A WINTRY WALK
.A. ": k- I
WHOSE IS THE VICTORY?
,A ~ale for the Ijoung.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. A WINTRY WALK, ... ... ... .. ... ... 7
II. A DISCOVERY, ... ... ... ... ... ... 16
III. EVENING CONVERSATION, ... ... ... ... ... s3
IV. THE BEAUTIFUL MORNINGO.... ... ... ... ... 44
V. SUDDEN CALAMITY, ... ... ......... .. ... 52
VI. THE SAD EVENING, ... ... ... ... ... ... 62
VII. THE INTERVIEW, ...... ...... ... ... 76
VIII. THE PARTING, ... ... ... ... ... ... 94
IX. GIFTS AND LETTERS, ... ... ... ... ... 102
X. THE SCHOOL-FRIEND, ... ... ... ... ... 115
XI. THE OLD ENEMY, ... ... ... .. ... ... 125
XII. THE RIDE, ... .. ... ..... .. ... 138
XIII. THE INVALID, ... ... ... ... .... .. 149
XIV. A NEW GUEST, ... ... ... ... ... .. 159
XT. CONCLUSION, .. .... ... ... .... .. ... 167
A WINTRY WALK.
was a bitter cold winter morning.
The snow lay piled in huge masses
round a little brown house which
stood quite by itself near the top of a hill.
All around it, and below in the valley, far as
the eye .could reach, lay the pure, white snow,
glittering in the morning sun. It was very
fair to look upon,-this wide-spreading pic-
ture, so stainless, so dazzlingly white; but
little Tom Tracy thought more of the stinging
cold than of the beautiful landscape. His cap
was tied under his chin, his jacket buttoned
tightly round him, and his mittens drawn as
5 A WINTRY WALK.
far as possible over the hands which had out-
Thus arrayed, Tom trudged cheerily down
the hill, drawing his little sled after him, and
whistling a merry tune.
Tom's mother was a widow, who main-
tained herself and two children by her own
industry; and you may be sure she had to
turn her hands to all kinds of work. Some-
times she spun stocking-yarn for the farmers'
wives, sometimes knit their stockings and
mittens, sometimes did plain sewing; and, as
often as she could procure it, she took in
washing from the people of the village. In
summer this afforded her quite an income; for
Rockfield was such a pretty little town, lying
so high up among the hills, with such pure,
fresh air always sweeping over it, that people
from the city liked to come there for a few
weeks, bringing their children and nurses.
And when they asked, (as they were sure to
do), "Is there anybody here who can do fine
washing and ironing nicely ? the answer
"Yes; there's the widow Tracy does it
beautifully; nobody ever found fault with her
A WINTRY WALK.
washing. She lives about a mile of, up on
Brier Hill; but her boy will come and get the
clothes, and bring them home for you."
This year, one family belonging to the
village had employed Mrs. Tracy to wash for
them through the winter,-which she consid-
ered a great favour; and when Tom went
down the hill that cold morning, he had the
basket of clothes tied on his cart. He was
going to school, but must first carry the basket
to Dr. Wilson's,-though it was considerably
more than a mile out of his way.
How the cold nipped Tom's nose as he
went on! How it froze the breath in his
nostrils, and pinched his ears and fingers and
toes, till he could hardly tell whether he had
any or not
We can fancy Tom saying to himself,
"Well, this is a pretty rough morning, I
declare! I wouldn't care if I was going
straight over to the school-house; but then
mother wants the money bad enough. A
whole month's pay is coming now: it's
four shillings and sixpence exactly: that will
help on wonderfully. We can get wood
and coals now; for there's ten shillings laid
10 A WINTRY WALK.
up already. How I should like a pair of boots
like John Jones's !-these old shoes are
patched so. I don't much wonder the boys
laugh at them; though it always makes me
angry. I don't care if I am poor; I won't be
insulted by anybody,-that's what I won't! "
And he clenched his chilled fist as well as he
could, and a gush of warm blood came to his
cheeks, as he said it.
There was no house upon the road for more
than half a mile. The snow had blown in
badly on the side-hill, and there was very
little of a path : so Tom had to exert himself
to draw his cart and basket safely through
the drifts. The first house he came to was a
large, square one, where the richest man in
town lived,-Colonel Moses "Blake. Tom had
never been inside of this house, but he had
peeped in at the open door as he passed by in
summer, and had thought, How very elegant
it looks in there How I should like to live
in such a house !" This morning, he never
turned to look, till he heard some one calling
out, Hallo, boy I want to see you."
Tom looked up, and saw Colonel Blake
himself, standing at the side-door. Leaving
A WINTRY WALK.
his cart in the road, Tom went up the walk
in the back yard, and stopped respectfully.
"Can you do an errand for me this morn-
"Yes, sir, if there is time before school
"I want to send a bundle over to Mr. Parker.
You can go over and back in little more than
an hour. I will give you a shilling if you
will take it over."
Tom's eyes glistened. A shilling,-a whole
shilling What a mint of money it seemed
to him! He never had had more than a
penny or two for doing an errand in his whole
life,-seldom more than two or three.
I think I can do it, sir," he answered.
"This bundle is to go by railway," said
the colonel, coming out with a large package
in his hand. "Mr. Parker is going over to
Anderton to-day, and will take it to the
booking-office there. But stop: I must send
some money to pay the carriage : two or
three shillings it will be, I suppose. You
are an honest lad?" he asked, peering keenly
into Tom's face over his gold-bowed spec-
A WINTRY WALK.
There was something in Colonel Blake's
tone which roused Tom's indignation; but
Colonel Blake was the great man of the
village, and Tom stood in such awe of him
that he only said, "Yes, sir," with a tone of
proud defiance in his voice.
Giving another sharp glance at the boy,
Colonel Blake took a five shilling piece from
his purse and gave it to him, saying, "Mind
you bring back the change all right."
Tom could not reply. He felt himself in-
sulted by the bare supposition of his not doing
it, and, after repeated injunctions from the
colonel to give it to Mr. Parker himself, he
took the bundle and went very quickly out of
Fortunately the way to Mr. Parker's was
directly by Doctor Wilson's; so he had only
to go on as fast as he could.
Now, if I were a great rich man like
Colonel Blake," he might have said to himself
as he went down the hill, I wouldn't treat a
poor boy like that. I wouldn't take it for
granted he was going to cheat me. I think I
am as honest as he is any day, or anybody
else!" And Tom's heart glowed with honest
A WINTRY WALK.
pride as he thought how good his dear mother
was, though she was poor.
Then his thoughts turned towards the
shilling which was to be his. "Anyhow, the
old gentleman isn't mean," he thought. "He
pays a good price for doing a job."
To be sure, it was two miles to Mr. Par-
ker's, over a very drifted road, and Tom's
going would save harnessing the horse
into the gig, as well as a cold ride that
bitter morning, and James (the colonel's man-
of-all-work) was just then too ill to leave the
house; so that he would probably have been
glad to pay five times that sum instead of
going over himself. But all this made it not
less a prize to Tom, who now struggled
bravely up a long hill, often plunging above
his knees into the deep drifts.
It was a comfort to reach Dr. Wilson's
door and carry the basket into the clean warm
Why, here comes Tom, I declare!" said
Mrs. Wilson. "I didn't think you would
venture over this cold, blustering morning.
I am sure you must be half frozen, poor
14 A WINTRY WALK.
Tom's fingers and toes ached some as the
fire began to warm them; but he forgot all
this, and his eyes glistened with delight, as
good Mrs. Wilson brought him a large bun
and two great rosy-cheeked apples. He ate
the bun,-for his walk had made him hungry;
(when, indeed, was a boy ten years old not
hungry?)-but he put the apples in his
Being well warmed, Mrs. Wilson paid him
the money that was due for the washing,-
two silver florins, one sixpence, and two pennies.
His mother had given him her little bead
purse to carry it in, and into it he had put
Colonel Blake's crown piece. He now took
this out to lay the silver pieces at the bottom,
and shutting the clasp, he put the purse into
his pocket and buttoned his coat very care-
fully over it. It made Tom feel quite old to
have so much money in his purse.
The warm room was very pleasant, but
Tom must be on his way; so he tied his cap
over his ears, and again sallied out, bravely
facing the piercing north wind, which had
been increasing since the early morning.
Many a young boy would have considered
A WINTRY WALK. 10
a shilling a poor compensation for such a cold,
hard walk as lay before Tom Tracy ; for now
that he had turned the corner, the wind blew
directly into his face, and the whole atmos-
phere being filled with particles of snow, it
drove them with blinding force into his face
and eyes. But did Tom, as he struggled on,
now and then turning his back to the wind to
get his breath, repent of his bargain ? No,
indeed,-not he. He was no coward, to
shrink from a little hardship. All his life he
had been accustomed to tax his strength to
the utmost; and these efforts had knit his
limbs firmly together and made his muscles
stout and strong, so that he could endure far
more than a lad more delicately nurtured. All
the way amid the driving blast and cutting
sleet, the thought of his mother's joy at the
sight of the shilling he should carry home lay
warm at his heart and kept his courage up.
On and on he forced his way, the snow
being deeper and the wind more blustering;
but he never had a thought of complaining of
his lot as a hard one. He was a boy made
of the metal which rings back sharp and true
when the test of endurance is applied.
T length, just as Tom's strength had
begun to flag, his stopping-place
came in sight. He might have
been mistaken for a small white bear, so
covered was he with snow. It had gathered
in every crease of his coat, and lay piled up
in funny little drifts on his shoulders, back,
and knees,-while a regular pyramid of snow
stood on his cap, and snow was frozen even
on his hair and eyelashes: so that, as he
rushed into Parker's shop, he was a little
hillock of moving snow.
"Hallo who comes here ? Why, Tom
Tracy, as I'm alive What on earth brought
you here this blustering day ?"
Tom laughed merrily as he shook the snow
off and produced his bundle.
I came to bring this bundle to you from
Colonel Blake. He wants it taken to the
railway office when you go over to Anderton.
He said you were going to-day."
"Why, yes, I did think of going ; but it's
such a terrible cold' day I had about given it
up. However, one would think I might ride
over there if you could get here afoot. Why,
Tom, you are quite a little hero !"
Just then Tom remembered the crown-piece,
and, going to the counter, said to Mr
Colonel Blake gave me five shillings to
pay the parcel, and said I might take the
change back to him."
It will be two shillings for a bundle of that
size," answered Mr. Parker; and, while Tom
was getting out his purse, he added, I think
I will go over to Anderton. It don't blow
so hard as it did, and the river-road won't be
much drifted. Then, Tom, you can jump in
and ride as far as the school-house with me."
This was joyful news ; and Tom thought,
What a lucky boy I am to-day !"
But all of a sudden his face changed, and
lie gave an exclamation which turned all eyes
on him. The crown-piece was not in his purse
18 A DISCOVERY.
No; he turned it inside out, and shook it, and
there was only the two florins, the sixpence,
and the two pennies. What could have be-
come of it ? How could it have got out?
He examined his pocket, took everything
out of it, turned that inside out, and shook
every part of his clothing, but could find
Tom was not so much of a hero but that his
courage now gave way, and great round tears
rolled down his face. All the people in the
place gathered around him. They all ques-
tioned him as to how he came by the money,
where he had put it, and where he had last
seen it ; and all seemed full of sympathy for
him in his trouble.
"Oh, what will Colonel Blake think?"
sobbed Tom. He told me to be sure and
bring the change back. Oh, what shall I
do ?-what shall I do ?"
But if you stopped at Dr. Wilson's, per-
haps you left it there."
"Oh, no, I didn't. I remember putting it
into my purse there."
Have you taken out your purse since?"
A DISCOVERY. 19
"Then it must be you left it there," said
the good-natured Mr. Parker. Cheer up,
my little fellow. Worrying never makes
"Yes, cheer up, and show yourself a hero
by bearing trouble bravely," said a young
man who happened to be present.
But I don't know what to do," cried Tom,
not feeling in the least heroic. "He will
think, perhaps, that I have taken it. Oh,
what shall I do ?"
I will tell you, my boy," said Mr. Parker.
"My horse is in the gig now, and we will
get in and ride over to the doctor's and see if
you didn't leave it there."
"Oh, thank you, sir," said the poor
boy,-a gleam of hope brightening his
They were soon in the gig, and, though
the wind still blew pretty sharply, they reached
Dr. Wilson's in comparative comfort. Tom
rushed into the house without waiting for
anything, and cried out,-
"Did I leave my crown-piece here ?"
"What crown-piece ?" asked the surprised
Mrs. Wilson; and when Tom had told his story,
she said she had seen nothing of it, and
thought it could not be there.
This was sad news for Tom. Oh," he
cried, the tears beginning to fall again, are
you sure it isn't here ? I know I had it when
I was here. I took it out of the purse to put
in the money you gave me at the bottom;
and then I thought I put it back again. I
never took my purse out again till I reached
Mr. Parker's, and then it was gone."
It was a strange story : yet, as Mrs. Wil-
son looked on the open, honest face of the
boy, she could not doubt the truth of it. Mr.
Parker had by this time come in, and search
was made in every part of the room for the
missing silver, but in vain. All were puzzled.
How could it have got lost on the way, if he
had not taken the purse out? and he was
positive he had not.
Another search was made, every article of
furniture examined, every table moved out,
every cushion shaken and turned ; but it all
proved equally unavailing; and again came
the question, What is to be done ?"
I am afraid Colonel Blake will be a little
hard on the boy," said Mr. Parker. "I had
rather it had been any other man in town:
he's such a strange man."
"Yes, he's peculiar, very,-but not, on the
whole, a bad man, I think; he gives away a
"I know it; but he never does it in a
pleasant way: he is always suspicious of
others, never feels any confidence in anybody,
and holds himself aloof, as if he was better
than the rest of the world."
Well, everybody has his faults," said good,
charitable Mrs. Wilson, who never could bear
to speak evil of anybody.
"I'll tell you what I'll do," said Mr.
Parker, after a little pause. I'll take Tom
over there in my gig, and settle the matter
the best way we can. It's a singular affair,
I must confess."
Mr. Parker was a good-natured man, who
had done many a kind act in the course of his
long life; but we doubt if he ever did one
that made the receiver more grateful than
Tom Tracy was at this moment. To have faced
Colonel Blake's stern eye alone without the
money, would have been terrible; and, though
his heart fluttered to think of doing it even
under the shelter of Mr. Parker's presence, he
felt greatly relieved, and tried to find words
to tell his friend how glad he was. But he
could not utter a syllable, and only the smile
which shone over his face through the tears,
like a sunbeam amid showers, revealed his
It was an uncomfortable ride over to
Colonel Blake's. For some time not a word
was spoken. Tom was busy thinking what
he should say, and what Colonel Blake would
think, and how distressed his mother would
be, and had little disposition to talk. He
remembered how indignant he felt an hour
ago at the bare suspicion of his honesty, and
now perhaps he would really be regarded as
a thief! It was very dreadful, and he began
to cry again, but very quietly, with his head
under the wrapper.
But a comforting thought came, and, lifting
up his head, he suddenly exclaimed,-
We shouldn't be troubled by what folks
think, if we are not guilty, should we, Mr.
Parker? Mother always says, if God knows
we haven't done wrong, we needn't feel bad,
if other people do think we have."
A DISCOVERY. 23
That's it, my boy ; that's it. If we have
a clear conscience, we can look everybody
straight in the face. Don't be worried, Tom,
if the colonel frets some. I can't account for
the money getting away; but I as much believe
you are an honest boy as I do that you sit
here ; and I shall tell him so."
Oh, thank you, sir."
They had now reached Colonel Blake's.
The horse was fastened, and Mr. Parker and
Tom walked up the yard. When the former
rang the bell, Tom's heart came into his mouth
with such a great leap it almost stopped his
breath, and the time seemed very long before
a servant-girl opened the door.
"Is Colonel Blake at home ? "
"Yes, sir. Will you walk into the parlour ?
I will call him." And, after shaking off the
snow as well as they could, they followed her.
Never in all his life had Tom been in a
room half so elegant as this ; and if his mind
had been more at ease, it would have greatly
delighted him to see such beautiful carpet,
chairs, and sofas, and, above all, the books
and the beautiful pictures hanging on the
walls in splendid frames. Even as it was, he
24 A DISCOVERY.
couldn't help thinking, as he sat down before
the fire, how nice that marble hearth looked,
with its shining brass fender and tall andirons
as bright as gold.
At first he supposed no one was in the
room ; but he soon saw a young lady sitting
in the recess by the window, partly concealed
by its crimson curtains. She had looked up
as they entered the room, and slightly bowed
to Mr. Parker, and then returned to her read-
ing. Tom could not help looking at her again
and again, thinking, each time, he had never
seen anybody half so beautiful before. She
made him think of the ladies he had read
about in fairy-books, as she sat there leaning
her head on her delicate hand, with a shawl
of bright, rich colours thrown about her. But
he forgot her, and his heart throbbed violently,
when he heard footsteps in the hall. Indeed,
had he been the criminal he was afraid of being
considered, he could hardly have looked more
Few persons felt at ease with Colonel
Blake, and, indeed, there were very few in the
village with whom he associated on terms of
equality. His manners were formal, and,
though courteous, he was always dignified and
distant. After exchanging the usual saluta-
tions, and a remark or two upon the weather,
Mr. Parker said,-
You sent over a bundle to me by this lad
The Colonel bowed his head.
He brought it to me, but on looking in
his purse found he had lost the money you sent
by him : so I thought I would stop here with
him and tell you about it."
Tom saw those cold, stern eyes looking over
the spectacles at him, and felt that the soft
brown eyes of the young lady were also raised
to his face.
I considered it very imprudent at the
time to give the money to him. Few lads are
honest enough to be trusted with money, Mr.
"But, Colonel Blake, I haven't a doubt of
Tom's honesty. He lost the money."
Again the soft eyes of the young lady were
Pardon me ; but will you relate the cir-
cumstances of the case ?"
And Mr. Parker, conscious that they were
not such as to insure his hearer's faith in Tom,
told the story rather bunglingly.
Very remarkable, certainly. I understand
you to say the lad never took out the purse
after he put the money in it at Dr. Wilson's till
he reached your place, and then it was gone.
Very remarkable, indeed! You can scarcely
expect me to believe this story," he said, with
a significant smile.
His eye and voice, far more than his words,
conveyed a conviction of the lad's dishonesty.
"But I have always known Tom Tracy
from his birth, Colonel Blake, and his mother
too. I don't believe there's an honester boy
in town ; and all the neighbours will tell you
Probably he had never been so severely
tempted before. There must be a first time,
you know, sir," said the colonel, in that same
stern tone. I am sorry, young lad, to find
you beginning to walk the downward path so
early. Commencing a career of crime now,
what can you expect to become at middle
age ? You will doubtless end your days in a
prison, or on the gallows !"
To be thus summarily convicted and sen-
A DISCOVERY. 27
tenced without any chance for self-defence, so
frightened poor Tom that he turned deadly
pale; and, though he tried to speak, his lips
only quivered without giving any audible
"It is rather hard on an honest boy, I
think, Colonel Blake," said Mr. Parker, in a
somewhat excited tone, to take it for granted
he is guilty. Even the law holds a man inno-
cent till he is proved guilty; and in this case
there is not a shadow of proof; and the
child's good character, surely, should have
There is, it appears to me, Mr. Parker,-
excuse me for differing from you,-but I say
there appears to me to be very strong circum-
stantial evidence that he is guilty. He re-
ceived the money. He confesses that he had it
at Dr. Wilson's; and, then, on reaching your
place it is gone,-by whose agency, or by what
means, he does not pretend to explain. You
must be credulous indeed, Mr. Parker, to
believe him innocent in the face of facts like
"I do believe it," said Mr. Parker, em-
phatically (who was a very quick-tempered
man). 1 no more think he stole it than I
think I did. Here's another crown piece to
make your loss good, and here's your bundle.
I shan't go over to Anderton to-day, and, if I
did, I might lose your bundle, and then you'd
think I stole it."
A heightened colour on Colonel Blake's
pale, thin cheek showed that his temper was
also moved; but his voice retained all its
sauvity, as he said, refusing the money with a
"No, sir: I prefer not to take it. I, of
course, have no feeling with regard to my own
loss; nor am I accustomed to bring unfounded
accusations against my neighbours. In this
case, I think the lad should be so punished
that he will be prevented from continuing his
evil practices in future. His mother ought
certainly to know of it; and, if she is the
honest woman you represent her to be, she
will probably compel him to earn the money
and replace it himself."
Tom's heart swelled at the mention of his
mother, and great tears brimmed his eyes, but
none fell. It was a look of sweet pity and
tenderness which the young lady in the window
A DISCOVERY. 29
cast upon the poor boy, and her voice was very
low and gentle as she said, -
Come to me a moment, my little fellow."
Tom sprang to her side. Oh, I didn't
take it !" he cried, his courage coming back at
that kind look : "I don't know where it is,
any more than you do. I wouldn't steal it
for all the world !" And he sobbed violently
as the young lady put her arm round him and
drew him to her side.
God sees everything," she said, very gently;
"he knows whether you speak the truth or
Oh, yes, ma'am : he knows I didn't take
it," he said, looking up eagerly into her face,
still choking with sobs.
I believe you, Tom," she said, wiping
away the tears with her handkerchief: "I
believe you speak the truth; and God will
keep you from all harm." And tears stood in
her own eyes.
Few dared to contradict Colonel Blake;
but Alice Ray was a favourite niece of his,
and report said that, stern as he was, he never
could resist her gentle pleadings. She had
now been with him some weeks on a visit;
30 A DISCOVERY.
and those who knew how full of love and
tenderness her nature was, could easily un-
derstand the secret of her power over a man
usually so cold and proud, and why he never
could find it in his heart to be angry with
Alice Ray was no beautiful princess, like
those described in fairy-tales; but she was
something far better,-a warm-hearted, loving,
Christian girl, whose soul went out in pitying
love to the most helpless and guilty, because
Jesus loves and pities them. Like her Master,
she loved little children, and would fain have
blessed them always, as he did when on earth.
So, when she saw Tom's great sorrow, she
loved him, and longed to comfort him by a
kind word, if nothing more.
The colonel apparently took no notice of
what was going on at the window; yet he
said to Mr. Parker, "There are some who
know too little of the world to think evil of
Confound your knowledge of the world!"
thought Mr. Parker; but, rising, he said,
aloud, I am sorry we can't think alike on
this point, Colonel Blake ; but, as we do not,
A DISCOVERY. 31
we will go home. I trust you will some day
be convinced of your mistake."
"I should be most happy to find myself
mistaken," replied the colonel, with a look
which said he was quite sure he never should.
Miss Ray whispered some kind words to
Tom, and they came away.
Get into the gig, Tom, and I'll take
you home," said Mr. Parker, when they were
fairly out of the house. It's blowing very
hard, and you aren't fit to walk through these
drifts." And he tucked the wrapper around
the child, muttering to himself, "I'm glad I
haven't got that man's heart I wouldn't be
such a piece of cold, smooth iron as he is, for
all he's worth,-the old, hard-hearted tyrant
that he is !"
Great was Mrs. Tracy's surprise at seeing
Tom brought home at this unusual hour. Her
first thought was, Some accident has befallen
him !" but her fears were relieved when she
saw him spring out of the gig and run into
Little Mary crowed with delight, and trotted
to the door to meet him.
The explanation which followed made the
mother's heart anxious. A sharp pang shot
through it, as she asked herself, "Can he have
taken it ?" She had never known him take
anything which did not belong to him; but
she knew he was very far from perfect, and
might fall under strong temptation.
"Thomas, my boy, come here," she said,
"and tell me all about it,-just how it was."
And she stroked the curls back from his fore-
head, and looked down into his clear eyes with
the deep insight of a mother's vision. Tom
met that steady gaze promptly, fearlessly; and
as he went on telling her, minutely, all that
had taken place, she felt sure he was speaking
the truth. A silent, joyful thanksgiving went
upwards from her heart; for, let what would
come,-poverty, suspicion, loss of friends,-she
could bear it all and give thanks, so that her
precious boy was but honest and truthful.
She was very grateful for Mr. Parker's
kindness, but declined receiving the money
he wished to leave to replace what had been
"I will wait a day or two," she said, "and,
if nothing is heard from it, I will go over
myself and see Colonel Blake and pay him.
It is very hard to be accused of theft; but I
think those who know Tom will at least be
slow to suspect him of it. I feel sure we
shall find some trace of the money, and, in the
meantime, I will keep quiet and hope for the
best. If I thought," she added,-her voice
trembling with emotion,-" if I thought he
had done it, it would break my heart !-yes,
it would break my heart !" And she burst
Oh, how solemnly Tom vowed to himself
that he never, never would break her heart!
Mr. Parker wiped his eyes. "Yes," said
he, "there's no trouble like having our children
go wrong. But Tom here, I am sure, won't
bring that trouble on his mother."
I hope not. He is, on the whole, a pretty
good boy, and a great comfort to me."
"Yes, yes; we all think a great deal of
Tom; and I don't believe any man who has
a spark of human feeling in him will believe
he was to blame in this business. I don't,
for one !" And the kind-hearted man rose
You have done me a service money could
never purchase; and I know not how to thank
you," said the poor widow, whose heart was
full. You have defended my poor boy's char-
acter and stood by him in the hour of need.
The blessing of the widow and the fatherless
will be with you."
Mr. Parker felt a choking in his throat,
and, though he gave several loud hems, he
couldn't find his voice; so, giving the mother's
hand a hearty shake, and nodding his head at
Tom, he entered his gig and rode off.
Jn. ,,. r _. --:
E mother and son were sitting alone
in the cottage on Brier Hill that
night, for little Mary had long been
The fierce wintry blast howled around the
dwelling, and then went roaring down the
hill, while the forest-trees creaked and moaned
as if a legion of evil spirits had taken posses-
sion of them. But there was peace in the
widow's heart. She trusted in God, and
therefore feared no evil. She had experienced
too much of his fatherly kindness, even in the
midst of trials, to doubt his love; and, though
she was somewhat saddened by the event of
the day, she believed her boy's innocence
would eventually be proved, and so she
possessed her soul in patience.
Not so with Tom. He was a boy with all
36 EVENING CONVERSATION.
a boy's impetuosity; and he could not brook
injustice. He was honest, and truthful, and
warm-hearted. His besetting sin was anger;
and not all his mother's teachings had given
him self-control: so, though he loved her
dearly, he often pained her by his outbursts
of passion. It was so to-night. He could
not think of Colonel Blake without a torrent
of angry feeling rushing through his heart;
and he could think and talk of nothing else.
If I ever live to be a man, I'll make him
sorry for this!-I will!" he exclaimed, his
eyes flashing and his cheeks crimsoning;
"He has no business to tell me I lie and
steal, when everybody knows I don't !"
Be quiet, my child. He certainly did
very wrong ; but there is no use in your
keeping yourself excited about it. You must
learn to forgive those who persecute you and
despitefully use you, or you can never hope to
be forgiven. You are a great comfort to me,
Tom,-you are so willing to help me, and so
kind to me and to your little sister. I don't
know how I could get along a single day
without you. But your violent temper keeps
me in constant anxiety. I am really afraid
EVENING CONVERSATION. 37
you will do something dreadful one of these
days, unless you gain some self-control. How
often you have promised you would try to
keep your temper in subjection and yet you
fly into a passion at every provocation."
"I know it, mother; but I can't help it.
I can't help getting angry."
Do you try to help it, my child ?"
Yes, I do, mother; I really do, sometimes.
Some mornings I think, 'Now, to-day I won't
get angry, let what will come: I will be just
as good and pleasant as a lamb all day long;'
but then something is sure to come along and
upset it all, and, before I have time to think,
I am just as angry as I can be. I can't help
it, because, you see, it comes before I know
Well, Tom, if you have learned one truth,
that you can't control your temper yourself,
you ought also to learn another,-and one of
the most blessed truths contained in the Bible,
-that there is a Helper- one who can always
enable us to do right and to feel right."
I know what you mean. You think that
Christ could. But I don't believe lie can,
mother: that is, I don't believe he is thinking
38 EVENING CONVERSATION.
about a boy like me. If I were a man, it
might be different."
Mrs. Tracy sighed. She knew that just
this kind of infidelity was lying at the root
of most of the crimes and miseries of the world,
-this want of belief in Christ's presence with
us individually, in his interest in us, his love
for us, his willingness and ability to help us
at all times and in all places.
"Yes, he is thinking about you," she an-
swered. Jesus was once a little boy him-
self. There was a time when he was just as
old as you are now,-just ten years old. It
is because he became a man-a child-that
he has so deep a sympathy with children. He
is brought near to them. 'He was in all
points tempted like as we are,'-as you are,
-' but without sin.' "
"But I don't think-" Tom began, and
then stopped abruptly.
"Don't think what, my child ?"
I am afraid you will think it is wicked
to say it; but I was thinking-I didn't believe
he was ever charged with stealing when he
was a boy."
If he was not wrongfully accused then, it
was the only portion of his life in which he
escaped. He was all the time charged with
bad deeds he never committed and which his
whole soul abhorred. Yet he never became
angry. He endured the contradiction of
sinners against himself. How meekly he bore
all these accusations How ready he always
was to do them good instead of evil! Oh,
Tom, my dear boy, if you could only have
something of Christ's spirit in your heart !-
and he can help you to have such feelings
-such holy, forgiving, blessed feelings-as he
himself had. Nobody else can do that. I
can do a great deal for you, but I can't reach
your heart and put right feelings there ; but
Jesus can,-and he will, if you wish him to do
so. He loves children, and wants them to be
happy; but he knows they never can be happy
while sinning. Why do you think he forbids
you to be angry ?
Because it is wrong, I suppose."
Yes, because it is wrong, and also because
such evil passions will make you very miserable.
He wants you to be good that you may be
happy; for he knows you never can be happy
in any other way. You know yourself you
40 EVENING CONVERSATION.
are not happy when your heart is full of anger
and hatred and revenge."
No, not very,-though sometimes there
seems to be a kind of pleasure in it, too."
"Not much; not by any means so much
as in feeling pleasantly and kindly to every
one. When your anger has died away, and
you love me and love little Mary and love
everybody, you are as happy as a bird, and
can sing almost as merrily as a robin or
a linnet. You never sing when you are
"Why, I never thought of that before,-
but I don't."
"No, nor are you ever very happy-you
are so made that you can't be happy-when
your heart is full of evil passions. But a very
blessed, sweet feeling comes into our souls
when we heartily forgive those who have
wronged us, and try to do them good instead
of evil. I want you to know how sweet this
feeling is, by your own experience."
Tom looked at the fire very earnestly, as
if in deep thought; but he said nothing.
I want you to remember, Tom, when you
are tempted to be angry, that Jesus Christ
EVENING CONVERSATION. 41
loves you, and will help you to do right if you
ask him. Perhaps at the time you can't go
away by yourself and pray; but you can lift
up a silent petition for help ; and he will hear
the faintest breathing of the soul, wherever
you are or however many may be about you.
I want you to think of Christ as a helper ; for
such he really is,-just such a helper as we
all need through our whole lives."
Eight o'clock was Tom's bed-time; and
every night Mrs. Tracy kneeled down with
him beside her, to ask God's blessing before
they slept, and afterwards they sang a hymn.
Mrs. Tracy had a remarkably sweet voice, and
Tom sang quite well for one so young. It
was one of his great pleasures to sing this
evening hymn,-especially when the tune was
one in which he could make a good deal of
noise ; but to-night his heart was tender, and,
when his mother thanked God for his kind
care that day, and then besought him to for-
give all their sins and help them to forgive
those who had injured them, and to make
their hearts gentle and patient and loving,
even as Christ's was, he tried to follow the
42 EVENING CONVERSATION.
words, and to feel them, so as to make the
prayer his own. He was glad to sing one of
his hymns that night,-that is, one he had
learned at the Sabbath school,-to the sweet
tune of Consolation."
Tom kissed his mother good night very
affectionately; for the evil passions had now
all gone from his heart; and then he went up
to his room.
It was a very small one under the roof. It
was not nicely plastered ; but the walls were
of rough boards, and these not tightly put to-
gether, so tJlat the snow sifted in at the cracks,
and to-night a little pile lay right on Tom's
pillow; but he was used to such things, and
only laughed as he brushed it away. It was
pretty cold in his bed at first ; but then how
warm it grew, and how snug and cosy he felt
lying there under the warm blankets, while
the doors creaked, the windows rattled and
the foundation shook !
It was a wild night even for Brier Hill;
but, amid the fury of the elements, a fair vision
rose before the fatherless child : the soft, pity-
ing eyes of Alice Ray gazed upon him, and
the gentle tones of her voice floated like music
EVENING CONVERSATION. 43
on the air, mingling with the wild roaring of
the blast, till he was wrapt in sleep and plea-
And when the delicately-nurtured maiden
went to her room that night,-a room filled
with light and warmth and every comfort
which wealth and taste could furnish,-she,
too, thought of the poor child whose eyes had
been lifted to hers so pleadingly, and her heart
yearned over him with love and tenderness.
"If I could only do something for that poor
boy," she thought, "and for that good mother
of his! I wonder if I can be of service to
them in any way ?"
And when she kneeled to ask God's blessing
on her own soul, she prayed that his love
might bless that fatherless one and keep him
from all evil and make him his own obedient,
And, while the wild night-wind swept in
its mighty strength far over hill and valley,
God's eye kept watch alike over the luxurious
couch of the fair maiden and the hard, rude
pallet of the boy.
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING.
GLORIOUS morning succeeded that
tempestuous night. Tom opened
the outside door just as the sun
was rising; and around and below him, far as
the eye could reach, lay the hills and valleys,
all calm and silent, as if no breath of the
storm-king had ever reached them. How
beautiful the snow was, lying everywhere,-
on hill, meadow and forest,-piled up in all
kinds of fantastic shapes, each fair and lovely
as if formed by the hand of art! As if formed
by art! When did art ever mould images
half so pure and exquisite as lay grouped to-
gether on yonder hill-side, or carve anything
so light and graceful as the wreaths on those
old hemlocks, or the feathery sprays that
drooped from every little flower-stalk at their
feet ? The light fingers of Titania herself,
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING. 45
with all her fairy troop, could have fashioned
nothing so instinct with true poetic grace and
beauty. The wind had not been at work all
that long winter night for nothing;-no, in-
deed! He had whirled the snow aloft, and
borne it along, and laid it down just where it
would show to the best advantage; and now
the whole world looked fair and lovely as a
bride in her marriage-robes. Its pure gar-
ment of unsullied snow flashed and sparkled
as if countless diamonds were scattered over
it; and ahove all this fair, silent expanse of
stainless white bent the clear, gray sky, now
brightening in the east into soft, purple tints.
Tom was not exactly poetical; yet some-
thing in his boyish nature was touched by
this scene, and his heart was lighter and
braver all day for this morning glance at the
Creator's wonderful works. Nay, more: such
pictures drawn on the heart of the child re-
main there oftentimes through all coming
years; and, let him wander where he will, he
will be a different man from what he would
have been without them.
Whether he was poetical or not, Tom was
certainly practical; and he had a great deal to
46 THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING.
do this cold morning. He had already built
the fire, and had come out for a pail of water.
The handle of the chain-pump made his
hands tingle as he briskly turned it round and
round; the door-latch froze to his fingers; and
even the handle of the tea-kettle gave them
a grip as he took it up from its resting-place
under the sink. But Tom didn't mind these
things. He had made a glowing fire in the
stove, which snapped and roared as if it meant
to thaw out the whole town.
Tom's mother heard it in the bedroom, and
sighed to think how rapidly her little stock of
fuel would melt away in such weather; but
she couldn't blame the boy. No: she was
thankful that he could not feel as she did the
pressure of poverty; and she determined not
to throw a shadow over his buoyant spirit.
Mother, the room is pretty warm now,"
Tom called out, cheerily, as he took the milk-
pail on his arm, and the tea-kettle is on, and
the potatoes are in the oven." And, happy
as a lark, he waded out to the barn, to see
how good old Brindle had passed the night.
There the faithful creature stood, meekly
chewing her cud; and, if she had had a poor
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING. 47
night of it, or had lain cold, she made no com-
plaint, but turned her patient eyes towards
Tom, as if very glad to see him. He threw
down some hay before her, and soon finished
milking. This same old Brindle was one of
the main supports of the family,-tenderly
cherished and beloved. She not only gave
milk and butter enough for their own use, but
a good deal more, which they exchanged for
other necessaries. Tom always took the best
care of her, and really loved the patient animal,
which he had driven to the pasture and
milked and fed almost ever since he could go
The speckled rooster flapped his wings and
crowed as Tom went through the yard, and
every hen cackled a "good morning" to him;
and, though there was only a little corn left,
Tom couldn't help shelling two ears and
throwing it out to them.
Some boys-a great many, in fact-would
have considered it quite a hardship to go out
by sunrise such a cold morning; but we don't
believe those who dressed themselves in warm
rooms and came directly down to breakfast
were any happier than Tom ; for that frosty
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING.
air was as clear as crystal, and it made the
blood flow quickly through his veins, till his
heart danced as light as a feather under the
blue frock which he always wore when about
his work. How warm the kitchen felt when
he went in, and how cheerful and pleasant it
looked, with the bright morning sun streaming
in at the windows His mother was up and
dressed, and so was little Mary, and, indeed,
breakfast was nearly ready, when Tom went
whistling in. Little Mary was the delight oI
Tom's heart; and a rosier-cheeked, bluer-eyed
little darling could not have been found the
country over, in palace or in cottage. It was
such good fun to play with her that Tom had
forgotten there was such a thing as cold in
the world, when his mother called them to the
How white and hot and mealy the baked
potatoes were and what a pile of toast there
was To be sure, it was of rye and Indian
bread; but Tom pronounced it "real good,"
for all that, and little Mary clapped her hands
when he cut some of it into little morsels and
put them into her rosy mouth.
Somehow, I feel as if this would be a good
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING. 49
day, mother," said Tom, in the joy of his heart.
"I don't care very much now for what
Colonel Blake thinks or says: I know Miss
Alice don't think I took it; and I don't be-
lieve anybody else will: do you ?"
"I hope not. Still, it is very strange
where the money has gone; and I should every
glad if it could be found. I examined every
article of your clothing last night, to see if it
had not slipped into some seam or corner; but
I couldn't find it."
Well, mother, one thing I know: I
shan't do another errand for Colonel Blake
He probably won't wish you," said his
I'm glad I'm not rich, if I'd have to be as
mean and hateful as he is."
"Now, Tom, don't work up another fit of
"No, mother. I am not going to be angry
to-day, even once."
"Don't be too confident. You are very
apt to break such strong resolutions, you
"But if I think of Miss Alice Ray I believe
1-~-7 --- C
50 THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING.
it will help me to be good. Oh, mother, you
can't think how kind and beautiful she is !"
I have heard she is very lovely and very
good; but she is sick a great deal of the time,
and people are afraid she will never be well
Oh, mother, I don't believe that. I don't
think anybody so good and beautiful as she is
will be always sick-or-or-"
Die ? Alas! my dear, many a one just
as lovely and as much beloved as she has
But I don't think it would be right to
have her die: do you ?"
"Yes; if God wants her in the other world.
He loves her very tenderly; and if he takes
her away it will be to make her still more
good and beautiful in heaven, where Christ is,
and all the holy angels. You would think it
was right for him to make her as happy as
possible : wouldn't you ? "
But death seemed so sad and dreadful to
the warm heart of the child that he did not
like to think of it; and, though after break-
fast his mother read that beautiful chapter in
Revelation about the streets of pure gold and
THE BEAUTIFUL MORNING. 51
the gates of pearl, Tom could not think of
Miss Alice Ray's dying, without a heavy weight
at his heart.
Then came the prayer; and again, when
his mother besought God to bless them and
be with them that day, to forgive their sins
and to give them right desires and help them
to prepare for a happy life with him in heaven,
Tom tried to make the words his own as well
as he could, and remembered that there was
One to help him to feel right. Would Jesus
really come to him and help him to do right?
How very wonderful it was!
There was many little odds and ends to
do before school-time :-the wood-box to
be filled, more water to be brought, the cow
to be fed again, the milk to be thawed and
carried to the pig, and a path to be made
through the drift to the gate. Tom had to be
very busy; and he had scarcely time to think
of anything till half-past eight,-when he took
off his frock, washed his face and hands,
brushed his hair nicely, tied on a clean collar,
and, after giving Mary a good hug, set off for
" URRAH hurrah !" shouted the
boys about the school-house.
Here comes Tom Tracy! Now
for the snow-balls !" And at it they went,
laughing and shouting, and pelting each
other, and dodging as well as they could the
well-aimed shots that came from every direc-
tion. 'Twas rare sport; and, though the
atmosphere was some degrees below zero, not
a boy among them but was thoroughly warmed
with the healthful exercise by the time the
master" came in sight.
Tom was quite a favourite among his
school-fellows, as such wide-awake boys are
apt to be; but his hot, hasty temper some-
times involved him in trouble. He would
get angry, and scold, and even fight, and yet
be as friendly as ever in half an hour. But
SUDDEN CALAMITY. 53
some of the other boys could not so easily
forget and "make up." One especially,-
John Jackson,-was always teasing Tom and
making him angry; and their numerous little
quarrels had finally produced settled dislike on
John's father kept a little shop, and hence
he considered himself entitled to look down on
a "washerwoman's son," and, indeed, on all
the farmer boys; and the airs he gave him-
self made him very ridiculous. John was to
be pitied; for he had no mother to teach him
better. She had died before John was old
enough to remember her; and the housekeeper
found it easier to flatter him than to correct
his faults; and, being a low, vulgar woman,
she could hardly be expected to teach him
proper behaviour; and his father was too
much engrossed in business to give him much
Tom's fist was always ready for action; and
when John began to ask him, "Where did
you get such fancy slippers?" or, What do
you have for carrying clothes to the wash-
tub ?" and such like low, coarse questions, he
would get angry in a minute, and fly upon
04 SUDDEN CALAMITY.
him. If Tom had paid no attention to these
foolish questions and showed that he cared
nothing about them, all would have been well
enough, and John would soon have ceased to
tease him; but Tom had yet to acquire that
truest and noblest courage which can patiently
bear wrong and quietly live down an insult.
John was a stout, heavy-moulded boy, two
years older than Tom; but Tom was so much
nimbler and more active that he often got the
better of him in a hand-to-hand encounter;
and, as the other boys all stood ready to urge
Tom on, and loudly applauded his successes,
Tom had come to feel quite proud of his
courage, and rather sought than avoided these
For some reason, John Jackson was not at
school this morning ; but before the afternoon
session commenced he appeared, walking round
with his hands in his pockets, in his usual
self-conceited way. Tom had really tried to
be good all day, and had several times thought
of his resolution in season to prevent himself
from going into a passion; and, when he saw
John coming, he said to himself, Now, I
won't get angry, let John be ever so provok-
SUDDEN CALAMITY. 55
ing." But he forgot to ask for help, and his
own heart was weak.
As soon as John spied him, he called
"Ha, Tom Tracy! so you've come to school
to-day ? I know why you didn't come
yesterday !-pretty business you've been in !"
"What was it ?" "And why didn't you
come ?" cried the other boys, who had sup-
posed the storm had kept him at home.
I fancy he won't tell you; but 1 will.
He stole a crown piece from Colonel Blake;
and that's why he didn't come."
"Stole !" "From whom ?" "How?" "I
don't believe it !" "What do you mean "
were words echoed from all sides.
Colonel Blake sent a bundle and a crown
piece by him to Mr. Parker's yesterday morn-
ing, and he pretended he lost the money; but
Colonel Blake says he has no doubt he kept
it himself. So your good Tom Tracy is a
thief, you see !"
"You lie !" shouted Tom, losing all self-
control. "You lie you lie !" And, spring-
ing upon John fiercely and suddenly, he
knocked him over backwards. A pile of logs
56 SUDDEN CALAMITY.
lay near, and, as John fell, his head struck
one of them so violently that, after one scream,
he lay perfectly senseless. The log was
sharpened at the end, and it cut a deep gash,
from which the blood began to flow. Tom's
anger was cooled in a minute, and he ex-
claimed, "Oh, what have I done?" Every-
body was frightened, and none knew what
"Lift him up. Rub his face with snow.
Run for the doctor !" they exclaimed; and all
were greatly relieved when the master came up.
Mr. Carter could only gather from their
excited, incoherent explanations that John was
hurt,-almost killed; and he hastened to him.
He saw at once that he had fainted, and was
probably badly injured.
Telling the boys to sprinkle cold water on
his face and not move him, Mr. Carter stepped
across to the store, and, finding Mr. Jackson
there, told him John had been knocked down
in some quarrel with the boys, and had struck
his head upon a log.
Some one had better go for the doctor at
once," he said, and in the meantime we will
bring him home."
A man who had a gig at the door jumped
into it and rode off as fast as he could, while
Mr. Jackson and several others went to the
school-house. John still lay insensible, his
face as pale as death. His father and Mr.
Carter lifted him up carefully and carried him
home, the boys following to the door,-every
face being blanched by fear. Scarce a word
was spoken by any one, till the doctor, who,
as it chanced, was riding in that direction,
arrived; and in a few minutes Mr. Carter
came out of the house. "We had better go
back," he said. All will be done for John
that can be. Dr. Wilson says he can't tell
yet how serious the injury is, but that he
fears it is a pretty bad one. He is washing
the blood from the wound now. John seems
partly conscious, and moans a good deal, as if
in great pain."
Never did a group of sadder or more anxious
faces gather in a school-room than now came
round their teacher; and Mr. Carter himself
was pale and agitated. It is not easy to de-
scribe poor Tom's state of mind,-the kind,
tender-hearted Tom, who, when he was not
angry, would never hurt a chicken or a fly!
But of what avail was his kind heart, if he
could not control his temper ?
When Mr. Carter inquired how this had
happened, so many began to talk together,
and so incoherently, that he could make out
little beyond the fact that Tom knocked him
down,-and something about stealing. Tom
himself sat apart, with quivering lip and
colourless cheek, never speaking indeed,
scarcely ever breathing.
Sit down, all of you," said the teacher,
and I will try to find out the truth. Tom,
tell me about it. How did you come to strike
Oh! do you think he will die !" cried
Tom, with agonizing earnestness, looking into
his teacher's face as if life and death hung on
his answer. He had overheard one of the
men say, "I do believe he's killed !" and that
dreadful idea had taken such possession of the
poor boy's mind that he could think of nothing
"Oh, I hope not: certainly, we can't tell
at present much about it. I am sure, Tom,
you never intended to injure him so
"Oh, no, sir, I didn't: I didn't mean to
hurt him !"
"You were angry, I suppose, and never
thought of consequences ?"
Yes, he was. John said he was a thief,
and then Tom up and knocked him right
down," said Joe Trask.
"Only one at a time. Tom, tell me the
And Tom told him about Colonel Blake's
giving him the bundle and the money, and how
the money was lost, and what was said at Dr.
Wilson's and at the colonel's afterwards; and
then how John accused him of stealing. "I
couldn't stand that, and I struck him ; but I
didn't mean to hurt him much. I never
stopped to think."
Never stopped to think," said Mr. Carter.
"That is the cause of half the crimes that are
committed. The murderer often commits his
dreadful crime because he is too angry to stop
You had great provocation to anger, I
admit; but had you been in the habit of con-
trolling your temper you could not have given
t0 SUDDEN CALAMITY.
way to it in this dreadful manner. For a
human being who has reason given him, to
say, 'I didn't think,' is very absurd: he ought
to think: there is just where the blame lies.
This is a very sad affair to all of us; and
I hope every one in school will learn by it that
in one moment of passion a deed may be com-
mitted for which no after penitence nor good
conduct can atone. It is fearful to think
what the consequences of one rash, unthinking
act may be. That hasty blow, given in hot
passion, might have sent your school-mate
into eternity in an instant!
There was little study in the school-room
that afternoon. Scarcely the forms of recita-
tion were observed. Several times a scholar
was sent to ascertain how John was; and all
observed the eagerness with which Tom lifted
his face to catch the answer,-that white,
still face, so unlike his own bright, happy
Little could be learned. Dr. Wilson had
proposed to send for another physician from
Anderton, thinking possibly a surgical opera-
tion might be necessary, and nothing more
could be done till he came. John was under
the influence of an opiate, lying perfectly easy
At recess Tom remained in-doors; and Mr.
Carter, seeing his great distress, tried to com-
fort him with hopes of John's restoration
The other boys, instead of entering into any
noisy play, stood together, telling in a low
voice all kinds of stories about horrid acci-
dents and dreadful deaths; and one of them
suggested that, if John shouldn't live, Tom
Tracy might perhaps be hung! This set
them off on a new track of horrors till every
eye was expanded and every pulse quickened.
At this juncture the doctor was seen coming
out of Mr. Jackson's and towards the school-
house. Upon this all rushed in, exclaim-
ing, "The doctor's coming! the doctor's
Tom's heart fairly stood still, for he thought
John was certainly dead. Mr. Carter put his
arm around him, and whispered a kind word
as Dr. Wilson entered. His face at once dis-
pelled Tom's worst fears, for it was quite
THE SAD EVENING.
')U will be glad to know, children,
that John is sleeping very
quietly," said Dr. Wilson. "His
pulse is quite good now, and I can't but hope
the injury is less severe than I feared at first.
If he has a good night, and wakes up rational
in the morning, I shall think he will get along
in a few days; but time will show."
Tom felt as if a great load were taken from
his heart, and for the first time his eyes grew
moist with tears-tears of joy and gratitude.
I was on my way to the post-office," con-
tinued Dr. Wilson, "when I was sent for to
see John, and I intended to stop at the school-
house. I was coming on a very pleasant
errand-one which, I am sure, would have
made you all very happy.
"I suppose you have heard about Tom
THE SAD EVENING. 63
Tracy's losing a crown piece, and I was coming
to tell you it had been found."
Found !" exclaimed Tom, fairly starting
from his seat.
"Yes; found at my house this forenoon.
You know, Tom, you took it out of your purse
there. Well, my wife looked everywhere in
the room for it, over and over, and couldn't
find it, but to-day she opened the door of a
closet which we seldom use, and there, in one
corner of it, on the floor, lay the money all safe
and sound. She remembered then that when
Tom was there the wind blew that door open,
and that Nancy our girl, passing by, shut it.
Probably, when Tom was putting the change
into his purse, he dropped the money and away
it rolled into the closet, which was pretty
near where he stood. It was a very windy
day, and when our outside door is opened
the wind comes in there like a hurricane,
and it is not at all strange that it should have
fallen without one hearing it. None of us
thought to look in the closet, for, as I have
said, we seldom open that door; but this fore-
noon about ten o'clock my wife had occasion
to go there for something, and I heard her
THE SAD EVENING.
cry out, 'I've found it!' I've found it!
Here it is! here is Tom's crown piece!' I
was greatly rejoiced, for I knew Tom's mother
would feel troubled about it; and some one
had told me that Colonel Blake was a little
suspicious Tom had kept it himself. I did
not think so for a moment, for I knew Tom,
and knew he had always been a truthful,
straight-forward boy, but he was a stranger
to the colonel. The first thing I did was to
ride over to Colonel Blake's and tell him about
it. He seemed pleased, and so did the young
lady who is staying there. She said, with a.
very sweet smile, 'she was sure from the first
that boy was honest.'
I was going over to Brier Hill to see a
patient, and as I went right by the door, I
thought I might as well step in and tell Mrs.
Tracy it was found. She was overjoyed to
hear it, and said she had hoped all along it
would come out right at last. So here is the
money, Tom; I would have given it to the
colonel, but I thought may be you would like
to carry it yourself."
What a variety of emotions swelled Tom's
breast as he listened to this statement. Oh,
THE SAD EVENING. 65
how very, very happy he would now have
been but for the sad events of the afternoon.
How happy his mother was at home, all igno-
rant of the dreadful story he had to tell.
Could he but have undone that one hasty act-
have blotted out of existence that five minutes
I think no one who knew Tom doubted
his honesty," said Mr. Carter, but it gives us
all great pleasure to hear this explanation, and
we thank you, doctor, for coming to tell us.
The circumstances were a little remarkable,
but a good reputation is always of great ser-
vice in such a case."
Yes, indeed it is," replied the doctor.
" Always speak the truth, boys, and be honest,
and you will have the credit of it. We all
know boys who in like circumstances would
have been considered guilty even if they were
innocent. Yes, honesty is not only the best
policy, but what is far better, it is always
Dr. Wilson paused. He was about to add
something concerning anger and want of self-
control, but as he looked at Tom's face and
then at the faces of the other children, he said
00 THE SAD EVENING.
to himself, They feel all this enough without.
my talking about it. It won't do any good
for me to preach to them." So he only said
he was very sorry for the accident that had
happened, and hoped their school-mate would
be decidedly better in the morning.
Dr. Wilson was right. The moral power
of an event may be greatly lessened by talk-
ing too much about it. The consciences of
children are quick to understand and -apply a
lesson like that which had been taught them
that afternoon, and not one of them would
ever forget the misery produced by one hasty
act of passion.
When Dr. Wilson was about to leave, Tom
asked, in a low, tremulous voice, if he might
be dismissed. "I want to go over and, see
John, if they will let me."
"Why, yes; I don't think it can do him
any hurt to have you go in very quietly,"
said the doctor in reply to Mr. Carter's ques-
tioning look. I shouldn't like to have the
other boys see him just at present. He must
be kept very quiet for some time to come, even
at the best."
It was with a strange mixture of fear and
THE SAD EVENING.
grief that Tom crossed the threshold into that
sick-room, where all was dark and silent.
There lay the poor sufferer, his head swathed
in wet bandages, his eyes closed, and his face
of a ghastly paleness. No sound broke the
perfect stillness save an occasional low moan,
as he moved a little in the bed.
It was terrible for Tom to stand there, look-
ing on the playmate who a few hours ago had
been full of life and health now so prostrated,
and to think, I did it I brought him here!"
As he listened to the low quick breathing,
which, to his excited imagination, seemed now
and then to cease entirely, the old fear that
he might die came back, and his heart grew
sick with terror. Once or twice a woman,
who was sitting in the room, came to the bed-
side, looked at the patient, and went away again
with a noiseless tread. Tom kept a firm hold
of the doctor's hand, scarcely breathing lest he
should disturb the sleeper. Not a word was
spoken till the doctor led him out into the par-
lour. It was a relief to come again into the
light, but Tom shrank back when he saw Mr.
Jackson was in the room.
Whatever disposition to blame him the
THE SAD EVENING.
father might have had, when he looked on the
pale, distressed face of the child he could only
Poor boy," he said, laying his hand kindly
on his head; I am sure you feel as sorry as
any of us."
Tom burst into tears, for he had expected
a harsh reprimand. I hope you will forgive
me, sir," he said, and then added very softly,
" I wish I could tell John how sorry I am,
and ask his forgiveness."
Yes, yes, he would forgive you, I know,"
said the father, touched by the sorrow of the
"And I hope he will be able to tell you so
himself one of these days," said the doctor.
You think, then, there is a chance of his
being better soon ?" asked Mr. Jackson.
I don't like to speak too confidently about
it The brain may be affected; but, if not, I
think he will get over it,-perhaps in a very
few days. We can tell better to-morrow. Dr.
Sears has had so much more experience than
I in such cases, that when he comes he can
judge more accurately what the symptoms
indicate. Any way, Tom," he added, looking
THE SAD EVENING.
kindly down at the anxious face, keep up a
good heart. You are no more to blame than
boys have been a thousand times, when nothing
serious happened. It's always a bad thing for
boys to quarrel."
All the boys stood by the gate to hear
Tom's report, and when it was given, they dis-
persed in different directions, only two going
Tom's way. These soon turned into another
road, and he went on towards home alone. It
was with a heavy heart he trudged up the
hill. Let others say what they might, he
knew he had been guilty of a great sin. And
how sure he felt that morning that he should
not get angry all day He saw now that he
could not trust himself,-that at any moment
he was liable to lose his temper, and in the
heat of passion, commit some dreadful crime.
"No," he said to himself, sorrowfully, I
shall never again dare to say, 'I will not get
angry;' for something may make me forget
everything, just as I did to-day. Oh, what a
miserable boy I am !-What shall I do ?"
And all the time John's haggard face seemed
to lie perpetually before him; and he kept
thinking, "Oh, what if he should die?"
70 THE SAD EVENING.
Tom had never before known trouble and
sorrow like this. Last night, though falsely
accused, his heart was light, for he was
innocent; but now the burden of guilt was
lying upon it, and "a wounded spirit who can
bear ?" He passed Colonel Blake's without
even thinking of the crown-piece, or of Miss
Alice Ray, so completely had that sight of
John's condition effaced everything else from
When he reached home, his mother's face
lighted up with joy at seeing him; but a
second look showed her that something was
"What has happened?" she exclaimed.
"Are you sick ?"
"No, mother,-only sick at heart. I have
a sorrowful story to tell you ; you can't think
what I have done."
Oh, what is it, Tom ? Tell me, quick "
"Why, I got angry this noon with John
Jackson. He said I stole that money, and
called me a thief; and it made me so angry I
forgot everything, and knocked him down, and
his head struck a great log, and-perhaps-
he will die "
THE SAD EVENING. 71
It was indeed a sad story; and after hear-
ing all the particulars, the mother's heart was
almost as sorrowful as her child's. Even little
Mary saw that something had happened, and
looked up with a pitiful expression on her fair
young face, saying, "Poor Tom poor Tom "
as if to comfort him.
Oh, Tom !" said his mother. And I
had been so happy all the afternoon, thinking
how glad you would be to know the money was
found I "
"Yes; I am glad of that,-glad Colonel
Blake and Miss Alice know I am honest.
And if I had waited only just a few minutes,
John and all of them would have known I
didn't take it. Oh, if I could only have been
patient a little while I"
"Yes; it is always best to be patient, and
to trust God to take care of our reputation,
when we are unjustly accused."
Mrs. Tracy might have reminded Tom that
she had often told him something dreadful
would happen if he did not learn to control
his temper; but she did not; she only said,-
"I am very sorry this has happened. I
do hope John will be better in the morning."
7.2 THE SAD EVENING.
But she sighed, and Tom knew she was greatly
distressed. Oh, how much trouble one
thoughtless act had caused !
Tom mechanically put on his frock, brought
in the wood and water, and went to milk the
cow. Poor old Brindle looked so peaceful and
friendly, he couldn't help leaning his head
against her and crying heartily. Somehow
he felt as if the faithful creature understood
about it, and felt sorry for him; and it was
really a relief to stroke her and look into her
honest face. He felt as if ten years had gone
since morning, -as if he was an entirely different
boy from the Tom who milked and fed her then,
whistling so merrily all the time. Should
he ever feel light-hearted again ?-ever have
that terrible weight removed from his heart ?
The evening meal was taken almost in
silence, and Tom went to bed very early. He
could not talk,-even to his mother. How
different were his feelings from those of the
night before, when he lay there so warm and
happy! then no burden of guilt hung heavy
on his soul. 0
He did not go to sleep, but lay there think-
ing, and sad, sorrowful thoughts they were.
THE SAD EVENING. Id
Again came the feeling of helplessness and
self-distrust. How was he ever to become
any better ? He had tried that day to do
right, as well as he knew how; and what a
miserable failure it had been! and why could
he expect it would be any better another day?
Tom was naturally sanguine and self-rely-
ing, and perhaps nothing less startling than
the events of that day would have effectually
taught him his own weakness. It was know-
ledge of himself dearly bought; but as in the
valley of humiliation, though the descent into
it was very painful, Christian found sweet
flowers growing, so now, when Tom's heart
was really humbled by a consciousness of its
weakness, there came to him a very sweet and
comforting thought,-the thought of a HELPER.
He needed help, and Jesus Christ could help
him; he could do for him just what he could
not do for himself Tom knew that he needed
not only forgiveness for the sins he had already
committed, but to be kept from sinning in
future. He wanted a new disposition,-in
other words, a new heart,--not like the old
one, full of anger and revenge and evil passions
but a heart filled with love and gentleness,-
74 THE SAD EVENING.
a heart in which Christ's spirit might dwell;
and he wished that Christ would give him
such a one. He did not put his wishes into
connected words of prayer exactly, but they
went upward in sincerity from his inmost
And when did Jesus ever turn a deaf ear
to such a supplication? When did he ever
fail to draw near and to bless the soul that
called to him in its sore need? He who came
to save his people from their sins-the Lamb
of God that taketh away the sin of the world
-will always draw near to the soul that seeks
him, will pardon its sins and whisper peace.
It is not to men and women only that he says,
" Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall
find;" but the youngest child who knows
what it is to mourn for having done wrong
can also seek pardon and find it, ask for help
and receive it.
As he thought of the love of Jesus Christ,
and sought his forgiveness and aid, Tom's
troubled spirit found rest,-the rest and peace
which forgiveness alone can give. He knew
he had done wrong, and must bear the pun-
ishment of seeing John suffer, and possibly
THE SAD EVENING.
die, in consequence ; "but the fearful looking-
for of judgment to come no longer weighed
upon him, and he fell asleep, resolved to bear
meekly whatever punishment might follow,
and hoping he might be kept from ever sin-
ning so again.
Mrs. Tracy sat in sorrow and sadness by
her lonely fire that night. This was real
trouble-to know that her son had been the
means, the guilty means, of causing so much
suffering. It grieved her, too, that he should
go away before prayers; and as she knelt
down alone, she poured out her whole soul in
supplication for him and for the child lying
so dangerously ill. Earnest prayer has gone
up from many a lonely widow's heart; but
seldom did one ever call more earnestly on
God than she who now pleaded for the life of
the one child and the forgiveness and true con-
version of the other.
',r ^ .'- -
OM1 awoke with a confused idea that
something dreadful had happened;
and, when he remembered what it
was, a sharp pain pierced his heart. He had
done a deed which could never be recalled,
whose consequences were entirely out of his
control A deep groan escaped him:-"Oh,
if I could only undo what I did yesterday!"-
that vain wish so often uttered! But with
these sorrowful thoughts came the thought,
too, of Jesus as a Friend who loved him, a
Saviour who could forgive him, a Helper who
could enable him to overcome his evil habits.
Tom had always repeated a form of prayer;
but he often hurried it over without thinking
much of what the words meant; but this
morning real prayer went up from his heart.
It was a child's prayer, short, simple and un-
THE INTERVIEW. 77
connected, but still real prayer; for he felt
that the Being lie addressed was listening to
him and could answer him, and he asked for
what he earnestly desired. He prayed very
fervently that John might recover, that his
own sins might be forgiven and his heart
made kind and gentle.
It was with a subdued spirit Tom went
about his morning's work: all the sparkling
life and joy which had bubbled up in his
heart yesterday was gone, and a great weight
had come instead.
At breakfast he talked with his mother
about his quarrel with John, and she was
very glad to find that he was not inclined to
throw blame on others, or to justify himself.
Sometimes a boy who has done wrong will
persist in defending it, and in denying that he
has been in the least to blame. This is always
a dark sign; for there can be no genuine
penitence where there is not first a conviction
of sin; but quick as Tom often was to do a
wrong action, when he came to think of it in
a cool moment he seldom justified himself, and
therefore his mother had always felt hopeful
about him and trusted he would correct his
78 THE INTERVIEW.
faults; and she knew if he was truly penitent
now (as he seemed to be) the fruit would
appear in his future conduct.
It was Saturday, and there was no school.
Tom was very anxious to hear from John, and
concluded to go over and inquire as soon as
he had finished his work; and his mother told
him he had better stop at Colonel Blake's and
give him his money. Tom disliked to meet
Colonel Blake again; and most fervently did
he hope Miss Alice might be in the room
when he should go there.
He went first to Mr. Jackson's. Dr. Wilson
was tying his horse just as he reached the gate;
so they went into the house together. Mr.
Jackson said John was sleeping this morning;
he had had a very quiet night, and seemed .
very much as he did the day before. Dr.
Sears expressed the opinion that he would
finally recover, but that he might be confined
several weeks. Tom just looked in at the
door, and saw his face on the pillow, looking,
if possible, more pale and death-like than
before; but Dr. Wilson told him that pallid
look was partly the effect of the opiates he
THE INTERVIEW. 79
An aunt had come to nurse him, and the
physicians had enjoined perfect quiet, and said
that even life itself might depend upon it.
Mr. Jackson spoke very kindly to Tom; so
did the doctor; and the aunt, hearing that he
was the boy who had struck him, came and
spoke to him very kindly also; and, could he
only have seen John well again, he would
have been very happy. He thought, as he
stood looking at him, that he would gladly bear
the sickness for John if he could; for Tom had
a generous, warm heart as well as a violent
temper. When lie came away, he felt almost
sure that he never should be so angry again;
and this time lie sent up a silent prayer for
help to keep his resolution.
It was with a very uncomfortable feeling
Tom pulled the bell at Colonel Blake's door.
Once he might have been proud to have
marched in, carrying the money, and saying,
"You see, sir, I was not a thief; but the
sight of John on that sick-bed had made
Tom's heart more humble and sad than it
used to be.
He was again taken into the parlour, where
Colonel Blake was sitting reading the news-
U THE INTERVIEW.
paper. Tom's eye glanced wistfully around
the room, but no Miss Alice was there.
Taking out the money, Tom went up to
Colonel Blake. '" I have brought back your
money, sir," he said. Dr. Wilson found it at
his house yesterday."
"Yes; Dr. Wilson told me of the circum-
stances. I was rejoiced to find that you were
in no wise improperly implicated, and am
sorry I accused you wrongfully."
Colonel Blake was far from being in all
respects a bad man. Cold, haughty, and
suspicious he certainly was, but no man felt a
more genuine respect for integrity when it was
found than he, slow as he was to recognize
its existence. His experience of human nature
had been unfortunate, and, having been re-
peatedly deceived and defrauded by his asso-
ciates, he had come to the conclusion that
most men were hypocrites and cheats, and
that he would have as little to do with them
as possible, never trusting a stranger. Yet he
felt glad in his secret soul that the bright-eyed
young fellow before him had not already com-
menced a course of deception. I daresay he
will," was his inward reflection; "but as yet
THE INTERVIEW. 81
I do really believe he is honest and tells the
"Your name is Tom, I think ?" he said,
looking over his spectacles at him.
"Yes, sir ; Thomas Tracy."
"And your mother is a widow ?"
"Have you brothers and sisters ?"
One sister," whose name is Mary."
"I promised you a shilling ; but, as there
was some little trouble about it, I will give
you two. I hope you won't spend them
Tom's face grew very red; he couldn't
have told why: but he did not want to take
money from a man who had accused him of
stealing, and he said, hesitatingly,-
I-I-would rather take only the shilling,
if you please, sir: I earned that."
Colonel Blake looked at him with surprise.
"Just as you please," he replied, stiffly; "but
I think you are very foolish."
Tom took the shilling, bade him good-
morning, and went out. He didn't exactly
know whether he had done right or wrong in
refusing the money, when his mother needed
82 THE INTERVIEW.
money so much; but he had done what was
agreeable to his feelings. He did not like
Colonel Blake; he did not want to take any
favours from him, or have anything to do with
him; and, in the pride of his boyish heart, he
shut the outside door with a very determined
spirit. Before he had reached the gate, the
servant-girl called to him.
"Miss Ray wants you to come back; she
would like to speak with you."
On entering the hall again, Tom was sur-
prised at being taken up-stairs, instead of
into the parlour. He followed the servant
through a large upper hall, where she tapped
lightly at one of the doors. Miss Alice said,
"Come in." And, going in, Tom saw her
lying on the lounge, supported by cushions,
with shawls wrapped around her. Her eye
brightened when she saw him.
"I am very glad to see you, Tom," she
said, holding out her thin, white hand.
Somehow, just then, what his mother had
said about her dying came into Tom's mind,
and he burst into tears.
"Why, what is the matter, my poor child?"
she said, drawing him to her, in her sweet,
THE INTERVIEW. 83
winning way, just as she had done once before
" Can't you tell me what troubles you ? "
"Oh, a great many things trouble me,"
said Tom, trying to suppress the tears.
I thought you would be very happy now
the money you lost is found."
"Yes; I was,-or should have been, if it
hadn't been for John."
Why, what has happened to John?" said
Miss Alice, kindly, supposing he was a
Why, don't you know how I pushed John
Jackson down when I was angry, and almost
killed him?" To Tom it seemed incredible
that anybody should be ignorant of that.
Miss Alice told him she had not been out
of her room since the day she saw him, and
knew nothing of what had been done abroad.
"But you must tell me about it," she said.
So Tom began and told her, as well as he
could, all the circumstances; and lie told her
more about his own feelings than he had ever
told even his mother; for, somehow, he
couldn't help telling Miss Alice everything,
and feeling sure she would perfectly under-
84 THE INTERVIEW.
Miss Alice *aapeculiar faculty of winning
thg@ hearts ofr.ildren : they all loved her,
S and, somehow, couldn't help telling her every-
thing, any more than Tom could. She was
very much interested in this little history,
and read Tom's character in it very clearly.
"Yes, Tom, you were very much to blame
for allowing yourself to be so angry; and
John was very much to blame also. You had
great provocation to anger." And she sighed
to think how her uncle's unjust suspicions had
perhaps been the cause of this quarrel. "But
because he was insulting it does not justify
your retaliating. You know we are com-
manded to forgive those who injure us, and
do them good and not eviL How happy we
should all be if we obeyed this command !"
"But I can't forgive the boys who provoke
me, and be gentle and kind to them. I can't
help getting angry before I think. Oh, if I
could only think !-and I do mean to try now,
and never get so angry again."
That is right, my dear child," said Miss
Alice, tenderly; "we all have a great deal of
e evil to contend with and overcome, and we
are all very apt not to think till it is too late.
THE INTERVIEW. 85
But if we are really sorrywhen we have done
wrong, and really wish to do right in future,
God will forgive us and help us to overcome
our evil habits."
So mother told me," said Tom.
"And you know, too, how it is that God
can forgive us ; for he so loved the world that
he sent his only begotten Son to die for
sinners; and there is now no condemnation to
them that are in Christ Jesus.
Now, if he wished to save us from doing
wrong, enough to suffer death for us, he cer-
tainly is pleased when he sees us trying to do
right, and is very willing to help us. The
Bible says a great deal about this, Tom. It
calls Christ the Friend of sinners,'--' the
Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the
world,'-and says, He is more willing to give
the Holy Spirit to them who ask him, than
earthly parents are to give good gifts to their
children;' and we should believe it. He is
our friend; he does wish to save us from our
sins, and to help us to do right. We all of
us do v. ... just as you have in this case;
but we must not then turn away from him.
No, indeed ; we must then go to him, as to
our very kindest and best friend, apd tell him
just how bad We are and how much we need
his help and his forgiveness. He will listen
to us; for he is always near us and always
There was silence for a few minutes, which
Tom broke by saying, in a low voice,-
"It seems strange to think he always sees
me. It makes me afraid to think God is
always close to me !"
"Afraid of him who has given you every
blessing you have, and who loved you so well
as to die for you ? You need not be afraid of
him; he is your best friend. What you should
be afraid of is disobeying him-doing what
he has forbidden-in other words, sinning;
this is what displeases and grieves him."
After another little silence, Tom said ear-
Do you suppose he could help me to think ?
This is what I want most of all-somebody
to help me to think quick, before I fly into a
"Yes; I am sure that is just what he can
do for you. When you are tempted to do
wrong, he can cause a voice to whisper in
THE INTERVIEW. Z I
your heart--prhaps very softly, but so that
you will hear 1r distinctly-' Don't do that:
it is wrong; don't do it! and if you will
heed that voice, it will always warn you of
evil, and draw you towards what is right.
That voice is God's voice; it speaks in every
human soul; and it is because we neglect to
follow its counsels and warnings that we are
left to make our way down to ruin. My dear
child, listen to this voice; do not resist its
pleadings; for if you are forsaken by God's
holy and guiding Spirit you will be indeed
Miss Alice spoke with great earnestness, and
her eyes filled with tears.
"Do not fear," she continued, "that your
heavenly friend cannot do for you all you
need. Thousands have been helped by him
to subdue their evil habits, and to form a
character very different from what they once
had. It is his great work in the world to
help us to become holy and Christ-like. But,
at the same time, you must yourself make
every possible effort to overcome your faults.
It is only to those who try to help themselves
that help from on high is promised. No one
88 THE INTERVIEW.
who folds his hands in indolence can expect
the work to be done for him. You, Tom, are
not wanting in courage, and you are not
afraid of hard work. Be courageous, then,
in resisting temptation. Work hard to sub-
due your evil passions. Bring all your
strength to bear in these things, and with the
help which will be given you if you seek it,
you will certainly come off conqueror. Did
you ever read the 'Pilgrim's Progress ?'"
Tom's eyes sparkled at this question. Oh,
yes," he said, "a great many times. I like
it is so much I like to read about his fight-
ing Apollyon, and about Mr. Greatheart. Oh,
wasn't he a noble fellow ?"
Yes, indeed; and every follower of Christ,
old or young, goes on a pilgrimage, and has to
fight Apollyon, and pass by lions, and climb the
Hill Difficulty,-only his Apollyons and lions
are in his own breast; they are his evil
passions. Your Apollyon is probably that
hot temper of yours; and you will be obliged
to have many and many a battle with it. I
hope you will be like Great-heart, and fight
Tom's face lighted up. He thought he
THE INTERV tW.
should like to run a sword right through
Apollyon that minute.
Miss Alice smiled as she saw the expression
on his face, and said, kindly,-
I wanted to see you to-day, Tom, because
I am going away very soon. My home is in
the metropolis ; and as soon as the weather is a
little milder and I am a little stronger, I shall
go there. It is too cold for me here in
"But won't you come back ?" asked Tom
I shall, if I am able in the spring.
The air of the hills does me a great deal of
good in summer, and my uncle and aunt like
to have me with them whenever I can be.
Indeed, I consider this one of my homes."
Is Colonel Blake your uncle ? "
"Yes; that is, he married my aunt,-my
own mother's sister; and as my mother died
when I was a little girl, she seems very near
to me. I have never stayed into the winter
before, and I find it rather too cold for me."
Are you sick, Miss Alice?" asked Tom,
I am not strong, and have a bad cough at
times; but I am usually well enough to go
down-stairs and to ride out in pleasant
"Oh, I am so sorry you are going away !"
It ,was all Tom could say; but it did not at
all express the feeling of his heart,-a feeling
made up of gratitude, admiration, and sorrow.
"I am sorry I have never known you
before, Tom. I am sure we should have been
friends a great while ago, if we had met. If
SI were well enough, I would ride over and
Ssee your mother. I should like very much to
"Oh, you would like my mother. Every-
body does. She isn't a bit like me. She is
always good. And little Mary,-oh, I do wish
you could see little Mary !"
"Some time I must see them both. If I
come to Rockfield next summer, I shall
certainly go to Brier Hill. I have been there
when I was out riding, and have noticed the
house in which you live. Last summer you
had some flowers by the door."
Oh, yes,-lots of 'em,-pinks, and sweet-
williams, and balsams, and mignonette, and
ever so many more. I helped to weed 'em."
"You like flowers, then "
"Pretty well; but then I weed 'em to help
mother. She didn't get much time to work
in the flower-bed."
"I hope you will always try to help your
mother as much as you can. Mr. Pafker told
me you were a good boy to your mother; and
I was very glad to hear that, Tom. To be
honest and good to his mother are two things
very much to a boy's credit."
Tom blushed to hear himself thus com-
"But you must look out for Apollyon,"
continued Miss Alice, with a smile. 1 shall
often think of you, and wonder whether you
are getting the victory over him. You will
find that he is not to be subdued by one blow,
much less by one resolve. He will be putting
his ugly head in sight again and again; and
if he sometimes gets the better of you, you
must not be discouraged and think it is of no
use to fight him any longer. You have a
friend to help you, a thousand times stronger
than he is. Go to him when you are weak
and faint-hearted, and then, with his strength
assisting you, strive more manfully than ever.
92 THE INTERVIEW.
He will give you the victory. Don't you
Remember how Christian was overthrown, and
aalmostovercome, in his battle with Apollyon?
L-but he did not cease fighting him. If he
had, he would never have conquered at last.
I feel a gred deal of interest in you, Tom,"
Miss Alice said, taking his hand in hers, "and
a stronger desire that you should become all
you ought to be than I can well express. It
is a great thing to be a brave, true-hearted man.
One such man can do a vast amount of good in
the world; and every boy can become such a
one, through God's grace. If you sometimes
think of me after I have gone, remember, this
was the wish of my heart:-that you should
be a good man,-a noble, brave-hearted, Chris-
Tom thought he saw tears in those beautiful
eyes, and his heart was softened by the tender
tones of that sweet voice. He was sure he
should never forget her, or the things she had
said,-never, in a hundred years, if he were
to live so long.
She read the feeling in his face. "No,
Tom, I am sure you won't forget me; and if
I come back next summer we will see a great
deal of each other. Are you in a hurry to go
home ? Does your mother need you this
"There isn't any school, and I don't think
she wants me. Is there anything I can do
for you? "
"No thank you. I was only afraid I was
keeping you too long."
So saying, she pulled a crimson tassel that
hung on the wall near her lounge, and in a
moment a servant came in.
Ann, will you bring up some of those tea-
cakes, and a dish of apples?-those royals,
you know." And Ann went out again.
T seemed almost like a bright, beau-
tiful dream to Tom to be sitting
there with Miss Alice and, talking
to her so familiarly; and when Ann returned,
bringing a waiter, with a small silver basket
on it filled with little round cakes, and a dish
of golden apples, he eagerly watched all her
movements. She drew up a little table near
Miss Alice, and placed her dishes of cake and
fruit on it. Then she went to a closet and
brought some delicate china plates, such as Tom
had never seen before, some bright-coloured
napkins, two tumblers, and a beautiful little
silver pitcher, and set them beside them, also a
plate of little biscuits.
Anything more, Miss Alice ? The fruit-
"Yes; two, if you please."
And Ann brought two little silver knives,
prettier than anything Tom had ever dreamed
Now we will have a little luncheon," said
Miss Alice. I am sure you must be hungry,
and so am I, for I only took a cup of coffee
for my breakfast." And she handed him one
of those beautiful plates with some cakes
Tom felt half afraid to take them, his hands
looked so rough and clumsy by the side of Miss
Alice's, and he felt all over so awkward he was
sure he shouldn't eat them properly. But he
saw, to his great relief, that Miss Alice was
not looking at him, but was very busy pour-
ing some milk from the pitcher into a tumbler.
So he grew more comfortable, and began to eat
his cakes, taking very small mouthfuls. The
cakes were so very nice that he ate them all, and
when he was offered more, though he declined,
he thought he could have eaten several with a
good relish. Miss Alice then gave him a plate
with two apples, a napkin, and one of those
beautiful little knives.
Tom did not like to experiment with the
knife, so he bluntly said, "1 never eat my
apples with a knife," and began biting one,
though he coloured as he did it.
I think myself they taste better so," said
Miss Alice, smiling, when one has such sound
teeth as yours."
Tom ate his apples with all a boy's hearty
enjoyment, drank some water, and set his plate
back on the table, feeling that he had passed
through the ordeal more comfortably than he
Miss Alice had all the time been talking
very pleasantly, asking him what he studied
at school; which of his studies he liked best;
if he liked to read, and what kind of books.
And then she told him about the books she
liked best when she was of his age, and to what
kind of school she went.
Tom now thought he must go.
"I suppose I shall not see you again," said
Miss Alice, "for I shall go the first warm
Tom looked very sorrowful His warm heart
was full of grief, for he had never seen any
one he thought was half so kind, and beauti-
ful, and good as Miss Alice. He could not
THE PARTING. 97
put his feelings into words, but tears filled
"I will give you something to remember
me by," she said, going to her bureau, "some-
thing which, if I should not come back,"-her
voice broke a little, but in an instant it re-
gained its steadiness--"perhaps you would like
to look at sometimes." And she took from a
drawer a little picture of herself, neatly framed.
" And here is a Bible, a small one which I have
used; but I think it will bring me all the more
to your mind. I want you to keep it and read
it for my sake, Tom; always remembering it
is God's word to teach you how to live, and
where to find strength and consolation."
It was a beautiful gilt-edged Bible, with a
morocco cover and gilt clasps.
Tom could only say, "Thank you." No
other words would come.
If you want to please me, Tom," said Miss
Alice, with one of her bright smiles, remem-
ber, it will always make me happy, wherever
I am, to know that you are getting the better
of your old enemy-the quick temper. I do
want you to be a good boy, Tom," she added,
tenderly, "to love God and be his obedient