Tom Bentley or, The story of a prodigal

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Material Information

Title:
Tom Bentley or, The story of a prodigal
Portion of title:
Story of a prodigal
Cover title:
Tom Bentley, or Lost and found
Physical Description:
368, 16 p., 3 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Hoyt, Henry ( Publisher )
Kilburn, Samuel Smith ( Engraver )
Publisher:
Henry Hoyt
Place of Publication:
Boston
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Business -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Regeneration (Theology) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sin -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Repentance -- Christianity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Success -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Grace (Theology) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prodigal son (parable) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1870   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Kilburn.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002238617
notis - ALH9137
oclc - 43802692
System ID:
UF00023890:00001

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Full Text
L j k i
0 Ir


The Baldwin Library
UniR rity
.u t
;;!)*id


I, I
w .
OCZ~~bI Fi:


:!i ~ I
win
FRONTISPIECE.-Chap. I.


OR,
ihe $torg l( H a rodiLa.
"WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP."
BOSTON,
PUBLISHED BY HEXRY HOYT,
No. 9 CORNHILL.


Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1870, by
HENRY HOYT,
In the Office of the Library of Congress, at Washington


PREFACE.
HE following is not a sketch of
pure imagination, as its form might
. seem to indicate. A life that has
been lived furnishes the framework of the
story, and gives force to all the lessons of
moral and religious truths that may be derived
from it.


This page contains no text.


CONTENTS:
CHAPTER I. PAGE.
"A SATURDAY . .. 7
CHAPTER II.
"A SABBATH .........29
CHAPTER II.
MY BROTHER AND SISTER . 49
CHAPTER IV.
A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE . 71
CHAPTER V.
I FORM A RESOLUTION . 93
CHAPTER VI.
I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD 115
CHAPTER VII.
I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION . . 136
CHAPTER VIII.
A VISITOR FROM HOME 159
CHAPTER IX.
A NEW SENSATION 184


6 CONTENTS.
CHAPTER X. PAGE.
I CHANGE MY PLAN 209
CHAPTER XI.
I AM ARRESTED 232
CHAPTER XII.
I ENTER A NEW WORLD 261
CHAPTER XIII.
I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER . . 285
CHAPTER XIV.
THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH WITHOUT OBSERVATION 304
CHAPTER XV.
A LIFE'S LABOR LOST . ..... ... 330
CHAPTER XVI.
THE END OF MY STORY 335


I
TOM BENTLEY.
"CHAPTER I.
A SATURDAY.
AM an old bachelor. It would be
out of place to tell here how this
has come about; but such is the
fact. As I sit here in my comfort-
able room, a picture often rises
vividly before my mind. I am transported
from among the prairies of the West to the
rugged hills of Vermont. In a valley among
7


8 TOM BENTLEY.
the outlying spurs of the Green Mountains,
at the foot of a long, sloping hill, down
which the white wagon-road creeps, stands
a long, low, red farm-dwelling. I say the
road creeps down the hill. I suppose I use
that word of slow motion, because, during the
years that that picture formed the scenery of
my daily life, I have no recollection of ever see-
ing a team of horses moving over that portion of
the road more rapidly than at a slow walk.
Indeed, it would have been dangerous : for jut-
ting rocks thrust themselves out on either hand,
compelling the road to turn first to the right,
then to the left; and it would have needed a
skilful driver and well-trained horses to. thread
that road safely at any thing like a brisk trot.
Besides, there were few passing, save on
homely errands, with heavy wagons and heavy
loads. This, too, was thirty years ago; and the
dwellers among those rugged hills were a slow
people. A railroad passed within about ten


A SATURDAY. 9
miles of ps, it is true; but it was compara-
tively a new thing, while our habits and ways
were old and well-settled. I learn that the
old red house itself has since been demolished
to make way for improvements; thrown into
heaps of refuse rubbish, as if no sacred memo-
ries were clinging to its very stones and
timbers.
But then, as I have already said, they were
a slow people. They had been content for
scores of years to thread their way up and
down the hill, in and out among the rocks,
enjoying their picturesqueness as they stood
gray and moss-grown, with trailing plants
creeping over them, and now and then a
sturdy bush or tree thrusting its roots down
between the crevices, and drawing up nourish-
ment from the scanty soil. Beeches and
maples, the growth of centuries, flourished here
and there.
At the. foot of the hill, the scene abruptly


10 TOM BENTLEY.
changes. There stood the red farm-house,
just where the road struck the dead level of
the valley. I well remember how eagerly I
used to watch the teams coming slowly and
cautiously down the hill, and how impatiently
I waited for the halt at the bottom, where
horses were often watered from our well. I
was almost always there to catch a few words
of chat with the drivers, many of whom I
knew.
But now and then a stranger from the out-
side world, of which I knew so little beyond
the encircling range of hill-tops which shut us
in, would feast my boyish mind with won-
derful stories of cities and railroads and ships,
and enterprises of various sorts, as full of
marvel to me as if they had been scenes from
some other planet. Then, as the watering was
completed and I could hear no more, I still
stood and listened intently to the crack of the
whip, and the brisk chirrup with which the


A SATURDA Y. 11
freshened horses were started on the level half-
mile across the valley.
Just here, amid these quiet scenes, I first
found,- myself. The first clear and vivid
recollection of the workings of my own mind
that I can now recall was of something in my
tenth year.. Of course, I clearly remember
many scenes and events previous. I remem-
ber quiet and peaceful days; I also remember
days of childish trouble: but from that moment
I clearly remember myself, and my own per-
sonal and individual life. I distinctly recall,
across the distant interval of time, the occasion
when I first -if I may so express myself--
turned my eyes inward, and became self-con-
scious. It was a drowsy summer afternoon.
I had been in the hay-field all the morning,
professedly tossing over the hay to dry it more
thoroughly; for I was a stout boy, and was
already required to take my share in the light
labors of the farm. But the truth was, I had


12 TOM BENTLEY.
a far better talent for play than for work; and,
indeed, I had a peculiar talent for turning work
into play, especially in the hay-field. But,
whether it were with work or with play, I had
tired myself, and considered a little recreation
necessary. So, with a precious corn-stalk
fiddle in hand, with which I was accustomed
on any such occasion to regale myself, I strolled
half-way up the hill of which I have spoken,
to a favorite retreat under a wide-spreading
beech-tree near the roadside, where I could
see up and down the valley, and also up and
down the road, so that I might not by mis-
chance miss seeing whoever might pass, or fail
to run beside any descending wagon" to the
watering-place at the well, to hear talk about
something foreign to the routine of every-day
life. For little fellow that I was, ten years old,
I had already begun to look out with dissatisfied
longings over the distant hill-tops, and over the
still more distant heights of the Green Moun-
tains beyond.


A SA TURDA Y. 13
I think I must have fallen asleep; for I was
suddenly startled by an unusual rumbling, and,
springing to my feet, I saw a huge red wagon
just passingmy retreat. For an instant I was
too much astonished to follow: but looking
again, and seeing a long train of similar wagons
coming down the hill, I lost no time in run-
ning at full speed to the well at the bottom of
the hill; and, before the wonderful wagon had
reacheq the well, I was there, ready to offer
any inducement to the driver to stop and
water. He was ready to embrace the opportu-
nity; for it was warm, and his horses were
tired. I found him disposed to be sociable;
and, after keeping my excited curiosity in
check for a moment for decency's sake, -I
abruptly asked him, What have you got
there? pointing to his wagon.
"A lion," he answered. "Shall I let him
out ?"
I had been to school, and had drawled


14 TOM BENTLEY.
through the first, second, and third readers of
that day, and had a dim idea of what a lion
must be; but, as I heard his restless tramping
up and down within the narrow limits of his
barred cage, it seemed too much to believe,
that there was actually a lion standing there,
*almost before the very door of our red farm-
house.
"Couldn't you let me see him? I asked
with suppressed breath.
"Ho, ho he laughed. '" Couldn't
possibly."
" Where are you going ? I asked.
"Going to exhibit in Poultney. Come, go
along, and then you can see the lion arid all
tW: rest."
By this time, the whole family had gathered
at the door of the house to see the unwonted
spectacle. The other wagons of the caravan
were also gathering in a group near the foot of
the hill, waiting for their chance at the water-


A SATURDAY. 15
ing. The band-wagon stood near. My
chatty acquaintance called out, Say, Bill,
toot up a little for this youngster."
The musicians drew themselves up from
their various listless attitudes, seemingly glad
of any thing to arouse them., They raised
their instruments to their lips, and sent forth a
blast that woke the echoes of thea surrounding
hills in a way in which they had never before
been roused. I was beside myself. It was the
first time in my life that I had ever heard a
brass band. It did not occur to my childish
mind that it was simply a catch, to draw in the
family, if possible, to the exhibition four miles
away.
"What have they all got ? I asked eagerlyy-
"as the music ceased.
"Oh! bears and tigers and monkeys and
birds, and all sorts of animals. Come, go
along. I'll take you, in real earnest, and you
can walk back. It's only four miles, and


16 TOM BENTLEY.
bright moonlight. Then you can see all; and
we have music and all sorts of fine things. I'd
be real glad of your company," he added with
a dreary yawn. It's dreadful tiresome, rid-
ing round alone."
" Oh, how I wish I could go! "
I know my black eyes must have sparkled
with the intense eagerness of that wish. The
man looked at me with an amused look, and
said, Well, I told you I'd take you. Go ask
your father."
I sprang to my father's side as he stood in
the door, and put my question.
I can see him now as he stood there, his
hair waving in the summer wind, and smiling
at the vehemence of my request. He smiled:
he laughed at me, with the same appreciation
of the absurdity of my wish with which I can
now laugh at myself, but so kindly, so affec-
tionately, that I wonder I should for a moment
have doubted his goodness and his wisdom.


This page contains no text.


"'0, how I wish I could go."-Page 16.


A SATURDAY. 17
He gave me no answer till I repeated my
uestion, and then said, "It's impossible,
Tommy. Don't you know it is Saturday ?"
By this time my new acquaintance had
mounted to his seat, and called out, Come
on," as he flourished his whip to start. I
shook my head, and stood watching his depar-
ture, with two sorrowful tears coursing their
way down my cheeks. I had no heart to make
further acquaintance as, one after another,
the men descended from their seats, and stood at
the well. I had no enjoyment in seeing the
gay cavalcade as they filed away across the
valley. I scarcely even took pleasure in the
py plumage of the birds, as I could catch
glimpses of them through the open bars of
their cage.
I stood by my father, his hand resting on my
shoulder. My mother was near; my older
brother had gone to the well; my three sisters
"were gazing, and asking childish-questions, but


18 TOM BENTLEY.
my heart was filled with madness. As the
caravan disappeared, I shook off my father's
hand, and turned morosely away. He went
limping into the house: he was slightly lame.
I heard him telling the girls about the great
tent that would be spread, and what a wonder-
ful sight it would be for them, if they could
see the animals ranged in their cages; and I
walked away, that I might hear no more. I
joined my brother at the well.
" Don't you wish the elephants could have
come this way ? he asked.
" N;I growled.
He saw that I was angry,- he had seen me
so many times, and he said no more.
But soon my curiosity mastered me; and I
asked, Why didn't they come? Just 'cause*
I'd seen them, I suppose."
"They took them around the other road
because there is a good fordfng-place. They
won't cross a bridge."
'* 9^*


A SATURDAY 19
"'Twas just so I shouldn't see them, I
knew it was; but I'll see them some time, and
lots of other things too."
" Quite likely," replied my brother, who
was a quiet, matter-of-fact boy of fifteen.
I turned swiftly on my heel, despising my
brother for his contented spirit. Just then we
were called to dinner. My father was still
telling the girls about the animals; but I would
neither listen nor ask a question. As soon as
I had swallowed my dinner, I retreated to the
dreariest corner of the stone fence near at
hand, pulled out my cornstalk fiddle fro my-
pocket, and drew from it the most dolorous
sounds it was capable of producing, while my
mind travelled on and on with the caravan
towards Poultney. My music did not soothe
me. I measured the distance, almost by foot-
"steps, as my acquaintance proceeded with his
lion, thinking all the time how easily I might
have been seated by his side; only my father


20 TOM BENTLEY.
wouldn't let me. I have no recollection of
ever having felt so rebellious before; for I
knew he was kind and good, and, in our quiet
way of living, he had not often thwarted my
wishes, except in common matters. But this
was such a rare occasion, such a golden oppor-
tunity, it seemed to me; and yet he had fairly
crossed my path, and I hated him for it.
This seems a strong expression; but I recognize
the truth of it now, though I should ha,
denied it then.
The Saturday night was coming on, anfth.is
seemed to aggravate my trouble. iy-father
had been brought up in the practice of com-
mencing the Sabbath at six o'clock on Satur-
day evening; and although he had so fa
accommodated himself to the changing custom
of the country, that he no longer kept the
Saturday night as holy time, yet te sacred-
ness of the lingering associations, of his boy-
hood would not yet permit him to look upon it


A SATURDA Y 21
as quite common time. No secular employ-
ments were carried on in our dwelling. A
sober serenity pervaded all our pursuits, of
which even we children felt the influence.
"-'Indeed, that hallowed feeling comes over me
now and then at the distance of these many
years, and, overleaping the chasm that sepa-
rates my boyhood from my manhood, subdues
me into quiet thoughtfulness as the Saturday-
night sun goes down, and forms a fitting pre-
lude to'the holy joys of the c"ning morning.
"But that Saturday niht ws different. The
restrictions of God's \i thei fyist pressed
upon me as 'fetters. Nopt much 'f' devotion, J
suppose, had ever before thab time mingled
with my Sabbath exercises. Yet the day had
been far from iifome. But now the ap-
proaching Sabbath had thrust itself between
me and this very great and unus fal gratifica-
tion that had been off':ed %ne." On another
day, I fancied my father would have permitted


22 TOM BENTLEY.
me to go; and so not only parental authority,
but God's law, had stood in my path.
Many times I had said that I loved God.
I thought I dI., I had my meditative times,
although, upon the whole, active in tempera-
ment. There were times when I loved to sit
still in my pleasant seat under the beech-tree,
and look about me, up and down thp valley, up
to the still, summer sky, down to my home
nestling at the foot of the hill; and, when I
saw how beautiful and grand and glorious all
the works of God's hand were, I was filled
with an admiration that I mistook for the y
"of God. When I heard, as I sometimes "id1.,
even in those quiet days, of deeds of great
wickedness, I was filled with a horror that I
thought entitled me to a place on the side of
God and all goodness. But now Ihuad come
to a plainly marked line, God upon one side,
I on the other; and I clearly saw where I stood.
For the paltry gratification of an hour, I


A SATURDAY. 23
would have trampled God's commandment in
the dust. I would have swept the Sabbath
from existence with my puny arm, so that it
might never more come between me and my
pleasure.
I have thought many times of the experi-
ence of that hour, when reading what Paul
says of the commandment, ordained to life,
but perverted by the sinful heart unto death.
Of course, child that I was then, I did not
understand the procs's of sudden development
through which I pas Fd: It was only as I
looked back from lIter, and far different, points
of observation, that I recognized the truth, that,
even then, at that hour, sin, from its secret
lurking-place in my heart, sprung into vitality
and strength, and I loved it. It was God's
law, seen as that which thwarted my wishes,
that awoke the dormant enemy within.
I staid out from just after dinner till past
the usual tea-time. I heard my mother calling


24 TOM BENTLEY.
me, but I would not answer. It was quite
dusk, in the long summer twilight, before I
entered the house. My father and mother,
and Brother William and two older sisters,
were sitting quietly reading. Lucy, the
youngest, had drawn her chair close to
mother, and laid her head on her. knee.
She came to meet me, though my entrance
made no impression on the others. A bowl of
bread and milk stood on the table waiting for
my supper, which Lucy begged me to eat.
There was a struggle, for a few moments,
between a boy's appetite and my rebel is
spirit, which would gladly have put on a show
of dignity; but appetite prevailed, and I
emptied the dish, and wished there had been
more of it. Then I slipped off gently to
bed.
From the fact that no notice was taken of
my moroseness, I suspect that it was no new
thing with me. It was only the circumstances


A SATURDAY. 25
that made this particular occasion so impres-
sive, and caused it to take its place among the
pictures of memory as the earliest among the
decisive points of my life.
We always attended church in Poultney
"when the weather would permit; and the limits
within which it would not permit were exceed-
ingly narrow. The road was smooth and hard,
and it was an easy drive with our stout farm-
horses. The next morning, I was uncommonly
eager for the starting. In my excitement, all
outward traces of the sullenness of the pre-
vious night had vanished; and my father, it
seemed to me, was unusually affectionate. As
he and my Brother William busied themselves
about the horses, my father's slight limp mak-
ing his movements the more noticeable, I
climbed into the big farm-wagon in which we
always rode, and looked on anxiously. The
minutes seemed. long drawn out; and when at
length we were all seated, seven of us in the


26 TOM BENTLEY.
wagon, and the horses started on their leisure
trot across the level half-mile of vglley-road, I
Scould think of nothing but that the train of
red wagons had passed over it, and that we
were now following them.
My father was chatty. He usually was on
that Sunday-morning ride. He always saw
many beautiful things to point out to us, if it
were nothing more than a newly-blossomed
flower, or a field of corn that had made a fine
growth during the week, or a beautiful group-
ing of clouds, or the special effect of a gleam
of sunlight. His mind seemed, on those morn-
ings, to be like that of the Psalmist when he
wrote the One Hundred and Fourth Psalm, -
thrown open to the light of God as revealed in
sky and mountain and hill and stream, in bird
and beast, in tree and shrub, and in man, the
appointed lord of all the lower creation. I
had always before delighted to listen to him;
but, on that morning, I wished he would keep
B


A SATURDAY. 27
still, that I might follow in silence the progress
of the caravan.
As we approached the village, I looked
eagerly on every hand, and even rose in my
seat, that I might more fully search the familiar
landscape for some new object. At length I
ventured to whisper to my Brother William,
" I don't see it."
"See what?" he asked.
"Why, the tent, of course."
My father overheard me. You are look-
ing for the tent, are you, Tommy ? he said.
"It's gone miles from hete by this time.
The animals are well enough, my boy. I'd
have liked it if you could have seen them. But
the men that go with them are generally bad
men. I wouldn't like to have my boy ride
with a man that cares nothing for the Sabbath
day. Yes, they are miles from here by this
time, and, likely enough, taking this day to
make repairs that they can't take time for
during the week."


28 TOM BENTLEY.
" Miles from here by this time," was all I
thought about then. We were passing the
very spot where they had exhibited the night
before. The trampled earth and a litter of
straw was all that remained.


CHAPTER II.
A SABBATH.
E drew near the church. It was
an old frame building, painted
" white. I can see it now, with
its clumsy steeple, story upon
story, surmounted by a figure
made of tin, supposed to represent an angel
blowing the gospel trumpet, which, at the same
time, by its perpetual turnings, served to show
which way the wind blew. I have no idea
how long that grotesque figure had swung
there. If it formed part of the original struc-
ture, it must have been long; for in front of
my father's pew sat an old man ninety years of
29


30 TOM BENTLEY.
age, who had sat in that same pew ever since
he was old enough to be taken to church. I
used to wonder if I should continue to go
there, and sit in the same seat, till I, like him,
should be ninety years old and upwards.
As we drew up to the broad platform in
front of the church, and jumped, we boys
always first, from the wagon, while my father
and my older brother assisted my mother and
the girls to alight, I hastened to join a group
of boys who were standing on the platform,
some of whom were my Sunday-school acquaint-
ance. They were talking, as boys always.
will talk, of whatever is most exciting; and I,
though I knew better, was eager to join them,
in order to hear something about the wonder-
ful exhibition of the day and night previous.
Some of the boys had attended in the after-
noon; others, whose parents were less strict, in
the evening. All had heard the music, all saw
the parade, all partook more or less of the
excitement incident to the occasion.


A SABBATH. 31
Boys of the present day, who witness so fre-
quently the coarseness, vulgarity, and brutality
of the common circus, may wonder that this
spectacle, which I at that time failed to witness,
and about which I was so anxious to hear,
Sshould have moved me so much. But, as I
have intimated before, this was a simple ani-
mal show, with no demoralizing performances
of horses or of low men connected with it.
Besides, it was the first that had ever crossed
my path. I, therefore, listeped eagerly as the
boys told about the animals and the wonderful
music.
"Why didn't you come, Tommy ? asked
one. There was lots of boys in that had to
come farther than you."
"'Cause I never can do what I want to," I
answered.
"Tommy," said my father. I turned, and
he stood close beside me. He had heard my
reply, but he said nothing about it then. He


32 TOM BENTLEY.
only repeated my name, more affectionately
than usual, I fancied. At least, as I recollect
it now, there was a shade of sadness in the
tone that I had never before noticed.
" Tommy, it is time to go in; and this is God's
house, my son."
We entered; I and my younger sister, my spe-
cial favorite, bringing up the rear as usual, and
all filing in to our accustomed seat. The old
man of ninety was already there., He turned
and shook hands with my father, with his
customary salutation, "Good-morning, Josiah."
It did not seem too familiar, nor at all dis-
respectful. He had known my father from his
boyhood; and though he was then fifty, and his
hair mixed with a good deal of gray, the old
man near a hundred still familiarly called him
Josiah Bentley.,
The services soon commenced; the pastor,
who had married my father and mother, in-
voking, with touching solemnity, the blessing


A SABBATH. 33
of God upon the congregation, from the oldest
to the youngest. But my heart was like the
barren rock, and would not receive the bless-
ing that silently descended upon every waiting
soul.
Then followed the singing. I had always
delighted in the grand old tunes sung by the
choir, 'in which the whole congregation joined
with' "a willing mind. I had even thought
nothing could excel the grandeur of the big
bass-viol, which groaned its dismal accompani-
ment along with the vocal harmony. But that
morning I could think of nothing but the brass
S band, of which I had heard only the few notes
beside my father's well.
So I turned my back upon all the worship
of that beautiful Sabbath, and turned a deaf
ear to all its instructions, and thought my own
thoughts, foolish and wicked and miserable
thoughts as they were. I had been eating, in
my own behalf, of the tree of knowledge of
3


34 TOM BENTLEY.
good and evil; and the result to me, as to the
first partakers, was only evil. I do not speak
of this as the first time I had eaten that fruit,
so beautiful to the eye, but so bitter in its con-
sequences, but only as the time which first
impressed itself vividly on my memory.
After the church services followed the Sab-
bath school, to which nearly all remained; the
congregation dividing up into classes of all
ages, from the infant class to those of gray-
haired men and women. The lesson that day
was the parable of the prodigal son; upon
which I inwardly commented by thinking how
much better I would do, if I only had the
young man's chance of going off to try the
world for myself. Nothing was pleasant to
me, nothing profitable.
On our ride home through the sultry mid-
day, I saw at one time my father's eyes wan-
dering from point to point of the amphitheatre
of hills with which we were surrounded. I


A SABBATH. 35
knew, from the glow upon his countenance,
that his thoughts, whatever they might be,
would soon burst forth in expressive language;
for such was his habit. I was not mistaken.
"As the mountains are round Jerusalem, so
the Lord is round about his people, from
hericeforth, even forever," he repeated fer-
vently. It had been the text of the morning.
The scenery through which we were passing
recalled to his mind the pastor's vivid descrip-
tion of the sheltering mountains that kept their
perpetual watch around the holy and beautiful
Scity. The description had been given in lan-
gua'ge adapted even to my comprehension,
child as I was; but I had given little heed to it.
My father seemed to enter with a transport of
delight into the beautiful imagery of the
Psalmist. "Why, think of it, children," said
"he, turning to us, trusting the horses to the
"familiar road without his watchful eye for a
few moments. "Think of it. So the Lord is


86 TOM BENTLEY.
round about his people from henceforth, even
forever. Just as 'these hills shut in and pro-
tect this beautiful valley. Ah, yes!" he
added, "and round about those that are not
his people too; but not for shelter nor protec-
tion."
I shuddered. The thought of the Lord,
round about me so silently, watching me for
ever and ever, was terrible. I felt sure that I
was not of his people. I had no wish to be.
I only wished I could escape from the ever-
present God, whose care and watch were so
vividly represented by the hills and mountains
around us.
So we slowly passed on homewards. The
Sabbath was never a day of-haste with us.
To reach home in time to take the necessary
care of the stock was all we aimed to do.
I watched my father more closely than
usual. Something, either in his manner or in
my own state of mind, induced me to do so.


A SABBATH. 37
I could see his eye wandering from point to
point in the ever-changing landscape, and his
pleasant thoughts were now and then out-
spoken. His confiding and reverent trust in
God,- his God, the God of his fathers,-
" was a rock-of strength to him; while I--I
write it now with horror I wished there
were no God.
Thus far my reminiscences have kept me out
of doors; at least, so far as our own home was
concerned: I suppose, simply, for the reason,
that, during the summer weather, we lived
almost wholly in the open air. A long, low
porch, covered with vines, extended across the
entire front of our house, with doors opening
from it both into the better and the commoner
rooms. Here all summer we lived, often
Staking our meals under its ample shelter, and
only retreating within the house when night or
stormy weather drove us in.
When we reached home that Sabbath after-


38 TOM BENTLEY.
noon, a storm was threatening. It had been
gathering in black masses upon the verge of
the horizon, and, by the time we arrived, had
overspread the heavens. So we gathered in
the sitting-room, and I well knew what was
coming as soon as the meal was over. I knew
we children were to be qpestioned and in-
structed in religious truth; and, for the first
time, I dreaded the hour. I fancied it was
because we were shut up within doors. That
hour of parental instruction had always been
a cheerful hour, enlivened with illustration
and anecdote and free conversation, in which
my father and mother and all the children
took their part; and I had never thought of it
as otherwise than delightful. But on that day
I had indulged in so many murmuring and
rebellious thoughts, both of God and of my
parents, that I had no heart for our usual
exercises. Yet I dared not say so.
When the. table was removed, I drew my


A SABBATH. 39
chair to its usual place, and seated myself with
Lucy beside me. Lucy was four years
younger than I. One had died, who, if living,
would have broken the wide interval, as it
seemed, that separated Lucy from the rest of
Sus, and made her the pet of the household. I
honestly thought Lucy was the prettiest little
girl in the world; and .I am yet sometimes
half-inclined, as I mentally recall her sweet
picture, to believe I was not wide of the truth.
When she drew up her chair beside me that
evening (it was a little, low rocking-chair), and
laid her hand on my knee, and lifted her
round face to meet the smile I never could
fail to give her, my stubborn moroseness
melted away, and I was myself again, at
least to her.
My oldest sister, Martha, was seventeen.
She was still busy, assisting my mother with
her household duties. My Brother William
Swas out with my father; while Sarah -


40 TOM BENTLEY.
between William and myself- was darting
hither and thither, restless, as she always was,
yet never accomplishing much in any direction.
So Lucy and I sat waiting till the rest should
i be ready to join us. We were seated near a
tall clock, that reached from floor to ceiling,
and which had never, for an instant, to my
knowledge, ceased ticking away the moments
of our existence. On the other side of the
fireplace, filled, as it always was during the
summer, with boughs of evergreen, stood my
father's writing-table, with a small book-case
upon it, within which were arranged the few
books that composed our family library. There
was one pane of glass broken in the book-case
doors. I remember at this moment the very
shape of the fracture. I think, if that broken
pane had been replaced by a whole one, I
should scarcely have recognized the familiar
old piece of furniture. Many times I had
read upon the backs of the books their gilded


A SABBATH. 41
names. There was "Baxter's Saints' Rest,"
which my mother never wearied of reading on
Sunday evenings. There was a "Life of
Washington," which I remember seeing my
brother peruse; I from time to time watching
his progress, and wondering how he could ever
think of undertaking to read a whole book,
leaf by leaf. There was also a "Universal
History," which my brother had read. There
was a Pilgrim's Progress," in which the girls
.delighted, and which I supposed Lucy would
take up in due time. As for myself, beyond
these titles, and some others, my acquaintance
with books was exceedingly small. There
were several large volumes lying on the top of
the book-case, which I have no recollection of
ever having seen moved, and of the contents
of which now I have not the smallest idea.
'My curiosity never led me to investigate in
that direction. I knew they belonged there.
I should have missed them if they had been


42 TOM BENTLEY.
moved, just as I should have missed the brass
ornaments from the top of the clock. Indeed,
the brass ornaments were far more suggestive
to me.
Lucy and I had some minutes to wait before,
the others were ready. Her reverent spirit
was a check upon me. I would gladly have
frolicked a little with her ; but beyond the
sweet smile upon her rosy mouth, that be-
tokened a happy heart within, I could by no
means move her. Her calm blue eyes re-
buked me the moment I went too far in my
efforts to overstep the proper sobriety of the
Sabbath; yet those same blue eyes sparkled
with life and vivacity. The Sabbath was to
her a "delight, the holy of the Lord, honor-
able; and, notwithstanding my efforts to lead
her into unseemly playfulness, I felt all the
while that she was better that I.
At length the two arm-chairs were occupied;
and my brother and other sisters were also


A SABBATH. 43
ranged in their places; and we were eacl called
upon to repeat some portion of Scripture
learned for the occasion, my father commen-
cing. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help," he repeated
slowly; and, not content with the one verse,
he went on through the whole of the beautiful
psalm. The hills! He could not forget the
striking and impressive symbol of God's pres-
ence and protecting power.
"My son, give me thy heart," repeated my
mother. Ah, she bore us always on her heart!
and, in the moments when she drew nearest to
God, the burden of her children's salvation
went always with her.
"But whosoever shall drink of the water
that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the
water that I shall give him shall be in him
a well of water, springing up into everlasting
life," said Martha. I gave no thought then to
the motive that guided her selection.
r'*- -


44 TOM BENTLEY.
" I will arise and go to my father, and will
say to him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before thee, and am no more wor-
thy to be called thy son: make me as one of
thy hired servants," repeated William. His
voice trembled as he uttered these words,
and there was something in the expression of
his countenance that made me wonder. A tear
also stood in my mother's eyes, and Martha
looked at William's face with earnest tenderness.
I remember now that it was not many Sabbaths
after this, that I saw him stand up in the midst
of the great congregation, and make a good pro-
fession of his faith in Christ; and I recognized
the thread that connected my mother's and
Martha's and William's Scripture selection.
Then Sarah gave hers, .to which Martha had
directed her,-" Come, ye children, hearken
unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord."
I came next in order. I hung my head, for
I had prepared nothing.


A SABBATH. 45
"He shall coverithee with his feathers, and
under his wings shalt thou trust," said Lucy's
clear voice. Papa," she added, "isn't that
pretty? Mamma told it to me the 'ther night,
while I watched my little chickens creeping
away'so snug and safe."
Lucy's text was commented upon, my own
delinquency reproved, and then followed an
exercise in the catechism. Those formulas of
truth, so dry and distasteful to me then, come
back to my memory now, freighted with their
fulness of meaning, like well-packed boxes of
rich fruit, of which I then saw only the rough
outside.
Then we all sang together a few hymns, my
father leading off with his still tuneful voice.
SThat evening we sung, Rise, my soul, and
stretch thy wings," my father's special favorite.
Then, Give' me the wings of faith to rise."
Then my mother suggested Rock of Ages."
,^Ve'all sung; and I wondered why William's
';' ' .'".


46 TOM BENTLEY.
voice should ring out so clear and full, and
why he should have been so evidently im-
pressed with the words he was singing. I do
not wonder now. I understand it.
Then we dispersed. My father took up his
Bible, my mother her Saints' Rest." Mar-
tha and William walked together up and down
the porch. The storm was over, the air
deliciously pure and sweet, and the sun was
sinking in the west amidst a glory of golden
clouds. Lucy could not go out, because the
grass was wet from the recent shower; and I
escaped from them all. Yes, it was an escape,
a relief. I wanted to get away and be alone;
not that I might think over the precious les-
sons of the day, but that I might nurse 'my
rebellious thoughts, and strengthen myself in
my hatred of all that was good and pure and
holy.
I wandered as far as the Sunday limits would
allow. We were not permitted to go beyond


A SABBATH. 47
the yard-fence on Sundays; and this again came
up to me as. a hitherto unobserved grievance.
Many times in these later years I have rejoiced
in the wisdom that set those bounds to my feet,
and so drew a strongly-marked line between
the Sabbath and other days. I had never be-
fore thought of. this restraint as a hardship,
but had submitted to it as a thing of course.
But I had given loose rein to my wilfulness
th:t day; and it seemed to me I was hemmed
in on all sides by barriers and limits, the re-
'straiit of which was not to be tolerated.
S As I look back from this distance of time, I
marvel at the effect produced upon me by the
incidents of that Saturday and Sabbath. The
spirit of insubordination was fairly aroused.
It was this that impressed the events of those
two days so vividly upon my mind. The mere
"privation of not seeing the show I so much
Wished to see gave me a momentary regret
comparatively; but the effect produced by my


48 TOM BENTLEY.
strong rebellion against wholesome restraifit
was lasting.
I wandered to the farthest possible point
within the limits assigned us. I had spent
many a happy, tranquil, Sabbath-evening hour
within those limits, lying dreamily on the grass,
or delighting myself with Lucy's subdued play-
fulness; but that evening, I could only hang
upon the stone-wall, looking over and beyond
into the prohibited regions. And so, giving
myself up to the sin that was strong within me,
I became a willing captive, not knowing, or
rather desiring not to know, that the end thereof
was the way of death.


CHAPTER III.
MY BROTHER AND SISTER.
S I have already said, a few weeks
later my Brother William united
himself to the people of God. I
sat in the pew, and looked on, as
he went- forward, and stood alone
before the pulpit, while the solemn questions
were put respecting his belief in the great
doctrines of Christianity. I can see now his
boyish, half-developed figure, standing there in
the morning sunlight. I remember, when the
minister pronounced his final question,- This
you believe ? "-How clearly my brother's
voice responded, "I do," in a tone which,
though subdued and low, was heard in the
4 49


50 TOM BENTLEY.
remotest corner of the silent house. "Let us
pray," said the preacher. Then followed
prayer, in which the remaining members of
my honored father's family were remembered,
that they, too, might soon be gathered into the
Redeemer's kingdom.
" That means me," I thought; but I added
no amen to the prayer. When it was ended,
and my brother retihred to the pew, Lucy
was in tears. She slipped' silently from her
place on my left hand to the other side, that
she might also be beside William. She nestled
clboe to him, and lifted one glance of her
tearful eyes to his face. He put his arm
around her, and she seemed satisfied.
"I don't care," I inwardly muttered.' I
"can do without her too." So I slid to the
farthest corner of the old-fashioned square pew.
The rest of the family were all occupied with
the worship. I could see nothing but my
sweet little sister leaning fondly against Wil-


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 51
liam, and his arm thrown affectionately around
her. I said I did not care. I tried to make
myself believe I did not. But I was enraged.
I had always maintained a special claim to
Lucy, and was especially jealous if William
came in any way between her and me. But,
for all that, I had to sit, during that hour of
morning worship, and look on from my gloomy
corner,-gloomy, because I was full of dark-
ness, -and mark the various interchanges of
affection between those two. Now, her little
hand rested on his knee; then it sought his
hand, and thrust its slim fingers confidingly
into his roughening palm; again, it was an
affectionate glance from her speaking eyes.
Not one of all her movements was lost upon
me; and by every one I felt myself aggrieved.
As we were gathering in our places for
Sabbath school, 'Lucy came to ask me a ques-
tion. I pushed her from me, and would not
answ eT.


/
"5,2 TOM BENTLEY.
So the chasm widened between me and the
rest of the family; I myself widening it all
the time. As I have before said, the exhibi-
tion of these traits of character was probably
no new thing with me, I am simply relating
the particular instances which impressed them-
selves upon my memory, and which, for many
years, stood unrecognized, silent, but unim-
peachable witnesses of the terrible power of sin
that reigned' within me, and which I had
neither desire nor strength to check.
From that day forward, Lucy was never
quite the same to me that she had been before.
She seemed afar off, though coming near now
and then, and touching me, as if with white
wings; but no longer treading the same paths
with myself, because, by her simple, childlike
actions, she had so plainly shown me which
way her sympathies lay.
That evening in our family prayers, and
often afterwards, my Brother William led. It


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 53
was the first time I had ever heard his voice
in prayer; though, as we slept together, I had
often seen him on his knees before retiring.
I was well satisfied, myself, with hurrying
through the Lord's Prayer; and I well knew,
from the length of time that William spent on
* 1is knees, that he by no means limited himself
to the use of that well-known form, the repe-
tition of which had been fastened upon us as
"a habit, by our careful mother, from our earliest
recollections. In .many other respects, I could
kot but bear unwilling testimony to the grow-
ing power of Christianity in William's heart
and-life. In years past, we had had our conten-
tions, in which he had taken his full share.
But I could no longer provoke him to anger.
"This angered me the more, because it placed
him over me, and gave him an advantage-
"against me, as my superior, not only by right
ofyears, but of character also.
SMy increasing moroseness was not suffered


54 TOM BENTLEY.
to pass without remonstrance and rebuke.
But to all these I turned a deaf ear, consider-
ing myself the aggrieved party: my grievance
being, that I was required to submit to parental
restraint and discipline; that there were ex-
citements and occupations in the outside world,
in which I had no share, and of which only
a vague report ever reached my- ears. In
short, I could not brook that my own will
should be in any way crossed or checked.
During the two years that followed, I can
recall many tender remonstrances from my
father. I also recall a depth of anxiety, that
grew to be the settled expression of my
mother's face when she looked at me. Many
tender endearments were lavished upon me,
all of which I either resisted or openly
.spurned.
On the morning of my twelfth birthday,
my father called me to go with him to the
field. On the way, he talked to me affection-


MY HBROTHER AND SISTER. 55
ately of my increasing years, and of the duties
that were to be expected of me at the age of
Stwelve, and from that upwards. "And now,"
said he, "to impress all this on your mind,
I am going to make you a birthday present."
We were in the field where the horses and
olts were feeding. My father whistled his
lia call and the gentle creatures came
around him. They .had never
ee: any thing but kindness at his hand;
a they came without fear, sniffing, and
t ng their manes in the air. He held a
sle salt in his hand, which he coaxed a three-
ear-old black colt to lick from his extended
pa. Passing his other hand caressingly
overthe beautiful head and arched neck, he
said "Here, Tommy: this colt is yours now.
ime and pat him."
I drew near, and raised my hand to stroke
h glossy. flank; but, before I could lay my
Supon him, he was off with a bound, and,


56 TOM BENTLEY.
wheeling around when at a safe distance, he
looked back, seeming to enjoy my discomfiture.
But he was such a splendid fellow, and I was
so delighted with the thought that he was
mine, that I could only admire him the more
for the skilful manoeuvre with which he had
bounded away from me.
" father call him again," said I.
But my father only laughed. "He won't
come now, Tommy. He's got his suspicions
raised. You must be very gentle with him
whenever you can get near. William will
break him for you, and I will get you a saddle
and bridle. But you must make good use of
them all, Tommy."
I promised my father great things; and at
the time I believe I really meant to do better.
That very colt had long been my admiration;
and, for once, I had got the thing I wanted.
"For once," I said, as if it were the only
time.


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 57
It was not long before my colt and I were
good friends. He would come at my call, and
let me caress him; and I promised m self
much pleasure whenever he should become
fit for riding. Lucy entered gayly and heartily
into my enjoyment; and I promised to teach
her to ride as soon as my horse was safe for her.
I enjoyed calling the beautiful creature, not yet
full-grown, my horse. I liked the sound of it
better than my colt.
I think, for some months after that, I was
more tractable. At least, no special exhibitions
of my growing perverseness impressed them-
selves on my mind during that time. The
season was pleasant. I was much out of
doors, and was becoming more and more
occupied with farm-work. I did not relish
work at all; but it was healthful both for mind
and body that, my father held me closely to it,
- as closely, at least, as he thought suited to
my age and strength.


58 TOM BENTLEY.
I remember how faithfully and steadily my
Brother William pursued his daily routine of
work. He was seventeen. I remember, also,
that I looked upon his very faithfulness and
steadiness with concealed contempt, thinking
it extremely stupid for him to be satisfied with
so living; and feeling sure that I, at his age,
would be doing very differently. And so it
proved. I was doing differently. But I try in
vain now to recall the same sensations, in look-
ing back upon the widely-different careers of
my brother and myself, with which I then
looked forward to them. But I must not
anticipate. Yet the thought comes to me, with
overwhelming power, how much better it
would have been for me if I had then been
wise enough to appreciate my noble brother!
Lucy was eight years old that fall. The
marvellous sweetness of her disposition en-
deared hey to us all, while her spirit of rever-
ence and trust seemed to make her akin to the


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 59
angels. My father and mother, I think, had
always regarded her with a sort of trembling
awe, as a treasure too precious to be long
retained. The thought of her now comes over
me at times like a heavenly presence. She
was not to meet the temptations and rude
assaults of life.
One dismal day in autumn, it always
comes back to my recollection as a dark day,
though I think the sun was shining brightly
all the while, we were all grouped by Lucy's
bedside. She had taken cold: fever ensued.
My mother and Martha had alternately
watched her for days. She \had been delir-
ious, but awakened out of sleep quite rational,
and free from pain.
"I want to see them all," were her first
words. We were all speedily summoned.
My father, I'remember, seemed feeble, and
his lameness worse than usual. He came
haltinigly, and took the little, plump hand in


60 TOM BENTLEY.
his. She had not been sick long enough to be
much wasted. My Brother William seated
himself by the foot of the bed, and Sarah and
I stood near. We children were full of joy,
for we thought her better. Her eyes were
bright and clear, and she addressed some
pleasant words to each of us. But father and
mother looked grave and troubled. Lucy
talked cheerfully with us all, and even inquired
about Jetty, as we had named my black colt.
Then she said, "I am tired now. Let me
rest." And, folding her hands, she repeated
in clear, musical tones, -
" Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take, -
And this I ask for Jesus' sake."
Then she closed her sweet blue eyes. She
never opened them again.. She lay tranquil,


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 61
apparently sleeping, my mother anxiously
watching every breath, hoping the crisis was
over and that she would wake refreshed. But
by and by there was a slight fluttering of the
pulse, and then it ceased. We all saw the
change of death pass swiftly over that beautiful
face, and we knew her prayer was answered.
"Saved by grace! exclaimed my father,
in tones of triumph. I think he entered
somewhat into the transport of that redeemed
soul, seeming to rise with her to the very gates
of heaven.
He ever afterwards dwelt with special
emphasis upon the grace by which our darling
had -been redeemed, fearing lest, because of her
gentleness and goodness, we might, any of us,
suppose she had not needed a'Saviour.
As we dwelt in that darkened house, with the
precious little form still with us, all, save me,
could look forward to heaven as a place of re-
SnQ. All: for Sarah, too, had been gathered


62 TOM BENTLEY.
into the Redeemer's fold. I alone was left out.
I had no further relations with my sweet sister:
-to me, she was forever dead. I wandered, in
my misery, from room to roomapd from field to
field, haunted everywhere with a sense of sep-
aration, not only from the dead, but from all the
rest. They were comforted: I was not. As
often as I could find opportunity to enter unob-
served, I went and stood by the little form of
my sister. Once I touched my lips to the calm
forehead; but the chill, so unlike the fulness of
life that had throbbed'there, was so appalling
that I dared not repeat the touch. I could do
no more than take the waxen fingers into my
hand, and wish, in my anguish, that I could
warm them into life again. But for me, she
was dead,- gone into darkness forever.
I wondered how the sun could shine and the
birds could sing, while we laid that little body
in the cold, dark grave. I did not think that
she waq singing in heaven, and rejoicing in the
* I


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 63
light of God. To me, it was all darkness and
gloom and sorrow, -nothing else. Yet I knew
the glorious truth of the gospel. I knew of
redemption and salvation and heaven; and
now and then thoughts of all these things
would come flashing through the darkness of
my mind.
But oftener another thought came. It was
the thought of God's overruling providence,
belore which all created beings must bow.
My ideas of this providence were most crude
"and indefinite. But this I knew, that God had
taken away my sister. He had done it. He
had reached forth his hand, regardless of my
love, and had taken her from me. Why had he
done this? O blind! As if my selfish affec-
tiof were more-than her rescue from amid the
ruin of a lost world! As if there were no
good, even for myself, to be gathered from that
great sorrow
"A deeper and more tender affection for one


61 TOM BENTLEY.
another seemed to be the effect of this loss
upon our household: all but me. I stood out-
side the circle, a hardened spectator. Through
all the winter that followed, it seems to me,
as I now recall the season, the tones of voice
were gentler, the hands more helpful one to
another, the hearts more keenly sensitive and
sympathizing. But I was simply angry at my
loss, and my impotence to ward it off only
angered me the more. I felt the slenderness
of the hold I had upon whatever around me
made life pleasant and agreeable, and even
upon life itself. He who had taken my sister
might also take all the rest, and I could offer
no resistance. Yet I would not learn the lesson
God would have taught me. I would not seek
refuge under the wings of his love. Far from
it.
I think my father understood the state of my
mind, although I had never given expression
to my thoughts. Whenever he spoke, in my


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 65
presence, of Lucy's death, he always remarked
upon the great goodness of God in preparing
her for heaven so young, and with so little
experience of the trials of life, and so little
manifestation of the power of sin in her heart.
His own sense of loss seemed sunk in his appre-
ciation of the blessedness to which she had so
early attained. His manner towards me, in all
his dealings with me, was tender and pitiful;
and many times, in his morning and evening
prayers,'he remembered the one still out of the
fold. I noticed it just enough to think, That
means me." But I did not want to be in the
fold.
I was sent to school that winter, as usual. I
had to walk a mile, first up the road that as-
conded the hill from our house, then over the
" brow of the hill, and down into the next valley.
I made little progress in learning. I kept up
a decent reputation with my teacher and my
school-fellows; but it was only for the sake of a
, 6


66 TOM BENTLEY.
pride that shrank from disgrace. I had no love
for learning, and no ambition to excel. My
thoughts were elsewhere.
At school, I met daily a boy who was spend-
ing the winter with his grand-parents. His
walk lay along wjth the half of mine nearest
the school-house, our paths diverging at the
cross-roads on the top of the hill. He was
from Albany, and highly enjoyed the impor-
tance which this fact gave him in the estima-
tion of the rustic boys. As I now recall his
vulgarity, his foppishness, his airs, I can but
smile at the manner in which I was impressed
by him. I greedily swallowed whatever pre-
posterous tales of city-life he chose to deal out
to my listening ears, as we walked together to
and from school. It never entered my mind to
suspect that he was making game of me, nor
that his representations were any thing but
trustworthy. I had full confidence that he
knew all about the customs of the higher


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 67
walks of life, and understood thoroughly all the
advantages a city might afford to a youth of
my aspiring nature. When he told me it was
the easiest thing in the world to make money
in a city, that you could get any thing you
want in a city, that you could see all sorts of
grand sights in a city; and then added, with a
compassionate sigh, that he pitied boys that had
to live in the country, though for him it was
rest'and a pleasant change to get away, my
ambition-at least, I thought it was ambition
- was all aglow to try the delights and excite-
hents of city-life.
Every day, as I mounted to the ridge of the
hill; I looked off south-westward, and sighed
over the iniles of distance that lay between me
and so much magnificence.
Yet he would sometimes say, in a moment of
forgetfulness, as we were taking some of our
splendid rides down the glistening hills on our


68 TOM BENTLEY.
sleds, "Isn't this grand ? We can't do this at
home."
"Why ?" I asked one day. "Haven't you
got any hills there ?"
"Oh, yes! lots of them. The city is all up
hill and down. But they won't let you go
coasting. You might knock somebody down,
or scare somebody's horses, or maybe get
killed yourself. I tell you, you have to look
out, and keep your eyes open."
Still I comforted myself with the thought
that I should soon get above riding do*n hill
on a sled, any way; and by the time I should
get into a city to live, which I was fully re-
solved at some time to do, such a privation
would not matter.
Towards spring, George Waldron was about
to return to his home.
"If I should come to Albany," I asked,
"how could I find you ?"
" Find me! he answered: what for ?"


MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 69
"Why, to see you, -of course," I replied.
" I should want to see you, wouldn't I, and
talk over the good times we've had here ? "
" Oh, yes! I- suppose you would. Country
folks are always glad to have stopping-places in
town. But you would as soon expect to find
a needle in a haystack as-to find me."
He gave me no further intimations of his
whereabouts. I wondered whether I ought to
feel mortified about it, or whether the difficul-
ties of finding one's friends were really so great
that there was no use in trying to give me the
clew. At any rate, I wished he had tried.
I learned, afterwards, that he was son of a
low grocery-keeper, with whom I would have
scorned to associate if I had known all about
him. But for a time I was 'quite lost without
my city friend. I could only revolve over and
over in my own mind the intimations he had
given me respecting the great world which I
so loqged to see. I could only gaze from my


70 TOM BENTLEY.
distant hill-top towards the world of wonders
upon which I supposed he had entered, and
repeat and strengthen my determination that
some day I would see for myself.
.. .


CHAPTER IV.
A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE.
0 the winter slipped away, and the
snows melted, and flowers bloomed,
I bloomed over Lucy's grave as
gayly as elsewhere. And I, too,
Shad had gay sports; although I had
felt, when she was buried, as if I could never
smile again. Yet I was apgry whenever I
thdught of my loss. The effect upon the rest
of the family was more salutary than upon me,
as I have already intimated. I was now the
youngest; and, had I not so resolutely deter-
mined to harden myself against all good in-
fluences, I should have become the object of
much of the tenderness that had formerly been
71


"72 TOM BENTLEY.
bestowed upon our lost darling. But I was
like the inhabitants of Jerusalem, over whom
Jesus wept, and whom he would have gathered
in his infinite love and pity. I would not.
Neither divine nor human entreaties would
move me.
The summer brought its usual routine of
farm-work: and, as I was every year becoming
stronger and more capable of physical labor,
more and more was laid upon me; and I did it,
simply because it was laid upon me, not
because I had any interest or any heart in the
labor in which I was engaged.
About midsummer, my father needed to have
some business transacted in New York. He
could not well go himself; and, even if he
could, he would have been glad of any reason-
able excuse for not going. He disliked travel-
ling; he disliked being anywhere away from
home; and especially, on account of his lame-
ness, he disliked the fatigue and exposure of a


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SUARE. 73
trip; and the sojourn of several days in the
'city was distasteful to him. My Brother Wil-
liam was, therefore, commissioned to go in his
place. William was eighteen, and, in faithful-
ness and good judgment, as reliable as my
father himself, so far as he knew. The busi-
ness was not intricate, but only needed atten-
tion and care. It was simply the collection of
some over-due notes given for some cattle my
father had sold the fall previous, and William
was judged fully competent to the trust. My
father had a brother' living in New York, a
master-carpenter, whom we children had never
seen, but of whom we had often heard. Wil-
h am was to go to him for assistance and direc-
tion.
When I learned that William was going to
New York, I was all excitement. It was just
" such an opportunity as I had been pining for,
for se ral ,years. He would not only travel
in the cars, which I had never done, and see


74 TOM BENTLEY.
the great city which I so much desired to see,
but he would also look out upon the ocean, and
see the great ships gathered in the harbor from
every quarter of the world. I flew to my
father, and begged that I might go too. I
think I really begged with tears in my eyes.
But my father replied, "It's impossible,
Tommy." I renewed my entreaties, making
many promises, if he would only let me go.
" Tommy," said he, laying his hand affec-
tionately on my shoulder, "I shall need you
more than usual when William is away. I
couldn't spare you both at once. And besides,
Tommy, travelling is expensive."
I felt the blood leave my face. I knew I
turned white with anger; and, looking my
father steadily in the face, I muttered fiercely,
"I will go some day, you'll see if I don't.
I can see at this moment the expression of
pain and heart-sickness that overspread my
father's face. I know now how he felt. I


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 75
have felt a like heart-pang go through me
many times like a dagger, as I have recalled
the events of those days. But it did not
move me then. I turned on my heel, and
strode away.
Several days were to pass before my brother
was to go, and these were busily employed by
my mother and Martha in making some prepa-
ration for him; I, meanwhile, looking on with
sullen anger. His trip was as important an
affair in our household as it would be now for
an experienced traveller to set out for San
Francisco.
The nearest point at which William could
take the cars was Castleton. He was to go
thither on horseback ;I accompanying him on
Jetty, to bring back his horse. I can never
forget that ride. We started at four o'clock.
He was to take the train at seven for White-
hall, Phence to Troy, thence by boat down the
river to New York. It was before the Hud-


76 'TOM BENTLEY.
son-River Railroad was projected, a passage by
boat being then considered swift and luxurious.
As we started, the sun was just rising above
the distant hills. We rode along some distance
in silence, I not at all inclined to conversation,
my brother apparently absorbed in the beauty
of the morning landscape. Then we passed
by the quiet graveyard where our little Lucy
lay buried. We could see from the road the
headstone that marked her grave, and my
brother looked long and earnestly. I, too,
looked, but with what different feelings!
"She is not there," said William. 0
Tommy! what would you give to know all she
knows now ? "
" Not much," I replied sullenly.
William looked at me with an expression of
grief and amazement.
"Tommy," said he after a few moments,
" I want to have a good talk with you, if you
will listen kindly."


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 77
"You needn't," I replied. I know all
you want to say, and I don't want to hear it.
I have other things on my mind just now."
I thought there was a great deal of dignity
in that last remark. It did silence my brother
for a moment. But he resumed.
" Tommy," said he very tenderly, "I want
to talk to you about Christ and salvation and
heaven. It is such a pleasant subject, I have
found, since I opened my own heart to receive
the Saviour, and I want him to be your
Saviour too."
I began whistling! It amazes me now, to
think of the forbearance of Christ, that I was
not at that moment smitten to the dust. I,
puny worm, child of a day that I was, daring
to insult the divine Redeemer But I thought
it was high spirit. I thought it was indepen-
dence, manliness. O poor fool!
My brother said no more. Doubtless he
was obeying the injunction, Cast not your
"&:.' '* '


78 TOM BENTLEY.
pearls before swine." I caught a stealthy
glance at his countenance now and then, by
allowing Jetty to fall back a few steps for that
purpose. His lips were compressed, as if with
pain; and once I saw them moving, doubtless
in prayer; and in my heart I despised him. I
thought him mean-spirited, pitiful. I even
thought him selfish, because he was about to
enjoy the privilege I so much desired. My
noble brother! whom I think of now with
wonder, when I remember the maturity of
Christian character to which he had already
attained, and the firmness and sobriety of his
mind. He was not excited by the prospect
before him, of looking for the first time upon
the stir and activity and splendor of the busy
,world; but, on the very point of his departure,
his mind was dwelling with yearning love on
me, wishing and praying that I. might be
saved. Yet he was prepared to bring home
from. that trip more real benefit, and more


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 79
solid knowledge, than I afterwards acquired in
years of wild wandering. I never think of
him now but with reverence, -youth of eigh-
teen as he then was, man of forty as I now am.
So we rode on, some common-place remark
passing between us now and then ; but we had
so little in common, that real interchange of
thought and feeling was impossible.
When we reached Castleton, after our ride
of ten miles, we had still half an hour to wait
for the train. I had been there a few times
with my father when we had come to meet
friends, or to bring them to the train, so that
the sight of the cars was not absolutely a
novelty to me. Yet I walked up and down
the platform, looking for them, .with different
feelings from any time before, When at last
they caime rushing up, and my brother shook
me warmly by the hand and stepped in, I
looked on with a malicious feeling, that, if I
"had haL the power, would have swept from


80 TOM BENTLEY.
existence train, track, and all, because I could
not go.
As the train moved off, William again
nodded a good-by to me. I watched the
receding cars as long as I could see a whiff of
white smoke; then turned angrily, and walked
off to where my horses were tied. I threw
up the stirrups of William's saddle, slipped
my arm through the bridle, and rode moodily
homeward, tracing his progress mile by mile
as I went. Before I reached home, my
brother was in Whitehall, and ready to take
another train for Troy, where at night he
would take the boat, and sail down the beauti-
ful Hudson. It was full moon, and short,
midsummer nights, so that I had no doubt he
would see it all; and the next morning he
would be in New York, and I- would be
feeding the horses on my father's farm. My
disgust was unbounded.
I should soon have been convinced, if my


A TRIP IN WHICI I HAD NO SHARE. 81
mind had been open to conviction on any
subject, that my father really did need me at
home. Yet I did not, by any means, make
myself as helpful as I might. So thoroughly
had selfishness gained the mastery over me,
that I looked on while he went limping about,
doing many things that William was in the
habit of doing, and which I might have done,
and unquestionably ought.
I had somewhat outgrown my habit of
resorting to the shady nook under the beech-
tree, up the hill-side, but in those dreary
days, made dreary by my own miserable self-
ishness, I again resorted thither, and revolved
over and over all sorts of impracticable plans
for getting out into the world, as I expressed
mnyself. As if I were not already in the
world!
I do not now dwell upon these things, and
write of them, because they give me pleasure.
Far from it. I shall tell, by and by, what a
6


82 TOM BENTLEY.
harvest of misery and ruin I reaped from the
sowing of those years. I tell of them, as men
of the sea build lighthouses where vessels have
been wrecked.
William was gone just a week. By appoint-
ment, I again took Jetty and another horse,
and went to Castleton to meet him. My
feelings were somewhat different from those
with which I had gone with him the week
before ; though, perhaps, no more comfortable
to myself, nor betokening a better spirit. I
was now all eagerness to hear the account he
might have to give of all the wonders he had
seen; though my smouldering anger that he
should .have seen them, and not I, kept me
miserable.
I was a little ahead of time, as before; and
had paced many times up and down the plat-
form when the train came. I looked to see
William step out of the car. I almost ex-
pected he had grown an inch or two taller,


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 83
or undergone some other equally marvellous
change. But there he stood, just my own
Brother William, with his little valise in his
hand; the same clothes, the same quiet look,
the same in every thing. I was disappointed.
He came immediately to me, shook hands,
inquired after the welfare of all at home,
called in his usual prompt manner for the
horses; and, in five minutes, we were riding
homeward, I, and my brother who had been
to New York.
I wanted him to begin without questioning,
and talk straight on, all the way home, about
what he had seen, and where he had been;
bui he was of a different mind. He inquired
into all the minute particulars of what we had
been doing at home, and how the work of the
season had progressed, and whether father
had had to work hard, and many other things
that I had never thought of during his whole
absence.


84 TOM BENTLEY.
At length, I hastily asked, Didn't you see
any thing you can tell a feller about ? "
" Oh, yes! a great many things. I thought
so often of you, Tommy, when I saw any thing
interesting. I couldn't help thinking how you
would have enjoyed seeing it."
" Much good that did me," was my ungra-
cious reply.
But, by and by, William got fairly started,
and gave me the history of his trip from begin-
ning to end: to all which I listened eagerly, with
sundry disagreeable comments. What inter-
ested me most was his account of the shipping,
and the bay, with its one narrow outlook to
the broad ocean. He told me of the Battery,
to which my uncle had taken him, that he
might see the bay in all its beauty. I had
once been to Bombazine Lake, near Castleton;
but I ever afterwards turned up my nose with
contempt at the remembrance of that trip,
which had afforded me so much delight at the
time.


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 85
I said the bay and the shipping interested
me most. But I hardly know, after all,
whether I did really delight most in that, or in
his account of the magnificent streets, with
their ceaseless throngs of people, and rows of
stately buildings.
" Didn't you feel grand," I asked, walking
up and down Broadway ? "
He laughed good-naturedly. "Why, Tom-
my," said he, I feel grander, this moment,
on my old brown nag. No, Tommy, I didn't
feel grand at all. I was only a lost atom
there. I, a poor country-boy, feel grand,
where every thing around me really was so
grand, and I so awkward and insignificant! "
And he laughed again.
But he soon checked himself. "I made
one mistake, Tommy. Every thing was not
grand. I don't believe there are as many
miserable wretches in all Vermont as I saw in
New York. Such misery !"


86 TOM BENTLEY.
"Oh! but tell me about the fine things," I
broke in impatiently.
"Well, then: I heard some splendid preach-
ing, and splendid music too,--I suppose it
was; though I can't say but I'd rather hear
old Northfield. And uncle took me into some
of the fine libraries. That made me feel more
hungry than any thing else."
Poor William! I had no idea, then, how
hungry he really was for literary advantages,
and how he smothered his intense desires for a
thorough education, contenting himself with
picking up all such bits of knowledge as came
in his way, while waiting his opportunity.
Perhaps that opportunity might have come to
him, and afterwards to me, if I had not proved
recreant to every trust and every sacred claim
of duty.
But the sermons and the libraries were not
what I wanted to hear about. The music was
well enough; but that, it was plain, William


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 87
did not appreciate. I soon drew him back to
the fine buildings, and the hurry and bustle of
the streets, and the ships, and the bay. I
wanted to know all about those.
As we drew near home, and my curiosity
was in some degree satisfied, I exclaimed with
vehemence, I'm going to see it all some day,
-and soon too You needn't think you are
the only one that's going to see the world."
" I hope you will. I've no doubt you will,"
my brother replied to the first remark, taking
no notice of the second. "But be patient,
Tommy. Your time will come by. and by."
"Patient!" I repeated scornfully. "Patient!
cooped up here among these Vermont hills.
No, I won't be patient. I don't want to be."
When we came in sight of home, my mind
was so wrought upon by the streets and the
architecture of New York, as my imagination,
with the aid of William's description, had
pictured them, that the homely dwelling


88 TOM BENTLEY.
startled me with its ugliness. I had never
thought much about it before. I had seen
pictures of fine streets, but had never before
applied the comparison with the home of my
childhood. I wondered that its unsightliness
had never before impressed me. As I was
absorbed in these reflections, William uttered
an exclamation of delight at being once more
within sight of "Home, sweet home." I
looked into his face with astonishment, wonder-
ing if he were really sincere. There was no
doubting the genuineness of feeling expressed
in that honest, open countenance; and I once
more fell back upon myself with the mental
exclamation, How stupid! and, leaving Wil-
liam amidst the welcomings and rejoicings of
the assembled household, I led the horses away
to the stable.
For some days, William was the hero of the
neighborhood as well as of the family. My
father praised him for the prudence and success


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 89
with which he had managed the business
intrusted to him. The neighboring boys were
all curiosity to hear of what he had seen. I
added this, also, to my list of grievances. I was
nobody.
But in vain they attempted to lionize him.
If I had not had the opportunity of drawing
from him a pretty full account of his trip on
our homeward ride, I should never have
learned much of it afterwards. He had not
been at home an hour before he appeared in
his working-garb, ready to take hold at once
of some matters which his observant eyes saw
in need of attention; and, from that hour
forward, he dropped into his usual routine with
an ease and contentment that provoked me to a
senseless scorn of my brother, who in reality
was so much better than I.
William had brought some token of remem-
brance for each one of us. He could not
crowd much within the narrow capacity of his


90 TOM BENTLEY.
valise; but he had thought of us all. Some
oranges for each one: for my mother, a
silver thimble, she had always used a steel
one; for my father a book; a pair of scissors
for each of the girls, and for me a handsomely-
bound pocket-Bible. I looked with some
complacency at the gilded edges and the
handsome cover, and thought how the boys in
Sunday school would observe it, but wished
all the time it had been something else,- any
thing, almost, but a Bible.
I can scarcely tell against how many winning
influences I hardened myself during those
years, nor how many repentant tears my
stubbornness has cost me. Often in the night
and morning supplications, the one still out of
the fold was prayed for. I know my mother
and sister wept and prayed for me daily. My
brother's example was always before me. In
the solitude of our room, I witnessed his
nightly communings with God, often dropping


A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 91
off in my thoughtless sleep while he was still
on his knees, or reading his Bible. My own
Bible, the one I had had from childhood, as
well as the beautifully-bound new one my
brother had brought me, was never opened,
except unwillingly, to commit the weekly les-
son required of me. I thank my honored
father now, though I did not then, that he in-
sisted upon fastening some portions of the
sacred word upon my memory, to come back
to me as the bread of life years afterwards,
when, in all the world, there was no Bible I
could call my own. Ah, no! that is a mistake.
There was one with my name on the fly-leaf,
laid away among the most sacred treasures of
the household; but it was of no avail to me
when I most needed it.
And the Sabbaths always brought their
lessons of truth and goodness,--lessons un-
heeded, spurned, trodden under my presump-
tuous foot. How it was that amidst all those


92 TOM BENTLEY.
winning and warning voices of instruction, I
could harden myself to steel, I cannot now
see; but, in all that has ever come under my
observation, I have never met with any more
convincing proof of the desperate wickedness
of the human heart. While treating my
parents with contempt, and rebelling, against
their authority, always so wise and gentle, if I
in my foolishness had not made it seem like
bars of iron by my frantic struggles against it,
I yet wrought myself up to the full conviction
that I was the aggrieved party, and that I was
hardly dealt with. My wonder now is, that I
was not destroyed, and that without remedy.


CHAPTER V.
I FORM A RESOLUTION.
EARS ago, I used sometimes to
wonder whether, under different cir-
cumstances, my stubbornness might
not by some means have been sub-
dued. But I have become satisfied,
that, so long as the sinful human heart can
resist the love and tenderness of God and the
wondrous redemption of Jesus Christ, there is
nothing it cannot resist. Surely my parents
could have said of me, "What could have
been done more to my vineyard that I hqve
not done in it?" still I brought forth only
wild grapes.
98


94 TOM BENTLEY.
The following winter, the winter that I
was near fourteen,- the Spirit of God came
down with power in our neighborhood. I
knew that I was made a special subject of
prayer by my parents, my sisters, my brother,
our pastor, and many friends. I was deeply
impressed. I thought often of the fact that so
many were praying for me; and when I re-
membered the promises of which I had heard,
- that prayers of faith should be answered, I
began to fear I should be converted. 'Yes, I
say it deliberately: I understood so little of the
methods of God's grace, that I feared I should
be seized upon, and carried over by some
irresistible force into a state of repentance and
faith; and I resolved to be on the watch against'
every softening influence that could be brought
to bear upon me, for I was determined to try
the world first. In my foolhardiness, I dared
come to that deliberate conclusion.
Lest any should doubt the faithfulness of


Full Text

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124 TOM BENTLEY. I slipped out as soon as possible, and went to the stable and spoke to him. He turned his large eyes upon me, and uttered his whinny of recognition. I threw my arms aroiWd his neck, and sobbed. Yes, I, hardened boy that I was, could not part from my dumb favorite without tears. But it was done. In order to reconcile myself to the thought that he was now the property of another of whom I knew nothing, I drew out my pocket-book, and counted over my seventy-five dollars. Had I seen the chuckle with whichthe purchaser told of his purchase as soon as my back was turned, or heard the eagerness with which he was offered twenty-five or even fifty dollars for his bargain, -for Jetty had been seen and commented upon, and admired by the crowd, -I might have felt somewhat differently; but, as it was, I counted my money, gave Jetty another farewell embrace, and walked away to engage my passage to New York on the evening boat.



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The Baldwin Library UniR rity .u t ;;!)*id



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THE KINGDbM THAT COMETH. 311 "No. The church is Christ's house," said he -firmly. I fully believed it, and was ready to act upon Sinclair's advice as soon as an opportunity should be afforded me. There was another young man, among the new converts, towards whom I felt especially drawn by the sweet spirit of humility and peace that breathed through all his prayers and brief addresses. Owing partly, I suppose, to my own state of mind, and partly to my want of knowledge and' experience, it seemed to me I had never heard any thing so heavenly as the prayers and addresses of Charles Murray. In one of those meetings for prayer, Sinclair sat beside me. He was all activity and earnestness. .Before the exercises commenced, he said to me, "Bentley, you must speak to-night." Oh, I can't said I. It is impossible." "You must, Bentley, -you must."



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274 TOM BENTLEY. insignificance, when compared with what she had endured. How much more when I recalled him who had borne our griefs and carried our sorrows! But, at that time, it was up to the full measure of what I was "able to bear." On the back of my letter, I wrote a copy of the verses. I have that same copy yet, with the letter on the other side, written ten years ago, and now yellow and worn; for I have read the verses many times. Madame Laboiteau had gone to ride. The doctor had beckoned to her from the street below. I was standing by the window when she returned; and her husband motioned to me to come and take her place, taking the lines in his own hands, and sending his servant to assist me down the stairs. My ride that day was less pleasant than usual; for the doctor had brief professional calls to make, in streets that were any thing but attractive. Yet the open air was invigorating; and I returned to my



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"'0, how I wish I could go."-Page 16.



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202 TOM BENTLEY. flexibility of muscle that I had acquired; but it seemed, when I reached the spot, as if those sweet eyes were looking down from an opening in the trees that showed the blue heavens above, and I could not even begin. Alas! I had never thought of the eyes of watchful angels, and of the Son of God himself, looking down upon me through all my public and private buffoonery. I resolved that year should be the end of my engagement in a profession that the mere sight of that fair girl had made me feel was degrading. I had no idea that it was myself, and not my calling alone, that was degraded. It did not occur to me, that, though a man may throw away the pitch that he has taken in his bosom, he cannot so easily rid himself of its defilement. I wondered that my father had said nothing of my estrangement from home. I did not perceive that he was waiting for me to open the subject.



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146 TOM BENTLEY. suited with his comrades, and then admitted me. The great, empty hall looked dreary. The men, -l young-were sitting in various wegljent postures; and, if I had not been so utterly absorbed in my purpose, I could have seen at once that they had let me in to make game of me, to relieve the tediousness of their hours of practice. I scarcely know how I made known my errand; but, in some awkward, stammering way, I managed to let it be understood that I wanted to become one of them. Can you play ?" asked the leader. Tune up, and let's see." So I "tuned up," and, to the best of my *bility, executed one of their own airs on my squeaking fiddle. When I ended, they burst into an uproarious laugh, clapping and stamping, and exclaiming, Capital! "Rich! with other like expressions. About one thing, there was no mistake.



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 295 both she and Sarah were at my brother's to greet my father and me upon our arrival. We stood together again, the entire family, for the first time in fifteen years; they all, with their gathered households, their increased wealth, their accumulation of wisdom and goodness; I a mere wreck, a mere rudiment of a man, if I may so say, with neither wealth nor wisdom gathered during the years that had passed. But I remember now, with a thrill of pleasure, that, though poor in every thing else, I possessed one priceless treasure in the righteousness of Christ, wherein I stood complete. Just then, however, I did not feel like glorying in any thing. It was only my poverty of every description that forced itself upon my observation. My father and mother still retained their place in William's family, and Sister Rachel had been to them as one of their own daughters. They had all been very solicitous about my



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61 TOM BENTLEY. another seemed to be the effect of this loss upon our household: all but me. I stood outside the circle, a hardened spectator. Through all the winter that followed, it seems to me, as I now recall the season, the tones of voice were gentler, the hands more helpful one to another, the hearts more keenly sensitive and sympathizing. But I was simply angry at my loss, and my impotence to ward it off only angered me the more. I felt the slenderness of the hold I had upon whatever around me made life pleasant and agreeable, and even upon life itself. He who had taken my sister might also take all the rest, and I could offer no resistance. Yet I would not learn the lesson God would have taught me. I would not seek refuge under the wings of his love. Far from it. I think my father understood the state of my mind, although I had never given expression to my thoughts. Whenever he spoke, in my



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A SATURDAY. 17 He gave me no answer till I repeated my uestion, and then said, "It's impossible, Tommy. Don't you know it is Saturday ?" By this time my new acquaintance had mounted to his seat, and called out, Come on," as he flourished his whip to start. I shook my head, and stood watching his departure, with two sorrowful tears coursing their way down my cheeks. I had no heart to make further acquaintance as, one after another, the men descended from their seats, and stood at the well. I had no enjoyment in seeing the gay cavalcade as they filed away across the valley. I scarcely even took pleasure in the py plumage of the birds, as I could catch glimpses of them through the open bars of their cage. I stood by my father, his hand resting on my shoulder. My mother was near; my older brother had gone to the well; my three sisters "were gazing, and asking childish-questions, but



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60 TOM BENTLEY. his. She had not been sick long enough to be much wasted. My Brother William seated himself by the foot of the bed, and Sarah and I stood near. We children were full of joy, for we thought her better. Her eyes were bright and clear, and she addressed some pleasant words to each of us. But father and mother looked grave and troubled. Lucy talked cheerfully with us all, and even inquired about Jetty, as we had named my black colt. Then she said, "I am tired now. Let me rest." And, folding her hands, she repeated in clear, musical tones, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, And this I ask for Jesus' sake." Then she closed her sweet blue eyes. She never opened them again.. She lay tranquil,



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204 TOM BENTLEY. I replied indifferently, "Yes, it seems quite natural," and went on with my practising. He waited a few moments, thinking I would finish. At length he said, "Stop your music a little while now, Tommy, and let us talk. You are soon going away, and we may never talk together again." I laid down my guitar; and he continued in trembling tones, You are going back to your old business, -are you, Tommy ? "Why, yes, of course," I replied impatiently. "What else can I do ? " Any thing you please," he answered. I looked at him with a puzzled look, not fully understanding his meaning. Yes," he repeated. You can do any thing you please. If you will only leave this low calling, and choose any respectable business, I will help you to the very last dollar you need."



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216 TOM BENTLEY. my path again. The truth of his existence had had little hold upon my mind for years. He had been so entirely letting me alone (so I thought), and permitting me to go on undisturbed in my chosen course, that I gave myself no anxiety as to his claims upon me, or his power over me. Though his goodness had been every moment around me, unrecognized; though I had been dependent upon him for every breath, and would not acknowledge it, -I had fallen into the habit of thinking I had only to plan, however wildly, and then go on to execute. But, in this event, I was again made sensible of his power to thwart; me and my impotent anger flamed' up against him. His power to bless and to save I could not, would not, see. From that hour, I had no further thought of quitting my occupation. I gave myself upto it with a perfect abandonment, feeling that I was in for life. And yet I had only seen



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342 TOM BENTLEY. could not preach the gospel. I could not go to the heathen. I had no knowledge to fit me for either. So I worked on, and waited and prayed, saying a word for my Master when opportunity offered, teaching a class of little children in the Sabbath school, and engaging in various other ordinary working for the furtherance of Christ's cause. But, after all, I often queried how I might do more. I think I wanted something extraordinary. I had yet to learn that the Lord sometimes hath need" of the lowly as well as the great, and that it is in infinite condescension that he uses either, for a work which angels would rejoice to do. I had yet to learn the meaning of that word of Christ which likens the kingdom of heaven to seed, -precious seed, germed with life, which the hand of a little child may plant, but which draws its power of increase only from the divine source of all life. I had been at home about four years, when it



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130 TOM BENTLEY. The boy came and sat down by me for a while; but, as we had nothing in common save boyhood, we made but poor work in carrying on conversation. He soon left me to myself; but there was no lack of entertainment as long as the daylight enabled me to see the evervarying shores. By and by the passengers went below. The novelty of my position, and the unaccustomed noises about the boat, disinclined me to sleep; and I remained on deck till near midnight. I remember feeling horrified at the profanity of the men at work about the boat, as they passed to and fro in their various employments, while my own sin lay unrecognized. After a while I went below and laid down; but the thought that in a few hours I should be in New York drove away sleep. In the morning, my elderly friend and his son were near me when we landed; and, although I had declined his offer of assistance



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16 TOM BENTLEY. bright moonlight. Then you can see all; and we have music and all sorts of fine things. I'd be real glad of your company," he added with a dreary yawn. It's dreadful tiresome, riding round alone." Oh, how I wish I could go! I know my black eyes must have sparkled with the intense eagerness of that wish. The man looked at me with an amused look, and said, Well, I told you I'd take you. Go ask your father." I sprang to my father's side as he stood in the door, and put my question. I can see him now as he stood there, his hair waving in the summer wind, and smiling at the vehemence of my request. .He smiled: he laughed at me, with the same appreciation of the absurdity of my wish with which I can now laugh at myself, but so kindly, so affectionately, that I wonder I should for a moment have doubted his goodness and his wisdom.



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186 TOM BENTLEY. I have often asked myself this question, and ask it now with wonder and amazement at my own recklessness. I know I became utterly absorbed in the pursuit of my chosen vocation. My time, my strength, my thoughts, were all concentrated upon excelling in my profession." This; I suppose, accounts for my entire forgetfulness of my soul and my immortality; at least, so far as my recognition of their claims to attention was concerned. There were always a few months in the year that we did not travel. In the heat of summer, it would not pay expenses; and besides, after the exhaustion of "a season," we all needed rest. Those months, therefore, were thrown upon my owh hands. As soon as I rose above the constraints of poverty, I spent those months, summer after summer, in putting myself in the way of the very best instruction the country afforded; sd that, at the end of five or six years, I was considered as



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 173 he joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine." That was I. It was I that had left my father's house, both earthly and heavenly. It was I, wandering in a far country, both literally and figuratively. It was I, doing menial work, both with body and soul. It was I, hungering for husks, and eating them too. It was I, who had not yet come to myself. I enjoyed the preacher's eloquence, admired his fine figure and features and voice, and expressed to my "brother my gratification at having heard him, after hearing him so often mentioned at home. "And what did you think of the truth he preached ? asked William. "Oh! it was well enough," I answered carelerly. My brother kept me completely under his hand that day; and I, for once, was unresisting. I know not why, unless because there was so much novelty wherever we went, and so much



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332 TOM BENTLEY. were only beginning to be talked of then, and a difficult and costly journey was' required to reach them. Before his marriage with my sister, he had already obtained a section -of land, and had partially improved it; and, immediately after his marriage, he had taken his wife to the distant home, to begin life in a log-cabin. :-... From that time, uninterrupted success had attended him. A town -which was a mere railroad-station when he went there -had encroached upon his farm, bringing him large profits from the sale of town-lots, and greatly increasing the value of the portion he still retained in his own hands. He had secured neighboring farms, as has been already told, for my Brother William, and for my other brother-in-law, Mr. Mason. William and Mr. Mason had settled upon their lands with no other intention than to remain practical farmers. Not so Mr. Richards.



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364 TOM BENTLEY. "Son," my question was, Where, Lord, is the vineyard ? I was ready for some great enterprise. I would have embarked, ignorant and undisciplined as I was, in any undertaking that called for service. But the Lord showed me that my first work lay in my own heart. To pluck up the weeds that had so long flourished there unchecked, and to prepare the soil of that obscure corner of the great vineyard, so that the Master himself might plant there the fruit-bearing vines of Christian grace, was my task. If any one thinks it easy, let him try it. For years I had been living without restraint, knowing no law but my unguided will, and no object of care but my worthless self. So I, had sown the seeds of selfishness and stubbornness and lawlessness; and according to God's law, that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," I reaped the bitter fruits I had sown. And I have not yet gathered in all that harvest. While life lasts, those buried



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A SATURDAY 19 "'Twas just so I shouldn't see them, -I knew it was; but I'll see them some time, and lots of other things too." Quite likely," replied my brother, who was a quiet, matter-of-fact boy of fifteen. I turned swiftly on my heel, despising my brother for his contented spirit. Just then we were called to dinner. My father was still telling the girls about the animals; but I would neither listen nor ask a question. As soon as I had swallowed my dinner, I retreated to the dreariest corner of the stone fence near at hand, pulled out my cornstalk fiddle fro mypocket, and drew from it the most dolorous sounds it was capable of producing, while my mind travelled on and on with the caravan towards Poultney. My music did not soothe me. I measured the distance, almost by foot"steps, as my acquaintance proceeded with his lion, thinking all the time how easily I might have been seated by his side; only my father



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48 TOM BENTLEY. strong rebellion against wholesome restraifit was lasting. I wandered to the farthest possible point within the limits assigned us. I had spent many a happy, tranquil, Sabbath-evening hour within those limits, lying dreamily on the grass, or delighting myself with Lucy's subdued playfulness; but that evening, I could only hang upon the stone-wall, looking over and beyond into the prohibited regions. And so, giving myself up to the sin that was strong within me, I became a willing captive, not knowing, or rather desiring not to know, that the end thereof was the way of death.



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298 TOM BENTLEY. glanced now and then out at the window, lay the bleak prairie, inexpressibly dreary and lonesome in its aspect at that season of the year. The March wind went careering by, driving the snow in white scuds before it. There was nothing there to cheer me. But within was Christ, my Master, and me, -just we two, closeted for a day of sweet communion. It was good for me, in that early stage of my Christian experience, to find how Christ can manifest himself to his people and not to the world. It was good for me to review my past life in his very presence, and to find at every step new assurance, that, through its whole course, there had been nothing but sin, nothing that I could plead before him, nothing to which I could cling; nothing, absolutely nothing. It was good to repent afresh, to mourn my wasted life, my slighted opportunities, the pain that I had given to those that loved me. With all my heart I sang,



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282 TOM BENTLEY. Laboiteau, and the grave steadiness of her husband, on both of which I had been leaning. In my ignorance of Scripture truth, I felt the need of some such support. But God's plan for me was, that I should lean upon him alone. The next day, my new friend urged me out to take the open air. It was fresh and reviving. He found a pleasant seat, sheltered both from sun and wind, and, after seeing that I was comfortable, seated himself beside me. The stormy political state of the country just then -about a year before the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion,furnished us with abundant topics for conversation; but as we did not think alike, and as I was too weak, besides being too ignorant, to maintain my own points, those subjects did not prove agreeable. However, there was no end of his resources of conversation. He had travelled much,-had been to Europe, to Egypt, to Palestine, to California, to South America; so that.



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Illustrated Works published by enry Hoyt. 5 MOTH AND RUST; or, A Very Plain Tale. The second prize volume. $300 awarded. A book greatly needed, and should be in every family and Sunday school in the land. Price .. .... L.6o



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236 TOM BENTLEY. knew my guilt. Every recollection of life was a recollection of sin. Yet, though Conscience lashed me with her scorpion whips, I had no hatred of the sins that had brought me to the door of the prison-house of despair. I loved them. I would commit them again if strength would but return to me. It was the righteous power of God to punish me that I hated. The tumult of my thoughts exhausted me, and I fell asleep. When, I awoke, I was still alone; and my first thought was, I am going to die." My conflict was renewed; but I was soon relieved by hearing the doctor's approaching footsteps. He entered, examined my condition as usual, and said, "You have been agitated. Has any one been here ? My first thought was, Yes, God has been here;" but I answered, "No." You must not stay alone. Shall I send youa nurse ?"



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 145 ably. I applied myself to this kind of practice for several days, omitting my ordinary perambulations through the streets, but attending the concerts every night, and listening no longer with the interest of one who desired simply to be amused, but bending all my powers of observation in order that I might remember and imitate. My money, meanwhile, had diminished to twenty-five dollars, and I felt that my fortune depended on success. At last,. I acquired sufficient confidence to make a bold push. I took my fiddle under my arm, -my little cheap red fiddle, -and walked boldly to the door of the concert-hall. They were practising again. It was their regular hour for morning rehearsal. In a moment of silence I knocked. A young fellow came, and unlocked the door, and opened it very slightly. I begged permission to enter, just to speak a moment to the gentlemen within. He con10



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 339 up mine. "I am not quite selfish, I think, in my efforts. I have a wife and five children whom I must place in a respectable and comfortable position. The truth is, my woollenmill business isn't going on so prosperously as I could wish. It keeps me in a constant worry. That partner of mine, I am suspicious, is not taking just the right course." My brother-in-law went on, farther and farther away from the subject I most wished to press upon his attention. After a while, the theme of conversation upon which he had started recurred to him; and, turning to me luddenly, he said, There, you see, Tom, how my thoughts run off, and slide insensibly into business. It is so when the Bible is read, when I am in church, during prayer, and always. I think I will listen ; but, first I know, I am away off, thinking out something that is perplexing me in my business. I hope it won't always be so; but sometimes I am afraid it will."



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A SATURDAY. 9 miles of ps, it is true; but it was comparatively a new thing, while our habits and ways were old and well-settled. I learn that the old red house itself has since been demolished to make way for improvements; thrown into heaps of refuse rubbish, as if no sacred memories were clinging to its very stones and timbers. But then, as I have already said, they were a slow people. They had been content for scores of years to thread their way up and down the hill, in and out among the rocks, enjoying their picturesqueness as they stood gray and moss-grown, with trailing plants creeping over them, and now and then a sturdy bush or tree thrusting its roots down between the crevices, and drawing up nourishment from the scanty soil. Beeches and maples, the growth of centuries, flourished here and there. At the. foot of the hill, the scene abruptly



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CONTENTS: CHAPTER I. PAGE. "A SATURDAY .... .......7 CHAPTER II. "A SABBATH ...........29 CHAPTER II. MY BROTHER AND SISTER ........49 CHAPTER IV. A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE .....71 CHAPTER V. I FORM A RESOLUTION .........93 CHAPTER VI. I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD .......115 CHAPTER VII. I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION .......136 CHAPTER VIII. A VISITOR FROM HOME ........159 CHAPTER IX. A NEW SENSATION .........184



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 125 I I felt like a young man of fortune, as I walked along the busy streets with my seventyfive dollars in my pocket. Indeed, as I have since learned, it might have been the beginning of a fortune to me. Many a man has amassed his thousands from a smaller and less favorable beginning. Many a youth has laid the foundation of a splendid education with less capital. But I was not on the high road to any such results. I strolled about the city in the afternoon, simply to pass away the time until the evening boat should leave, and not without a vague hope of meeting George Waldron, my school acquaintance. As I wandered up and down, passing crowds of people to whom I was nothing, a feeling of homesickness now and then came over me. In vain I tried to believe I was satisfied with the course upon which I had entered. I was miserable, yet I had no thought then of retracing my steps. That



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310 TOM BENTLEY. and that broke in upon the monotony of my prairie-life like a breeze lifting the sails of a becalmed ship. We soon knew each other's history from the beginning, and especially with reference to the dealings of God with us, both providential and spiritual. In my weakness, he was a pillar of strength to me. He was all activity and earnestness. He said to me abruptly, one day, "You will join the church, I suppose." I said, Certainly. But I had not thought much about that yet. I have hardly recovered from the surprise of finding myself a Christian. Perhaps I ought to be tried for a while." "No," said he earnestly. "Don't fall into that mistake. I did. But it won't do, Bentley, -it wont do. I found I needed all the hetp and sympathy I could get, and in the church is the place to get it." Then you don't think one can live a good, Christian life outside the church ?"



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A NEW SENSATION. 185 home among the Vermont hills. I heard the sounds of church-bells calling the happy multitudes to worship, and sometimes those bells made a chord in my heart to vibrate strangely; but, except these mere hints of a gospel that had come to a lost world, I had thrown myself wholly beyond the reach of Bible blessings. I know that the record of those years, as I can now give it, will be tinged with the experience of maturer life. It cannot be otherwise. If it were, perhaps the record would be worthless, giving no landmarks of warning to those that come after. I could by no means cast off the memory of early Christian training. I could not lie down nightly to my prayerless sleep, without remembering'that I once had prayed. I could not forget that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. How, then, could I trample upon all sacred things, and run the tremendous risk of everlasting ruin, for fifteen long years ?



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254 TOM BENTLEY. on his sofa after my rides, I did think about it. I had been at my Brother William's just enough to be able to carry a picture of his home in my mind; and I recalled that picture as clearly as possible. If it had been the Vermont farm, I think it would have drawn me by a more powerful attraction. The prairie home lacked for me the chord of early association, which, though I had so rudely attempted to throw it off, re-asserted its power in those hours of weakness. I felt homesick for it. I dreaded to add to the monotony of invalidism the monotony of prairie landscape. After all, that was not the chief difficulty, as I was after a while constrained to confess. To go home was to throw myself as a dependent upon the care of those, who, as I had for years endeavored to convince myself, had dealt hardly by me; and against that my pride wholly rebelled. But, on the other hand, I was fast coming to want where I was; and



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 329 to prepare me for the service of my Master, Christ Jesus. With this reason ever before me, I committed lessons and worked problems till I was called to another service. L.



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 147 I had certainly given those young fellows a new sensation. I felt extremely awkward, not knowing how to understand the reception I had met with, confused by the laughter on the one hand, and the exclamations, Splendid " Capital! on the other. But, at all events, I determined to push things to the utmost. I continued playing as long as they continued asking, accompanying my music with impromptu grimaces and motions and attitudes. At last they had enough of it; and one of them motioned to the door and said, You can go now." For a moment I felt enraged; for the truth flashed over me instantaneously that I had made a fool of myself. I turned to go, intending to hurl my fiddle into the street, and push more vigorously than ever for a situation." Before I reached "thedoor, I was called back. Something about me had caught the eye of the leader. I was tall, of a lithe figure,



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A SATURDAY. 15 ing. The band-wagon stood near. My chatty acquaintance called out, Say, Bill, toot up a little for this youngster." The musicians drew themselves up from their various listless attitudes, seemingly glad of any thing to arouse them., They raised their instruments to their lips, and sent forth a blast that woke the echoes of thea surrounding hills in a way in which they had never before been roused. I was beside myself. It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard a brass band. It did not occur to my childish mind that it was simply a catch, to draw in the family, if possible, to the exhibition four miles away. "What have they all got ? I asked eagerlyy"as the music ceased. "Oh! bears and tigers and monkeys and birds, and all sorts of animals. Come, go along. I'll take you, in real earnest, and you can walk back. It's only four miles, and



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28 TOM BENTLEY. Miles from here by this time," was all I thought about then. We were passing the very spot where they had exhibited the night before. The trampled earth and a litter of straw was all that remained.



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 67 walks of life, and understood thoroughly all the advantages a city might afford to a youth of my aspiring nature. When he told me it was the easiest thing in the world to make money in a city, that you could get any thing you want in a city, that you could see all sorts of grand sights in a city; and then added, with a compassionate sigh, that he pitied boys that had to live in the country, though for him it was rest'and a pleasant change to get away, -my ambition-at least, I thought it was ambition -was all aglow to try the delights and excitehents of city-life. Every day, as I mounted to the ridge of the hill; I looked off south-westward, and sighed over the iniles of distance that lay between me and so much magnificence. Yet he would sometimes say, in a moment of forgetfulness, as we were taking some of our splendid rides down the glistening hills on our



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20 TOM BENTLEY. wouldn't let me. I have no recollection of ever having felt so rebellious before; for I knew he was kind and good, and, in our quiet way of living, he had not often thwarted my wishes, except in common matters. But this was such a rare occasion, such a golden opportunity, it seemed to me; and yet he had fairly crossed my path, and I -hated him for it. This seems a strong expression; but I recognize the truth of it now, though I should ha, denied it then. The Saturday night was coming on, anfth.is seemed to aggravate my trouble. iy-father had been brought up in the practice of commencing the Sabbath at six o'clock on Saturday evening; and although he had so fa accommodated himself to the changing custom of the country, that he no longer kept the Saturday night as holy time, yet te sacredness of the lingering associations, of his boyhood would not yet permit him to look upon it



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A SABBATH. 43 ranged in their places; and we were eacl called upon to repeat some portion of Scripture learned for the occasion, my father commencing. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help," he repeated slowly; and, not content with the one verse, he went on through the whole of the beautiful psalm. The hills! He could not forget the striking and impressive symbol of God's presence and protecting power. "My son, give me thy heart," repeated my mother. Ah, she bore us always on her heart! and, in the moments when she drew nearest to God, the burden of her children's salvation went always with her. "But whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life," said Martha. I gave no thought then to the motive that guided her selection. r'*-



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CHAPTER IV. A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 0 the winter slipped away, and the snows melted, and flowers bloomed, I -bloomed over Lucy's grave as gayly as elsewhere. And I, too, Shad had gay sports; although I had felt, when she was buried, as if I could never smile again. Yet I was apgry whenever I thdught of my loss. The effect upon the rest of the family was more salutary than upon me, as I have already intimated. I was now the youngest; and, had I not so resolutely determined to harden myself against all good influences, I should have become the object of much of the tenderness that had formerly been 71



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A SATURDA Y. 11 freshened horses were started on the level halfmile across the valley. Just here, amid these quiet scenes, I first found,myself. The first clear and vivid recollection of the workings of my own mind that I can now recall was of something in my tenth year.. Of course, I clearly remember many scenes and events previous. I remember quiet and peaceful days; I also remember days of childish trouble: but from that moment I clearly remember myself, and my own personal and individual life. I distinctly recall, across the distant interval of time, the occasion when I first -if I may so express myself-turned my eyes inward, and became self-conscious. It was a drowsy summer afternoon. I had been in the hay-field all the morning, professedly tossing over the hay to dry it more thoroughly; for I was a stout boy, and was already required to take my share in the light labors of the farm. But the truth was, I had



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V 92 TOM BENTLEY. rest o ily. Though I stood among them, the ; still yawned between us. I was as wholly out of sympathy with their tastes and pursuits a they were with mine. There was no interest of nine that they wished to inquire about; and for their surroundings I cared as little, save to gratify an idle curiosity. I passed away the time as I best could, examining my instruments with solicitude, lest they should have sustained some injury, which I pretended to fear, from the rough carriage-ride. My real motive was to parade them, with the glare of their silver mountings, before the eyes of the family. Then I frolicked with William's little son, exclaiming, now and then, that I hadn't touched the hand of a child for years; which, of course, was not true, though it had a sort of meaning. Then I would inquire about some neighbor whose name suddenly recurred to my recollection. But, with all my efforts, I was ill at ease. N.



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270 TOM BENTLEY. She read it carefully, with no smiles on account of my blunders ,or my awkward expressions. When she had finished, she said to me, This has been a difficult thing for you to do, Mr. Bentley." "It has, madame," I replied. I supposed you would think it very easy." "It might be easy for me," she said, with the brightest of smiles. But I can readily see the difficulties in your way. I was thinking of offering to write for you," she added musingly: but no, -no, it is better for you to do it yourself. But you might express this differently; and here I would say so, and so," she continued, pointing with her finger to different sentences of my letter. I could see, then, the -old harshness of my character and style revealing themselves in the very expressions I had used respecting our common occupation, and which must have effectually destroyed any good effect I might



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110 TOM BENTLEY. I recall now the thoughts with which I sometimes looked at him, as I watched him from a distance coming towards me up the hillside, with his cane, which lately he seldom went without. A feeling of exultation, which I now shudder to remember, would sometimes dart through my mind as I thought, "I shall soon be away; I shall not be watched much longer," and other like expressions. I had outgrown the practice of running along beside the teams that came down the hill and stopped for. water at my father's well. I even considered it beneath my dignity to be often about the well when srangers were there. But, after my resolution to leave home was fully formed, I lost no opportunity for a few minutes' chat with strangers, though I steadily avoided people of the neighborhood. My object in this'was to acquire as full a knowledge as possible of the localities I designed -.visiting, and to learn as much as I could about



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I AM ARRESTED. 259 I had little knowledge of Scripture. The lessons of my childhood lay buried beneath a mass of worthless rubbish. I had no Bible among my possessions. I picked up the card, and read again, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." I could not exactly understand all that. I had sinned, -that was clear. Could I not, whenever I would, go to tlhe-_Father with those words, "Father, I have sinned? Did I need an advocate to come between me and that offended Father, and plead my cause for me? Ah! I knew it well. The lessons of boyhood, though buried, yet were not utterly lost. The truth respecting an almighty Saviour, and his work in my behalf, little by little grew clearer in memory and in thought. I found, that as a sinner aainst God, without a Saviour, I was utterly ruined and lost; and that it was the same God, against whom I had made myself a sinner, who held me in his



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176 TOM BENTLEY. Leave me the money, then," I replied insolently. "I can find better use for it than to give up and run back home, just after I have got started to do well." I have no right to do that. It is father's money, and was not given me to help you along in a course of disobedience." "Ha I laughed. What generosity " Then you will not go ?" No! I answered with a stamp of my foot. "Will you write to us, then ? " Oh, yes!" I answered coolly. "I will write a line now and then. I'd like to have you all know how I am* getting along. I'll send a paper, at least, with our advertisement, and theii you'll know where to write to me. You'll be proud when Thomas Bentley begins to be distinguished among the rest for his fine talents and skill." And I drew myself up pertly, and tried to look smart, and make my brother enjoy my sorry wit.



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A SABBATH. 31 Boys of the present day, who witness so frequently the coarseness, vulgarity, and brutality of the common circus, may wonder that this spectacle, which I at that time failed to witness, and about which I was so anxious to hear, Sshould have moved me so much. But, as I have intimated before, this was a simple animal show, with no demoralizing performances of horses or of low men connected with it. Besides, it was the first that had ever crossed my path. I, therefore, listeped eagerly as the boys told about the animals and the wonderful music. "Why didn't you come, Tommy ? asked one. There was lots of boys in that had to come farther than you." "'Cause I never can do what I want to," I answered. "Tommy," said my father. I turned, and he stood close beside me. He had heard my reply, but he said nothing about it then. He



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284 TOM BENTLEY. me, as I had already ascended the river several times. The crisp, cool air, blowing from the snow-covered bluffs, revivedme. I felt assured of the correctness of the doctor's judgment, and already the hope of returning vigor roused my languid spirits and quickened my pulses. When we reached St. Louis, I was already so strengthened that I was less solicitous than I expected to be about meeting my friends. I could have done very well. alone. I had already determined that my first step should be to go to a jeweller's and dispose of my watch, so that, in any case, I might not be "wholly dependent.



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 279 On Tuesday I was to leave. The settlement of my physician's bill, and of other outstanding matters, left me enough to pay my fare on the boat, with a very small balance remaining in my purse. I felt relieved to find that it would do even so much; for I had several times calculated my resources and my/ indebtedness with the closest care, and feared I should be compelled to sell my watch or one of my musical instruments to carry me through. I knew that I might yet be obliged to do so before I should reach niy friends, especially if, by any miscalculation, they should fail to meet me in St. Louis. I put my instruments in their cases with my usual care. They were of fine quality; and, though I had put them to a base and ignoble use, the fault was not in them, but in me. Some may smile when I say that I loved them; but I know, also, there are others that will not smile. Any one whose fingers have grown familiar with 4



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CHAPTER XIII. I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. SHERE was no haste about landing, as the boat was to go no farther; and, desiring in my weakness to avoid the noise and jostle of the crowd, I sat quietly in the saloon, while all were in eager haste around me. My friend had taken leave of me at Cairo, his business leading him up the Ohio River, and I had made but slight acquaintance with any one else on board. I was scarcely aware that the boat had touched the wharf, when, glancing down the long saloon, I saw my 285



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148 TOM BENTLEY. had piercing black eyes and a somewhat peculiar cast of countenance, and really had a talent for the lower kinds of music, as weH as for grotesque motions and grimaces. All this the leader had seen in the course of my exhibition; and, as I returned to my standing-place before them, the following colloquy took place between the leader and one other of the most prominent members of the band: We can make something out of Mfat fellow," said the first. "Yes, I believe it," replied the other; "but we want some one for immediate use. This boy has every thing to learn." "He will learn rapidly," said the first. "I tell you, native talent in our line is rare, and he has it. We want a triangle player at once. We can put him at that. Look here; young chap," he added, areising me, "put down that fiddle, and try your hand at this," giving me a triangle.



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6 CONTENTS. CHAPTER X. PAGE. I CHANGE MY PLAN .........209 CHAPTER XI. I AM ARRESTED ..........232 CHAPTER XII. I ENTER A NEW WORLD ........261 CHAPTER XIII. I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER .....285 CHAPTER XIV. THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH WITHOUT OBSERVATION ..304 CHAPTER XV. A LIFE'S LABOR LOST ....... ... 330 CHAPTER XVI. THE END OF MY STORY ........335



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152 TOM BENTLEY. life; but in this I failed. The most I could accomplish was to assure myself, that by and by I should be happy, by and by I should be rich, by and by all would be well. Surely, if I could have looked at myself with the eyes of a pitiful angel, I must have wept tears of unbounded compassion. That night I appeared at the concert, no longer as an amused spectator, but standing among the performers, and taking my paltry part in the programme, never doubting that I contributed much to the unusual success of the evening. I was fully conscious, all the time, of myself, and this added much to the awkwardness of my appearance; but, in my subordinate part, it mattered little. I had never been an apt scholar in any thing before; but, in the various tricks of my newly-chosen occupation, I learned rapidly. As soon as I became fully established in my position, I thought it best to find my uncle,



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I TOM BENTLEY. "CHAPTER I. A SATURDAY. AM an old bachelor. It would be out of place to tell here how this has come about; but such is the fact. As I sit here in my comfortable room, a picture often rises vividly before my mind. I am transported from among the prairies of the West to the rugged hills of Vermont. In a valley among 7



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172 TOM BENTLEY. the various houses of worship. But he was beforehand with me. In his walk, the previous afternoon, he had informed himself respecting them, and learned where to go to hear a certain preacher to whom my father's weekly religious paper had often alluded. He did not even ask me for any information, at which I felt a little piqued, but at once took me under his own leadership, saying, Come, Tommy, this is the way," as we started out on what I supposed to be our uncertain wanderings, but which I found were not at all uncertain. "We had a long walk before us, two miles at least; at which I murmured somewhat before we reached the church, not thinking, that, if I had carried out my intention of spending the Sabbath with Harry Greyson, we would doubtless have walked many miles, neither of us being in circumstances to indulge in riding. The preacher preached to me that day, though I did not know it at the time. And



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32 TOM BENTLEY. only repeated my name, -more affectionately than usual, I fancied. At least, as I recollect it now, there was a shade of sadness in the tone that I had never before noticed. Tommy, it is time to go in; and this is God's house, my son." We entered; I and my younger sister, my special favorite, bringing up the rear as usual, and all filing in to our accustomed seat. The old man of ninety was already there., He turned and shook hands with my father, with his customary salutation, "Good-morning, Josiah." It did not seem too familiar, nor at all disrespectful. He had known my father from his boyhood; and though he was then fifty, and his hair mixed with a good deal of gray, the old man near a hundred still familiarly called him Josiah Bentley., The services soon commenced; the pastor, who had married my father and mother, invoking, with touching solemnity, the blessing



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I AM ARRESTED. 243 you with Lawrence. If Emilie is here, she will keep you talking," he added playfully; and you must just be as quiet as you can. Come, Emilie." She was arranging my pillows, which he allowed her to finish, and then, drawing her hand into his arm, they left; she looking back over her shoulder, and saying gayly," I am coming again. We'll soon have you up and about, -doctor and I will." They were gone, and I was alone with my taciturn nurse. True to her word, Madame Laboiteau came with her husband whenever he appeared, after that. She had been doing this for several days before, but I had not known it. I soon learned, to look for her visits more than for the doctor's; and, indeed, in that stage of my illness, I think they did me more good. The doctor laughingly told me, sometimes, that he had handed me over to his wife and Lawrence,



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 63 light of God. To me, it was all darkness and gloom and sorrow, -nothing else. Yet I knew the glorious truth of the gospel. I knew of redemption and salvation and heaven; and now and then thoughts of all these things would come flashing through the darkness of my mind. But oftener another thought came. It was the thought of God's overruling providence, belore which all created beings must bow. My ideas of this providence were most crude "and indefinite. But this I knew, that God had taken away my sister. He had done it. He had reached forth his hand, regardless of my love, and had taken her from me. Why had he done this? O blind! As if my selfish affectiof were more-than her rescue from amid the ruin of a lost world! As if there were no good, even for myself, to be gathered from that great sorrow "A deeper and more tender affection for one



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/! iiil I ill i lliiil: TT NA "continued playing as long as the continued asking.--Page 147. 'I continued playing as long as they continued asking"-P~a'ne 147.



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178 TOM BENTLEY. room, I caught a glimpse of William, as he dropped into a chair, and laid his head upon my table; and I heard a sob of anguish. I was all action and nerve that morning at my work, and won great praise from my teacher. But it is not too much to say that fires of torment were consuming me. I did not go home to dinner, lest William should not have gone. I could not see him again. I took lunch at a restaurant, and then wandered about listlessly until I was sure the train was fairly out of the city, and then went to my desolate room, where I had left my brother sobbing that morning. He was gone; but he had left a slip of paper lying on my table with the words written on it, "DEAR TOMMY, -We shall pray for you night and morning: we shall look for you day by day, till you come back. I know you will come, my brother; for God hears and answers prayer."



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 181 Socially, I had no position. Wandering from city to -city, from town to town, with no home, no friends, in any; excluded from society wherever my profession, as I learned after a while to call it, was known; debarred from the refining influence of educated Christian ladies, both young and old, for not to one such would I have'dared offer the tip of my finger,I lived within the circumscribed society of our own band, of which one member was not much better than another. Yet through all this, and through many accompanying vices, I was upheld by that very providence of God which I hated, and the grace of God which I scorned still waited to bless me. Profanity ceased to shock me. The Sabbath btcame my day of recreation. I was familiar with drinking-saloons, though the restrictions of our band kept me from falling into intoxication. Billiard-rooms became the favorite haunt of my leisure hours.



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40 TOM BENTLEY. between William and myselfwas darting hither and thither, restless, as she always was, yet never accomplishing much in any direction. So Lucy and I sat waiting till the rest should i be ready to join us. We were seated near a tall clock, that reached from floor to ceiling, and which had never, for an instant, -to my knowledge, -ceased ticking away the moments of our existence. On the other side of the fireplace, filled, as it always was during the summer, with boughs of evergreen, stood my father's writing-table, with a small book-case upon it, within which were arranged the few books that composed our family library. There was one pane of glass broken in the book-case doors. I remember at this moment the very shape of the fracture. I think, if that broken pane had been replaced by a whole one, I should scarcely have recognized the familiar old piece of furniture. Many times I had read upon the backs of the books their gilded



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 99 I found, perhaps, a score of persons within, of the lowest class in the village; but I boldly entered, and took my seat, saying to myself, I am going to have some fun for once, any how." I need not detail the disgusting exhibition. When it was over, I went back to the church, which was thronged. I slipped quietly in, and sat down on a back seat. On the way home, my father said to me, "Tommy, where were you? Of course he had missed me from my usual place in the pew. I sat away back," I replied evasively. I was afraid there wouldn't be room in the pew." "There was plenty of room for you, Tommy," answered my mother. "I love to have the children all together." I do not remember having ever made so near an approach to lying. Nothing further



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 227 Wearied and satiated, I resolved to try husks in a new form. I determined to take the tour of the lakes, and to throw myself into the society of the fashionable travelling world, unrecognized in my true character. I speak of this gratification to which I now turned my attention, as husks, not because of any lack of real food for the thoughtful and reverential spirit in wandering among God's magnificent works, but because I went with no thoughtful or reverential spirit. I went, not as among the works of God, but simply to follow in the wake of the fashionable world, to hang myself on the skirts of gay society, to feed on ashes in 0 the midst of boundless plenty. So I passed on down the beautiful Lake Michigan, witl an occasional listless outlook at some points of special interest, but, in the main, caring as little for the ever-varying beauties of light and shade, sky and water, island and shore, as a senseless block. I have since sailed over



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278 TOM BENTLEY. old; and that, while the old was in conformity with the natural tastes and inclinations of the heart, the new runs counter to them, and requires constant watchfulness, effort, and prayer; and yet, that while the first brings weariness and satiety, and produces dissatisfied longing for something better, the other brings peace and rest, and is made easy by grace. I was not much fatigued by going to church. I spent the remainder of the day quietly, reading my Bible, and now and then humming some sweet Sabbath melody that iame up to my 'mind like an echo of the long-forgotten past. That was the beginning of Sabbaths to me. Even those of my boyhood, when I had been compelled to put a difference between them and other days, had been kept only in conformity with that outward compulsion. But that Sabbath in New Orleans stands out among the many that I can since recall, like a miner's first nugget of pure gold.



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74 TOM BENTLEY. the great city which I so much desired to see, but he would also look out upon the ocean, and see the great ships gathered in the harbor from every quarter of the world. I flew to my father, and begged that I might go too. I think I really begged with tears in my eyes. But my father replied, "It's impossible, Tommy." I renewed my entreaties, making many promises, if he would only let me go. Tommy," said he, laying his hand affectionately on my shoulder, "I shall need you more than usual when William is away. I couldn't spare you both at once. And besides, Tommy, travelling is expensive." I felt the blood leave my face. I knew I turned white with anger; and, looking my father steadily in the face, I muttered fiercely, "I will go some day, you'll see if I don't. I can see at this moment the expression of pain and heart-sickness that overspread my father's face. I know now how he felt. I



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 141 ballads of that style then current, I marvelled at the dexterity of the performers in the use of the banjo and other instruments; but, most of all, I was amazed at the dances. I looked on with gaping wonder during the two hours that the senseless exhibition held the attention of the audience, and drew forth the noisy clamor of applause. I sat in the very front, that I might lose nothing; and the result was, I lost nothing but my. senses. In my ignorance and simplicity, I made an absolute surrender of myself to the captivating effect of the exhibition. There must have been something of the power of sweet melody in the music; for surely nothing else, in the midst of so much that was fantastic and hideous, could have touched the hearts of people of cultivation and refinement, such as many of that audience actually were. It was not strange that I was entranced, taking into consideration the career



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 89 with which he had managed the business intrusted to him. The neighboring boys were all curiosity to hear of what he had seen. I added this, also, to my list of grievances. I was nobody. But in vain they attempted to lionize him. If I had not had the opportunity of drawing from him a pretty full account of his trip on our homeward ride, I should never have learned much of it afterwards. He had not been at home an hour before he appeared in his working-garb, ready to take hold at once of some matters which his observant eyes saw in need of attention; and, from that hour forward, he dropped into his usual routine with an ease and contentment that provoked me to a senseless scorn of my brother, who in reality was so much better than I. William had brought some token of remembrance for each one of us. He could not crowd much within the narrow capacity of his



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THE END OF MY STORY. 363 fested in his inner experience, but also in all the works of his hands, and in all his gifts to his children. As to my own individual life, it is like the course of a dismasted, struggling ship, though guided, I trust, by a skilful pilot, and so drawing nearer the haven of eternal rest and peace. But if I had only called in that pilot sooner, and given him the charge of the precious life that was intrusted to my keeping, how much more prosperous and successful a voyage I might have made! I can only go to Jesus, and cast all on him, with the feeling that I have nothing to keep back, -absolutely nothing. As I take one more retrospective glance over my Christian life of ten years, one thought impresses me. When I first heard the voice of my Father reconciled to me through Christ, saying, "Son, go work to-day in my vineyard," -after I had recovered from the great surprise of being addressed as



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 335 grace of God, I had been rescued, and forced by sweet constraint into the kingdom of the Redeemer. Mr. Richards had set out in life with the determination to be rich. This was the recognized end of all his efforts; and he had met with splendid worldly, success. Though by no means satisfied, yet he was eagerly pursuing the same end, in the vain delusion, that, by and by, he should be. I had set out with the determination to follow the dictates of my own will, regardless whither they might lead me. I had been arrested in my career of folly, and had been brought in emptiness and poverty to see the great glory of Christ, and the deep want in the human soul, which none but he can fill. From my very heart I pitied my successful brother. I was glad, for this reason, to take up my abode with him; for, I thought, surely he will hear me. Surely he will listen when I tell him of the riches of grace, so much better than the riches he eagerly pursues.



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106 TOM BENTLEY. people; respecting the shepherds who watched their flocks by night upon the plains of Bethlehem, and who said, Let us go, even now, unto "Bethlehem, and see this thing which is cone to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us! "or respecting David, the young shepherd in that same Bethlehem, and his beautiful Psalm, through which runs the memory of his pastoral life, "The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want" How blessed I might have found God's presence in the hours of loneliness I sometimes passed with my little flock! But my mind reverted to no such themes. "The pasture where I kept my sheep was on a hill-side, a part of it reaching to the highest point of the farm. On that hill-top I often sat, and gazed away upon the surrounding hills, shutting us in on every side. Away, miles beyond them, lay the towns and cities of the unknown world, so glittering, so captivating, to my imagination. I had never a doubt, that, if



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 283 I had only to listen and be entertained. It suited me well. But of the subject that, after all, lay nearest my heart, not a word. When, after being two days in his society, I ventured, in my timidity, to allude to the divine Saviour, my advance was met by a cold, though polite waiving of the whole subject, as one upon which we could not agree. He proved himself a most entertaining, agreeable, kind friend, highly instructive to me in many respects, but content with the wisdom of the world, as I had been with husks of a baser kind, and looking upon the narrow limits of human life as his sole care and concern. When we reached the high bluffs of Tennessee, near Memphis, we found them covered with a light, newly-fallen snow. It was about the first of March. We had left green vegetation and brilliant flowers just behind us; and the contrast was strange, though not new to il



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156 TOM BENTLEY. derstand that daily labor was not what I was in search of, and begging him to assure my father that I was well situated, and perfectly satisfied with the course I had taken, and that my prospects were brilliant. I then excused myself from him, as the hour of rehearsal had arrived, and saying, for the express, purpose of making a good impression upon him, that it was very important I should attend strictly to my business. I went out at the door with him, and parted from him at the next corner, urging him to attend some of our concerts; to which invitation he gave me a very decided negative. I soon began to smile at the eagerness with. which I had hastened to the Battery on my first arrival in the city, to look upon the bay and the shipping. I smiled at the wonder with which I had looked at the stately buildings and the crowds of people, and the intricate tangle of vehicles along the crowded



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 153 and, through him, to let the family at home know of my prosperity. I had made a note of his address, having heard it at the time of my brother's trip; and as I had then been a month in the city, and felt quite free in rambling hither and thither, I took a leisure afternoon, and, after walking and riding some miles, I found his home. It was in a retired street, an unpretending though comfortable house, which he had built mostly with his own hands. I was anxious to see my uncle himself, but hardly expected to find him at home at that hour of the day, as I knew he was an industrious and busy man. As I had supposed, he was not. there; but I introduced myself to his wife and his daughters, -my cousins. They entertained me for an hour with the greatest kindness and hospitality, and urged me to remain to tea, that I might see my uncle. I declined, saying my engagements would not permit, but not saying what those engagements



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 301 one great element of their success, and of his inability to find any one to fill my place, and offering me an increase of pay if I would return even for the completion of the year. All his soft words could not have moved me, even if I had been able to rejoin my company, which I was not. But his suspicions of my sincerity, and his charge of actual dishonesty, stung me to the quick. It had not occurred to me that any one could doubt my sincerity. I had broken away from an occupation that was both easy and lucrative, and that afforded every opportunity for self-indulgence, and thrown myself wholly out of income, and with no preparation for supporting myself in any other way, so far as I could yet see. My first impulse was to write an angry response. I went so far as to get my paper ready, when the caution of Madame Laboiteau respecting the harshness of my first letter came to my mind, and I decided to wait until



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362 TOM BENTLEY. never known during the time that my musical sensibility was degraded by constant abuse. Though I was in the solitude of my own room, yet I trembled and quivered with delight as I revelled amid the melodies and harmonies of the masters of music. I felt, that, as a science, an art, a recreation, a source of pure enjoyment, the pursuit which I had so degraded and abused was really one of God's most precious gifts to men. From that time my musical instruments were cleansed from their defilement, and have been not only a source of joy to myself, but, as I said before, to the circle of young people who often lay me under contribution in their joyous and happy hours. Who should sing, who should make merry, who should rejoice, if not the Christian? Through he is brought, through tears and sorrow of heart, to his high place as a redeemed son of God, yet, when there, let him rejoice ever in the Lord, not only as mani-



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I AM ARRESTED. 255 that, too, among those upon whom I had no claim. I never for a moment doubted that' I should be received to a son's place in a home of love, if I would but say those little words, "I am sorry," and even with unbounded kindness if I would not. Madame Laboiteau soon noticed my unusual silence, and, asked me, What are you thinking of, Mr. Bentley? "The doctor says I must go to my friends," I replied. Is that so terrible ? she asked. I have been homeless so long," I replied evasively; "and Illinois is not home to me, either." "Is that the real difficulty? If you could first be reconciled, how would it be then? "I think I shouldn't care where home might be then. I could go anywhere cheerfully," I answered frankly. I could never be otherwise than frank with Madame Laboiteau, whenever she could bring me fully to the point.



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 161 intermediate points. It was with some difficulty I concealed from my comrades the fact that I had never before been inside a railroadcar; but so it was. It must be remembered, however, that, at that time, -twenty-five years ago, -railroads were by no means so numerous as they now are. When we reached Philadelphia, I was obliged to resort to the same measures of economy as before; and another member of the band -the youngest, except myself joined with me. We could, neither of us, afford to live as some of the other members of the company lived. We, therefore, took inferior lodgings; and our daily rehearsals, my own private practising, and the evening entertainments, were resumed. The society of Harry Greyson, whether profitable or not, was a relief to my loneliness; though perhaps, after all, it did not add to my enjoyment. I had objected to hard work at home; but I 11



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I AM ARRESTED. 251 truth. I, even then, still entertained the idea that concessions should come from my parents to me, rather than from me to them. It thrills my heart now with gladness to remember that they lived till I came to .a better mind. If they had not, it seems to me I must have endeavored to awaken them in their graves, to tell them when that blessed time came. Having reached a certain point in my recovery, just sufficient to enable me to move languidly about my room, and, wrapped in a shawl, to glide like a ghost to Madame Laboiteau's parlor, of which she had given me the freedom, I seemed then to stand still. I could gain no more strength, my appetite refused nourishment, and week after week found me still an'invalid. I became alarmed about my means of support. Through the previous years, I had always felt that I had plenty, though-I had generally used up, in various indulgences in the summer, nearly all of what I



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 317 He looked up with a smile of glad surprise. "Oh! can it be? Is it possible I am soon to see my Saviour who has purchased me with his own blood ? Oh, what joy what peace, to be in him, to have no fear of death, to just lie calmly in his hand and wait the accomplishment of his will! Can it be possible? Mr. Nelson, I want to see all my young friends, every one." Charles," interposed the doctor. "Never mind, doctor," said he with a pleasant smile. It can do me no harm now. A few hours, more or less, can make no difference. I must see them. I must tell them what joy it is to be able to face death without one fear, and how terrible it would be if Christ were not with me." He then named the young companions he desired to see, and Sinclair left to call them. I was that day at my Sister Sarah's, so that I received the summons, among others. We



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 305 the Church of God in the world, because I knew not what I was doing. I did not see, for I was in darkness, and loved to have it so, that the Church, in the midst of a world of wickedness, is the one thing upon which the eyes of the Lord are continually fastened; that, for its growth and prosperity and purity, kingdoms rise and fall, thrones and powers are used or are thrust aside, as God, in his over-ruling providence sees fit. I knew nothing of the promises of its future fulness and splendor, when it shall fill the whole earth, and sin shall hide its head for very shame. Neither had I any conception of that silent, mysterious, invisible influence that comes from above and enters the human heart, doing its mighty work in the individual soul; thus gathering, one by one, the citizens of that glorious kingdom, planting a germ of new life in the very bosom of death, awakening love to 20



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90 TOM BENTLEY. valise; but he had thought of us all. Some oranges for each one: for my mother, a silver thimble, -she had always used a steel one; for my father a book; a pair of scissors for each of the girls, and for me a handsomelybound pocket-Bible. I looked with some complacency at the gilded edges and the handsome cover, and thought how the boys in Sunday school would observe it, but wished all the time it had been something else,any thing, almost, but a Bible. I can scarcely tell against how many winning influences I hardened myself during those years, nor how many repentant tears my stubbornness has cost me. Often in the night and morning supplications, the one still out of the fold was prayed for. I know my mother and sister wept and prayed for me daily. My brother's example was always before me. In the solitude of our room, I witnessed his nightly communings with God, often dropping



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92 TOM BENTLEY. winning and warning voices of instruction, I could harden myself to steel, I cannot now see; but, in all that has ever come under my observation, I have never met with any more convincing proof of the desperate wickedness of the human heart. While treating my parents with contempt, and rebelling, against their authority, always so wise and gentle, if I in my foolishness had not made it seem like bars of iron by my frantic struggles against it, I yet wrought myself up to the full conviction that I was the aggrieved party, and that I was hardly dealt with. My wonder now is, that I was not destroyed, and that without remedy.



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144 TOM BENTLEY. my music, and sometimes accompanying the same with various grotesque movements of head, arms, legs, and feet, at which they laughed heartily. Now I felt certain that I had discovered the direction in which my undeveloped genius pointed. I must and would become a negro minstrel. That was an ambition worthy of me. My Brother William might farm, if he chose; but I would learn to blacken my face, and toss my arms and legs, for the amusement of a gaping crowd. I couldn't come down to farming Not I! So I shut myself up in my dismal little rbom, away in a corner of the third story of a thirdclass hotel, and began my practice. I found I could easily recall the melodies I had heard at the concerts; and, by running over them many times, I could execute them with a considerable degree of dexterity. I next attempted the dances and the various muscular performances, in which, also, I satisfied myself admir-



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82 TOM BENTLEY. harvest of misery and ruin I reaped from the sowing of those years. I tell of them, as men of the sea build lighthouses where vessels have been wrecked. William was gone just a week. By appointment, I again took Jetty and another horse, and went to Castleton to meet him. My feelings were somewhat different from those with which I had gone with him the week before ; though, perhaps, no more comfortable to myself, nor betokening a better spirit. I was now all eagerness to hear the account he might have to give of all the wonders he had seen; though my smouldering anger that he should .have seen them, and not I, kept me miserable. I was a little ahead of time, as before; and had paced many times up and down the platform when the train came. I looked to see William step out of the car. I almost expected he had grown an inch or two taller,



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122 TOM BENTLEY. start myself in life ; and I thought I could sell him to better advantage in Albany than in any of the intervening towns, which were smaller. I felt in no haste, because I wanted to keep Jetty in good order; and also I thought, if either William or my father should followme, they would be less likely to track me among the by-roads which I selected, than if I should soon strike the main thoroughfare. There were no telegraph-lines then, except a few recently erected, connecting some of the leading cities, -none that could be made avaNable, as now, for tracing a fugitive; and it was comparatively easy to keep out of the way. I was four days on my way, including a Sabbath, which I used like the others. For this violation of a long-established habit, I justified myself on the plea of necessity. The violation of God's law gave me no trouble. At length I reached Albany, weary enough. I had purchased a valise by the way, and re-



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42 TOM BENTLEY. moved, just as I should have missed the brass ornaments from the top of the clock. Indeed, the brass ornaments were far more suggestive to me. Lucy and I had some minutes to wait before, the others were ready. Her reverent spirit was a check upon me. I would gladly have frolicked a little with her ; but beyond the sweet smile upon her rosy mouth, that betokened a happy heart within, I could by no means move her. Her calm blue eyes rebuked me the moment I went too far in my efforts to overstep the proper sobriety of the Sabbath; yet those same blue eyes sparkled with life and vivacity. The Sabbath was to her a "delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and, notwithstanding my efforts to lead her into unseemly playfulness, I felt all the while that she was better that I. At length the two arm-chairs were occupied; and my brother and other sisters were also



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A SATURDA Y 21 as quite common time. No secular employments were carried on in our dwelling. A sober serenity pervaded all our pursuits, of which even we children felt the influence. "-'Indeed, that hallowed feeling comes over me now and then at the distance of these many years, and, overleaping the chasm that separates my boyhood from my manhood, subdues me into quiet thoughtfulness as the Saturdaynight sun goes down, and forms a fitting prelude to'the holy joys of the c"ning morning. "But that Saturday niht ws different. The restrictions of God's \i thei fyist pressed upon me as 'fetters. Nopt much 'f' devotion, J suppose, had ever before thab time mingled with my Sabbath exercises. Yet the day had been far from iifome. But now the approaching Sabbath had thrust itself between me and this very great and unusfal gratification that had been off':ed %ne." On another day, I fancied my father would have permitted



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166 TOM BENTLEY. had Jetty, and could get every thing I wanted." "Tommy," said my brother, very tenderly, and drawing his seat nearer, so as to lay his hand on my knee, "I have scarcely seen a smile in our house since you left. Father and mother mourn over you more than they did over our darling Lucy. We all knew where she was, and we could be comforted." It required all the hardihood I possessed to resist that appeal; but I summoned it all, and replied fiercely, I just wish they would let me alone. It is all I want of them. I've got a good start now, and they might be satisfied." "Tommy, dear boy," said William, "what are you started for, and where will your journey end ? Ah! my brother could see, and he did not consider that I was blind. "Let me alone, and you'll see," was my surly reply. "Do you like this as well as our beautiful



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350 TOM BENTLEY. I gave him every assurance, and tried, in every possible way, to lift the load of his busi ness from his mind; that, whether life or death should be the result of his illness, his thoughts might, for a time, be free to turn without distraction to the way of life and salvation through Christ. Now," said I, "you can surely be at ease, and let me read to you." I opened my Bible, and read the parable about the talents intrusted to the servants of the man who was travelling into a far country. When I had finished, Mr. Richards said to me, "Tom, do you think I am going to die ? I replied, I have no reason to think so at present, -none at all." Then why are you so urgent about religious matters ?" Because," I answered, "you are laid aside now from business. You have rolled off your business cares upon me, and I understand them



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 287 didn't you get some one to write for us to come down ? One of us would have gone cheerfully." "Would you?" I asked. "It is a long journey. But I fell among kind friends, very .kind." "Did you? I am so glad!" he answered heartily. Well, come now: the crowd is out of the way, and we can get off." My father had already provided a carriage, knowing I was not able to walk far; and, giving my valise and my musical instruments in charge to a porter, we left the boat. We were to go to Alton by another boat, but we were not to leave till the next morning. My faber had selected the very hotel with which I was most familiar, and where I had many times stopped with the other members of the band. The clerk in the office recognized me, and called out, Halloo, Bentley! is that you, or your ghost?



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A NEW SENSATION. 199 year, has thrilled so many worshipping hearts. A clear, pure, soprano voice rang out in the very first burst of the joyous song, "All hail the power of Jesus' name I" The heart that modulated that voice kiew the power of that name, or it could never have given the fulness of fpeling there was in the tones, "Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown him Lord of all." The clearness, tenderness, and surpassing sweetness of that voice, as it filled the house with its trembling vibrations, I had never heard surpassed. I moved, though I knew it wasruAe, to another part of the pew, from which I could look into the choir, and see the owner of that voice. A fair young girl stood singing. She did not see me, -her thoughts were elsewhere; but my gaze was riveted.



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A NEW SENSATION. 205 I had outgrown the fashion of bursting into fits of boyish passion; but it angered me to have my father speak of my profession" as a low calling. I knew that was just the truth, but I was unwilling he should so speak of it. I simply answered, I couldn't think of it. I am under a positive engagement for another year. Besides, I am making more money than I could put myself in the way of making at any thing else for some years, if ever." "Money is not all," he answered. "What are you making of yourself, my son ? I had answered that question to myself many times during the summer, but I would not give the same answer to him. I replied angrily, "You don't appreciate the one talent I have. -What am I to do? He simply asked in turn, "Won't you promise to leave this business at the end of the year, and come home ? "I have been thinking of it," I answered.



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 53 was the first time I had ever heard his voice in prayer; though, as we slept together, I had often seen him on his knees before retiring. I was well satisfied, myself, with hurrying through the Lord's Prayer; and I well knew, from the length of time that William spent on 1is knees, that he by no means limited himself to the use of that well-known form, -the repetition of which had been fastened upon us as "a habit, by our careful mother, from our earliest recollections. In .many other respects, I could kot but bear unwilling testimony to the growing power of Christianity in William's heart and-life. In years past, we had had our contentions, in which he had taken his full share. But I could no longer provoke him to anger. "This angered me the more, because it placed him over me, and gave him an advantage"against me, as my superior, not only by right ofyears, but of character also. SMy increasing moroseness was not suffered



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 343 happened that Mr. Richards needed some business attended to in Chicago, while, at the same time, his personal attention was needed for other matters in another direction. The business in Chicago was such that I could do it; and I was accordingly sent. I had not been there since my last appearance with my company, and was glad of the opportunity to go, "clothed and in my right mind." As I hastened up to the busy part of the city from the d6pot, on my arrival, huge posters from all public places obtruded upon notice the name of the very company of negro minstrels to which I had formerly belonged. They were then in the midst of a series of concerts in the city. The announcement awakened in me a singular mingling of interest in my old comrades, and shaie on account of my former connection with them. I had no desire to witness any of their public performances. Every feeling revolted from it.



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264 TOM BENTLEY. "Never Trust me, madame, never." "And you do not feel any uneasiness as to your future means of support? "I cannot say that," I answered. "I do feel some uneasiness. But I cannot go back to that." "The Lord will provide," said she cheerfully. He will open ways for you. Never fear. You will find abundant promises in his word to that effect." "I believe it," I answered. Though I know but little about his word, what I do know assures me." "I don't believe you have any Bible," said Madame Laboiteau suddenly. I confessed with shame that I had none. Just then the doctor called for me to ride. He wrapped me up carefully, and assisted me down stairs and out to the carriage. The ride was charming. I did not understand why it was that the very sunlight, the delicious air,



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190 TOM BENTLEY. been absolutely stationary. Seemed, only. All -I as well as others -had moved on, so many years nearer to the bar of God. The red house looked a little older, but familiar in every feature. A little child, three years old, was playing on the doorstep. It was William's little son. I sprang from the carriage, leaving the driver to bring in my luggage, most of which consisted of my musical instruments in their cases. I heard some one say, "It's Tommy! A moment more, and my mother had her arm around my neck, my father seized my hand in his trembling grasp -while William stood waiting his turn, and his wife paused in her employment. She was arranging the tea-table, and looked on with interested curiosity. Meanwhile I heard the driver letting down the bucket in the old well to water his horses. How familiar every object, every sound! But I -could not be a boy again.



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210 TOM BENTLEY. would ring out those words in which I had first heard it, "All hail the power of Jesus' name!" It seemed a profanation to permit her face to appear, even to my mental vision, or her voice to stir the echoes of my heart in the midst of such scenes. Strange, that I never thought it a profanation to bring the blessed name of Jesus there. Under the magic spell of that voice, our own melodies filled me with loathing. With that face standing out clearly before me, I felt as if oceans would never wash mine clean again. I glanced over the crowd before me, saw the smiles, heard the applause with which some of those very contortions of feature and limb were received which I made use of to relieve my own feelings of intense disgust. I had before, at times, grown weary in my employment, as every one does under the stress of long-continued application; but now I felt it a degradation. I wondered how those that witnessed



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 123 packed my wardrobe, in order to make a respectable appearance on entering the city. I think I must have had an idea that my entrance would make a considerable impression. Avoiding the better class df hotels, both on account of expense and to keep out of the way, I took lodgings in a by-street, to wait until I could sell my horse. In this I was prospered beyond my expectations; for I had no sooner made known my intentions the next morning standing in the bar-room, than a man, as evidently as I from the country, stepped towards me, and offered me seventy-five dollars cash for my horse, saddle, and bridle. I knew it was far below his real worth ; but the temptation was too great for me. It seemed to throw open at once for me the doors of fortune and enterprise; and, with such an opening, I could afford the sacrifice. So I took the seventy-five dollars, and my beautiful Jetty was mine no more.



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 269 excluded from all other society: our pursuits, our interests, were identical; and though some might sneer at the nature of the bond that held us together, yet, cut off as we were from other ties, it was a powerful bond. Yet it must be broken. I could have given the state of my health as a reason. It would have,been much easier. But nothing short of a frank avowal of the new principles of life I had adopted, and a full confession of my faith in Jesus Christ, would satisfy the demands of my conscience. On the next day after I had written to my father, I wrote to the leader of the band. It cost me a laborious and painful effort to express with the pen what I wished to say to him; but I persevered, and then took my letter to Madame Laboiteau. I did not then know enough to perceive my deficiencies in penman'ship and orthography, or I think I should have been ashamed to show my productions to my kind friend.



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134 TOM BENTLEY. Son, go work to-day in my vineyard," was the preacher's theme. Was I the son? Yes, the rebellious and wicked son, who answered, I will not," and whose time of repentance and obedience was not yet come. Somehow, in that house of worship, under the influences of the sanctuary, and the urgency of the gospel message, memories of home came crowding upon me. I found myself in imagination sitting in the square pew of the oldfashioned church, with my father and mother, brother and sisters. Again, as it seemed to me, I stood apart, a spectator, and saw the group in the pew without me, all bowed with sorrow because I was not there. I knew the sympathy of the congregation was with that afflicted household, grieving over me with a grief far more bitter than if they had laid me in my grave with a good hope of redemption through Christ. I could see it all, but I would not feel it. I steeled my heart against the



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 97 out to us. Of course, the state of mind I was in led me to spurn it. Then motives were presented. O wonder of wonders, that a lost soul should need to be plied with motives to accept the salvation of God! These motives were, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the injury done to one's own soul by delay, the danger of impending death. I folded my arms, and, with a defiant nod, mentally exclaimed, I'll risk it. I am going to try the world first." So I was left to try it. I was offered angels' food, but I wainted husks. As often happens when a work of divine grace is in progress, the adversaries of all good were busy also. I remember that our usually quiet town was visited during that season by a strolling company of theatrical performers, a travelling dancing-master, and some other mountebank shows, all of which drew off the attention of some from their higher interests. 7 4



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300 TOM BENTLEY. lay hold of its preciousness. So I read and sang and prayed; and the sweet hours glided away, and the dreary, outside world was nothing to me. I had been at home about a week, when I received a letter from the leader of the band to which I had belonged. They were then travelling in Wisconsin. He was very angry. at my desertion, as he called it, and openly sneered at my profession of a changed mind respecting the business about which I had been employed. He even intimated that one of the best proofs I could give of having acquired a higher position in respect to questions of morality would be to show, at least, a regard for common honesty in the fulfilment of my engagements, which he said I had certainly failed to do, as the season was not yet finished for which my services were under contract. Then, as if he half regretted his severity, he used flattering words. He spoke of my talent as having been



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290 TOM BENTLEY. before, I should have been roused to anger; but in my altered state of mind, and my feebleness of body, it seemed rather pleasant than otherwise. I was effectually prevented from doing any thing more about the watch; but I slipped off my finger a heavy ring with a valuable stone in it, and took in return whatever the shrewd dealer chose to give me, for I had no strength nor time to haggle about prices. He gave me about two-thirds its value. It was but a small addition to my resources;: but, in the low state of my purse, it was welcome. I slipped the money away, and joined my father. Are you out of money?" he asked, as soon as we were alone. Very nearly," I replied. I think I have about enough to take me through." "Oh, well! it's no matter," said he. "You'll not need any money while you stay with us. Don't sell your watch, Tommy," he added, restoring it to me. "As for further



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 57 It was not long before my colt and I were good friends. He would come at my call, and let me caress him; and I promised m self much pleasure whenever he should become fit for riding. Lucy entered gayly and heartily into my enjoyment; and I promised to teach her to ride as soon as my horse was safe for her. I enjoyed calling the beautiful creature, not yet full-grown, my horse. I liked the sound of it better than my colt. I think, for some months after that, I was more tractable. At least, no special exhibitions of my growing perverseness impressed themselves on my mind during that time. The season was pleasant. I was much out of doors, and was becoming more and more occupied with farm-work. I did not relish work at all; but it was healthful both for mind and body that, my father held me closely to it, -as closely, at least, as he thought suited to my age and strength.



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230 TOM BENTLEY. he had no suspicion that I was really capable of doing what he called upon me to do, but designed only to express his astonishment at the skilfulness of my imitation of minstrelmusic. But my sensitive resentment betrayed me. I soon after left the group; and my manner of receiving the young man's remark was then discussed, and various other points were brought up in confirmation of the suspicions I had excited: such, as the fact that scarcely a town was ever mentioned in their conversation but I had been there, on business," as I said, though I never gave any intimation what my business was; and, also, that I never spoke of any particular place as home, and various other apparent concealments of my standing and occupation among men. The next morning, I was coolly met. After breakfast, one of the young men belo to the set with which I had mingled m ly,



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238 TOM BENTLEY. the influence of the narcotic I had taken, the door softly opened, and Dr. Laboiteau entered, followed by a colored man in gown and slippers. He was one of the doctor's own men (it was in the days of slavery), whom he had trained to act in the capacity of nurse. The doctor glanced at me, and seemed satisfied with my condition; and then, beckoning Lawrence to follow him, he led him to the table, and explained to him the treatment he was to give me, and then left me in his care. Lawrence sat down without a word; but his presence was a relief, upon which I reposed and fell asleep. When I awoke, he was there, as if he had not moved, but ready at my slightest sign with any needed attention. I remember, after that, a few dreary days of suffering, both mental and physical. Every day assured me that I was drawing near the gates of death. Though the words of the Psalmist were not familiar to me then, yet



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CHAPTER VIII. A VISITOR FROM HOME. S soon as my uncle reached home, he wrote to my father, telling him he had found me, and where, and how employed. I supposed he would; and I thought then, surely my father would be satisfied to let me go. I thought he could, if he only would, relinquish his hold upon me, as easily and as fully as I had relinquished my hold upon home. How little I knew of the depth of that parental love which the Scriptures take as the type of the divine love, -that love, which, though des159 Is



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38 TOM BENTLEY. noon, a storm was threatening. It had been gathering in black masses upon the verge of the horizon, and, by the time we arrived, had overspread the heavens. So we gathered in the sitting-room, and I well knew what was coming as soon as the meal was over. I knew we children were to be qpestioned and instructed in religious truth; and, for the first time, I dreaded the hour. I fancied it was because we were shut up within doors. That hour of parental instruction had always been a cheerful hour, enlivened with illustration and anecdote and free conversation, in which my father and mother and all the children took their part; and I had never thought of it as otherwise than delightful. But on that day I had indulged in so many murmuring and rebellious thoughts, both of God and of my parents, that I had no heart for our usual exercises. Yet I dared not say so. When the. table was removed, I drew my





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A SABBATH. 47 the yard-fence on Sundays; and this again came up to me as. a hitherto unobserved grievance. Many times in these later years I have rejoiced in the wisdom that set those bounds to my feet, and so drew a strongly-marked line between the Sabbath and other days. I had never before thought of. this restraint as a hardship, but had submitted to it as a thing of course. But I had given loose rein to my wilfulness th:t day; and it seemed to me I was hemmed in on all sides by barriers and limits, the re'straiit of which was not to be tolerated. S As I look back from this distance of time, I marvel at the effect produced upon me by the incidents of that Saturday and Sabbath. The spirit of insubordination was fairly aroused. It was this that impressed the events of those two days so vividly upon my mind. The mere "privation of not seeing the show I so much Wished to see gave me a momentary regret comparatively; but the effect produced by my



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44 TOM BENTLEY. I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants," repeated William. His voice trembled as he uttered these words, and there was something in the expression of his countenance that made me wonder. A tear also stood in my mother's eyes, and Martha looked at William's face with earnest tenderness. I remember now that it was not many Sabbaths after this, that I saw him stand up in the midst of the great congregation, and make a good profession of his faith in Christ; and I recognized the thread that connected my mother's and Martha's and William's Scripture selection. Then Sarah gave hers, .to which Martha had directed her,-" Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord." I came next in order. I hung my head, for I had prepared nothing.



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114 TOM BENTLEY. at Jetty capering in the field, and said, Well, I am ready now." Up to this period of my life, I had been guilty of no outbreaking vices. I was not addicted to lying: I would have scorned to touch a penny that was not my own. I had never uttered, nor scarcely heard, a profane oath. I had never tasted a drop of intoxicating liquor. I had never omitted to kneel at night and repeat the Lord's Prayer, as my mother had taught me to do. But I was hard-hearted, undutiful, insubordinate at home. My crime of crimes was, that I hated God and spurned his Son, and would not have him to reign over me; and, therefore, I could not endure the restraints and influendesi tf a Christian home. And, with all this baseness in my heart, I gloried in myself. 4



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102 TOM BENTLEY. I had felt all the morning, from the expression of his countenance, that I was weighing on his mind. I obeyed, sitting down pretty near him, but still, I thought, just out of reach. But a slight movement of his brought him near enough to lay his hand on my shoulder, which he did very gently. I recoiled, but still did not actually withdraw from his touch; and he continued. His voice trembled a little. You have not been doing very well lately, Tommy. I am troubled about you." I made no reply, and he went on. "Another season is now opening, my son, and you are fourteen years old, -old enough to be controlled by principle, and not so much by authority. But what am I to do, if good principles are not rooted firmly enough in your mind to hold you to a right course." "I don't know, except to let me alone," I replied defiantly. "0 my boy! how can I let you alone?"



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366 TOM BENTLEY. magnified beyond all comprehension and all praise. But though this work came first, and intei'wove itself with all the common affairs of life, -meeting me in the daily intercourse of the family, among the homely duties of the farm, in the perplexities of the woollen mill, at the desk of the railway director, in the bankingoffice, always, everywhere, -yet it was not all. Other work for the Master comes often to my hand. No great enterprise has called for me, no mighty undertaking has been laid upon my shoulders. My work lies among the lowly. To those who have neither talent nor culture nor wealth, I can go; and, in answer to their pleas, I can say, Yes, I know all about that. I know God can pardon the most rebellious, can save the most defiant, can strengthen the weakest, and use the humblest, because he has pardoned, saved, strengthened, and used me." To those who stand outside the pale of respec\ S



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18 TOM BENTLEY. my heart was filled with madness. As the caravan disappeared, I shook off my father's hand, and turned morosely away. He went limping into the house: he was slightly lame. I heard him telling the girls about the great tent that would be spread, and what a wonderful sight it would be for them, if they could see the animals ranged in their cages; and I walked away, that I might hear no more. I joined my brother at the well. Don't you wish the elephants could have come this way ? he asked. " N;I growled. He saw that I was angry,he had seen me so many times, -and he said no more. But soon my curiosity mastered me; and I asked, Why didn't they come? Just 'cause* I'd seen them, I suppose." "They took them around the other road because there is a good fordfng-place. They won't cross a bridge." '* 9^*



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 277 derful name, that matchless name; and the radiance of the glory of Christ ever after hallowed in my memory that triumphant voice, and crowned that sweet young girl's face with a soft halo of celestial light. I roused myself from my reverie to listen to the sermon. It was from the words, Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." Whatever I might have been, I certainly was not one of the gospel-hardened class of hearers. The sermon was to me. I have noticed the same peculiarity of all good gospelsermons I. have ever since heard. But that one was especially appropriate to me at that particular stage of my religious experience; and it made me realize, as perhaps years without it would not, that to turn from a course of sin, to accept Christ as a saviour, to enter the kingdom of heaven, is the beginning of a new course of things, as well as the end of the .j



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 271 have produced by a tender appeal to those who were still standing where, so shortly before, I had myself stood. I had called the occupation degrading, and had used various other epithets of that kind. I suppose I looked discouraged; for Madame Laboiteau said to me, "Perhaps you had better wait till you are stronger." No," I replied. "It is not strength of body I lack, but courage of mind. I believe I had sheltered myself behind those harsh expressions, from dread of the ridicule with which I shall be attacked when they know the position I have taken." "It is hard to bear, I know," rejoined Madame Laboiteau; "but you have suffered harder things in your former course, haven't you?" I could not deny that I had. Then look for strength and courage, and make another effort; but I wouldn't send



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 169 again. When I returned, I found that he had taken a room in the same house, poor and comfortless as it was, in order to be near me. It was Saturday; and I knew then that his presence was fastened upon me for at least one day more; and I knew, further, that that day, being Sabbath, would give him an immense advantage over me, and that I should be obliged to summon my resolution to ,the utmost in order to resist his appeals. In the afternoon of Saturday, he came again to my room. We had some pleasant chat about various things of interest that we had both seen; but, as I saw after a while that he was approaching the subject of home, I picked up-a banjo with which I had been supplied, and upon which I was taking lessons, and urged the necessity of practising. I tossed him an old newspaper, in which something had been wrapped, and a book, -I think it was a City Directory, -to amuse himself with while I practised.



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 307 My brother well knew the value of churchfellowship. Having been himself a member of the church from his boyhood, he had grown up to middle life, in perfect familiarity with all the appliances for good that grow out of that divine institution; and his first wish for me, when he learned that I had become a follower of Christ, was that I should become enrolled as a worker for him. I had reached home in the very midst of a season of special interest in the church to which the three families of my brother and brothers-in-law belonged. Such a state of things had never come under my observation since I was a boy. I had heard of revivals, -sometimes through my father's letters from home, sometimes encountering them in the course of my travels, -but always, under those circumstances, looking upon them only in the light of hinderances to our success, especially in the smaller towns. Then I had looked on



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A SATURDAY. 25 that made this particular occasion so impressive, and caused it to take its place among the pictures of memory as the earliest among the decisive points of my life. We always attended church in Poultney "when the weather would permit; and the limits within which it would not permit were exceedingly narrow. The road was smooth and hard, and it was an easy drive with our stout farmhorses. The next morning, I was uncommonly eager for the starting. In my excitement, all outward traces of the sullenness of the previous night had vanished; and my father, it seemed to me, was unusually affectionate. As he and my Brother William busied themselves about the horses, my father's slight limp making his movements the more noticeable, I climbed into the big farm-wagon in which we always rode, and looked on anxiously. The minutes seemed. long drawn out; and when at length we were all seated, seven of us in the



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 321 all his benefit towards me ? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord." I could not, must not, be a halfhearted Christian. After the career I had passed through, it seemed amazing that I should be there at all. It was not because I had been a sinner above others, that I was amazed at finding myself there, though I knew it was true that I had been. The distinction between the greatest sin and the least sunk to insignificance, in the view I had of the enormity of all sin, even the least. If God's hand could reach forth and save the least sinner, if he could stoop to that infinity of depth, the greatest was equally within his grasp. But the wonder to me was, that, after I had so completely thrown myself outside the circle of Christian influence, he should yet go out after me and call me back. Why I, and not another? Why was I brought to say, "He loved me, and gave himself for me," while 21



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334 TOM BENTLEY. but that the affectionate devotion of a lifetime could not requite him for the suffering I had caused. I was glad to be relieved from the irksomeness of my forced dependence, and to look forward to a prospect of steady occupation. I became, then, a member of Mr. Richards's house; and, from that day till now, -a period of nearly ten years,-I have occupied this selfsame room. I could not fail to see the contrast between him and myself; which he, in the wisdom of the children of this world, and I by my own folly in the same direction, had brought about, making him a successful and prosperous man of the world, and bringing me, a shipwrecked wanderer, to a condition of poverty and dependence. But there was another contrast between us, in which I was sure I had the advantage; not because of any wisdom of my own, but because, by the unaccountable



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATIIER. 289 presents for the home-folks. I declined explaining, and we entered. I tried to evade his watchful eye, directing his attention to some of the curious and beautiful objects exposed for sale. At last, I thought I had an opportunity, and offered my watch. I hoped my father would think it only needed some slight repairs; but he came nearer just as the jeweller had finished his examination, and was offering me a very low price for it. "Now, Tommy, don't," said he. "Don't go and sell your watch. Don't do it." I hesitated, for I felt unwilling to dispose of it so far below its real value. "Let me see it," saidhe to the jeweller. He took it in his hand, gave it a slight glance, and dropped it in his pocket; and then turned to me, saying, "Come, Tommy," and led the way at once to the door. I smiled; for it seemed so novel to be treated like a child, man of thirty as I was. A year 19



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344 "TOM BENTLEY. Yet it occurred to me that I should be glad to meet them all together, and testify to them of the salvation of Christ. Familiar as I was with their haunts and habits, this was a matter of no difficulty; and I resolved to do so the next day. Accordingly, the next morning, I presented myself during their hour of rehearsal, and found myself once more where I had so long been at home, in the midst of the various instruments and appliances for concerting after that peculiar style. The same person was acting as leader who had been for two or three years before I left the company. Some of the other performers were strangers, but most of them the same. Harry Greyson had fallen into habits of drunkenness that unfitted him for his place, and had been dismissed. "So," said the leader after the first greetings were over, "yoq got so hungry for good music, you concluded to drop in again, did



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328 TOM BENTLEY. success, unfolded to me in clearness and beauty, so that from the foundation of those primary studies I could go on, with the help of my Sister Rachel; adding item to item, until, at the age of thirty-one, I held about the fair standing of a boy of fourteen. I have often revolved in my own mind the picture of myself, a whiskered man, bending over those boyish tasks, which my Sister Rachel explained to me, sometimes in connection with my nephew, her oldest son. I was awkward about my task. A.man always is, in doing a boy's work. Indeed, that page of my life, as I review it, seems a dreary and uninteresting page. I had been abroad in the world, and followed my own pursuits, too long to sit down contentedly to an allotted task day after day. The only way in which I could at all bring my mind to submit to this discipline was, by remembering that it was needful in order



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A SABBATH. 35 knew, from the glow upon his countenance, that his thoughts, whatever they might be, would soon burst forth in expressive language; for such was his habit. I was not mistaken. "As the mountains are round Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from hericeforth, even forever," he repeated fervently. It had been the text of the morning. The scenery through which we were passing recalled to his mind the pastor's vivid description of the sheltering mountains that kept their perpetual watch around the holy and beautiful Scity. The description had been given in langua'ge adapted even to my comprehension, child as I was; but I had given little heed to it. My father seemed to enter with a transport of delight into the beautiful imagery of the Psalmist. "Why, think of it, children," said "he, turning to us, trusting the horses to the "familiar road without his watchful eye for a few moments. "Think of it. So the Lord is



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340 TOM BENTLEY. I wanted to say something about what I had felt in myself of the dark and fearful nature of sin, of its deceitfulness, of its power to delude the soul on and on, and then deliver it., over to the tormentors. I wanted to speak of the fires sin can kindle within the very soul itself, of its effect in drawing its victim away from God, the source of all blessing and all peace. I could see, in a way which I cannot express, its fearful hold upon him in the form of mere worldliness. It seemed to me, that if I could lay bare to him the workigs of my own heart, as I had writhed in the grasp of terrible monster, he would have said to h$i mill and his bank and his farm, Sink, if you will, but, Lord, save me." But we were at the door of his banking-office, and I had no further opportunity. I had yet much to learn. Saved myself, I wanted to save others; and I thought I had but to speak and they would hear. I knew not yet the shortness of my own arm.



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 175 occupied with arranging them, and making them the subject of all my remarks. As the hour drew near, my brother rose and came to me, as I stood near a table, pretentiously arranging and re-arranging my bits of music. I felt his calm eye resting on me. He laid his hand on my shoulder, and said, "Tommy, you are going away in a few minutes. If you will go and break off this engagement of yours, and go home with me, I will wait till to-morrow. I will wait a week if necessary." I laughed in his face. Why, William," I answered: I shoul'd be a fool to go now. I have just got started in a good business with a prospect of doing first-rate. I should be a fool! I epeated. "Is it a good business, Tommy ? "It suits me," I answered. I brought money with me," he continued, "to take you back if I could find you."



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I AM ARRESTED. 257 I picked up a card on which was printed, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Madame Laboiteau had purposely left it in my way. Had I sinned? Oh! in what deed of my life had I not sinned ? In my active days, a fear of death and of the retributions of eternity had sometimes darted through my mind, but I could thrust it away, and trample it under my heel; but there in my weakness, with absolute destitution before me, God had found me at last. I stood face to face with him, and knew I was in his power. But that did not make me love him. Far from it. But the thought that even there, in his infinite grace and mercy, he would meet me, and receive such an ignoble surrender of myself, if I would but make it, surely ought to have melted even such a heart as mine. "If you could only say, Father, I have sinned.' Those words clung to me, rang in 17



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352 TOM BENTLEY. he suddenly exclaimed, "Tom, I've been thinking over that troublesome woollen-mill business. If any thing should happen to me, I want you to look after that carefully, and secure the interests of my family. Promise me, Tom." I promised, and then added, "Now let business alone, Mr. Richards." "Yes, Tom. I am trying to fix it so that I can let it alone; and then, maybe, I can think of something else. I know I ought to. When I get well, I must try." My sister came in with some nourishment she had been preparing, and I left to attend to Mr. Richards's affairs. I was out all day, not returning till after dark. He was then asleep; and, as I had been riding the night before, I went to my room to rest. For several days, he remained in much the same condition. I daily read a portion of Scripture to him, and we talked a while on the



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226 TOM BENTLEY. Chicago, not even waiting to form any further plans for the summer. I had plenty of money to go where I pleased. The special training, by which the Lord was fitting me for the carrying-out of his gracious purposes in me, did not bring me into want and distress. I had made up my mind to have the world, its amusements, and its rewards; and he had permitted me to have them to the full, that I might see how utterly vain and empty they all were, and so learn the exceeding richness of that portion among his people which I had despised, and know how poor I was, even with all my chosen riches about me. After reaching Chicago, I gave myself up to i the pursuits of pleasure in any form that offered. Released, for a time, from being myself a performer for the amusement of the public, I went as a spectator wherever such amusements continued at that season to be offered. But I had been too much behind the scenes to be amused with tricks and tinsel.



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 179 I would give much for that slip of pag§ now; but then I gave it a hasty glance, and instantly tore it in fragments, and sentAhem flying from my open window into a filthy alley below. It is some comfort to me now, to know that the loving hearts of my father and mother were never pierced with my cruel message. My brother did not deliver it. Of course he could not. It is not needful to go into a detailed history-of the fifteen years of life that I spent in connection with that minstrel troupe. My mind sickens when memory reverts to them. Yet, at the time, it was literally true that I knew not what I was doing. I do not say this to excuse myself; for, if I knew not, others did, to whoe wisdom and authority I should have submitted. My fault was, that I would not be led, though I had no knowledge to guide myself And so, during these years when I should have been busy acquiring knowledge, and



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76 'TOM BENTLEY. son-River Railroad was projected, a passage by boat being then considered swift and luxurious. As we started, the sun was just rising above the distant hills. We rode along some distance in silence, I not at all inclined to conversation, my brother apparently absorbed in the beauty of the morning landscape. Then we passed by the quiet graveyard where our little Lucy lay buried. We could see from the road the headstone that marked her grave, and my brother looked long and earnestly. I, too, looked, but with what different feelings! "She is not there," said William. 0 Tommy! what would you give to know all she knows now ? " Not much," I replied sullenly. William looked at me with an expression of grief and amazement. "Tommy," said he after a few moments, I want to have a good talk with you, if you will listen kindly."



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34 TOM BENTLEY. good and evil; and the result to me, as to the first partakers, was only evil. I do not speak of this as the first time I had eaten that fruit, so beautiful to the eye, but so bitter in its consequences, but only as the time which first impressed itself vividly on my memory. After the church services followed the Sabbath school, to which nearly all remained; the congregation dividing up into classes of all ages, from the infant class to those of grayhaired men and women. The lesson that day was the parable of the prodigal son; upon which I inwardly commented by thinking how much better I would do, if I only had the young man's chance of going off to try the world for myself. Nothing was pleasant to me, nothing profitable. On our ride home through the sultry midday, I saw at one time my father's eyes wandering from point to point of the amphitheatre of hills with which we were surrounded. I



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266 TOM BENTLEY. again: he was lost and is found." I have that Bible yet. I love to read it better than any other. I had intended to send some one to purchase one for me as soon as I should return, but the want was already met. I now took my Bible for a recreation, instead of my guitar. Sometimes on Madame Laboiteau's sofa, sometimes in the solitude of my own room, I read and pondered. The knowledge of Scripture truth that had been instilled into my mind in my childhood came back vivified with the experience of years. Looking back over those dreary years, I could see, in some degree, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, which under the miserable whitewash of a conduct outwardly moral, -at least according to my own low standard, -had yet rankled and festered in my heart in those forms of hatred of God, hatred of my parents, a spirit of insubordination and pride and rebellion, that had so nearly completed my everlasting



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I AM ARRESTED. 253 have to go North. You'll never get your strength here." "Do you think so ? I asked, with assumed unconcern. "Yes, I haven't a doubt of it. It is your native climate, and your constitution is adapted to it; and you'll have to go. The warm season is already beginning here." "But," said I, "I am not able to go, -especially alone." "It is a very easy trip. We can get you on a steamboat for St. Louis, and you can write for some of your friends to meet you there. You said they were in Illinois, didn't you ?" I assented. "Then you can go; and I honestly tell you I think it is the only chance for you to be well again." "I'll think about it." When I reached home, and went up stairs, with a good deal of assistance, to the doctor's parlor, where he always made me go to rest



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I CHANGE MY PLAN., 211 our exhibitions could look and listen and laugh, or do any otherwise than express utter abhorrence. But it was a money-making business; so I trampled upon every better feeling that might have helped me to rise from the mire, and kept on. I maintaihed a more frequent communication with home .than I had previously done, so that they were pretty well aware of my locality during the entire winter. Some time in January, a letter from my father found me in Cincinnati. It was a long letter, I knew before I opened it. I wish father wouldn't write such long letters," said I to Harry Greyson, who was with me at the post-office. "It is tedious reading them." I thrust the letter in my pocket to wait till I should be quietly in my room before opening it. I suspected the nature of the contents; for I had had only brief letters from home respecting family matters, in reply to my own still briefer ones.





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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 337 will take it kindly if I urge upon you to consider how you stand in regard to your stewardship under God." "Of course you mean kindly," he replied vaguely. "You know," said I, "what I have passed through. It is fearful to me to think of any one deferring to give attention to the reconciliation of the soul to God." "I know it," he answered, fixing his eyes steadily upon me., "It is fearful. I know it. And yet, look at me, --immersed in business, my mind and my hands always full, how can I give attention to so great a subject? Yet I mean to, some time. I must. I know I must." I urged the necessity of immediate attention. He responded again, "Yes, I know it. Nothing is so important. I did not mean to have put it off so long. I thought, when I was a boy, that it would be so much easier 22



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70 TOM BENTLEY. distant hill-top towards the world of wonders upon which I supposed he had entered, and repeat and strengthen my determination that some day I would see for myself. .. ..



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68 TOM BENTLEY. sleds, "Isn't this grand ? We can't do this at home." "Why ?" I asked one day. "Haven't you got any hills there ?" "Oh, yes! lots of them. The city is all up hill and down. But they won't let you go coasting. You might knock somebody down, or scare somebody's horses, or maybe get killed yourself. I tell you, you have to look out, and keep your eyes open." Still I comforted myself with the thought that I should soon get above riding do*n hill on a sled, any way; and by the time I should get into a city to live, which I was fully resolved at some time to do, such a privation would not matter. Towards spring, George Waldron was about to return to his home. "If I should come to Albany," I asked, "how could I find you ?" Find me! he answered: what for ?"



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112 TOM BENTLEY. Therefore the Lord led me about in the hard way of my own choosing, that he might instruct me, and bring my feet at last to run in the way of his commandments. I soon noticed that the shirts were in progress. I can see my mother bending over them, looking through her spectacles, and putting in stitch after stitch, using the silver thimble William had brought her, and which he insisted she should use all the time, though she would have put it away among her treasures. Her eyes were dim. Tears for me, I doubt not, had added to their dimness; yet she put in her stitches as neatly and carefully as if I had been only a comfort to her. How could I, as I came occasionally into the house and watched the progress of the work, exult in my secret determination, that, as soon as they were done, I would spurn the hand that made them, and trample upon the heart that never forgot my comfort ? Yet to just that baseness I had come down.



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 221 ers were all laid up in remembrance before God, and that God had his purpose respecting me, which I was all the while fulfilling at my own terrible cost. The other impression, of madness against God on account of the providence by which he made himself known to me, as one from whose habid I could not escape, deepened into more malignant hatred. Could I, would I, ever love him who had dealt so hardly by me; who had thwarted me, robbed me, driven me out to be a wanderer upon the face of the earth? I could smile now, if the matter were not rather cause for weeping than for smiling, at the infatuation of my mind, in thus blasphemihg God as the author of the miseries, which, b.y my own determined wickedness, I had brought upon myself. I answered my father's letter with a mere note, giving, him an outline of our further engagements in the course of our route down



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 69 "Why, to see you, -of course," I replied. I should want to see you, wouldn't I, and talk over the good times we've had here ? " Oh, yes! Isuppose you would. Country folks are always glad to have stopping-places in town. But you would as soon expect to find a needle in a haystack as-to find me." He gave me no further intimations of his whereabouts. I wondered whether I ought to feel mortified about it, or whether the difficulties of finding one's friends were really so great that there was no use in trying to give me the clew. At any rate, I wished he had tried. I learned, afterwards, that he was son of a low grocery-keeper, with whom I would have scorned to associate if I had known all about him. But for a time I was 'quite lost without my city friend. I could only revolve over and over in my own mind the intimations he had given me respecting the great world which I so loqged to see. I could only gaze from my



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320 TOM BENTLEY. could but say in my heart, Oh, sing unto the Lord a new song! for he hath done marvellous things." The next morning, Charles Murray 4as with God. His absence was most impressive, as we stood together, not fifteen, but fourteen, to make our public consecration of ourselves to Christ. He was with the Master above, while we gathered at his table below. 'With softened and subdued hearts, we thought of him amid the great glory of the upper temple, made perfect at once in Christ, while for us yet remained conflict and temptation and sin. Then we all sat down at the Lord's table. It was a sweet and precious season. All darkness and doubt had been banished from my mind; and I felt a calm and tranquil joy in thb simple fact of my own rescue and redemption, sealed to me by my participation in those sacred emblems. I said again and again in my heart," What shall I render unto the Lord for



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248 TOM BENTLEY. for its cure. You know all about it?" she continued inquiringly, with a bright glance. If it had been any one else, I might have answered disrespectfully; but such was the charm of Madame Laboiteau's manner, and such had been her kindness to me, that I could only say, "I was trained religiously in my boyhood; but I have been out of the way of hearing any thing of the. kind for years." So I feared; and so much the greater need now. You won't go back to this business, will you? she added in a pleading voice. "Madame," I replied, "I must make my living. I am fit for nothing else now." What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?' she repeated, as if to herself. We were silent a few moments; I touching idly now and then the strings of my guitar, yet not so as to interfere with conversation whenever she should choose to resume it.



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198 TOM BENTLEY. pected to make an impression, in that rustic world, by my garments and my style. It did not occur to me that I should be looked upon as the young man that had broken the hearts of his parents. I sat again in the old-fashioned, square pew. The old man of ninety and upward had been gathered to his. rest. A younger generation occupied his place. The minister gave out the hymn, "All hail the power of Jesus' name I Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown him Lord of all." I was fully prepared to ridicule the village choir. Indeed, I had thought, on the way to church, what capital fun it was going to be to listen to their rural music, after the opportunities I had had of hearing the finest musical talent in. the country. The singing commenced to the grand old tune, that, year after



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TIE END OF MY STORY. 357 Three years ago, my Brother William died, in the full vigor of his days. His oldest son, Josiah, named after my father, the same who stood beside me when we professed our faith in Christ, is now, virtually, the head of the family. The sedateness of his ways and the firmness of his principles make him a staff of strength to his mother. Outwardly, he is a plain young farmer; but the strength and nobleness of his character are best known to those who meet him in the daily intercourse of common life. I should like to give a clearer picture of my Brother William. His manhood was but the rich fruit of his promising younger days. If you had met him on the road some day, driving his team with his big farm-wagon, you might have said, "It's nobody but Farmer Bentley." I once heard some children say, as he walked through town, clad in his work-day apparel, "I wish that old codger would get



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 131 the previous night, I now gladly followed on as they walked up towards Broadway, thinking, that, if I should once reach that thoroughfare, I could do well enough. When there, I soon lost sight of them, and had nothing to do but stroll at my leisure. I had made a resolution not to seek my uncle until I had found some employment that suited me. Though I had not much arithmetic in my head, yet I had enough to know that my seventy-five dollars would not last very long, and that I must speedily find some way to increase my finances. As at Albany, I took lodgings in an inferior house, and made up my mind, that, as I had plenty of money for a time, I would first explore the city before entering upon the business of finding employment. This, I had no doubt, would turn up readily to my hand whenever I chose to give the matter my resolute attention. Of course, the services of such a boy as I must find ready market.



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100 TOM BENTLEY. was said. We rode homewards,they all busied with pleasant contemplation of the truth to which they had been listening, as an occasional remark showed, I revolving over and over the performances of the dancing dogs. My father learned afterwards what I had done. I can never forget the burst of grief and righteous indignation with which he overwhelmed me. I received it all in sullenness; only admitting that I bad done as I was charged with having done, but expressing neither regret nor repentance, because I felt none. The only impression that I carried Saway from that interview was, that I had been reproved again, that I was always found fault with, while my brother and sisters never were. I cannot detail how, step by step, I became more disobedient, more disrespectful, a greater and greater trial and burden of heart to my father and mother and all the family. I have 'only a general impression, as I now look back,



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46 TOM BENTLEY. voice should ring out so clear and full, and why he should have been so evidently impressed with the words he was singing. I do not wonder now. I understand it. Then we dispersed. My father took up his Bible, my mother her Saints' Rest." Martha and William walked together up and down the porch. The storm was over, the air deliciously pure and sweet, and the sun was sinking in the west amidst a glory of golden clouds. Lucy could not go out, because the grass was wet from the recent shower; and I escaped from them all. Yes, it was an escape, a relief. I wanted to get away and be alone; not that I might think over the precious lessons of the day, but that I might nurse 'my rebellious thoughts, and strengthen myself in my hatred of all that was good and pure and holy. I wandered as far as the Sunday limits would allow. We were not permitted to go beyond



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86 TOM BENTLEY. round about his people from henceforth, even forever. Just as 'these hills shut in and protect this beautiful valley. Ah, yes!" he added, "and round about those that are not his people too; but not for shelter nor protection." I shuddered. The thought of the Lord, round about me so silently, watching me for ever and ever, was terrible. I felt sure that I was not of his people. I had no wish to be. I only wished I could escape from the everpresent God, whose care and watch were so vividly represented by the hills and mountains around us. So we slowly passed on homewards. The Sabbath was never a day of-haste with us. To reach home in time to take the necessary care of the stock was all we aimed to do. I watched my father more closely than usual. Something, either in his manner or in my own state of mind, induced me to do so.



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 315 consecrate the strength of his youth and his on-coming manhood to the service of the Redeemer, in the building-up of his kingdom in the midst of a lost world. We, the fifteen candidates for church-fellowship, met with our pastor on a Saturday night, for a season of special prayer and instruction. One week from the following day we were .to sit at the table of our Lord. On that Saturday night, Charles Murray was not with us. He was not well, but hoped to be out on the following day. The next morning, however, found him quite ill; and for several days his illness increased in severity, but left his mind untouched in its calm clearness. His physician, from the first, had been alarmed about his case, but did not communicate his fears to Charles, though he might safely have told him from the very first. He was not like my friend Dr. Laboiteau. He dealt with his patients as if they had bodies



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CHAPTER VI. I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. HERE was now but one difficulty Sin my way; and that was, how to leave the bed and the room, which my Brother William and I still occupied together, -without awaking him. There seemed to be no way but to wait for him to be absent from home over night, as he sometimes was. This occurred soon. He was obliged to go to a neighboring town to get the plough mended, and to attend to some other matters which necessarily detained him over night. Here, then, was my long-looked-for opportunity. 116 (^ **



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CHAPTER XIV. THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH WITHOUT OBSERVATION. OMING into the kingdom," had always been a favorite phrase of my father's, in speaking of the conversion to Christ of a -lost sinner. I had thought it betokened great shrewdness on my part to set this down as a cant phrase. The truth was, I had known nothing of his meaning. I had been blind to the glory of the kingdom of Christ, interweaving, as it does, with its golden threads, the whole net-work of human society. I could turn my back scornfully upon 804



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182 TOM BENTLEY. Under the mask of recreation, the fascinations of this game defrauded me of precious hours of time, and left me poorer in purse, in health, and in wisdom; though of this last I had little to spare. I practised my instruments, my dances, my' jokes, my laughter, which was all done by rule. I blackened my face, and played and sang, and danced, before crowds, night after night, disgusted with them for being interested, and loathing the paltry exhibition. Away among the Vermont hills, keeping my sheep, and doing my lowly work, I had pined for excitement and for travel. Now I had both, -the one to weariness, the other without profit. I travelled the country over. Scarcely a city or town of any importance, north or south, east or west, remained unvisited; and through all, though I gained some knowledge, yet I acquired no wisdom. I tried to believe it a gay and easy life, but I knew it was a



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I AM ARRESTED. 249 "My Louis, I think, would be about your age now, if he were living," she resumed after a while. He has been eight'years in heaven. The remembrance of him makes me deeply interested for you. No boy ever lived a happier life than he, though he was always feeble and a sufferer. It grieves me to think what you might be, and what you probably will be if you go back to that unfavorable situation again." I looked up, to see her fine eyes swimming in tears. There was no doubt of the sincerity of her interest in me. For fifteen years, I had met with no one, outside the family at home, who had shown me so much kindness. But, madame," I replied, as I said before, I am fit for nothing else now. I don't see how I am to get out of this." The Lord will open a way for you, if you will but trust him. Surely, the matter of getting a living does not stand before the ques-



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244 TOM BENTLEY. nothing being now necessary but to build me up again. After a few days, and when I was able to bear a more connected conversation, I again inquired about my company. They had gone on, while I lay unconscious, to fulfil further engagements, leaving directions with Dr. Laboiteau by which I could follow them as soon as I should be able to fill my place. They had deposited, for my use, the amount due me at the time, so that I need lack no comfort that money could procure me. "How soon can I go, doctor? I asked, glancing at my wasted fingers. "Don't know," he replied, laughing. "Madame and Lawrence must hasten." Under the care of the sprightly madame, and my nurse, I gained rapidly for a time, and was soon on my feet again. I dismissed Lawrence; and then, dependent wholly upon the company of Dr. and Madame Laboiteau, I



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120 TOM BENTLEY. was not pleasant to me, and I tried to banish it from my mind. For a while I could not. I recollected the fervor with which i had heard my father pronounce those words. I recollected, also, the further thought he had connected with them, -that the Lord is round about them that do not fear him, though not to guard and defend; and all my evil passions were roused against him from whom I could not flee. Even so I wrested the precious truth of God to my own destruction. When the morning dawned, I pictured to myself the awakening and stir of domestic and farm business at home. I thought how they would discover my absence, and would, at first, suppose I had gone early to the sheep-pasture, as I sometimes did. I went on step by step, following my father as he went to look for me, as he would miss Jetty and my saddle and bridle. Then I thought of the girls running hastily to my room, and finding my clothes



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A NEW SENSATION. 193 "William's wifemy Sister Rachel, as I shall hereafter call her -was a most womanly woman. Nothing else expresses the sweet quietness of her ways, as she moved about her homely employment, adding one touch after another to the tea-table, laying an extra plate for me, slipping away unobserved to arrange a room for me, with fresh water after my dusty ride, picking up my mother's knitting-needle as she passed, giving her little son a loving word as she went near him; and so, in her perpetual round of small cares, thinking of all, and adding comfort and blessing to each. By ani by came the evening worship, in which I had been nightly remembered during those six years of wandering. Through all those years, I had never bent my knee in prayer; but that night, at the family altar, I bowed once more in the posture of devotion. At first, the tremulousness of my father's voice held my attention, while he prayed for 13



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 323 soon after reaching home, as they had desired me, telling them of my safe arrival, and of the invigorating effect I had already begun to feel from the climate, and received in reply a letter from Madame Laboiteau, full of Christian "kindness and sympathy. It was the first of many I have received from her during the ten years that have followed. They are carefully tied up, and laid away in my desk. I look them over now and then, and they always do me good. Dr. Laboiteau's prediction respecting the effect of the northern climate upon me proved correct, mainly; but, as month after month passed by, I was constrained to believe, that, for the remainder of life, I had only shattered health to depend upon. Those first few months were a peculiar season, in many respects wholly unlike the experience of common lives. In years, I was a man, in the very vigor and strength of my life. In body



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A SATURDAY. 27 still, that I might follow in silence the progress of the caravan. As we approached the village, I looked eagerly on every hand, and even rose in my seat, that I might more fully search the familiar landscape for some new object. At length I ventured to whisper to my Brother William, I don't see it." "See what?" he asked. "Why, the tent, of course." My father overheard me. You are looking for the tent, are you, Tommy ? he said. "It's gone miles from hete by this time. The animals are well enough, my boy. I'd have liked it if you could have seen them. But the men that go with them are generally bad men. I wouldn't like to have my boy ride with a man that cares nothing for the Sabbath day. Yes, they are miles from here by this time, and, likely enough, taking this day to make repairs that they can't take time for during the week."



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THE END OF MY STORY. 367 able society, I can say, "Christ seeks such. I have stood where you stand, and he sought me." I can testify that the distinctions between man and man, in respect to wealth, standing, talent, education, vanish when we stand before God. He who stooped from heaven to earth will not take note of the depth from the throne to the hovel. Sin levels all to a miserable. equality. Grace may lift all to a like transcendant glory. My youth and the prime of my manhood are gone, and lie buried from sight. A few more years will make me old. How old? If one of the angels that stand in the presence of God -one who shouted for joy over the glories of creation, one who has been sent on errands of love to the successive generations of men these thousands of years past -should ask me, would he not smile as I answer, I shall be fifty, sixty, seventy, by and by." Shall I not smile myself, ages hence, when I



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258 TOM BENTLEY. my ears like the voice of a pleading angel. I lay down that night, thinking them over; but I could not say them. I was awake for hours; and between thoughts of going home, broken down, poor, and dependent, those words would again and again thrust themselves, -" If you could only say, I have sinned.' At last I fell asleep, but only to wake, time after time, to find those words repeated in my ear till they burned in my very brain. I rose in the morning more feeble and exhausted than for several days. The suggestion still repeated itself in my busy thoughts, If you could only say, Father, I have sinned.' Somehow, the conviction was slowly dawning in my mind that I had sinned; that I was a miserable, ungrateful, hardened sinner against God, who had done. me nothing but good all my life, -against God, in whose hand I then lay, impotent and a mere wreck.



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280 TOM BENTLEY. the touch of a musical instrument, and whose ear has long been accustomed to take pleasure in its peculiar quality of tone, will know what I mean when I say I loved them, and that it would have cost me a heart-pang to part with them. I resolved, that, if necessity came, my watch should go first. The doctor and Madame Laboiteau took me in their carriage to the levee, and saw me comfortably settled in my state-room. We had regulated our time so as to have no unnecessary delay on the boat before starting, and my kind friends were obliged to leave me immediately. Madame Laboiteau parted from me as tenderly as if I had been her son, making me promise to write to them as soon as I should reach home. When they had turned from me, and left me alone, to see them no more, as I supposed, I felt more like one going out from home into an unknown world, than one leaving a city of



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PREFACE. HE following is not a sketch of pure imagination, as its form might .seem to indicate. A life that has been lived furnishes the framework of the story, and gives force to all the lessons of moral and religious truths that may be derived from it.



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 51 liam, and his arm thrown affectionately around her. I said I did not care. I tried to make myself believe I did not. But I was enraged. I had always maintained a special claim to Lucy, and was especially jealous if William came in any way between her and me. But, for all that, I had to sit, during that hour of morning worship, and look on from my gloomy corner,-gloomy, because I was full of darkness, -and mark the various interchanges of affection between those two. Now, her little hand rested on his knee; then it sought his hand, and thrust its slim fingers confidingly into his roughening palm; again, it was an affectionate glance from her speaking eyes. Not one of all her movements was lost upon me; and by every one I felt myself aggrieved. As we were gathering in our places for Sabbath school, 'Lucy came to ask me a question. I pushed her from me, and would not answ eT.



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CHAPTER X. I CHANGE MY PLAN. HE previous winter we had gone to the extreme South, spending more time in New Orleans than in any other place. The season Sjust opening, we decided to take the Ohio-river towns and those of the adjacent country, reaching St. Louis some time towards spring. Oftenthat winter, as, with blackened features, I entertained gazing crowds with the wildest evolutions of my dancing and the fantastic music of my banjo, that sweet face would appear to my memory, and that clear voice 14 209 II



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58 TOM BENTLEY. I remember how faithfully and steadily my Brother William pursued his daily routine of work. He was seventeen. I remember, also, that I looked upon his very faithfulness and steadiness with concealed contempt, thinking it extremely stupid for him to be satisfied with so living; and feeling sure that I, at his age, would be doing very differently. And so it proved. I was doing differently. But I try in vain now to recall the same sensations, in looking back upon the widely-different careers of my brother and myself, with which I then looked forward to them. But I must not anticipate. Yet the thought comes to me, with overwhelming power, how much better it would have been for me if I had then been wise enough to appreciate my noble brother! Lucy was eight years old that fall. The marvellous sweetness of her disposition endeared hey to us all, while her spirit of reverence and trust seemed to make her akin to the



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A NEW SENSATION. 191 Those six years had done for m fxtlher and mother the work of twenty. a er, I had done it. Yet, if I had been the most dutiful of sons, I could not have received a warmer welcome. But my gay and flippant manner must soon have convinced them that they had little to hope for in me. The length of my stay I had left an open question; for Iexpected I should soon grow weary of the quietness and monotony of the old farm, and I had not, as yet, learned to place any barrier to the indulgence of my whims and caprices. Though I had become a man, I had not yet put away childish things. An uncomfortable constraint seemed to settle upon us all, after the first greetings were over. As I rec4ll it now, I can easily account for it, from the undefined position in which I then stood. I had given no indications of any wish, on my part, to bridge over the wide gulf that "my nduct had opened between me and the



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 157 thoroughfares. I smiled at the leisurely manner in which I had strolled about, with my hands in my pockets, in search of business, until I had stumbled unawares .upon my present calling. I cultivated the quick step and busy air which I saw in every one about me, and, with some changes in my apparel, considered myself pretty thoroughly transformed from a country boy to a wide-awake metropolitan. I had still found my way, every Sabbath, into some church; but, as on the first Sabbath of my city-life, it was simply to pass off the unoccupied hours that hung heavily on my hands. My acquaintances were few, outside the band. Even with them, I could scarcely claim acquaintance, meeting them, as I did, only in hours of rehearsal or concert; they lodging in first-class houses, I in my humble way. With a few of those whom I met daily about the hotel, -homeless boys, living there



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 75 have felt a like heart-pang go through me many times like a dagger, as I have recalled the events of those days. But it did not move me then. I turned on my heel, and strode away. Several days were to pass before my brother was to go, and these were busily employed by my mother and Martha in making some preparation for him; I, meanwhile, looking on with sullen anger. His trip was as important an affair in our household as it would be now for an experienced traveller to set out for San Francisco. The nearest point at which William could take the cars was Castleton. He was to go thither on horseback ;I accompanying him on Jetty, to bring back his horse. I can never forget that ride. We started at four o'clock. He was to take the train at seven for Whitehall, Phence to Troy, thence by boat down the river to New York. It was before the Hud-



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OR, ihe $torg l( H a rodiLa. "WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP." BOSTON, PUBLISHED BY HEXRY HOYT, No. 9 CORNHILL.



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140 TOM BENTLEY. performances of a band of negro minstrels, and setting forth, in pictures of hideous grotesqueness, the attractions of the concert. The heat of summer was now past, and they were just opening their .season. I resolved to go; and noting the place of exhibition, which was not far from where I then stood, I went to my lodgings for my supper, intending to be promptly on the spot at the appointed time. Negroes, which I honestly supposed. these to be, had never come much under my notice, "and I wanted to see what they could do in the way of entertainment. I went early, but found the hall already thronged, and many more still pressing in. I urged my. way forward, in order to see the whole of whatever it might be that presented so great an attraction. Happily, now, the days of negro minstrelsy are passing by; but at that time such performances were in the full tide of success. I listened with eager curiosity to the



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272 TOM BENTLEY. this," she said, so kindly I could not feel hurt by her criticisms. But don't try again to-day: you will excite and fatigue yourself too much. To wait a day or two longer will make no difference. You must take some rest now. I shall not talk to you any more," she added, smiling, and retreated to a remote corner of the room by her favorite window, and took up her sewing. I asked her one or two questions, as I half-ireclined on the sofa, but she shook her head playfully, and laid her finger on her lips. I think I soon fell asleep. I had no intention of doing so; but I had thoroughly exhausted myself, as she saw. After a refreshing nap, I awoke. Madame Laboiteau had left the room; but lying on my clasped hands was a slip of paper, which, as I stirred, fluttered to the floor. I picked it up and read," There is no pain that I can bear But thou, my God, hath borne it; No robe of scorn that I can wear But thou, my Lord, hast worn it. hL



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26 TOM BENTLEY. wagon, and the horses started on their leisure trot across the level half-mile of vglley-road, I S could think of nothing but that the train of red wagons had passed over it, and that we were now following them. My father was chatty. He usually was on that Sunday-morning ride. He always saw many beautiful things to point out to us, if it were nothing more than a newly-blossomed flower, or a field of corn that had made a fine growth during the week, or a beautiful grouping of clouds, or the special effect of a gleam of sunlight. His mind seemed, on those mornings, to be like that of the Psalmist when he wrote the One Hundred and Fourth Psalm, thrown open to the light of God as revealed in sky and mountain and hill and stream, in bird and beast, in tree and shrub, and in man, the appointed lord of all the lower creation. I had always before delighted to listen to him; but, on that morning, I wished he would keep B



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 345 you? Or do you want to come back to your old place ? You like to have broken us up, Tom, -I declare you did. What an unfortunate thing that fever of yours was " The best thing that ever happened to me," I answered, as my voluble friend paused a moment. "Oh, nonsense, now, Tom! you don't say you stick to all you wrote in that letter of yours? No, indeed. You've got into some better business, -that's all. More money in it, or more respectable, or something. For my part, I never could see why our business isn't just as respectable as some others I know of, that don't keep people out of good society at all. But tell us, Tom, what you are about." "Living a very quiet life," I replied, and not making so much money as you do. Yet I don't want my old place. I have found a better place; and that is what I came to tell you all about."



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78 TOM BENTLEY. pearls before swine." I caught a stealthy glance at his countenance now and then, by allowing Jetty to fall back a few steps for that purpose. His lips were compressed, as if with pain; and once I saw them moving, doubtless in prayer; and in my heart I despised him. I thought him mean-spirited, pitiful. I even thought him selfish, because he was about to enjoy the privilege I so much desired. My noble brother! whom I think of now with wonder, when I remember the maturity of Christian character to which he had already attained, and the firmness and sobriety of his mind. He was not excited by the prospect before him, of looking for the first time upon the stir and activity and splendor of the busy ,world; but, on the very point of his departure, his mind was dwelling with yearning love on me, wishing and praying that I. might be saved. Yet he was prepared to bring home from. that trip more real benefit, and more



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360 TOM BENTLEY. the very maturity and perfection of my Sister Lucy's childish beauty and grace. Among those nieces and nephews is every gradation, from childhood and youth to the dawn of manhood and womanhood; and Uncle Tom's musical acquirements furnish entertainment for some of their merriest hours. Around those musical instruments, which, with my watch, I still retain, are gathered some of the pleasantest, as well as the most humiliating, reminiscences of my life. For a long time, they lay idle in their cases. But it occurred to me, one day, that my musical talent -the very best natural talent I had was not yet consecrated to God. How should I do it ? It was a study for me for many days. One day, as I was reading in the Psalms, I came upon this expression, Whoso offereth "praise, glorifieth me." And is it not one mode of offering praise to rejoice in the Lord, and take with thanksgiving the pure joys of





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A NEW SENSATION. 187 standing among the first in the execution of the particular style of music to which I had devoted myself. I greatly excelled our leader in the management of stringed instruments. With my banjo in hand, I could place myself before an audience, and execute the most marvellous feats of dancing, to my own accompanying music. To all this I had come when I reached the age of twenty-one, -to all this, and nothing more. But I had grown weary of travelling. I was satiated with the practice of music; and for the sake of a new sensation, -I frankly admit I had no higher motive,--I concluded to visit my old home. According to my promise to William, I had now and then given them notice at home of my whereabouts, and, in return, had received many kind letters from them. My own lettersor notes, I should call them, as they never exceeded half-a-dozen lines,-must have afforded small comfort or





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12 TOM BENTLEY. a far better talent for play than for work; and, indeed, I had a peculiar talent for turning work into play, especially in the hay-field. But, whether it were with work or with play, I had tired myself, and considered a little recreation necessary. So, with a precious corn-stalk fiddle in hand, with which I was accustomed on any such occasion to regale myself, I strolled half-way up the hill of which I have spoken, to a favorite retreat under a wide-spreading beech-tree near the roadside, where I could see up and down the valley, and also up and down the road, so that I might not by mischance miss seeing whoever might pass, or fail to run beside any descending wagon" to the watering-place at the well, to hear talk about something foreign to the routine of every-day life. For little fellow that I was, ten years old, I had already begun to look out with dissatisfied longings over the distant hill-tops, and over the still more distant heights of the Green Mountains beyond.



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I AM ARRESTED. 235 and about my accustomed employments. But my resolution became as flax at the touch of fire, before those startling words, The Lord's hand is upon you now." I trembled in my bed as I thought upon them. Nothing could have been more terrible to me than the pressure of that hand. For two hours, I writhed under it; and then my solitude became insupportable. I reached the bell-pull, and sent for the doctor. He was out. There was no way of escape for me from the awful presence of God, alone with me in my sick-room. The instructions of childhood started up vividly in my memory. I could hear my father's tremulous voice, as he had prayed alone with me while I was yet a boy. The words of his benediction, after I had spurned his offered hand, years afterwards, seemed transformed into a curse. My own feelings of hatred to God woke, intensified by the thought that possibly in a few days I might stand in his presence. I



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94 TOM BENTLEY. The following winter, -the winter that I was near fourteen,the Spirit of God came down with power in our neighborhood. I knew that I was made a special subject of prayer by my parents, my sisters, my brother, our pastor, and many friends. I was deeply impressed. I thought often of the fact that so many were praying for me; and when I remembered the promises of which I had heard, -that prayers of faith should be answered, -I began to fear I should be converted. 'Yes, I say it deliberately: I understood so little of the methods of God's grace, that I feared I should be seized upon, and carried over by some irresistible force into a state of repentance and faith; and I resolved to be on the watch against' every softening influence that could be brought to bear upon me, for I was determined to try the world first. In my foolhardiness, I dared come to that deliberate conclusion. Lest any should doubt the faithfulness of



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338 TOM BENTLEY. when I became a man. But now, my mind is so full of business, I don't see what I am to do about it." Why, Mr. Richards," I replied, "attention to this subject need not interfere with your business pursuits." "You don't know, Tom. You don't know so much about that as I do. No man can be successful in business without giving his mind to it. I have been tolerably successful, and yet I can't say I have quite enough yet. I think I shall be more at ease by and by, and "not have so much care." But think of the immense importance," I urged. "Even if you should have to make sacrifices of money, wouldn't it, after all, be the best investment of time that you could make, to secure, first of all, your safety for the world to come." I have a dependent family," he continued, pursuing his own thought rather than taking



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318 TOM BENTLEY. gathered, one by one, in that silent room,silent save as the voice of the sick youth, greeted us, and addressed some pleasant words to each one on entering. A orother and sister, and his parents, were present, and several young school-companions, -strangers to me. Should I attempt to repeat the warnings and entreaties addressed to us by the dying youth,, I should utterly fail to convey, along with the words, the solemnity and earnestness given them by the occasion and .the circumstances. How he enforced upon us, by the suddenness with which death had overtaken him, the constant nearness of eternity, and the momentous interests that hung upon a breath I How he warned his thoughtless companions of the fearful hazard of every moment of delay in securing the salvation provided by Christ! How he urged upon us, who were just entering the church, to be faithful, earnest workers for the Master!



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 319 He exhausted himself with his effort, and fell back fainting upon his pillow. At the physician's sign, we all glided silently away; but we carried with us a vividness of impression that years of common life could not efface, and which, doubtless, made better Christians of some, and, perhaps, brought still others "into the kingdom." To me, that scene had a depth of meaning it could have had to none of the others present. As I walked thoughtfully away, the recollection of the peril through which my own life had passed, only a few weeks, previous, came vividly to mind. I recalled the: agony and terror with which I had found myself: standing, as I supposed, on the very borderline of eternity. I remembered how my sins, resting with their fearful weight upon my own head, had overwhelmed me; and contrasting that horror of darkness, through which I then passed, with the peace of our young friend, I



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CHAPTER XVI. TEE END OF MY STORY. HATEVER doubts I had had M about my occupation, there was no longer any uncertainty. The care of my brother-in-law's business, and of my widowed sister's family, was, certainly, the duty to which I was then called. His affairs had been left in my hands; and my first care was to disentangle his property from its more intricate engagements, such as he could manage, but not I, and to invest it in such a manner as to secure the surest income, though possibly not the largest. To do this without sacrifice was the work of 855



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368 TOM BENTLEY. recall the experiences of this mortal life? I know, at least, that I shall sing songs of deliverance; for I shall know better then than I know now from what depths of sin and ruin I have been rescued. I shall understand better the glory of that kingdom of which I have become a citizen.



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252 TOM BENTLEY. had accumulated during the busy portion of the year. But, that winter, I had been laid aside in the very midst of the season; and my long illness had made heavy drafts upon my resources. I knew perfectly that I could,, at any time, write to my friends, and they would send me a remittance; but my pride recoiled from that. My anxiety to rejoin my company doubtless retarded my recovery; and, the more my recovery was retarded, the more anxious I became. I had already broken in upon my last hundred dollars, and my physician's bill remained unpaid. Dr. Laboiteau had been taking me daily to drive with him, sometimes, as he made his professional round; I sitting in the carriage whenever his calls could be brief, sometimes going out for my individual benefit in some of the beautiful drives about the city. "Bentley," said he abruptly one day, as we were driving along the Shell Road, you'll



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 353 various points involved, generally ending by his thoughts running off in their wonted channels of business care. One evening, about ten days after my return from Chicago, he called to me, as I came in from my day's employment, and said, Tom, I want you to stay with me to-night. I am worse, and I want you." I promised; and after taking an hour or two of rest, for I was much fatigued, and feared to trust myself otherwise by his be'dside, I returned, and urged my sister to go and sleep, leaving Mr. Richards with me. I prevailed upon her with difficulty; for, though exhausted, she feared to leave him for a moment. "When she was gone he said, "Now read to me." I read about the leper who came to Jesus, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;" and how Jesus immediately put 28



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96 TOM BENTLEY. though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." The alienation of the heart from God was first portrayed. To all this I assented heartily. I knew well that I was alienated. I had no scruples in acknowledging to myself that I hated God. A shudder creeps over me now as I think of the coolness with which I received my relations with God, and clearly saw that I hated the restraints of God's law, the control of his providence, the holiness of his character. If an angel had stood before me at that moment, and offered to convey me to heaven, I should have shrunk from God's presence as from consuming fire. I knew clearly that I stood in an attitude of defiance'; but of the nature and character of him against whom I dared so set myself, I had only the crudest idea. Then God's offer of reconciliation was held



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 165 scarcely move hand or foot during businesshours without his consent,I wrote on one of my cards, and sent it to my brother. The next morning, when I was myself again, my brother and I met in my humble room. I had begged Harry Greyson to be absent, telling him we were going to have a scene. I assumed as careless an air as possible: William was all tenderness and sorrow. I inquired, with the utmost coolness, if they were all well at home. "Yes, well," replied William, -" as well as can be expected after so much trouble." "Why need they be troubled?" I exclaimed angrily. "I am doing well enough." "Are you?" said William. "But then it was a full month before we knew any thing about you." "I know it. But you might have known I'd get along. I always told father he needn't trouble himself about me. He knew I



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 16T hills, and our cheerful, open-air life?" asked William, glancing around my bare and comfortless room, and out of the window at a blank brick-wall opposite. My only reply was an exclamation of contempt. I want to take you back with me, Tommy," said he affectionately. I think father and mother can't live long under such a trouble. You'll go back, won't you ? I sprang to my feet in a rage. No," said I, I will not go back. I have started out for myself, and I won't go back,-you needn't think it." "Sit down," said William calmly, fixing his steady, gray eye upon me. I had always quailed uriier that eye. I had always felt, when he gave me that steady look, and spoke in that calm voice, that I was no match for my brother, much as at other times I could puff myself with self-conceit and smile at his dul-



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260 TOM BENTLEY. hand, and had been dealing with me by his power. Even the first glimpse of this truth was terrible; yet it grew in strength and deepened its hold upon me, while I, poor worm, writhed and struggled in its grasp. I knelt down and prayed. I said, Father, I have sinned." I know not what else I said; but I know that he ran to meet me, and I rose from my knees clad in the best robe, with a ring on my hand, and shoes on my feet, at home in my Father's house.



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 215 "Mary Baker is dead. She is the girl whose voice you admired last summer. We all mourn for her." I was paralyzed. I read it again and again; and then hastily crumpled the letter together, and, thrusting it into my pocket, seized the lines from Harry's hand, turned the horses, and drove straight towards my room. In vain he questioned and reasoned and remonstrated. I replied, It is nothing, -it is nothing. I am tired of driving and every thing else. I want to get to my room." Whether I was pale or flushed or trembling, I know not: but in some way it was evident to my.companion that something about my letter had agitated me; and, after trying, every expedientin vain, he left me to myself. When.I reached my room, I opened the letter again, and read and re-read that note at the bottom. My old feeling of anger against God was thoroughly roused. He had crossed



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188 TOM BENTLEY. satisfaction to those yearning hearts. Probably my contemplated visit gave them still less. Yet, having come to the age of manhood, I determined to spend a part of the summer among old associations: not to get any good, unless it might be some physical renovation; still less to show any regret for my chosen course; but simply, with the demonstration of my actual presence, to override their prejudices, as I considered them, and force them to believe I was doing well. My sisters and my Brother William had all married during the six years I had been away. Sarah had gone with her husband to a new home, among the prairies of Illinois; Martha was settled near the old homestead; William and his wife were living at my father's. William was, in reality, at the head of affairs there : while my father and mother were retiring from the activities of a toilsome life ; and, had it not been for the millstone that I had hung about



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302 TOM BENTLEY. I was calmer. I took up my Bible and read, ", The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household." My anger ebbed away; and I was able calmly to look back and see with what contempt and suspicion I had myself for years past regarded the followers of Christ, though I shuddered and wished for the support of their hope whenever I looked forward to the approach of death and the entrance upon eternity. I could never struggle as I might, even in the midst of my wild career -shake off my firm belief in the dread retributions of the future; and yet I could, while in firm health and vigor, laugh at the call to repentance, and shake my clenched fist defiantly at the thought that Christians were praying for me. "Just such a position,'



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326 TOM BENTLEY. on account of my want of adaptation to any of the common pursuits of men. I could not be a farmer, or a mechanic, for lack of strength. My former calling had cultivated agility and quickness at the expense of strength and firmness of muscle, and my illness had left me little prospect of improvement in that direction. I could not be a merchant, for I had not the ordinary knowledge of a boy of fifteen respecting business and accounts. I could not, without years of training, turn my attention to any of the professions, because of my utter ignorance. My musical talents, which I might have turned to account in an honorable manner in some communities, were decidedly at a discount in a region where all were struggling to lay the foundation of fortunes, and few had made much progress. Besides, I felt an unconquerable repugnance to falling back upon an employment, that, to me would bring so many odious recollections



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118 TOM BENTLEY. kind to dumb animals. It was only another phase of my insubordinate spirit, that because they were beneath me, and dependent upon me, I could show them kindness; but, in my utter selfishness, I could show no kindness to those who stood higher than I. It took but a few moments to prepare my horse, and adjust my bundle, mount, and gain the public road by a gate at some distance from the house, and enter fairly upon my journey. If Lucy had lived, I don't think I could have gone. She, poor darling, had never crossed my will; and, therefore, I loved her with a selfish and ignoble love. As it was, I do not remember that I experienced a pang of regret at leaving my parents, brother, and sisters. I have no recollection that a thought crossed my mind of the anguish they would suffer when they should discover what I had done. I had some slight misgivings as to the



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250 TOM BENTLEY. tion of duty, and the proper use of life. A wise man will take up things in the order of their importance; and here there can be no d6ubt." A Gradually, yet in such a way that I knew she was prompted by no idle curiosity, Madame Laboiteau drew from me my whole history. I was overwhelmed with shame when I saw the sympathy she manifested for my parents. She seemed, for the time, utterly to forget me, in her contemplation of the anguish I had caused them. I fet that she could justly have spurned me; but she did not. Oh, what joy you have it in your power to give them, if you only would was her comment.. But she did not press that point. I think it must have occurred to her that there was not generosity enough in my nature to permit such considerations to take hold upon me with any force, or I would never have taken the course I had. Such, at least, was the



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 217 that face and heard that voice as one might see and hear a vision of heaven, enrapturing, but far away. I have never seen a face I could place beside that matchless one, nor heard a voice that thrilled me like that voice. Perhaps that is the feason why I sit alone today. For a long time, my letter lay on my knee. I forgot there was any thing save that note at the bottom. At length I took it up, and, beginning at the first of it, read it slowly through. It was full of fatherly tenderness from end to end. He reminded me of his offer, upon condition that I would ieturn, and told me of various family affairs. Then he told me of that, which, after all, lay nearest his heart, nearer than worldly business or domestic concerns,the prosperity of the kingdom of Christ. We are having a gracious outpouring of the Spirit of God," he wrote. "Many have



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240 TOM BENTLEY. power of thought. I lay a few moments listening to the customary sounds in the street, busy feet hurrying hither and thither, hoofs and wheels clattering on the pavement, and various sounds of business and of labor. The hotel was full of life and activity, upon which the peril of one poor life could make no impression. The thought ran again and again through my mind, Ah, then! I am not going to die now. I am safe for a while longer." My feeble pulses thrilled under the sense of renewed security. I then asked Lawrence, "Where are the boys? " What boys, master? "Why, the band I belong to. Where's Harry Greyson, and the rest of them ? The only answer was a pld application to my head with a soothing word or two, under the influence of which I again fell asleep. He evidently thought my mind was still wandering;



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50 TOM BENTLEY. remotest corner of the silent house. "Let us pray," said the preacher. Then followed prayer, in which the remaining members of my honored father's family were remembered, that they, too, might soon be gathered into the Redeemer's kingdom. That means me," I thought; but I added no amen to the prayer. When it was ended, and my brother retihred to the pew, Lucy was in tears. She slipped' silently from her place on my left hand to the other side, that she might also be beside William. She nestled clboe to him, and lifted one glance of her tearful eyes to his face. He put his arm around her, and she seemed satisfied. "I don't care," I inwardly muttered.' I "can do without her too." So I slid to the farthest corner of the old-fashioned square pew. The rest of the family were all occupied with the worship. I could see nothing but my sweet little sister leaning fondly against Wil-



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 119 success of my enterprise, as I rode along in the silent night; and once or twice even stopped to consider whether, after all, I had not better creep silently back, and wait a while longer. But I kept on. The moon, a little past the full, illumined the landscape, and made clearly visible the outline of the hills that in constantly-changing groups were all the time near me. The road led me down into a valley. I glanced about me at the distinct outline of hills, near and remote, by which I was encircled. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth, even forever," darted through my mind, Sbrought to memory, surely not by any effort on my part to recall lessons of divine truth, but simply because of the association by which my father had connected the words so precious to him with such a bit of landscape as that around me at the moment. The association 0



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168 TOM BENTLEY. ness. I bad seen that look and heard that voice often, especially since William had become a Christian; and it always overawed me. I did not then recognize it as the outward effect of that divine grace which was bringing every thought and wish of his heart into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Ah, my brother! the light of that grace shines through my memory. of him now, like a star from the far-off heaven. I sat down; and, for an hour, my brother reasoned and expostulated with me, endeavoring to urge upon my heart and my conscience the claims of home, of parents, and of God.. lie might as well have reasoned with an iceberg for bearing down upon a noble ship with its freight of human life. I had already hardened myself against so much, that I was proof against any thing. The time for rehearsal arrived, as I was glad to inform my brother. I left him, without so much as inquiring whether I should see him



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194 TOM BENTLEY. the returned wanderer, and gave thanks for my preservation in the midst of so many perils of travel. But, on the very association of those words, my thoughts went trooping off to the busy scenes of distant cities. Familiar melodies, wild dances, went whirling through my brain; and, at the very altar of God's worship,. I offered incense to an idol. "You can go up to the same old room, Tommy," said my mother. We always call it Tommy's room." So I went up to the room where I had slept the sleep of childhood, and looked out from the same window through which I had crept when I set out on my first journey. The same landscape lay before me, in the soft, summer twilight, that at nine o'clock still lingered in the west. I sat down by the open window, and recalled the years I had lived since then, contrasting the beginning and the end of those years. Every important step I



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A SABBATH. 33 of God upon the congregation, from the oldest to the youngest. But my heart was like the barren rock, and would not receive the blessing that silently descended upon every waiting soul. Then followed the singing. I had always delighted in the grand old tunes sung by the choir, 'in which the whole congregation joined with' "a willing mind. I had even thought nothing could excel the grandeur of the big bass-viol, which groaned its dismal accompaniment along with the vocal harmony. But that morning I could think of nothing but the brass S band, of which I had heard only the few notes beside my father's well. So I turned my back upon all the worship of that beautiful Sabbath, and turned a deaf ear to all its instructions, and thought my own thoughts, foolish and wicked and miserable thoughts as they were. I had been eating, in my own behalf, of the tree of knowledge of 3



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A SA TURDA Y. 13 I think I must have fallen asleep; for I was suddenly startled by an unusual rumbling, and, springing to my feet, I saw a huge red wagon just passingmy retreat. For an instant I was too much astonished to follow: but looking again, and seeing a long train of similar wagons coming down the hill, I lost no time in running at full speed to the well at the bottom of the hill; and, before the wonderful wagon had reacheq the well, I was there, ready to offer any inducement to the driver to stop and water. He was ready to embrace the opportunity; for it was warm, and his horses were tired. I found him disposed to be sociable; and, after keeping my excited curiosity in check for a moment for decency's sake, -I abruptly asked him, What have you got there? pointing to his wagon. "A lion," he answered. "Shall I let him out ?" I had been to school, and had drawled



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CHAPTER IX. A NEW SENSATION. URING all those years which have been alluded to, I lived as truly outside the circle of Christian "influence as if I had dwelt in a heathen country. The Sabbath that I attended church with my brother in Philadelphia was the last time for several years. Indeed, the whole fifteen years passed before church-going was again taken up as a habit. I suppose no Christian ever thought of praying for the wandering band of negro minstrels. Yet I knew, all the time, that prayer was offered for me away in that unpretending 184



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 827 and associations. So, in casting about for means of self-support, I found myself completely "high and dry." No figure so well expresses my helpless condition as this, of a boat tossed by some mighty wave high up on a sandy shore, and left there by the receding waters. My sense of ignorance, and of my absolute want of nearly every qualifcation for a life of activity and usefulness, deepened, until I resolved to take up my education at the very point at which I had broken it off. I gathered a collection of school-books, and set myself to the study of boyish lessons, in order to fit myself for whatever God in his providence might, in time, open for me. The defect that had made me a dull scholar in my boyhood had, perhaps, been the lack of the impetus of a determined will. At all events, the mysteries of grammar and arithmetic, over which I had puzzled my boyish brain with so little



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30 TOM BENTLEY. age, who had sat in that same pew ever since he was old enough to be taken to church. I used to wonder if I should continue to go there, and sit in the same seat, till I, like him, should be ninety years old and upwards. As we drew up to the broad platform in front of the church, and jumped, we boys always first, from the wagon, while my father and my older brother assisted my mother and the girls to alight, I hastened to join a group of boys who were standing on the platform, some of whom were my Sunday-school acquaintance. They were talking, as boys always. will talk, of whatever is most exciting; and I, though I knew better, was eager to join them, in order to hear something about the wonderful exhibition of the day and night previous. Some of the boys had attended in the afternoon; others, whose parents were less strict, in the evening. All had heard the music, all saw the parade, all partook more or less of the excitement incident to the occasion.



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242 TOM BENTLEY. of the boys do. Doctor, where are the boys ? Have they been here to take care of me?" "Yes, while they were in town; but they are gone now." Where? I asked eagerly. I had known their proposed route, but it had not yet come to mind. I have full directions for you; but never mind them now," answered the doctor kindly. "You have talked enough. Emilie, have you something ready for him ? The doctor's wife went to the table, and brought a morsel of the delicacy she had been preparing for me, and fed me with her own hand, as tenderly as if I had been an infant. I have no idea what it was she gave me. It was so delicious to be tenderly cared for, that, if it had been "black bread," I think I should have eaten it with a relish. "Now," said the doctor, we will leave



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 263 parlor. She read it, and, looking up with surprise, exclaimed, Next week ?" I said, Yes: the sooner the better, isn't it ? I have deferred it too long already." You are right," she answered; "and yet I hoped," -she hesitated, but resumed, -"I hoped to know first that you were reconciled to Him against whom all sin is committed, whoever may be the immediate object of the action or word." How can I be reconciled? I asked. "Through Christ," she answered simply. " There is no other way." "So I thought," said I; "and I have taken Christ as my Saviour." Madame Laboiteau took both my hands in hers, and said, There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth Let us, also, give thanks and be joyful. Now you can go, for I shall know that the Lord will be with you. I shall also know that you will not return to this miserable business any more."



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 163 tions of buffoonery; and, while engaged in some of these, as I glanced over the audience, my eye fell on my Brother William He was in a remote corner of the room; and instead of sitting, as I had done at first, all agape at the spectacle, his eyes were downcast, with an expression of the deepest dejection. He had failed to recognize me in my disguise, as he afterwards told me; but I recognized him instantly. I don't think I played very well the remainder of that evening. I remember that once, when we were behind the curtain, the leader reproved me sharply for my inattention. For the first time I was thoroughly ashamed of my chosen vocation. I could not hold up my blackened face, and exhibit my clownish tricks, before my plain farmer-brother, whom, in my heart, I had so often despised. It was with an effort that I forced myself through the remainder of the performance; and, at its close,



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CHAPTER V. I FORM A RESOLUTION. EARS ago, I used sometimes to wonder whether, under different circumstances, my stubbornness might not by some means have been subdued. But I have become satisfied, that, so long as the sinful human heart can resist the love and tenderness of God and the wondrous redemption of Jesus Christ, there is nothing it cannot resist. Surely my parents could have said of me, "What could have been done more to my vineyard that I hqve not done in it?" still I brought forth only wild grapes. 98



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CHAPTER XI. I AM ARRESTED. S -HE next seven years brought me Sno changes except, that, year by year, I was growing older. About midwinter, when I was near twenty-nine, -a little less than fifteen years after my memorable night-ride on Jetty, when I first left the Vermont farm, -as we were giving a series of concerts in New Orleans, I found myself one evening turning giddy and faint in the midst of my performances. I managed, with difficulty, to get through the evening; but the next dlf0Tound me confined to my bed, under a physician's 232 4'



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 87 did not appreciate. I soon drew him back to the fine buildings, and the hurry and bustle of the streets, and the ships, and the bay. I wanted to know all about those. As we drew near home, and my curiosity was in some degree satisfied, I exclaimed with vehemence, I'm going to see it all some day, -and soon too You needn't think you are the only one that's going to see the world." I hope you will. I've no doubt you will," my brother replied to the first remark, taking no notice of the second. "But be patient, Tommy. Your time will come by. and by." "Patient!" I repeated scornfully. "Patient! cooped up here among these Vermont hills. No, I won't be patient. I don't want to be." When we came in sight of home, my mind was so wrought upon by the streets and the architecture of New York, as my imagination, with the aid of William's description, had pictured them, that the homely dwelling



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L j k i 0 Ir



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 109 plishment of my purpose. Just then it happened that my wardrobe was scanty; and I thought it prudent to wait for a better outfit before presenting myself upon the arena of the Sgreat world. Meanwhile, my sheep engrossed but a small portion of my thoughts. The truth was, that I had never proved myself worthy of much confidence in matters of daily business, so that my father had acquired the habit of keeping his own eye on whatever was intrusted to me, especially if it involved matters of any value. I was aware 'of this, and considered it a great grievance; but he continued his watchful oversight, in spite of my complaints. My sheep, though not numerous, were of a valuable breed; and my father made himself personally sure of their welfare, trusting me only so far as to keep me employed, and to cultivate in me, as far as possible, a feeling of responsibility and trust.



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 331 get along too. He was twenty-five when I was fourteen, and had already carried various speculations through to a successful issue, and had others on his hands. They were comparatively on a small scale, and unimportant;. but they had brought him money, and, to my boyish fancy, were great transactions. I think his various trips hither and thither, and his spirit of enterprise, and especially his successes, did more to make me discontented with what I was pleased to call my humdrum life than any other one thing. He was just the sort of person to go West. He was of the same temperament as those who now constitute the largest portion of the population of Colorado and the various Western Territories, and who have carried California through its unprecedented career of growth and prosperity. Had those remote Western regions been as accessible when he was looking for a life-settlement, he would not have stopped in Illinois; but they



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 183 dog's life. I said to my soul, Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry;" but God said to me, Thou fool! Having given this general outline of my life and employments during these fifteen years, in order to dismiss the distasteful subject, I will return, and go more into detail respecting some incidents scattered through the period, which had a special bearing upon the history of my inner life.



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286 -TOM BENTLEY. old father. How could I ever have looked upon that father with other feelings than veneration and love. He was looking eagerly among the hastening crowd, as he came slowly -forward, leaning upon his cane, scanning every face in his search for me. I rose to meet him; but, my agitation overpowered my little strength, and I was compelled to sit down and await his approach. His eye no sooner rested on me than he recognized me, wasted and haggard as I looked. There was an expression of settled sorrow about his countenance that I had never noticed till that morning. It was I that had written it there. My waywardness had been the one bitter drop in his cup. Yet he gieeted me as kindly as if I had brought him only joy. He sat down beside me, and inquired anxiously about my health, and ended by saying, "You must have had a dreary time down there among strangers, and sick. Why



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56 TOM BENTLEY. wheeling around when at a safe distance, he looked back, seeming to enjoy my discomfiture. But he was such a splendid fellow, and I was so delighted with the thought that he was mine, that I could only admire him the more for the skilful manoeuvre with which he had bounded away from me. father call him again," said I. But my father only laughed. "He won't come now, Tommy. He's got his suspicions raised. You must be very gentle with him whenever you can get near. William will break him for you, and I will get you a saddle and bridle. But you must make good use of them all, Tommy." I promised my father great things; and at the time I believe I really meant to do better. That very colt had long been my admiration; and, for once, I had got the thing I wanted. "For once," I said, as if it were the only time.



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A SABBATH. 37 I could see his eye wandering from point to point in the ever-changing landscape, and his pleasant thoughts were now and then outspoken. His confiding and reverent trust in God,his God, -the God of his fathers," was a rock-of strength to him; while I--I write it now with horror -I wished there were no God. Thus far my reminiscences have kept me out of doors; at least, so far as our own home was concerned: I suppose, simply, for the reason, that, during the summer weather, we lived almost wholly in the open air. A long, low porch, covered with vines, extended across the entire front of our house, with doors opening from it both into the better and the commoner rooms. Here all summer we lived, often Staking our meals under its ample shelter, and only retreating within the house when night or stormy weather drove us in. When we reached home that Sabbath after-



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314 TOM BENTLEY. There were fifteen of us to be received into "the church. Among the rest, my sister Martha's -oldest daughter, a child thirteen years old, who, in the maturity of her mind, and her reverence for holy things, reminded me of my darling sister Lucy, whose name she bore. She seemed to fill the place that Lucy had left so many years vacant in my heart. The difference between her age and Lucy's seemed sufficient to satisfy my idea of what Lucy would have become, had she lived. Those fifteen years of my absence seemed compressed to a brief space as I looked back over them; and, though I had grown to be a man of thirty, I seemed to myself a mere youth, as, with my undisciplined mind and untrained powers, I stood among that band of young disciples. William's oldest boy was a there,-the one who amused me with his three year-old wisdom when I made my first visit to Vermont; now a boy of twelve, standing up to



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 103 he asked, in a voice that ought to have broken my heart. How can I let you go, Tommy, my youngest left to me ? How can I give you up? It will break my heart and your mother's." I looked up into that tearful face, quivering with wounded parental love, and replied with hardihood, You and mother needn't be troubled about me. I'll do well enough." My father was silent for a moment. Then She said, Let us pray." He knelt on the ground beside the stone wall, I kneeling by him; and lifting his reverent face, with closed eyes, to the blue heavens over us, he prayed. Calling to mind the covenant of the Lord with his people and their children after them, he prayed fervently that I, his youngest, -his little one, as he tenderly called me, -might be held back by the strong arm of divine grace from going in the paths of the destroyer. I felt as if he were handing



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THE END OF MY STORY. 365 seeds, I doubt not, will continue to bring in their returns of sin and sorrow. Redemption, and adoption into the family of Christ, did not uproot these plants of my own culture, and make me gentle and submissive, as I have found when again and again overpowered by the besetments of temptation, as flames of anger burst forth, or self-indulgence masters me, and sends me afresh to be cleansed in the fountain opened for sin. God did not uproot the sins that I had loved and cherished. That was my work. Christ forgave; but he also said, Go, and sin no more," Watch and pray," "My grace is sufficient for thee." Again and again he forgives and restores, and each time says," Go, and sin no more." And as one depth of iniquity is discovered after another, like the successive chambers of imagery in the prophet's vision, the abounding grace of God in raising up heirs of glory for himself, from such lost sinners as we are, is



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MY HBROTHER AND SISTER. 55 ately of my increasing years, and of the duties that were to be expected of me at the age of Stwelve, and from that upwards. "And now," said he, "to impress all this on your mind, I am going to make you a birthday present." We were in the field where the horses and olts were feeding. My father whistled his lia call and the gentle creatures came around him. They .had never ee: any thing but kindness at his hand; a they came without fear, sniffing, and t ng their manes in the air. He held a sle salt in his hand, which he coaxed a threeear-old black colt to lick from his extended pa. Passing his other hand caressingly overthe beautiful head and arched neck, he said "Here, Tommy: this colt is yours now. ime and pat him." I drew near, and raised my hand to stroke h glossy. flank; but, before I could lay my Supon him, he was off with a bound, and,



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A SABBATH. 39 chair to its usual place, and seated myself with Lucy beside me. Lucy was four years younger than I. One had died, who, if living, would have broken the wide interval, as it seemed, that separated Lucy from the rest of Sus, and made her the pet of the household. I honestly thought Lucy was the prettiest little girl in the world; and .I am yet sometimes half-inclined, as I mentally recall her sweet picture, to believe I was not wide of the truth. When she drew up her chair beside me that evening (it was a little, low rocking-chair), and laid her hand on my knee, and lifted her round face to meet the smile I never could fail to give her, my stubborn moroseness melted away, and I was myself again, -at least to her. My oldest sister, Martha, was seventeen. She was still busy, assisting my mother with her household duties. My Brother William Swas .out with my father; while Sarah



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268 TOM BENTLEY. me as mere points of light. But the beam that penetrates a dark room through a crevice in the shutter is as truly light as the flood that illuminates the room when the shutters are thrown wide open. In Madame Laboiteau, I found a friend that would sympathize with me in all the weaknesses by which I constantly found myself well-nigh overpowered. One I remember in particular. Though it seem a contradiction in terms to speak of the power with which a weakness laid hold upon me, yet I can no otherwise express the absolute terror with which I shrank from one thing which I never for a moment doubted my obligation to do. That was, the breaking away from the band of my associates, and explaining to them my reasons for so doing. We had been together, with occasional changes of individual members, for fifteen years. We had been, in a measure,



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 79 solid knowledge, than I afterwards acquired in years of wild wandering. I never think of him now but with reverence, -youth of eighteen as he then was, man of forty as I now am. So we rode on, some common-place remark passing between us now and then ; but we had so little in common, that real interchange of thought and feeling was impossible. When we reached Castleton, after our ride of ten miles, we had still half an hour to wait for the train. I had been there a few times with my father when we had come to meet friends, or to bring them to the train, so that the sight of the cars was not absolutely a novelty to me. Yet I walked up and down the platform, looking for them, .with different feelings from any time before, When at last they caime rushing up, and my brother shook me warmly by the hand and stepped in, I looked on with a malicious feeling, that, if I "had haL the power, would have swept from



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 293 adequate to convey my meaning; and, in my weak state, I was sure I should be overcome as soon as I attempted to express what I felt. At length I succeeded in stammering, "If I could only undo what I have done,"-here my voice failed. "My -son," said he, "has God forgiven you? " Yes," I answered, for Christ's sake." "Shall I withhold my forgiveness, then ? Let us say no more about it." So my father and I were reconciled. After we left Alton came the hardest portion of the journey. It was less than a day's ride, but the motion of the cars was very fatiguing. At the beginning of my journey, I could not have borne it. Nothing of special interest occurred till we reached home. The mist of years has not yet dimmed my recollection of the warm interest with which I was received on my arrival,



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276 TOM BENTLEY. multitude around me. Now the desecration jarred painfully upon me, and brought to my mind, by contrast, the quiet hills of my native region, with its hushed Sabbaths, and its worshipping people, where the last time, nine years before, I had gone to church. There was no similarity between that ungainly house of worship and the splendid edifice we entered that morning, save in the object that brought the assembly together. As I sat in the luxurious pew, I remembered that morning, when, with a heart dead as adamant to the spiritual worship of the hour, I was only aroused and thrilled by a human voice. I don't think I ,heard the hymn that was given out and sung. I was away among the granite hills. I heard only, "All hail the power of Jesus' name But it was not now wholly the melody of that voice that awakened the quivering chords of feeling. Through all, in all, conveyed by all, I felt the power of Jesus' name, that wonLc



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108 TOM BENTLEY At last, from longing and wishing, I came to resolving. I knew, or thought I knew, it would be of no use to ask my father to send me away. I revolved this question thoroughly in my mind, but concluded, that, if he should ever consent to send me to any of those distant and busy cities towards which my anxious glances were so often directed, he would wish to bind me down to some paltry business which would perhaps be as disagreeable to me, and as injurious to my aspirations, as the bondage under which I imagined myself to be then suffering. I don't know just what my ideas were; but I am sure that steady eriployment was not among the things for which I was looking out over the hill-tops. At length, I resolved to take things into my own hands, and go. Having determined upon this, the matter was upon my mind day and night, while I waited and watched for an opportunity when all things should be favorable to the accom-



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 91 off in my thoughtless sleep while he was still on his knees, or reading his Bible. My own Bible, the one I had had from childhood, as well as the beautifully-bound new one my brother had brought me, was never opened, except unwillingly, to commit the weekly lesson required of me. I thank my honored father now, though I did not then, that he insisted upon fastening some portions of the sacred word upon my memory, to come back to me as the bread of life years afterwards, when, in all the world, there was no Bible I could call my own. Ah, no! that is a mistake. There was one with my name on the fly-leaf, laid away among the most sacred treasures of the household; but it was of no avail to me when I most needed it. And the Sabbaths always brought their lessons of truth and goodness,--lessons unheeded, spurned, trodden under my presumptuous foot. How it was that amidst all those



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356 TOM BENTLEY. several years, and, with the oversight of his farm and the care of his family, has furnished me ample employment to the present day. And here I sit now, as I said in the beginning of my story, in my comfortable room at my Sister Sarah's, looking back over the pictures of memory. These ten years that I have been occupant of this room have brought me few changes, save that death has now and then entered our family circle. Two years after the death of Mr. Richards, my father and mother entered into their rest, both the same summer, leaving us, their sons and daughters, in the front rank. After my return from my rovings, their days were full of quietness and peace. As I have said, I had been the one great sorrow of life to them; and though I only brought back from my wandering a despoiled and half-ruined life, yet my rescue from the perdition of ungodliness satisfied them, and covered from their sight the multitude of my sins.



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 325 wide open to sun and wind, as well as to observation. Probably it was better for me. If I had had some such sheltered nook, I might have fallen into habits of profitless dreaming and reverie. As it was, I was held in constant contact with human life, and was driven to the resources God provides to fit us for just such contact, with its incessant demands for labor and love, and its hourly discipline. Here I learned the value of Bible-study, of watchfulness, and prayer. "As my strength increased, the question was often on my mind, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? This inquiry related not only to special acts of service that I might render to my Lord as an humble servant of his, but also to what I might do as an employment. This latter was a question of some difficulty, not only on account of seeking that calling that would afford me the best opportunities of glorifying my Lord and Master, but especially



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 265 the fragrance of flowers, should have so exhilirated me. The songs of the birds thrilled me, the blue of the skies was, in itself, an inspiration. Every sight and sound of nature seemed to possess a power of giving exquisite pleasure, such as I had never before noticed in them. I understood it better now, since I have come to know more of the power of God's love in brightening every bright thing, and giving increased loveliness to every beautiful object. In the course of our ride, I told the doctor my plan about going home, and met his approval. I also told him of my reconciliation with God, through Christ, in which he expressed his joy; but, being more cold in temperment than his wife, I did not feel that I found in him so full and earnest sympathy as in her. When I returned to my room, I found a beautiful Bible lying on my table, with my name written in it, From Emilie Laboiteau," and the motto, "He was dead and is alive



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Illustrated Works published by Henry Hoyt. 13 TOM BENTLEY. The whole story is pervaded by a fervent Christian spirit, and is the narrative of an actual experience. Price ...... ...5o



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160 TOM BENTLEY. pised and scorned, and trampled upon, loves on still, following its object down to the very "vortex of ruin, to pull back and save, even at the very last gasp, if possible How many times since, I have read those prayers in Gbd's word which use this illustration and how they come thronging to my memory, illuminated with pictures of my own father, whose heart I broke, yearning over me with unspeakable tenderness, and following me with his despised love through all those long, dismal years As soon as my uncle's letter was received at home, so far from giving me up as worthless, and t4king no more trouble about me, as they might justly have done, my Brother William was sent to find me, and use every endeavor to bring me back. Meanwhile, our audiences having fallen off somewhat in New York, the company having been there some weeks, we went on to Philadelphia, pausing a night or two at some of the



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A NEW SENSATION. 203 A few days before the time I had fixed upon for leaving, I went, under the pressure of necessity, to my retreat under the tree, for a few hours of practice. I had neglected my instruments until I felt absolutely unfit to rejoin our company. 'While I was busily engaged, I glanced down the road to the house. I could see to the foot of the hill, the old well, and the very door. My father was just coming out, with his staff, and his little grandson leaping along by his side. I can see him now, as he leaned .feebly, and came haltingly up the hill, glancing with a kindly smile at the frolicsome child that accompanied him. I was just coming to a difficult point in my music, that I wanted to master, and it annoyed me to he interrupted. But he came straight on, slowly up the hill, and sat down by me. "It seems like old times, Tonimy, to see you sitting here, only you're not a boy now," was his salutation.



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I AM ARRESTED. 233 care. There was one boarding in the same hotel; and, at my request, he had been called in. My first feeling, upon finding myself laid aside upon a bed of sickness, was of extreme annoyance. We were in the full tide of success, and my part had become one of the most prominent in the band. "I must and will be well in a few days," was my resolution. Yet, in spite of my determination, I felt myself sinking as day after day passed by. "When shall I be well ?" I exclaimed to Dr. Laboiteau. "I must be up by day after to-morrow." Those are bold words," he replied calmly. Then you think I will not ?" Probably not," he answered. "The Lord's hand is upon you now, and you will have to wait his time." Nd such words had been spoken to me for years. But I only turned myself restlessly in my bed, thinking, We shall see."



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I AM ARRESTED. 247 "Oh, no!" I answered lightly: "I ean't say that it does. Life does not seem to satisfy any one. It is quite an empty thing. Yet I think it better to be gay than melancholy." Two extremes, -gay on the one hand, melancholy on the other, -but neither giving satisfaction. There is an exceeding better way." "I shouldbe glad to find it," said I. That is, if I were sure it. would suit me better. There is a great diversity in tastes, you know." Oh, yes! but one of the wonders of this Jbetter way is, that it leaves those diversities untouched: though I should make one exception. The natural taste for sin, it removes and destroys. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.' Mr. Bentley," she added, becoming more. earnest, "you have just passed through a great peril. My husband, as a physician, carried you through. But there is another malady worse than fever, and there is a great Physician to whom you need to apply



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296 TOM BENTLEY. father's absence, -quite as much as about my condition. His age and his lameness unfitted him for activity; yet nothing could dissuade him, as I afterward learned, from going himself to meet me after receiving my letter. My brother would gladly have gone; but he said, No, I must be the first to see Tommy. It may be that the Lord has touched his heart by this sickness, and I must go to meet him. If he is coming home like a penitent prodigal, I want to meet him a great way off." For me to come from my long, homeless wanderings, with a heart that "the Lordhad touched," into the midst of such a family circle, with its comforts, its endearments, its tenderness, its little children, was like the feasting and the merry-making with which the prodigal of old was welcomed. Yes, it was better; for there was no envious and angry elder brother to mar the joy. I did not find it necessary to define my position. My father did that for



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80 TOM BENTLEY. existence train, track, and all, because I could not go. As the train moved off, William again nodded a good-by to me. I watched the receding cars as long as I could see a whiff of white smoke; then turned angrily, and walked off to where my horses were tied. I threw up the stirrups of William's saddle, slipped my arm through the bridle, and rode moodily homeward, tracing his progress mile by mile as I went. Before I reached home, my brother was in Whitehall, and ready to take another train for Troy, where at night he would take the boat, and sail down the beautiful Hudson. It was full moon, and short, midsummer nights, so that I had no doubt he would see it all; and the next morning he would be in New York, and Iwould be feeding the horses on my father's farm. My disgust was unbounded. I should soon have been convinced, if my



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 85 I said the bay and the shipping interested me most. But I hardly know, after all, whether I did really delight most in that, or in his account of the magnificent streets, with their ceaseless throngs of people, and rows of stately buildings. Didn't you feel grand," I asked, walking up and down Broadway ? He laughed good-naturedly. "Why, Tommy," said he, I feel grander, this moment, on my old brown nag. No, Tommy, I didn't feel grand at all. I was only a lost atom there. I, a poor country-boy, feel grand, where every thing around me really was so grand, -and I so awkward and insignificant! And he laughed again. But he soon checked himself. "I made one mistake, Tommy. Every thing was not grand. I don't believe there are as many miserable wretches in all Vermont as I saw in New York. Such misery !"



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354 TOM BENTLEY. forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean." He had said nothing to me about business for a day or two. After a pause, I remarked, "Now, just as you have thrown off your business cares upon me, and trust me with them, so throw the care of your soul upon Christ, and trust him. Say, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." I must," he answered. I can do nothing else. I have lived foolishly." It was the last conversation I had with him. He only spoke a few times during the night; and, in the morning, he was delirious. In a few days, he died. Those few words, "I must, -I can do nothing else," gave us a gleam of comfort and hope. The retrospect of his life of devotion to business, and his success, had given him none.



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I FORM' A RESOLUTION. 95 God to his promises, I will say here, though it is somewhat out of place, that those prayers were answered, fully and abundantly, though not then. Having settled in my own mind what course I would pursue, I went repeatedly with the rest of the family to attend upon the extra services that were carried on in the church. The sleighing was fine and the moon full, so that the ride of four miles in the evening, and back, was rather a pleasure than a task; though in their rich enjoyment of the gospel feast, and their solicitude for me, the family would have gone, even if it had required much effort. I remember once, in the midst of my struggle,for I did have a terrible struggle before I could quiet the voice of my awakened conscience, and attain the fearful peace of a soul dead in siniarid undisturbed by grace, the preacher presented this theme: Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ. As



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98 TOM BENTLEY. I have never needed any other argument to demonstrate to me the evil tendency of such amusements, than to recall to mind the effect produced at that time upon the minds of those who indulged in them. The iext evening after the presentation by our pastor of the subject given above, as we were passing through town on our way to church, I noticed a large transparency conspicuously posted over a door, marked, "Wonderful exhibition of dancing dogs, ventriloquism, and sleight of hand." Whether any of the rest of the family saw it or not, I cannot say; but I saw it. We passed on, and jumped out on the platform of the church. My father and mother and the girls entered, and William went to take care of the horses. I slipped away, and walked swiftly down the street, and, with twenty-five cents I happened to have in my pocket, purchased admission to the dog-show.



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SUARE. 73 trip; and the sojourn of several days in the 'city was distasteful to him. My Brother William was, therefore, commissioned to go in his place. William was eighteen, and, in faithfulness and good judgment, as reliable as my father himself, so far as he knew. The business was not intricate, but only needed attention and care. It was simply the collection of some over-due notes given for some cattle my father had sold the fall previous, and William was judged fully competent to the trust. My father had a brother' living in New York, a master-carpenter, whom we children had never seen, but of whom we had often heard. Wilh am was to go to him for assistance and direction. When I learned that William was going to New York, I was all excitement. It was just such an opportunity as I had been pining for, for se ral ,years. He would not only travel in the cars, which I had never done, and see



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322 TOM BENTLEY. others were left to blaspheme that blessed name which I had learned to revere?Had not God remembered his covenant? Had he not remembered the prayers that had been offered in my behalf? The fact that I had been so far astray impressed me, also, in another manner. Should not one, to whom so much had been forgiven, love much? If there were some to whom little had been forgiven, surely I was not of that number. I felt humbled as I glanced at the youthful form of my nephew, and the childish face of Lucy, and' remembered how, at their time of life, I had spurned the offer of divine grace which they had accepted, and how for years I had gone on, laying up wrath against the day of wrath, reckless and defiant, though living from hour to hour upon the border-line of eternity, and saved only from the very doors of destruction. I had written to Dr. Laboiteau and his wife,



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 151 Providence brought to my mind. My absolute dependence upon God had been taught me from my childhood. But I knew I had been running a mad career, in direct violation of every precept of God's law; and yet I had accomplished my designs. I had prospered, as I thought, and was on the road to promotion, to fortune, to complete success. I had not yet learned what a fearful thing it sometimes is to have one's desires granted, and to be permitted to go -even to the utmost limit -in the way of one's own choosing. I thought exultingly of home, and how my entire success would impress them all there. I could not fail to know that my choice of employment would not please my father; though, in my stupidity, I had no conception of the distress it would occasion him. I simply felt, that, by and by, he would see the wisdom of my choice, and acknowledge that, after all, I was right. I tried to convince myself that I was enjoying



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256 TOM BENTLEY. 0 Mr. Bentley! she answered, coming to me, and taking up my thin hand, "If you would only first be reconciled to the heavenly Father, the common Father of us all, the other reconciliation would be so easy If you could only bring your mind to say to him, Father, I have sinned,' he would run to meet you." I believe there were tears in my eyes. I thought it was because I was weak and nervous, and I-felt ashamed of them. I soon rose, and went to my lonely room. "If you could only say to him, Father, I have sinned.' Could I say that? I could acknowledge to Madame Laboiteau that I was a sinner, in a general way. I knew it too well. But could I go to the heavenly Father, and say to him, "Father, I have sinned." That, I felt, would be a giving up of the whole life-long conflict I had maintained against God. I against God! Briars and thorns against consuming fire



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 149 He then called the others to order, and gave out soriething to be played, to which I was to add the part of the triangle. My quick ear for time enabled me to do this with absolute success; and, after a few repetitions, I ventured so far as to add some original touches of my own, which won me great applause. "Blacken him up," suggested one, "and let's see how he looks then." So I was initiated into the mysteries of that art, and went through my performance again, entering each time more and more into sympathy with the music, such as it was, until I was pronounced a promising subject for training, and was engaged to take my place that very night as triangle-performer at the concert. I remained with them the rest of the time of rehearsal; and then, washing the blackening from my face, I started for my lodgings with the feeling that I was a made man. "But look here!" said one: "don't bring



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 65 presence, of Lucy's death, he always remarked upon the great goodness of God in preparing her for heaven so young, and with so little experience of the trials of life, and so little manifestation of the power of sin in her heart. His own sense of loss seemed sunk in his appreciation of the blessedness to which she had so early attained. His manner towards me, in all his dealings with me, was tender and pitiful; and many times, in his morning and evening prayers,'he remembered the one still out of the fold. I noticed it just enough to think, That means me." But I did not want to be in the fold. I was sent to school that winter, as usual. I had to walk a mile, first up the road that asconded the hill from our house, then over the brow of the hill, and down into the next valley. I made little progress in learning. I kept up a decent reputation with my teacher and my school-fellows; but it was only for the sake of a ' 6



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 139 drivers, and even went so far as to take a seat beside one, in order to broach the subject of trying his vocation. But the stare with which my proposition was received, and the astonished answer, "You! You don't know nothing about the city," again discomfited me. I abandoned my resolution about not returning to my lodgings till I found a situation. I spent days in the search, my funds sinking all the time. I still had a considerable sum; but I could easily see that employment -and that speedily -was a necessity for me. Yet I had so much confidence in the richness of my personal resources, that I was not out of heart. I renewed my efforts each day, feeling certain I should soon succeea. I continued to attend places of amusement, without even a thought of the propriety of denying myself such gratification for the sake of economy. As I walked through the street one day, a placard attracted my attention, advertising the



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116 TOM BENTLEY. Our room overlooked the long porch, of which I have spoken as forming our gatheringplace in the summer. I went to bed as usual, to delay suspicion as long as possible in the morning; but I did not sleep any. I had taken my clothing the evening before, and tied it in a bundle, which I hid away in the barn, intending to buy a valise as soon as I should reach any town. I had also arranged my saddle and bridle, so that I could get them without a moment's delay. Jetty was in 'the field, but he always came at my call; and the field was far enough from the house to make it perfectly safe for me to whistle as loud as I pleased. It could not have been much after ten o'clock, when I began to think it would be safe for me to rise. I looked out. The moon was not yet up. I knew it would be soon, and I lay down again. By and by a faint streak of moonshine shot into my open window. I



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 133 jostled and elbowed about by the crowd, gazing with mingled wonder and curiosity at the splendid streets. Ah," said I, looking up at the magnificent buildings, with an effort to smother the misery that coiled about me like a huge serpent, this is something like living." I had walked all my life among God's works with no recognition of their magnificence. So I wandered hither and thither, visiting every locality of which I had ever heard, and many of which I had not. The Sabbath came. To pass away the time, and gratify curiosity, I freely confess I had no higher motive,I entered an open church. I heard the praise of God breathed through the sounding-pipes of a great organ, sung by well-attuned voices, uttered in prayer and psalm, -the praise of that God whose authority I spurned, and from whom I was vainly seeking to flee. I listened; but my 'heart had no part in the praise, no share in the petitions that arose from the worshipping congregation.



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208 TOM BENTLEY. I hastened my preparations, and left the next morning, joining my company a few days after, in New York, to enter once more upon our season. 401Y-



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A SABBATH. 41 names. There was "Baxter's Saints' Rest," which my mother never wearied of reading on Sunday evenings. There was a "Life of Washington," which I remember seeing my brother peruse; I from time to time watching his progress, and wondering how he could ever think of undertaking to read a whole book, leaf by leaf. There was also a "Universal History," which my brother had read. There was a Pilgrim's Progress," in which the girls .delighted, and which I supposed Lucy would take up in due time. As for myself, beyond these titles, and some others, my acquaintance with books was exceedingly small. There were several large volumes lying on the top of the book-case, which I have no recollection of ever having seen moved, and of the contents of which now I have not the smallest idea. 'My curiosity never led me to investigate in that direction. I knew they belonged there. I should have missed them if they had been



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324 TOM BENTLEY. I was but a shattered wreck, in intellect a mere boy. I was not in the condition of many, who, though destitute of school-learning, have yet acquired a vigorous understanding and keen insight through the exercise of their faculties in the ordinary vocations of life. My pursuits had been* frivolous, my contact with the world had been superficial. I knew almost nothing of its business or its social life. The season of weakness through which I passed, before I was equal to any active employment, forced me to the recognition of these humiliating facts, and .made me aware that, repent as I might, grieve as I might, yet I could never undo the work of those years, nor recover the loss I had sustained. It was but the poor fragment of a wasted, ruined life that remained to me. I often wished for my sheltered retreat on the hillside at the old home. In that prairie region, every spot lay



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 101 of sullenness aiid discontent on my own part, making me miserable in the midst of so much that might have made life pleasant. Yet I bear willing testimony to the unfailing goodness of my parents. The severity which I sometimes experienced was brought upon myself by my own wilfulness; and, had I at any time been willing to conduct myself as a son was bound in all honor to do, I should have been overwhelmed with joyful welcomes to a son's happy standing in a happy family. But I set up my own standard, and went on in my own way. One day in the spring, as my father and I "were out overlooking the stone fences that surrounded some of the fields, replacing stones that had been thrown down, and strengthening places that were weak, after having been at work some hours, my father sat down on the wall to rest. "Tommy," said he, "come here, my son. I want to talk with you."



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62 TOM BENTLEY. into the Redeemer's fold. I alone was left out. I had no further relations with my sweet sister: -to me, she was forever dead. I wandered, in my misery, from room to roomapd from field to field, haunted everywhere with a sense of separation, not only from the dead, but from all the rest. They were comforted: I was not. As often as I could find opportunity to enter unobserved, I went and stood by the little form of my sister. Once I touched my lips to the calm forehead; but the chill, so unlike the fulness of life that had throbbed'there, was so appalling that I dared not repeat the touch. I could do no more than take the waxen fingers into my hand, and wish, in my anguish, that I could warm them into life again. But for me, she was dead,gone into darkness forever. I wondered how the sun could shine and the birds could sing, while we laid that little body in the cold, dark grave. I did not think that she waq singing in heaven, and rejoicing in the I



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I CHANGE MY .PLAN. 223 I would not have supposed this change would affect me as it did. Wanderer as I had been, yet I found I had all the while clung unconsciously to that old farm, as home. All its features at once came up before my mind with the vividness of a picture. I viewed them regretfully. The old red house, the well, the winding road, its rocks, my special retreat under the beech-tree, the scenery of the surrounding hills, all stood clearly before me ; but all had become things of the past, with which I had no longer any common interest. They were now mere recollections. I felt more entirely a wanderer than before. They, my brother and his family, with my parents and sisters, could transplant themselves at will, and take rootin a new soil; but I had no part in it. I was simply pulled up by the roots, and cast out.. I could make itrin my way to visit'them all in the spring as welf'as not. I would not have



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A NEW SENSATION. 207 "My boy, lay your hand in mine, and let us be reconciled." "Yes, whenever you acknowledge that I did right," I answered, spurning the offered hand. My father raised his eyes to heaven. The Lord witness between us," he exclaimed reverently, "that I have done my utmost. The. Lord bless you, my son, and bring you to a better mind." He turned and went to the house, walking more slowly and unsteadily than when he ascended the hill. My guitar and banjo were both lying beside me. I took up my banjo, choosing that because he disliked it most, and began playing long before he was out of hearing. I wanted him to hear. I wanted my notes o mockery to torture him. like sharp stings. I have seen moments since, when the words of that fatherly blessing burned my very soul as no malediction ever could.



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llustrated iWorks published by IHenry Hoyt. 7 THE WHOLE ARMOR. THEREBY SAVED FROM TEMPTATION. A very interesting story, with a grand temperance lesson. Natural in its description, and full of wholesome truths. Price ...... $.25



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346 TOM BENTLEY. "Look here, now, Tom Bentley," said the leader: "when we want sermons, we go to church; and, as we don't go very often, it's clear we don't want sermons very often. However, as you are an old friend, and as we have to forgive you for deserting, go on." So I went on. I told them, in as plain a narrative as I could conimand, what my Lord had done for me, and what horrors I had felt when the thought first dawned upon me, as I lay on that sick-bed in New Orleans, that I should probably die. I told them of the excellence of the portion I had found, and set before them, as well as I was able, the claims of Christ and his gospel. When I had finished, the leader said, with mock courtesy, If you are through, Mr. Bentley, we will proceed, as time is precious; and, immediately giving the word, the band commenced one of theii most fantastic pieces of dance-music; 'in the midst of which I bowed



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 309 long till I wls able to join the company of the rest in attending their meetings for prayer and for the preaching of the Word; and then, for the first time in my life, I listened, with emotions of joyful sympathy, to the voice of the young convert, just learning to speak of the love of Christ. I had met the pastor, and enjoyed his cordial interest in my behalf; but, after all, it was the warm grasp of the hand of those young Chfistians, meeting me in no official capacity, but simply as fellow-sinners saved by a common grace, that went most to my heart. One young man, whq, like myself, had been rescued from a course of out-breaking sin, seemed, from our very first meeting, to lay hold upon me with special interest. We had a fellow-feeling for each other, and I felt sure we must soon be fast friends. There was something in the stirring energy of James Sinclair's manner that suited my temperament,



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 267 ruin. I could see how worthless are the nice distinctions we draw between sin and sin, selecting this one and that one for our reprobation, while upon others we place the seal of respectability. I could say with sincerity, 0 God! behold, I am vile." I felt assured, that to be a hater of God carried within it the very root and essence of all sin, and the germ of all conceivable suffering. From what had I not been rescued! I was amazed at my own deliverance, until I remembered the prayers that for years had been ascending to God in my behalf, -prayers of parents, brother, and sisters, and of the people. of God away in that church among the hills of Vermont. Then I recognized the truth in my Brother William's note left on my table fifteen years before, -" God hears and answers prayer." I do not mean to convey the impression that I sprung at once to the stature of a full and strong Christian. These truths dawned upon



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262 TOM BENTLEY. carry me where I might prostrate myself before those I had so deeply injured. I had not yet seen Madame Laboiteau that morning; and I hoped that neither she nor the doctor would call for me until I should have finished a letter. I arranged my writing materials, and wrote with a trembling hand a few lines, telling my father of my illness, and that I should leave New Orleans the next week, giving him the name of the boat, and begging that either he or William would meet me in St. Louis. I regretted that I must postpone my departure so long; but it was necessary inurder to give them time to receive my letter and come to meet me. I said nothing of my altered state of mind. I wanted to tell him, by word of mouth, that I now knew I had played the fool, and forfeited all further claims to his fatherly kindness. When I had finished my letter, I took it in my hand, and went to Madame Laboiteau's



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I AM ARRESTED. 239 nothing now so well expresses the suffering of those days as his words, "The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." It was an anguish in which there was no repentance, and in that respect akin to the anguish of the lost. After those days, nothing was clear to me, till I awoke, one morning, so enfeebled by the fever that had been consuming me, that it was with difficulty I could lift my wasted hand from the spot where it lay, limp and white on the bed beside me. Lawrence was sitting by me. I asked him, Have I been sick ? "Yes, master," he replied, very sick; but you are better now. I am ordered to keep you very qduet." I was too languid to think much, or ask any further questions just then; but recollection grew clearer, and I was able to recall the feelings that had tortured me before I lost my



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10A4 TOM BENTLEY. me over, as being too hard for him, to the mercies of God, or perhaps to his wrath. For the moment, I was awed; but, when he Sfinished, I rose with a sense of relief that it was over and done with. Ah! I knew not that a righteous man's prayer is never done with till it is in some way answered to the full. Surely, if I had known that, I must have trembled. I think my father had had fears that I would break away from the restraints of home, that were so irksome to me. Probably, in moments of passion, I had thrown out such threats. At all events, such was my general hardihood of behavior as to awaken his serious apprehensions that I would, some day, launch out into an open and Heaven-daring course of wickedness. After that conversation and that prayer, we pursued our employment. My father seemed relieved. Once I heard him singing, in a low, crooning voice, **



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A TRIP IN WHICI I HAD NO SHARE. 81 mind had been open to conviction on any subject, that my father really did need me at home. Yet I did not, by any means, make myself as helpful as I might. So thoroughly had selfishness gained the mastery over me, that I looked on while he went limping about, doing many things that William was in the habit of doing, and which I might have done, and unquestionably ought. I had somewhat outgrown my habit of resorting to the shady nook under the beechtree, up the hill-side, but in those dreary days, made dreary by my own miserable selfishness, I again resorted thither, and revolved over and over all sorts of impracticable plans for getting out into the world, as I expressed mnyself. As if I were not already in the world! I do not now dwell upon these things, and write of them, because they give me pleasure. Far from it. I shall tell, by and by, what a 6



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THE END OF MY STORY. 361 lif, as gifts from his own bountiful hand? But the style of my music, and the associations connected with it, had defrauded me of one source of enjoyment that is represented as one of the delights of the redeemed in heaven. I had, in the course of my musical training and practice, learned some of the finest compositions of the best masters for my own private gratification, and for the acquisition of skill, though such were not the productions with which I had been wont to regale our audiences. I drew forth my musical instruments to the light again, and found, as I attempted to reproduce some of those fine compositions, that, though my skill had in some degree left me, yet my knowledge had not. The dexterity and nimbleness of fingers I could, in time, recall. I found, as I became better able to execute the fine music with which I had, years before, made myself familiar, that it thrilled me with a joy I had



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 155 vigor and activity. He brought with him a letter from my father, written soon after my leaving home, entreating him, if I came in his way, to shelter and take care of me, and inform them immediately. If I had had any feeling, that letter would have moved me; but evidently I had made myself as nearly without natural affection as possible. I smiled at my father's solicitude, and even expressed my vexation that he should have distressed himself so much about me. Then came the question, "What are you doing, Tommy ?" I can see now the look of blank amazement with which he received the information that I had joined a band of minstrels. He remonstrated, plead with me, offered me money to go home; and at last promised to take me into his own family, and teach me his business, if I preferred the city to a country life. I rejected his offer with impertinence, giving him to un4<**



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I AM ARRESTED. 245 found myself as entirely thrown out of my accustomed society as if I, had been shipwrecked, and cast up alone on some strange island. But it was not a desert island upon which I had been cast. I soon became a visitor in Madame Laboiteau's parlor. Sitting there one day in an easy-chair, with my guitar upon my knee, which she had taken to her room that I might amuse myself with it, and upon which I had been languidly striking some "chords, my strength not being equal to the real use of my instrument, Madame Laboiteau said to me suddenly, How did you happen to ever fall in with this kind of occupation? It is a pity that you did not take up some higher style of living." "It is a long story," I replied. "It goes back to my fifteenth year." Is it a pleasant story ?" she asked, fixing her eyes earnestly, yet kindly, on me. The question took me wholly by surprise. I



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FA TIER. 303 I thought, "this comrade of mine now occupies;" and my feeling towards him changed from resentment to unutterable compassion. Ah! thought I, "if he had been to the very doors of the grave, and looked through the thin wall that separates us from the tremendous realities of eternity, he, too would tremble." Then I wrote to him, giving, as fully as I could, my reasons for the position I had taken, vindicating myself from the charges of dishonor, and endeavoring to place before him the claims of the gospel of Christ upon himself. My letter, I have no doubt, met the same fate as the many letters of remonstrance I had received from my own home. 7~



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 113 By and by they were done, -half a dozen of them. Sarah worked the button-holes, and brought them, with girlish pride, for me to look at, saying, "Look, Tommy, aren't they beautiful ?" "Oh, yes! good enough," I replied, pushing her hand away as if such things were beneath my notice. 0 Tommy, look at them!" she insisted, and see how nicely I have done them for you !" I condescended to take hold of one of the garments and look. They were beautiful button-holes. I remember them now. I said they were beautiful, and Sarah's face glowed with delight. Then Martha washed the shirts, and ironed them neatly; and they were carefully piled away in my box up stairs. I looked them over, counted my money, glanced out of the window 8



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170 TOM BENTLEY. He endured it as long as possible; and then, in one of my pauses, rose, saying, I wish you could go out and walk with me, Tommy. Since I am here, I want to see something of the city." Couldn't possibly," I replied with a busy air. I really must practise. You'll be in at the concert to-night, I suppose." No," he replied. "I shall not be there. I have found you now, and I do not need to go. But we will try to spend the day together to-morrow." This was not at all according to my notion, for I had agreed to spend the day wandering about with Harry Greyson. We had really seen nothing of the city, having been there but a few days, and those being busily occupied. But I could postpone my engagement with Harry till the next week, and submit to my brother's graver company, since I needs must. I saw William again, during the few moments



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292 TOM BENTLEY. He looked at me for a moment; and then laid his hand upon my knee, and said, My son, I am very glad." None but simple words could clothe the great joy of his heart. His gladness brought tears to my eyes. He did not remove his hand from my knee for a long time. Its light touch was the very embodiment of kindness and affection. Once I saw his eyes closed and his lips moving. I knew he was giving God thanks for my restoration, not only to physical, but still more to moral health. Then, again, a light pressure of that withered hand upon my knee, and again those words, I am very glad, my son. I cannot tell you how glad I am." I knew it. Every feature expressed it, and, most of all, that mute thanksgiving to God. Again and again I tried to frame words to express my regrets for my own course of conduct, but I could not. No words seemed



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 59 angels. My father and mother, I think, had always regarded her with a sort of trembling awe, as a treasure too precious to be long retained. The thought of her now comes over me at times like a heavenly presence. She was not to meet the temptations and rude assaults of life. One dismal day in autumn, -it always comes back to my recollection as a dark day, though I think the sun was shining brightly all the while, -we were all grouped by Lucy's bedside. She had taken cold: fever ensued. My mother and Martha had alternately watched her for days. She \had been delirious, but awakened out of sleep quite rational, and free from pain. "I want to see them all," were her first words. We were all speedily summoned. My father, I'remember, seemed feeble, and his lameness worse than usual. He came haltinigly, and took the little, plump hand in



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128 TOM BENTLEY. in the general impression, the city seemed to my unpractised eye a spectacle of unparalleled beauty, rising from the water's edge, and spreading away upon its undulating hills. I glanced from shore to shore. There was a train of cars swiftly gliding along upon its iron track in full view, there were boats of all descriptions, -in short, it was the opening to me of a world of wonders. I again thought of the stupidity of my Brother William in returning home so quietly from the midst of all this, and feeling content with his humble lot. Surely I should always be more aspiring. The gentleman and his son, whom I had followed upon entering the boat, had passed several times near me. They were walking up and down the deck from end to end. At length I raised my eyes, as they approached. The gentleman said to me, "My lad, you seem to be alone." I replied, Yes, sir."



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THE END OF MY STORY. 359 the orphan remember him. God's people knew him. His pastor knew him as a helper in the gospel. The fallen knew him; and, when a helping hand was kindly offered them, they looked to see if it was not Farmer Bentley. Very often it was. Best of all, Christ knew him as one to whom he had given grace, wisdom, and righteousness. He will not be forgotten in the day when Christ makes up his jewels. He was called to his rest when not much older than I am now. The sons and daughters in those three families who call me Uncle Tom number seventeen. There would be more, but some fair blossoms have been laid away as my darling Lucy was. We shall see them all by and by. Lucy Mason, my sister Martha's oldest daughter, is the wife of my friend Sinclair. There is some disparity in their years, but none in their tastes, pursuits, and aims. She is



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126 TOM BENTLEY. would have been a humiliation, and I much preferred misery. I looked forward to the morrow, when I should be in New York, and should have attained the highest limit of success I had as yet proposed to myself. At the appointed hour I went to the wharf, and for the first time in my life set my foot on a steamboat. I had no idea what parts of the boat I might be permitted to go to, but was determined, if possible, to show no awkwardness or ignorance. As I approached the landing, I saw many others going in the same direction; and, observing an elderly gentleman with a boy near my own age, I determined to keep my eye on them, judging, that, whatever they did, it would be proper for me to do. So I followed them in, and deposited my valise; and then as I saw them preparing to go out in the open air, and my own inclination led me in the same direction, I followed on, assuming an



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A NEW SENSATION. 195 had taken, during that time, passed under swift review. At the end of an hour, I rose from my reverie, perfectly satisfied with myself. As I look back now to the reminiscences of that hour, I record it with amazement, that I was perfectly satisfied with myself, with my course of conduct, my attainments, and my prospects. During the first week of my visit, no mention was made of my occupation. I tried to provoke some such allusions, by sometimes producing my instruments, and dashing off a bit of music which I supposed would create astonishment. It was received with the utmost coolness. Then, with the same design, I remarked upon something I had seen, when last winter in Mobile," or alluding to "a friend of mine in Savannah," or commenting upon the business facilities of Chicago or St. Louis; and in various other ways displaying my familiarity with all parts of the country.



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 225 was along the line of the Alton Railroad, which, as William explained to me, gave them immediate connection with Chicago, and opened ample market for the rich products of the farm. All this I thought very probable, but, at tlh same time, did not hesitate to express my feeling that I wouldn't live there for the best farm in the State. But my brother could, and results have shown how much better was his wisdom than mine. My father and mother did not seem quite at ease in their new home. It did not occir to to me that they were pining for their native hills. I was so thoroughly occupied with myself that I had no care for any thing else. There were neighbors near, among whomr I soon found that I was looked upon as a son that brought no credit to the family. I remained only a few days, and then gathered up my musical instruments and left for 15



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 219 that, in God's own time, whenever he has taught you the lessons he wishes you to learn, he will bless you by bringing you to himself. Remember, Tommy, though you are far away, and living an unsettled life, the church here is praying for you." Here he had affectionately closed his letter: then followed the added note, given above, which I read again, and which swept from my mind, for the time, all that had preceded it. After a while, these words came back, Remember, Tommy, the church here is praying for you." It was not pleasant for me to remember that. That evening, as I was engaged in our usual employments, those words would come flashing through my mind, The church here is praying for you." The only effect upon me was to awaken the wish that they would let me alone. I had often so wished of my father's prayers and expostulations. Why should they pray for



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222 TOM BENTLEY. the river, but without the slightest allusion to his tender regard for my welfare as one bound for another life beyond the fleeting present. I told him I had decided not to abandon my profession in the spring, but without any intimation that my decision had been influenced by the bit of information he had given me in the note appended to his letter. Before we reached St. Louis, I received a letter from my Brother William. My Sister Sarah had at last prevailed with them. They had sold the Vermont farm, and were gettingtheir affairs in shape to move westward in the spring. Martha's husband would follow, as soon as he could arrange his property to go, and the family would be re-united except me. He begged me to join them in the spring, as I would be not very far away, and at least spend the summer with thenI Perhaps it would suit me better than the quiet hills where my restless boyhood had been pa * "^.



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138 TOM BENTLEY. Sometimes a rough No," sometimes a humorous play upon my unsuspecting rusticity; but all alike ending in complete failure. I cannot but smile now, as I recall the leisurely air with which I strolled from door to door, feeling, that, if everybody else was in a hurry, there was no reason why I should be; and so proclaiming by my very manner and attitudes my total unfitness for the.positions I was seeking. I had 'come into the midst of enterprise, but had brought no spirit of enterprise with me. I next threw myself upon the dry-goods market. But in less than an hour I was run over so many times by brisk little fellows of ten years old, and under, that I concluded to saciifice my dignity no longer in that unequal struggle. I began to wonder if I should be obliged to bind myself out as an apprentice to some trade. I thought about becoming a porter. I looked enviously at the omnibus



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 273 There's no temptation I endure, Bat thou, my King, endured it; There's not a wound that asks a cure But my Redeemer cured it. For me, thy sacred temples bled; For me, thou wert upbraided, And as a lamb to slaughter led, Unpitied and unaided. And can I doubt thy tender love ? Thy rich compassion, -doubt it ? My spirit hath no hope above, No stay on earth without it." The slip had been cut from a newspaper. The tender presentation of the truth of Christ's sympathy with his people had touched an answering chord inher heart, and had led her to preserve it. She had suffered, and had laid her throbbing heart beside her Saviour's, to feel the answering throb of his. My difficulty, my trial, as I had felt it to be, shrank to 18



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348 TOM BENTLEY. A few moments after, my sister left the room, and he said to me, Tom, I am very sick. I want you to understand all about my business, for you may have to settle it up." He went on, with surprising clearness, telling me where I would find papers, explaining every thing I did not already know, and expressing his belief, that, so far as he knew, his business was in good shape. I listened to all his statements, and asked some questions, thinking it probable his mind would be more composed if he were permitted to delver over the care of his business to me. I then said to him, Brother Richards, you are not yet so ill as to make your case alarming; but as you have now committed your business to me for a time, and as I understand it quite thoroughly, I beg you to take this time, while you are laid aside from activity, and consider your standing in the sight of God."



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212 .TOM BENTLEY. It was a bright, warm time, the streets as dry as May; and Harry and I had started out for a drive. We went on, out through the beautiful suburbs of the city. We were unusually quiet, each smoking. A feeling of loneliness came over me as I looked at the sweet homes among which we were driving, that cluster on the hills overlooking the river. I thought of my absolute exclusion from every one of them, and all like them elsewhere. My chosen employment placed me outside the pale of cultivated society, -I will not say Christian society, for it was of no such quality I was thinking at the moment. But it galled me to think, that, while occupants of some of those very homes would come, time after time, in their rich apparel, and listen to our concerts under the plea of a love for simple melodies, yet not one of them would knowingly meet me on terms of social equality, and treat me as a friend. I had been, in the first years of my



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220 TOM BENTLEY. me ? I was not a drunkard, nor a thief, nor a gambler, nor a profane swearer. No, I was none of these. I was a dead soul. Dead, corrupted, though with a death that implies no cessation of being. I was going on in a career of death and ruin, from which those loving hearts would have plucked me. Christ himself, through that tender message, offered me pardon, redemption, life eternal, but I spurned both him and his offer. Hating him, I loved death. We had engagements for only a few nights more in Cincinnati, and then passed on, using the Sabbath, as we always did when convenient, for travelling. In the midst of so much that was fitted to draw off my mind from every thing connected with Christ and his work for lost souls, I soon cast off the fleeting impression of those words, The church here is praying for you." Yet I can now give thanks that those pray-



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308 TOM BENTLEY. from the outside, hearing only the remarks and criticisms of uninterested people, as ignorant of the nature of the work as I was myself. But at my brother's, in the midst of a Christian community, and in the -bosom of a Christian family, I' came at once within the hallowed influence of a special outpouring of God's Spirit, and learned how the momentous interests of human souls, and the impending realities of eternity, can be made to dwarf all mere worldly business, and make its advancement subordinate to the things of the kingdom of God. None were more engaged in the special services called for by the interest in religious matters than our three families,-my father and mother included, old and feeble as they were. My own rescue from sin had filled them with new joy, and furnished occasion for a special thank-offering, and a renewed consecration to the Redeemer's work. It was not



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I WILL ARISE, A.D GO TO MY FATHER. 297 me. After that, I was among them as one of them. We reached home on Saturday. My brother's farm lay' two miles from a thriving and rapidly-growing town, to which all the family went to attend church. My Sister Sarah's home was nearest town. Indeed, the town had already encroached on the farm; and Mr. Richards, her husband, had laid out streets and sold off town-lots, bringing him a large profit. The next day after reaching home, I was too feeble to endure the blustering weather of the season, and staid quietly at home, while the rest of the family, my father and mother included, all went to church. I had urged them all to go, leaving me alone; for I felt that a day alone with my God, under my new circumstances, would be profitable to me. It was a strangely sweet day to me. None like it, either before or after, is to be found among my pictures of memory. All around, as I



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158 TOM BENTLEY. as I did, -I had passed some words, yet had not advanced to any thing like intimacy. My uncle's family were some miles from me, so that I was literally a stranger. Had that fact led me to seek the God of my fathers, whom I might have made my shelter, my confidence, my father, and my friend, it would have been well; but it was he, least of all, whose shelter I was inclined to seek.



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288 TOM BENTLEY. It's all that's left of me," I answered, giving him my hand. "Well, now, no fun to be had out of you this time, is there? I declare, it's too bad! My father looked amazed; and I hastily cut short my loquacious friend's conversation by taking a seat on the opposite side of the room. My evident feebleness excused the apparent udeness; and I was allowed to -remain quiet, ithe clerk was busily occupied at his desk. In the course of the day, I slipped quietly out, in my father's absence, to go to a jeweller's near at hand, with whom I had had some dealings, intending to sell my watch. I wanted to go alone; but my father saw me and joined company with me. "Now, what do yu iantin Tom said he, as he-,aw where I. di' i ":( I wouldn't buy any trinkets 4ait till you are strong again." He probably thougyf,-Itiended buying



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66 TOM BENTLEY. pride that shrank from disgrace. I had no love for learning, and no ambition to excel. My thoughts were elsewhere. At school, I met daily a boy who was spending the winter with his grand-parents. His walk lay along wjth the half of mine nearest the school-house, our paths diverging at the cross-roads on the top of the hill. He was from Albany, and highly enjoyed the importance which this fact gave him in the estimation of the rustic boys. As I now recall his vulgarity, his foppishness, his airs, I can but smile at the manner in which I was impressed by him. I greedily swallowed whatever preposterous tales of city-life he chose to deal out to my listening ears, as we walked together to and from school. It never entered my mind to suspect that he was making game of me, nor that his representations were any thing but trustworthy. I had full confidence that he knew all about the customs of the higher



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228 TOM BENTLEY. that lovely water with far different sensations, and with amazement at the stupidity of those days. But I then thought myself callous to any pleasant impressions from travel. I only wanted to reach my destination, Mackinaw. Little by little, I made acquaintance with travellers congregated there. It would be useless to tell here, how, for a few weeks, I walked and boated and danced and sang with gay girls, who, if they had known who I was, would not have touched the tip of my finger with their white gloves. But I was a fine dancer: I could serenade them sweetly with my guitar, and even amuse them with my banjo, though at first I felt somewhat afraid to produce that, lest it should prove too distinctive a badge of "my profession." So I was eagerly welcomed among crowds as gay, as idle, as thoughtless, as myself. One moonlight evening, as I sat with a company of young people, entertaining them with



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 351 well enough to manage; so that, at least, you need not suffer loss. You know how difficult it is for you to concentrate your thoughts upon these subjects when you are full of business, and in fine health and full activity. That is the reason I want you to seize this time for reflection. Besides, religion is not for death only. It is for life. No man can live well who lives for the world only." "Five for five, and two for two, was a pretty good thing, wasn't it ? said the wise speculator after a few moments. And that reminds me, Tom, of another thing I did not tell you about, and I don't believe you understand it." He then entered into some business details involving a few hundred dollars, which might be claimed from him at any time, under certain conditions. It was the conditions he "was anxious I should understand. He was then quiet for a long time. I hoped his mind had gone back to the parable. After a while,



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T CHANGE MY PLAN. 231 sought me alone, and plied me with questions. I evaded them as I best could, but the delusion was gone. I took the very next boat for Niagara, and attempted no more disguises. After that, I accepted such society as would take me for what I was worth. The remainder of the summer vacation passed quickly away, and I again joined my troupe.



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234 TOM BENTLEY. Dr. Laboiteau prepared medicines for me, and left me alone. I had been much alone during those few days of my sickness. My comrades came to see me more or less, but there was still much time left on my hands without company. After the doctor left, I had no reason to expect any one, as my companions, I knew, were engaged. At first, I tossed uneasily under the conviction forced upon me, both by my symptoms and by the doctor's manner, that probably my illness would be long and severe. Then suddenly came another thought, Perhaps I shall die!" I wa's overwhelmed with terror at the bare possibility, as, at that moment, I stood face to face with it. Could it be, that, perhaps, a few days more were all that remained to me of life? A few days more, and then !what then ? Up to that moment, I had been, strong in my determination to be up in a few days



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 143 Then the music ceased. I heard voices and approaching footsteps; and, desiring to gratify my curiosity at all hazards, I waited for them to appear. The door soon opened, and they came out, some of them with their instrumentcases in hand, -not negroes at all, but all young, genteel, stylish-looking white men My amazement knew no bounds. I had caught enough of the sounds of their rehearsal to know that it could be no other than the same band I had listened to night after night, and who then, by some enchantment, appeared before their audience in black skins and woolly hair. My next step was to hasten to the nearest music-store, and purchase a cheap violin, and go straight to my lodgings to practise. I had had a violin at home, and had a quick ear for music, especially for lively airs; and I had been looked upon among my rural companions as quite a prodigy, often entertaining them with



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 275 room refreshed both by my nap and by my .ride. I felt equal, then, to the task of writing another letter to the leader of our band, but yielded to Madame Laboiteau's suggestion to wait for the morrow. Then, with prayer, and special effort to write in the spirit of love, I wrote again. My week of delay was rapidly passing. On the Sabbath that occurred during the time, I begged the doctor to take me to church: At first he shook his head doubtfully; but his wife interceded for me, and he consented. We rode along the streets of that gay French city, in many parts gayer than on other days, shops and places of amusement being open and thronged-, as at other times; ladies sitting at their open windows with sewing, young girls at their pianos, and every thing proceeding as usual. I had even taken my part in concerts given in that city on the holy Sabbath, with as entire 'unconcern as any of the thoughtless



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24 TOM BENTLEY. me, but I would not answer. It was quite dusk, in the long summer twilight, before I entered the house. My father and mother, and Brother William and two older sisters, were sitting quietly reading. Lucy, the youngest, had drawn her chair close to mother, and laid her head on her. knee. She came to meet me, though my entrance made no impression on the others. A bowl of bread and milk stood on the table waiting for my supper, which Lucy begged me to eat. There was a struggle, for a few moments, between a boy's appetite and my rebelis spirit, which would gladly have put on a show of dignity; but appetite prevailed, and I emptied the dish, and wished there had been more of it. Then I slipped off gently to bed. From the fact that no notice was taken of my moroseness, I suspect that it was no new thing with me. It was only the circumstances



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8 TOM BENTLEY. the outlying spurs of the Green Mountains, at the foot of a long, sloping hill, down which the white wagon-road creeps, stands a long, low, red farm-dwelling. I say the road creeps down the hill. I suppose I use that word of slow motion, because, during the years that that picture formed the scenery of my daily life, I have no recollection of ever seeing a team of horses moving over that portion of the road more rapidly than at a slow walk. Indeed, it would have been dangerous : for jutting rocks thrust themselves out on either hand, compelling the road to turn first to the right, then to the left; and it would have needed a skilful driver and well-trained horses to. thread that road safely at any thing like a brisk trot. Besides, there were few passing, save on homely errands, with heavy wagons and heavy loads. This, too, was thirty years ago; and the dwellers among those rugged hills were a slow people. A railroad passed within about ten



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218 TOM BENTLEY. been brought into the kingdom." I had the hardihood to smile at his phraseology, but I read on. "I was at meeting last night, and the Saviour was near. I knew his hands were full of blessings, for he is always gracious. My friends and neighbors had been blessed in themselves and in their families. We were asked to bring our requests for those that we felt anxious about. You were on my heart, Tommy. You always are; but last night I felt so burdened that I could not bear it alone. I was constrained to cast my burden on the Almighty Saviour. I rose and said, Pray for my wandering son.' They all know you. Many of them have known you ever since you were first carried to church, a little child. They all know how sorely it has grieved me that you would not follow my counsel in your youth, nor take God's word for your guide now, in your manhood. They remembered you fervently in their prayers. I feel assured



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84 TOM BENTLEY. At length, I hastily asked, Didn't you see any thing you can tell a feller about ? " Oh, yes! a great many things. I thought so often of you, Tommy, when I saw any thing interesting. I couldn't help thinking how you would have enjoyed seeing it." Much good that did me," was my ungracious reply. But, by and by, William got fairly started, and gave me the history of his trip from beginning to end: to all which I listened eagerly, with sundry disagreeable comments. What interested me most was his account of the shipping, and the bay, with its one narrow outlook to the broad ocean. He told me of the Battery, to which my uncle had taken him, that he might see the bay in all its beauty. I had once been to Bombazine Lake, near Castleton; but I ever afterwards turned up my nose with contempt at the remembrance of that trip, which had afforded me so much delight at the time.



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206 TOM BENTLEY. Mj father looked relieved. "I will hold to my promise then," he continued. "I will help you to the last dollar you need in preparing yourself for any respectable business. But, Tommy, I have something else on my mind. We have not been to each other as father and son should be, these years past. I can't bear hav you go away without a reconciliation. Here is my open hand," he continued, extending his shrunken and quivering palm. Lay yours in it, and say you are sorry, and the past shall all be forgotten." Sorry for what ? I exclaimed, springing to my feet. "Sorry that I left home, and undertook for myself, when there was no chance for me here ? Sorry that I have taken up the best thing that came in my way to save me from starvation, and that I have succeeded in it? No, I am not sorry! " Tommy, didn't you first put yourself in the way of starvation ? pleaded my father.



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336 TOM BENTLEY. My sister, in the midst of the comforts which his skill and energy had provided for her, yet yearned for his rescue from the absorbing power of worldliness. We often talked the matter over, and we prayed earnestly for success in a work which lay so near our hearts. My sister had gladly acceded to my proposal to have family worship at her house. Mr. Richards was always present when at home, and listened, apparently with devout attention, to the word of God, and knelt with us at the throne of grace. I embraced the first opportunity to press upon him the necessity of attending to the claims of God. It occurred one day when we were riding together. I had been making some statements to him respecting the business of his, that, at the time, I had in charge. We had finished the necessary talk on that subject; and I then said to him, Brother Richards, I am a younger man than you, but I beg you



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214 TOM BENTLEY. father's house and be a son again, without, at least, some acknowledgment on my part of my undutifulness, and of regret for all the pain I had given. Besides, I should also throw myself into the midst of those religious restraints that had been so abhorrent to me. Why don't you read your letter?" asked Harry, rousing me from a study that had kept me silent many minutes. "I had forgotten it," I answered; "but, here! take the lines, and I will, as we are neither of us inclined to be sociable." I leaned back in the carriage, and opened the letter with something between a sigh and a yawn, and glanced over it hastily. I could see that it was full of tenderness and entreaty, but I didn't want that just then and there. I turned the pages to glean scraps of family news. At the bottom, as if it had occurred to my father as an after-thought, that I might be interested to know it, was added this note:



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CHAPTER XV. A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. PR. RICHARDS, who had married my Sister Sarah, was an older brother of one of my juvenile friends, and, being several years older than myself, had always won my boyish admiration by a certain dash of energy and determination. I had looked up to him, even then, as one sure to get along well, and had often; forgetting the disparity of years between us, thought if I could only do as Sam Richards did, I could 880



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14 TOM BENTLEY. through the first, second, and third readers of that day, and had a dim idea of what a lion must be; but, as I heard his restless tramping up and down within the narrow limits of his barred cage, it seemed too much to believe, that there was actually a lion standing there, *almost before the very door of our red farmhouse. "Couldn't you let me see him? I asked with suppressed breath. "Ho, ho he laughed. '" Couldn't possibly." Where are you going ? I asked. "Going to exhibit in Poultney. Come, go along, and then you can see the lion arid all tW: rest." By this time, the whole family had gathered at the door of the house to see the unwonted spectacle. The other wagons of the caravan were also gathering in a group near the foot of the hill, waiting for their chance at the water-



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86 TOM BENTLEY. "Oh! but tell me about the fine things," I broke in impatiently. "Well, then: I heard some splendid preaching, and splendid music too,--I suppose it was; though I can't say but I'd rather hear old Northfield. And uncle took me into some of the fine libraries. That made me feel more hungry than any thing else." Poor William! I had no idea, then, how hungry he really was for literary advantages, and how he smothered his intense desires for a thorough education, contenting himself with picking up all such bits of knowledge as came in his way, while waiting his opportunity. Perhaps that opportunity might have come to him, and afterwards to me, if I had not proved recreant to every trust and every sacred claim of duty. But the sermons and the libraries were not what I wanted to hear about. The music was well enough; but that, it was plain, William



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MY BROTHER AND SISTER. 61 apparently sleeping, my mother anxiously watching every breath, hoping the crisis was over and that she would wake refreshed. But by and by there was a slight fluttering of the pulse, and then it ceased. We all saw the change of death pass swiftly over that beautiful face, and we knew her prayer was answered. "Saved by grace! exclaimed my father, in tones of triumph. I think he entered somewhat into the transport of that redeemed soul, seeming to rise with her to the very gates of heaven. He ever afterwards dwelt with special emphasis upon the grace by which our darling had -been redeemed, fearing lest, because of her gentleness and goodness, we might, any of us, suppose she had not needed a'Saviour. As we dwelt in that darkened house, with the precious little form still with us, all, save me, could look forward to heaven as a place of reSnQ. All: for Sarah, too, had been gathered



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132 TOM BENTLEY. Having established myself, and taken breakfast, I turned my steps first of all to the Battery of which William had told me, in order to satisfy myself with gazing at the bay and the ocean beyond; indulging my boyish imagination, meanwhile, with the help of the scanty materials I had gathered from books and from travellers, in following ,the course of the outward-bound ships, and picturing to myself the countries whither they were going. Even while I stood there, a splendid steamship just from Liverpool came up the bay. I found my plans of life growing wider, as I gazed upon the panorama. Hitherto, I had had no higher ambition than to ride in the cars, to see some great cities, and then, I didn't exactly know what. Now I began to dream of going to Europe, of travelling the world over, though surely I didn't exactly know how. I lingered some hours about the Battery, and then returned, walking leisurely up Broadway,



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A NEW SENSATION. 201 I cannot go further into details; but it was the fascination of that voice, and that sweet, fair face, that kept me lingering among those rugged hills till our business season again approached, but which, at the end of that time, was as far removed from 'me as at the, beginning. I dared not even seek her acquaintance. Near the end of mummer, the time approached for our band to meet for preparation for the coming season. I had tried to keep up my practising during my stay at home; sometimes going to the retreat of my boyhood, under the beech-tree up the hill-side, with my brother's little son sporting near me. But through the trifling melodies upon which I expended my skill, the sound of that voice would come, bursting in its joyous utterance, All hail the power of Jesus' name! and I threw down my instruments in disgust. Once I went to a grove, a mile distant from the house, to execute some of my dances, in order to keep up the



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 129 How far are you going? "To New York." Have you ever been there ?" No, sir." Have you friends there ?" No, sir." He waited a moment, evidently for me to pursue the subject, and define my position if I chose. I did not; and he added, If I can help you any, let me know. New York is a big place for a boy to find his way in that isn't accustomed to it. You see I have a boy," glancing fondly at his son, so I feel interested in all boys." I thanked him for his offer, somewhat ungraciously I am inclined to believe; for I felt annoyed that my ignorance of the world should have been so evident as to draw the attention of the gentleman, and that he should be able to see at a mere glance that I knew nothing of what I was rushing into. 9



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"72 TOM BENTLEY. bestowed upon our lost darling. But I was like the inhabitants of Jerusalem, over whom Jesus wept, and whom he would have gathered in his infinite love and pity. I would not. Neither divine nor human entreaties would move me. The summer brought its usual routine of farm-work: and, as I was every year becoming stronger and more capable of physical labor, more and more was laid upon me; and I did it, simply because it was laid upon me, not because I had any interest or any heart in the labor in which I was engaged. About midsummer, my father needed to have some business transacted in New York. He could not well go himself; and, even if he could, he would have been glad of any reasonable excuse for not going. He disliked travelling; he disliked being anywhere away from home; and especially, on account of his lameness, he disliked the fatigue and exposure of a



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 177 "Tommy," he said again, so tenderly the tone rings in my heart yet. I looked up, to see the eyes of my manly brother swimming in tears. How can I go back to our dear father without you ? His heart is bound up in you. It will nearly kill him, and our mother too. They are bowed down with sorrow for you. You are putting a hard task on me, my dear brother. What shall I say to them for you ?" "Tell them," said I, drawing myself up and standing back fiercely, and flashing defiS ance from my black eyes, -" tell them they were always finding fault with me, and never would let me do as I wanted to, nor go anywhere; and they are getting their pay forit now!" Having hurled my fearful message at my father and mother, by the mouth of my brother, as I supposed, I seized my hat and my banjo and music-paper, and rushed down the stairs and away to the concert-hall. As I left the 12



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I AM ARRESTED. 241 but it was not. I was fully awake to my position, but too weak to be much affected by it. When I next awoke, the doctor stood beside me, with his finger on my wrist. A lady was in the farther part of the room, her back towards me; and, with the assistance of my nurse, she was preparing some nourishment for me over a chafing-dish. As I opened my eyes, the doctor said to her, Bentley is much better, Emilie. Come and see if he isn't." She came near, and greeted me kindly. I attempted to offer her my hand, but found it would scarcely obey my will. She lifted it gently in hers, and said, "Oh, yes, Mr. Bentley! you are much better. I see it in your eyes. Your mother will be so glad! " Does she know ?" I asked. "Oh, no! she answered. "How could she ? We have no knowledge of your friends." "Harry Greyson knows. None of the rest 16



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A SATURDAY. 23 would have trampled God's commandment in the dust. I would have swept the Sabbath from existence with my puny arm, so that it might never more come between me and my pleasure. I have thought many times of the experience of that hour, when reading what Paul says of the commandment, ordained to life, but perverted by the sinful heart unto death. Of course, child that I was then, I did not understand the procs's of sudden development through which I pasFd: It was only as I looked back from lIter, and far different, points of observation, that I recognized the truth, that, even then, at that hour, sin, from its secret lurking-place in my heart, sprung into vitality and strength, and I loved it. It was God's law, seen as that which thwarted my wishes, that awoke the dormant enemy within. I staid out from just after dinner till past the usual tea-time. I heard my mother calling



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 299 "Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling." It was good for me to feel the shelter of his righteousness, and to know that in him I was complete, though in myself I was nothing. Then I read from the word of his truth, "I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee. Sing, 0 ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, 0 forest and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel." "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you. Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." It was amazing that such truth should have come home to me, and that I should be able to



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THE KINGDOM THAT COMETH. 313 endeavored to tell of my gratitude for the love that had sought me out when I was wandering in a far country, feeding swine, and starving myself, and had brought me to my Father's house. When I sat down, my father rose and said, "Let us give thanks." I think there was not a dry eye nor an untouched heart in that hushed room, as my.father, with a voice tremulous under the depth of his emotions, uttered his prayer. It was more like a psalm of thanksgiving than a prayer, sweeping away, in its glad utterances, the one sorrow of a lifetime. I knew then, as I had never known before, what my course of life had cost him. A few months before, I should have been roused to fearful anger by any such public personal allusions to myself. Thpn, I simply felt bowed down and abased, in view of the ruin I had been so madly pursuing. Surely nothing short of divine grace could have wrought so great a change in me.



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246 TOM BENTLEY. had never asked myself whether it was pleasant or not. So ready was I to cast off the burden of my own responsibility, that I had looked upon it as a sort of fatality, by which I had been caught up and whirled along, almost without any voluntary agency on my part. Those fifteen years passed swiftly in review before my mind, and I could not say the retrospection was pleasant. I replied evasively, Nothing is wholly pleasant, madame. I remember hearing some one say, not long since, that nothing repays us for the exertions we make. Yet we must continue to make exertions. We must live." Ah!" she answered, "I have heard people say such things. It is a melancholy view to take of life." But I have tried not to be melancholy," said I. On the whole, I think I have had about as gay a time as any one." "But does your life satisfy you ?



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I GO 'OUT INTO THE WORLD. 117 rose, and hastily dressed myself; and, taking my boots in my hand, I stepped out on the porch roof. How beautiful the picture that presented itself before my eyes, as I stood a moment and gazed around! A faint heartsickness came over me. I felt half-inclined to creep back to my bed, and abandon my project forever. But, summoning my evil resolution, I made haste, lest one more glance around that peaceful valley should again unnerve me. I swung myself silently down by the posts and the vines, and dropped on the ground. The old watch-dog roused in his bed on the door-mat on the porch, and uttered a low growl; but he recognized me, and lay down again. I drew on my boots, and went to the barn, gathered up my bundle, saddle, and bridle, and walked on to the field where Jetty was spending the summer night. I whistled: he came, and laid his nose affectionately on my shoulder. Hard and obdurate as I was, I had never been un-



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154 TOM BENTLEY. were. I wished not to make any statements about my purpbse in being in the city, nor about my employments, except to my uncle in person. I don't know why, unless I thought it added to my dignity to keep up an air of mystery; or, perhaps, because it seemed like coming nearer my father, and hurling my message more directly upon him. After remaining some time, and making myself very chatty and quite at home with my pretty cousins, I left my card, -" Thomas Bentley," with my address, -I had easily fallen into ways of ceremony, as I had learned them among the members of the band, -hoping my uncle would call upon me at his earliest convenience. The very next morning he found me, sacrificing a day's employment, that he might seek me out, and convey to my parents information respecting me. I should have known him anywhere, by his resemblance to my father. He was much younger, and full of



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316 TOM BENTLEY. only, and no souls. It had not entered Charles Murray's mind that he was near death. If it had, there' would have been no "wild alarm, so firm was his confidence in Jesus, and such his peace in resting upon him. About the middle of the week, our pastor called to see the young patient, as he had done daily. He met the physician there, and learned that there was no hope of his recovery. Have you told him ?" asked Mr. Nelson. No. I did not want to agitate him." Oh, you should tell him I Think how soon he will be in eternity." "It can make no difference with him now," said the doctor thoughtfully; as it is impossible for him to live more than a day or two. You may tell him, if you like." Sinclair was with him when the doctor and Mr. Nelson entered. After some inquiries about his condition, Mr. Nelson said, Charles, the doctor thinks you cannot recover."



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 77 "You needn't," I replied. I know all you want to say, and I don't want to hear it. I have other things on my mind just now." I thought there was a great deal of dignity in that last remark. It did silence my brother for a moment. But he resumed. Tommy," said he very tenderly, "I want to talk to you about Christ and salvation and heaven. It is such a pleasant subject, I have found, since I opened my own heart to receive the Saviour, and I want him to be your Saviour too." I began whistling! It amazes me now, to think of the forbearance of Christ, that I was not at that moment smitten to the dust. I, puny worm, child of a day that I was, daring to insult the divine Redeemer But I thought it was high spirit. I thought it was independence, manliness. O poor fool! My brother said no more. Doubtless he was obeying the injunction, Cast not your "&:.' '*



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 107 I could but get out into the world (in that vague language I always expressed myself), my path to fortune and happiness would be plai and easy. I thought my Brother William showed a craven spirit, in that he had been out, and had looked upon the bustle and activity of one of the world's great cities, and had come back and gone quietly and contentedly to work on the homely Vermont farm. I would never do so. Whenever I got out, it would be for good. Week after week I looked around on the amphitheatre of hills, and wished and longed to go. I even became so far interested in geography as to learn the direction, from the point where I stood, to Boston, to New York, to Albany, to Springfield; and, fastening my eyes as nearly as I could guess on these various points of the horizon, I would stand gazing, not knowing, or caring to know, that it is the eyes of a fool that are in the ends of the earth. .*



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224 TOM BENTLEY. taken much trouble about it; for, as in the previous year, I had no higher motive than, as I said, for the sake of a new sensation, so now I had none higher than to gratify a mere curiosity respecting their new locality, which could never be home to me. As to affording them any pleasure, that never crossed my mind; and, if it had, I might have known that a visit from me would be, as it had been before, a source of more pain than pleasure. Yet I determined to go, and, when there, form some further plans for the summer. When our engagements were closed, and the company disbanded for a time on account of the approach of the hot weather, I went at once to the house of my brother and sister. I found them located in the midst of one of those monotonous prairie regions that abound in Illinois, offering as few attractions to one of my temperament and habits as any spot that could well be found. The section of country



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"174 TOM BENTLEY. that really had power to interest even a sordid mind like mine. To William, it was a day of feasting, a day of treasure-gathering, for which he was richer for a life-time. But I took only the husks. They were my portion. The next morning my brother and I breakfasted together; and then he came to my room to sit with me till the hour of rehearsal, as he was to leave about noon for New York, on his way home. Harry Greyson left the room immediately, preferring to lounge about, as he afterwards told me, to sitting in my brother's sober presence. I tried to be brisk and cheerful; but the weight of my brother's sorrowful countenance oppressed me, and I impatiently awaited the hour when my engagement would call me away. I made a great show of preparation for my morning's work, parading my banjo, upon which I was to have a lesson, and my collection of music, consisting of a few scraps of well-thumbed paper, and being much



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 135 impression, and made myself harder than the nether mill-stone. When the church service closed, I rambled again, and dragged miserably through the hours of blessing that were such a weariness to me; and so I was brought to the Monday morning of an unblessed week.



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 105 "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in his excellent word I He went through the entire hymn, to its triumphant close, "I'll never, no, never, no, never, forsake 1" I felt glad to see the anxious look fade from his face, for I thought it an indication that he would let me alone. The work assigned me that spring was the care of a few sheep of my father's. My brother had taken upon himself most of the heavy work of the farm, for which my father's lameness and increasing years were unfitting him. If my mind had been properly impressed with the religious truth with which I had been made familiar from a child, how many sweet images my occupation would have suggested to me respecting Christ, the Shepherd of his



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162 TOM BENTLEY. began to discover that I had never known what hard work was while among the Vermont hills. I had never known any thing like the strain upon my system that I experienced under my close application to practice during the day, and the exhaustion of the protracted duties of the evening, from which a few repetitions had served to tear away the charm of novelty. My brother went first to my former lodgings in New York, according to my address. They could give no account of me, except that such a person had been there for a time, but had left. With the assistance of my uncle, my brother learned that our troupe had gone to Philadelphia, whither he immediately followed. When there, he had only to look for the placards posted about the streets to learn our place of exhibition. I had not yet risen above the triangle and tamborine, and some of the simpler exhibi-



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CHAPTER VII. I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. N seeing the city after my own fashion, and with something of the feeling of an escaped criminal, who might, at any time, be apprehended, and handed over to justice, and having determined to lay aside every restraint that had hitherto been imposed upon me, I was by no means unmindful of places of amusement. Night after night found me at theatres and spectacles of one kind or another. I was repeating unawares, in my small way, an experiment, of which we have the record left us from ancient times by one who tried it with 136



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200 TOM BENTLEY. That saintly face comes now to memory, glorified, perhaps, with the associations of later years; but it comes like the vision of an angel. I listened through to the end of the song," Oh I that with yonder sacred throng We at his feet may fall," and till the last echo of that thrilling voice had died out of the quivering air; and then I suddenly remembered that I had expected to ridicule the rustic choir. I heard nothing else but that voice, saw nothing but that sweet face, during the hour of worship. But I thought of something else. I thought of myself as one upon whom she might look with eyes of pity, but not otherwise. I thought of her, dwelling apart in her own atmosphere of purity, with.the unmistakable seal of God's grace upon her young brow, which I, hardened as I was, could not fail to recognize.



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306 TOM BENTLEY. God and faith in his redemption, giving freedom from the condemnation of the law, and working onward from the basis of these first principles unto perfection; moulding the life and character, casting out the defilement of sin, raising the eyes from the darkness of despair to the glorious hopes of immortality. I could despise all this, because I was ignorant, alienated in heart from these blessed influences, and blind to all their glory. But when God, in his infinite compassion and grace, called me to arise from the mire in which I had been wallowing, then I began to realize the glory of the Christian Church, with its one head, its one faith, its ordinances of divine simplicity, its bond of' sacred union, its magnificent destiny, -though marred and mutilated by the sins and imperfections of its members, still the Christian's only home. And, though I knew it would be still more marred and mutilated by my sins and imperfections, I knew it must'be my home.



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I AM ARRESTED. 237 "Yes," I answered. "Any one to relieve this dreary solitude." "You need not be alone, my young friend. You can have the comfort of God's presence; if you will." I shook my head. "That is just what I can't bear," said I. "I have been shut up alone with him to-day. It is terrible." "Make him your friend," said he soothingly. "He will be if you will permit." But I was too much excited for further conversation; and, as soon as the doctor had given me something to soothe me, he left, promising to send some one immediately to stay with me. The soothing draught he had given me cooled the, fire of my brain; and his words, "Make him your friend, make him your fi-iend," floatedin my mind like a cadence of sweet music. But my answer was, No: he is my enemy, and he has me in his power." Just as I was dropping off to sleep, under



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 229 my music, my fingers half-unconsciously slid into one of our stage-dances. Once fairly entered upon it, I could not well retreat; so I threw myself completely into the performance, and played on to the end. As I fiished, a young fellow cried out, "I declare! I never heard. that equalled, even by the minstrels themselves. Say, Bentley, suppose you blacken your face, and give us the dance along with that." I felt as if my mask of respectability had fallen at once from my face, and I was standing there in my true character. Instead of regarding my blackened features as a disguise, which I had at other times assumed, it seemed rather as if it were a disguise in which I had been there appearing, min'gling on terms of social equality with gay people. I think I must have darted angry glances at the young many .. he hastily apologized, and I resumed my in some other Tyle. The truth was,



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312 TOM BENTLEY. Of course, his must" did not imply the assumption of 'any authority over me, but simply expressed the obligation I was under to take up this duty of speaking a word for my Saviour. His words rang in my ears all through the early part of the evening. You must, Bentley, -you must." Must I ? Can I ?" I repeated to myself. Night after night, I had stood boldly before a crowded audience, and played, and sang, and danced with no embarrassment, and could I not speak a word for Christ? Could I not stand up for Jesus? By and by Charles Murray rose, and spoke of the dark conflict with sin, and unbelief, and doubt, through which he had passed, and of the great peace to which he had come, resting by simple faith on the words of Christ. I listened with absorbed interest. When he took his seat, almost before I was aware, I was on my feet. I know not what I said; but I



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 349 "I ought to, Tom," he replied earnestly. "I know I ought to; but my thoughts run off on business matters whenever I try to think of other things. I am afraid, Tom, that I have put it off too late. I am glad my family are so comfortable. If I should be taken away from them, they will not want for any thing. Do you think they will, Tom ?" "Oh, no! I assured him. "You have nothing of that kind to trouble you. You can, with a perfectly clear mind, give your thoughts at once to the more important things I mentioned." "Yes, I know I ought. I don't think I need be troubled about my business at all, unless it should be that woollen-mill. I don't feel quite sure about that. You'll keep an eye on it, won't you ? " Yes, as long as you are laid aside." And you won't forget that my wife is your sister; will you, Tom?



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 127 air of independence, as if I knew what I wanted as well as they. Once on the deck, and seeing that passengers were permitted to go pretty much where they pleased, I began to feel more at ease, and seated myself at the side of the boat that lay nearest the wharf, where I could watch the busy and noisy throng. By and by the plank was drawn in, the wheels began revolving, and the boat slowly swung out into the stream. .I was not without a feeling of terror, as I listened to the noise of the machinery, the puffing and whizzing of the steam, and other sounds so new to me, fresh from the Vermont farm. But I concealed my anxieties, and gathered a feeling of assurance from seeing the other passengers walking to and fro, gayly talking and laughing. I was soon absorbed in watching the receding city. As the boat reached the middle of the stream, and as the unsightliness of the wharf streets and rough buildings faded away



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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1870, by HENRY HOYT, In the Office of the Library of Congress, at Washington



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294 TOM BENTLEY. though the family knew nothing of my repentance, and abandonment of my former course of conduct. Renegade that I was, the one blot upon the name of the family, the one source of trouble in the midst of so much harmony and peace, yet not a day had passed during those fifteen years of wandering, in which I had not been remembered with the tenderest interest, and with the most earnest prayers. It has always vivified the illustration given in Scripture of the unwearying love and care with which God follows the sinner with his blessings and his entreaties, while yet he hates the sin that pollutes him, -the illustration that, with all its force, yet breaks down in its inability to measure a love that is nothing less than infinite. "Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee." Can the sin be less than infinite that rejects and tramples upon that love ? My Sister Martha's husband had joined the two other families in their western home; and 4.



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88 TOM BENTLEY. startled me with its ugliness. I had never thought much about it before. I had seen pictures of fine streets, but had never before applied the comparison with the home of my childhood. I wondered that its unsightliness had never before impressed me. As I was absorbed in these reflections, William uttered an exclamation of delight at being once more within sight of "Home, sweet home." I looked into his face with astonishment, wondering if he were really sincere. There was no doubting the genuineness of feeling expressed in that honest, open countenance; and I once more fell back upon myself with the mental exclamation, How stupid! and, leaving William amidst the welcomings and rejoicings of the assembled household, I led the horses away to the stable. For some days, William was the hero of the neighborhood as well as of the family. My father praised him for the prudence and success



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10 TOM BENTLEY. changes. There stood the red farm-house, just where the road struck the dead level of the valley. I well remember how eagerly I used to watch the teams coming slowly and cautiously down the hill, and how impatiently I waited for the halt at the bottom, where horses were often watered from our well. I was almost always there to catch a few words of chat with the drivers, many of whom I knew. But now and then a stranger from the outside world, of which I knew so little beyond the encircling range of hill-tops which shut us in, would feast my boyish mind with wonderful stories of cities and railroads and ships, and enterprises of various sorts, as full of marvel to me as if they had been scenes from some other planet. Then, as the watering was completed and I could hear no more, I still stood and listened intently to the crack of the whip, and the brisk chirrup with which the



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54 TOM BENTLEY. to pass without remonstrance and rebuke. But to all these I turned a deaf ear, considering myself the aggrieved party: my grievance being, that I was required to submit to parental restraint and discipline; that there were excitements and occupations in the outside world, in which I had no share, and of which only a vague report ever reached myears. In short, I could not brook that my own will should be in any way crossed or checked. During the two years that followed, I can recall many tender remonstrances from my father. I also recall a depth of anxiety, that grew to be the settled expression of my mother's face when she looked at me. Many tender endearments were lavished upon me, all of which I either resisted or openly .spurned. On the morning of my twelfth birthday, my father called me to go with him to the field. On the way, he talked to me affection-



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 347 my good-morning and withdrew, amid the suppressed sneers and laughter of the company. I left, rejoicing in the opportunity I had had of dropping even one living seed of divine *truth, and leaving it to the care of Him who can cause his least word to become life unto life. Whether any such result should ever fol'ow or not, I was glad, that, at least, I had had one opportunity of testifying for Christ, amidst the very group with whom I had so often played the fool. Wherf I reached home, my sister's little daughter met me at the door, with her finger raised in caution, saying, "Don't disturb papa. He's asleep. He has come home sick." I entered softly, and found my sister looking troubled and anxious. Mr. Richards had reached home with difficulty, being really very ill with pneumonia. He awoke soon after I entered, and inquired anxiously about the success of my errand in Chicago, and explained the results of his own trip.



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358 TOM BENTLEY. out of the way." They were trundling a showy baby-carriage, with a fair-faced little occupant; and his deliberate movements hindered them. I would have rebuked them sharply and angrily; but a glance from him subdued me, as he smiled, and laid his hand on the curly head of the one nearest to him. She looked up to his face, and then said to her companions, Why, he isn't an old codger." No one could say that who looked in his face. It was brown and wrinkled and sunburnt, but it beamed with the light of love and peace which was "ever kept brightly burning on the allar of his heart. My precious brother! How many, many times I have thought of the cruel blows I laid on that loving heart in my room in Philadelphia, twenty-five years ago. And every time those blows recoil on my own heart with stings like scorpions; and I have to go anew, and lay all my sins on Jesus. The poor knew my brother. The widow and



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I ENTER A NEW WORLD. 281 strangers to go to my father's house. In a few minutes, the doctor came running back in haste, bringing with him a friend whom he had found on the boat, who promised to render me every assistance made necessary by my feeble condition. Then he left me again with a warm hand-shake; and, in a moment more, I saw him and Madame Laboiteau going up the levee to their carriage ; and at the same time the boat was swinging out into the broad river. The day was very warm, and I suffered from extreme lassitude. I remained in my berth nearly all that first day, my new acquaintance coming now and then to see if I needed any attention. It was good for me to be alone and quiet. I felt that I was thrown wholly upon my own resources. I should rather say, upon my own diligence in applying to divine resources for the sustenance of my feeble Christian life. I missed the counsels and the sprightly suggestions of Madame



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164 TOM BENTLEY. the leader remarked to me, and angrily this time, Tom, if you don't do better than this, you'll be dismissed." To which I replied, with a meekness I had never shown my father, "I will try to do better, sir." My brother lingered; but how to gain access to me, after having seen me, was the difficulty. At length, while we were busy washing off our black skins, and removing various other disguises, the doorkeeper thrust in his head, saying, "A young man wishes to see Thomas Bentley." "Is that you, Tom?" said the leader sharply. "Send word back that he can't see you." I did so, not telling the leader that it was my brother. jnother message came back, asking for my address. He would call the next morning. This, with my leader's permission, -for I could



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A SABBATH. 45 "He shall coverithee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust," said Lucy's clear voice. Papa," she added, "isn't that pretty? Mamma told it to me the 'ther night, while I watched my little chickens creeping away'so snug and safe." Lucy's text was commented upon, my own delinquency reproved, and then followed an exercise in the catechism. Those formulas of truth, so dry and distasteful to me then, come back to my memory now, freighted with their fulness of meaning, like well-packed boxes of rich fruit, of which I then saw only the rough outside. Then we all sang together a few hymns, my father leading off with his still tuneful voice. SThat evening we sung, Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings," my father's special favorite. Then, Give' me the wings of faith to rise." Then my mother suggested Rock of Ages." ,^Ve'all sung; and I wondered why William's ';' ' .'".



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A NEW SENSATION. 197 of hundreds of miles, that had sometimes lain between us, was nothing to the moral distance that separated us, even while we sat under the shadow of the self-same tree. I staid all summer. I had had no thought of doing so when I went, though I had fixed no definite limits to my visit. The reason of my protracted stay is locked in a secret chamber of my heart, of which I have long since thrown away the key. But, since I have undertaken to lay bare other far-different recesses of that same heart, I must rudely force open even this also. On Sunday I went to church, riding again in the farm-wagon, as I had done when a boy. Since I had seen that house, I had looked upon the exterior of the finest church edifices in the country; but the recollection of none of them moves me now as does the picture my memory holds of that clumsy structure. I was familiarly recognized as Tommy." I had ex-



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I WILL ARISE, AND GO TO MY FATHER. 291 travelling expenses, why, here's your ticket already," showing it to me. "I thought we might be hurried, and so I provided in advance. Now, be easy for the present." I thanked him, and said something about making it right some time, and we passed on to the hotel. When we were on the Alton boat, the next morning, I resumed the subject, for it lay somewhat heavily upon my mind. "I am out of employment now," said I; and that was the reason I felt inclined to sell my watch. It may be some time before I shall be in the way of making money again." "Dismissed?" asked my father anxiously. He evidently feared I had fallen so low as to be thrown out of the company I was in. "."No," said I, "I am not dismissed; but I cannot go back, for I have learned to love this;" and I drew my Bible out of my pocket, and laid it in his hand.



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 341 I told my father, afterwards, about the conversation. Ah, Tommy! he replied affectionately, so we all felt about you, year after oyear. But you came at last. I suppose we shall know by and by," he added, his eye kindling with hope and joy, why those we love and feel so anxious about are permitted to go on so long in sin. It seems very strange to us now." In this quiet and busy way, year after year passed by. My brother-in-law kept me constantdy employed in attending to one departt or another of his business. It was a Setter way of studying than I had found school text-books to be. Yet I did not feel quJe satisfied with the way in which I was employed. It seemed to me I ought to be more directly occupied in building up the kingdom of the Master, into whose service I had come after so many wasted years. Yet I knew not how to go about it. I certainly



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CHAPTER XII. I ENTER A NEW WORLD. OTHING was plainer to me, then, than the miserable part I had acted in life, nothing clearer than that my very first step must be to go home. It was amazing how that reconciliation with my heavenly Father affected my standing towards my earthly one. At once, as if revealed by a burst of sunlight in the midst of darkness, the baseness of my conduct was made plain to me; and I felt that no boat nor tain could move swiftly enough to 261



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:!i ~ I win FRONTISPIECE.-Chap. I.



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142 TOM BENTLEY. of madness and folly upon which I had entered. Night after night found me in the same place, laughing over the same exhibitions of buffoonery, enjoying the stale jokes in a state of entire satisfaction, and having no wish for any thing higher or better. After several successive nights, as I resumed, one morning, my customary search for employment, my interest in the spectacles of the evening led me to pass the concert-hall. A crowd of lounging youths were about the door, attracted by the tinkling sounds of the banjo, and the music of men's voices within. They were having a rehearsal. I thought, if other boys had a right there, so had I; and I also stopped in the doorway, keeping a little apart from the rest, and listening eagerly; though amidst the roar of the street, and the chattering of the other boys, I could catch only the rferest hint of the music. I forgot all about my need of employment, and remained rooted to the spot for perhaps an hour.



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I FORM A RESOLUTION. 111 the roads and means of communication from point to point. I pursued my purpose with a steadiness worthy of a better end. I laid by small sums of money that now and then came into my possession; having fixed it in my mind that it would be unsafe to start out for life with less capital than ten dollars and my horse. My funds came in slowly. But, towards the end of summer, I sold a sheep that I had been allowed to call my own. This put me in possession of more than I had considered necessary for the accomplishment of my purposes; and, as I had heard my mother speak of the necessity of making some shirts for nie, I looked upon my speedy departure as a certainty. Several things occurred about the same time, all tending to remove difficulties out of my way. I have no doubt they were designed by Providence to that very end, because he had purposes of mercy toward me, and I would learn wisdom in no other way.



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I SEEK AND FIND OCCUPATION. 137 every conceivable advantage, and which, with advantages or disadvantages, has been attempted many times since. "I said in mine heart, Go, to, now, I will prove thee with mirth: therefore, enjoy pleasure." All this, of course, was a constant drain upon my purse; and the necessity was soon forced upon my unwilling mind of seeking some sort of employment, wherewith to support the free and easy life I was living. Accordingly, I one morning started out, with the determination not to return till I had found some good situation. I had no idea that this resolution, if strictly carried out, would cause me so much as a delay of my dinner. Thinking I should feel myself more at home in handling provisions than anywhere else, I walked along, making application wherever I sawgreen vegetables at the door. I need not detail the various results I met. The experiment has been too often repeated, and is too well known.



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22 TOM BENTLEY. me to go; and so not only parental authority, but God's law, had stood in my path. Many times I had said that I loved God. I thought I dI., I had my meditative times, although, upon the whole, active in temperament. There were times when I loved to sit still in my pleasant seat under the beech-tree, and look about me, up and down thp valley, up to the still, summer sky, down to my home nestling at the foot of the hill; and, when I saw how beautiful and grand and glorious all the works of God's hand were, I was filled with an admiration that I mistook for the y "of God. When I heard, as I sometimes "id1., even in those quiet days, of deeds of great wickedness, I was filled with a horror that I thought entitled me to a place on the side of God and all goodness. But now Ihuad come to a plainly marked line, -God upon one side, I on the other; and I clearly saw where I stood. For the paltry gratification of an hour, I



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A .EWV SENSATION. 189 their necks, would have been in the enjoyment of a peaceful and happy old age. But as it is the lost one that the shepherd seeks, though he leave the ninety and nine that are safe in the fold, so it is always the prodigal, the wanderer from the fold of home, around whom the thoughts circle, to whom the parental heart clings, though it be lacerated and bleeding in consequence. I gave them no notice of my approach; but taking the old route up the Hudson, and then to Whitehall and Castleton by rail, I there hired a showy team, with a driver, to take me out to the farm, ten miles distant. The country was but little changed. Every spot, as we drove swiftly along in the summer evening; looked familiar as an old picture. I chatted socially with the driver, inquiring about the inhabitants of six years before. The usual changes by death, marriage, and migration, had taken place; yet many seemed to have



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I CHANGE MY PLAN. 213 connection with the minstrels, very ambitious as to my apparel and the free use of money. I had attained all I had desired in that direction, but felt myself more an outcast than evKer. "I don't like this business: I want to get out of it," said I abruptly, taking my cigar from my mouth-and throwing it away, simply because I felt I must throw away something. "Ha, ha !" laughed Harry. "What else are you fit for ?" This was a view of the subject still more unpleasant to contemplate than the one I had been taking, and threw me into a reverie respecting my father's kind offer to aid me in qualifying myself for whatever business I might disire. I felt confirmed in my halfformed resolution to go home in the spring and accept. The fascination of that beautiful face came over me again. But, on the other hand, I well knew that I could not go back to my



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S180 TOM BENTLEY. training mind and body for a life of honor and usefulness, I was demeaning myself, abusing my body, dwarfing my mind, ruining my soul, and in every way bringing upon myself swift destruction; but I knew it not. I thought I was rising, because of the facility with which I progressed, from the simple time-keeping instruments, to those more difficult of management. Under competent instruction, I took up the banjo, the guitar, and the violin, and speedily excelled in them all. As my skill increased, my pay also increased, until I stood, myself, in the position of the young men whom I had envied when I first had knowledge of the band. I wore fine clothes, carried a gold watch, with chain and other trinkets, wore a massive ring, smoked cigars, could order horses Sand drive when I pleased; and this was my portion. Just this, and nothing more. I could do all this, and yet all the while I was perishing.



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CHAPTER II. A SABBATH. E drew near the church. It was an old frame building, painted white. I can see it now, with its clumsy steeple, story upon story, surmounted by a figure made of tin, supposed to represent an angel blowing the gospel trumpet, which, at the same time, by its perpetual turnings, served to show which way the wind blew. I have no idea how long that grotesque figure had swung there. If it formed part of the original structure, it must have been long; for in front of my father's pew sat an old man ninety years of 29



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CHAPTER III. MY BROTHER AND SISTER. S I have already said, a few weeks later my Brother William united himself to the people of God. I sat in the pew, and looked on, as he wentforward, and stood alone before the pulpit, while the solemn questions were put respecting his belief in the great doctrines of Christianity. I can see now his boyish, half-developed figure, standing there in the morning sunlight. I remember, when the minister pronounced his final question," This you believe ? "-How clearly my brother's voice responded, "I do," in a tone which, though subdued and low, was heard in the 4 49



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I GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. 121 gone too; and then they would know the whole truth. I even laughed a low, chuckling laugh as I reviewed my clever trick, -so I regarded it; and though I could not but know they would be distressed, yet I thought they would soon get over it when they should hear of my brilliant successes, and acknowledge that I had, after all, done the best thing possible. I began to feel faint and hungry, and stopped at a wayside tavern to get some breakfast. I had purposely taken a road which our family had seldom travelled; and yet I felt sure that my appearance excited suspicion. Some questions were asked me, which I parried as I best could; and, waiting only for Jetty to. be well fed and refreshed, I mounted and rode on. I had determined to ride as far as Albany. I might have struck the railroad at a much nearer point: but my plan was to sell my horse, in order to procure the necessary means to



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/ "5,2 TOM BENTLEY. So the chasm widened between me and the rest of the family; I myself widening it all the time. As I have before said, the exhibition of these traits of character was probably no new thing with me, I am simply relating the particular instances which impressed themselves upon my memory, and which, for many years, stood unrecognized, -silent, but unimpeachable witnesses of the terrible power of sin that reigned' within me, and which I had neither desire nor strength to check. From that day forward, Lucy was never quite the same to me that she had been before. She seemed afar off, though coming near now and then, and touching me, as if with white wings; but no longer treading the same paths with myself, because, by her simple, childlike actions, she had so plainly shown me which way her sympathies lay. That evening in our family prayers, and often afterwards, my Brother William led. It



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A TRIP IN WHICH I HAD NO SHARE. 83 or undergone some other equally marvellous change. But there he stood, just my own Brother William, with his little valise in his hand; the same clothes, the same quiet look, the same in every thing. I was disappointed. He came immediately to me, shook hands, inquired after the welfare of all at home, called in his usual prompt manner for the horses; and, in five minutes, we were riding homeward, -I, and my brother who had been to New York. I wanted him to begin without questioning, and talk straight on, all the way home, about what he had seen, and where he had been; bui he was of a different mind. He inquired into all the minute particulars of what we had been doing at home, and how the work of the season had progressed, and whether father had had to work hard, and many other things that I had never thought of during his whole absence.



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150 TOM BENTLEY. that thing here again. Give it to the first beggar you meet," glancing at my red fiddle. I made the best I could of the disparaging remark, but did not give my fiddle away. It went with me to my lodgings, and I practised on it diligently, till gradually my ear became so attuned to the fine instruments of the band, that the conviction dawned upon me that I had made a poor investment of my money in that fiddle. I had no further misgivings as to my fortunes. I found that the young men with whom I had become connected wore fine clothes, boarded at first-class houses, indulged in drives and fine cigars, and, though my pay at first was barely sufficient to lift me above starvation, yet I had no doubt, that, in due time, I should rise to the enjoyment of the same privileges, and I had no higher standard of life before me. I remember even a defiant feeling which the recollection of an over-ruling



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196 TOM BENTLEY. One point alone elicited a response. When I spoke of Illinois, I was immediately questioned about the various qualities of the country, its adaptation to farming in its various branches, on all which points I was as ignorant as a child. I soon learned the reason of this. My Sister Sarah was writing glowing accounts of the country, its wonderful fertility, ease of culture, and other points, and urging my father and Brother William to sell the rugged Vermont farm, and go westward. But in all this I felt no special interest. Whether they were east or west, mattered little to me. For some days, I felt it pleasant to be within the limits of a home-circle, to sit down at a family table, to be called brother and uncle, to say father and mother. Yet I could not, for a moment, wholly throw off the consciousness of the world-wide distance that separated me from the rest of the family. The distance



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A VISITOR FROM HOME. 171 of supper, and then I hastened away to my base work; while he, as I have every reason to believe, went to his room, and spent the evening in prayer for me, and in reading the promises of God's word in behalf of his children's children. It was late when I returned, and I did not see him again that night. Nether did I breakfast with him in the morning. I had already begun to appropriate to myself as a suitable time for self-indulgence the hours of God's holy day; and, that morning, I slept on until my brother's knock at my door aroused me. I arose and dressed hastily,-in spite of Harry Greyson's murmurs at being disturbed. I thought, if I conducted myself with tolerable propriety on that day, it would have some effect on conciliating my father; and I took to myself great credit for being so self-sacrificing. It was my first Sabbath in Philadelphia ; so that, if I had been ever so well disposed, I could have given William no information about



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A LIFE'S LABOR LOST. 333 His farm was merely his stepping-stone to other enterprises. At the time of my arrival among the three families into which my father's household had separated, Mr. Richards's farm was carried on by a tenant who occupied the original log-house, while his own hands were full with the management of a woollen mill and a newly-organized bank, besides a large interest in railroads and various other public improvements. In the multiplicity of his business, he called upon me to become his assistant. I had been about a year an inmate of my Brother William's house. My dependent situation had weighed heavily upon me, notwithstanding every effort to make me forget it. My father sometimes pleasantly remarked that he yet owed me several years of care of which I had defrauded myself. But I knew well that the weight of obligation was on the other side: that I not only owed him years of service,