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THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.BYREV. P. B. POWER1, M.A.LONDON:T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;EDINBURIGH ; AND NEW YORK.1872.
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TIE ONE MOSS-ROSE.EONARD DOBBIN had ahumble cottage upon SquireCourtenay's estate; but al-though the cottage washumble, it was always keptneat and clean, and was a pattern ofeverything that a poor man's dwellingshould be. The white-washed walls,the smoothly raked gravel walk, andthe sanded floor, were so many evi-dences that Leonard was a carefuland a thrifty man; and while some ofhis poorer neighbours laughed, andasked where was the use of being so
6 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.precise, they could not help respectingDobbin, nevertheless.The great, and, indeed, almost theonly pleasure upon which the labourerallowed himself to spend any time,was the little flower garden in frontof the house. The garden was Dob-bin's pride; and the pride of thegarden was a moss-rose tree, whichwas the peculiar treasure of thelabourer's little crippled son, whowatched it from the window, andwhenever he was well enough, creptout to water it, and pick off any straysnail which had ventured to climb upits rich brown leaves. No motherever watched her little infant withmore eager eyes than Jacob Dobbindid his favourite rose; and no doubthe thought all the more of it becausehe had so few pleasures in life. JacobDobbin had no fine toys, he could nottake any long walks, nor could he
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 7play at cricket, or any such games,therefore his rose tree was all themore precious; in fact, in his estima-tion there was nothing to comparewith it in the world.There was a great difference be-tween poor Jacob's lot and thatof Squire Courtenay's son. JamesCourtenay had plenty of toys; he hadalso a pony, and a servant to attendhim whenever he rode out; when thesummer came, he used often to goout sailing with the squire in hisyacht; and there was scarce anythingon which he set his heart which hewas not able to get."With all these pleasures, JamesCourtenay was not, however, sohappy a youth as poor Jacob Dobbin.Jacob, though crippled, was contented-his few pleasures were thoroughlyenjoyed, and "a contented mind is acontinual feast;" whereas James was
8 THE ONE MIOSS-ROSE.spoiled by the abundance of goodthings at his command; he was likethe full man that loatheth the honey-comb; and he often caused no littletrouble to his friends, and, indeed, tohimself also, by the evil tempers hedisplayed.Many a time did James Courtenay'sold nurse, who was a God-fearingwoman, point out to him that theworld was not made for him alone;that there were many others to beconsidered as well as himself; andthat although God had given himmany things, still he was not of a bitmore importance in His sight thanothers who had not so much. Allthis the young squire would neverhave listened to from any one else;but old Aggie had reared him, andwhenever he was laid by with any ill-ness, or was in any particular trouble,she was the one to whom he always
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 9fled. " God sometimes teaches peoplevery bitter lessons," said old Aggieone day, when James Courtenay hadbeen speaking contemptuously to oneof the servants; "and take care,Master James, lest you soon haveto learn one."Jacob Dobbin had been for sometime worse than usual, his cough wasmore severe, and his poor leg morepainful, when his father and he helda long conversation by the side oftheir scanty fire.Leonard had made the tea in theold black pot with the broken spout,and Jacob lay on his little settle,close up to the table."Father," said Jacob, "I saw theyoung squire ride by on his graypony to-day, and just then my leggave me a sore pinch, and I thought,How strange it is that there shouldbe such a difference between folk;'
10 THE ONE 3MOSS-ROSE.he's almost always galloping about,and I'm almost always in bed.""Poor folk," answered Jacob'sfather, "are not always so badly offas they suppose; little things makethem happy, and little things oftenmake great folk unhappy; and let usremember, Jacob, that whatever maybe our lot in life, we all have anopportunity of pleasing God, and soobtaining the great reward, which ofhis mercy, and for Christ's sake, hewill give to all those who please himby patient continuance in well-doing.The squire cannot please God anymore than you."" Oh," said Jacob, "the squirecan spend more money than I can; hecan give to the poor, and do no endof things that I cannot: all I can dois to lie still on my bed, and at timeskeep myself from almost cursing andswearing when the pain is very bad."
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 11"Exactly so, my son," answeredLeonard Dobbin; "but rememberthat patience is of great price in thesight of God; and he is very oftenglorified in the sufferings of hispeople.""The way I should like to glorifyGod," said Jacob, "would be bygoing about doing good, and lettingpeople see me do it, so that I couldglorify him before them, and not inmy dull little corner here.""Ah, Jacob, my son," replied oldLeonard Dobbin, "you may glorifyGod more than you suppose up inyour little dull corner-what shouldyou think of glorifying him beforeangels and evil spirits ?""Ah, that would be glorious!"cried Jacob."Spirits, good and bad, are everaround us," said old Leonard, "andthey are watching us; and how much
12 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.must God be glorified before them,when they see his grace able to makea sufferer patient and gentle, andwhen they know that he is bearingeverything for Christ's sake. Whena Christian is injured, and avengesnot himself; when he is evil spokenof, and answers not again; when he isprovoked, yet continues long-suffer-ing: then the spirits, good and bad,witness these things, and they mustglorify the grace of God."That night Jacob Dobbin seemedto have quite a new light thrownupon his life. "Perhaps," said he tohimself, as he lay upon the littlesettle, "I'm afflicted in order that Imay glorify God. I suppose he isglorified by his people bearing differ-ent kinds of pain; perhaps some otherboy is glorifying him with a crippledhand, while I am with my poorcrippled leg: but I should like to be
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 18able even to bear persecution fromman for Christ's sake, like themartyrs in father's old book; as Ihave strength to bear such dreadfulpain in my poor leg, I daresay Imight bear a great deal of sufferingof other kinds."The spring with its showers passedaway, and the beautiful summercame, and Jacob Dobbin was able tosit at his cottage door, breathing inthe pure country air, and admiringwhat was to him the loveliest objectin nature-namely, one rich, swellingbud upon his moss-rose tree. Therewas but one bud this year upon thetree,- the frosts and keen springwinds had nipped all the rest; andthis one was now bursting intobeauty; and it was doubly dear toJacob, because it was left alone.Jacob passed much of his time at
14 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.the cottage door, dividing his ad-miration between the one moss-roseand the beautiful white fleecy clouds,which used to sail in majestic gran-deur over his head; and often heused to be day-dreaming for hours,about the white robes of all whosuffered for their Lord.While thus engaged one day, theyoung squire came running along,and his eye fell upon Jacob's rose."Hallo," cried he with delight-" amoss-rose Ha, ha !-the gardenersaid we had not even one blown inour garden; but here's a rarebeauty!" and in a moment JamesCourtenay had bounded over thelittle garden gate, and stood besidethe rose bush. In another instanthis knife was out of his pocket,and his hand was approaching thetree."Stop, stop !" cried Jacob Dobbin;
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 15"pray don't cut it,-'tis our only rose;I've watched it I don't know howlong; and 'tisn't quite come out yet,"-and Jacob made an effort to getfrom his seat to the tree; but beforethe poor little cripple could well risefrom his seat, the young squire'sknife was through the stem, and witha loud laugh he jumped over thelittle garden fence, and was soon lostto sight.The excitement of this scene had alamentable effect upon poor JacobDobbin. When he found his onemoss-rose gone, he burst into a violentfit of sobbing, and soon a quantity ofblood began to pour from his mouth-he had broken a blood-vessel; anda neiglbour, passing that way a littletime after, found him lying senselessupon the ground. The neighbouringdoctor was sent for, and he gave it ashis opinion that Jacob could never get
16 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.over this attack. "Had it been anordinary case," said the doctor, "Ishould not have apprehended a fatalresult; but under present circum-stances I fear the very worst? poorJacob has not strength to bear upagainst this loss of blood."For many days Jacob Dobbin layin a darkened room, and many werethe thoughts of the other world whichcame into his mind; amongst themwere some connected with the holymartyrs. "Father," said he to hisaged parent as he sat by his side, "Ihave been learning a lesson aboutthe martyrs. I see now how unfit Iwas to be tried as they were; if Icould not bear the loss of one moss-rose patiently for Christ's sake, howcould I have borne fire and prison,and such like things ?""Ah, Jacob," said the old man,"'tis in little common trials such as
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 17we meet with every day, that, byGod's grace, such a spirit is rearedwithin us as was in the hearts of thegreat martyrs of olden time;--tell me,can you forgive the young squire ? "" The blessed Jesus forgave his per-secutors," whispered Jacob faintly,"and the martyrs prayed for thosewho tormented them-in this at leastI may be like them. Father, I doforgive the young squire; and, father,"said Jacob, as he opened his eyesafter an interval of a few minutes'rest, "get your spade, and dig up thetree, and take it with my duty to theyoung squire. Don't wait till I'mdead, father; I should not feel part-ing with it then; but I love the tree,and I wish to give it to him now.And if you dig up a very large ball ofearth with it, he can have it plantedin his garden at once; and-;" butpoor Jacob could say no more; he2
18 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.sank back quite exhausted, and henever returned to the subject again,for in a day or two afterwards hedied."When old Leonard Dobbin ap-peared at the great house with hiswheel-barrow containing the rose treeand its ball of earth, there was no smallstir amongst the servants. Somesaid that it was fine impudence in himto come troubling the family abouthis trumpery rose, bringing the tree,as if he wanted to lay Jacob Dobbin'sblood at their young master's door;others shook their heads, and said itwas a bad business, and that that treewas an ugly present, and one thatthey should not care to have; and asto old Aggie, she held her tongue,but prayed that the child she hadreared so anxiously might yet becomechanged, and grow up an altered man.
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 19Old Leonard could not get audienceof the squire or his son; but the gar-dener, who was in the servants' hallwhen he arrived with his rose, toldhim to wheel it along, and he wouldplant it in Master James's garden,and look after it until it bloomedagain; and there the rose finally tookup its abode.Meanwhile the young squire grewworse and worse; he respected no one'sproperty, if he fancied it himself; andall the tenants and domestics wereafraid of imposing any check upon hisevil ways. He was not, however,without some stings of conscience; heknew that Jacob Dobbin was dead-he had even seen his newly-madegrave in the churchyard on Sunday;and he could not blot out from hismemory the distress of poor Jacobwhen last he saw him alive; more-over, some of the whisperings of the
20 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.neighbourhood reached his ears; andall these things made him feel farfrom comfortable.As day after day passed by, JamesCourtenay felt more and more miser-able: a settled sadness took posses-sion of his mind, varied by fits of rest-lessness and passion, and he felt thatthere was something hanging overhim, although he could not exactlytell what. It was evident, from thewhispers which had reached his ears,that there had been some dreadfulcircumstances connected with poorJacob Dobbin's death, but he fearedto inquire; and so day after day passedin wretchedness, and there seemedlittle chance of matters getting anybetter.At length a change came in a veryunexpectedway. As James Courtenaywas riding along one day, he saw apair of bantam fowls picking up the
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 21corn about a stack in one of thetenants' yards. The bantams werevery handsome, and he felt a greatdesire to possess them; so he dis-mounted, and seeing the farmer's sonhard by, he asked him for how muchhe would sell the fowls."They're not for sale, master,""said the boy; "they belong to myyoung sister, and she wouldn't sellthose bantams for any money,-thereisn't a cock to match that one in allthe country round."" I'll give a sovereign for them,"said James Courtenay."No, not ten," answered JimMeyers."Then I'll take them, and nothanks," said the young squire; andso saying, he flung Jim Meyers thesovereign, and began to hunt thebantams into a corner of the yard."I say," cried Jim, "leave off
22 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.hunting those bantams, master, or Imust call my father.""Your father!" cried the youngsquire; " and pray, who's your father?You're a pretty fellow to talk abouta father; take care I don't bring myfather to you ;" and having said this,he made a dart at the cock bantam,that he had by this time driven intoa corner."Look here," said Jim, doublinghis fists. " You did a bad job, youngmaster, by Jacob Dobbin; you werethe death of him, and I won't haveyou the death of my little sister, by,maybe, her fretting herself to deathabout these birds, so you look out, andif you touch one of these birds, comewhat will of it, I'll touch you."" Who ever said I did Jacob Dobbinany harm ?" asked James Courtenay,his face as pale as ashes; "I neverlaid a hand upon the brat."
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 23"Brat or no brat," answered JimMeyers, " you were the death of him;you made him burst a blood-vessel,and I say you murdered him." Thiswas too much for James Courtenayto bear, so without more ado, he flewupon Jim Meyers, intending to pommelhim well; but Jim was not to be soeasily pommelled; he stood upon hisguard, and soon dealt the youngsquire such a blow between the eyesthat he had no more power to fight."Vengeance vengeance !" criedthe angry youth. "I'll make youpay dearly for this;" and slinkingaway, he got upon his pony and roderapidly home.It may be easily imagined that onthe young squire's arrival at the Hall,in so melancholy a plight, the wholeplace was in terrible confusion. Ser-vants ran hither and thither, oldAggie went off for some ice, and the
24 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.footman ran to the stable to send thegroom for the doctor, and the wholehouse was turned upside down.In the midst of all this, JamesCourtenay's father came home, andgreat indeed was his rage when heheard that his son had received thisbeating on his own property, andfrom the hands of a son of one of hisown tenantry; and his rage becamegreater and greater as the beaten boygave a very untrue account of whathad occurred. "I was admiring abantam of Meyers," said he to hisfather, "and his son flew upon melike a tiger, and hit me between theeyes."Squire Courtenay determined tomove in the matter at once, so hesent a groom to summon the Meyers-both father and son. "I'll makeMeyers pay dearly for this," said thesquire; " his lease is out next Michael-
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 25mas, and I shall not renew it; and,besides, I'll prosecute his son."All this delighted the young squire,and every minute seemed to him tobe an hour, until the arrival of thetwo Meyers, upon whom ample venge-ance was to be wreaked; and thepain of his eyes seemed as nothing, sosweet was the prospect of revenge.In the course of an hour the twoMeyers arrived, and with much fearand trembling were shown into theirlandlord's presence." Meyers," cried the squire, in greatwrath, "you leave your farm at Mi-chaelmas; and as to that young scoun-drel, your -son, I'll have him beforethe bench next bench-day, and I'll seewhether I can't make himi pay forsuch tricks as these.""What have I done," asked oldMeyers, "to deserve being turnedadrift ? If your honour will hear the
26 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.whole of the story about this business,I don't believe you'll turn me out onthe cold world, after being on thatland nigh-hand forty years."" Hear !' I have heard enoughabout it; your son dared to lift a handto mine, and--and I'll have no tenanton my estate that will ever ventureupon such an outrage as that;-it wasa great compliment to you for my sonto admire your bantams, or anythingon your farm, without his being sub-jected to such an assault."" I don't want to excuse my boy,"said old Meyers, "for touching theyoung squire; and right sorry I amthat he ever lifted a hand to him; butbegging your honour's pardon, theyoung squire provoked him to it, andhe did a great deal more than just ad-mire my little girl's bantams.-Come,Jim, speak up, and tell the squire allabout it."
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 27"Ay, speak up and excuse yourself,you young rascal, if you can," said theangry squire; " and if you can't, you'llsoon find your way into the inside ofa prison for this. Talk of poaching!what is it to an assault upon theperson ? "" I will speak up, then, your honour,since you wish it," said Jim Meyers,"and I'll tell the whole truth of howthis came about." And then he toldthe whole story of the young squirehaving wanted to buy the bantams,and on his not being permitted to doso, of his endeavouring to take themby force. " And when I wouldn't lethim carry away my sister's birds, heflew on me like a game cock, and inself-defence I struck him as I did.""You said I murdered Jacob Dob-bin," interrupted James Courtenay." Yes, I did," answered Jim Meyers,"and all the country says the same,
28 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.and I only say what every one elsesays; ask anybody within five milesof this, and if they're not afraid tospeak up, they'll tell just the sametale that I do."" Murdered Jacob Dobbin !" ejacu-lated the, squire in astonishment; "Idon't believe my son ever lifted a handto him,-you mean the crippled boythat died some time ago ? ""Yes, he means him," said JimMeyers' father; "and 'tis true whatthe lad says, that folk for five milesround lay his death at the youngsquire's door, and say that a day willcome when his blood will be requiredof him ?"" Why, what happened ? " asked thesquire, beginning almost to tremble inhis chair; for he knew that his sonwas given to very violent tempers,and was of a very arbitrary disposi-tion; and he felt, moreover, within
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 29the depths of his own heart, that hehad not checked him as he should."What is the whole truth about thismatter ?""Come, speak up, Jim," said oldMeyers; " you were poor Jacob'sfriend, and you know most aboutit;" the squire also added a word,encouraging the lad, who, thus em-boldened, took courage and gave thesquire the whole history of poorJacob Dobbin's one moss-rose. Hetold him of the cripple's love forthe plant, and how its one and onlyblossom had been rudely snatchedaway by the young squire, and howpoor Jacob burst a blood vessel andfinally died."And if your honour wants toknow what became of the tree, you'llfind it planted in the young squire'sgarden," added Jim, " and the gar-dener will tell you how it came there."
30 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.The reader will easily guess whatmust have been the young squire'sfeelings as he heard the whole ofthis tale. Several times did he en-deavour to make his escape, underthe plea that he was in great painfrom his face, and once or twice hepretended to faint away; but hisfather, who, though proud and irre-ligious, was just, determined that heshould remain until the whole matterwas searched out.When Jim Meyers' story was ended,the squire bade him go into the ser-vants' hall, and his father also, whileold Dobbin was sent for; and as toJames, his son, he told him to go upto his bed-room, and not come downuntil he was called.Poor old Leonard Dobbin was justas much frightened as Jim Meyersand his father had been, at the sum-mons to attend the squire. He had a
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 31clear conscience, however; he felt thathe had not wronged the squire in any-thing; and so, washing himself andputting on his best Sunday clothes,he made his way to the Hall asquickly as he could."Leonard Dobbin," said the squire,"I charge you, upon pain of my worstdispleasure, to tell me all you knowabout this story of your late son'smoss-rose tree. You need not be afraidto tell me all; your only cause forfear will be the holding back fromme anything connected with the mat-ter."Leonard went through the wholestory just as Jim Meyers had done;only he added many little matterswhich made the young squire's con-duct appear even in a still worse lightthan it had already done. He wasable to add all about his poor crippledboy's forgiveness of the one who had
32 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.wronged him, and how he had himselfwheeled the rose tree up to the squire'sdoor, and how it was now to be foundin the young squire's garden. " Andif I may make so bold as to speak,"continued old Leonard, "nothing buttrue religion, and the love of Christ,and the power of God's Spirit in theheart, will ever make us heartily for-give our enemies, and not only forgivethem, but render to them good forevil."When Leonard Dobbin arrivedJames Courtenay had been sent for,and had been obliged with crimsonedcheeks to listen to this story of thepoor crippled boy's feelings; and nowhe would have given all the roses inthe world, if they were his, to restorepoor Jacob to life, or never to havemeddled with his flower; but whathad been done could not be undone,and no one could awake the poor boy'
TIIE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 33from his long cold sleep in the silentgrave." Leonard Dobbin," said the squire,after he had sat for some time moodily,with his face buried in his hands, " thisis the worst blow I have ever had inlife. I would give 10,000 hardmoney, down on that table, this verymoment, that my boy had nevertouched your boy's rose. But whatis done cannot be undone; go home,and when I've thought upon thismatter I'll see you again.""Meyers," said the squire, turningto the other tenant, " I was hasty insaying a little while ago that I'd turnyou out of your farm next Michael-mas; you need have no fear about thematter; instead of turning you out,I'll give you a lease of it. I hope youwon't talk more than can be helpedabout this terrible business. Nowgo."3
34 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.The two men stood talking togetherfor a while at the lodge before theyleft the grounds of the great house;and old Leonard could not help wip-ing his eyes with the sleeve of hisrough coat, as he said to Meyers," Ah, neighbour, 'tis sore work hav-ing a child without the fear of Godbefore his eyes. I'd rather be thefather of poor Jacob in his grave,than of the young squire up yonderat the Hall."Bitter indeed were Squire Courte-nay's feelings and reflections when thetwo old men had left, and, his son hav-ing been ordered off to his chamber, hefound himself once more alone. Thedusk of the evening came on, but thesquire did not seem to care for food,and, in truth, his melancholy thoughtshad taken all appetite away. At lasthe went to the window, which looked
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 85out over a fine park and a long reachof valuable property, and he began tothink : What good will all these farmsdo this boy, if the tenants upon themonly hate him, and curse him ? Per-haps, with all this property, he maycome to some bad end, and bring dis-grace upon his family and himselfAnd then the squire's own heart be-gan to smite him, and he thought:Am not I to blame for not havinglooked more closely after him, and fornot having corrected him whenever hewent wrong ? I must do somethingat once. I must send him away fromthis place, where almost every one letshim do as he likes, until he learns howto control himself, at least so far as notto do injustice to others.Meanwhile the young squire's pun-ishment had begun. When left tothe solitude of his room, after havingheard the whole of Leonard Dobbin's
36 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.account of Jacob's death, a great hor-ror took possession of his mind. Manywere the efforts the young lad madeto shake off the gloomy thoughtswhich came trooping into his mind;but every thought seemed to have ahundred hooks by which it clung tothe memory, so tha,t once in the mind,it could not be got rid of again. Atlength the young squire lay down uponhis bed, trembling as if he had theague, and realizing how true are thewords, that " our sin will find us out,"and that " the way of transgressors ishard."At last, to his great relief, the handleof his door was turned, and old Aggiemade her appearance." 0 Aggie, Aggie," cried JamesCourtenay, "come here. I'm fit todie, with the horrid thoughts I have,and with the dreadful things I see.Jim MLeyers said I murdered Jacob
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 37Dobbin ; and I believe I have, thoaghI didn't intend to do it. I wish I hadnever gone that way; I wish I hadnever seen that rose; I wish therehad never been a rose in the world.-0 dear, my poor head, my poor head!I think 'twill burst;" and JamesCourtenay put his two hands upon thetwo sides of his head, as though hewanted to keep them from splittingasunder.Aggie saw that there was no use inspeaking while James Courtenay'shead was in such a state as this. Allshe could do was to help him into bed,and give him something to drink,--food he put from him, but drink heasked for again and again. Waterwas all he craved, but Aggie was atlast obliged to give over, and say shewas afraid to give him any more.James Courtenay's state was speed-ily made known to his father, and in a
38 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.few minutes, from old Aggie s conver-sation with him, the groom was on hisway to a neighbouring town to hastenthe family physician. The latter soonarrived, and, after a few minutes withJames Courtenay, pronounced him tobe in brain fever-the end of which,of course, no man could foresee.And a fearful fever indeed it was.Day after day passed in wild delirium.The burden of all the poor sufferer'scries and thoughts was, that he was amurderer. He used to call himselfCain, and to try to tear the murderer'smark out of his forehead. Sometimeshe rolled himself in the sheet, andthought that he was dressed in afuneral cloak attending Jacob Dob-bin's funeral, and all the while know-ing that he had caused his death. Attimes the poor patient would attemptto spring from his bed; and now hefancied that he was being whipped.4
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 39with the thorny branches of rose trees ;and now that he was being put inprison for stealing from a poor man'sgarden. At one time he thought allthe tenants on the estate were hunt-ing him off it with hounds, while hewas fleeing from them on his graypony as fast as her legs could carryher; and the next moment his pony wasentangled hopelessly in the branchesof little Dobbin's rose tree, and thedogs were on him, and the huntsmenwere -halloing, and he was about to bedevoured. All these were the terribleravings of fever; and very awful itwas to see the young squire with hishair all shaved off, and vinegar ragsover his head, tossing his arms about,and endeavouring at times to burstfrom his nurses, and leap out upon thefloor. The one prevailing thought inall the sick boy's ravings was JacobDobbin's rose bush. Jacob, or his
40 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.rose bush in some form or other, oc-cupied a prominent part in everyvision.Ah, how terrible are the lashingsof conscience how terrible the effectsof sin For what a small gratificationdid this unhappy youth bring so muchmisery upon himself! And is it notoften thus ? The apostle says, " Whatfruit had ye then in those things where-of ye are now ashamed ?" And whatfruit of pleasure had James Courtenayfrom his plunder of Jacob Dobbin'srose ? Where was that rose ? It hadlong since faded; its leaves were min-gled with the dust upon which it hadbeen thrown; yet for the sake ofthe transient enjoyment of possessingthat flower a few days before abun-dance would have made their appear-ance in his own garden, he had broughtupon himself all this woe. Poor, verypoor indeed, are the pleasures of sin;
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 41and when they have been enjoyed,they are like the ashes of a fire thathas burned out. Compare James Cour-tenay's present troubles,-his tortureof mind, his pain of body, his risk oflosing his life, and the almost momen-tary enjoyment which he had in plun-dering his poor neighbour of his moss-rose,-and see how Satan cheats inhis promises of enjoyment from sin.Dear young reader! let not Satanpersuade you that there is any profitin sin-momentary pleasure there mayindeed be, but it is soon gone, andthen come sorrow and distress. Sin isa sweet cup with bitter dregs, and hewho drinks the little sweet that thereis, must drink the dregs also. Mo-ments of sin may cause years of sor-row.For many days James Courtenayhung between life and death; night
42 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.and day he was watched by skilful-physicians, but they could do verylittle more than let the disease run itscourse. At length a change for thebetter appeared; the unhappy boyfell into a long sleep, and when heopened his eyes his disease was gone.But it had left him in a truly pitiablestate. It was a sad sight to see theonce robust boy now very little betterthan a skeleton; to hear the once loudvoice now no stronger than a merewhisper; and instead of the mass ofbrown curly hair, to behold nothingbut linen rags which swathed theshaven head.But all this Squire Courtenay didnot so much mind; his son's life wasspared, and he made no doubt but thatcare and attention would soon fattenhim up again, and the curly lockswould grow as luxuriantly as theydid before. Old Aggie, too, was full^I
THE ONE MOSS-iOSE. 43of joy; the boy that she had nursedso tenderly, and for whom she hadhad such long anxiety, was not cutoff in the midst of his sins, and hemight perhaps have his heart changedand grow up to be a good man. Andwhat an opportunity was this for try-ing to impress his mind Old Aggiewas determined that it should not belost, and she hoped that the youngsquire might yet prove a blessing, andnot a curse, to those amongst whom-he lived.There were not wanting many uponSquire Courtenay's estate who wouldhave been very glad if the young squirehad never recovered. They had tasteda little of his bad character, and theyfeared that if he grew up to inherit theproperty, he would prove a tyrannicallandlord to them. But amongst thesewas not to be reckoned old LeonardDobbin. True, he had suffered terri-
44 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.bly-indeed more than any one else-from James Courtenay's evil ways;but he did not on that account wishhim dead-far from it. It was oldLeonard's great fear lest the youngsquire should die in his sins, and noone asked more earnestly about theinvalid than this good old man.As it was necessary that the sickboy should be kept as quiet as pos-sible, no one went near his room exceptold Aggie and those whose servicescould not be dispensed with. OldAggie alone was allowed to talk tothe invalid, and a long time wouldhave elapsed before she could ventureto speak of the circumstances whichhad brought about this dreadful ill-ness, had not the young squire him-self entered on the subject." Aggie," said he one morning, afterhe had lain a long time quite still, "Ihave been dreaming a beautiful dream.
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 45This was quite delightful to the oldnurse, who for many long days hadheard of nothing but visions of themost frightful kind." I saw a rose bush-""Hush, hush, Master James," saidAggie, terrified lest the dreadful sub-ject should come uppermost again, andonce more bring on the delirium anda relapse of the fever."No, no, Aggie, I cannot hush; itwas a beautiful dream, and it has doneme more good than all the doctor'smedicine. I saw a rose bush-a moss-rose-and it had one bud upon it, andsitting under the bud was little JacobDobbin. 0 Aggie, it was the sameJacob that used to be down at the cot-tage, for I knew his face; but he wasbeautiful, instead of sickly-looking;and instead of being all ragged, he wasdressed in something like silver. Iwanted to run away from him, but he
46 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.looked so kindly at me that I couldnot stir; and at last he beckoned tome, and I stood quite close to him;and only he looked so softly at me, Imust have been dazzled by the lighton his face and his silvery clothes." I did not feel as though I dared tospeak to him; but at last he spoketo me, and his voice was as soft as aflute, and he said, 'All the roses onearth fade and wither, but nothingfades or withers in the happy placewhere I now live; and oh, do not beanxious to possess the withering, fad-ing flowers, but walk on the road thatleads to my happy'home, where every-thing is bright for ever and ever.'"Aggie, Aggie," said James Cour-tenay, who saw his nurse's anxiousface, and that she was about to stophis speaking any more, "it is no useto try to stop my telling you all aboutit. My head has been so strange of
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 47late, that I forget everything, and Iam afraid of forgetting this dream ; soI must tell it now, and you are to writeit down, that I may have it to read, ifit should slip out of my mind. JacobDobbin said,-'You are not now inthe right road; but ask Jesus to par-don your sins, and then go and loveeverybody just as Jesus loved you;and try to make every one happy,and do good morning, noon, and night,and try to scatter some flowers ofhappiness in every place to which yougo ; and then you shall be with me inthe land where all is bright.' And Ithought Jacob pulled the one moss-rose, and gave it to me, and said,'This is an earthly rose; keep it aslong and as carefully as you will, itwill fade at last; but our flowers neverfade: try, O try, to come to them.'I heard music, Aggie, or somethinglike music, or perhaps like a stream
48 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.flowing along, and I felt somethinglike the summer breeze upon mycheeks, and Jacob was gone, andthere I stood with the rose in myhand."Write it down, Aggie," said theinvalid, " exactly as I have told you ;"and having said this, James Courtenaydropped off into a doze again.Some days intervened between thisreference to what had passed andthe next conversation upon the sub-ject, in which James Courtenay toldAggie who had to listen muchagainst her will-what he thoughtabout this wonderful dream."I know the meaning of thatdream," said James Courtenay to hisnurse. "I do not want any one toexplain it to me ; I can tell all aboutit. The meaning is, that I mustbecome a changed boy, or I shallnever go to heaven when I die; and
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 49all the good things which I havehere are not to be compared withthose which are to be had there.What Jacob said was, that all thesethings are fading, and I must seekfor what is better than anythinghere."Aggie," said James Courtenay,"you often think I am asleep when Iam not; and you think I scarcelyhave my mind about me yet, when Ilie so long quite still, looking awayinto the blue sky: but I am think-ing; I am always thinking, and veryoften I am praying--asking forgive-ness for the past, and hoping that Ishall be changed for the future."" But we can't do much by hoping,"said Aggie, "and we can't do any-thing by ourselves."" I' mean to do more than hope,"said James Courtenay; "I mean totry."4
50 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE."And you mean, I trust, to askGod's Spirit to help you?" saidAggie."Yes, every day," said James."He helped Jacob, and he'll help me;and I hope to be yet where Jacob isnow."" Ay, he helps the poor," saidAggie, "and he'll help the rich.Jacob had his trials, and you'll haveyours; and perhaps yours are thehardest, so far as going to heaven isconcerned; for the rich have a tempta-tion in every acre of land and in everyguinea they have. Our Lord saysthat 'tis hard for a rich man to enterinto the kingdom of heaven.'"For many days James Courtenaythus pondered and prayed, withAggie as his chief companion andinstructor, and at length he was ableto leave his room. But he was adifferent James Courtenay from the
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.' 61one who had entered that room somemonths before. The young squirewas still pale and thin; but this wasnot the chief change observable inhim,-he was silent and thoughtfulin his manner, and gentle and kindto every one around. The loud voicewhich once rang so imperiously andimpatiently through the corridorswas now heard no more; the handwas not lifted to strike, and oftengratitude was expressed for any atten-tion that was shown. The servantslooked at each other and wondered;they could scarcely hope that such achange would last; and when theiryoung master returned to full healthand strength, they quite expected theold state of things to return again.But they were mistaken. Thechange in James Courtenay was areal one; it was founded on some-thing more substantial than the
52 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.transient feelings of illncss,-he waschanged in his heart.And very soon he learnt by experi-ence the happiness which true religionbrings with it. Instead of beingserved unwillingly by the servantsaround, every one was anxious toplease him; and he almost wonderedat times whether these could be theservants with whom he had lived allhis life. They now, indeed, gave aservice of love; and a service of loveis as different from a service of mereduty as day is from night.Wherever the young squire hadmost displayed his passionate temper,there he made a point of going, forthe sake of speaking kindly, and un-doing so far as he could the evil hehad already done. He kept ever inmind what he had heard from JacobDobbin in his dream,-that therewas not only a Saviour by whom
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 53alone he could be saved from his sins,but also that there was a road onwhich it was necessary to walk; aroad which ran through daily life; aroad on which loving deeds were tobe done, and loving words spoken;-the road of obedience to the mind ofChrist. James Courtenay well knewthat obedience could not save him;but he well knew also that obediencewas required from such as were savedby pure grace.Altered as James Courtenay un-doubtedly was, and earnest as he feltto become different to what he hadbeen in olden time, he could notshake off from his mind the sadniemory of the past. His mind wascontinually brooding upon poor littleDobbin's death, and upon the sharewhich he had in it. For now heknew all the truth. He had seen old
54 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.Leonard, and sat with him for manyhours.; and at his earnest request theold man had told him all the truth."Keep nothing back from me," saidthe young squire, as he sat by oldLeonard's humble fire-place, with hisface covered with his hands; and overand over again had the old man torepeat the same story, and to call tomind every word that his departedson had said."What shall I do, Leonard, toshow my sorrow?" asked JamesCourtenay one day. "Will you goand live in a new house, if I get papato build one for you? ""Thank you, young squire," saidLeonard; "it was here that Jacobwas born and died, and this will dofor me well enough as long as I'mhere. And it don't distress me much,Master James, about its being a poorkind of a place, for I'm only here for a
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 5&while, and I've a better house upyonder.""Ay," said James Courtenay,."and Jacob is up yonder; but I fear,with all my striving, I shall never getthere; and what good will all my fineproperty do me for ever so manyyears, if at the end of all I am shutout of the happy land? ""Master James, you need not beshut out," said old Dobbin; and hepulled down the worn Bible from theshelf; "no, no; you need not be shutout. Here is the verse that securedpoor Jacob's inheritance, and here isthe verse that by God's grace securesmine, and it may secure yours too;"and the old man read out the passagein 1 John i. 7, "The blood of JesusChrist his Son cleanseth us from allsin." "All, all!" cried old Dobbin,his voice rising as he proceeded, forhis heart was on fire; " from murder,
56 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.theft, lying, stealing,- everything,everything! Oh, what sinners arenow in glory!-sinners no longer, butsaints, washed in the precious blood !Oh, how many are there now onearth waiting to be taken away andbe for ever with the Lord! I ambad, Master James; my heart is fullof sin in itself; but the blood of Jesuscleanseth from all sin;-and what-ever you have done may be allwashed out; only cast yourself, bodyand soul, on Christ."" But how could I ever meet Jacobin heaven?" murmured the youngsquire from between his hands, inwhich he had buried his face; " whenI saw him, must not I feel I murderedhim? ay, I was the cause of hismisery and death, all for the sake ofone fading, worthless flower !""Don't call it worthless, MasterJames; 'twas God's creature, and
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 57very beautiful while it lasted; andyou can't call a thing worthless thatgave a human being as much pleasureas that rose gave poor Jacob. Butwhatever it was, it will make nohindrance to Jacob meeting you inheaven,-ay, and welcoming youthere, too. If you reach that happyplace, I'll be bound Jacob will meetyou with a smile, and will welcomeyou with a song into the happyland.""Well, 'tis hard to understand,"said James Courtenay."Yes, yes, Master James, hard toour poor natures, but easy to those whoare quite like their Saviour, as Jacobis now. When He was upon earthhe taught his followers to forgive, andto love their enemies, and to do goodto such as used them despitefully;and we may be sure that, now theyare with him, and are made like him,
58 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.they carry out all he would have themdo, and they are all he would havethem be. I don't believe that thereis one in heaven that would be moreglad to see you, Master James, thanmy poor boy,-if I may call him mypoor boy, seeing he's now in glory."Many were the conversations ofthis kind which passed between oldLeonard and the young squire, andgradually the latter obtained morepeace in his mind. True, he couldnever divest himself of the awfulthought that he had been the im-mediate cause of his humble neigh-bour's death; but he dwelt very muchupon that word "all," and Aggie re-peated old Leonard's lessons, and bydegrees he was able to lay even hisgreat trouble upon his Saviour.But all that James Courtenay hadgone through had told fearfully uponhis health. His long and severe ill-
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 59ness, followed by so much mentalanxiety and trouble, laid in him theseeds of consumption. His friends,who watched him anxiously, saw thatas weeks rolled on he gained nostrength, and at length it was solemn-ly announced by the physician thathe was in consumption. There weresymptoms which made it likely thatthe disease would assume a very rapidform. And so it did. The youngsquire began to waste almost visiblybefore the eyes of those around, andit soon became evident, not only thathis days were numbered, but thatthey must be very few. And so theywere. Three weeks saw the little in-valid laid upon his bed, with noprospect of rising from it again. Athis own earnest request he was toldwhat his condition really was; andwhen he heard it, not a tear startedin his eye, not a murmur escaped his
60 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.lips. One request, and one only, didthe dying boy prefer; and that was,that Leonard Dobbin should be ad-mitted to his room as often as hewished to see him. And this wasvery often; as James had only inter-vals of wakefulness, it became neces-sary that the old man should bealways at hand, so as to be ready atany hour of the day or night, and atlength he slept in a closet off the sickboy's room. And with Leonard camethe old worn Bible. The good oldlabourer was afraid, with his roughhands, to touch the richly bound andgilt volume that was brought up fromthe library; he knew every page inhis own well-thumbed old book, andin that he read, and from that he dis-coursed. The minister of the parishcame now and again; but when heheard of what use old Leonard hadbeen to the young squire, he said that
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 61God could use the uneducated man aswell as the one that was well-learned,and he rejoiced that by any instru-mentality, however humble, God hadin grace and mercy wrought upon thesoul of this wayward boy.At length the period of the youngsquire's life came to be numbered, notby days, but hours, and his father satby his dying bed." Papa," said the dying boy, " I shallsoon be gone, and when I am dyingI shall want to think of Christ andof holy things alone;-you will do, Iknow, what I want when I am gone."Squire Courtenay pressed his son'shand, and told him he would do any-thing, everything he wished."You remember that grandmammaleft me some money when she died;give Leonard Dobbin as much everyyear as will support him; and givehim my gray pony that he may be
62 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.carried about, for he is getting tooold to work; and "-and it seemed as"though the dying boy had to summonup all his strength to say it-" buryme, not in our own grand vault, butby Jacob Dobbin's grave; and put upa monument in our church to Jacob,and cut upon it a broken rose; andlet the rose bush be planted close towhere poor Jacob lies-"The young squire could say nomore, and it was a long time beforehe spoke again; when he did, it wasevident that he was fast departingto another world. With the littlestrength at his command, the dyingboy muttered old Leonard's name;and in a moment the aged Christian,with his Bible in his hand, stood bythe bedside." Read, read," whispered Aggie thenurse; "he is pointing to your Bible,-he wants you to read; and read
THE ONE MOSS-ROSE. 63quickly, Leonard, for he soon won'tbe able to hear."And Leonard, opening his Bible atthe well-known place, read aloud,"The blood of Jesus Christ his Soncleanseth us from all sin.""All, all," whispered the dying boy."All, all," responded the old man."All, all," faintly echoed the dyingboy, and in a few moments no soundwas heard in the sick-room-JamesCourtenay had departed to realize thetruth of the words, that " the blood ofJesos Christ cleanseth from all sin."Next to the chief mourners at thefuneral walked old Leonard Dobbin;and close by the poor crippled Jacob'sgrave they buried James Courtenay-so close that the two graves seemedalmost one. And when a little timehad elapsed, the squire had a hand-some tomb placed over his son, whichcovered in the remains of poor Jacob
64 THE ONE MOSS-ROSE.too, and at the head of it was plantedthe moss-rose tree. And he put upa tablet to poor Jacob's memory inthe church, and a broken rose wassculptured in a little round ornamentat the bottom of it.And now the old Hall is withoutan heir, and the squire without ason. But there is good hope thatthe squire thinks of a better world,and that he would rather have hisboy safe in heaven than here amid thetemptations of riches again.Oh, what a wonder that there ismercy for the greatest sinners! butoh, what misery comes of sin! " Thewages of sin is death; but the gift ofGod is eternal life through JesusChrist our Lord."
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