I-ttf Xt11 of ightess.
ERNRRAL PROT. EPISCOPAL SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION,
DEPOBITORY 2S JOHN STREET.
The Baldwin Library
I DO not suppose you ever saw a much
prettier donkey than Miss Sophy Mur-
ray's. Her father bought it for her to
ride; for she was a sickly little girl, and
could not walk far. There were a great
many donkey, where Squire Murray liv-
ed; for there was a large heath near, and
little patches of common amongst the
fields and cottages. You could not walk
far without coming to a piece of purple
heath and yellow furze. And wherever
you saw this, you were sure to see a
donkey or two feeding. There were a
great many light-coloured ones. But, I
think, the dark-brown ones were the pret-
tiest of all. At least, Miss Sophy's was
a pretty one. Besides, it had a little foal,
and that was prettiest of all. Cannot you
fancy its rough coat and long, dark ears,
quite black at the tips, and the very black
mark across its shoulders? It was like
its mother; but she was a quiet, steady
donkey; the young one was full of tricks.
How it used to frolic about, as it ran after
its mother, when Miss Sophy rode out!
Her brother used to catch hold of it in
his arms; but it bounded away down the
lane, though it always turned, and came
trotting to its mother at last. How pretty
it was to seel
One fine day, in spring, Miss Sophy
had been riding out, while her father
walked by her side. They came home
through the lane that led to the garden-
gate. By the road-side, they saw a rag-
ged little boy, sitting with his feet in the
ditch, and peeling a stick. He had, no
shoes or stockings, and no hat or cap on
his head. Indeed, his hair looked like a
cap, it was so thick and matted. His hair
was black, and his eyes black, and his face
as brown as the donkey's coat. Altogeth-
er, you might have known he had not lived
much in a house. Close by was the mark
of ashes by the road-side,-a little patch
on the turf, which showed a fire had been
lighted there. And there were chips scat-,
tered about, as if somebody had been
making matches. The boy looked wild
and rude, and did not get up to make a
bow, as he should have done. Miss Sophy
had gone on before her father, and the
donkey rubbed his head against the gate,
but could not open it. She said, Little
boy, will you open the gate for me?"
lie got up, and said, "Yes;" but not
very civilly. She thought, within her-
self, He has not been taught better; he
looks very poor, and he stares rather
rudely. Perhaps he is hungry.
So she took a biscuit out of the little
basket that hung on her saddle, and gave
it him. He snatched it, but said nothing.
And when Miss Sophy asked where he
lived, he said:
And that was said rather rudely. She
saw her father behind, and thought she
would wait for him. The boy still hung
upon the gate; and the next thing he
"That's an uncommon fine donkey. I
wish I had him."
Miss Sophy rather trembled at the
thought of her favourite donkey belonging
to such a wild boy as that. She was half
afraid what he would say next; and look-
ed round for her father. But the boy
said nothing more, only stood staring.
But just as her father came up, he walked
close to her, and put the peeled stick
into her hand, saying, "Here."
So, then, she knew the poor boy meant
it for a kindness. She nodded, and said:
"Thank you;" and her father having
come up to her, she rode through the gar-
den, and saw nothing more of the boy;
only she heard him go whistling down
the lane. The next morning, she was
very anxious the sun should shine, for
she was to have a long ride on the com-
mon. Her brother, George, was to go
with her, and take her to a part of it she
had not yet seen; and they were to gath-
er some pretty flowers there, that did not
grow anywhere else.
But can you guess what happened?
Billy Green, the gardener's boy, whose
business it was to look after the donkey,
came running to Master George, who went
out to see if the donkey was ready, to
say that it was nowhere to be found!
Not in the orchard; not in the shed; not
in the lane; not on the green. And
Billy seemed ready to cry; for he was
very fond of it.
Sophy had come to the door, and the
tears came into her eyes. She was sorry
for the loss of her ride, but more sorry
"And the little one?"
Then Sophy began to cry.
"Don't cry, Sophy; and I will go and
look everywhere. May we, papa ?"
For their father and mother had come
to the door, too. They said Green might
go and inquire about it, as well as Billy.
They hoped Jenny had only strayed away
to the heath, where she had been brought
up. But Green shook his head, and talk-
ed about the gipsies, or trampers, as he
called them. He knew they were about;
he had seen a number of them; some
with matches, and they had made a fire
down in the lane. "Just the sort," he
said, "to steal such a donkey as that-
to be sure, she was a fine one."
Sophy's mother told her not to cry; but
to have patience, and to try to bear the
trial well. So Sophy, who was a good
girl, wiped her eyes, and said: "George
would do all he could; and so would
Green and Billy; and she would go and
work in her little garden."
So all that fine spring day was spent
in looking for Jenny and her foal, and
asking question about her. But she was
not to be found or heard of. George and
his companions came home tired and sad.
And Sophy could not get to sleep for
thinking of Jenny. "At any rate," she
said, with a sigh, to the maid who was
undressing her: "I hope she won't be
starved or beaten. Whoever may have
got her," she added, with tears in her
eyes, "I do hope they will not ill use
my poor donkey, and its little one."
Nothing more was heard the next day.
In the evening, George and his sister were
walking in the lane that led to the gar-
den-gate; and, as they sat on a little
mound, by the road-side, they talked of
nothing but the donkey. George was
going a little further to gather flowers in
the hedge, for his sister; and as he climb-
ed up the bank to get them, he started,
for he saw a boy sitting in the tree just
above him. The boy looked down with
his black eyes, like some strange beast up
there, as George said afterwards.
"What are you doing there?" he said.
"Cutting a stick," was the answer.
George watched him a moment, and saw
him slide down the tree, like a squirrel.
Then he remembered what Sophy had
told him about the wild boy, with the
black hair. When the boy got on his
feet, he looked at George, and said:
"Do you belong to that girl there, what
gave me the cake?"
George turned red at first, and felt an-
gry at the boy's rudeness; but he recol-
lected, as Sophy had done, that it was
no fault of his, and said:
"Do you know where her donkey is?"
For he thought he must belong to the
gipsies; and everybody thought they had
taken Jenny away.
Sophy had seen her brother talking to
somebody. She saw it was the wild-look-
ing boy, and walked on to them, saying:
"Oh! can you tell me where my poor
donkey and his little one are?"
The boy looked at her a moment, and
George began to offer a reward; but
the boy said:
"It was a shame to take it, when she
gave me a cake. It's our people who
have got it. They have taken it away
towards the town. You must look sharp,
before they cut its ears, and then you'll
never know it again."
Then he turned .round and walked
away, whistling as he went. ,
"Cut its ears, George? Oh, run home;
ask papa to send after it-think of its
long ears being cut." Sophy could hardly
keep from crying again now.
George ran home to spread the news.
And very soon two or three men were
after the gipsies. They easily found out
which way they went. The gipsies were
glad enough to give up the donkey, and
have no further trouble. So, late at
night, Jenny and her young one came
home. George ran out to see if the ears
were safe. No harm had been done; and
you may think how happy George and
Sophy were,-how Sophy put her arms
round Jenny's neck and kissed her, and
how they hugged the little one. The
evening Sophy had lost her donkey, she
could not sleep for thinking about it.
This evening she could hardly sleep for
The next day it rained, and she could
not have her ride to the common. And
the day after it was not quite fine. But
there came a sunny morning at last; and
very happy Sophy and her brother were,
getting ready for their journey across the
heath, and choosing what baskets they
should take, As they came back up the
lane, George said:
"There is the place where I saw the
ragged boy; how lucky it was! And
there he is still." For, at this moment,
he saw the boy sitting by the ditch, with-
out shoes and stockings, and with a stick
in his hand, as before. But he was not
George called out to him:
"Why are you not gone with your
The boy did not look up, but said:
They would have half- killed me, be-
cause I told about your donkey; I was
afraid to go back."
"What are you going to do?"
"Try to get work."
"Have you had anything to eat ?"
Yes, I got some crusts of bread down
in the village yesterday; "and your boy
gave me something to-day."
Sophy looked grave, and whispered:
"Let us go and tell mamma, George."
They went home; and while George
led the donkey to its stable, with the
little one running after it, Sophy ran,
with her cheeks quite red, and almost out
of breath, to her mother in the garden.
Mrs. Murray was talking to the gar-
dener; so Sophy stopped and listened.
She found they were talking about the
donkey-boy, as she and George called
"He told Bill," said Green, "that he
was afraid to go after his folk-they would
be in such a rage with him. This was
when Billy found him lying in the shed.
The boy was half-frightened when he
heard the straw rustling; and he saw this
boy creep out, quite wild-like, and look-
ing half-starved. He was lying close to
Jenny, to keep himself warm. It's a
wonder he did not get kicked."
Has he a father or mother with the
gipsies, Green ?"
No, ma'am, not he. He hardly knows
what kin they are of to him; but he seems
to have led a hard life with them."
"And learnt bad ways, I am afraid."
"To be sure, he is rough and uncivil
enough; but, as I said to Bill, he knows
no better. Bill gave him some of his
"Well, Green, send Bill to see after
him, and ask the cook to give him some
scraps. He must sleep in the shed to-
night, for he is not clean enough to come
in-doors. Come, Sophy, we will talk to
your father about him."
In the evening, Mr. Murray heard the
donkey-boy's history. Besides what Mrs.
Murray heard, George had found, from
Billy Green, that the boy's name was
Robin Lee-that his friends were going
up towards London, for haymaking-that
he thought he should try and get some
haymaking here. Mr. Murray thought
some of his companions would come back
for him, because they might find him
useful, even if they did not care about
him. The next morning they went to
the donkey-shed to ask him more. They
found him cutting a stick; and while
they spoke to him he went on cutting
They could not make out how long he
had lost his father and mother; he knew
his mother had lived in a house once, and
that he had been christened in church;
but they had travelled about ever since
he could remember. He liked rambling
about, he said; but he did not mind
work; at least, he liked haymaking and
But when he was asked if he said his
prayers-if he knew who made him-if
he ever went to church-poor Robin said,
Then Sophy looked frightened, and her
mother looked sad. She told the boy to
come into the gardener's cottage; and
spoke to Mrs. Green about some old
clothes of Billy's for him. She did not
like to give him new ones, for fear he
should run away with them. While Mrs.
Green went to look for the clothes, Mrs.
Murray talked to Robin, and tried to
make him understand what it was to say
his prayers, and how the church was
God's house, and something about his be-
ing christened. Robin looked up at her
with his sharp, black eyes, but did not
say anything, only he seemed to be listen-
ing; and when Mrs. Green brought him
a pair of old shoes, and an old carter's
frock to cover his rags, bidding him thank
the lady, poor Robin said:
And when Mrs. Murray said:
"You shall weed that walk; and if
you do it well, you shall have some din-
ner," he set to work very readily. Billy
showed him how; and while Mrs. Mur-
ray and Sophy were gathering flowers
near, they heard Robin talking to Billy,
as if he was pleased.
Billy found out more by degrees; for
poor Robin had once been taught to say
his prayers, and knew rather more than
he owned at first. Perhaps he was shy
about that, though he did not seem to
be so about other things. At any rate,
the next day Mrs. Murray found he had
remembered what she told him; and un-
derstood that there was a difference be-
tween good and bad people.
He had leave to sleep in Jenny's stable
at night; and he worked at weeding in
the day-time, having his food given him.
I do not say he worked steadily; he was
not likely to have learned that. When
his work was over, he liked loitering
about in the lane, and climbing trees, or
looking for birds' nests. Green did not
like his boy to go about with him then,
for fear he should teach him bad tricks
or ways. But in the evening, Billy taught
him to say his prayers; and Mrs. Murray,
when she came into the garden, sometimes
went to the walk where Robin was. She
made him stop, and questioned him, to
see if he remembered what he had been
told. Miss Sophy stood by, and was
pleased when poor Robin answered right.
By the end of the week, he could re-
member that it was wicked to steal and
use bad words; and she felt sorry for
him, for she knew he must have been
used to do such things. Mrs. Murray
told him that now he knew it, he must
try never to do so again.
On Sunday, Billy was to take the poor
boy to church; and he behaved tolerably
well, though he did look about him a
good deal. But he said the Lord's Pray-
er, as far as he had learned it; and he
knelt down when the other people did.
They took him into the Sunday-School;
he could not do anything; but he seemed
to listen to the other children. When he
came out of church, he asked Billy some
questions about it, and he said he liked
the singing, and he should like to sing, too.
In the course of the next week, he
learned a little more; and he seemed less
rude in his manner, and made a nod some-
thing like a bow, when he was spoken to.
Particularly when he saw Miss Sophy go-
ing out, he ran to open the gate for her,
and would ramble about to get her a stick
to ride with; and he made little rush-
baskets to hold her flowers. He was very
fond of Jenny; and his greatest pleasure
was in looking after her, and in playing
with her foal.
One evening, as Billy was going to lock
the garden-door, he heard a woman's voice
scolding and using bad words, too. He
peeped through the door, and he saw a
very ragged, fierce-looking old woman
standing by Robin; she shook him by
the shoulder, as she scolded, and Robin
was answering nothing. Billy ran back
into the garden to look after his father;
but he was not there. It was some time
before he found him; and when they
came to the garden-gate, both Robin and
the old woman were gone. Billy ran
down the lane, but he saw nothing of
them. Green thought Robin would come
back to the shed at night. But he did
not come; and the next morning, when
Mr. Murray heard of it, he said the old
woman must have come to fetch him
away to the rest of the party.
"Oh, papa 1" said Sophy, "send to
fetch him back."
But Mr. Murray said he had no right
to fetch tne boy back, as he had fetched
back the donkey; he was sorry for Rob-
in, and hoped he would not be ill-used.
Sophy looked sorrowful; and wondered
whether poor Robin would remember what
he had been taught.
"If they want to make him steal and
do bad things, how hard it will be for
him!" she said to George. "I think
there was a great deal that was good
about poor Robin; he was very grateful:
to be sure he was idle sometimes, and left
his work to run out into the lane; but he
had never been taught, and he was always
good-natured to Jenny. I should never
have got her and her pretty little one back
again, if it had not been for him. I won-
der if we shall ever see him here again."
She used often to wish she knew about
poor Robin, when she was stroking her
donkey's long ears, or trotting over the
common on her back. Then the hay-
making began. Sophy and George were
very happy in going into the hayfield.
They tossed the hay over one another,
till the haymakers begged them not to
spoil the cocks. They had their own
rakes to work with; and when they had
worked enough, they used to walk along
the hedges, and gather the briar-roses and
honeysuckles. And when the sun was
hot, George made a little arbour, in the
hazel-hedge, for his sister. But they said
they were sorry poor Robin was not
there; for he had told Billy he should
like so much to make hay in Mr. Mu.
ray's field; and that he would cut a nice
hayfork out of the hedge for Miss Sophy.
On Sunday, Sophy used to think how
unlikely it was he would go to church.
She could not suppose anybody would
teach him right things, as her mother had
done. Billy had said that the gipsies
were going a great way off after the hay-
making; Robin had told him so. Many
parties of trampers came by, when the
hay-making was nearly over; but Robin
was not with them.
I dare say you wish to hear more about
Robin Lee, and to know what the old
woman said to him, and how she got
him to go away. I cannot tell you all
about it; but, as Robin had always lived
with these people, who were of kin to
him, he could not be entirely unwilling
to go, though the woman did speak rough-
ly to him,-that was the way of those
people. And, perhaps) he did not like
to give up the wandering life, which, in
fine weather, and when there was any
sport or frolic going on, was pleasant
enough to a boy of Robin's age. There
were hard things, it is true, to bear-cold,
and want of food; but he had been used
to these. There were some things, too,
which were really much worse,-the wick-
ed ways and words they used. Poor
Robin had been too much used to this,
too; though, lately, he had learned better
Robin went with the party of Lees to
another part of the country, to try for
harvest-work. It was fine weather; and
the shady lanes were pleasant, where they
used to make their fires, and put up their
tent for the night. They had enough
to eat, though they did not always get it
by honest means. Robin and the other
boys of the party enjoyed themselves, as
they called it, in idleness. And it was
but too easy to him to fall back into the
old ways of stealing and begging, with a
lying tale in his mouth, when everybody
about him was encouraging him to do so.
Sometimes his companions would ask
him questions about Heathfield, where Mr.
Murray lived. But he would not answer;
for he did not like their way of talking
of his kind friends there. Sometimes,
when he was walking alone, cutting sticks,
for want of something to do, he thought
of Miss Sophy and her brother, and then
he felt ready to cry for a moment; he
stopped whistling, and hastened to join
his companions, that he might forget it
all in noisy play.
Once they had travelled through a
pretty country village, such a- village as
Heathfield; and when the rest of the
party had settled themselves in a by-lane,
to boil their kettle, they sent Robin and
a girl to go to the houses and beg. They
were to tell a false tale of their distress,
and not having any bread to eat; and
this was sport to them. They went from
one cottage door to another, and some
people gave them scraps of bread or a
halfpenny. At last Robin came to a neat
little cottage, which stood alone on a
green. He went through the little gar-
den, and stopped at the door to listen.
He heard a child's voice reading; and,
looking through the chink of the door,
which was open, he saw a little girl sit-
ting on a low stool by a very old woman.
They were very poorly dressed, and their
clothes very much patched; but they
looked as different as possible from Robin's
people; they reminded him of Heathfield.
When the little girl had done reading,
she began to say the Catechism to the end
of the Commandments; and then the old
'Tell me what you learnt at school
about the Catechism last Sunday ?"
The child said:
We learnt about the eighth Command-
ment, 'Thou shalt not steal.' "
"And what is stealing, Mary ?"
"Taking what does not belong to us,
"And where will people go who break
The little girl looked grave, and said, in
a low voice:
"They will go to the bad place, granny,
if they do not leave it off. They must
be very sorry for what they have done,
and try to do so no more."
"And what else?"
The little girl thought a moment, and
"And pray to God to forgive them,
and to help them, for Jesus Christ's sake."
Then the old grandmother kissed the
little girl very kindly, and told her she
might go to play.
Robin felt as if he could not open the
door with his false tale. He turned quick-
ly away; and when he got into the road,
and the little girl who had come with
him came, laughing rudely, to ask him
what he had got, he pushed by her, and
ran on till he was out of sight of every-
body. Then he sat down under a tree to
take breath. It was hearing the good
things that he had been taught at Mr.
Murray's, that made him feel this change.
He knew it was all true. He thought,
"The others may not be punished, per-
haps, for they have not been taught bet-
ter; but I have: and if I go on with
them, stealing and lying, I know well
enough what will come to me at last. I
will not join them in it any more."
So he got up, and went to the place
where they had put up their old blanket
to rest for the night. The fire was lit,
and the kettle boiling. All the party
were gathered together round it, and
Robin soon understood there was mischief
contriving. They were settling how they
could steal the geese, which the girl, who
had been with Robin, had seen going into
a farmyard near. They had fixed it all;
and Robin was to go with one of the
men to show him where it was, and how
to get in: for they had loitered there
begging, and knew the places about the
farmyard. Now came on a bad time for
poor Robin. I cannot tell ypu how sur-
prised and angry all these people were,
when Robin said he would not have any-
thing to do with it. It was a bad job;
he did not mean to go to the bad place.
He meant to earn his living honestly.
I should be sorry to repeat the shock-
ing language that was spoken, or how
poor Robin was struck and ill-treated;
but that he was often used to. What he
minded most was being mocked and laugh-
ed at. And that he felt as if he could
hardly stand. The old woman, who was
most near of kin to him, told him he
might go as soon as he pleased, and get
his honest living, as he called it. One of
the men said the young chap would tell
of them. But Robin answered, "I never
will do that; but I'll go back to Heath-
They all burst into a shout of laughter,
and said he might find his way there, if
he could. Then Robin, feeling ready to
cry, and not liking to show it, turned
away, and ran down the lane as fast as
he could, and through the village, till
he was out of reach. Then he sat down,
and cried till he was tired. Next he be-
gan to think what he could do. The
more he thought, the more he resolved
to try to get back to Heathfield. He
would ask his way the next morning.
He had a few crusts in his pocket, that
he had begged; and after eating some of
these, he looked out for a cart-shed to
sleep in. And, for the first time, for
many days, he said his prayers before he
went to sleep on a bundle of straw, that
he found in the cart.
The next morning, after finishing his
crusts, he asked the first man he saw
going to work, the way to Squire Mur-
ray's, at Heathfield.
The man stared, and said he could not
tell. Robin could only walk on towards
a town he saw at a distance. And there
they seemed to know better, when he
asked at the turnpike. They told him
to follow the high-road; but that it was
a great way off. Robin got hot and
tired; and he had nothing to eat that
day but a piece of bread, which a woman
at a cottage-door gave him, seeing how
tired and hungry the poor boy looked.
He slept under a hedge; but he could
not sleep much, for the nights are cold
and dewy in harvest-time, even when the
days are hot. He did not get warm till
he began to walk along the road again.
Oh, how he wished that every lane he
passed was the lane that led to Mr. Mur-
ray's garden-door! If he could but see
that garden and his friend Billy again,
how happy he should be! If he could
but be weeding that gravel-walk again
But it was all a great way off. He
walked the next day, and the next; get-
ting a halfpenny now and then, or a piece
of bread, and sleeping under a hedge at
night. At last he got to the town, which
he knew was only a few miles from
Heathfield. He remembered it; but he
felt as if he had hardly strength to walk
those few miles. And he felt ashamed of
begging when he was so near his friends.
Sometimes he thought they would have
nothing to say to him, because of the
way in which he had left them. And
yet he thought Miss Sophy would.
He walked slowly along the high-road,
eating blackberries to satisfy his hunger;
sometimes feeling afraid, and sometimes
anxious to get there. But as the sun got
hotter, his knees failed him. He got into
a field, and lay down under the hedge.
He heard the cheerful voices of the glean-
ers at the other end of the field. He
longed to ask some of them if they knew
Squire Murray. It might be one of his
fields; and if he could see any people who
knew where Miss Sophy was, he thought
they would be kind to him, and give him
food. But they had gleaned that part of
the field, and did not come near him.
Towards evening he got up, and looked
for some more blackberries; and in the
corner of the pocket of his ragged jacket
he found a crust still left. And he came
to a little stream that ran across the heath,
and by the place where Miss Sophy used to
go to gather flowers. It was like an old
From the stream he toiled up a steep
and dusty hill; and at the top of it he
lay down, and looked 'out into the dis-
tance. Just below were fields and trees;
fields with gleaners scattered about in
them, and tall trees, such as he knew there
were about Heathfield. And when he
looked again, he saw the sun, which was
low, shining on a church-spire. He knew
it was Heathfield; and he saw the large,
old farm-house by it, and the parsonage;
and, a little further on, Mr. Murray's stables,
and the large clock on them; and the tall
chimneys of the house among the great
elm-trees. Then the tears came into Rob-
in's eyes, for joy; but when he tried to
get up again, his legs failed him, and he
lay down under the hedge, and shut his
The next morning, when Miss Sophy's
maid came to wake her, she cried out,
the moment she opened the door:
"What do you think, Miss? Robin
Lee is come back again!"
Sophy sat up in bed, for she was but
just awake; and thought,' a moment,
whether she was dreaming. As soon as
she could speak, she said:
"Oh! I am so glad! Is the poor boy
safe and well?"
"Why, he seems half-starved, Miss;
but Master George will tell you about it,
when you are dressed."
Sophy jumped out of bed, very anxious
to hear more. She was very quick in
dressing; and then she had to take great
pains not to hurry through her prayers,
and not to be thinking about Robin's story
then. When she came into her mother's
room, she longed to begin about it; but
her mother told her that the bell would
ring in a moment.
Then they all went into the dining-
room to prayers; and at breakfast they
had time to talk about Robin. George
was very full of it; and he began by
telling how Green was coming down, late
in the evening, with the cart full of young
trees, that were to be planted in the cor-
ner of the field; and how he saw a boy
lying on the ground by the road-side;
how he said: "Get up, my boy; why
do you lie there at this time of night?"
and how, when the boy made no answer,
he went close to him to look at him, and
saw it was poor Robin. He was so tired
and hungry, that he could scarcely tell
Green all that had happened to him; but
he was very thankful to be lifted into the
cart, and brought home. "And, to be
sure," Green said, he did seem glad when
he got to my cottage again; and my
mistress made him a bed of straw in our
back-kitchen. He had something to eat;
and this morning he seems as if he would
do well enough."
Sophy and George now asked whether
Robin could not have work always; and
whether they might save all the money
they could to buy him clothes.
Mr. Murray said he would see what
could be done for him; and they all went
to see Robin, who was sitting in the shed.
When he saw them, he looked too happy
to speak; but he stood up and made a
bow, as he had been taught. And when
he was asked, if he was willing to be a
good boy, and work steadily, his eyes
looked very bright, and he said: ",That
So Green was called, and the matter
was talked over. They would try him
for a time; and he was to have Billy's
old clothes, and a clean frock to wear on
Sunday, and his food given him; and
he was to sleep in a loft in Green's cot-
tage, where the seeds used to be kept.
And his work was to be in the garden,
and wherever he was wanted. Robin
Looked from one to the other as they
talked, and looked very happy and thank-
ful. He felt sure he should do all right
and well, and never forget his duty.
He did try to do it, though it did not
come easy at first. He had been used to
an unsettled life, and found it hard to do
things regularly. When he was idle,
Green spoke sharply to him, as was rather
his way; and sometimes Robin was apt
to answer sharply again. And sometimes
he wished himself with his own set again;
but he soon called back better thoughts,
and grew obedient and industrious by de-
grees. He was very grateful to those
who were kind to him, and would do
anything for Miss Sophy and her brother.
And he always agreed well with Billy
Green, who took great pains to put him
in a way of doing things right; and,
through the winter, tried hard to teach
him to read in the evening, though Robin
was but a poor scholar, and never made
much of it. However, he listened when
the Greens were reading aloud, as they
did every evening, from the Bible, and
books which Mrs. Murray lent them.
And he went regularly to the Sunday-
School, and remembered what he heard
there; and, what was more, he tried to
practise it. All that Miss Sophy taught
him in school, he was sure to remember.
By Christmas-time, Robin was growing
to be a good, steady boy. Sophy and
her brother had leave to give him a new
suit of clothes to wear on Christmas-day;
and when spring came, he was -trusted to
go out with Miss Sophy and her donkey;
for George was gone to school, and she
wanted somebody to run by her side.
Jenny was always a great favourite
with Robin, and would follow him like a
dog. He had good reason to be fond of
her; for seeing her reminded him of the
44 THE DONKEY-BOY.
kind friends he had met with, and how
thankful he ought to be for all they had
done for him; most of all, for teaching
him his duty towards his neighbour, and
seeing that he practised it. Before he
had been living like a heathen, although
he had been baptized, like the other mem-
bers of Christ's Church. He learned all
these things now; and had reason, all his
life, to rejoice that his bad friends had
cast him off.
A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words
stir up strife.-Prov. xv. 1.
THE storm-gust meets the tall green tree,
And breaks his branches high;
The little flower bends down her head,
And the rude wind sweeps by.
The lake's calm waters break and yield
Beneath the dashing oar;
The boat sweeps on-the soft waves meet
As smoothly as before.
The gentle word, the meek reply,
When angry passions wake,
Unscathed shall meet them like the flower
That bends, but does not break.
The soul that beareth patiently
Harsh word or chiding hard,
Flows on, in her own quiet peace,
Unruffled and unmarred.
The quick retort, the hasty speech,
The gibes that will not cease.
How ill the children they beseem
Of the dear Prince of peace!
It was not thus in olden time,
When heathens, as they strove,
Looked on CHRIST'S brother-band and said,
"See how those Christians love!"
And He whose lip did ne'er resent
Fierce taunt and cruel blow,
He blest the peaceable of heart,
GoD's children here below.
And sure that blessing high were worth
The strife with self and sin;
To cast away the angry thought,
To keep the harsh word in,
SOFT ANSWERS. 47
To yield in loving gentleness,
That your poor homes may be
Faint emblems of that glorious place
Where all is unity.
And ye are pledged to do and bear
Where'er CHRIST'S banner leads;
Come, take your crosses in your hands,-
True love is shown by deeds.