Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The oracle of the village
 A leaf from a big book
 An old man's advice
 A sad accident
 Pain and trial
 Lessons of contentment
 Parting counsels
 Back Cover

Group Title: Favourite stories for the young
Title: Old Robin and his proverb, or, "With the lowly is wisdom"
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026991/00001
 Material Information
Title: Old Robin and his proverb, or, "With the lowly is wisdom"
Series Title: Favourite stories for the young
Alternate Title: With the lowly is wisdom
Physical Description: 119 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brock, Henry F. Mrs.
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London
New York
Publication Date: 1873
Copyright Date: 1873
Subject: Proverbs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Obedience -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Salvation -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Contentment -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1873
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Henry F. Brock.
General Note: Added title page and frontispiece printed in colors.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026991
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALG2921
oclc - 60374014
alephbibnum - 002222675

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
        Poem 1
        Poem 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The oracle of the village
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    A leaf from a big book
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    An old man's advice
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    A sad accident
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Pain and trial
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Lessons of contentment
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    Parting counsels
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Back Cover
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
Full Text



The Baldwin Library


'1^.A ~ -,^.

"Still downward goes Christ's way:
Wilt thou, with fond endeavour
To scale heaven's lofty towers,
le vainly toiling ever?
The Saviour stoopeth low ;
He who with him would rise,
With him must downward go.

"])own, therefore; 0 my mind!
Unlearn thy lofty thinking;
The light chaff mounts alone,
While solid grain is sinking.
Into the small, deep spring
The waters freely flow,
Till it breaks forth a stream; -
So thou, my soul, lie low."
From the German.

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" When pride come, then cometh shame : but with
the lowly is wisdom."- Pov. xi. '2.




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... ... ... ... 30

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"S- WOULDN'T give a fig for a cup of
tea without cream, Alice."
"That's the Eton fashion of talk-
ing," the sister replied, smiling as
she spoke, "but not the Eton fashion
of tea-drinking, I imagine."
Do not speak of matters of which you
are ignorant, Miss Alice. Do you mean to
insinuate that we Etonians, brought up on
the ancient royal foundation of Henry VI.,
ever condescend to potations of skimmed
milk? And what's more," added Frank,
" you can't say as much down here, in the


old hall of the Davennes.-Can she, mother ?
I appeal to you. Has not Alice a pious
horror of touching anything better than
skimmed milk, as long as there are Goody
Luffs and old Robins in the parish, who can
appreciate the cream ? "
"Fie upon you, Frank! said his sister.
It would be well for you if old Robin's
proverb were yours."
"Well, so it would," said Frank; "and
so it will be, I daresay, one of these fine
days, when I am old, and wise, and
Alice shook her head at the merry boy.
"I shall get old Robin to lecture you."
And may I ask who this old Robin is ?"
said a voice from the opposite side of the
Alice will give you the necessary infor-
mation, uncle," said Frank; "old Robin is
her beau-ideal of human octogenarian excel-
lence, in spite, wonderful to relate, of his
having neither wig, spectacles, nor gold-
ihea,.--.1 cane."
Ali.e placed her hand upon her brother's
' lips. "You are a sad boy, Frank.-I will


tell you who old Robin is, dear uncle. He
is one of papa's tenants, who has lived the
greater part of his life in this parish. He
is the very model of peace and contentment.
Moreover, he is a wonderfully clever old
man. He has read a great deal, thought a
great deal, and turned the reading and the
thinking to good account. He is the oracle
of the village, loved by all, for the kind
word and smile he gives to every one, and
respected by all, for his simple and unaffected
"And the proverb, Alice," said the squire,
-" tell your uncle what the proverb is."
We call it the proverb," said Alice,
"because, though he has a store of wise
maxims and sayings, there is one in par-
ticular which old Robin is always bring-
ing out, as the best advice, he says, he can
give to young and old. It is a quaint say-
The sweetest sleep is the sleep on water-porridge.'"
"There, Harry, what do you say to it ?"
said the squire.
"Well, I cannot say that I appreciate its
literal beauties," said Captain Davenne,


" seeing that we sailors are not supposed
to favour decoctions that taste strong of the
hold;' but I will accept the figurative sense
of the maxim to any extent. It is a short
and pithy sermon."
And one," said the squire, that the
old man has practised all his life, I should
say. I wish that all my tenants were half
as contented as he. Whether the times be
good or bad, Robin has a thankful spirit.
If his neighbours grumble, he always lee,
tures them, winding up his discourses with
his favourite proverb. And, as Alice says,
he is clever. He comes out with things
that are quite poetical,-eh Alice ? I re-
member, on one occasion, stopping my horse
to have a word with Robin, who was walk-
ing slowly along the road. It was a bitterly
cold day in the winter. He looked so blue,
and so pinched by the cold, that I could not
help saying to him, My poor fellow, I wish
it were summer-time for your sake.' 'Thank
you, sir,' he replied with his ready smile,
' but the Lord knows the time best. I once
read in a book, sir, "that in winter the
earth waits for the spring, and while she


waits she sleeps." Now, sir, God forbid
that I should wish to wake any of his crea-
tures from a sleep which he has given.'
'Well, Robin,' I said, 'that's a good thought.'
'Ay, sir,' the old man continued; and when
I too am taking my rest under ground, the
good Lord will waken me himself in his own
good time.' So I rode on," added the squire,
" and thought within myself, What are all
these broad lands, these paternal acres worth,
in comparison of that man's simple faith in
his God ?"
And do you remember, dear mother,"
rejoined Alice, after the short silence which
followed upon the earnest words uttered by
her father-" do you remember that day,
when you and I took shelter from a shower
in Robin's cottage, and found him at his
frugal meal of bread and potatoes ? It was
the first time that I heard his proverb.
Child as I was, I could not help telling
him that I wondered at his having no meat
for his dinner. I recollect how he smiled
and shook his head, and told me that the
simplest fare brought the best sleep, and
then he repeated the quaint old maxim."

You make me quite anxious to see this
wonderful man," said Captain Davenne.


Do come and see him, uncle," said Alice.
"Let me take you to him this very after-
noon. Nothing I should like better than to
be your guide."
"With all my heart, dear niece."
We shall be sure to find him at home,
or near home," Alice continued. "He is
too old for regular work; perhaps we shall


find him in his little garden sitting among
his bees and flowers."
The breakfast party broke up, each mem-
ber of the family going to his respective
employment for the morning. Idleness and
selfishness were no dwellers in the Hall.
The squire took his brother on a walking
expedition through the fields, first premising
that he had a long list of business to trans-
act. He did not belong to that class of
land-owners, which, it is to be hoped, is be-
coming more rare in the fair homes of Eng-
land, men who, in a spirit of selfish reserve,
are content to leave all personal contact
with their labourers to a paid deputy. On
the contrary, he strove, by going in and out
among them, to make them feel that he was
as much interested in their moral condition
as in the progress of their labour, and, by the
kindly word of sympathy which his manly
heart knew when and how to give, he con-
trived to win their confidence and regard.
And this the squire did, because he had
taken One for his Master, who revealed and
taught the sacredness of that tie of brother-
hood which every human being should recog-


nize in the face of his fellow-creature ; who
taught that reverence is due not merely to
the superiority of rank or fortune, but to that
of knowledge and goodness. He had heard
these words, One is your Father," and all
ye are brethren," and hearing, he had obeyed.
In reward for which, he was daily reaping
that which the rich and great may have if
they will, the hearty love and willing
service of the working man.
The squire's wife went to her duties in
the spirit of the matron of old, whose por-
trait the wisest of men has sketched as a
model for all the "virtuous women." She
looked well to the ways of her household,
providing with diligent forethought for rich
and poor, for all who should need or crave the
hospitalities of the Hall. And her daughter
went, not as the daughters of fashion, to her
sofa and her novel, but to a succession of use-
ful and unselfish employment.
As soon as luncheon was over, Miss
Davenne and her uncle started on their
walk to Robin's cottage. Alice was not
sorry that it was at some distance from the
Hall, for she liked the prospect of a long

talk with her favourite uncle. There was
something about Captain Davenne which
attracted both old and young,-a certain
penetrating warmth, under the influence of
which even the most ungenial nature seemed
to ripen into softness and bloom. Older
than her father, Alice was accustomed to
regard him with the greatest veneration;
and now, after some years of separation,
that he had returned to his brother's house,
no one gave, him a warmer welcome than
his niece. She was never so happy as when
seated by his side in old home corners, or
walking with him through familiar paths,
talking freely and unreservedly to him, and
enjoying, as none could better, the com-
panionship of one whose mind was full of
aspirations after truth and goodness.
Alice stooped to gather a few violets from
the carriage-road before they left the Hall
gates. "Old Robin loves a bunch dearly,"
she said; he is very fond of flowers."
"You are very kind to the old man, my
child," said her uncle; and you arer right
to be so. It is surely a great privilege to
share in-that office which our God affirms

to be his-the care of old age." Alice looked
up. "Do you remember the text, Alice,
' Even to your old age I am he, and even to
hoar hairs will I carry you. I have made
and I will bear ; even I will carry and will
deliver you'? "
I am sure," said Alice, "that what I
give is nothing to what I receive. There is
something to me so grand in that old man's
abiding principle of contentment."
You are right to use that word principle.
We all have feelings of contentment at times;
but a fixed and deeply-rooted principle of
contentment is what God alone can give."
"And when he does give it," said Alice,
"how beautiful it is to behold; and how
infectious it is, too! I have often gone to
Robin's cottage in a restless and unsatisfied
mood, and have left it in quite a different
frame of mind. Do you know," she said,
placing her hand upon her uncle's arm, "it
has always seemed to me that contentment
is less easy if you are rich; why is it so ? "
"Perhaps the proverb contains the an-
swer," Captain Davenne replied, smiling.
"If the water-porridge be the cause of the

sweet sleep, then I suppose it must be the
luxury of riches that robs us of rest. Cer-
tainly they multiply the sources of danger,
because, even in the Christian duty of alms-
giving, there lurks a danger of self-conscious-
ness and self-commendation. Yet after all,
my child, there is but one way for rich or
for poor; .ve cannot get contentment out of
God. He must give us himself, and then
only we find rest to our souls."
Robin often says that. I told him once
that I wished I was as contented and thank-
ful as he; and he replied, 'Why not, dear
lady ? God gives to all liberally. He up-
braideth not for the often asking.'"
Happy old man!" said Captain Davenne.
He has beautiful thoughts," Alice went
on. Striking ideas, too. I told him that
I knew I was very ungrateful ever to be
discontented, placed as I was in the midst
of health, and ease, and affluence. To my
surprise, he said, 'Nay, dear Miss Alice, do
not look to such as these for contentment.
The Father in heaven means you to find
pleasure in them, but not content; for you
know he often sees fit to take away all those
(402) 2


things; but the peace and the rest he wills
should always abide. Jesus Christ, the same
yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And per-
haps,' he added, the peace is all the more
sure when the health, and the ease, and



the riches are gone.' Poor Robin; I knew
he was thinking then of his wife, who died
last year. But there he is himself, I do
think. Yes, seated yonder under those
trees at the end of the village green,-that


is his favourite spot. Do you see him,
uncle ? "
"Yes, I do; and there is a group of chil-
dren round him-are they your school chil-
dren, Alice ? "
"Yes," she replied; "he is seldom to be
seen without one or two of them, he is such
a favourite with them all. From the eldest
to the youngest, they all love old Robin;
and no wonder, for he has an inexhaustible
fund of stories to suit all ages. He is the
Solomon of the village. Our schoolmaster
says that Master Robin teaches more
geography in one hour on the village green,
than he can do in a whole week with all his
school-books, spectacles, and rod."
He must have had good opportunities
for instruction," said Captain Davenne.
I have heard my father say that Robin
has had long illnesses during his life," Alice
replied; and that being unable to work as
much- as others, he had spent a good deal of
his time in reading, the taste for which he
had from his earliest years."
The children were so engrossed with their
old friend that they did not perceive the

approach of Alice and her uncle. It was a
pretty scene. Artist and poet could desire
nothing better. The tree under which the
old man was seated was the veteran oak
of the village. Under its wide-spreading
branches generation after generation had
played in youth and rested in age-the child
climbing its boughs for a treasure of acorns,
and the old man resting peacefully under its


shelter, wondering whether the old tree re-
membered its youth as calmly as he did his
own. The children were of different ages.
The little ones had gathered close to the
old man-one of them was wreathing his
stick with daisies.
The poetry of nature is here," whispered
Alice to her uncle.
Yes," he replied, in her analogies and


her contrasts; the fresh young grass spring-
ing up at the foot of the old tree, and the
children's faces pressing round the aged
The boys jumped up when they saw Miss
Davenne. Robin himself attempted to rise
from his seat, but Alice would not let him.
A bright smile overspread the old man's
withered features; it was like a December
sun upon a bleak landscape. Alice was
evidently a great favourite with him.
Good afternoon, Robin; we were coming
to pay you a visit. This is my uncle, Cap-
tain Davenne. I don't think you will re-
member him, for he has been abroad so many
Old Robin grasped the kindly offered
"I will sit down beside you, my good
friend," said Captain Davenne. "This is an
inviting seat."
Yes, sir, thanks to the squire. He was
good enough to have it put up here for the
use of the old folks."
"You are well surrounded," said Captain
Davenne. I have heard what a famous

hand you are at amusing the little ones and
instructing the elder ones. It is a great
privilege, Robin, to be able to do that. An
old writer says that he who makes a child
happy is a co-worker with God.'"
The old man looked kindly upon the little
group at his feet. They are bonnie things,
sir; and I like to be with them, and see
their bright faces looking up like flowers
into the blue sky. I like to tell them of One
above who hears the cry of the young birds,
and who once said in the streets of Jeru-
salem, 'Suffer the little children to come
unto me.'"
"'And these little ones love Master
Robin," said Alice, turning to the children;
and they love his beautiful stories, do they
not ? "
"Yes, yes," they replied in a chorus of
silver bells.
"Sometimes," Robin resumed, "some-
times I am obliged to scold the little ones ;
am I not, Jeanie ? and the old man raised
his stick and gently touched a curly head.
" Shall I tell Miss Davenne," he con-
tinued, "why it was I told you the story


of Happy Nancy' ?" The little girl did
not reply.
"Why, ma'am," said Jeanie's brother,
with a merry twinkle in his blue eye, I
will tell you how it was. Jeanie had been
saying that she wished she was a grand
lady, to ride in a carriage and wear fine
clothes; and Master Robin told her that
the finest thing was to have no wish at all,
but to be always contented. And then he
told us about 'Happy Nancy,' and bade
Jeanie try to be like her."
And Jeanie will try," said Alice, look-
ing kindly at the blushing child.
I think it is a pity that we have lost the
story," said Captain Davenne, "for we are
all of us apt to be discontented. Is it one
of your own stories, Robin, or is 'Happy
Nancy' a real individual ? "
Robin gave a significant shake of the
head. I am no great hand, sir, at making
up stories as some people do. I like best
to tell the children something I have read;
though I can't say I always believe what I
find in books. Don't you think, sir, that
there is a great deal of pretence in some


stories, what I call dressing up, giving them
colours that don't belong to them, just to
make them sound better ? "
Very true, Robin. I remember myself
going to one village which I had seen de-
scribed as the loveliest place in the world,
and I found nothing but a few untidy
cottages, and some pigs on the common."
"That's just what it is," said Robin,
laughing.- "It's all make-believe now-a-
days, from the clever people who sit at
home and write stories, to the cunning
fellows who cheat the simple folks, as little
Jeanie's mother was cheated last fair-time,
-eli boys ? "
How was that, Robin ? I never heard
of it," said Alice.
"Well, ma'am," the old man replied, try-
ing to look grave, "she gave half-a-crown
for a canary bird, for the sake of his pretty
coat, and another half-a-crown for a fine
cage to put him in; and the next morning
when she looked at the cage, lo the canary
bird was gone, and a little hedge-sparrow
was in his place. The little creature had
given himself a good bath, and had washed


off his fine yellow coat. Poor Mary it was
too bad to be so taken in."
The children shouted with laughter.
Well, but to return to your 'Happy
Nancy,' said Captain Davenne. I hope
she was no pretence."
Nay, sir, I should think not. The dis-
trict-visitor gave it to me last week. It was
printed on a fly-leaf ; but I had read it some
time ago in the Christian Treasury. I have
it in my pocket, if you would like to look at it."
The old man took a leaf of printed paper
out of his pocket, and gave it to Captain
"Will one of you read it to me, boys? "
asked the captain.
Let Alan read it," said Alice, while she
took the paper from her uncle and gave it
to the eldest boy of the group, whose coun-
tenance expressed a degree of intelligence un-
common to boys of his age. So Alan began-

There once lived in an old brown cottage
a solitary woman. She tended her little


garden, and knit and spun for a living. She
was known everywhere from village to village
by the name of "Happy Nancy." She
had no money, no family, no relatives, and
was half blind, quite lame, and very crooked.
There was no comeliness in her, and yet
there, in that homely, deformed body, the

great God, who loves to bring strength out
of weakness, had set his royal seal.
Well, Nancy, singing again ?" would
the chance visitor say, as he stopped at her
"Oh yes; I'm for ever at it."
"I wish you'd tell me your secret, Nancy.

You are all alone, you work hard, you have
nothing very pleasant surrounding you;
what is the reason you're so happy ? "
"Perhaps it's because I haven't got any-
body but God," replied the good creature,
looking up. You see, rich folks like you
depend upon their families and their houses;
they've got to be thinking of their business,
of their wives and children, and then they're
always mighty afraid of troubles ahead. I
ain't got anything to trouble myself about,
you see, 'cause I leave all to the Lord. I
think, well, if he can keep this *great world
in such good order--the sun rolling day
after day, and the stars shining night after
night, make my garden things come up
the same season after season-he can cer-
tainly take care of such a poor simple thing
as I am; and so, you see, I leave all to the
Lord, and the Lord takes care of me."
Well, but Nancy, suppose that a frost
should come after your fruit trees are all
in blossom, and your little plants out; sup-
"But I don't suppose; I never can sup-
pose; I don't want to suppose, except that


the Lord will do everything right. That's
what makes you people unhappy-you're all
the time supposing. Now, why can't you
wait till the suppose comes, as I do, and then
make the best of it."
"Ah, Nancy! it's pretty certain you'll
get to heaven, while many of us, with
all our worldly wisdom, will have to stay
There you are at it again," said Nancy,
shaking her head,--" always looking out for
some black cloud. Why, if I was you, I'd
keep the devil at arm's length, instead of
taking him right into my heart. He'll do
you a desperate sight of mischief."
She was right. We do take the demon
of care, of distrust, of melancholy foreboding,
of ingratitude, right into our heart. We
canker every pleasure with this gloomy fear
of coming ill. We seldom trust that bless-
ings will enter, or hail them when they
come. We should be more childlike toward
our heavenly Father, believe in his love,
learn to confide in his wisdom, and not in
our own; and, above all, wait till the sup-
pose come, and then make the best of it."


Depend upon it, earth would seem an Eden
if you would follow Happy Nancy's rule,
and never give place in your bosom to
imaginary evils.

Thank you, my boy," said Captain
Davenne, when Alan had finished reading;
"it is well worth hearing. We must all
try to emulate Happy Nancy, and never
"We must make one exception," said
Alice; "just one for to-day. Suppose we
hear Robin's lesson to the elder boys; you
know, Robin, you have promised to teach
them something. They have waited very
patiently, and now you must reward them."
"Just as you please, ma'am," said the old
man, "if your uncle will not be tired. Now,
then, little ones, you may run away and chase
the butterflies on the green. Only do not
hurt them, for they are God's creatures."
The children obeyed, and were soon far
away, merry in play. The elder boys
grouped themselves a little closer to their
old friend, who began at once.

WAS going to tell them, sir, some in-
-^ teresting facts about South Ame-
rica. They are lessons from God's
creation, which prove how God
has thought, and planned, and con-
trived so as to give us temporal mercies and
comforts.-First of all," Robin continued,
addressing the boys, I must tell you that
there is a certain part of South America
where it never rains."
"Never rains !" exclaimed a voice. "Ah,
I wish we had it so here; our holidays
would never be spoilt."
Stay a moment, Charlie," said Alice;
"how would the flowers grow in that little
garden you are so fond of, and what would


become of the green fields and trees ? You
would have no dear old oak like this."
The boy looked thoughtful. "Then,
ma'am, are there no fields, no trees, in that
part of South America ?"
"Yes, my lad," said Robin, "finer and
larger than any you have seen in this coun-
try. And that is just the' thing I was going
to explain to you. Rain, you know, comes
from the clouds; we can't have rain without
them. Now, the reason that there are no
clouds over that part of South America is,
because there are certain winds there which
carry the clouds in such a direction, and
with such rapidity, that they are borne past
that part of the country. These winds are
called the 'trade-winds,' because they be-
friend the trading people who, as the Bible
says, 'go down to the sea in ships, and do
business in great waters.'-I have often heard
my brother, who was a sailor, speak about
these winds," Robin added, turning to Cap-
tain Davenne. He said they could not
do without them. I don't myself understand
much about it."
That is not surprising," said the captain;


" we sailors have a better chance in such
matters, you know. It is quite true that
vessels could not cross certain seas, called
'tropical seas,' but for the trade-winds.
Thus it is that our merciful God provides
these winds, which are so strong that, as
you said just now, they carry the clouds
past one portion of the country in South
America. I have been in those seas myself,
Robin, and often when I have heard some
profane word from the sailors' mouths I
have said to myself, How kind, how for-
bearing is God he pours mercies upon
thankless men."
Old Robin shook his head. Don't you
think, sir, that men would love and serve
God better if they made themselves ac-
quainted with some of his wonderful works?"
It ought to be so," Captain Davenne
replied, but, alas! it is not always so.
The head and the heart but too often part
company; one may be full of knowledge,
while the other is full of enmity against God."
That is true, sir," said Robin; may the
good Lord have mercy upon us, and create in
us a new heart, for Jesus Christ his sake."


There was a short silence in the group,
for the old man, with his simple and reve-
rent faith, had raised his hat while he uttered
those few words of prayer.
Charlie was the first to speak. He was
impatient to know how the trees could grow
without rain. Please, Master Robin, how
about the clouds that fly so fast ?"
It's a wonderful thing, as you shall
hear, my boy. There are mountains there
so very high that the clouds cannot pass
without striking them. Those trade-winds,
which, as I told you, carry the clouds past
the flat country, bear a large portion of them
J against the sides of this mountain-range,
and they accumulate there in perpetual
moisture. This moisture floats off in plen-
tiful dews towards the dry plains over which
the clouds have passed, and waters the fields
with abundant dew."
Please, Robin," said Alan, I don't see
it quite clear. Will you be so good as to
say that over again ?"
Robin looked towards Captain Davenne.
"You will do it better than I can, sir."
Well, my boy," said the captain, the
(402) 3


point you must notice is the wisdom of
God's contrivance, which provides for the
different needs of all his creatures. The
trade-winds, you have heard just now, are
sent for the special benefit of the trading
vessels in the tropical seas, which otherwise
could not get on in their course. But in
order to supply this want, one part of the
land is deprived of the necessary clouds.
You see that, do you not, Alan?"
"Yes, sir; these winds carry the clouds
so fast that they are borne past that part of
the country."
Exactly so. Now observe the compen-
sation for this loss of clouds there. Th-.
Creator has placed those great and high
mountains, the Andes, in such a situation
as exactly suits the emergency. They run
along the edge of the land, and are a good
deal higher than the usual height of clouds.
We see the reason for this. They intercept
those passing clouds, and keep them as a
storehouse for the wants of the neighboring
Oh, I see it now, sir, thank you Then
they get very heavy dews in the place of rain ?"


"Just so; and now, Alan, is it not a won-
derful proof of a Creator whose wisdom is
equal to his love ?"
And there is another place," said old
Robin, "where it never rains either, and
where the arrangement is different. We
must doubly admire the wisdom of God
when we see different arrangements made
in different places for producing the same
end. It does not rain in Egypt, and there
are no mountains like the Andes to inter-
-cept the clouds, nor passing clouds to be
condensed, and yet we know that the crops
are plentiful in Egypt."
*" Yes," said Alice, Egypt is called the
granary of the world."
It is the river Nile that overflows the
land, is it not ?" said Alan.
It is so," the old man replied; "and
what we ought to notice in this fact is, how
many circumstances must combine to pro-
duce this end. First, the country must be
quite flat; next, the river must be large
enough to water so large a tract of land,
the waters must overflow at the right season.
They say that the Nile rises in the moun-

tains called the Mountains of the Moon,' "
Robin continued.
That was the generally received opinion,"
interrupted Captain Davenne, but recent
investigation shows that the source of the
Nile is a vast lake. The periodical rise of
the Nile is caused by the overflow of this

lake during the rainy season. But this
makes no difference with regard to what
you are saying, Robin. It does not signify
where the waters rise, so long as there is an
overflow of the river, and the flood covers
the plains of Egypt at the right season of

the year. Thus we see that the same Hand
which arranged so wonderfully for the sup-
ply of rain in that part of South America,
had planned similar mercies for another part
of the world, only by different means."
Yes, sir," said the old man, "and yet
the wretched men who say, There is no
God,' would teach us that all these mercies
come by chance. They talk of the 'laws of
nature,' but don't you see, Alan" (for the
boy's eager eyes were fixed on the speaker),
" they can't tell us how it is that the laws
of nature' which raised the Andes, did not
raise a similar mountain on the plains of
W Egypt; and if nature contrived the flat
grounds of Egypt to receive the coming
flood, why nature did not level the hills and
mountains of South America."
Yes, indeed," said Captain Davenne,
"why does not inundation answer on the
coast of Chili, and dew upon the sands of
Egypt ?"
Do tell us something more like this,
good Robin," said Alan. I suppose there
are other facts like these ?"
Yes, my boy, there are several. I could

tell you about Greenland-the land, you
know, of snow and ice. No trees grow
there, and therefore no wood is to be had.
What, then, shall the Greenlanders do for
fuel, and for making their boats, and spears,
and fishing-tackle ?"
"Ah what indeed ?" said Charlie; "I
can't guess at all."
"The sailors tell us," continued Robin,
"that they use train oil for fuel. This is
supplied to them by the whales that are
caught in great numbers near those shores.
And as for wood, we are told that certain
currents of the ocean bring large trunks and
portions of trees from other countries, and
lodge them between the islands, ready for
use when the Greenlander wants them.*--
This seems to me very wonderful, sir," said
Robin, turning to the captain; these poor
creatures cannot tell where these trees are
torn from, or how they are swept away-all
they know is, that since their own islands
do not produce the trees they want, the
waves of the sea bring them to their shores.
For these and similar illustrations, see Nelson on Infidelity,
its Cause and Cure."


Ah, sir, one longs to be a missionary, to
go to these Greenlanders and tell them that
it is a Father's hand that sends them all
these things."
"Alas! Robin, God has ignorant and
thankless children in every part of his
world. How few of us care to inquire into
the wonders of God's creation! See how
we forget the Giver all the while we are
using his gifts for our life, health, and
enjoyment. Earth, air, and water are by
constant adaptations made to work together
for our good, and yet we go on in our sin
and self, living without God and without
hope in the world."
"That is very true, sir," said the old man,
with a sad smile; it's truly wonderful
I never heard anything of this before,"
said Alan, and I am sure it's well worth
The boy had listened to the last words
spoken by the captain with intense interest.
There was a look of earnest inquiry in his
large dark eyes, unusual in boys of his age.
In it one could recognize the early workings


of an ardent spirit craving for knowledge of
the unseen world. Surely, if there be one
phase of the life in the human soul more
interesting in the eyes of angels and of God,
it is the season when thought begins to do
her work in the energy and glow of youth,
when the human first responds to the touch
of the divine, and the craving spirit goes
forth in its restless quest of God.*
"Do you remember anything more, Master
Robin ?" Alan continued; "it is better than
all the story-books in the world."
That's rightly spoken," the old man
replied; God has given us two wonderful
books of his own making, and we can read
and never tire of them. The book of nature
is one, and the blessed Bible is the other.
But mark what I say, Alan, my boy, we
shall never see clearly to read and under-
stand either of these books, unless we
endeavour to do God's will. We must obey
before we understand. If we do what God
bids us, we shall soon find that he gives us
more and more knowledge."
* L'homme a perdu.Dieu, et, toutefois, le malheureux ne peut
s'en passer "-Man has lost God, and yet, unhappy man! he cannot
do without God.-BosSUET.

It is so difficult," said the boy, looking
up into the quiet face of the old man.
"So it is, Alan; but can we wonder at
it, when we know what suffering it cost
the blessed Saviour to bring us back to
God ? "
"I wish," said the boy, that Will Davis,
my cousin, c6uld hear what you have been
saying; he works at the factory, you know.
He is getting into strange ways, and reads
strange books-books that try to prove that
the Bible is false. I wonder what he would
say to all these wonderful things you have
been telling us. He says that everything
came by chance."
"Poor, sinful body," said the old man,
shaking his head sorrowfully, "he does not
see that it is far more difficult to prove that
chance can bring such wonderful contrivance
and results together."
"You are quite right," rejoined Captain
Davenne. "The unbeliever is the most
credulous of men. He believes things which
the Christian does not believe, and which are
far more difficult of belief. For instance, in
those facts about Greenland, let him tell us

how it is that the whale happens to swim
nearest to those who most need his flesh.
If we should wish to use nothing but train
oil for fuel, we could not do so; because we
do not find whales near our coast. Does
chance make this difference ? "
"And the trees, sir," said Alan, "that is
wonderful. Is it really true that they are
brought by the waves to those shores ? "
"We are told so on good authority," the
captain replied. We are informed that a
certain current of the ocean, or certain
winds, or, indeed, both united, bear along
the timber from other lands, and lodge it
between the islands, which so stand as to
make a sort of storehouse. Now, when we
notice the fact that as trees are thus borne
along the shores of France, or Spain, or
England, where they are not wanted, but
that in more frozen climes, where they are
wanted, the supply is brought, it certainly
is difficult to say, 'There is no Designer at
work, or if there is one, that he is not a wise
and kind Father.'"
Oh," said Alice, clasping her hands,
"how is it possible there can be a single

infidel in the world, while men have eyes to
see and read God's works "
It's the heart that's wrong, dear lady,"
said the old man; "the heart is at enmity
against God, and that is why men love
darkness rather than light, falsehood rather
than truth. They wish the Bible to be false,
and so by degrees they persuade themselves
that it is so."
Those words of our Lord are very clear
on this subject," Captain Davenne rejoined,
"'because their deeds are evil.' It is an
awful fact, that every act of sin brings dark-
ness into the soul, hiding the truth of God
from our minds, as well as the presence of
God from our hearts."
And on the other hand, sir," said Robin,
"what a blessed thing it is, that by doing the
will of God we get to know what is truth.
Ah, sir, I had a good mother, she taught
me this; she was always so earnest on this
point. Robin,' she would say, 'if once you
begin to disobey God's plain commands, you
will soon become a sceptic and an un-
believer.' And she was right, sir. After
her death I fell into idle company; like


many young men, I began by breaking the
Sabbath, then I came to neglect my Bible,
and to give up praying; and, at last, I went
to hear free-thinkers talk, and their argu-
ments seemed to me very fine, and just to
suit me; I wished them to be true. I could
not see the ignorance and stupidity that was
in them, because sin had darkened my mind
and defiled my heart."
And what brought you out of all this,
Robin? asked Miss Davenne.
God was very merciful to me," said the
old man. "He sent me a long and heavy'
sickness, but it was a blessed one, for in it I
heard his voice, Return unto me, for I have
redeemed thee.' And then, lady, I felt and
knew that it was true, that Jesus is a great
Saviour, and man a great sinner." The old
man raised his eyes towards the blue heavens
above him, the calm beauty of which seemed
reflected upon his aged features.
Ah, Robin," said Captain Davenne,
"you have hit upon the right thing, the all-
powerful remedy for infidelity and atheism.
All the arguments in the world are as
nothing in comparison with that belief of


the truth which comes from a knowledge
and a consciousness within. When the soul
feels its sorest need of a Saviour, and sees,
too, that Jesus is all that he needs, then he
does not want arguments to convince him
of the existence of God. You might as
well persuade a satisfied man that he is
hungry, as you can persuade such an one
that there is no God, no Saviour, no Holy
There was a short silence, broken at
length by Alan, who again fixed his deep
eyes upon the old man. "Were you really
once an infidel, Master Robin ? "
The old man looked very grave while he
made reply: "I am thankful to say, my
lad, that I never went so far as to say with
the fool 'There is no God;' but, alas! I
sinned greatly by giving heed to wretched
and ignorant men who, as Satan's mes-
sengers, went about to teach lies. My
mind was filled with unbelieving thoughts,
with doubts of God's justice and his love,
and with foolish and absurd suggestions
against the truth of his word. Ah those
were sad days," continued the old man,


bending his head upon his clasped hands.
" There would be little peace for me now in
remembering them, if it were not for that
blessed word, The blood of Jesus Christ
cleanseth from all sin.' "
It is a striking fact," said Captain
Davenne, "that the human mind will swal-
low any amount of falsehood in arguments
against religion, which it will not do in
matters of this world. Nothing, surely,
better proves the utter departure of the
heart from God."
It is pride," said old Robin, looking up,
"pride that works in man rebellion and un-
belief. Ah, sir, I often think of my mother;
she had a favourite proverb-"
The old man stopped, perceiving a smile
upon Alice's face. "Go on, Robin," she
said, "go on; I have already told my uncle
you had a pet saying, and I am glad that
you have come out with it at last."
It is a quaint old saying, sir, but a true
'The sweetest sleep is the sleep on water-porridge.'
My mother used to say that it held as good
for the soul as for the body; for that most of


us were, like Sodom, destroyed by pride and
fulness of bread."
"That is well thought," said Alice. "I
have never taken the proverb in that sense.
I had only applied it to your usual content-
ment in humble fare, Robin."
It's a short text, lady, for a long sermon.
The blessed Lord was meek and lowly in
heart; and it is the poor in spirit that shall
inherit his kingdom."
"You had a great blessing, Robin, in a
good mother," said Captain Davenne.
"A great blessing indeed, sir; there's no
telling what a mother's faith and prayers can
do for an erring son. I believe that it was
in answer to them that God brought me
back from the sin and misery of doubt and
perplexity. And do you know, sir, I can
remember the time when I first asked my
mother the meaning of the proverb; yes,
and the very place too. I can see the little
bed in the corner as plain as possible, though
it is such a long time ago, and the sweet
look on my mother's face as she said to me,
'It means that we must be happy and
thankful with whatever God gives, and not

wish to have great things, or to be great
people.' I recollect, too, her last words as
she kissed us, Love God, my children, and
then you will love all he gives, whether it


be small or great.' Is it not strange, sir,
that I should remember all this as well as if
it had happened only yesterday ? How is
itI? "

"One reason, I imagine," the captain
replied, "is that we have gone over the
facts of our childhood so often that they
have become more fixed in our minds.
Another is, that our minds are more quiet
in old age; the hurry and work of middle
age are-over, and our thoughts are less dis-
tracted, and are therefore able to recall past
images in their first freshness."
"Happy that old age," said Alice, "that
can fill its quiet hours with such pleasant
pictures. Well, Robin, I wish that every
one was as contented and thankful as you.
I am always the better for listening to you.
But we must say good-bye now, for we shall
be wanted at home."
You are always very kind, lady, in bear-
ing with an old man's long stories."
If there had been time," Alice con-
tinued, "I should have asked you to tell
my uncle how it happened that the proverb
became so much impressed on your mind? "
"You are too good, dear lady, to make
so much of my simple story."
I propose," said Captain Davenne as he
rose, that our good friend should fix a day
(402) 4

for telling us. I am sure we shall all be
very glad to hear it."
The old man replied with a grateful look.
"If you have no objection to these young
things being present, I should like them to
hear it."
The boys had risen from their seats on
the grass when Miss Davenne had moved,
and were now waiting eagerly for her reply.
The assent was readily given, and the day
fixed. A few more kindly words were
spoken by Captain Davenne to the old man,
and the group dispersed; the boys bounding
across the common, the young lady and her
uncle taking the path that led to the Hall,
and old Robin, with his staff (that last friend
of feeble humanity), turning toward his

,-. 1 .

ong his bees, his flowers, and the

siHE evening after this conversation,
C^,7p Id lobin sat in his little garden
,-x amiznong his bees, his flowers, and the
y ;}'3: parting rays of the sun which was
sinking behind the adjacent hills.
The old man was never so happy as when,
seated at his cottage door, he watched the
bright glories of the evening sky. The love of
nature is strongest at the beginning and the
end of life. The child has no care for the
morrow, but gives himself up to the wealth
that lies around him in the rich gifts of
earth, air, and sky; and the old man returns
to the same enjoyment when the toil of life
is done, and he is waiting in the cool of the
evening for a brighter morrow in a better


home. On this evening, however, Robin's
solitude was destined to be broken. Two
figures presented themselves at the garden
May we come in, Master Robin ?"
The voice was Alan's.


Come in, my lad, and welcome," was
the old man's ready response.
This is my cousin Will," said the youth,
pointing to his companion. Here, Will,
sit down on this bit of grass. -The fact is,
Robin," said the lad, coming to the point at

once-" the fact is, I have persuaded Will
to come here for two reasons. One is that
he may hear something good from your lips,
and the next is-," and here Alan stopped
short. His cheek became suddenly red.
I will tell the truth for you," said
his cousin. Alan is in a state of great
remorse, Master Robin, because he went
with me this morning to a lecture at the
Town Hall of Coniston, and the only way I
would pacify him was by letting him bring
me in his turn to you, that you might
lecture me, I suppose."
The eyes of the speaker were dark and
lustrous, but they lacked that peculiar ex-
pression which bears witness on some faces
to the joy and rest which the soul within has
What was the lecture about, my son ?"
asked the old man.
It was a lecture against the Bible," Alan
replied impetuously; against the Book you
love so much, Robin. I was a fool to be
persuaded by Will. I knew I was doing
wrong all the time, and yet I went. I am
sure that if I had known how wretched that


man's words could make me, I would never
have gone."
Old Robin shook his head sorrowfully.'
"The tree of error bears deadly fruit, Alan,
and they that will pluck and eat must be
content to suffer.-And thou, young man,"
he added, turning to Alan's companion,
wilt thou make thine own destruction
tenfold more sure by dragging a fellow-
creature after thee ?"
"Don't blame him, Robin," said Alan,
"for it was my own fault that I went."
The lecturer was said to be such a clever
man," said the other, "that many of us were
tempted to go and hear him. But, indeed,
Master Robin, I will not make myself out
better than I am. I confess to you that I
have sometimes doubted the truth of the
Bible. There are arguments against it which
I find it difficult to answer."
"May the good Lord forgive you," said
the old man, "even as I had need to be
forgiven when, in the days of my youth and
folly, I gave heed to the same falsehoods.
Listen to me, my son. There are but two
reasons why men are infidels. The first is,


because they love darkness better than light;
the other is, because they are ignorant.
Yes, Will Davis, those that appear the most
learned are just the most ignorant; and,
alas! they choose to remain so. Young
man, you say that you find it difficult to
believe; but answer me this question, Do
you wish to believe ? "
Well, Master Robin, I have really
never asked myself that question."
"Ah said the old man, "if you wished
to believe you would use all your diligence
to read everything that was in favour of the
Bible; whereas you will confess, if you are
honest, that for one argument that honours
the Word of God, you have read ten, ay,
twenty, that blasphemes it."
Old Robin kindled as he spoke. The
radiance of the sunlight which was falling
on the faces of the young men, was as
nothing in comparison of that diviner glow
which bore witness on the aged features to
the energy of truth within.
"You may not like to hear it said you
are ignorant., my son," he went on; "but if
you will take the trouble to examine into


what scoffers say, you will find that they
are ignorant of Bible facts, Bible history,
and Bible language. Yet these are the men
who call themselves too learned to believe
in God's Book."
"Well, Master Robin," said Alan, I was
disgusted by the lecturer's objections, and
by his unfairness too. About the Tower of
Babel, for instance, he actually said that
the Bible could not be true, because it
taught men that this tower would have been
built up to heaven, and that God came down
to prevent it, fearing lest men should find
a method of their own for getting into
"We ought not to be surprised at any-
thing these men assert," Robin replied,
"for cavilling and doubting always end in
unfairness and untruth. The building of
the tower, as you know, had nothing to
do with getting into heaven, and yet if you
had not read your Bible, this man might
have led you to believe otherwise. It is a
melancholy fact that men are everywhere
receiving and listening to every kind of
infidel objections, without making them-

selves acquainted with the mass of evidence
which is on the side of truth. They seize
upon the difficulties, but do not care for any
further testimony. Why is this ? Ah !
the answer is too plain; it is because men
love darkness rather than light."
"And only think, Robin," said Alan
again, "that lecturer said that the Bible
was immoral in its teachings, because it
speaks of certain men as good men, when,
at the same time, it relates their having
committed the worst sins David was his
pet example."
How ignorant that man must be," said
Robin. "Why, if his mind had not been
perverted and made crooked, he would see that
the Bible does not sanction or approve of
David in his sins; it simply states those sins
as matters of fact. This is very much in
favour of the Bible. It is the only historical
book on earth which relates matters of
naked fact. No writer in that wonderful
volume ever praises the goodness of the men
he is writing about. No praise, or flattery,
is used, as there is in other books of history.
On the contrary, the sacred historians relate

plainly and truthfully the sins into which
God's people have fallen. It is impossible
they should do otherwise," added the old
man, laying his hand impressively upon
Alan's arm, "not only because they are the
records of truth, but because they seek to
teach us what man is when he falls away
from God. When we read of the treachery
and conceit of Peter, and of the grievous fall
of David, we see that man is never safe but
when he leans upon God. And, as the
whole teaching of the Bible points to this
truth, we cannot be surprised when God's
Word makes it plain to us by illustration as
well as precept."
"There's something in that," said Alan's
The old man went on. "David had a
fallen nature, as every one of God's children
has, and David was a great king. With all
his wealth and all his triumphs, the surprise
is that he did not sooner fall into sin. And
when he did fall, grievous as it was, see how
great was his repentance Could any one
have humbled himself as he did, who had
not the Spirit of God in his heart ? Think


of that 51st Psalm (in which he records his
sins and his deep repentance), and remember
that king David knew that it would be sung
before his court, and before all Jerusalem ;
that it would be the memorial of his sin to
all generations. His sorrow for that sin
must have been very real to enable him to
face all-this."
"This cannot be denied, I confess," said
young Davis.
"Ah, my sons," said old Robin very
gravely, we would not be so ready to blame
the Bible for recording the sins of many of
God's people, if we understood a little more
of that repentance which so filled their hearts
as to lead them to go out and weep bitterly."
The young men were silent. The earnest-
ness of the old man's words, together with
the seriousness of his manner, and the tone
of sorrow which seemed lovingly to bind
the whole, all made a deep impression on
their minds. The candour of youth, too,
was still alive in their hearts, as yet un-
destroyed by the deceits and sophistries of a
world which is at enmity with God.
"May I tell you another objection which


that man made against the truth of the
Bible ?" said Alan. "He declared it im-
possible to believe in the resurrection- of the
body, when we know that after death our
bodies dissolve and mingle with the dust or
are scattered over the earth."
Stay a moment," said old Robin, rising
from his seat. I have a book in-doors
which has some striking words on this sub-
ject. You shall read them for yourselves.
There is light enough in the sky, so I will
fetch the book."
The old man went into the cottage, and
soon returned with a small book in his hand.
It was a great favourite of his, to judge from
the way in which passages were marked and
"Here is the chapter," he said; "now
read, Alan, read it aloud."
God tells the righteous that their bodies,
although made out of the materials belong-
ing to their present frames of earth, will
shine, and be very splendid (1 Cor. xv. 40-
45). God can make very durable and very
glorious things out of materials the very
opposite of firmness or of brilliancy. He

has done this. Of all the substances with
which we are acquainted, we esteem diamond
the hardest and the most glittering. Char-
coal is as black and as crumbling as any
other body known to us, yet these two
bodies are the same. The learned know,


the ploughboy does not, that the difference
between charcoal and diamond is, that the
Creator has ordered a different arrangement
of particles. The same materials are
differently placed, that is all. If any are
wishing for a body more beautiful than they


now have, they may be assured that God
can, if he choose, take our present fragile,
corruptible forms of clay, and make out of
them something exceedingly glorious. 'It
is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.'
Out of a certain spot of earth a flower arose,
which waved in splendour; the soil from
which it grew was very black." *
"What do you say to that? Robin
asked of young Davis, when Alan had
"I like it very much," said the young
man frankly. Can you spare the book to
me for a week or so ? I have a nice bit of
time for reading now in the evening. I
should not mind reading more of that book."
I will lend it you gladly," said Robin;
"it's a good thing to read on the right side.
But oh, my sons, take an old man's advice,
'Begin to pray.' All the reading, all the
thinking, and all the talking will not avail,
unless you ask the Spirit of truth to help
you. Boys, the time is all too short, that
we should let the work of life go by, on the
chance of its not being true. Don't waste
Rev. D. Nelson, M.D.


this precious time in doubt and unbelief,
but get you to your Saviour, and ask him
to teach you those words which alone can
make you a soft pillow when you lie down
to die : Lord, I believe; help thou mine un-
belief.' "
"We must wish you good-evening now,
Master Robin," said Alan. I think I can
promise you never to go to those places
The old man was silent. His eye was
resting on the evening clouds which, with
crimson edges, lay in masses above the set-
ting sun.
How beautiful it is said Alan.
"Ay," said the old man, and there is
one thing more beautiful, more wonderful
still, and that is God's good patience. We
are ready enough to use his gifts; to sow
and reap under the blessed sun in the
heavens, and be warmed and gladdened by
his rays; but we care not to seek after the
Giver himself, and we .refuse to believe
in his love. Verily, his compassion fail
Well, Master Robin," said young Davis,


" 1 would give something to have your
"Don't talk of opinions," said the old
man : "when a man talks of his 'opinions,'
we may be sure that pride is not far off.
Nay, my lads, you must get the lowly
mind, the empty heart, if you would see
God. He satisfieth the hungry soul. Fare-
well, my sons. Take heed to yourselves,
lest with all your books, and all your
learning, and all your opinions, you find
yourselves at the last among the proud
in heart that are sent empty away."
The old man closed the small gate, and
walked slowly to the cottage. The young
men, silent and grave, went their way.,

.- -~ !.. '.
--,_ _, 'i I..



OeHAT can be the matter?" said
h the squire, who was standing at
..: the window of the dining-room.
'' There is Frank rushing up the
c garden path, evidently anxious
about something."
Alice quickly left her seat, and joined
her father at the window. "He is quite
pale," she said, hastening to meet her
But Frank was already in the room.
"An accident, father, in the village! I
have run up to fetch a horse, for I must go
over to Coniston to fetch the doctor."
Who is hurt, Frank?" anxiously in-
quired Alice.
(n^! 5


Frank hesitated. He knew that he
should distress his sister by telling her that
it was old Robin who had met with a
serious accident.
Alice guessed his thoughts. "0 Frank!"
she exclaimed, "not Robin, I hope."
Don't be alarmed, Alice; it may not be
bad after all, though I am sorry to say it is
old Robin. He has been thrown down by
a runaway horse and carriage."
"How did it happen, Frank ?" said his
I was coming home," Frank replied,
"across the Carr Lea, and just as I was
clearing the stile into the road, I heard the
sound of a carriage going too fast to be all
right. So I hastened on into the village,
and there, at the corner of the school-house,
I saw a group of people, and knew directly
that there was some accident. To my
horror, I saw it was old Robin; they were
just preparing to carry him to his cottage.
I did not stay to ask any questions, for I
knew that the best thing I could do was to
run and fetch the doctor."
"That's right, my boy," said the squire;


" and take the gig, that the doctor may come
back with you."
Well, father, I thought of that, and told
George to be quick and bring it round. I met
him, happily, as I came into the carriage road."
"Here it is, Frank; make haste. If Mr.
Forman is not at home," said the squire,
speaking through the .open window, "drive
on to Barton Chase, and bring Dr. Gordon.
He is a man," he added, turning to his wife,
"who is always ready for a kind action.
Poor old Robin! He shall have all the
care that we can give. Cheer up, Aly!"
said the kind-hearted squire, who saw the
tears in his daughter's eyes. "We must
hope for the" best. Your old favourite has
fine health in his favour."
"And a quiet mind," said her mother.
"That will do more for him than all the
help that any one can give."
"That is true," said Captain Davenne;
"it was only the other day that Dr. King
was saying that, in a medical point of view,
doctors knew full well the value of true re-
ligion, there being twice the chance for the
body when the mind is at peace."


May I go to him, mother ?" asked Alice.
"I could stay with him till the doctor arrives."
It would be better to wait a little, my
child, for old Robin ought surely to be kept
very quiet. He is so fond of you, that your
coming would be sure to excite him. I will
send nurse Luff to him directly; he could
not be in better hands."
"Yes, Alice," said the squire, "your
mother is right. The kindest thing to
Robin is to leave him quiet just now.
Wait an hour or two, and then go; and
take some grapes with you, that the old
man may have them during the night."
Very soon after this, Alice, accompanied
by her uncle, stood at the door of old
Robin's cottage.
"You had better go in alone, Alice," said
Captain Davenne; "he may not care to see
a stranger. I will wait for you on the
green, under the old tree. Do not forget
the grapes," he added, for Alice in her
anxiety had left the basket in his hand.
Alice opened the door gently and entered
the cottage. There was no one in the little
kitchen. There was no sound but the tick


of the old clock in the corner. The well-
worn Bible was on a table close to the win-
dow, and the old man's spectacles lay upon
it. As Alice looked upon them, she said
within herself, Happy old man! though
your outward eye may no longer rest upon
this blessed book, you have a better portion,

for the eyes of your soul have been opened
whereby you can see God."
The slight movement made by Alice's
entrance was heard by the nurse, who came
down directly.
How is he now, nurse ?" asked Alice.
He is suffering very badly, ma'am. The

doctor says that it is impossible to set the
leg at present. He said he would call again
soon. It makes my heart ache to see the
good old man in pain. He is so patient
too," she added.
Dear old Robin sighed Alice.
"You will go up, won't you, ma'am ? he
has been talking of you, and wanting to see
you. Young Alan is with him. The lad
seems very fond of him; he has not left
him since the accident."
"Do you know how it happened, nurse?"
"They say that the old man was hurt
in saving a little child in the wood from
a runaway horse. The carriage knocked
him down, and though the wheel did not
go over him, his leg was broken by the
It was just like him," said Alice, al-
ways doing good, and never sparing him-
self. But now, nurse, I will go up, for our
talking here may disturb him."
The bed on which the old man lay was
close to the window, which was open, to
admit the soft evening air, which gently
stirred the thin gray hair that lay upon the


pillow. The old man's eyes were closed,
and Alice was grieved to notice the expres-
sion of pain that was perceptible on his face.
Alan was standing at the side of the bed,
when the lady entered. He moved away,
to allow her to take his place.
He is so thirsty, ma'am; I am going to
fetch him some more water."
Old Robin opened his eyes, hearing these
words. He recognized Alice, and smiled.
It was a smile bright and fleeting as an
October ray. He tried to speak, but the
effort failed.
Here are some grapes for you, old
Robin," said Alice,-"some of papa's early
grapes. They will assuage your thirst
better than water."
The old man's lips moved again. There
was a sudden expression upon his aged fea-
tures that told of a holy thought within, as
the radiant edges of an evening cloud bear
witness to the sun behind. Alice bent her
ear to the feeble voice.
Shall the disciple be above his master?"
whispered the old man; when HE thirsted,
they gave HIM vinegar to drink."


The sudden tears overflowed Alice's eyes at
this proof of Christian constancy. Pain and
trial had but deepened the channel in which
the love of the aged disciple was flowing to-
wards his crucified Lord and Saviour. The
sacred flame was burning all the brighter for
the darkened setting of the troubled hour.
Robin perceived the tears on Alice's
cheek, and thought that she was pained to
witness his suffering.
Do not weep, lady," he said; it is well."


I know it is, dear Robin," she said, try-
ing to smile through her tears. The God
whom you serve constantly is able to de-
liver you from all mistrust of his love, or
impatience in your sufferings."
"He is able," murmured the old man,
" and he is willing."
He closed his eyes again, while an ex-
pression of pain passed over his features.
The nurse entered the room and whispered
to Alice that the doctor had returned. As
Alice moved from her chair, the old man
put out his hand, which she took into hers,
while she stooped down to say farewell.
The feeble voice spoke again,-
Will you say those verses you wrote in
my Bible ? "
-" I will," Alice replied; and bending over
him, she repeated, in a soft voice, the fol-
lowing words,-
One there is above all others;
Oh, how He loves !
His is love beyond a brother's;
Oh, how He loves!
"Earthly friends may pain and grieve thee,
One day kind, the next day leave thee,
But this Friend will ne'er deceive thee;
Oh, how He loves "


"Thank you, ma'am," said the old man.
Alice pressed the offered hand, and gently
moving, left the room.
At a late hour that night, Alan was stand-
ing alone in the little garden of Robin's cot-
tage. His affection for the old man was,
like every other part of his ardent nature,
strong and real. He had sought and ob-
tained leave to remain during the first night
of watching, and now he stood for a few
minutes in the garden before entering the
cottage. His earnest eyes were intent upon
the midnight sky. It was a lovely summer
firmament, and those bright, watching eyes
above seemed to find a response in the
solemn and radiant thoughts that filled
Alan's young heart. "Nothing that de-
fileth," seemed written in letters of living
light upon that glorious heaven. Then,
for the first time he seemed to realize the
full value of that faith which he now saw
was mightiest in a Christian in the hour of
trial. When trouble comes to you, Will
Davis," he said, speaking his thoughts aloud,
" or to me, what shall we have to lean upon?"
He looked up at the still open casement,


from whence not a sound of murmur dis-
turbed the quiet air, and the words which
the old man had spoken on that very spot,
the night before, now returned to his memory
with a force and vividness that seemed like
the waking to a new life. From out of that
earnest speech of Robin's, three words stood
now before him in characters of fire-"Begin
to pray." There was one short form of
prayer that instantly came into his mind,
simple enough for a child, but all-sufficient
for eternity. God be merciful to me a
sinner! He breathed the words slowly,
but with the mighty energy of a new-born
faith. The soft night wind alone made re-
sponse to the sounds. But shall any man
say they were unheard in heaven ? Blessed
be God, not while there is One above who,
while he telleth the number of the stars,
gathereth together the outcast, and health
the broken in heart."

.. _,
.1 *:,w

-X- eri w g
to ige lo ,a -ao


t' [ 1-- EE months had passed away since
tli. .ay of old Robin's accident. The
n' iiliner-time was gone, but not the
-i i iutinner brightness, for that seemed
to linger long and lovingly around
the autumn hours, giving a pledge and an
earnest of returning sunshine, which the old
year cherished in faith and hope that-
What the past hath given, the future gives as well."
The old man was still in his room. The
doctor's fears had been realized. As it
sometimes happens in old age, the broken
limb would not unite. There was no help
for it, old Robin would be bed-ridden for
the rest of his earthly pilgrimage. The
doctor was a kind-hearted man. He felt

grieved at the old man's prospect of help-
lessness, and expressed the greatest concern
for him. He dreaded to destroy the last
hope which Robin was one day expressing
of being able, after a time, to walk to the
favourite old oak. Great was his surprise,
however, to witness the old man's composure
when the truth was told him. The child-
like trust which he had witnessed in Robin
during the whole course of his illness had
made a great impression on him. Dr. Gordon
was a man that feared God, and placed his
trust in a Saviour's atoning blood; but, from
some deficiency of early instruction, he failed
to take the full comfort that flows from an
unreserved belief in God's fatherly love. In
his own frank and truthful manner he con-
fessed this to the old man. How is it," he
said, "that there is so much difference be-
tween us ? I don't believe there is any fear
in your love, while, at times, I ask myself,
Is there any love in my fear? How is it,
Robin ?-don't be afraid to preach to me. I
am sure you can teach me a great many
Old Robin shook his head. "There is


only one Teacher, sir, and his lessons are
given for the asking."
"That is true, Robin, but you know that
it is his will that we should be ministers of
his grace to each other. And I want you
to give me the secret of that wonderful rest
which your mind seems always to possess,
even in the midst of bodily pain. You
never seem troubled, either, by mental per-
plexities; and oh, Robin, there are so many
of these in this weary world "
Sir," said the old man, looking up with
his own meek smile into the manly and in-
genuous face of the speaker, I humbly
trust that it is the presence of the Spirit
of Christ within me, enabling me to say,
Abba, Father !"
There was a short silence ; then Dr. Gor-
don said : "The fact is, I believe that I be-
gin at the wrong end. I am always fearing
lest my repentance be not sufficient to make
God my Father, whereas you start on the
belief of his being your Father already.
That is the difference, and a very great dif-
ference it is. Your faith is hard to attain,


With men impossible, dear sir, for faith
is the gift of God. But oh," the old man
continued in his earnest way, it is only our
pride that makes it difficult! If we were
emptied of self, we should cease to wonder
at God's way of saving us. He is too great
a God to allow a sinner any part in his work
of pardon. Do you know, sir, that Mr.
Arnot, our clergyman, was explaining this
subject to me only yesterday! He said he
believed that one reason why so many Chris-
tians began at the wrong end is, because the
ministers of God's Word do not speak suf-
ficiently of the love of God the Father. He
said, if we read the Gospels attentively, and
especially the Gospel of St. John, we should
see how differently the Lord Jesus taught.
Do you remember, sir, the very first words
spoken by our Lord concerning his work?
He called it his 'Father's business.'"
I never noticed that," said Dr. Gordon;
"they are very significant words."
The old man continued: "It's a blessed
truth that Jesus came to reveal the Father.
We may believe that Christ is the Way, but
it will be only half the truth if we do not


believe that he is the Way to the Father.
Ah, sir, this is the only sure road to that
repentance which is precious in the sight of
Dr. Gordon did not reply, but the words
of the old man brought with them a resist-
less conviction of their truth. "I believe
you are right, Robin," he said at length,
"you are right. After all, the prodigal son
did not truly repent till he remembered his
father's love, and believed in its continuance.
And I rather think you are right, too, when
you say that it is pride that sets us blunder-
ing at the wrong end. We think of our
feeble love to God, instead of God's great
love in Christ to us. We look at the broken
reflection in the water, instead of at the stead-
fast sun in the heavens. By the way," added
the doctor, as he rose to go, "talking of
pride puts me in mind of what I was going
to forget. Your friend, Miss Davenne, has
told me of a certain proverb of yours, about
which you had promised the boys a tale on
that very day of your accident, my poor
fellow. She wants me to consent to your
being carried to the favourite oak-tree, one


afternoon this week, while this fine weather
lasts. You see, she told me what the proverb
was, and how you interpreted it. Poor
Robin," the kind doctor concluded, "you
little thought that so much real 'water-
porridge' was in store for you."
"It is all right, sir,". was the cheerful
reply of the old man; "a little spare diet is
necessary for us all at times, and it is whole-
some, too," he added, smiling, "for sweet
sleep comes with it."
"You are fond of parables, Robin."
Yes, sir; they are God's way of teaching
his dull children."
Well, good-bye, Robin; I suppose that
the 'spare diet' means the lowly mind."
Yes, sir, it does, for so God giveth his
beloved sleep."

'" ^OW for the story, Master Robin!"
cried the lads. The old man had
been carefully placed on a mattress
under the oak-tree, and around him
S was the same group which had
listened to his words on the evening before
his accident, with the exception of one person
-Captain Davenne-who was now absent
from the Hall.
Are you quite comfortable, Robin ?" in-
quired Alice ; "that is the first thing."
Quite, thank you, dear lady."
"Then you must please begin," she said,
"for some of these young listeners have only
half an hour before they return to school."
So the old man began :-


*;~ ~r, -~

'i, I


It was my mother who taught me the
lesson of contentment. Boy as I was, I
could see that my father did not find the

11 41; 1W A,-,


lesson easy. He was a kind father to me
and my brother (I had but one); and he
was a good husband, and loved his home.
But he was always fretting himself about
the money, and wishing that he might have
more of it, that he might do as other people
did who were more prosperous than he was.
My mother had a wonderful way of cheer-
ing him, and of bringing back a feeling of
contentment into his heart. And, bad as
times might be, she never seemed to lose
her faith in a Father in heaven. The
winter I remember best was a severe one.
There was a great deal of illness in our
village, and work was very scarce. My
father used to look so grave and gloomy.
When we came from school we often found
him sitting at the table with his head buried
in his hands. One day I had got a book of
pictures, and was turning over the pages in
front of the kitchen-fire. My father was
seated in the chimney-corner, silent and
moody. My mother was clearing away from
the table the remains of our supper of bread
and potatoes, for we did not taste much
meat that winter. At last my father looked


up and said, It is very hard, Mary, to see
that fellow Dick'(he was my father's brother)
'living like a prince, while we have nothing
but bread.' My mother had the loaf in her
hands that minute. She stopped, and said,
'Nothing but bread, dear husband! why,
bread is every thing. Instead of grumbling
because we have no meat, let us say, Thank
God, who giveth bread to strengthen man's
heart." '-' That is all quite right, I know,
Mary; but when I looked in just now at
Dick's cottage, and saw his.little ones feast-
ing on a hot supper, while mine had only
bread and potatoes, I could hardly bear it.'
Ah," said old Robin, .shaking his head,
" how soon are evil seeds dropped into the
young mind by wrong words! I know that
while my father spoke I felt many foolish
and sinful thoughts rise in my heart. But
they were checked by the gentle voice of
my mother. She had come near my father,
and had placed her hand upon his shoulder.
She looked like his good angel. 'Joseph,'
she said, 'why did you go to Dick's cottage
to-night? You promised me not to go
along with him. You know that he will

only bring you into harm, for he fears not
God or man. As to his hot suppers, they
bode no good, Joseph. You know that
they will be his ruin some day. Husband,
husband, be content; the blessing of God is
better than all the feasting and all the riches
of this world.' My father was silent a few
minutes; while we were wondering in our
minds what my mother meant when she
said that my uncle's hot suppers would be
his ruin. But we soon found that out, as
you shall hear. Well, Mary,' said my father
at last, 'you are right; but times are really
so bad just now, I don't see where the work
is to come from.'-'That is what an infidel
would say,' my mother replied; 'a man who
does not believe there is a God in heaven.
But you, Joseph-you who teach your little
ones to say, Our Father which art in
heaven,"-you should not speak so.'-' I
wish I was like you, Mary,' said my father.
'You are always contented and hopeful.
But, indeed, it is a bad winter for us all.
The work has stopped at the Hall on account
of the frost, and where I am to get a job I
don't know. I would give something, wife,


to be as quiet as you are, and believe that
it will be all right in the end. How do you
manage it?' I remember my mother's
beautiful smile as she made answer: I ask
God, for Christ's sake, to give me the same
trust in his love as my children have in my
love. Why don't you do the same, Joseph?
You see that God answers my prayer; why
should he not answer yours ? Don't you
think that the Lord Jesus meant what he
said : Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father
in my name he will do it? "' He was
silent; but we could see that his face was
getting brighter, and that the dark cloud
was almost gone. 'Now, Joe,' said my
mother, will you let me read you something
which I am never tired of reading myself?'
She rose, and going to a chest of drawers,
took out a small book. She brought her
chair close to my father, and sat down to
read. There were many passages in that
book which I could see she had marked
with. a pencil line. It might be, perhaps,
in some trying hour, when things seemed to
go against her, and she needed strength and
comfort from above."


Ah !" interrupted Alice, that was the
book you were speaking to me about the
other day,-' Hymns of Faith and Hope.'"
"Yes, lady; and there was a charm in
those verses which, boy as I was, fastened
itself upon me. So much so, that, in after-


years, when I left home, I begged my
mother to give me the book. Many is the
time that I have read it since then, and
fancied that I still heard my mother's voice
as she sat reading to my father on that even-


"And what did your father say to it,
Robin ?" asked Alice; "do you remember?"
Yes, ma'am, I recollect everything that
happened that evening as clear as if it was
yesterday. 'Well, wife, he said, as my
mother closed the book, 'you must ask God
to forgive me for doubting his love and pro-
vidence. And you, my lad,' for I had left
my picture-book and was standing at my
mother's knee, 'mind you always listen to
what your mother teaches you, and be always
content and thankful.' My mother then
rose to take us to bed. I see her standing
there, with the candle in her hand. After
all, Joseph,' she said, we get one good thing
which people who have hot suppers are
obliged to do without.' 'What's that, my
lass ?' said my father. 'Why, sleep; sweet,
sound sleep,' she replied, with that bright
smile of hers which always made me think
of the sun coming into a room; 'depend
upon it, husband, the proverb is true :-
"The sweetest sleep is the sleep on water-porridge."'

And now," old Robin went on, "I am
coming to the end of my story. Something


happened about a month after, which com-
pletely cured my father of his grumbling.
We never afterwards heard a sound of mur-
mur from his lips. You know, boys, I told
you we wondered what my mother meant
when she said that my uncle's hot suppers
would be his ruin. It soon became clear to
us. I shall never forget that night. It was
a stormy night, dark, with wind and rain.
My brother and I were with our mother in
the kitchen, the door of which was open, so
that by-and-by, when the house-door opened,
we could see my father talking to some one
outside. We soon recognized my uncle's
voice. We heard him say, 'Come, Joe,
don't be stupid. Say you'll come with me.'
How anxious our mother looked all the
while they remained talking! Presently
the door was closed again, and my father
came into the kitchen. 'Mary,' he said,
' that fellow Dick is at me again. He will
have me go with him to-night.' 'Nay,
Joseph,' she said, 'you will not, surely.'
'Well, Mary, I have, as they say, half a
mind to go. He says he will show me
something by which I can benefit myself


and family. He kept taunting me with the
hard fare which my children had-so differ-
ent from his own way of living; and I could
not stand it.' My mother was silent, but a
tear was slowly stealing down her cheek.
' Come, wife, don't take on,' said my father
kindly. He never liked to see her cry; she
cried so seldom. If I did go this once, I
would promise you never to go again.' But
it is just this once that may ruin you, dear
Joe. It cannot be right to go with Dick,
for you know he has no fear of God; and
the Bible says, if sinners entice us, we are
not to hearken or consent. 0 Joseph! do
not, disobey the Word of God. It is better
to starve than to grieve him who gave his
blood to save us from sin.' My mother did
not say any more. She never talked on (as
some wives do) at her husband. Her words
were always few, but they were strong
though gentle. I can see now that this
was the secret of her influence over my
father. Well, about half an hour after,
there was a knock outside. My father went
to the door. We heard him say, I am not
going with you, Dick.' My uncle made


some angry reply; we could catch the words
'silly wife,' 'stupid fellow,' and then he was
gone. My father was silent and grave the
rest of the evening, and then we all went to
bed. I remember it was a long time before


I could get to sleep. The rain was driving
heavily against the windows, and the wind
was moaning round the house. About two
o'clock in the morning, a sudden noise roused
my brother and myself. It seemed to come


from the outside door. We lay quiet, ex-
pecting to hear it again. It was repeated
two or three times. Let us wake father,'
said my brother. 'No,' said I; 'let us wait.
Indeed he is awake already; don't you hear
the window opening in his room ? What
can be the matter?' We stood at the door,
shaking in the cold, straining our ears to
catch the words that my father was speaking
to some one outside. The wind lulled at
this moment. It is Aunt Bessy's voice,'
we both exclaimed. Then we heard my
father go dbwn-stairs, and my mother follow-
ing. Unable any longer to resist the desire
to know what was going on, we opened our
door very gently, and stole out upon the
landing. What is it, Bess ?' we heard my
father say, as he let my aunt in. A burst
of loud weeping was the only reply. Has
anything happened to Dick ?' my father
asked in a hurried voice. He is killed!
he is killed !' shrieked my aunt. Oh, what
a cry of agony that was I shall never
forget it. We trembled as we heard it.
' Dick killed!' said my father in a hoarse
voice; God forbid! where is he ? let me go


to him. But do tell us what has happened.'
We could not hear distinctly what my aunt
said, her grief was so excessive; but we
heard enough to frighten us in the few words
we caught-' guns,' 'gamekeepers,' 'Bury
jail,' and murder.' Half dead with cold
and terror, we crept back to our beds. What
a night it was too! The rain was lashing
against the casement, and the wind seemed
to echo the wail of the broken-hearted
woman. We whispered to each other, won-
dering whether our mother would come to
us. She did come. After half an hour,
when the house was hushed again, and all
was still below, we heard her step on the
stairs. We called to her, and she came into
our room, and sat down on a chair between
our beds. At that moment, the moon shone
out from behind the driving clouds, and we
could see how anxious my mother's face was.
' Mother,' I asked, what is poaching; is it
murder ?' My mother answered, laying her
hand on my shoulder, It is self-murder, my
child; for it sometimes costs a man his life
in this world, and, alas! in the next world
too. Do you remember,' she went on, seeing

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