and, to his
great surprise, saw the missing fragment of
his last carved work-the bit of fir with
the cone attached to it. There was a little
parchment label tied to the packet, on which
were written, in a tremulous hand, these
words: "In memory of a talent, which my
beloved son buried for his father's sake. Sep-
tember 16th, 18--."
He had long thought he could read that
father's very heart, but he never before saw
so clearly all the tenderness that had been
in it as now, when the tears welled from his
eyes and hid outward objects from his sight.
Many amongst the villagers now began to
exclaim, "What a good thing it is that James





A VILLAGE AT'IT.,


Fraser brougliht that lad up to his own business.
If he had followed his uncle's example, he
might have been just beginning to work at
carving instead of being a first-rate joiner;
and then whtll wou-ld have become of the
family ?"
Mr. Frederick Millmun, the Squire now,
for the old Squire was dead, called, with his
wife, to comfort Mrs. FraCser and her children.
He had a long quiet talk with HRichard in
the workshop, and to him, as the one who
knew the story of the broken carving, the
young man showed the sprig of fir so long
lost, and told him when and where it was
fund.
The kind Sctuire was not a little affected,
and as he read the words, "In memory of
a talent, which my beloved son buried for
his father's sake," he added aloud, "Aye,
buried it is, but not lost. You will exhume
it, though it may be 'after many days,'
-ijchard. In the meanwhiile, bide your time
-wtlh p-ience, and work for those who are
..fi-.,


75






THE TRiIALs OF


"It was a trial to me to bury the talent,
sir," returned Richard; "but who would not
feel rewarded now ? I wish I could make every
lad think as I do at this moment, that a parent's
blessing and an approving conscience will repay
a child for any amount of self-denial."
The Squire assented, and then said, "Just
a word about business, Richard. Of course
you will have my work, both at the Hall and
on the estate, as before, and if at any time you
fall short of capital and find your hands tied
for want of money, come to me."
Richard thanked the speaker, but he never
had occasion to seek help of the last-named
kind. God blessed his efforts; the Squire's
example was followed by the farmers; work
was plentiful, and there was no bench in the
workshop without a busy pair of hands lhabr-
ing at it with hammeir, plane, or chisel, in
young Fraser'i' shop.
James Frn :or had been dead about three
months when one day a block of stone was
brought and placed in a wooden shed that
Richard had built a little way from the larger


76






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


workshop. Then the shed was locked up, and
no person knew why it had been conveyed
thither. Only a workman, who came before
his time one bright summer's morning, said
that he saw master Richard come out and lock
the door. But after a lapse of months the
block of stone, carefully covered, was rt~m loved
thence again, and taken to the churchyard.
On the next Sabbath, when Mrs. Fraser -went
to church, Richard led her to the spot where
his father was buried, and there she saw a
beautifully car ved but simple monumental
stone erected to the memory of her husband.
Its only ornament was a group of foliage, the
same in outline, but far better executed, than
that boyish work. Only in this the spray of
oak was not wanting, and the fir with its cone
looked as though it had fallen from the rest,
and was lying at a little distance.
The boy had buried his talent for a time out
of love for his father; the young man now
exhumed it to do honour to that father's
memory by its exercise.
Mrs. Fraser tr-'ibl'1d a she cd:ii on


77






THE TRIALS OF


Richard's arm, and her tears fell fast while
she looked at his work. She was a homely
body, and not the one to use many words,
except they concerned the spotless cleanliness
of her home and its belongings, or the want of
cleanliness in a neighbour. So even now she
said but little, though her heart was stirred
within her. She only pressed Richard's arm the
closer and whispered, "EEh, lad, thou'rt clever.
Thou wert always good to him that's gone."
"And I shall try to be the same to you,
mother."
"But it's hard, Richard, it's hard for a lad
like you to have so many cares and to be
slaving for us all. I'm not blind, lad; I've
seen more than you thought."
"Mother, it's no slavery to do my best for
you."'
She shook her head. "Eh, well. You're
a good lad to say so; but you might have been
something better than a country joiner. It
isn't the hands that can cut out yon things
that should be making washing troughs fir
old wives like me, and doors and windows for
their husbands."






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


Richard did not like to remind his mother
that it was through the profits of his plain
work that the whole family was supported, or
that in refusing to let him follow his natural
taste, his father had consulted her interests
and those of the younger children. And he
never could tell her that for five years he had
borne about with him the certain knowledge
that his poor father's life could not be a long
one in the land. He knew that were he to
give her the history of his boyish resolution
she would weep and exclaim, "To think he
should have trusted a child, such as Dick was
then, with the secret he hid from me!" and
that it would be a cause of grief with her so
long as she lived. Good Mrs. Fraser, like
many another, would make a great trouble of
anything which she fancied showed want of
trust towards hersief, and forget, or never
comprehend, that the very hiding of the matter
from her knowledge was done in kindness and
to save her pain of mind.
After Richard and his mother left the
churchyard a group of admiring Wellesby
folk glahered round the monument to examine






THE TRIALS OF


the carving. "It is pretty!" cried one.
"lie's clever to cut stone like that!" "He
hasn't forgotten the old knack with all his
joinering work," cried others.
Amongst the rest was an old grey-haired
man-the patriarch of the village-whose vene-
rable years and white locks caused him to be
much looked up to by the Wellesby youngster..
But old Simon Lee did not generally choose to
give an opinion about anything until he was
asked; for he had a great idea of its value and
importance. And the young folks paid much
respect to Simon, who never wanted a staff to
support his aged limbs, because there were
always plenty of young arms ready for him to
lean upon as he walked to and from church
or elsewhere. To old Simon, then, one of the
youngsters spoke. "Don't you think, Simon,"
he said, "that this is a curious subject to carve
upon a grave-stone ? We mostly see urns, or
crosses, or little angels, instead of leaves and
such things."
"And then here's this fir-apple, broken off
like, and that's queer, though it is pretty."







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


Old Simon drew himself up as straight as he
could, and replied, "You see, friends, there be
some things that say what they mean plainly,
and there be some that be signs with the
meaning part hidden. Wasn't James Fraser a
joiner, eh ? "
"To be sure he was," was answered by
all.
"And what did he use in his work ?"
"Why, wood, to be sure."
"Aye, wood of different sorts. The elm, the
fir, the beech, the chestnut, the oak, and so on.
And here they are on the stone. They're the
types of the man's calling, to be sure. And
that bit of fir gives it a careless look. I expect
he put it down there just as the painters put in
an old tumble-down thatched barn or cottage
into their pictures; though for my part Ithink
if they copy things, they might as well draw
new houses as old barns."
A murmur of admiration rose amongst the
little group, the different members of which
paid Simon many omplimnt- on the wisdom
which had discovr'l'd the hidden meaning of
-P


81






THE TRIALS OF


the carving. And the old man went homeward
leaning on the arm of one of his young sup-
porters, to whom he said, while a gratified
smile flitted across his aged face, "Aye, lad,
they'll miss old Simon when he's gone, for all
his hands are past work, and his feet will
hardly support him to church and back.
They'll want the old man's head sometimes
when it is laid low in the mould."
But old Simon was not right this time,
though he felt so proud of having interpreted
the meaning of '"those bits of imitation of
wood." For though the old have gathered
wisdom as they journeyed through the world,
the best is not always right in his opinion.
And of all the Wellesby people there was only
the Squire who knew the real meaning of the
carving on James Fraser's tombstone, and of
its broken fragment of fir. He could read in it
the loving heart of a dutiful son--a sacred trust
fulfilled, a promise steadily kept.


82






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


CHAPTER V,

A LITTLE MORE FRUIT FROM THE HIDDEN SEED.

THOUGH Richard Fraser's business efforts
were so successful, he had but little leisure
time. His hands were always full, his head
ever at work. Youthful as he was, he held the
place of "Master" in the shop, and, unlike
those who have to labour as journeymen, he
had to think and plan for the morrow when
they had gone to their homes. Thus at twenty-
three years of age Richard had added nothing
to his early carvings. His last executed labour
in that line stood at the head of his father's
grave.
His brother, the little George, so young
when his father died, was now nine years old,
and the especial object of the young man's
affection. One day the little fellow came to


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THE TRIALS OF


Richard in great trouble. In his hand lay a
dead canary, which, when living, had been his
only pet, the more precious as it was given by
his elder brother. "Well, Georgy, my man,
what is the matter? Where do those tears
come from? asked his brother kindly, on
seeing his sorrowful face.
"Little Dick is dead. I found him just now
at the bottom of his cage. And he was not in
want of food or water, because he had plenty
of seed, and his trough was full."
"We must all die some time, George, and
poor little Dick is like the rest of us, only his
turn has come first. I am very glad you have
not to reproach yourself for having neglected
or starved your favourite. After all, it is
better you should have to cry over little Dick
than brother Dick, isn't it?" returned Richard,
with an affectionate glance at the child who
stood by his side.
"Yes, oh dear yes! What should we all do
without you, Richard?" replied George, his
round face lengthening at the bare idea of such
a calamity. "But I am sorry for 7'.., too,"






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


and he passed his hand caressingly over the
dead bird.
"Let me look at him, and see if I can bring
him to life," said Richard, laying down his
plane and taking up the body of the pretty
favourite.
"You cannot, I know that very well. I only
wish you could."
Richard stood musingly for a few minutes,
as if considering what he could do to comfort
his little brother. The young man, like all
brave, warm-hearted people, was very tender
to children, and did not laugh at their sorrows,
because he as a grown-up person would have
deemed such a trial a light matter. He knew
that the death of this bird was a real cause of
grief to George, who for three years past had
fed "Dick," and been proud to call him his
own property.
"George," said hle, "I bought this bird for
you three years ago, when he was alive, and
now that he is dead I want you to give him
back to me."
"You shall have him if you like, Richard.


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THE TRIALS OF


Are you going to have him stuffed ? for unless
you do you can't keep him."
"That's a good lad. Now, see, I will put
Dick's body in a little box, and perhaps you
may meet with him. again yet. Don't cry any
more, and now run away, for I am very busy."
The child obeyed, and left Richard to his
work. The young man's hands moved fast,
but for once his mind did not go with them.
He was thinking how he might give a great
pleasure to his brother, and when he left the
shop that night he carried with him into his
chamber-the same old room in which he
carved the foliage-the small box containing
the body of the dead bird. But he carried
more still. Having carefully selected a piece
of wood and some tools, he took them to the
same place. When all other labours of mind
and body were ended for that night, he took
out the bird, and having suspended it by the
feet by a fine twine from a small nail, he began
to execute the project he had formed. And
this plan was to carve an exact copy of the bird
as it hung.


86






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


At first when Richard commenced, his sole
desire was to please his brother, but by degrees
his old love of art mastered his whole being.
He worked until his light went out, -as it had
done oft before under similar circumstances
during his boyish days. In the early morning
he was again at his self-imposed task, which,
however, he laid aside as soon as the sound of
feet under his window warned him of the
arrival of his workmen, and told him that
labour of a coarser kind awaited him else-
where. It was with just a little regret that he
relinquished the dainty carving, which had
grown so fast under his active fingers.
The work might have been deemed finished
by an uncultivated eye long before Richard
considered it so. He touched it carefully again
and again with his most delicate tools, until
even he was satisfied. Then he mounted it on
a background, of ebony, surrounded by a gilded
and grooved rim, covered it with a case of
glass, and the thing was complete. This last
portion of the work was not, however, of his
own doing. He had to call in the aid of


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THE TRIALS OF


another hand to gild the rim of the wooden
picture. Thus it came to pass that the carved
bird stood for a few hours in the shop window
of the gilder in a large market town three
miles from Wellesby. It was market-day.
The shop was in a very conspicuous place,
and the glance of nearly every passer-by was
arrested by this simple specimen of carved
work. It looked so soft, so real, and yet as a
picture of deathl-though only that of a bird-
so touching, that the subject in its simplicity
was almost as attractive as the work of art.
Many a gazer entered the shop to ask if it were
for sale, and, if so, its price. But all received
the same answer, "No, it is not for sale. It is
only here to have the frame gilded, and will be
sent home this evening." And the name of
the artist was revealed to none.
Amongst the gazers and inquirers was Squire
Millman. As he looked at the bird he thought
to himself, How Richard Fraser would like
to see this." On the following day he called
at the joiner's shop to tell him about this beau-
tiful bit of carving. Richard was in the house,
and thither his visitor followed him. Fraser,"


88






A VILLAGEf ARTIST.


said he, "I saw a beautiful little thing in
Wharton's shop yesterday. It would have
delighted you I am sure. It was a bit of
carving that would have done honour to any
man that ever handled a-. Why, I de-
clare !" exclaimed Mr. Millman, catching sight
of that very identical work standing on a pretty
bracket, also carved, "here it is."
"And it is mine-my dead bird that brother
I-ichard carved, because I was so sorry when
little Dick died. Because he couldn't bring
him to life again, he made me that beautiful
wooden one instead, and that will never die."
These words proceeded from Richard's young
brother, who was too full of delight to be at all
ceremonious, even about addressing the great
man of the village.
So it is yours, is it? And it appears your
brother carries out the principle which has
moved him for many a year past. He only
fosters his love for art when it is to make
some one happy who is dear to him, and
crushes it down when it would add to his own
pleasure."
"Aye, sir, that's just it," interposed Dame


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THE TRIALS OF


Fraser, who stood behind. "That lad's life
has been a constant fight against himself for
the sake of other people. And I'm sure I
often think what he has done for us and how
he is just like a father to the young ones; and
I grieve about it while I am thankful, because
it is such a load for a young man like him to be
saddled with. And I am part of it, and every
meal I set out on the table I think to myself,
' Richard has slaved for this, and if he hadn't
been clogged with an old mother and a tribe
of children at her heels he might have been a
gentleman.'"
"Mother, if you would but believe me,"
said Richard.
I He is always telling me, sir, that he never
feels so happy as he does when he thinks he
has been enabled in some way to fill his poor
father's place, and to be sure he has gained all
for us that poor James used to do, so far as
outside comforts go."
"And don't you believe him, Mrs. Fraser?
I do. And I believe that every one, whether child
or grown-up person, who makes a sacrifice of self






A VILLAGE ARTIST.


for the good of others has his reward. We all
have some cross to bear; and if we endure
earthly trials cheerfully we imitate the best of
all patterns."
Well, Mr. Millman, and I believe him;
and I know he hias worked with a right good
will; but I don't like to think that- But,
deary me, I aren't say any more, for he won't
have it that he is out of his right place when
he is toiling for us."
Mr. Millman did not think it well to answer
this speech, as he saw that Richard had no
wish to take praise to himself for having done
his duty. So, addressing little George, he said,
SI was going to offer to buy this bird, but as
it is yours I dare not mention such a thing.
However, you will let me bring Mrs. Millman
and her two boys to look at it, will you not?"
To be sure he would, and be very proud
indeed to show his brother's work, his own
"new little Dick," as he called the copy of his
dead canary. But sell it or give it away-
never! Not all the Squire's sovereigns would
buy it.


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THE TRIALS OF


Mrs. Millman and her children came in due
time; and not only praised the carved bird,
but presented George with a live canary to
occupy the perch left vacant by the death of
his old pet. And the Squire shook Richard
Fraser's toil-hardened hand again, and said,
<"I wait, feeling certain that your talent will
yet produce great interest, for you have in-
deed been faithful to the trust placed in your
hands."
The next fruit of Richard Fraser's skill
was no less beautiful than the one which
preceded it. This was also a dead bird, but
of a larger kind. Squire Millman's game-
keeper shot a kingfisher, and called at the
joiner's shop with it in his hand. This
would make a pretty thing for you to carve,
Mr. Fraser," said he; "you may have it, if
you like, and either copy it or let it alone."
Richard chose to do the former, though it
was during a very busy season, and compelled
him to steal many hours from sleep. But this
time the bird was made pendant from a leafy
spray, which as far r'.rpased Richard's first


92







A VILLAGE ARTIST.


attempts at foliage as does the flowing hand-
writing of the master excel the first efforts at
making pothooks by his child pupil. This
bird called forth as much admiration as the
preceding one when displayed in the gilder's
window. But Squire Millman did not see it
there. He found it, when quite finished, at
Wellesby Hall, and with it a note from Richard,
begging him to accept it as a token of respect
and gratitude from one who had never forgotten
the kind words and good advice spoken long
ago in the old workshop.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Millman were delighted
with Richard's present, and heartily thanked
him for the pains and time he had spent upon
it. And amongst the Squire's collected treasures
he valued none more than the gift of the
village joiner. Indeed for its own sake it
deserved to be valued, because it was such a
faithful imitation of nature.






THE TRIALS OF


CHAPTER VI.

"IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY AGAIN."

ANOTHER year passed; and during that
time Richard's life went on in the old way.
He gave his whole attention to his homely
business; for he found that if he sat up late
and rose so early, his powers, both of mind
and body, were weakened, and he needed
them in their full vigour for his daily work.
Inclination and duty warred together some-
times, but duty proved the victor. When-
ever the young man felt this strife within
him, he looked at the home which held his
mother, and prayed for strength that he
might faithfully keep the promise made in
his boyhood to do the very best in his power
for her and hers.
Just at the end of that year many of the
great people of the county bestirred themselves


94






A VILLAGE AIyTIST.


to get up an exhibition of works of art, to
which all England was invited to contribute.
Amongst those who took an active part in
this, was Squire Millman; and he gladly pro-
mised to send for exhibition all that was rare
and beautiful in Wellesby Hall. A number
of gentlemen came by his invitation to assist
him in selecting the most suitable objects.
More than one of these visitors cast his eye
admiringly on the carved kingfisher, and sug-
gested that it should go to the exhibition.
But the Squire demurred, saying he must
ask the artist's leave first, and then he led
his guests to see the glorious oak carvings
in Wellesby Church. How they did exclaim,
to be sure! How they praised the beauty
of what were left, and grieved that profane
hands had destroyed so great a portion. And
then they told Squire Millman that he should
devote a part of his means to the restoration
of this old temple.
The Squire answered, with a smile, that
it had been one of his boyish dreams, and
that he hoped to see it a reality before long.
"And the man that carved the bird yonder


95




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