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The Baldwin Library
KNIGHT FIDES AND CONSCIENCE
'0 f rI
T NELS6N AND SONS
LORFON, EPINIL iC ANU NEW YOEKF
Or O ii f 's4iI.ii
Cilh alth Wuhi() 11 must figLt.
A. L. O. E.,
A*.tu/ of Fairy K,m-a-Bit," T/h Young Pilgriw,'" WYis ,nd Stings,"
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
Y design in writing this little volume has been
to induce the thoughtless child to think; and
for this purpose the form of allegory has long
been deemed suitable by those in whose foot-
steps I would humbly endeavour to tread.
The powers of the mind are roused to energy by the
effort to penetrate a mystery.
I, however, look upon the following descriptions of
the Christian warfare, not as finished pictures, but
rather as scanty outlines to be filled up, not merely by
the imagination of the child, but the suggestions of
those to whose care he is confided. I would earnestly
ask from such the "word in season" to point out the
moral, to apply the lesson; above all, to explain the
allusions to the higher and holier truths of religion
which I thought it irreverent more openly to introduce
into what bears so much the appearance of a fairy-tale.
The sword, the armour, the very name of the champion,
the strength which he received, the crown which he was
to wear at the close of his labours, but not as their
reward, will serve as examples of these allusions; which
a wise and pious parent may expand to most valuable
lessons. From the experience which I have had of
children, I feel assured that an allegorical tale is likely
to be attractive to their minds; but it greatly depends
on the influence of those around them whether they
derive from it only the passing amusement of an hour,
or the solid instruction in sacred truth which the
Author is anxious to convey.
A. L O. O
r ,t- m ', "~-
'--- ^ ^-
I. THE ARRIVAL, ... ... ... .. ... ... ... 9
II. FIRST IMPRESSIONS, ... ... ... .. ... ... ... 19
III. GIANT SLOTH, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2
IV. GIANT SELFISHNESS, .... .. .. ... ... 36
V. GIANT UNTRUTH, ... ... .. ... ... ... 53
VI. TRIALS AND TROUBLES, ... ... ... ... ... ... 65
VII. SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST, ... ... ...... ... ... 78
VIII. GIANT HATE, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 95
IX. FAIR GRATITUDE, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 110
X. THE PLEASURE EXCURSION, ........... ... ... 123
XI. THE PRISONER IN DARKNESS. .. ... .. ... ... 13S
XII. GIANT PRIDE, ... ... ...... ... ... ... 149
_'2 ,.l'.-^ ---
ELL, I hope that we're near the end of our
journey at last !" exclaimed Adolphus Pro-
byn, with a long weary yawn, as the fly
which was conveying him and his brother
from the station rolled slowly along a quiet
"You're in a precious hurry to get there," said Con-
stantine, fixing his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, and
putting up his feet on the opposite seat; but I don't
believe that you'll like the place when you see it. I
hate being sent to a private tutor's; I'd rather have
gone to a regular school at once."
"I don't know as to that," said Adolphus, who had
some vague ideas in his mind about fagging, hard dump-
lings, and wooden benches.
10 THE ARRIVAL.
"One thing I know," cried his brother, "I'm certain
to dislike this tutor with all my heart."
Adolphus did not take the trouble to ask his reasons,
but Constantine went on without stopping to be ques-
"I should dislike any one recommended by Aunt
Lawrence, she's so particular, thinks so many things
wrong, is so fond of good books and lectures, and that
sort of thing. Depend upon it, she put into papa's head
that we were spoilt, and needed some one to keep us in
order, and she found out this poor country clergyman"-
"Poor-I'm sorry he's poor," observed Adolphus;
"he'll not make us half so comfortable as we were at
home. I wonder if he'll have no late second dinner."
Oh, you may make up your mind to that cried
his brother; "all the family will dine together at One
on boiled mutton and rice pudding, or bacon and beans !"
Adolphus sighed. "And it will be work, work, work,
from morning till night, with no change but long ser-
mons, long lectures, and long walks; and if we go bird-
nesting, or have a little fun, won't we catch it-
that's all !"
"Here we are at last!" said Adolphus, as the fly
stopped at a little green door.
Constantine put' his head out of the window. "No
carriage drive," lie muttered; "what a mean place it
must be !"
," "- -.
THE FINISH OF THE JOURNEY.
Scarcely had the coachman's pull at the bell broken
the peaceful stillness of that quiet spot, when the green
door was thrown wide open, and a boy of about eleven
years of age appeared at it, with a broad smile of wel-
come on his face.
I'm so glad you've come-we've been waiting dinner
for you; let me help down with that," he added, as the
coachman made preparations for lifting down a black
trunk which had kept him company on the box.
Constantine jumped from the carriage; his twin brother
more slowly descended, and without troubling themselves
with their luggage, or taking much notice of their new
companion, they proceeded along the narrow gravel-walk
which led up to the entrance of the dwelling.
A pretty cottage it appeared, though a small one,
with the sunshine gleaming through the twining roses
on the diamond-panelled windows, that peeped from
beneath the low thatched roof. It would have looked
very well in a picture; not a chimney but was twisted
into some elegant shape; the whole building, nestling in
trees and garlanded with creepers, might have served as
a model to a painter. But as Adolphus gazed curiously
upon his new home, it looked to his eye rather too much
like a magnified toy: he began to wonder to himself
where room could be found in it for him and his brother,
especially when he saw two little girls standing in the
porch watching their arrival with a look of shy pleasure.
Boys of ten years of age are, however, seldom long
troubled with thoughts such as these, and the attention
of young Probyn was almost immediately diverted by
the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Roby, who advanced to
welcome their guests to Dove's Nest. The former was
a tall, pale gentleman, with a stoop, a high forehead and
thoughtful air, which at once impressed the two little
boys with an idea that a very learned scholar was before
them. Mrs. Roby, on the contrary, was stout and rather
short, with a bright merry glance in her dark eyes, to
which the dimples in ner cheeks corresponded; there
was kindliness in the press of her hand, and a cheerful
animation about her whole manner that made her guests
feel at home with her at once.
"I see that my Aleck has introduced himself to you
already," said she, smiling, "but here are other little
friends glad to see you, and anxious, I am sure, to make
you happy. Bertha-Laura-my darling," she con-
tinued, laying her hand fondly on the curly head of the
youngest child, the little image of herself with her
bright eyes and merry glance, "you should bid these
young gentlemen welcome."
The Probyns were soon shown to the room which they
were to share with Aleck; and though the ceiling was
low, and sloped down on one side, and the single window
was certainly small, he would have been difficult to
please indeed, who could have found fault with so pretty
an apartment. Everything was so beautifully clean and
neat, and through that open window came so sweet an
air; while the tinkle of a distant sheep-bell, and the
carol of birds from the neighboring trees, made music
delightful after the rattle of a railway, or the ceaseless
roll of carriages in London.
The dinner, also, to which the Probyns speedily de-
scended, was excellent, though simple; and Adolphus
especially, who had soon managed to find out that no
second one was to be expected, did ample justice to the
good cheer after his long journey, having quite forgotten
sundry parcels of sandwiches and cake which he had
managed to dispose of by the way.
Being rather shy at first, and under the eye of Mr.
Roby, the boys were upon their good behaviour, and
everything went on very harmoniously. Laura had
indeed to squeeze up very close to her mother to avoid
the elbows of Constantine, and opened her merry eyes
wider than usual when Adolphus, seeing that the plum-
tart was rapidly disappearing, thrust forward his plate
for a second help before he had half finished his first.
But no open notice was taken of either breach of good
manners; this was not the time to find fault.
Mr. Roby sat quiet and observant, and his two little
daughters said little; but their mother led the conversa-
tion, in which Aleck joined freely, and before the dinner
was over the Probyns were quite at their ease.
"We shall have plenty of things to show you," said
Aleck; "papa has given us all a half-holiday in honour
of your arrival. There are my two rabbits, the black
and the white one."
I like rabbit curry very much," interrupted Adolphus.
Oh, but you are not to eat them !" exclaimed little
Laura in alarm, shocked at the idea of cooking her
"And there is the garden," continued Aleck; "we
have made two arches across the gravel-walk, and such
beautiful creepers are twined round them; and there is
a famous bower at the end of it-we helped to pave it
with pebbles ourselves."
"And there's a cow !" cried Laura; "you shall see
her milked !"
Then we will have some syllabub, that we will!"
The little Robys looked at each other, and then
glanced at their mother, in astonishment at such a bold
and unusual proposal. The lady, somewhat to their
surprise, gave a smiling consent, and poured out nearly
a tumbler-full of home-made wine in preparation for this
"This is not so bad," thought Constantine; "I dare
say we'll have some fun here. I shall like to tease that
prim puss Miss Bertha a little, who looks as though she
considered it wrong to open her mouth; and we'll bring
down Master Aleck a peg or two-he thinks himself
mighty clever, I can see."
"This is a great dealbetter than school,"-such were
the reflections of Adolphus. "The master looks mild
enough, the lady is the picture of good-nature, and these
people don't appear to be shabby, although they are
Yes, Mr. Roby was poor; even had his income been
double what it was, one so generous and benevolent
would still have been. poor. He could not afford to
give Aleck, his only son, the advantage of a school, but
this seemed no misfortune to the affectionate father; he
preferred conducting his boy's education himself. Aleck
was naturally clever, and, under the careful training of
his parent, had made uncommon progress in his studies.
If there was anything on earth of which the clergyman
was proud, it was the talents and goodness of his son.
Quiet and reserved as Mr. Roby was, it was no small
trial to him to introduce strangers into his peaceful
home, though these strangers were the nephews of an
intimate friend; it was a sacrifice of inclination to duty.
But his wife, in encouraging him to make this sacrifice,
had other reasons beyond increasing their small means,
or obliging the aunt of the Probyns. Mrs. Roby, with
her clear common sense, saw that it was not good for
her Aleck to have no companion but his sisters. They
were both younger than himself, and looked up to him
in everything. He helped them in their lessons, took
HELPING AT LESSONS.
the lead in their amusements, and was loved by them
with the fondest affection. What wonder if the boy
18 THE ARRIVAL.
was becoming a little spoiled; he was of too much im-
portance in the quiet home-circle; he could not but feel
that his parents were proud of him-that his sisters
regarded him as one who could scarcely do wrong; he
grew too fond of giving his opinion-too self-confident,
and his mother saw it. Hers was, however, the eye of
partial affection, and she had little idea how often those
who had been gratifying her husband by praising the
uncommon talents and virtues of their son, behind his
back spoke of him as "a conceited boy, who loved to
hear himself talk, who was ruined by being brought up
at home, and would never be good for anything in the
Oh, how startled should we often be, could we know
the difference between what is said to us, and what is
said of us; what a shock would our vanity receive, could
we look beyond the smile of flatterers and see into their
. ']HE next morning Aleck and his sisters met their
g IHT^ 1 naother in the breakfast-parlour before their
uests had left their sleeping apartment. Mr."
S Roby was still engaged in his study, having as
usual risen at five, that he might not leave
one of his various duties neglected.
"Mamma," said Bertha, after having received her
morning's kiss, "I am afraid that we shall not like these
Probyns at all."
"It is too early to decide upon their characters,"
replied Mrs. Roby; we must wait till we know them
a little better."
"I think Constantine a very disagreeable boy," said
Bertha; "he has a sort of-I don't know what sort of
manner, but it is not in the least like Aleck's. It is as
though he despised us for being girls; and he kicks his
feet against the legs of the table, and never keeps still
for a moment, and it fidgets me so-I can't bear it!"
The little girl's brow was all wrinkled over with frowns.
"And he's so naughty," said Laura, resting her arms
on her mother's knee, and looking up gravely into her
face. "He pulled the cow's tail, and would not leave
off, and when we told him that it hurt her, he only
You should have seen how the boys quarrelled for
the syllabub," continued Bertha, "pulling and struggling
till half of it was thrown over between them."
"And they never let me have one drop," added
Laura; "I think that they are shocking bad boys !"
"So they are," said Aleek, as he paused in his task
of cutting the loaf for breakfast; they never read their
Bibles before going to bed, nor said their prayers neither,
.as far as I could tell." Aleck did not add-indeed, he
did not consider, that although he himself had not
omitted to kneel down, as he had been taught from his
childhood to do, his thoughts had been so much taken
up with his new companions, and drawing a contrast
between their conduct and his own, that not a feeling of
real devotion had given life to his heartless prayer.
Not say their prayers! cried Laura, looking more
shocked than before; "did you ever think that there
were such wicked boys ? "
"And such stupid ones too," rejoined Aleck. "When
I spoke to them about their lessons, Adolphus said, with
a great yawn, that learning was a bore." Laura raised
her eyebrows with an expression of arch surprise. I
offered to lend him my account of the famous Cook.
'Oh, I know all about him already,' said he; 'his name
was Soyer, and he made a capital sauce !' Here two
merry dimples appeared on the little child's cheeks, and
deepened as her brother proceeded: "And when I asked
him if he did not like Ceasar, he thought that I was
speaking of a dog, and inquired if he was one that
would not bite! "
This overcame Laura's gravity altogether; she burst
into such a merry ringing laugh that neither Bertha nor
Aleck could help joining her heartily; and even Mrs.
Roby, who was meditating a little lecture to her chil-
dren on too hastily judging others, found it difficult to
keep her countenance.
The entrance of the Probyns stopped the mirth of
which they had been the subject. Breakfast passed over;
then came hours of study, which served to strengthen
Aleck in his opinion that his companions were very
stupid boys. Adolphus appeared the dullest of the two;
not that he naturally was so, but he had always been
too lazy to learn. He stumbled at every word in his
reading, spelt pheasant with an f, and thumb without a
b, could not see any difference between a noun and a
verb, and confused the Red Sea with the Black. Poor
Mr. Roby, accustomed to an intelligent pupil, stifled a
quiet sigh ; and Aleck, with a feeling of vast superiority,
could not hide the mingled surprise, amusement, and
contempt, which the boy's ignorance called up in his own
mind. The Probyns noticed the smile on his face, and it
stung them more than a real injury would have done; while
indulging his secret pride, Aleck was sowing in the hearts
of his companions bitter feelings of resentment and hate.
After lessons, an hour was given to play in the garden;
but anything but play it proved to Aleck, for the Pro-
byns were determined to show him that, if he had more
book-learning than they, he, a country boy, was ignorant
of many things familiar to them from living in London.
Without coming to an open quarrel, they made him feel
that they disliked him, showed such open contempt for
what he valued, and treated his favourite pursuits with
such scorn, that, irritated almost beyond his power of
endurance by a trial to which he was unaccustomed,
Aleck lost both his patience and his temper, and was
laughed at for being so easily "put in a pet." It was
fortunate for him that the time had now come for joining
his mother and sisters in the parlour. The boys found
the little ladies busy at their sewing; Mrs. Roby had
quitted the room to see a poor woman who had come for
advice and assistance.
This is our nice half-hour with mamma," said Laura;
"she always reads something to us before dinner while
we work, and Aleck draws beside her."
'. More reading! exclaimed Adolphus, with no pleased
Oh, but it's amusing reading !" said Laura. "There,
Aleck dear, I've put your copy and pencil all ready for
you; and I've not forgotten the India-rubber this
morning, you see, though I am such a careless little
thing !" Another time she would have been repaid by
a smile and a kiss; but Aleck was in no mood for that
"Amusing reading I wonder what you call amusing !"
said Constantine, who, to Bertha's great annoyance, was
occupying his idle fingers in turning over the contents of
"Why, mamma has been reading to us little bits,"
said Laura; "only little bits such as I can understand,
you know, of the history of good Mr. Budget, the 'Suc-
cessful Merchant.' "
"The Successful Merchant! I'll not stand that !"
exclaimed Constantine, flinging Bertha's reels of cotton
right and left, as he threw himself back in his chair.
"Oh, but it's so curious-so interesting-and all
true! There's the story of the little donkey, and of the
horse that was lost, and the great tea-party-things that
amuse even me."
"Amuse a stupid girl like you; but"-
"If you talk about stupidity," cried Aleck, firing up,
"let me tell you "-
Oh, how thankful the girls were for the entrance of
their mother at this moment! To see flushed faces, fiery
looks, clenched fists, was so new to them, that, in terror
lest their darling brother should be drawn into a quarrel
and be hurt, poor little Laura could scarcely restrain her
tears, and Bertha, as she stooped to pick up her reels,
wished from her heart that these odious new-comers had
never arrived to break the peaceful serenity of Dove's
Mrs. Roby's quick eye instantly detected that there
had been words amongst the children ; she thought it best,
however, to take no notice of this, and opening a little
drawer in her table, took out of it a manuscript book.
"I have been thinking what kind of reading might
serve to entertain you all, uniting some instruction with
amusement." Constantine turned down his lips at the
word instruction. He thought that the lady did not
see him. "Here is an allegory-a sort of tale which
contains a hidden meaning beneath the apparent one--
But I don't like hearing reading, ma'am," interrupted
Adolphus, with much more candour than good manners.
No kind of reading ? inquired Mrs. Roby, in perfect
"Oh, some story-books, and fairy-tales, I don't mind
them, if I've nothing better to amuse me."
"I think, then, that this book may suit your taste;
it is the story of a Giant-killer."
"Jack the Giant-killer! Oh, I've heard that a thou-
sand times!" cried Adolphus, while the Robys could
scarcely help laughing at the idea of their mother reading
such a story to them.
Mine is a new Giant-killer-a great hero, I can assure
you," said the lady; "and I think that my tale is a
better one than that with which you are so well ac-
quainted, as it contains a great deal that is true."
"Why, there are no giants now !" cried Constantine.
"I am not so sure of that," replied Mrs. Roby; "I
believe that we might find both giants and giant-killers
in the world at this time, if we only knew where to
look for them."
WINDING THE SKEIN.
"I should like to hear this story," said Constantine,
afraid of the lady's returning to the "Successful Mer-
"Then perhaps you would kindly wind this skein of
silk for me while I read," said Mrs. Roby, willing to
save an unfortunate tidy from the fingers which were
now picking at its fringe. "There, let me find the end
for you. I am sure that Adolphus will oblige me by
turning the skein while you wind; and, now that you
are all busily employed, I will at once begin my little
S was the still hour of twilight. The moon still
,,. shone in the deep blue sky; but her light was
'". becoming pale and dim. The stars had gone
out, one by one, and a red flush in the east,
deepening into crimson just behind the hill,
showed where the sun would shortly appear.
A knight lay stretched on the mossy ground ; his head
reclined on a shield, his two-handed sword girt to his
side-even in sleep his hand rested on the hilt. This
was the brave champion Fides, the chosen knight to
whom had been given mighty treasures and a golden
crown by the King whom he had served from his child-
hood. But he was not yet to enter into possession of
his riches, he was not yet to wear his bright crown;
hard labours, great dangers were before him--he was to
fight before he might enjoy. So Fides was to pass
alone through the enemy's land, to slay every giant who
should oppose him on the way. His King had provided
him with strong armour, and with a wondrous sword
which gave certain victory if he who drew it shrank not
back like a coward, or yielded to the foe like a traitor;
he had, in truth, nothing to fear but his own slackness in
fight; if but faithful, he must be triumphant.
The knight slept soundly on his soft couch, for he was
weary with long travel that night. He was roused by
the touch of a hand, so light that the dew could hardly
have rested more gently on his shoulder; and yet there
was something in the power of that touch which not
only broke his slumbers, but restored to him in a moment
all his waking powers. He started up, and beheld before
him a beautiful messenger sent by his King. Her robe
was of woven light, a starry crown was upon her head,
and the glance of her eye penetrated the heart, and laid
open its most inmost feelings. Fides recognized Con-
science, his companion and friend, who, invisible to all
eyes but his own, had come on an errand to the knight.
"Sleeping still!" she exclaimed, with your labours
all to come-sleeping on the enemy's ground Rouse
you, recreant champion, and draw your sword; see you
not yon towers before you ? It is there that Giant Sloth
holds his court; you cannot pass on until he is slain.
This is the hour to attack him in his hold; soon after
sunrise he quits it to roam abroad; if not attacked early,
he will escape your pursuit;-on, then, and victory attend
"0 Conscience, I am weary!" Fides replied; "a
GIANT SLOTH. 29
little more rest may be mine The sun is scarcely seen
above yon ridge; grant me another hour's slumber."
"Go at once," replied the bright one, "or you go in
KNIUAIT FIDES, AND CONSCIENCE.
"But how make my way into the castle ?"
"Press the hilt of your sword against the heaviest
door, and it will open as if by a key."
"But if difficulties should arise, or doubts perplex
Breathe upon the hilt of your sword, and you will
behold me beside you. Though unseen, I will ever be
near you. Delay not now, for, look at the sun, what a
flood of light he pours on the world! When the great
clock in the giant's tower strikes six, it will be too late
to encounter him that day; he may vanish before your
eyes, but neither be conquered nor slain. Go!" And
even as the words were upon her lips, the bright one
vanished from his sight.
With rapid step and a resolute spirit, Fides sped on to
his first encounter. The way was plain before him; not
even the youngest child could have mistaken it. In
front arose the castle of Giant Sloth, whose heavy, shape-
less mass looked as though it had been built of clouds.
Fides, sword in hand, pressed up to the door; it was open,
as if to invite his entrance, and he at once proceeded
into the large hall.
A strange scene of confusion was there; the whole
place was littered with unfinished work, blotted pages
and blank ones, play-books torn and without their backs,
dresses in rags, and neglected volumes with leaves yet
uncut. But the strangest thing was the feeling of
heaviness and dulness which stole over the knight the
moment that he entered the hall. It seemed too much
trouble even to pass through its length; he would fain
have laid himself down and slept. The place was very
still, the only sound heard was that of some one heavily
breathing in a room that was near; Fides doubted not
that this was the giant himself.
Animated with the hope of gaining his first triumph,
the knight resolutely struggled against the sleepy sen-
sation which made the danger of that enchanted hall.
He passed through it, and found at the end that what
he at a distance had mistaken for a wall, was only a
huge web, like that which the house-spider weaves; not
the light net-work which is strung with bright beads
of dew, but thick, close, and darkened with dust.
Through this strange curtain Fides with some difficulty
could see into the inner room where the giant lay
Sloth's huge, clumsy form was half sunk in a great
heap of down, not a feather of which stirred in the
heavy air, except such as were moved by his breathing.
Here, then, was the knight, and there was his foe, but
how was the first to reach the latter Only the web
was between, and Fides threw his whole weight
against it, hoping easily thus to get through ; not so, it
bent, but it did not break-every thread in the yielding
curtain seemed as strong as though it had been made of
Fides drew back disappointed and surprised; some-
thing that was not weariness, but possessed the same
FIDES SLAYS THE GIANT SLOTH.
power to deaden energy and make effort disagreeable,
seemed pressing his spirit down. His eyelids grew
heavy, he could scarcely keep them open, he felt a strong
and increasing desire to indulge the sleepiness which had
now come over him. But there was an object before
him which made him struggle against the enchantment.
Just above the feathery couch of the giant was a huge
clock, with a dial of silver and numbers of gold, and the
hand, which glittered with many a gem, had almost
touched the point of six.
"Now or never !" thought Fides, with another strong
effort, as he remembered the words of Conscience.
Again the web yielded to his weight, but not the
smallest flaw appeared in its fine texture to give him
hope of succeeding in breaking through.
"Ding-ding-ding !" the hand is at six-the giant
is beginning to stir! Fides with sudden resolution lifts
his sword on high, down it descends on the web, which,
as the blow divides it, starts back on each side till a
very wide gap appears. Fides springs through the
opening, he is just in time, and the next moment Giant
Sloth lies dead at his feet.
"Well," exclaimed Adolphus, with a comical expres-
sion on his face, as soon as Mrs. Roby had closed her
book, "I suspect that this story, from beginning to end,
is all a hit upon me."
"I thought that it was a hit upon me," said little
Laura. "when I heard of the broken-backed play-books,
and the room in such shocking disorder!"
"It might have been a hit upon me," thought B-rtha,
who, indolent by disposition, had felt the moral touch
her in the description of unfinished work.
"It is a hit upon no one," replied Mrs. Roby, "unless any
person present chooses to consider himself as Giant Sloth
or one of his brotherhood. Your faults are your enemies,
the greatest enemies of those over whom they exercise
the greatest power. Pray, at this our first reading of
"the Giant-killer," let me impress this strongly upon
your minds. I would not hurt the feelings of one of
my listeners, far less would I encourage them to find
out and laugh at the follies of each other. My desire is
to lead you to consider that you are all and each of you
yourselves in the position of my hero. The foes which
She had to conquer you also must fight; you have the
same aid to encourage you, the same motives to rouse.
The same giant may not be equally formidable to you
all, but every one has some enemy with whom he must
struggle, in a strength that is given to him, armour not
"Ah!" said Aleck, "I was sure that there was some
meaning in that part of the story. The two-handed
sword also, which nothing could resist "-
"What was that?" interrupted Constantine.
"I would rather that you should discover that for
yourself," said Mrs. Roby. If the kernel of an alle-
gory be good, it is worth the trouble of cracking the
"Oh, but I hate all trouble !" cried Adolphus; "above
all, the trouble of thinking."
Take care, take care," laughed little Laura, "or we
shall suspect that you have been caught by Giant
WI rhT -
tS": _.u -- you know, mamma," said Laura the next
"n day, as she and her sister sat alone with
their mother, the boys being at lessons in
the study-" do you know that I did not feel
inclined to get up when I was called; but the
clock began to strike, which put Giant Sloth into my
head, and up I jumped in a minute;"
"I am glad that you made such practical use of my
little tale," replied Mrs. Roby, with a smile.
"But, mamma-if I might say something," began
Bertha, then hesitated and paused.
"Say anything that you please, my dear."
"I almost wondered at your beginning with only
Giant Sloth; that seems such a little fault compared
with the great ones of the Probyns. Constantine did
not seem hit at all, for he is active enough in mis-
"I repeat that I hit no one," replied her mother.
"Oh -but-you know what I mean, mamma; I
should have liked something very-very"- Bertha's
face had a puzzled look, for she knew not how to express
her meaning; "I should have liked some story that
would have made them know themselves, and hate their
faults as every one else must hate them. I would have
had a horrible Giant Selfishness I" she added, her manner
becoming more excited as she spoke.
"You look upon selfishness, then, as their grand
"Oh, mamma, can anything be plainer-they are
made up of selfishness, nothing but selfishness; they
never think of the comfort of any one., I am sure that
S I wish they had never come here, to torment us !" her
cheek flushed, and her eye filled as she spoke.
"Come, come; my love, if you are so warm on the
subject, I shall suspect that the poor Probyns are not the
only ones here who feel the power of Giant Selfishness."
"Mamma what do you mean ?" said Bertha, in sur-
I believe-I am convinced that you would suffer
far less from the conduct of these boys if there were not
something in your own nature of the same quality which
you so strongly condemn in them."
I never thought that you would have accused me of
selfishness !" said Bertha, with a good deal more of sullen-
ness in her tone than might have been expected from a
child so well brought up.
BERTHA AND HER MOTHER.
What makes you feel so extremely annoyed when
your pleasures are interfered with, your little amusements
interrupted, your time broken in upon, your things
wanted for others?"
"No one likes to be put out of their way," replied
No one likes it, my love, and selfishness is a quality
to which, I fear, very few indeed are strangers."
My brother and sister do not think me selfish--I
would do anything for them."
"You love them, and love makes all things easy; be-
sides that, it seems to me that they seldom put your
self-denial to any great trial To attend your brother,
to work for him, to carry out his little plans, has been
your greatest amusement; and as for Laura "-the child
had just left the room to bring her forgotten spelling-
book-" she is such a sweet-tempered little creature that
there could be no merit in showing kindness to her."
"Then why are these boys brought here to make me
selfish when I was not so before ?" cried Bertha, with
bitter emotion. They seem to have brought all sorts
of evil with them-even Aleck does not appear the same
that he was-he is not half so much with his sisters;
they are filling my heart with such angry feelings-I
shall never be good while they are here."
"They are teaching you to know yourself, my Bertha;
they are not causing the selfishness in your soul, they
are only tearing away the veil which prevented you from
knowing that it was there. A gilt object may appear
as well as a gold one until it is tried in the fire, it is the
furnace of temptation which proves of what metal we
are made. A lake looks clear and pure while perfectly
still; the oar which stirs up the sand from below is not
the cause of the sand being there, it lay in the depths
before, like evil in the depths of our hearts."
Bertha heaved a deep sigh. "It is very painful to
find out that we are so much worse than we thought
ourselves," she said.
"The discovery is painful, but very valuable. You
would not go to meet an enemy blindfold; you must see
him before you can fight him, you must know your
faults before you can subdue them."
Bertha felt the truth of her mother's words, and in-
stead of only dwelling on the failings of their guests, she
applied the lesson to herself, 'when her mother read to
the assembled children the story of
Giant Selfishness sat in his bower, which was all gar-
landed over with flowers. The honeysuckle twined
round its slender pillars; damask roses and white, tinged
with a pale blush, clambered over the roof; while around
a marble basin, from which a bright fountain tossed its
sparkling waters in the sun, the geranium scattered its
delicate blossoms, and the fuchsia shook its crimson
tassels in the breeze. A fair bower it was, for it had
been adorned by Pleasure, the willing servant and at-
tendant on its lord.
Giant Selfishness was huge of stature and strong of
limb ; taller and more powerful than his younger
brother, Sloth. There were few indeed who could cope
with his arm, he was tyrant over half the world. Many
a great conqueror he had made his slave, thousands and
thousands had felt his chains, he claimed dominion over
young and old. Yet now, as the giant sat alone, a deep
shade of gloom was upon his massive brow; he listened
not to the tinkling fall of the fountain, he glanced not
at the beautiful flowers.
Evil tidings, evil tidings! he muttered to himself;
" Sloth has been the first victim, but he will not be the
last. I dread nothing on earth but the invincible
sword; not even my strength can stand against that !"
He pressed his vast hand over his eyes, and remained
for some moments in thought.
Ha I have it! he exclaimed, suddenly raising his
head; "what force cannot accomplish, cunning may
perform." He clapped his hands as a signal, and the
noise that they made was startling as a peal of
Instant at the summons his servant Pleasure appeared.
A fairy-like creature, with gossamer wings, all sparkling
with the tints of the rainbow.
Pleasure," exclaimed the giant, "I call thee to my
aid against him who would root out the race of Selfish-
ness. Knowest thou if Fides is still at the castle where
Sloth this morning fell beneath his sword ? "
"He is still there," replied the musical voice of
Pleasure; "he finds much to arrange, and much to do,
but will leave ere the sun goes down."
He must not leave it till the night dew falls cred
the giant, leaning forward on his seat, and speaking in
a low, earnest tone. Hie thou to yon castle, Pleasure;
spread there for him a table that may lure him to delay ;
load it with rich wines and the daintiest food; make it
tempting, as thou knowest how to make it."
Pleasure had learned many a recipe from old Gluttony
GI_,NT SELFISHNESS INSTRUCTING PLEASURE.
her neighbour, and, confident in her own powers, only
answered the giant by a smile.
"There* is no moon to-night," continued Selfishness;
" if he tarry till dark, he is my prey. Then, when he
sets forth from Castle Sloth, do thou, with a lantern in
thine hand, dance before him like the wild-fire on the
waste; draw him from the path which he should pursue,
lead him on to the deep pit in the woods which I have
dug to catch wanderers like him."
Pleasure bowed as she received the command, spread
her gossamer wings, and flew off.
A heavy day was it with Giant Selfishness; his mind
was full of anxiety and fear. What if the chosen knight
should resist the temptation-if, resolute in the way
pointed out by Conscience, he should neither indulge in
the dainties so treacherously provided, nor follow the
light sent to mislead! As the night closed in and the
scene grew darker and darker, with huge strides the
giant sought his pit in the wood; there, like a wild
beast lurking in his den, he awaited the approach of
Fides- he dared not stand the stroke of the invin-
cible sword, but he might slay his foe if taken at dis-
Ah, how many times, whilst indulging in the feast
of Gluttony, had Fides heard the faint warning voice of
Conscience but, proud of his success in his conflict with
Sloth, he regarded not warning nor danger. The sound
of the clock fell unheeded on his ear, and not till the
darkening shades told of the approach of night, till the
glass ceased to sparkle, and all grew dim, did he slowly
rise to depart.
Giant Selfishness crouched by his pit in the woods,
and listened for the sound of footsteps. For a long
space he heard only the rustling of the leaves, as the
THE GIANT CROUCHING AT THE PIT.
night wind moaned through the forest. The stars
scarcely gleamed in the dark blue sky, through openings
in the driving clouds. At length a light appeared at a
distance, and by its yellow, flickering beams the giant
knew it to be the torch of Pleasure. On it came,
nearer and more near; and now the flash of its gleam
upon armour, and the sound of a footstep on the forest
path, showed that a knight was fast following behind.
Then Giant Selfishness rubbed his huge hands with
delight. "He who follows only Pleasure," he muttered,
"will be sure to fall into my pit."
The sword of Fides hung by his side-it was not in
his hand, for he found it encumber him as he passed
through the thicket. He was not on the watch for a
foe; he thought of nothing but the gay light before him.
FIDES FOLLOWS PLEASURE.
Suspecting no danger, he pressed on with rapid step;
then, ha! there was the sound of a crash and a cry; he
had reached the pit, he had set his foot on the edge, he
had fallen into the snare of Selfishness.
The fall did not kill him, though the pit was deep-
perhaps his wondrous armour protected him from severe
injury-but he was bruised, mortified, and discouraged;
and the giant whose art had thrown him into this dark
prison was resolved to keep him in it till he should
perish by a slow, lingering death, as thousands had done
But Fides, the conqueror of Sloth, was not one to
remain a captive to Selfishness without making an effort
to escape. He was not content to be shut out from
usefulness and glory; he had fallen, indeed, through his
careless walk, but he might yet struggle up to freedom.
As soon as the knight fully understood his position, he
began to attempt to climb the sides of the pit, for the
armour which had been given to him never encumbered
his motions-though strong in the battle, it yet sat light
on the wearer as a garment of silk.
A few smarl twigs of the creeping plant which in that
land is called Desire of Approbation," gave some little
hold for his fingers, as he tried the difficult ascent.
With great effort he reached about one-third of the
height; then the spray which he grasped broke off in
his hand, and he fell again heavily to the bottom, while
the laugh of the giant, from the brink of the pit,
mocked his disappointment and pain.
Fides was not, however, altogether discouraged; he
resolved to take a better and surer way. His own
strength would not suffice, but then he had his sword; he
would cut out resting-places for his feet in the soft wall
of the pit, and thus find a method to rise. He cut
them, with a strong and patient hand, as far as his arm
could reach, with many a thought of his King. He
placed his foot on the first, raised his other to the second,
and then, difficult as the task had become, and sorely as
his arm ached with the exertion, scooped out two more
little notches above his head. It was dark, and the
giant, who, kneeling by the edge, with his head bent
down, was glaring into the pit, could not see his in-
tended victim ; but he heard the sound of the earth as
it fell, and caught a glimpse of the point of the sword,
working its difficult way.
Ha that must be put a stop to cried Selfishness,
as, hastily gathering together a heap of stones, earth,
and turf, he hurled it down in the direction of the
climber. The mass fell first on the sword-the invincible
sword, which the weight of a mountain would not have
snapped. This broke the force of the blow; but it was
still sufficient to dash the weapon from the hand of
Fides, and hurl the knight once more to the
Now was Fides in sore dismay, and much he repented
having lingered so long at the feast, and forgotten Con-
science to follow Pleasure. He felt almost tempted to
despair of ever getting out of the pit of Selfishness. He
felt in the dark for his sword; he found it, and tried its
edge-it was keen and perfect as ever. Then remem-
bering the words of Conscience, in his distress he
breathed upon the hilt. In a moment a faint light shone
in his prison from the star-wreath round the brow of
Conscience! exclaimed the unhappy prisoner,
" never before hast thou seen me in such woeful case!
Must I remain buried alive in this pit--am I shut out
from the kingdom for ever ? "
Thou must climb," replied Conscience; though thou
hast fallen thrice, he who perseveres must be successful
"But my limbs are bruised and weary, my strength
is half-spent. When I rise a little way, down comes a
shower of earth, which throws me back into my dun-
geon. I have nothing firm upon which to lay hold;
nothing to help me to rise from these depths."
Look this way," said Conscience; see what has
been placed here to enable poor captives to climb up
from their dungeon." By the soft light which she
threw around her, Fides perceived a cord of twisted silk
and gold hanging from the top of the pit.
"This," continued the guide, "is the strong cord of
Love: the bright scarlet twist is love towards man ; the
golden-stronger, holier love. The giant knows of this
cord, and a thousand times has tried to break, or loosen,
or destroy it; but it is not in his power to do so.
Sometimes, indeed, he draws it up, so that his victims
cannot reach it; either he has forgotten this precaution
to-night, or he has trusted that the darkness would hide
from thee the means of safety and deliverance."
Fides grasped the slender but firm cord of Love, and
with stronger hope, and more steady resolution, again
began his dangerous ascent. The climbing appears far
easier now; his feet find the notches prepared in the wall,
and relieve his arms
of a portion of the
weight. But Selfish-
ness, meanwhile, is
not idle above; again
he collects a heap of
stones and of earth,
but in the deep dai k-
ness, uncertain of his
aim, while the mass
comes crashing and
thundering down, but
a small portion ac-
tually -strikes the
knight. Another up- TI E PIT.
ward step, his hand is on the edge of the pit; one more,
and his head rises above it. Then Giant Selfishness utters
a cry of despair; he has no courage to cope with the in-
vincible sword; he turns his back like a coward upon
his foe, and is slain in the act of flight.
Fides stood panting and breathless, scarcely believing
his own victory-exhausted with his efforts, but rejoic-
ing greatly in their success. With his drawn sword in
his hand he stood, when a faint cry for mercy struck on
his ear; and, caught in the thicket by her gossamer
wings, her bright torch lying extinguished on the-ground,
THE DEATH OF SELFISHNESS.
by the dim twilight which was now appearing he recog-
nized his false guide, Pleasure.
Doubtful he stood, with his weapon raised, unwilling
to strike a creature so fair, unwilling to destroy what
possessed such power to charm, yet resolved to do his
duty, whatever it might cost him.
0 Conscience!" he cried, "come now to my aid.
Must Pleasure be destroyed when sin is overcome ? "
The starry one was again beside him. "Hold thy
hand," she exclaimed, "and let Pleasure live, now that
her master, Giant Selfishness, is slain. She shall be thy
servant, even as she was his; but she must first learn
how to perform higher, nobler tasks than any to which
she was accustomed with him. I will place her beneath
the care of Benevolence, where all her better nature will
be drawn out; Pleasure will then become a holy thing,
her office no longer to lead thee astray, but to follow thy
footsteps in the path of duty, and remain thy companion
for ever !"
"Ah, I am glad that poor Pleasure was not killed! "
"A dull life she would have of it with Benevolence,"
I don't think so," said Aleck, glancing up from his
drawing; "and I am certain, at least, that it would be
a much longer one than if she had remained the servant
"How do you make that out ? exclaimed several
"Why, Pleasure is fairly worn out by Selfishness,"
52 GIANT SELFISHNESS.
replied Aleck, who was naturally a reflecting boy. 1e
kills her by working her too hard. The greedy boy
eats for pleasure, suffers for it afterwards, and pleasure
is destroyed. The selfish boy thinks of nothing but his
own amusement-no one cares for him, no one loves
him-and pleasure is destroyed. The "-
"The moral is this," interrupted Mrs. Roby, who saw
that her son was treading upon dangerous ground: "Our
business is not too eagerly to follow pleasure, but if we
do our duty pleasure will follow us. What mere selfish
enjoyment can compare with the delight of feeling that
we have cheered the sad and helped the distressed, that
we have poured sweetness into a bitter cup, or led one
poor wanderer into the right way This is a pleasure
that will never die; it is pleasure like that which is en-
joyed in heaven I "
I JOW amusing Pro is this evening!" said Laura
to her sister, as they sauntered in the garden
alone. "Did you not like to hear all his
grand stories about his home "
"No," was Bertha's brief reply.
"What, not about
driving in a carriage '
with four horses, and '
being trusted with ,
the reins himself, and ,
being introduced to i
the Prince of Wales, 1
and having a game at
leap-frog with him ".
"I did not believe a
word of it, nor, I am
sure, did mamma," re-
plied Bertha; "did you
ot see how very grave
she was looking? IN TH GARDEN.
"I never thought of that," said the innocent little
child; "I never supposed that Pro was so wicked as
not to speak the truth."
"He thought it a good joke to take you in," replied
"I will never believe anything that he says again.
Yet Pro is pleasanter than Con, after all."
Pro and Con, it may be here mentioned, were the
familiar names given to the Probyns by Aleck, and
adopted by his sisters.
"Well, I'm glad that you think so, Missy," said
Adolphus, who had overheard her last words, as he
strolled into the garden with his ball in his hand, throw-
ing it up and catching it again as he slowly sauntered
along. Adolphus was not an ill-natured boy, and was
rather inclined to make friends with the little rosy-
cheeked damsel beside him, so he challenged her to a
game at ball. Bertha, who wished to water her flowers,
left them alone together.
"Now, Missy, could you hit that nail on the wall? "
"I'll try," cried the child, eagerly, flinging the ball.
"You're not within a mile of it! said Adolphus.
"A mile! oh!" exclaimed Laura, who had never
been accustomed to the evil habit of x. -_. -.' i.tin.
"Now, look at me, I'll knock it flat-no-I see that
I've aimed a little too high; run and fetch the ball, like
a good child."
"Pro, I think that you had better not throw that
way any more," said Laura, as she ran panting back
with the ball.
"And why not, pussy? "
Because you might fling it again over the wall, you
know-you throw so much further than I can-and the
glass cucumber-frame is just at the other side."
"Oh, there's no fear, little Prudence; I shall take
care. I'll hit the nail to a dead certainty this time-
there !" as he spoke the ball whirled through the air,
and disappeared over the wall.
"A miss; but I'll do it next time! cried Adolphus.
"Off for the ball, I'll try it again."
Once more the willing little messenger started, but
she returned with a slower step, and a very grave face
as she said, "The cucumber-frame is all smashed-I
picked the ball out of the middle of it."
"Dear me-that's a pity; but it can't be helped now.
You won't peach, that's a good girl."
"What's that ? asked the innocent Laura.
"You won't tell of me ? "
"Not unless I am asked."
"And if you are asked, you can easily say that you
never saw any one breaking the glass frame.
"Oh !" exclaimed Laura, opening her eyes very wide,
with an expression of indignant honesty.
"Why, you stupid little thing, you would be saying
nothing but the truth; how could you see any one
breaking the glass frame with that great brick wall
hiding it from us completely."
"But I am sure that you broke it "
'"That doesn't matter a pin. I don't want you to
say that you do not know who broke it, but that you
did not see it broken by any one."
"There's no difference," said Laura, looking puzzled.
"There's a great deal of difference," replied Adolphus,
impatiently; "the one would be an untruth, the other"-
"An equivocation," said a quiet voice behind him.
Adolphus started on seeing Mrs. Roby.
My dear boy," she continued, laying her hand upon
his shoulder, "do not attempt to silence conscience by
the idea that by such a pitiful evasion you could escape
the guilt of untruth. A falsehood is an attempt to
deceive; there may be falsehood where words are strictly
true, there may falsehood where not a word is spoken."
"I don't see how that can be," said Adolphus.
There is falsehood in suppressing the truth, as well
as in saying what is not true. If a man whose pockets
are full of money puts on an appearance of misery, and
receives charity which he does not require, that man is
acting a falsehood. If a boy silently accepts praise for
a generous action which he knows that he has not per-
formed, or has performed from some unworthy motive, his
very silence is a kind of falsehood."
"I don't think that we can help telling untruths in
this world," said Adolphus. "Why, there's my aunt,
who is so terribly particular, I know that she does not
like her neighbour Mrs. Rogers at all, and yet, when
she was obliged to write a note to her, she called her
'My dear Mrs. Rogers,' and signed herself 'Yours
sincerely.' I am certain that Mrs. Rogers was not dear,
and that aunt could not be sincere when she wrote
"Do you think that Mrs. Rogers was deceived by the
letter, that it made her believe herself a favourite with
your aunt? "
"Oh no; there was nothing in it to make her think
that-it was all about recommending a nurse."
"Then there was no sin of untruth in the letter.
The beginning and ending were mere forms, placed as a
matter of course, like a wafer or a seal; they were not
intended to mislead, and they did not. Had your aunt
warmly grasped the hand of the person whom she did
not respect, embraced her, made her understand by her
manner and her smiles that she valued and loved her
very much, there would have been deceit and hypocrisy
then, though not a word of untruth might have been
It was probably the above conversation that in-
duced Mrs. Roby to choose for the subject of her next
Fides now prepared to depart from the scene of his
fall, and also the scene of his victory. Leaving Pleasure
in the hands of Conscience, he only asked his bright
friend what new achievement demanded his efforts now.
Giant Untruth must at once be attacked," she re-
plied. He is one of the most dangerous of thy foes,
from the strange enchantments which he uses. One
stroke will not lay him low; he bears a charmed life,
and thrice must he feel thy sword ere it has power to
destroy him. A giant though he be, he can shrink to
a shape as small as that of the tiniest dwarf, and so
remain concealed and unnoticed till his pursuer passes
by, and then, resuming his own form, strike at his foe
"A hard task is before me," said Fides. How shall
I find out an enemy who hides himself thus-how dis-
cover him in his secret haunts?"
Hold up thy glittering sword on passing any sus-
pected place. If no Untruth lurks there, no change
will be seen; but if the shadow of the blade falls near
the false one, a dark shade will appear on the object
that conceals him: strike then, strike boldly, and Untruth
will fall "
A few more words of counsel from his friend, and
the champion departed on his way.
THE GIANT UNTRUTH.
Seen from a distance the Castle of Untruth appeared
like a lordly palace, on near approach it showed like a
poor-house. What had seemed marble was now seen to
be but painted lath; the stately turrets were nothing but
a deceptive wall; the large mullioned windows were false
ones, admitting no air and no light; the very bolts on
the door only seemed to be iron-they gave way to the
first stroke of the sword.
But if the outside of the Castle of Untruth was so
mean, far more so was the dwelling within. No beam
of day ever struggled into that place, bats hung from
the rafters above, damp trickled down the green un-
wholesome walls, the trail of the serpent was upon the
floor, and the yellow glare of sickly torches rather dazzled
the eyes than guided the footsteps of the stranger.
Where is there upon earth a lower, baser spot than that
where Untruth has fixed his abode!
Fides proceeded along a narrow crooked gallery called
Fear, which occupied a great part of the dwelling;
through this gallery the giant received countless victims,
who, lost in its dreary mazes, groped their way into the
presence of the destroyer. Perhaps Conscience, unseen,
guided her champion now, for he neither stumbled over
the obstacles that lay in his narrow path, nor struck his
helmet against the low roof which seemed ready to fall
in, nor missed his way in the labyrinth of Fear.
Just as the gallery ended in a large dimly-lighted
room, Fides caught a glimpse of the giant before him.
Never had he seen anything so hateful to the eye, so
repulsive to the generous soul. None of his race was
more hideous than Giant Untruth; meanness, cowardice,
and cunning were stamped upon his brow; he looked
like one who would shrink from the light. For a
moment Fides beheld the giant, then, as if by magic,
Untruth vanished from his eyes, and the knight found
himself, as it appeared, alone, to pursue his search after
his artful foe.
There were many strange objects in that hall, not one
of which, when closely examined, looked the same as
it did when at a distance. Treasures of plate, golden
vases, candelabra of the same precious metal, proved to
be nothing but gilded tin; imitation jewels gave a mock
splendour to the place, and the tables were heaped with
glittering coins which were only made to deceive. Fides,
however, amidst so much that engaged his attention, was
resolved not to forget his first important object, to hunt
out Untruth wherever he might lie hidden. At one end
of the hall the knight's eye was struck by a very large
and handsome mask* that rested against the wall. The
features wore a smiling expression, the complexion was
of a beautiful white; Fides fancied-was it only a
fancy ?-that through the eye-holes of the huge mask
he saw something moving behind !
Straightway he approached it with his wondrous
sword; even as its shadow fell on the false face a dull
stain appeared on the whiteness of its brow. Down
Hypocrisy, which is appearing to be what we are nut, or to feel what we
came the blow, so heavy and so sure, that the mask in
a moment was cleft in twain, and Untruth, receiving his
first wound, rushed forth from his hiding-place and
This success made Fides more eager in pursuit; with
rapid step he moved from place to place, examining this,
glancing under that, keeping sharp watch, like a good
champion as he was. Now a heap of dresses thrown
loosely together in a corner excited the suspicion of the
knight. Amongst them was one cloak* of white fur,
lined with black, whose massive folds might conceal the
enemy. The test of the sword was applied to this; dark-
ness gathered on the whiteness of the fur, its hue grew
like that of the lining within,-again down came the
stroke, again the traitor felt its power, and fled to hide
for the last time from the invincible sword.
Fides pursued his search till he was weary, and in-
clined to rest content with the success which he already
had gained. He had examined every spot, as he be-
lieved, again and again, had paced through the length
and -the breadth of the hall; was it not possible that
Untruth was already slain ? He wished to believe this,
and yet felt a doubt on his mind, which prevented him
from resting at ease. He sprang up from a heap of
cushions on which he had been reclining, determined to
Equivocation, or speaking truth to the ear, but conveying a false impression
to the mind.
pause no more in his search till the enemy should be
found. Thrice he passed along the hall, thrice examined
the gallery of Fear, then returned to the hall disap-
pointed, but not altogether discouraged.
Amongst the curious furniture of the place was a
mirror* which possessed the property of magnifying
every object before it. It was set so close to the wall
that there appeared to be room for nothing behind it,
and thus it aroused no suspicion in Fides. Viewed in
this mirror, a dwarf would swell to a giant, the smallest
thing appeared large, the meanest became great-it at
once magnified and distorted. Fides stood still for a
moment to look at his image in it, and smiled at his
own stately height, and the size of the arm which he
What a mighty sword will mine. appear magnified
thus !" he exclaimed, as he turned the clear blade to-
wards the mirror. But scarcely had its reflection ap-
peared upon the.glass, when Fides started to behold the
gathering stain which dimmed all the lustre of the
crystal. Collecting all his strength for a final blow,
Fides dashed his good sword against the surface, shivered
Exaggeration, want of exactness in description, distorting truth, and magni-
fying facts beyond their proper size. I would especially guard my young
readers against this most dangerous habit. I have known persons well edu-
cated, and no longer children, whose word I could not in the least trust, when
they gave an account of anything that had happened. The fatal custom of
exaggerating everything was so strong, that I believe that at length they
actually did not know whether they were speaking truth or not.
the false mirror into a thousand pieces, and slew the
Enchanter, who, in his narrow recess behind, had been
laughing at the vain attempts to discover him. Such
was the end of Untruth.
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
"- i E'Af\ mother, you look very pale," said Bertha,
','' :,s soon as the tale was concluded.
'" I am not feeling very well, my love; I
j" ilave one of my headaches to-day. Perhaps
S I may be better after dinner."
We must make no noise for mamma," whispered
Laura to Adolphus, as they were summoned by the bell
to the meal.
Mrs. Roby carved-that was always her office; in
every little duty of the kind she spared her husband all
trouble that she could possibly take on herself. But
when she had supplied the children's plates, Bertha re-
marked that she put nothing on her own; she rested
her head upon her hand, and closed her eyes, as if she
were in pain.
"Mamma eats nothing," whispered Laura again, a
look of anxiety on her bright little face.
"My love, are you not well? said Mr. Roby, laying
down his own knife and fork.
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
"I do not feel as well as usual," she replied, with a
faint smile, her face growing paler, her eyes heavier, each
minute; "I believe that perhaps I had better go to my
own room, I am not good company for you to-day."
She rose, but almost staggered as she rose, and was
glad of the support of her husband's arm. Her children
followed, anxious and unhappy; their mother was ever
so cheerful and bright, so thoughtful of others and
neglectful of herself, that they feared that she must feel
very poorly indeed to leave them thus, and retire to
"Oh, go back to your dinner, my children," she said,
with a half-vexed, half-gratified look, as she saw the
three at the door of her room. "This is nothing to
make you uneasy; I only require a little rest and sleep.
I hope that I shall soon be all right again. Go, return
to your young guests below."
Laura only stayed for one kiss, and then went away
with her brother. Bertha lingered to beat up the pillows,
bring out the cloak, draw the window-curtains to keep
out the light, and then, taking the hand of Mr. Roby,
left her mother to try to get a little sleep.
Feeling unhappy about her suffering parent, and dis-
inclined to touch another morsel of her food, Bertha was
irritated to see Adolphus eagerly helping himself from
the dish, having taken possession of her mother's vacant
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
Little was said during the remainder of the meal, after
which Bertha, creeping with noiseless step up-stairs, re-
turned with the good tidings that, on gently opening the
door, she had seen her mother fast asleep.
"On no account disturb her," said Mr. Roby, rising.
"I am obliged to go to see a sick parishioner; I depend
upon the house being kept quiet in my absence."
"But, papa, it is raining so fast! said Laura.
"Poor Thompson is dying," was her father's reply;
"if I delay, I may never see him alive. I think your
dear mother said that she had a little broth ready; I will
carry it to him myself."
The Probyns were diverted to see the dignified-looking
master walk off in the rain, struggling to hold up an
umbrella against the wind so as to protect both himself
and the brown jug in his hand, and picking his steps
through a river of mud.
"He'll spill it, to a dead certainty," laughed Con-
"I'd drink it on the way, just to put it out of
danger!" cried his brother. Their loud rude voices
sounded in strange contrast to the low tones of the
Robys, whose minds were full of the illness of their
"Oh, Aleck," whispered Bertha, going close up to
her brother, and laying her hand on his arm, "what on
earth can we do to keep these Probyns quiet? Unfoel-
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
ing boys that they are, what a noise they are making
They will waken poor mamma; they will make her head
worse. Oh, what are we to do to keep them both
I say, Pro, would you not like to take a book?"
You know I hate books-I am going to drive four-
in-hand," replied the boy, dragging the chairs towards
the black horse-hair sofa, which he proposed to convert
into a coach.
"I'd have a railway-train," cried Constantine; and,
raising his hands to his lips, he gave a loud whistle, in
imitation of the sound so familiar to travellers.
"Oh, be quiet!" exclaimed Laura; "you forget
Constantine's reply was a whistle twice as loud.
Aleck was about to say something in a high, angry
tone, but was stopped by poor Bertha's imploring
"Can't we make them think of anything else?" she
whispered hurriedly to her brother; we might employ
them'in making a kite."
"A good thought," replied Aleck; "but where are
we to get the materials ?"
"You know that you have the laths and the large
sheets of paper ready, and as for string, there is plenty
in that drawer, and "-
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
Shall we set to, and make a famous kite ?" proposed
Aleck aloud to his companions.
To the relief of Bertha, the idea pleased both the
Probyns; for once in their lives they appeared quite
We must have lots of paste, to begin with," said Con.
"Run to Susan, Lautie dear, and ask her to make a
little," cried Aleck. Sweet little Laura was ever the
ready messenger, and had darted off before the sentence
"What a comfort
Aleck is; I do not
know what we should
do without him !"
thought Bertha, as she '
saw him setting about
the kite-making with I
energy and skill, mak- / ;
ing even Adolphus ,
busy. "Now I can
slip quietly away, and -
sit at dear mamma's
door, and watch till BERTHA AT HER MOTHER'S DOOR.
she wakes, and get her tea the first moment she wants
So there the loving child took her station, listening
for the slightest sound from within, distressed when any
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
loud voice or laugh from below broke the quiet stillness
of the house.
"I am afraid that I am selfish, sitting here doing
nothing," Bertha said at length to herself. "Dear
mamma is always so active and busy, on Saturday
evening above all. There is so much mending to do-
ah, could I not help her in that? But I do so dislike
mending and darning; it is the most tiresome work in
the world!" The little girl heaved a sigh. "I fear
that I am in the pit of the giant, but I must struggle
out of it as well as I can; my work-box is in the
sitting-room, how vexatious! I did not wish to go
there again. Perhaps, after all, the mending may be
left alone for just this one week." She paused irreso-
lute, and sighed again. Then words came into her mind
which had been taught to her by her beloved mother,
holy words about being "not slothful in business;" it
was plain to Bertha that Conscience was rousing her to
work, and, with a resolution worthy of Fides himself, she
ran down-stairs for the work-box.
"We must have scissors-scissors !" were the first
words with which she was received.
"Give us your scissors, Bertie; quick !" cried Con in
a domineering tone.
Now Bertha disliked the request for more than one
reason. She did not like the manner in which it was
made; she did not choose to part with what she might
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
require herself; and she was afraid to trust rather a
delicate pair of scissors in the hands of rough, "fiddle-
"Laura, where are yours? they are commoner, they
are less likely to be spoiled," said she.
"Oh, I can't find them-Giant Sloth has hid them
somewhere laughed the child.
Bertha thought the laugh unfeeling when their mother
was unwell, and felt provoked at the carelessness of her
"Come, quick, I can't wait-out with your scissors "
Bertha gave them, but with no very good grace, and
.with an irritated spirit returned to her station at her
mother's door. Oh, this pit of selfishness how hard it
is to climb out of it, step by step !
Bertha now began to think again of her plan for
assisting her mother in mending, but recollected that all
the clothes collected for that purpose were in Mrs. Roby's
own room, which could not be entered without risk of
awakening the invalid. Bertha felt more glad than a
perfectly unselfish girl would have been, at being thus
prevented from attempting a tiresome task, especially as
there was a very amusing book which she wished to
finish before Sunday.
Bertha was soon deeply engaged in her book, when
she was interrupted by little Laura running up-stairs,
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
and saying softly, "Bertie, the boys want your paint-
But they can't have it," replied Bertha, with im-
patience; "they would make such a mess of all my nice
paints, and spoil the whole box, that I have been keeping
so carefully that I have scarcely liked to use it myself"
They want it very much; I shall only have to run
up-stairs again," said Laura, as she slowly and reluctantly
descended the stairs with the ungracious message of her
The next minute a door below was noisily opened,
and Con shouted out in a loud, angry voice, Bertha,
we must have your paint-box "
Oh dear, he'll wake mamma !" cried Bertha, in dis-
tress; yes, yes, I'll bring it directly, only be quiet," she
whispered, leaning over the banister.
Bertha called a faint voice from within the room.
The little girl entered it with a noiseless step. Is any-
thing the matter, my love? "
Oh no, dearest mamma; only that boy Con wanted
something. I am afraid that he awoke you with his
loud voice. Do, do go to sleep again; it will do you
Mrs. Roby's eyes closed heavily.
Do you feel better, dearest mamma ? "
"I hope to be better to-morrow," said the lady,
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
May I sit beside you, my own precious mother ? "
whispered Bertha, her heart growing very heavy.
"No, no; go and do what the boys want, my love;
I need nothing but rest and quiet."
Bertha kissed her mother's feverish brow, and glided
out of the room, but not without the bundle of clothes
which had been placed on a chair ready to be mended.
With a sigh she drew from her drawer her beautiful
little paint-box. She opened it, and taking out the two
cakes which she most admired, the light blue and the
lake, put them carefully by amongst her little treasures.
I will save these, at least," she said to herself; then
fearing lest delay should occasion another loud call from the
impatient Constantine, she ran hastily down with the box.
The sitting-room presented such a scene of disorder as
might have been expected, and seemed a copy, in a small
way, of the hall of Giant Sloth, in everything but its
stillness. The table was covered with lath and paper,
cuttings of which strewed the carpet; books and boxes
were huddled together on the chairs; and a tangled heap
of twine lay on the floor, which Laura was trying to
draw out into some order. Con, with his sleeves tucked
up and his hands all over paste, of which some had found
its way to his jacket, snatched the paint-box eagerly
from Bertha, upsetting, as he did so, the glass of water
which had been placed ready for the painting.
Why were you so long? he cried, angrily.
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
Your loud voice awoke mamma," said Bertha, re-
proachfully; Aleck and Laura uttered exclamations of
Well, I'm sorry for that, but it was your own fault.
Why, how's this," added the boy as he opened the box;
"here are two of the best paints gone Have you hid
them to keep them from us ?" he cried, turning fiercely
towards the frightened little girl.
Bertha's heart beat quick; she thought of Giant Un-
truth, and the gallery of Fear; but whatever other faults
might be hers, she was never guilty of this most dis-
graceful one. She did not give an equivocating answer;
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
she did not say, "Perhaps they may be up-stairs," or,
" I will go and try to find them;" to the question of
Constantine she returned a simple truthful "Yes," and
never had the boy respected her so much before.
"Well, that's candid, at any rate," he said, with a
smile; "but I should not have thought of your being
up to hiding them."
She had a good right to do what she pleased with
them," observed Aleck; and it is kind in her to lend
us any of her paints. Here, dear," he continued, ad-
dressing his sister, laying his hand on the box, which
Con had placed on the table, "we shall only want these,
the yellow and the red; take the box with the rest of them
up-stairs, they might get spoiled here amongst us, you
There was a glow of grateful affection towards her
brother in the heart of poor little Bertha as she heard
this proposal, to which, to her surprise, the Probyns
made no objection. Perhaps there was some good in
them, after all; perhaps they thought, from seeing the
example of Aleck, that it is quite as manly to be con-
siderate and courteous to a little girl, as to bully, tease,
and distress her; that nothing is gained by fretting the
tempers and embittering the lives of those with whom
we dwell, while the affection of a young warm heart is
not a thing to be thrown lightly away. It is doubtful
whether these thoughts entered the minds of Adolphus
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
and Constantine-if they did so, it was probably for the
first time; but it is certain that Bertha left the room
with a feeling of tender, grateful love towards Aleck.
He was making her duty less difficult to her, he was
helping her out of the pit of Selfishness, he was holding
out to her grasp the strong cord of Love-she would
have given up anything to please him.
How strange it is," such were the reflections of
Bertha, as she commenced her self-imposed task of mend-
ing-" how strange it is that I should think so much of
doing a trifle for her to whom I owe everything I have
heard that when I was very ill, as a baby, mamma never
went to rest, night after night, but carried me about,
rocking me in her arms, till she was scarcely able to
stand. How good she has been, teaching me all these
long years, slow, troublesome pupil as I have been!
How often have I wearied her, and tried her patience;
looked vexed when she reproved me, and not heeded her
advice Oh, if I were to lose her now!" The tears
rose into Bertha's eyes, and her work seemed to swim
before her. If I could only be a comfort to her, save
her trouble, never give her another moment of pain,
repay-oh no! I can never repay, but show how I feel
all her tender love. Now that she is ill "-here two
great drops fell on the sock which Bertha was darning,
and there was the sound of a little short sob, but she
stifled it lest her mother should hear it.
TRIALS AND TROUBLES.
Just then Bertha heard voices in the hall. Mr. Roby
had returned, and with him a medical man whom he
had met at the cottage of Thompson.
"I should like you to see her. I trust that her in-
disposition is slight, but "-
Bertha rose with her finger on her lips, but a little
noise in the room within showed that precaution was
not needed. The doctor saw Mrs. Roby, and pronounced
that her illness was not of an alarming nature; that it
had been produced by over-exertion, and that, therefore,
quiet and repose were indispensable for the present.
For at least this and the following day, the lady was not
to quit her own room.
Great was the relief of her loving family on hearing
the opinion of the medical man; a weight seemed taken
from the heart of poor Bertha, but still care and
anxiety pressed on her mind, greatly increased by the
thought which was perpetually recurring, -"When
mamma is not here to look after us, how shall we ever
manage with the Probyns ?"
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
Oh, let me love this blessed day,
The best of all the seven! "-
ERE the words which came into Bertha's mind
as she opened her eyes on the Sabbath morn-
S ing. "Ah, I am afraid that I shall not do
so to-day!" was her next feeling. When
mamma was with us, singing hymns and
reading the Bible to us, and telling us all about holy
things, then, indeed, Sunday was a happy day; but now
I expect nothing but difficulties. I am sure that the
Probyns will not care to do as we have done, and they
will not be kept to lessons with papa as they are on
week-days; mamma took our Sunday teaching herself.
Oh, what shall we do without her!" and, for the first
time in her life on a Sunday morning, Bertha wished
that the evening had come.
Yet the sun shone out so brightly, the rain-drops which
hung from the fresh green leaves danced so gaily in his
beams, and the flowers gave out such a delicious scent,
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
that it seemed wrong to be dull and anxious when all
Nature was rejoicing around. Then Bertha had the
comfort of hearing that her mother had passed a tolerable
night, that her head was greatly relieved, and her fever
almost subdued. Laura's face looked like sunshine itself,
Aleck's manner was even kinder than usual, the breakfast
went pleasantly over, and nothing occurred to give a
feeling of discomfort till, Mr. Roby having retired to his
study, his children and the Probyns were left in the
"We had better go on as if mamma were with us,"
said Bertha softly to her brother, unclasping her little
pocket-Bible. We can repeat our texts to each other."
Aleck looked doubtfully at the Probyns, who were
carelessly turning over some books which lay on the table.
"We shall hardly get them to do anything," said he.
" I wonder if they have ever learned the Catechism ? "
They won't repeat it to us, if they have. We must
just do what is right, and leave them alone."
I will go to my own room," said Aleck, rising and
taking his Bible with him.
Laura, come and I will show you what verse you
should learn, and hear your Catechism up-stairs," said
Bertha, as soon as her brother had departed.
Laura was looking over the pictures in the "Chil-
dren's Paper" with Adolphus, and seemed rather un-
willing to move.
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
You'd rather stay with us, wouldn't you, Lautie ? "
said he, playfully pinching her rov cheek.
Laura, when dear mamma is not well, we ought to
act just as if her eye were on us," cried Bertha, with
some emotion in her tone.
She does not want your preaching; she is not your
slave!" cried Constantine in an insolent, provoking
manner, which brought the colour up to the very temples
Perhaps I ought to go," whispered Laura, trying to
disengage her little hand from that of Adolphus; but he
only held it the tighter.
LAURA'S .,KITRA 1rN
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
"Laura, you know how naughty it is"--began
Bertha, but Constantine again cut her short,-
If you mean to set yourself up as mistress here, you
will find yourself pretty much mistaken. You'll please
to march off double quick," and, suiting his action to his
words, he pushed her rudely out of the room.
Bertha ran up-stairs, almost choking with passion-
hot tears overflowing her eyes, burning feelings of anger
in her heart; she was ashamed in her excited state to
appear before either her mother or Aleck, so, rushing
into her own little room, she flung herself down on her
bed, and buried her face in her hands.
Oh, I do hate them-I can't help hating them I
wish--oh, how I wish that they had never come here !
I was wanting so much to do what was right, to be a
comfort to mamma, and to take care of Laura. What a
trial this is! I never shall bear it. I'd rather live on
bread and water than go on in this way! "
She sat up on her bed, and as she did so caught a
sight of her own face reflected in a glass. She dashed
away her tears directly.
"Aleck must not see me; he would think that
mamma was worse. Oh, what an ungrateful girl I am,"
she cried suddenly, when my precious mother is so
much better, to let anything fret me thus! If she had
been very ill-dangerously ill-oh, that would have
been a trial indeed I I must do what papa tells us so
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
often to do-think of my blessings rather than of my
vexations. He says that in every trial which is sent us
faith will discover some good;-I wonder what good
there can be in this; what good can come from these
Probyns being here 1"
Again Bertha rested her head on the pillow, but she
was now a great deal more calm. She thought of her
mother's words, They are teaching you to know your-
self;" and she felt that the last few days had certainly
given her insight into her own heart, such as she had
never possessed before. "Perhaps, also, I needed my
patience to be more exercised," thought she; "I require
a great deal of it now. But it is hard to have such a
constant struggle-no peace, no quiet, no comfort. Ah!
perhaps this is what mamma means to teach us in the
story of the champion Fides. He was not allowed to
rest and be idle: when he had conquered one enemy, he
had instantly to prepare for some brave attack upon
another. Perhaps life may be a fight all the way
through. I never thought of that before."
Bertha's reflections were broken in upon by a little
soft hand that was gently laid upon hers.
"I came as soon as I could-indeed I did," said
Laura; but they were so full of play. Oh, you have
been crying, Bertie !" she added, as she saw her sister's
face; "dear, dear Bertie-I am so sorry-I'll come
directly next time !" The little arms were pressed close
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
around Bertha's neck, and the curly head rested on her
A quiet, peaceful
half-hour was spent -
together by the
sisters. Bertha ,,
seemed quite to
have recovered her i-'] 1 .
usual tone of mind. '-,
A short time was ,
then passed with
their mother; after- -- -
which the whole THE SISTERS.
family, with 'the exception of the invalid, proceeded to
the church of which Mr. Roby was the minister.
"Here, at least, there will be peace," thought Bertha,
as she entered the walls of the ivy-mantled building, and
heard the sweet tones of the hymn. But, alas even in
the house of prayer unworthy, unholy thoughts will too
often intrude. Bertha, accustomed to perfect reverence
and quiet behaviour in church, was annoyed beyond
measure at the conduct of the Probyns. Constantine
was fidgeting, staring about him, turning round on his
seat; Adolphus yawned loudly and repeatedly during
the sermon, though preached by her own venerated father.
The angry emotion which took possession of Bertha's
mind quite destroyed all peaceful enjoyment of the
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
THE CHILDREN AT CHURCH
Tag CHILDREN AT CHURCH.
service; while Aleck, though apparently following the
prayers very devoutly, as he was accustomed to do, was
scarcely conscious of the act in which he was engaged,
but was passing secret comments in his own mind on
the shocking behaviour of his companions. Hie was
wondering at the neglect of the parents who had brought
them up, thinking how he would act towards them were
he in the place of his father, devising plans of very rigid
discipline, which, as it seemed to him, ought to be
adopted; and, in short, was unconsciously quite as in-
attentive a listener to the prayers as those whom he so
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
This was no longer the case, however, as soon as the
sermon commenced. With his eye fixed upon his father,
and his ear drinking in every word which he uttered,
Aleck forgot even the presence of the Probyns.
"You must know the sermon by heart, for you
neither winked nor moved a finger from beginning to
end, while I was almost asleep !" laughed Adolphus, as
the children proceeded home together from church.
"I always write out as much as I can remember of
the sermon between the two services," replied Aleck, who
was secretly a little proud of his talent in this way. "I
write it out, and so does Bertha."
"Oh, I do but little !" said his sister, who was ever
on her guard against untruth, even in his least startling
disguise; "sometimes I only put down the text."
"I shall do less," observed Adolphus, "for I shan't
put down anything at all."
You spoke of two services," said Constantine; you
don't mean to say that you go to church twice ?"
Laura does not-she is too little; but we who are
older are allowed to do so," replied Aleck, with a little
testiness in his manner.
"Oh, but we don't want to be allowed!" laughed
Constantine; "I should say that we've had enough for
"We'll stay at home with little Laura," cried Adol-
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
Aleck gave a meaning glance at Bertha; they both
felt hurt at the indifference shown to the preaching of
their beloved father, and they easily mistook this senti-
ment for one of indignation at the Probyns' carelessness
on the subject of religion.
After dinner Aleck went to his room to write down
the sermon, as usual; while Laura and Bertha enjoyed a
quiet, happy time with their mother, who, greatly re-
covered, was now able to sit up a little in her arm-chair.
Then, when the soft, musical church-bells summoned
again to the house of prayer, Aleck and Bertha proceeded
with their father along the green pathway, overshadowed
with elm-trees, which led to the little church.
Bertha was happier during this service than she had,
been in the morning; but still, though the Probyns were
not present to distract her mind from holier things, she
often found her thoughts wandering to the subject which
so painfully engaged her now.
"Aleck," said she to her brother, as they walked
quietly home together, Mr. Roby having remained behind
to have some conversation with the schoolmaster-"Aleck,
do you not find it hard not to dislike the Probyns ? "
I do not dislike--I despise them," was Aleck's reply.
Bertha said no more, but walked on, wondering to her-
self whether it were as wrong to despise as to dislike;
and whether those who were as good and clever as Aleck
might not look down on the ignorant and ill-behaved.
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
Her reflections were disturbed by an exclamation from
her brother, as he swung back their green door, and
caught sight of the lawn. There were Pro and Con, in
riotous mirth, rushing along, as far as the narrow space
would permit, with the painted kite floating in air above
them, and little Laura racing at their heels, joining her
merry voice to theirs.
Suiday-a clergyman's lawn-a pretty sight for all
the village !" cried Aleck, running hastily forward. His
indignation was greatly increased by his well-founded
suspicion that the tail of the kite, which had been left un-
finished the night before for want of paper, had been sup-
plied from the pages of one of his own well-written copies.
You forget where you are-you forget what day it
is !" he exclaimed, laying his hand angrily on the string
to draw down the kite.
"Take that for your meddling!" cried Constantine,
turning fiercely round and striking young Roby in the
face. The blow was instantly returned, and the next
moment the two boys were engaged in fight.
Aleck knew nothing of boxing, and had never had a
battle before; his blows were ill-aimed, and, though
taller than his opponent, he very soon felt himself over-
matched. Adolphus stood by cheering on his brother,
and laughing at the misery of poor Laura and Bertha,
who, at the unaccustomed, and to them most terrible
sight, ran about in an agony of distress, imploring the
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
boys to desist, and calling out for some one to part them.
Aleck was on the ground; he struggled up again, his
face all streaming with blood; Bertha, almost wild at
the sight, rushed forward and clung to the arm of Con-
stantine, again raised to strike at her brother.
"Unfair! unfair !" gasped Constantine.
"Unfair two to one !" echoed Adolphus.
"Shame on you, boys !" cried a manly voice, which
the children recognized as Mr. Roby's. With two ladies
at his side, he now stood by the lawn; and the sound of
a window hastily opened above, showed that his wife
also, alarmed at the sounds from below, was a spectator
of the painful scene.
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
In a moment the two combatants fell back, and stood
panting, flushed and excited, with their hands still
clenched and their lips compressed, but their eyes turned
towards Mr. Roby.
What is all this about ?" said the clergyman, sternly.
He had to repeat the question before a reply was given;
but then a torrent of answers burst forth at once from
all the children-each eager to tell his own story.
He hit me "-
"He insulted me"-
He was tearing down our kite "
"Oh, papa, only see how Aleck has been treated I"
"Send them away -send those cruel, cruel boys
away !" Laura and Bertha could scarcely speak through
"I will examine into this; both parties shall be heard.
Constantine and Adolphus, retire at once into my study.
Aleck, you had better go into your own room, and let
Susan see to your hurts. I am grieved that this should
have happened at any time, but, above all, that it should
have occurred on a day when you have all met together
in the house of prayer."
Aleck, holding his handkerchief to his face, and
followed by his sisters, ran into the house, and was met
on the stairs by Mrs. Roby, looking very pale, indeed,
but more composed than her daughters. She drew him
into the room which she had just quitted.
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
Laura, ask Susan to bring some hot water; Bertha,
my love, you must not agitate yourself thus. I trust
that we shall see that little injury is done; he will soon
be all right again."
I am so vexed, mother, at anything occurring to
annoy or fatigue you when you are not well," exclaimed
Aleck, as Mrs. Roby, with her cold, trembling fingers,
gently bathed his face with warm water.
"Oh, look at his poor eye !" exclaimed the terrified
Laura; "will it ever get like the other again?"
"Does it hurt you very much, dearest Aleck ?" cried
"Oh, I don't care for the pain," muttered Aleck, "if
only he had not had the best of it; but to be beaten by
such a boy well the time may come "-the rest of the
sentence could not be heard, but his mother guessed its
meaning very well.
"A time may come," she said, in her own gentle
tones, "when my Aleck may be victor in a far nobler
0 mamma," cried Bertha, "surely he acted nobly!
He only fought that wicked boy because he was doing
what was wrong."
"If we fight every one who does wrong," replied Mrs.
Roby, with a faint smile, "we must have to give battle
to the whole world; and as we must begin with our-
selves, I think that we had better proceed no further till
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
we are conquerors there. Now, my boy, I hear your
father calling you down-stairs; as your hurts have been
attended to, you can go to him at once. I trust that
this will be the last time that any of his children will
cause him this pain and alarm."
Aleck departed, and Laura stood crying at the end of
the couch, upon which her mother had reclined herself
again. "Mamma, I was so naughty," she sobbed; "I
would not go with them at first-but somehow-I
"You forgot your parents' wishes and your own duty,
my Laura. But you are so unhappy already-you have
suffered so much-that I will say no more on the subject.
Go and look over your pretty' Children's Paper,' my
love; and if you could learn a little verse from my
favourite hymn, it would be nice employment for Sunday
Mrs. Roby's voice was growing faint. Laura bent
over to kiss her mother, and left a warm tear on her
cheek. Bertha remained in the room, silent and thought-
ful, wondering what was going on in the study, and
what punishment her father would inflict on the offender.
"I hope that he will be flogged !" at length she ex-
claimed, unconsciously uttering her thoughts aloud.
"I do not think so," said Mrs. Roby; "I believe
that your father intends to pass over the first offence.
Besides, your brother may have given provocation."
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
"The first offence !" exclaimed Bertha, her face full of
anxiety almost amounting to terror; why, mamma, Con
won't be allowed to stop here to fight any more-he will
be sent away to-morrow morning, I'm sure that he will;
won't he be sent away, mamma ?" she continued, in an
earnest, imploring tone.
"I do not think so," was again Mrs. Roby's
Oh, but this is dreadful-dreadful!" cried Bertha,
clasping her hands; "he will owe Aleck such a grudge,
and they sleep in the same room, and they will be
always fighting, with no one to interfere, for Pro is just
as bad as his brother. Oh, mamma, if you had only
seen him standing by and laughing, and shouting out,
' Give it to him,' and 'Hit him in the eye' "- Bertha's
words were interrupted by her tears.
"We shall find some means, my love, of stopping all
this; fighting shall not be permitted in this house. It
ill becomes any Christian home; above all, the dwelling
of a minister of the gospel of peace."
Bertha had sunk down her head upon her hands; she
now raised it, tears streaming from her eyes.
"Mamma, I shall be afraid even to say my prayers as
long as these Probyns are allowed to stay here."
To say your prayers !" repeated Mrs. Roby in some
"You have told me that I dare not ask to be forgiven
SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
if I do not forgive, and I cannot-I cannot forgive
Constantine Probyn !"
Bertha, can a Christian child utter such a word !"
I know that it is wrong, but I cannot help it. I
struggled to keep down my angry spirit as long as he
was only unkind to me; but to see my own darling
brother treated in that way-it is more than any one
"My child, the stronger this feeling is in your heart,
the more need you have of the assistance of prayer.
Have you asked for a spirit of forgiveness ?"
Bertha hung down her head in silence.
"Have you asked that a better heart may be given
to those whose faults cause so much pain ?"
"Pray for the Probyns! Oh, I should never have
thought of doing that I despair of their ever changing."
"That despair arises from want of faith. Their faults
have been nurtured by indulgence; the soil, I grant you,
is overrun with weeds, but that is no reason why we
should give up its culture in despair. We must soften
the hard ground by kindness, we must pray for a bless-
ing on our labours, we must work on in patience, for-
giveness, and love, and who knows how great our reward
may be at last !"
"Do you really believe it possible that these Probyns
can ever become like Aleck ?"
"Quite possible, my dear, and not unlikely, I trust.
94 SUNDAY AT DOVE'S NEST.
We shall have something to bear from them at first-we
must look for no sudden change; but even if they were
never to improve, if they were to remain our daily trial
for years, should not we, in performing our duty towards
them, find a sweet satisfaction in the thought that we
had not suffered our own passions to master us, that we
had fought a good fight with the secret foe within ?"
RS. ROBY had judged truly of the intentions of
her husband. Bertha never knew exactly
what had passed during his long interview
with her brother and the Probyns, but she
soon found both that Constantine would escape
punishment this time, and also that he was
not likely to repeat the offence. There was no more
fighting between the boys, but there was a bitter, un-
comfortable feeling, which perhaps was an evil as great,
because more difficult to be entirely overcome.
Mrs. Roby resumed her place in the family circle
almost before her health made it prudent for her to do
so. Her presence seemed ever to work like a charm;
before her smile the fierce glance of Constantine grew
mild, and Adolphus appeared almost agreeable. She
seemed, like the summer sun, to draw out all that was
good from the most unpromising soil. Her character
could not fail to inspire respect, while her unvarying
kindness won affection. Hers was seldom the open re-
buke before witnesses, to arouse the spirit of pride and
rebellion; but the quiet word of advice, the gentle warn-
ing in moments when the heart was softened; and what
she said, though sometimes little heeded when spoken,
came back on the hearer's mind. She did not take
open notice of the too evident dislike between her chil-
dren and her guests, though she inwardly grieved to see
how much of an unholy nature remained in those whom
she had hitherto brought up in peace and love; but she
had patience-oh, how much patience is needed by a
mother!-and while she neglected nothing that might
be a remedy for the evil, she cast her cares upon a
higher Power, and trusted that she would be helped in
her labour of love.
Affairs were in this position at Dove's Nest when, a
few days after the occurrences related in the last chapter,
Mrs. Roby produced her continuation of the story of the
Deep in the recesses of a wood, not far from the
Castle of Untruth, a warm, bubbling fountain gushed
from the earth. Even in the coldest winter, when
icicles hung from the boughs of the overshadowing trees,
that spring rose hot and steaming to the light. Some
said that a subterraneous fire must have given this,
strange property to the water, some that Giant Hate,
the owner of the ground round it, had mingled in it
some secret venom. Thus much was known to all, that
no moss or green herb would grow where the spray fell
from the warm spring of Anger, and that whoever drank
of its waters became at first furious, then helpless and
feeble, an easy prey to the giant of the place.
One bright day when the sunbeams bathed the world
in light, and the little birds sought the shelter of the
thickest foliage, stilling their songs till the soft evening
breeze should arise to cool the fierce summer heat, Fides,
passing through the depths of the woods heated and
thirsty, arrived at the fount. He had been passing
through a difficult and tangled way, torn by the thorns
that stretched across his path, annoyed by the insect
tribes that haunted the wood, and provoked by the in-
solence of the inhabitants of the land, who, being them-
selves the subjects of Giant Hate, annoyed his foe from
a distance with poisoned darts, called "bitter words,"
which gave a most painful, though not dangerous wound.
The lips cf Fides were parched and dry, his shield hung
heavy upon his arm, and the sound of water as he
approached the spring made him quicken his footsteps
to reach it.
Certainly a sweet, cool stream would have looked
more tempting to the weary traveller than the heated
fount, with the light steam curling above it; but, warm
as it appeared, it was not too hot to drink, and Fides
eagerly scooped up the water with his hand.
Beware !" cried a soft voice in his ear. The knight
well knew the tones of Conscience; he paused for an
instant as he knelt by the spring, but whether his thirst
was too great to bear delay, or whether the fumes rising
from the tainted fountain of Anger disturbed his judg-
ment and weakened his power of self-control, putting
his head down to the level of its basin, he drank greedily
of the intoxicating waters.
Their fatal effect was seen only too soon; Fides started
up from his knees in wild frenzy-he attempted to draw
his invincible sword, but that could never be unsheathed
but in a good cause, and remained fast fixed in its scab-
bard. Passionately he flung it from him-he tore off
the armour which he wore, piece by piece, in the mad-
ness which now possessed him-struck at every object
that happened to be near-injured himself in his furious
rage-reason, conscience, all seemed lost in a moment to
the victor over Selfishness, Sloth, and Untruth. It was
a sad, a grievous sight to behold in the once faithful
champion the victim of Hate; either when the poison
boiled in his veins, flushed his cheek, and kindled a wild
fire in his eye; or when, exhausted by his own passion,
the knight sank to earth, helpless, defenseless, with
scarcely power to move.
Then darting from the ambush in which he had lain
concealed, Giant Hate rushed upon his foe. In the state
to which his own folly had reduced him, Fides was un-