"IK '4 .1 "1
The Baldwin Library
SUNNY FACES, BLESSED HANDS,
L I LY BRI GHT
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGHI; AND NEW YORK.
This page contains no text.
BLESSED HANDS, LOVING WORDS.
OW many little faces there are in the
world, and how strangely varying
in, feature and expression! We see
al them everywhere, and no two are
alike; still we may divide them
into several classes, for many faces
have a look which well deserves to be chronicled.
For instance, there are the sunny faces. It does
one good to look upon them. How the light of
heaven shines out of their eyes, while the roses
come and go in the cheeks, and smiles and
dimples seem playing at hide-and-seek around
the sweet lips! It does not matter where we
see these little faces,-whether peeping out of the
mansion window, between rich folds of damask
and muslin, or pressed against the little, dingy
panes of glass which let the sunlight into the
poor man's heart and home. They are always
pleasant. They always make the heart of the
beholder beat quicker with joy, while the life-
tide bounds along his veins with a glad and freer
flow, and in his heart he says, Bless God for
little children's sunny faces! "
Then there are the shady faces. They are sad
and sweet, and sometimes mournfully beautiful in
their quiet thoughtfulness of expression. My heart
always aches, thd the tears come, whenever I look
upon them; for it is a sad thing for little hearts
to feel life's crushing sorrows and learn life's
bitter lessons, which make the tender spirit grow
old, and the sweet face shady, while yet the
morning dew is sparkling upon the flowers of
childhood I have seen many shady faces among
the little ones, about some of which I will tell
Now, last, there are the dark faces. I do not
like to speak of these, but there are so many of
them in the world that my chapters would not be
complete if I did not take some notice of them
too. Perhaps my dear little readers may learn
some useful lessons from what I shall tell them
in reference to this kind of faces. Ah! it is a
mournful thing to see a little child with a har-
dened, wicked look on its face, overshadowing
childhood's sweet simplicity! I have seen such
sometimes, but not often, thanks be to Him
who loved the little ones so well that he died
to save them; not often have I seen a little
face from which all the soul's sunshine had
But this little introduction is sufficient, so I
will proceed at once with the little stories. I am
going to tell you, first, about the
Oh, I have seen so many of them in my life!
In the rich man's home, in the poor man's cot-
tage, in the crowded street of the great city, in
the quiet walks of the town, and in the broad,
free country, where the little faces seemed to re-
flect, like mirrors, the sweet sunshine from above
and the beautiful wild flowers from beneath!
Everywhere in my life's wearisome journey these
little sunny faces have cheered me, until I have
learned to love them very dearly.
A long time ago I used to meet a little sunny
face in the main street whenever I walked that
way in the morning at a certain hour. It was a
very sunny face, with bright blue eyes, rosy
cheeks, dimpled chin, and a real, genuine, happy
8 SUNNY FACES.
smile ever playing on the sweet lips. The little
form that bore this face was always trim and
sprightly; the little feet never lagged wearily,
and from the very first I wondered who the
sweet child could be, and longed to make her ac
At first I only bowed and smiled at her as we
passed each other; then I used to say, Good-
morning, little one; and, How do you do ? and
finally, one sweet morning, when we met at the
corner of a quiet street, I stopped and asked the
child her name.
She looked up to me, and the light in her
eyes grew brighter, and the smile on her rosy
face grew sweeter, as she said,-
"Thank you, ma'am, my name is Lily-Lily
Lily Bright," said I, laughing; you are well
named, sweet little one, for I am sure you are
much like the lily, and you always seem to be
She laughed a free, musical laugh, such as
never comes save from the merry heart of child-
hood before the mildew blight of sorrow has
fallen upon it, as she replied,-
"That's just what mother says. When I bring
water from the well, she calls me her water-lily;
when I run errands for her into the country, she
calls me her meadow-lily; and when I read to
her from the Bible, she calls me the lily of the
The artless simplicity of the sweet child struck
me as very beautiful, and wishing to know more
of her, I said,-
And who is your mother, dear? Where
does she live ?"
"My mother is the Widow Bright, ma'am;
and she, and I, and our darling little Freddy,
live in the little brown house below the mill at
the foot of John Street."
.I knew the place well; and, surprised that the
sweet child and her mother lived in such a miser-
able house, I said,-
But why does your mother live in that old
tumble-down house, my dear? Why does she
not take a comfortable cottage in a more respect-
able neighbourhood ? "
"Because she is very poor, ma'am, and has no
friend to help her to take care of Freddy and me.
She cannot pay a high rent, because it takes all
she can earn to get on where we are," replied the
And is your mother as happy as you are,
dear ?" I asked.
"' Oh yes, she is. always happy, and she is the
best mother in the world I wish you could see
her, ma'am; she has such a pleasant face, and
such a kind voice, I am sure you would love her."'
Yes, I should love her if she is like her little
girl," I replied. But tell me, dear, if your
mother is a widow, and so poor that she cannot
afford to rent a comfortable place to live in, what
is it that makes her happy ? "
I don't know," said the child musingly, "un-
less it is because God is her friend. She loves
him very much, and she says he loves us too, for
he has promised to be a father to the fatherless,
and the widow's God. Mother says, too, that he
will abide with us in the little old house just the
same as if it was a splendid mansion; and he
will, won't he ? "
Certainly, my dear. It makes no difference
how poor people are, or where they live : if they
love and trust the Lord, he will comfort and bless
them. I should like to get acquainted with your
mother, and if you are willing, I will go home
with you to-morrow morning."
Oh,I should be so happy! "exclaimed the child;
"and mother, I am sure, will be glad to see you, for
she loves all good people, and you are very kind "
Thanking the little one for her artless compli-
ment, I bade her a cheerful good-bye, and went
on my way with much of the sunshine in her
sweet face reflected on my heart.
Next morning, according to my arrangement
with Lily, I accompanied her home. I found
Mrs. Bright, as you may suppose, a sweet and
intelligent Christian woman, who had suffered
much in various ways; but receiving her afflic-
tions in the true spirit of Christ, she had grown
better and stronger under them. Little Freddy
was a curly-headed, dark-eyed baby-boy of two
years old, the pet and darling of the household.
After making a pleasant acquaintance with
Master Fred, and spending half an hour in
profitable and interesting conversation with the
widow, I took my leave, promising to call again
soon. When I left the miserable hut, which
really was only fit for rats to live in, I went
straight to Mr. Prior's. Now, Mr. Prior was one
of the most wealthy men in the town, and, better
than this, he was one of the very best men in
the world. As I told him about the destitute
but happy family, his noble soul was deeply
touched, and great tears came up and twinkled
in his mild gray eyes.
Ah, ah! said he, when I had done, laugh-
ing through his tears, and shaking his finger at
me, "I see how it is. I understand you, little
miss. You've come and told me this pitiful story,
dwelling with special emphasis upon the poor
old wvreck of a house, and all the time your mind's
eye has been fixed upon my little cottage in Vine
Street, which is just now vacant. Now, own it
at once Make a confession! Isn't this true ?
Haven't I guessed right ? "
I acknowledged that I thought the neat cot-
tage in Vine Street was a far better and more
appropriate place for an intelligent Christian
woman, who had been used to all the comforts
and luxuries of life before her husband died,
than the old house below the mill, and ended by
asking the old man if he did not agree with me.
~ Well, yes," said he. To tell you the truth,
I am very glad you came to me. God has been
very bountiful to me, and I cannot show my
gratitude more than by being in some small de-
gree bountiful to others. The poor widow shall
have the cottage, and stay in it as long as she
But the rent," said I, what will that be ? "
Oh, the rent !-let me see If the woman is
as near an angel now as you represent her, she
will certainly be one when she dies; and as I am
striving as hard as I can to make my way up-
ward too, who knows but we may meet some day
in the better land. I think, upon the whole, I
can afford to wait for my rent till we get there !
How will that arrangement please you ?"
Dear, good Mr. Prior! his eyes were bright
with tears, and mine grew dim too as I tried to
thank him in the name of the poor widow for his
There, there," said he, passing the back of
his hand across his eyes, you have thanked me
far more than I deserve. Go now, and come to
me early to-morrow morning, before banking-
hours, and I will visit the poor widow with you,
and we will see about getting her into better
lodgings at once."
True to his word, Mr. Prior went down to the
old house with me in the morning, and when he
made his errand known, the poor widow burst
into tears, exclaiming,-
Surely the Lord remembers his gracious
promises! I have not trusted him in vain! I
have walked through the deep waters of affliction,
but his right arm was round about me, and his
grace sustained me ; he has never, never left me
or forsaken me! "
Mr. Prior tried to say something, but his
lips moved without making any sound, and he
walked to the window to conceal the warm
tears which were freely flowing over his manly
But I cannot describe this affecting scene if I
try, so I will pass on with my little story. That
very day Widow Bright was installed as mistress
of the pretty cottage in Vine Street, and it be-
came, in time, one of the sweetest, cosiest homes
in all the town. Now that the widow was brought
out of her obscurity, she was known and appre-
ciated. She was kindly employed by many ladies,
and as she had plenty of work to do, at more than
double her former prices, she got on well, and I
used to think she was by far the happiest woman
of my acquaintance. Little Lily, with the sunny
face, was always happy, flitting out and in, like a
little bird, blessing everybody with her sweet smiles
and cheerful words, assisting her mother about
the lighter household duties, taking almost the
entire care of Freddy, and making herself generally
useful in many other ways. The child was young
in years, but old in wisdom, for she too had sought
and found the pearl of great price. She had given
her heart thus early to the Saviour, and it was
his love in her soul which shone up into her face,
making it bright and happy. It was because her
heart was right in the sight of God that all her
words and actions were so pure and beautiful;
and I used to wonder if the angels did not smile
down upon the little one with especial love and
tenderness, she was so firm and consistent in her
Christian character. -
I wish, dear children, that I could stop here,
for the rest of my story is mournful ; but it is
beautiful also, and as I know you would like to
hear what became of Lily, I will tell you.
All through the golden autumn days I saw the
little girl very often; but when the chilly winds
and snows of winter came, we were obliged to
visit each other less frequently. Still, our friend-
ship was not diminished. We loved each other
very dearly, and though there was such a great
difference in our ages, I regarded the child more
in the light of a sister and companion than as a
pupil. About the first of November, from an im-
prudent exposure, I took a severe cold, which
made me quite ill, and confined me to the house
for several weeks. Then it was that Lily showed
how deep and strong her regard for me was. For
a long time she came every day to visit me. She
would sit by my bedside for hours, holding my
hand in her two little palms so lovingly; then
she would while away the weary time by reading
in her low, sweet voice from the good books I
loved the best; and often, when my eyes were
closed, and she thought I was sleeping, she
would lightly kiss my brow, and pass her tiny
hands caressingly over my hair.
But at length, just as I began to get better,
Lily came to see me no more. The first day of
her absence I felt uneasy, and on the second
day I knew she must be ill, and sent to make in-
quiries about her. When the messenger returned,
he confirmed my worst fears by saying that the
little girl had taken a severe cold, and she was
indeed very ill. Several days now passed, and I
assure you they were days of anxiety to me, for
every time I heard from my little pet they said
she was no better. Oh, how I longed to sit
by her bedside, and comfort her in her fever and
pain as she had comforted me! How I longed
to kiss the sweet lips once more, and feel the
slender arms about my neck, with the old loving
caress But it was not so to be. Never again
was that sunny face to smile upon me! Never
again were those eyes to gaze fondly into mine!
Never again was the low, sweet voice to fall upon
my ears, making melody in my heart with its
musical tones! No, never; for, scarcely three
weeks from her first illness, I was borne to the
widow's cottage, to gaze for the last time upon
the sunny face I had learned to love so well.
Oh, dear children, I cannot tell you how I felt
in that sad hour It seemed as though my heart
would break with grief, and tears fell from my
eyes fast and hot, just as they are falling now,
when I gazed upon the little form so white and
still, and looked into the dear face that for the
first time had no look of love or smile for me.
I kissed the brow, which was calm and beautiful;
I kissed the cheeks from which the roses had faded,
and the lips upon which the dews of death had
gathered; I held the little hands close, close to my
bosom, till the chill went to my heart, but they
did not grow warm again: and kneeling there, I
prayed for strength and grace, and the loving
Saviour was pleased to hear and answer me.
The stricken mother told me, amid heart-
breaking sobs and thickly-falling tears, how Lily
died. She never murmured or complained, she
never grew restless or impatient through all her
distressing illness; and sometimes, when she was
suffering most acutely, she would look up with
a sweet smile, and say, Pray for me now, dear
mother; for I need much grace to bear me
through the deep waters." She was impressed
with the idea, from the very first of her illness,
that she should never get well, and she spent
much of her time in talking to her mother and
other friends about the great change which
awaited her; so, when her last hours came, she
was fully prepared to meet the king of terrors.
It was midnight when Lily's kind and dear
friends were called to hear her last farewell.
Good-bye, mother, good-bye !" said she,
cheerfully. Do not weep for me when I am
gone; for Jesus will care for me, and I shall be
so happy in heaven-yes, so happy Oh, I long
to go! Good-bye! Hold Freddy so I can kiss
him once more. Sweet little darling, he will
miss sister when she is gone! But he will be a
good little boy, so as to come and live with her
by-and-by. Now hold me close to your bosom,
mother-very close, for I am growing cold.
Give my love to everybody, but especially to
Miss Mary, who has been so kind to me. Tell
her how much I thought of her through my sick-
ness, and how I longed to see her just once before
I died. Tell her not to grieve for me; for there
are many little children in town, and she can
adopt some of them in my place. 0 mother,
how light it grows I thought it was dark when
people died. I think I am going to Jesus with-
out dying; for the light grows brighter, and I
suffer no pain. Now cradle me in your arms as
you used to do, mamma, and sing me a low,
sweet tune, so I may go to sleep, and wake up in
And folding the little one closely to her aching
heart, the afflicted mother sang, in a trembling
voice, a sweet song which Lily loved:-
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly."
When she had finished it, she knew her little one
hiad gone to sleep, to awake in lteaven ; for she lay
so very, very still, with an angel smile on her
It was a chilly, wintry day when they buried
her, and I was too weak to go out; so I sat at
my window, where I could just get a glimpse of
the quiet nook in the churchyard where the
sexton had dug her little grave. I saw the sad
procession gather there; I saw the weeping
friends take their farewell look; and then I saw
them sadly lower the tiny coffin: and shudder-
ing, I put my hand over my eyes, and turned
away to weep. I thought how cold the little
form would be, how hard the pillow beneath the
head, and how lonely and cheerless her resting-
place. But when I remembered how her spirit
was not there, but gone to dwell with Christ in
heaven, I was comforted; and a prayer arose
from my heart-a prayer that I might live as
well as Lily lived, and died as calmly and sweetly
as Lily died.
I have seen many sunny faces since Lily's face
was shadowed by death, but never have I seen
one that could quite take its place in my heart.
And I am waiting patiently, hoping some day
the merciful Saviour will kindly take me to the
sun-bright clime where Lily has gone; and my
faith is strong that I shall know her sweet face
when I see it there.
Now about the little shady faces. You have
seen them often, I presume; and so have I.
Sad, but lovely, they often are; and they look
up to us pleadingly, as if begging for love and
protection. I have seen them in the gilded man-
sion of wealth, worn by poor little motherless
ones. I have seen them in the drunkard's hovel,
where all of life's sorrows and few of its joys
have been meted out to the weary-looking chil-
dren who clustered round the scantily-spread
table, or huddled together in some dark corner
to hide from the fury of their drink-ruined
father. And, again, I have seen them-oh, so
many times !-on the streets, beneath little
faded bonnets and worn-out hats. They are
very pitiful, these shady faces; for they al-
ways show that the heart within is sad and
I well remember one little shady face, which
I saw years and years ago. It was a little face,
and very white; and it was always looking out
of the middle pane of glass, in the lowest row,
in the window-sash, as I passed by the miserable
house where I knew a drunkard lived. The
more I saw the little face at the window, the more
interested I became in it; and at last I ventured
SHADY. FACES. 21
to knock at the door, hoping thus to get ac-
quainted with the child.
A sorrowful-looking woman opened the door;
and in reply to her look of surprise at seeing a
stranger, I explained my intrusion by saying,
that I had seen her child so often at the window,
I felt anxious to have a little talk with him.
She seemed pleased at this; and said, while
tears gathered in her eyes,-" You are very kind
indeed, madam. Poor little Jemmy has a weary
time of it, sitting there by the window all the
day long, and lying bolstered up in his bed at
night. He is a helpless cripple, poor little fel-
low, and has been for three years. He will
never walk again."
By the time she had finished saying this, I was
weeping too; and as I looked at the suffering
child, I did not wonder that his heart was sad and
his face always shadowed, for sure it was a pitiful
thing to be a cripple and a drunkard's child too.
I took a chair, and sat close beside the little
one. At first he seemed quite shy; but I soon
gained his confidence, so that he talked with me
freely. He seemed quite reconciled to his fate;
and, to my surprise, I found he was well-informed
on religious subjects. He could read in the
Bible, he said; and he repeated many comfort-
ing passages of Scripture. He knew the Lord's
Prayer too, and many beautiful hymns, some of
which he sang with great sweetness.
I found, upon conversing with the mother,
that she was a Christian, and then Jemmy's piety
was no longer a mystery to me; for I could well
understand how, when the poor woman had no-
thing in the wide world to love save Jesus and
her little cripple boy, she should try to lead him
hn the way to heaven.
As the days and weeks went by, I became well
acquainted with Jemmy; and the more I knew
of him, the better I loved him. His sweet face
was always shady-that is, it had a quiet, mourn-
ful look-except when he was talking of Jesus
end heaven. Then his eyes would grow bright,
and his face light up with such an angel look,
that I often fancied he could not be more beauti-
ful when he reached the happy place where he
longed to go. Little Jemmy's health was very
poor; for the disease from which he was suffer-
ing was an affection of the spine, which not only
made him a cripple, but threatened soon to ter-
minate his brief life on the earth. All through
the long sultry summer days he drooped sadly;
and when the autumn came, the doctor said the
child must die. Then Jemmy was very happy.
He was not afraid of death; and when talked to
on the subject he would often say, I sometimes
think I would like to live to comfort mother;
but it is better that I should go, or Jesus would
not call me."
The week before his death, he said many times,
" There are no little lame boys in heaven ;-" and
when at last his change came, it was painless and
very peaceful. The glory that shone down for
a moment upon his white face left its impress
there, and the shadows which had rested upon it
so long departed for ever. Sweet Jemmy! I
have seen many shady faces since his was trans-
figured with the radiance of heaven, but none
which ever interested or profited me more.
Another little face I used to see every Sunday
in the church and at the Sabbath school. It
belonged to a little girl who was always dressed
in deep mourning; and my heart went out to
her, with a strange love and pity, even before I
learned her history.. Little Effie was an orphan,
fatherless and motherless; and she lived with a
maiden aunt, whose bitter life-experiences had
turned the once sweet fountains of her soul into
wormwood and gall. Is it any wonder, then,
that Effie's face was shady, and her little heart
sad and lonely ? She had no natural relative to
love her; and although Aunt Betsy was kind to
her in her way, the poor little thing missed more
and more the tenderilove of which death had
robbed her, and there was always a dreamy, far-
reaching look in her sweet blue eyes, which
made it seem as though she was gazing out into
the spirit-land whither her loved ones had gone.
As little Effie grew in years, she grew in spiritual
grace and beauty; and when the roses of early
womanhood bloomed in her cheeks, I thought, as
many others did, that there was no lovelier girl
in all the world.
As Effie was an orphan, and Aunt Betsy was
not wealthy, it was necessary that the young girl
should do something toward supporting herself.
So she took a little school in a quiet country
village, where, in a very little time, all the
children learned to love her dearly, and the
grown-up people thought her a very model of
Christian grace and perfection. At least, I am
very sure the young minister thought so; for
he early sought and cultivated Effie's acquaint-
ance, and seemed never so happy as when in her
society. And Effie was happy too. The sha-
dows passed away from her heart and brow, and
the dreamy look went out from her eyes; while
her voice, always sweet, had a tenderer tone than
The good people of the little town looked on
all this, smiling and nodding their head approv-
ingly to one another; and it was a great day of
rejoicing among them when the minister led
Effie to the altar, and the solemn words were
said, What God hath joined together, let no
man put asunder." And now sweet Effie, the
minister's wife, is one of the happiest and most
useful women I know. She seeks constantly for
grace from on high; and in all she says and
does there is manifested an earnest desire to bless
or comfort somebody. The old rejoice when
their dull ears catch the sound of her lightly
tripping feet; the sad and sorrowing ones look
up and smile as she passes by, and the shady
faces all grow sunny in her presence; while
troops of little bright-eyed children gather lov-
ingly around, trying, in many artless ways, to
convince her of their affection. Ah, it is a beau-
tiful thing to live thus It is sweet to feel, as we
journey upward, that perhaps our influence and ex-
ample may be the means of leading others to the
light; and Iam sure the young minister's wife must
be very happy in her life of usefulness and honour.
Now once more, my dear little people, and I
shall have done with shady faces. There were
three of them-three little sorrowful faces-
gazing down into an open grave, where gentle
hands had just laid the coffined form of their
last earthly friend,-their mother. I saw them
but a little while ago; and my heart aches even
now, as in the glass of memory I look upon them
again. They were too young to understand the
mystery of death; and as they gazed wonderingly
at the weeping friends and the coffined form, they
did not realize their loss. Sweet babes! the
knowledge will come to them full soon; and they
will learn, by sad experience, what it is to be
motherless, as from day to day they miss the
-sweet voice and gentle smile that has ever made
sunshine along their pathway, and the loving
hands that have ministered to their comfort, and
smoothed all the rough places for their tender
But it is sweet to think how Jesus loves these
little orphan ones; and we know that he will
watch over and care for them. And though they
are separated widely now, we are comforted when
we think of them; for the kind people who have
adopted them will try to train them aright. So
at last the home circle, so sadly broken up on
earth, may be reunited in the better land, where
there are no shady faces, but every countenance
reflects the glory which emanates from the Son,
who is the light of the city of our God.
I wish there were no little people in the world,
with dark faces, or big people either; but there
are ever so many, and the sight is always pitiful.
Listen now while I tell you of one.
It was a long time before I could get a fair
sight of it. It would always dodge round a
corner, or bob down behind some box or barrel,
when I came near; and though I felt deeply in-
terested in the little boy who wore it, I began
to despair of getting a fair sight of it, when one
day a circumstance happened which brought the
dark face full and plain before me, and revealed
a little heart which was shut up in worse than
I was passing down the street one morning,
when, just as I reached the corner, I missed my
handkerchief, and turned to look for it in time
to see a ragged little urchin pick up something
white and hide it beneath his jacket. Feeling
confident that he had found my handkerchief, I
went back and asked him about it. The child
looked up to me with a brazen stare, just such a
look as I once saw on the face of a thief, which
gazed upon me through the iron bars of a state
prison; and he roundly denied finding anything.
If I had not seen him with my own eyes, I should
have taken his word. But I knew I could not
be mistaken; so, looking full into the dark face,
I said kindly,-
But, my little friend, you picked up
something white from the pavement, didn't
His great black eyes never winked, and the
expression of his face grew a shade darker as he
No, I didn't "
I stood for a moment, not knowing what to
do; and then, as a happy thought struck me, I
Don't you like to read pretty story-books ?"
No; I don't know how," replied the child,
turning on his heel as if to go away.
"Wait a minute, please," said I. If you
cannot read, you like to look at pictures, don't
"No; I don't care about them," said he,
But if I were to give you a nice book, with
beautiful pictures in it, what would you do ? "
The boy thought a moment, and then said,
with a coarse laugh, which grated harshly on my
ears and made my heart ache,-
"I think I'd sell it for a penny, and buy candy
and sugar-plums with it."
Then you like candy very much, don't you?"
"Well, I rather think I do," replied he.
And I like you better than you like candy,"
said I, earnestly.
The boy looked at me a moment with a comi-
cal expression on his face, and then broke out
into a boisterous laugh,-
"Ha, ha, ha! that's a good un! You like
me better than candy! Ke! ki! that's too
funny! Think you wouldn't like me if you
knew more about me! "
But why do you think I wouldn't like you
if I knew more about you ? "
Why," said the child, sobering down a little,
but still with a broad grin on his face, which
made it look very repulsive-" why, I'm the
meanest boy in town. I hate everybody, and
everybody hates me. I never had anybody to
like me in all my life."
"But your mother likes you, doesn't she ?"
No; I hain't got no mother. She died soon
after I was born."
"But your father-he must like you, I'm sure."
"I hain't got no father either. I never had
Poor child !" said I, pityingly. "Where do
you live ? Where is your home ?"
I don't live nowhere; I hain't got no home;
I just stay anywhere and everywhere,-and I
have a jolly time of it too," replied the little boy
But you would like to have a home, wouldn't
you ? Come, go along with me, and you shall
have a home, and friends to love you too," said
I, attempting to take his hand.
But, quick as a flash, the little fellow darted
away from me, and when at a safe distance, he
called out, No, you don't. That trick has been
played upon me before. You'll have to be pretty
sharp if you get me into the lock-up for stealing
your handkercher !" and putting his thumb to his
nose, he flourished his finger, and then ran off
down the street as fast as his feet could well
carry him. Poor child! Poor little fellow!
How my heart ached as I looked after him; and
I determined, if possible, to gain his confidence,
and try to see if something could not be done to
save him from the life of crime and degradation
upon which he had entered so early.
But though I sought him every day for a long
time, I did not see his little dark face again till
years afterward. Then he was in the hands of
the officers of the law, for picking a gentleman's
pocket at a railroad station, where I was waiting
to take the train. He had grown very much
since I last saw him, and the dark face was, if
possible, darker than ever; but I recognized it
the moment my eyes fell upon it. I longed to
go and speak a kind word to him; but the bell
rang, and I had to take my seat in the train
just as the officers led him away to the magis-
trates, where he no doubt had to suffer for his
As the noisy train dashed along the smooth
iron track my heart beat heavily, and before I
was aware of it, the tears were dropping down
my cheeks. A dear old lady with a sweet
Quaker face, half hidden by her quaint drab
bonnet, turned to me, and said, The dust has
got into thy eyes, I see. It is very disagree-
"Yes; the dust is very disagreeable," said I;
" but it is something worse than dust that makes
me cry now."
Ah," said the Quakeress, "I am sorry for
thee;" and there was a look on her face which
said plainly as words, It is sad to part from
the friends we love."
So it is, my dear children; but I never parted
from my loved ones with such a heavy, hopeless
sorrow in my heart as rested there for a long
time after the train had hurried me away from
the wicked lad who had so deeply touched my
sympathies. I often wonder what has become
of him; but as I do not know his name, I have
no clue by which to find his whereabouts; and
probably I shall never see his face again on
earth, though I do hope the Saviour will pity and
forgive him his sins, .so that at last I may behold
the dark face, radiant with angelic sunshine and
beauty, in the land of the redeemed.
Many more'dark faces I have seen; but I will
not sadden your young hearts by telling you
more about them now. I will only ask you
with me to look kindly and pityingly upon such
whenever and wherever you meet them. Do a
good and generous act, or speak a gentle, loving
word; and try, by your own Christian lives, to
win the little dark-faced wanderers into the
pathway of holiness. But above all, dear chil-
dren, remember to pray for them. There is
great power in prayer; and we have the blessed
assurance that God will always hear and answer
those who pray to him in the name of our
Saviour. Do not be content to go to heaven
alone, but try to take as many of your young
companions with you as you can; and with this
end in view, seek daily supplies of grace from
on high, that you may be enabled to walk
wisely and well till your earthly journey is over,
and your labours of love shall receive their
reward on high.
THERE are almost as many varieties of little
hands in the world as there are little faces, and
in their way they are quite as expressive too.
Let me see: there are the Blessed Hands, which
are always useful; the MJIi.crh i(vois Hands, that
are always getting into trouble; and several
other kinds, which I have not time to write
I have known many blessed hands, and some
of the incidents connected with them are very
beautiful. One pair of little, dainty, dimpled
things belonged to a little girl who was a
member of my Sabbath-school class several years
ago; and I first noticed them as they dropped
regularly each Sunday a contribution into the
missionary-box, to buy Bibles for the heathen
children. And when I became acquainted with
her mother, and used to call at her house, I
found, as I had suspected, that the little dimpled
Stands were really blessed hands. They flitted
about here and there, putting the furniture to
rights, dusting, sweeping, laying the cloth for
dinner, watering the pretty flowers in the front
garden, and training the white and blue convolv-
uiluses over the low cottage-door. Besides all
this, the blessed hands found time to smooth
poor blind grandpapa's white hair, and caress
the sad wrinkles away from his faded cheeks and
Blessed hands and sunny faces almost always
go together; so, of course, Amy Hill's face was
radiant from morning till night with the sweet,
happy thoughts that had kept coming and going
in her heart. I well remember when I was ill
once, and had to be shut up in a darkened room,
how, regularly as the sun rose, she would come
every morning, bringing in those blessed hands
a little nosegay of fresh flowers, with the dew
still sparkling on them; and it often seemed to
me that her bright face really lighted up the
room. There was no good or beautiful thing
that those blessed hands did not strive to cto.
They led the little children in pleasant places;
they assisted mother about the household duties;
they made dear grandpapa's heart grow glad
again with the gentle caressing, and they
smoothed the pillow beneath the fevered cheek
of the invalid; they sowed little garments for
poor children; they sent money to buy God's
blessed Book for heathen lands; and ever at
morning and evening the two little rosy palms
were joined together in humble prayer. Oh,
those little hands, how we loved them And
for a long time they blessed everybody with
their kindly offices. Then one evening, just as
the sun was setting, and a Sabbath hush was in
the air, we folded them gently together over a
pulseless bosom, while our tears fell like April
How beautiful those little hands were in their
waxen whiteness, with sweet dimples marking
every joint on the tiny fingers! I stood gazing
upon them a long, long time, thinking how well
they had fulfilled their earthly mission; then,
as I stooped to kiss them, I noticed for the first
time a little brown spot on the tip of the fore-
finger of the left hand. As I looked more closely
to see what had caused it, I discovered that it
was the result of her industry in sewing for poor
children. The constant pricking of the needle
had left its mark ; and as the great tears blinded
my eyes, I thought that little brown spot was
like a precious jewel, adorning the little hand
far more than the most costly gem of earth
could have done. And though it was sad to
think they were folded for ever on the earth, we
knew that in heaven they were making sweet
melodies on the harp of gold, and in our mourn-
ing we were comforted. We missed those
blessed .hands a long time, and we miss them
now, every day and everywhere. The bereaved
mother goes about her household duties, and no
little hands lighten the toil for her; grandpapa
sits in the sunshine just as he used to do, but
the tiny palms that fell so lightly upon his silvery
hair come not to bless him again with their
gentle caressing; and all the little children in
the neighbourhood step lightly and speak low
whenever they think of the little hand that used
to guide them, now so cold and still beneath the
grave-sods. Now I have tried to tell you about
these blessed hands; but all their good and use-
ful deeds will never be known by any one on
earth, but God knows them all.
I knew another pair of blessed hands too, of
which I will tell you. The child to whom they
belonged was Norah Lee, a drunkard's daughter.
Poor little Norah! hers, was a shady face; for
though young in years, she was old in sorrow.
Her mother had been dead a long time, and her
father was an intemperate man, so poor little
Norah had many burdens and trials to bear.
She took the entire charge of Mary and Tommy.
She kept the poor old house as neat and com-
fortable as possible, cooked when she had any-
thing to cook, washed, ironed, and mended the
children's clothes, until, though., only twelve
years old, her little hands grew hard and red,
like those of a grown-up toiling woman. Many
a time, in cold and stormy nights, Norah would
go to the low spirit-shops and search until slTe
found her father, when those little hands would
lead him home and minister to his comfort. So
the time passed, till one day in mid-winier, when
the drunkard started for home at a late hour,
more than usually intoxicated. Norah watched
for him until the shades of evening began to
gather, and then she went out, as she had so
many times before, to seek him. She had gone
nearly half a mile, when a dark object, half
buried in the snow, attracted her attention. She
looked toward it a moment, and then was
about to pass on, thinking it was some animal,
when an indefinable feeling caused her to
approach it, and she found, to her dismay, that
it was her own father. At first she was greatly
terrified, for she thought he was dead; but when
she put her hand to his heart she felt it beating,
and hurried away as fast as she could to procure
help to carry him home.
After some little trouble she found a man
with a cart, who kindly offered his services, and
in -a short time Norah had the satisfaction of
seeing her senseless father laid upon the bed,
where he had lain so many times before, in the
same deep drunkard's sleep. Then those little
hands set about making him comfortable. They
made the pillows smooth beneath his head;
they tucked up the scanty bed-clothes all nice
and warm, and chafed the cold face and stiff
limbs until they resumed their natural heat
again. Then, with a sad sigh, the little girl
knelt by the bedside, and putting her two little
weary hands together, besought the blessed
Saviour to pity and forgive her erring parent,
and make him good and kind as he used to be
before he learned to love the intoxicating bowl.
Next morning Norah rose early and prepared
the coarse and scanty meal; then she went to
awaken her father; but though she tried ever so
hard, she could not arouse him. He breathed
very heavily, and his eyes glared half open,
while his face and hands were burning hot.
Norah was frightened to see him in such a
strange condition, and as soon as she had given
Mary and Tommy their breakfast, she set out to
find the doctor. The good physician readily
accompanied the child to her father; and when
he had examined his symptoms, he said that he
had a bad fever, and would need much care, or
he never would get well.
The poor man was ill a long time; and
though the- neighbours took pity on him, and
came to help to nurse him, it wa3 Norah's two
little hands that gave him his medicine, and held
the cooling draught to his parched lips. They
bathed his throbbing brow, and smoothed the
pillow to make it lie soft beneath his aching
head; they drew the curtains at the window,
so that the light might not shine too strongly
in his eyes; and were ever flitting about, trying
to make him easy and comfortable. And when
the doctor pronounced the invalid out of danger,
and said he would get well again, those two
little blessed hands were clasped in grateful
All through the weary days of Robert Lee's
convalescence he had nothing to do but sit and
watch the children and think; and his thoughts
seemed to have a great effect upon him, for he
often looked very sober; and sometimes Norah
fancied he was weeping, for he would turn his
face to the wall and sob like a little child.
But he said nothing to Norah, except to thank
her when she waited upon him, till one day he
called her to his bedside, and looking up in her
face, said earnestly, Tell me, Norah, why you
are so kind to me."
"Because you are my father, and I love you,"
replied the child quickly.
But why do you love me, Norah ? I have
been very unkind to you."
Mother told me, just before she died, to love
you and be kind to you, and maybe-"
"Maybe what, Norah ?"
"Maybe -maybe you would stop drinking
some day, and be good and kind to us as you
used to be years ago," said the little child,
bursting into tears.
The sick man wept too ; and taking the little
weary red hands in his own, he held them closely
to his bosom, as he said,-
"There, don't cry any more, darling. You
shall be rewarded, if I live, for your kindness
and long-suffering. I will sign the pledge, and,
by the grace of God, I will never, never drink
And Robert Lee was as good as his word;
for with returning strength and health he went
out into the world a reformed man. He went
to work at his trade again, and in a little while
many articles of comfort and convenience made
the old house look cozy and home-like.
Five years have gone by, and, still faithful to
his pledge, Robert Lee is a sober working-man.
He lives in a neat white cottage, and Norah, who
has grown to be a beautiful young woman, is his
housekeeper, while Mary and Tommy are as
happy as it is possible for little children to be.
Everything in the little cottage and around it
seems to show the touch of Norah's blessed
hands; and always when I look upon them,
though they are not very white or small, I think
how they led her father up from a life of sin and
degradation, and they grow wondrously beauti-
ful in my eyes.
How many of my little readers have blessed
hands ? How many of them have little hands
that seek diligently and perform gladly when-
ever an opportunity for doing good presents
itself? Ah, I hope you will think of this
matter seriously, and that in time all your hands
may become like those I have told you of.
Now for the mischievous hands the little,
roguish things that flit about all the day long,
doing lots of thoughtless, funny things, and very
often getting their owners into serious trouble.
I have known so many of them, that I have
learned to be quite patient with them, though,
maybe, you will wonder how I could be, when I
tell you about a pair that belonged to a blue-
eyed, curly-headed little nephew of mine. He
was a good-hearted little boy, brimful of mirth
and fun, and he went headlong into all sorts of
mischief, and whatever his little hands found to
do he was sure to do with his might. He would
breathe on the window-panes, and cover them
all over with hieroglyphics; turn the chairs
down and harness them for horses; put the
ottomans in the fireplace or on the table, as the
fit happened to take him; build houses in the
middle of the floor out of the nice books on the
centre-table, and do very many other things
equally mischievous. Then he could not go into
the garden without his rosy thumbs and fingers
seeming to be magnetically attracted to every
pretty flower and all the green fruit in their
reach, and both fell helplessly before the ruth-
less attacks to which they were subjected.
One day we heard a terrible fluttering and
cackling from an old mother hen that was cooped
up in the back-yard, and on going to see what
was the matter, we found that every one of her
dear little chicks had mysteriously disappeared.
Much surprised, we began to search in the grass
and weeds; but not a chicken could we find, and
not even a peep" could we hear. Finally,
just as we were giving up the fruitless search, I
happened to go near an out-house, and heard that
mischievous little nephew of mine talking very
earnestly. I stopped and listened for a moment
to what he was saying :-
Now, you Bill, stay in your own corner;
and you, Sam, Lehave yourself. And all of
you be good chickens, or you'll get a whip-
Eep eep !" came faintly to my ears, and in
an instant the mysterious disappearance of the
chickens was accounted for. Throwing the
door wide open, I stood before the little rogue,
and trying to look very serious, I said, Why,
Ned, what are you doing with grandmamma's
chickens ?" I shall never forget the comical
expression of mingled mirth and fear as he re-
plied, in his sweet broken accents,-
"Why, Aunt Mary, I's jest teeping stool
Keeping school with chickens! who ever
heard of such a thing ?" said I; and it was im-
possible to repress the laugh that was struggling
to escape my lips. I took the snow-white brood,
which he had securely stowed in a little box, and
carried them back to the old hen, which set her
fluttering and cackling with the wildest delight;
and then the little rogue, who had caused all the
disturbance, received a serious lecture from
grandmamma, which made him promise to be a
good boy in future, and never try to keep school
with the chickens again.
The next day after this exploit Ned was
making a terrible racket in the parlour-laugh-
ing, hallooing, and kicking up his heels, much,
I imagine, in the style that the little Indian
boys do in the wild wigwams in America. My
sister was not well; but she bore the noise some
time, and then said gently,-
Neddy, dear, please be a little more quiet,
for your noise makes mamma's head ache."
Now, Ned had a very sympathetic heart; and
he sat down in a little chair, close by his mother,
and said he was sorry she was ill.
For about two minutes he kept quite still;
then he began to fidget about, and in less than
five minutes he rose to his feet. He stretched
himself up, put those two little hands on his
knees, and twisted his rosy face into a woe-be-
gone expression, which was ridiculous and laugh-
able in the extreme, and with a long-drawn
breath he exclaimed,-
0 dear 0 dear It makes your head ache
if I make any noise, but it makes my feet ache
terribly to teep them quiet! "
Such a laugh as followed this speech you can-
not well imagine. Grandmamma laughed very
heartily, and the mother forgot her headache for
a moment and laughed too, while I laughed till
the tears ran down my cheeks ; and Neddy, clap-
ping his tiny hands and shouting at the top of
his voice, completed the chorus.
Now, though Ned's hands were so prone to
mischief, they seldom did anything really serious.
But one day he espied an old man's snuff-box,
which had been left on the table when no one
was in the room. The mischievous hands grasped
it in a moment, and working patiently till the
aid flew open, that little fat forefinger and thumb
of the right hand began to convey the snuff to
his nose, when, with the very first hearty sniff,
his head hummed like a top, and he sneezed
most alarmingly. Of course he dropped the box
on the floor, and began to rub his nose; and in
this way his eyes were soon full of the smarting
powder, and he screamed loudly with pain and
When we ran up to the room, we found the
poor little fellow rolling upon the floor in great
agony; and though we tried by every means in
our power to relieve his suffering, it was many
hours before he became easy enough to go to
We tried to find out how the accident hap-
pened to him; but all the poor child could say
between h~s sobs was, Uncle do so; Neddy do
so!" and when he dropped off to sleep at last,
we pitied him far more than we blamed; and
Uncle James was much vexed as he looked upon
the scarlet face and swollen eyes of our little pet
and darling, blaming himself as the cause of all
the trouble; for," said he, if I hadn't left the
snuff-box in his way, it would not have hap-
It was a very long time before Neddy's eyes
got well. For a while we were afraid the in-
flammation would seriously impair his sight; and
when he did get well, the serious lesson he had
received had a salutary effect upon his hands,
and they, if not less mischievous, were less med-
dlesome than before. Several years have passed
since this happened, and Ned has grown to be a
very good little boy, for he prays to the Saviour
to help him to do right; but he does not forget,
and often speaks of, his first practice in the art
of snuff-taking, and thinks he shall never try it
again in all his life.
I have known many other mischievous hands
in my day-little hands that could not rest, save
when their owners were fast asleep. But I will
only tell you of those which belonged to Kitty
Merry. Like Lily Bright, she was well named,
for in disposition and character she was wild and
sprightly as a half-tame pussy cat; and, in fact,
as her grandpapa used to say, She was a true
Miss Kitty was up with the lark in the sum-
mer mornings, and she would take such wild
races over the lawn that they made her eyes
sparkle and put roses in her cheeks, and gave her
an excellent appetite for breakfast; and as soon
as that important meal was over, she was ready
for the fun and frolic of the day. She made fun
of everything and for everybody, and was so in-
nocent and light-hearted with it all, that her
friends seldom found it in their hearts to chide
her. But sometimes, like all mischievous hands,
hers would do some things which were unplea-
sant and disagreeable to others, though for the
moment they made fun for her.
For instance, she was very apt to hide grand-
papa's spectacles and cane; and when he slept
in his easy-chair, as he was wont to do in the
middle of the long summer days, those little
naughty hands were sure to hunt up a feather or
straw, with which to tickle his nose and ears.
Now, Kitty did not mean any harm ; but though
it was funny for her to see him wink, twist his
face, and sometimes slap his nose and ears, say-
ing, Shu! get away!" thinking it was a
naughty fly that troubled him, it was very un-
pleasant to the tired old man; and if the little
girl had realized how much he needed the rest
he was seeking, I am quite sure she would not
have disturbed him so.
As the years went by, Kitty grew wiser and
better; and when she gave her heart to the
Saviour, those little mischievous hands became
blessed hands, and were quite as active in doing
good as they had been in doing mischief before;
and to this day, though she is a light-hearted,
cheerful girl, her hands never do a thing which
can possibly give others pain.
Now, if any of my young readers are troubled
with this kind of hands, I hope they will profit
by Kitty Merry's example; for though I like fun
and frolic as well as anybody in the world, and
rejoice to see the little people's hearts overflowing
with innocent mirth, it always grieves me to
see little hands doing thoughtless things which
may give pain even to the least of our heavenly
Or words, a sweet writer has said: Fitly spoken,
they fall like the sunshine, the dew, and the fer-
tilizing rain; but unfitly, like the frost, the hail,
and the desolating tempest: and we wield these
little things with such ease, we are apt to forget
their hidden power."
So it is, my dear children; little words, when
spoken kindly, have power to bless all who hear
them; but when they are harsh and bitter, they
always fall upon the fair garden of the heart like
the frost and hailstones, chilling and blighting
the sweet flowers that blossom there. Then,-
"Speak gently ; it is better far
To rule by love than fear:
Speak gently; let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here."
Little, loving words! 0 how sweetly they
fall upon our ears amid the jarring confusion
and discord of life! How they make us forget
for a moment the cares and sorrows which op-
press us, and turn our thoughts to purer and bet-
ter things! I never hear a gentle, loving word,
but my heart thrills and softens under it, and I
involuntarily thank our heavenly Father that he
has put such a blessed key-note in the voice of
humanity. I could tell you many beautiful
stories about the effects of loving words, but I
have time only to repeat one or two; so I will
select some of the best for you.
A little girl was passing along the street one
frosty morning, when just a little way before her
she saw a man fall upon the pavement. She ran
to him, and with her two little blessed hands
raised his head, while her little sunny face re-
flected a light far sweeter than that of a May-
day sky, and she spoke in a gentle, loving tone,-
.DU LOVING WORDS.
"Poor man! poor man! did you hurt your-
self much ? Oh, I am so sorry you fell!"
Now, the man was a day labourer, and par-
tially intoxicated; but the tone of sympathy and
unaffected kindness of the little girl touched his
heart, and wakened there an almost forgotten
memory which filled his eyes with tears. Years
before, he had been blessed with a little girl,
whose loving voice made music for him all the
day long; but she had been taught by a good
mother-she was a Christian child-and she had
passed away from earth to heaven. For a long
time after Lucy died, the memory of her sweet-
ness and goodness kept the father from giving
way to his evil appetites and passions. But
gradually, as the time went by, these memories
faded; and at last he grew bold in wickedness,
and when he fell, he was just staggering home
.after a night spent in drunkenness.
Raising himself to his feet, the man found
that he was not so much hurt, and he told the
Oh, I am so glad !" exclaimed she; I am
so glad! I was afraid you were badly hurt, you
fell so hard !"
The bad man looked at the little innocent
thing before him for a moment, and then began
to cry. Jane did not know what to make of
this, as he said he was not hurt; so she asked
him, tenderly, why he wept. Choking down his
sobs, he replied,-
I had a little girl once. She did not look
much like you, but her voice was just the same;
and when you speak, it seems as though my own
sweet Lucy was speaking to me from the grave.
I have not heard kind and gentle words before
since she died."
Jane's eyes were full of tears, and, taking hold
of the man's hard, rough hand, she said: If I
knew where to find you, I would come and speak
kind words to you every day."
Thank you! thank you, little one! It will
make a better man of me, I am sure. You will
find me every day, at ten o'clock, in the new
house that is building in Market Street; and
you will not forget to come, will you ?"
Jane promised that she would not, and went
on her way with a quiet joy in her heart; while
the poor man walked along with those gentle,
loving words ringing sweetly in his dull ears.
Every day, after this adventure, Jane would
go round to the new building, and say a few
bright, pleasant words to the man whose acquaint-
ance she had formed in such a strange manner.
And sometimes she would sing him a little song
about the angels and heaven, or read to him from
some good book. Time passed, and the gentle)
loving words fulfilled their mission; for the bad
man became thoroughly reformed under their
heavenly influence, and ever after led an upright
and virtuous life.
A friend told me a beautiful story not long
ago about kind words, and I am sure .you will
like to hear it. A good lady living in one of
our large cities, was passing a drinking-saloon
just as the brutal keeper was thrusting a young
man out into the street. He was very young
and very pale; but his haggard face and wild
eyes told that he was very far gone in the road
to ruin, as with horrid oaths he brandished his
clenched fists, swearing that he would be re-
venged upon the man who had so ill-used him.
The poor young man was so excited and blinded
with passion that he did not see the lady, who
stood very near to him, until she laid her hand
upon his arm, and spoke in her gentle, loving
voice, asking him what was the matter.
At the first kind word the young man started
as though a heavy blow had struck him, and
turned quickly round, paler than before, and
trembling from head to foot. 'He surveyed the
lady for a moment, arid then, with a sigh of re-
lief, he said,-
"I thought it was my mother's voice, it sounded
so strangely like it! But her voice has been
hushed in death for many years."
"You had a mother, then," said the lady,
" and she loved you ? "
With that sudden revulsion of feeling which
often comes to people of fine nervous tempera-
ments, the young man burst into tears, sobbing
out, Oh yes; I had an angel mother, and she
loved her boy! But since she died, all the
world has been against me; and I am lost, lost!
-lost to good society, lost to honour, lost to
decency, and lost for ever !"
No, not lost for ever; for God is merciful, and
his pitying love can reach the chief of sinners," said
the lady, in her low, sweet voice; and the timely
words swept the hidden chords of feeling which
had been untouched in the young man's heart so
long, thrilling it with magic power, and wakening
a host of tender emotions, which had been buried
very deep beneath the rubbish of sin and crime.
More gentle words the lady spoke; and when
she passed on her way, the young man followed
her. He marked the house where she entered,
and wrote the name which was on the silver
door-plate in his little memorandum-book. Then
he walked slowly away, with a deep, earnest look
on his white face, and deeper, more earnest feel-
ings in his aching heart.
Years glided by, and the gentle lady had quite
forgotten the incident we have related, when one
day a stranger sent up his card, and desired to
speak with her.
Wondering much who it could be, she went
down to the parlour, where she found a noble-
looking, well-dressed man, who rose deferentially
to meet her. Holding out his hand, he said,-
Pardon me, madam, for this intrusion; but
I have come many miles to thank you for the
great service you rendered me a few years ago,"
said he, in a trembling voice.
The lady was puzzled, and asked for an ex-
planation, as she did not remember ever having
seen the gentleman before.
I have changed so much," said the man,
" that you have quite forgotten me; but though
I only saw your face once, I am sure I should
have recognized it anywhere; and your voice too>
-it is so like my mother's !"
These last words made the lady remember the
poor young man she had kindly spoken to in
front of the drinking-saloon so long before, and
she mingled her tears with those which were
falling slowly over the man's cheeks.
After the first gush of emotion had subsided,
the gentleman sat down and told the lady how
-those few c.iut'oc words had saved him, and
been instrumental in making him what he then
The earnest expression of 'No, not lost for
ever,' followed me wherever I went," said he;
" and it always seemed that it was the voice of
my mother speaking to me from the tomb. I re-
pented of my many transgressions, and resolved
to live as Jesus and my mother would be pleased
to have me; and by the mercy and grace of God
I have been enabled to resist temptation and keep
my good resolutions."
Thank God !" exclaimed the lady; c" I
never dreamed there was such hidden power in a
few kind words before; and surely ever after
this I shall take more pains to speak them to all
the sad and suffering ones I meet in the walks of
Many more sweet things I could tell you of
the power of gentle, loving words; but these two
stories are sufficient to show you how much bet-
ter it is to speak kindly to the erring than to
look coldly upon them, and pass by in silence on
the other side of the way. Then speak such
words, my little ones, at all times and in all
places. Speak them in the house, for they will
fill it with music; speak them in the fields, for
they will chime in sweetly with the glad songs
of the little birds; speak them on the street, in
the byways, and everywhere; speak them to little
children, for, catching their spirit, they will be
gentle and good under their influence; speak
them to the middle-aged, it will make them for-
get for a while the crushing cares and bitter
trials of life ; speak them very, very tenderly to
those whose forms are bowed and tottering, and
whose hairs are white with the frosts of many
years, for it will lead their weary hearts back
again through the dim aisles of memory, until,
in imagination, they rest once more in the happy
valley of childhood.
But, above all, have gentle, loving words for
those who walk in darkness and sorrow ; for
eternity alone may tell the number of sinners
that have been led to God, the number of aching
hearts that have been comforted, and the many
weary ones that have been cheered on in their
upward journey, by little, loving words."
Ugh! my ears tingle, and a quivering sensa-
tion thrills along every nerve, just to think of
them! How they cut, and sear, and lacerate
every heart upon which they fall! How they
drive the blessed sunshine and music out of life,
and make the place where they are spoken a per-
fect Babel of discord and confusion! How they
crush the pure and beautiful feelings out of the
soul, and sometimes prove the ruin, both for
time and eternity, of those who are subjected to
their blighting influence!
I knew a little boy once, with bright eyes and
sunny hair, that made him almost as beautiful as
an angel. When only four years old his mother
died, and he was left an orphan, with no one but
a vinegar-faced, wormwood-hearted old woman,
who was his mother's step-sister, to care for him.
The little one had never heard anything but
words of gentleness and affection till he went to
Aunt Jemima's house to live; and at first it
seemed as though he would cry himself to death,
the unkind words he heard there pained and ter-
rified him so. He tried very hard to be gentle
and good, as his sweet mother had taught him;
but, in spite of all his efforts, the wicked woman
would be sure to find something to blame him
for, and she kept it going from morning till
night, a perfect storm fret, fret, fret scold,
scold, scold !-till the poor little orphan grew
very weary of life, and in his childish simplicity
would kneel many times a day, and ask the
Saviour to take him to his mother in heaven.
The loving Saviour looked pityingly down
upon his little lamb, and mercifully heard his
petitions, and in less than a year the answer
came. When the child was first taken ill, Aunt
Jemima scolded harder than ever; but as he
grew worse, and the whisper went round that he
must die, her hard heart softened a little, and her
voice, though still nasal and shrill, was not so
harsh and loud as before.
It was a soft summer day, and the sun smiled
like a blessing over all the face of nature, when
the little orphan boy lay dying. He had been
senseless much of the time during his illness;
but when the last scene drew near, he looked
around, and the light of reason was in his eyes.
"Aunt Mima! Aunt Mima!" said he, reach-
ing up his little cold hands, take me in your
arms as mamma used to do, and call me a good
little boy just once before I die !"
With a great sob choking in her throat, the
woman lifted the frail form to her bosom, and
held it tenderly there; but she could not utter a
Just once, Aunt Mima !-speak kindly to me
just once!" pleaded the orphan boy; and with a
sudden burst of feeling which she could no longer
control, the woman bowed her head and sobbed
out, Poor little thing poor little thing !"
A look of joy swept over the baby face, a
smile wreathed the sweet lips, and the eyes
sparkled for a moment. Then a shadow, not
HARSH WORDS. 5 9
heavy and dark, but like the soft shadow which
would fall from an angel's wing, stole gently over
the delicate features, and, without a sigh or moan,
the pure spirit passed away to Him who gave it.
For a long time Aunt Jemima held the cold
form closely to her bosom, rocking herself to and
fro, and moaning piteously. She spoke gentle,
loving words, too, now; but the little ears could,
not heed them. She passed her hard hand ca-
ressingly over the golden curls, and pressed her
withered lips upon the marble white face again
and again. But the little heart that had so
pined for such tokens of affection thrilled not
with joy, for it was hushed in painless rest for
We wept when the little orphan boy was laid
in the grave; but, for one, I also rejoiced that
his little sensitive soul had gone where no harsh
words are ever heard, but every accent from angel
lips and angel harps is mingled love and melody.
Remember, my young friends, that real good
never follows the use of harsh and unkind words,
and as you journey through life ever seek that
grace which will restrain you from giving utter-
ance to them. If others speak harshly to you,
make a gentle reply; and if that does not subdue
them, go away from their society. Make haste!
run! as fast as ever your feet can carry you, till
60 LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
you get out where the birds are singing, the
grasshoppers chirping, and every little creature
seems trying, in his way, to speak cheerful, loving
LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
Little words of prayer, coming from the sweet
lips of early childhood, are the most blessed and
beautiful things in the world. I have heard of
a ship that was out in a terrible storm at sea.
The winds roared, the waves dashed mountain-
high, and as the noble ship was tossed about by
the fury of the tempest, it seemed as though it
would surely go down to destruction.
Every person on board was full of terror, and
some were weeping and praying, while the wicked
sailors were cursing and swearing, when suddenly
a man rushed on deck and shouted, Saved!
saved! we are saved! The ship will not go
down to-night! "
Those who heard his voice above the roar of
the storm clustered round him, and asked him
how he was able to bring them such joyful
Come and see for yourselves," said the man;
and he led the way to the cabin, where, in the
middle of the room, a little child was kneeling
with her hands clasped in prayer. There,
LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
look! exclaimed he; the ship will never go
down with such an angel on board "
And sure enough it did not, for in less than an
hour the voice of Him who holdeth the winds and
waves in his hand whispered, Peace, be still! "
to the warring elements, and the ship was rocked
upon the waves like a weary child on its mother's
I once knew two little motherless girls who
had a drunken father. They used to go to the
grave-yard every evening about sunset, and kneel-
ing beside the mound that marked their mother's
grave, pray together, as she had taught them.
One day their father, Peter Brown, became so
intoxicated before noon that he was obliged to
leave his work. He set out for home, and stag-
gered along until he came to the grave-yard,
when, not knowing where he was, he lay down
in a corner of the fence, within a few feet of his
wife's grave, which was just on the other side.
Hours passed. Still the drunkard slept in deep
unconsciousness, and it was not till near sunset
that he awoke. He stretched his bloated form,
rubbed his swollen eyes, and finally raised him-
self upon his elbow and looked around. A chill of
horror crept over him as he began to realize where
he was, and he was just going to get up when the
sound of children's voices arrested his attention.
62 LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
He listened, and lo! the little ones were pray-
ing; and peeping through the fence, the aston-
ished father beheld his own suffering children,
kneeling by their mother's grave with clasped
hands and streaming eyes.
Give us this day our daily bread,' 0 Lord!
for father is gone, and we are very hungry!"
sobbed the eldest, and the little one repeated the
pitiful words in her broken baby accents so sadly,
that the father burst into tears and bowed his
head upon his bosom.
"Now, let's pray for father, for maybe he is
ill or dead, he stays away so long!" said the
eldest; and she went on, making a most touching
and exquisitely beautiful prayer, every word of
which her younger sister repeated after her.
The drunkard listened a few moments, and
then, crawling away from the place, he hurried
home as fast as he could, feeling more ashamed
and penitent than he had ever felt before in his
life. Ah! those little words of prayer had
touched the hidden spring in the poor man's soul,
which set him thinking in a way he had never
done before, and as he paced the little floor he
cried aloud,-" Lord be merciful to me a sinner!"
When the excitement of his feelings haa some-
what subsided, Peter Brown looked around the
room. It was neat and clean as little blessed
LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
hands could make it, but destitute of every article
of comfort and convenience. He peeped into the
cupboard, and not a morsel of food was there.
"' Give us this day our daily bread,' 0 Lord!
for father is gone, and we are very hungry! "
smote upon his heart, and rushing into the street,
he ran along like a crazy man until he reached
the little baker's shop at the corner, where, with
the few pennies he had left in his pocket, he
bought a loaf of bread, and hurried back again
as fast as he could. Placing the nice white loaf
in the middle of the table, he hid himself behind
the door as he heard the children coming, to see
what they would do.
It was not yet dark, so the hungry little ones
readily espied the bread, and clapping their hands
for joy, they made the little room ring as it had
not done before for a long time, with their ex-
clamations of delight. Then sitting down, they
broke nice large pieces off the loaf, and began to
eat as fast as they could!
Oh, isn't it nice! exclaimed Maggie, who
was the eldest. "I wonder where it came from,
and who brought it! "
I tink I know lisped baby Ellen. "It
tome from hebben, and Dod sent a dood angel
Peter Brown could suppress his emotion no
64 LITTLE WORDS OF PRAYER.
longer, but sprang forward, and folded them both
to his bosom, while, amid sobs and tears, he told
them how he had brought the bread, and he was
going to give them food to eat every day.
The children wondered much at the great
change which had so suddenly come over their
father; but not till years afterward did they
know it was their little words of prayer that
had been the means, through the grace of God,
of saving him.
Oh, little words of prayer are ever beautiful
and blessed, and never, never earnestly uttered
in vain! Jesus loves, and the angels rejoice
over, praying children; and when death comes
they are always safely gathered into the heavenly
Now, my kind and patient readers, I must bid
you good-bye for this time; and it is my prayer
that you may all profit by the Little Things "
1 have written in this book for my best friends,
" The Little People."
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