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UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS,
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a ir . .r n"' lil:l u.
THE ORANGE Gl.RL
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS,
A. L. O. E.,
AUTHOR OF "TIE SILVER CASKET," "CROWN OF osCC: S',
t- '*.-.;- -.-'. ^"
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS, ... ... ... ... 7
A WHITE LIE, ... ... ... ... ... 29
"DON'T BE TOO SURE," ... ... ... ... ... 44
QUITE IN EARNEST, ... ... ... .. ... 59
THE PHARISEE AN D THE PUBLICAN, ... ... ... 75
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE, ... ... ... .. ... 89
PAYING DEAR FOR IT, ... ..... ... 105
-, O'H ( _
- -; '. .- -
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
"The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; but the soul
of the diligent shall be made fat."-PRov. xiii. 4.
" i9 OOD-BYE, Ellie dear-bless you!"
? -,, cried Willie Deane, with a chok-
-,? ing voice, as he embraced his little
blind sister again and again at the
gloomy door of the poor-house.
Come, no more of this said the parish-
officer, laying his hand on the shoulder of the
sobbing girl, who clung closer and closer to
her brother, the only tie now left to her in
the wide world. They had that afternoon
followed the remains of their father to a
pauper's nameless grave; and though the
8 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
only mourning worn by the bare-footed,
ragged children was a little bit of old crape,
lent by a pitying neighbour, in the hearts
of both there was deep, deep mourning, and
all the greater since they were now to be
separated. Willie, as a boy "quite able to
work," though his wan face told of hardship
and hunger, was left to make his own way
in the world; while Ellie, whose blindness
made her perfectly helpless, was removed
to the shelter of the poor-house.
"Oh, we shall never, never meet again,
and you are all that is left me now! My
heart will break!" cried the little girl be-
tween her sobs.
"No, no; trust in God, darling; we shall
meet again I will work early and late,
but I will find some means to support you!
We shall yet gain our bread by honest in-
dustry-we shall, Ellie dear; only trust in
And so they parted; and the orphan boy,
needing only too much for himself the com-
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 9
fort which he had been trying to give to
another, stood for some minutes gazing at
the door which had been closed behind his
fair-haired sister with a feeling of utter
desolation. He wished, then tried to re-
press the wish, lest it should be sinful in
the sight of his Maker, that he could lay
his weary head where his father slept, and
forget all his sorrows in the quiet grave!
" But no," he thought, "I must live-I
must labour for her. God may yet have a
work for even me to do; life's long day of
toil is before me, and then, oh, how sweet
will be rest!"
Willie carried back the crape to Mrs.
Clark, who had been the friend of his father
in better times. A very poor woman she
was now, but with a kind, compassionate
heart. "Sure, I'm sorry for you, poor
fellow!" she said, brushing the moisture
from her eyes with the back of her hand;
"but I have scarcely bread to put into my
own mouth, and sorry a bit to give away.
10 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
Had they allowed her but a shilling or two
for out-door relief, I'd have let that dear
little girl share my crust and my bed; but
what's little for one is starvation for two.
I don't see how I can help you now, unless
-there's an old broom in the corner there;
if it's any use to you, you're welcome to it;
may be it will bring you a few pence."
The present was accepted with thanks,
and the homeless boy, as he left her little
cellar, blessed the voice' of kindness which
had been like a cordial to his desolate heart.
The night was now closing in; whither
should the orphan go? He crept under
the shadow of an archway, which sheltered
him from the rain which was beginning to
fall; and from that strange place of refuge
rose the humble, trusting prayer of a
troubled spirit-but a brave spirit, that was
preparing to battle with poverty, to look
want in the face, and, by God's blessing,
thrust it back, and struggle on to indepen-
dence. Willie would not beg, but he
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 11
would earn his bread, though his sole
means of doing so was the half-worn-out
broom which had been given by one almost
as poor as himself.
The sun was scarcely up earlier than
Willie. He gazed on the brightening sky,
dappled with rosy clouds, and breathed
forth his morning prayer. With his broom
in his hand, and a hope in his heart that
the Almighty would bless his labours, he
passed along the quiet streets, and at last
began to work at a crossing by the side of
a square, which, from its almost impassable
state, seemed to have been neglected for
many a day. The labour was new to him,
and soon tired his arms; but with resolu-
tion he brushed on till a clean causeway
was made across the narrow road. Pleased
at his own success, he had just paused to
rest, when a boy about his own size, also
ragged and bare-footed, ran up with a
broom in his hand, and in an angry voice
accused Willie of having deprived him of
12 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
his crossing, and tried to take the bread out
of his mouth.
I did not know that it belonged to any
one," said Willie, casting a glance of disap-
pointment at the crossing at which he had
been working so hard.
"It's been mine this month and more,
and it was my mother's afore me," replied
Sam Higgins, in no very courteous tone.
"Well," said Willie, shouldering his
broom with a sigh, "I must go somewhere
else, I suppose. Does any one make a long
crossing yonder, so as to cut off the corner
of the square ? "
"Oh, you're welcome to that, if it takes
your fancy," laughed Sam; "as if any one
would wade over that sea of brown mud "
"They shall not have to wade," replied
Willie, setting himself at once to his new
task with that resolute spirit which, whether
possessed by a king or a street-sweeper,
usually secures success. As he plied at his
crossing, Willie thought of the lines:-
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 18
If I were a cobbler, I'd make it my pride
The best of all cobblers to be;
If I were a tinker, no tinker beside
Should mend an old kettle like me!"
And he determined that whatever he did
should be done well.
Sam, leaning on his broom, watched
Willie with a mocking sneer. He was
himself quite a stranger to that energy
which rises to meet difficulties-that perse-
verance which resolutely overcomes them.
He thought it enough to stand by his cross-
ing, sweep for a moment when he saw a
passenger approaching, and run after him
with loud importunate entreaties to beg
the pence which he was too lazy to earn.
Willie never begged; he left his work to
speak for him; and as the conduct of the
sweepers was different, so likewise, as might
be expected, was their success. The long
clean crossing was constantly preferred;
the boy who remained steady at his post
raised the kindly feelings of the passer-by,
and became known to the residents round.
14 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
For every penny which Sam extorted by
begging, his silent companion received
three. Willie found that he could maintain
himself in honest independence. This was
his first upward step.
Willie heard that a Ragged School was
open every evening, not far from the poor
lodging which he now managed to procure
for himself. Anxious for knowledge-
anxious, above all, to be instructed in the
things of God-he never failed in his daily
attendance, and was the most diligent, the
most persevering of all the scholars.
"Little good larning will do to such as
you," cried Sam sneeringly, as he saw
Willie one day with a multiplication table
in his hand, trying as hard to master its
difficulties as he had done to earn his bread.
Willie only replied with a smile; he felt
that the useful knowledge which he was ac-
quiring was another step in an upward path
-that he should one day find the benefit of
it; and he thought with fond hope of the
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 15-
time when he might impart to his darling
little sister some of the information so
freely given to himself.
He learned also at the school the value
of cleanliness; he was instructed how to
mend his own clothes. A kind teacher,
pleased by the industry and docility of her
pupil, gave him an old cap of her son's, and
a cast-off pair of boots; so while Sam's
elbows still looked through the rents in his
sleeves, and his dirty clothes hung in rags
upon him, and his face looked as though
it had never been washed,-gradually his
companion gained an appearance so respect-
able and clean that it could scarcely have
been believed that both had started from
the same point of poverty; but then the
one was pursuing an upward, the other a
The object which Willie ever set before
himself was to be the support of his sister
Ellie. He almost denied himself necessary
food to save up his little earnings for her;.
16 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
and earnestly he prayed to his heavenly
Father to fulfil this desire of his heart. As
Willie became known in the neighbourhood,
he was often sent on little errands, em-
ployed to fetch water, or to sweep before
doors; and many a meal, and many a
penny--yes, and silver pieces too-he was
enabled to earn in this manner. But still,
in the dry, clear autumn days, when his
crossing scarcely needed a touch of the
broom, Willie felt that his time was not
fully employed-he might do more-he
-might gain more for his sister.
Here, again, the Ragged School offered
its valuable instruction. Willie was taught
how to make little baskets; and though his
profits at first were very small indeed, the
little purse which he had made for himself,
and which contained all his savings for
Ellie, gradually grew heavier and heavier,
and every now and then he exchanged a
handful of coppers for a bright silver shil-
ling or half-crown.
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 17
Willie was a truly religious boy-his
hope and trust were placed in his Saviour;
but he well knew that religion gives no
encouragement to idleness,-that we are re-
commended to be not slothful in business,
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The
more earnestly he prayed, the harder he
worked; his piety gave new impulse to his
Sam, in the meantime, was sinking lower
and lower in idleness, poverty, and dirt.
His crossing afforded an emblem of his own
mind, all neglected and uncared for as were
both. But a new era was now to open before
him; he was to be given an opportunity of
rising at last from his miserable and degraded
state. Willie was surprised one day to see
his companion appear in the square respect-
ably dressed, his face looking ten shades
fairer from a recent washing, and his whole
manner expressing pleasure and hope.
"Ah, I've done with you for ever!"
exclaimed Sam, flinging away his broom,
18 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
" and done with this wretched, starving life I
Plod on there, Will the sweeper,-scrape
up your farthings; I've something better
before me, I warrant you. My uncle's come
to London, on his way to the Indies, and he
says that it's a shame-and so it is-that a
boy like me should work at a crossing, like
a slave; so he's given me a suit of clothes,
d'ye see, and something to rattle in the
pockets, ard he's got me a situation in the
city. I'm going now to rise in the world;
maybe I'll be a rich man some of these days !"
"I wish you joy," said Willie, good-
naturedly; "what a blessing to have such
an uncle !"
Sam was placed in a situation, and a good
one; but to get it was one thing, to keep
it another. Sam's master was a tolerably
patient man, but there are bounds to the
patience of most people. What is to be
done with a servant who is always in bed
when the fires should be lighted in the
morning; who loiters when sent on a
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 19
message, idles when there is work to be
finished; who is never willing, never busy,
never clean ? What is to be done ? Why,
after proper trial has been given, there is
but one thing to be done, and Sam's master
did it; he turned off the boy who was too
lazy to work, and Sam found himself again
in the streets !
Meantime another opening was made for
Willie to rise to a more comfortable position
in life. Mr. Baynes, a fruiterer, who lived
near the square, and had occasionally em-
ployed him on little errands, and always,
found him diligent and steady, was suddenly
obliged to dismiss his own errand-boy at an
hour's notice for coming home in a state of
"This is exceedingly inconvenient; what
am I to do till I can supply his place ?"
said the old fruiterer to his wife as she stood
piling the rosy apples in the window.
I should say, my dear," she replied,
without pausing in her occupation, "that
20 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
we might have in the little sweeper Willie,
just for a few days till we get another boy
to suit us. He looks so clean and neat that
we need not be ashamed of him; and I
believe that we might trust him with the
I'll trust him," said her husband;
"honesty's written on his face; and my
friend at the Ragged School, who sees him
every evening, says that he does not know
a more promising boy."
So Willie, to his great joy, was engaged
for a week at a shilling a day, and his
dinner provided. This seemed riches to the
poor sweeper boy; and never was an
apple missed from a basket, never was the
messenger too late or too long. The shop,
to clean which was a part of his work, had
never looked so beautifully neat. At the
end of that week Willie was able to change
his silver for a piece of gold, the first which
he ever had touched in his life.
I've not found any boy to suit me yet,"
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 21
said the fruiterer to his wife, as they sat at
the breakfast-table together; I believe that
we must hire Willie Deane for another
"Well, my dear," she replied, as she
poured out the tea, I don't see why we
should not keep him altogether; he's honest,
sober, industrious, and clean, and the most
willing boy that ever I met with. Let's
take him into the house, and give him
wages; we ought to know when we're well
served, my dear."
Willie's heart bounded for joy when the
old fruiterer gave him the offer of the
situation. It was not the thought of
exchanging the hardships and privations
of his present life, his miserable garret
shared with others, his wretched food,
barely sufficient to maintain him in health,
for the comforts of a respectable home, but
the hope that, as he would now have some-
thing certain for his work, he might support
his blind sister himself! He hastened to
22 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
Mrs. Clark, and telling her of the prospect
opening before him, asked her whether, if
he placed the whole of his wages in her
hands, a small sum for washing only ex-
cepted, she would agree to take charge of
his little sister.
Mrs. Clark hesitated, while Willie looked
anxiously into her face for a reply. "We
must at least wait," she replied, "till your
quarter's wages become due. I'm in debt
at this moment eighteen shillings for coals
and for rent, and-"
"But I can pay something now !" cried
Willie eagerly, laying a bright gold sovereign
upon the table, the fruit of months of self-
denial and toil.
She agreed instantly to receive poor Ellie,
and to take care of her as if she were her
own daughter; and at once prepared to ac-
company Willie to the poor-house to claim
and bring back his beloved little sister.
As Willie approached with rapid steps
the gloomy portal, at which, some months
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 23
before, he had stood so desolate and sad,
he overtook one whom he instantly recog-
nized as his old fellow-sweeper, Sam Hig-
gins. The good clothes of the latter had
been pawned for bread; his bare head and
feet, his hollow sunken eyes, the air of
misery, the appearance of dirt which he
wore, told at once the tale of the 1i:.2 Lrd.
"Are you going to the house too "
drawled the unhappy boy in a husky tone.
" I can't stand another winter out o' doors,
so I'm going in, just for a while. But you
don't look as though you had come to that,"
he added, eyeing Willie Deane from head
to foot. "What brings you to the poor-
house door ?"
I come to take out my sister," replied
"Willie, suppressing his own joy that it
might not add to the pain of one who was
now driven to ask for relief from the parish.
Truly the words of heavenly wisdom had
been verified in the two boys, The soul
of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing;
24 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
but the soul of the diligent shall be made
"Oh, Willie, if you only knew how
happy I am!" was the exclamation of the
little blind orphan, as again she was pressed
to her brother's heart, again was restored
to the outer world from the cheerless gloom
of the pauper's abode. Those words repaid
Willie for all his toil, all his privations;
and the language of his thankful heart was,
"Bless the Lord, 0 my soul! and all that
is within me bless his holy name !"
When Willie had been for three years in
the service of Mr. Baynes, he observed with
sorrow that the health of his kind old master
was much impaired. The early visits to
Covent Garden market were too much for his
strength; he needed more rest and repose.
Feeling himself qualified to undertake this
part of the business, Willie offered, though
with some hesitation, his services. Mr.
Baynes smiled kindly, but evidently enter-
tained his doubts that the youth's abilities
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 25
were equal to his good-will. It was not
probable that a sweeper, taken from the
streets, should know how to conduct the busi-
ness of a shop. An opportunity was, how-
ever, soon afforded to Willie to prove how
useful he could make himself in a higher
position, and that his head could work as
well as his hands.
It so happened that one morning a lady
entered the shop to buy when neither the
fruiterer nor his wife were in it, the former
having been taken suddenly unwell. Willie
would not disturb them by calling them
down; he slipped behind the counter him-
self, served the lady with such intelligence,
drew up the bill so correctly, and performed
his new part so well, that from that day his
employers regarded him in another light,
and felt convinced that he could give valu-
able assistance to his master. In a very
short time Willie had quite changed his
position, another boy was hired to supply
his former place, and all the chief business,
26 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
whether of buying or selling, was com-
mitted to the charge of young Deane. The
aged fruiterer with confidence left every-
thing in his hands, and, as with the pious
Joseph, God made all that he did to prosper.
Custom increased, the business extended,
and Mr. Baynes was generous and honest
enough to give due credit to his active,
intelligent assistant. The salary of Willie
was first increased, then doubled, till at
length the fruiterer, feeling his own powers
decaying, and having no one to succeed him
in the business, took the once friendless
sweeper boy into partnership, and placed
him in a position of respectability and
comfort beyond any to which his hopes had
dared to aspire.
And now that Willie was in the way to
grow rich, dearly he loved to retrace every
step in the difficult but upward path by
which he, through God's blessing on his
industry, had risen. With especial grati-
tude he remembered the Ragged School, at
UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS. 27
which he had gained knowledge more
precious than gold. He aided it from his
purse, and, though his time was by far too
much occupied to enable him to visit it during
the week, every Sunday evening he devoted
to repaying his debt as far as he could by
teaching where he had once been taught.
One night as Willie was returning from
the school, on turning a corner, he heard a
confused sound of scuffling, and voices
raised in excitement or anger; and quicken-
ing his steps, he found a small crowd as-
sembled round a man who had just been
caught in the act of picking a pocket. A
policeman's hand was on the collar of the
thief-escape was impossible-he was about
to be dragged off to a felon's jail!
This isn't the first time; you'll not get
off so easy now," said the policeman.
"He's a regular jail-bird; he'll come to
the gallows at last," cried the woman who
had been robbed; "that's the end of the
course of such as he !"
28 UPWARDS AND DOWNWARDS.
At that moment the crowd divided a little;
Willie caught a moment's glimpse of the
prisoner's haggard face as the moon shone
full upon it. It was several years since he
had seen it last, yet he recognized it still,-
it was the face of the sluggard who would
not work, whom idleness had driven to want,
and whom want had driven to crime,-it was
the face of the wretched Sam Higgins !
Dear young reader, the choice is before
you now, which will you decide upon taking,
--the upward course of the diligent, or the
downward path of the sluggard ?
But oh remember, above all things, that
however great the reward of industry may
be here, there is one thing needful, compared
with which all the goods of this life are as
dross. Be diligent first in the work of the
soul, seek first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness; while not slothful in business,
let your chief desire be always to be serving
/ ,, ,
" 1 ELL, wife, I've been and done it;
Mrs. Hayley has engaged Mark
Sat once on my recommendation,
and I hope that the boy will do
credit to us!" exclaimed Giles
Fielding, the portly baker, with an air of
benevolent triumph, as he laid his broad
hand on the shoulder of a slight pale youth
who stood in the shop at his side.
I'm so glad, so heartily glad of it !" cried
Mrs. Fielding, pausing in her occupation of
scraping a French roll. "You could not
have got the poor fellow into a better place,
30 A WHITE LIE.
or one where he's more likely to do well.
But," added she, lowering her voice, and
glancing towards the shop door, "did you
tell the lady all, Giles ?"
"No, I was not such an ass!" said the
baker. When one wants to do a good turn
to a poor boy, and start him fairly in life,
do you think that one begins by telling that
he has a father in jail? No, no, I knew
better than that; when Mrs. Hayley asked
me if he had parents, I said that they both
Mark coloured up to his temples; Mrs.
Fielding looked very grave.
"I wish that you had not said that, my
Tut !" laughed the good-humoured baker,
"it was only a white lie; it could do no
harm to any one. I doubt whether any
lady would knowingly take into her service
the son of a thief. To have told the whole
truth would have been to have set a brand
upon the poor boy; Mrs. Hayley would never
A WHITE LIE. 31
have thought her spoons safe !" And again
Giles Fielding laughed, but neither his wife
nor Mark Robson joined at all in his mirth.
Mrs. Fielding had read in her Bible that
lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.
She had read of the glorious Jerusalem above,
there shall in no wise enter into it anything
that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abom-
ination or maketh a lie. And in that Bible
she had been taught no distinction between
a white lie and any other: all sin is black
before God; all sin puts the soul in danger;
all sin shuts out from heaven unless repented
of-forsaken-and forgiven. Mrs. Fielding
was too dutiful a wife to say out all that
she thought to her husband in the presence
of Mark; she did so when they were alone
together, but the only answer which she
received was, "A white lie can do no harm;
the boy is as honest a boy as can be, and it
was not for me to go blazing abroad that he
is the son of a thief. Don't trouble your con-
science at all about the matter, my dear."
32 A WHITE LIE.
So Mark Robson went to his place, and
very grateful did he feel to the friends whose
kindness had secured it for him. Mrs. Field-
ing had mended and cut down some of her
husband's shirts to give the lad an outfit,
put a half-crown into his purse, and a Bible
into his hand.
God bless you, my boy !" said she, as he
was about to start for his new home ; be
honest, faithful, and steady, and always keep
to the truth."
Mark thanked her with glistening eyes,
and his heart was very full as he turned
from her hospitable door. Mrs. Fielding
had done more for the boy than rescue him
from poverty and shame, give him an op-
portunity of earning his bread by honest
exertions, and interest, in his behalf her
kind-hearted husband. As a Sunday-school
teacher she had earnestly sought, and not
in vain, to impress on the heart of the poor
boy the blessed truths of religion. She had
taught Mark that the poor on earth may be
A WHITE LIE. 33
rich in grace; that the friendless on earth
have a Friend in heaven; that they who
sow in tears may at last reap in joy ; and
that blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
and humbly walk in his ways. Mrs. Field-
ing little thought, when she bade her young
charge good-bye, how much had been done
by her husband's few thoughtless words to
mar her labour of love, and confuse the
ideas of right and wrong in the mind of the
boy whom they both wished to serve.
Mark Robson went to his situation in
the house of Mrs. Hayley with many good
resolutions and cheerful expectations. There
was but one uncomfortable feeling which
would sometimes arise, like a speck of dark
cloud upon a bright sky; this was the re-
collection that he had gained his place by
deceit. But then the deceit was not his own.
He had merely remained silent when a false-
hood had been spoken, glad, if the truth
must be owned, that another was found to
say for him what he would have scrupled
34 A WHITE LIE.
to say for himself. But as one little seed,
blown by the wind, may become the parent
of many; as the small cloud may grow
larger and larger, till darkness overspread
the blue sky; so one sin-one falsehood-has
in itself a tendency to spread and increase.
Almost the first question which Mrs. Hay-
ley asked of Mark Robson was, "When
did your poor father die ?" Swift as light-
ning passed a crowd of thoughts through
the mind of the boy. "I can't contradict
what the baker said; I can't expose my kind
friend; I will not disgrace myself. 'Tis
impossible to speak the truth. What's the
harm in a white lie?" So Mark answered,
" Two years ago," scarcely knowing what he
said, but speaking out as boldly as he could
the first sentence which rose to his tongue.
The lady asked no more questions on that
subject, which was a great relief to Mark,
and he hoped that the falsehood which he
had uttered would be the last of which he
should be guilty.
A WHITE LIE. 35
But was "no harm" done by the lie?
Alas for the effect upon the soul of the
lad When we give ourselves to the Lord,
we must give ourselves fully and freely;
there must be no reserve, no keeping back,
no secretly saying in the heart, I will obey
God in all things but one; I will give up
every sin but that which doth most easily
beset me !" One leak unstopped, sinks a
ship;-one spark unquenched, may burn a
city! Poor Mark tried hard to persuade
himself that his kind friend, the baker, had
been right, and that there had been no real
harm in going a little from the truth. The
Evil One is but too ready to help us to
silence conscience, and every time that
conscience is wilfully silenced its power is
weakened within us. Mark Robson now felt
little pleasure in reading the Holy Bible,
because its warnings against sin made him
feel uneasy in his mind. He wished that
God's law were not so strict. When he
came to the awful history of Ananias and
36 A WHITE LIE.
Sapphira, struck dead with falsehood on
their lips, as related in the Book of Acts,
Mark closed the Bible with a sigh, and had
no wish to open it again. All his comfort
in prayer was gone Giles Fielding, a well-
meaning man, who attended God's worship,
honoured God's day, and believed that he
was helping God's poor, would have been
startled indeed could he have known what
a stumbling-block he had put in a young
lad's path, how by what he had called a
white lie he had been doing the work of the
Mark had been for some months in his
situation when, one day, as he was walking
along a street, a hand was suddenly laid on
his arm; and, turning round, he was startled
to behold his own father !
"Glad to see thee, my lad ; right glad to
see thee once more !" cried Robson, wring-
ing the hand of his son, in whose heart
feelings of affection, shame, pleasure, and
fear strangely mingled together. "And
A WHITE LIE. 37
where hast thou been, my boy, and how
hast weathered the winter ? I guess from
the look of thee," continued Robson, sur-
veying his son from head to foot, "that thee
has found some un to take thee by the hand.
I'll walk a bit with thee, and we'll crack
together as we go."
Mark told his parent of everything but
the deceit which had been used by Giles
Fielding in order to get him a place,-he
shrank from saying a word about that. He
gave otherwise a full account of all that had
been done for him by the kindly baker and
his wife, and the heart of Robson warmed
towards the friends of his son.
"Blessings on 'em both for caring for a
lad as was worse than an orphan!" he
exclaimed, "and blessings on 'em for larning
thee the right honest way to go in I'd
never ha' been where I'se come from, had
there been any one when I was young to
care for my soul, or give me a chance in
the world Maybe I've larned summat in
3S8 A WHITE LIE.
jail, maybe I'll ha' a try to begin a new
sort of life ; but it's hard for a fellow as has
a bad name to swim right against the tide."
Robson passed his rough hand across his
brow. "But I'se never be a weight round
your neck, my lad; if I can't float, I'll not
drag thee down. I'll not come hanging about
the house arter ye, as maybe the missus
mightn't half like it; but thou'lt come and
see me,-come often, my lad,-I'll need a
bit cheering from thee !"
Mark promised eagerly that he would
visit his father in the miserable lodging of
-which Robson gave him the address. It
was the greatest relief to the boy to find
that the good feeling of his unhappy parent
would save him from a thousand difficulties
which visits to Mrs. Hayley's house might
have caused. Had Robson been a more
hardened sinner, he would have forced his
son more bitterly to rue the white lie so
lightly uttered by the baker.
But though Mark's troubles might have
A WHITE LIE. 39
been greater, they were sufficiently perplex-
ing to keep him in a state of constant
anxiety and fear. He had a secret which
might be found out, and it became to him a
burden which grew more oppressive day by
day. Mark went to see his father, he was
in duty bound to do so, but he could not
ask leave to go in a frank and open manner.
Once beside poor Robson, it was hard to get
away. The late prisoner's health was fail-
ing, he could hardly procure any work;
but for the kindness of the Fieldings, the
poor man might almost have starved.
Mark saved what he could from his wages,
and gave what he could of his time; but
how could that time be spared-was it not
paid for by his mistress ? Having entered
on a course of deceit, Mark felt himself
forced-against his will-to go on in it.
Untruths came more readily to his tongue.
He asked for leave now to go to a wedding,
then to buy himself shoes. When sent on
an errand and blamed for returning an hour
40 A WHITE LIE.
too late, he was ever ready with a false
excuse. "It is for my father," he would
say to himself; "'tis but a white lie after
all !" Oh, how much happier for him had
he spoken the truth from the first, and so
never have been tempted to plunge deeper
and deeper in the miry ways of falsehood !
Once, during Mark's lengthened absence
from home, a thief took the opportunity to
steal down the area-steps, and carry off some
forks which had been carelessly left near the
window. Great were the surprise and distress
of Mark on discovering the loss What
was to be done ? Conscience and common
sense urged him alike to go at once and
confess the truth to his mistress. But the
unhappy lad had now no courage to speak
the truth. He had become accustomed to
deceit. He instinctively felt, alas! that he
had not a right to be believed. Mark con-
cealed the matter, and by doing so, brought
not only his truth but his honesty under sus-
picion when the loss was discovered at last!
A WHITE LIE. 41
Trembling and pale, the. miserable lad
stood one evening before his indignant
mistress, who had just been having an
interview with a policeman. One suspicious
42 A WHITE LIE.
circumstance after another had recurred to
her mind; by making inquiries in the
neighbourhood the lady had found that
Mark had deceived her on several occasions.
All her confidence in him was gone, and
she naturally thought him guilty of stealing
I find, unhappy boy," said Mrs. Hayley,
fixing her eyes sternly upon Mark, who, in
the misery of his soul, almost wished that
the earth would open and hide him-" I
find that you have repeatedly been seen in
company with a man, who-as the police-
man asserts-was released but a few months
ago from jail. Such fellowship speaks for
itself. I am unwilling, from pity for your
youth, to send you before a magistrate,
but not a doubt exists on my mind that
either you, or your wicked companion, has
stolen my silver forks !"
How could Mark defend himself,-how
could he defend his father from a charge of
which he knew him to be guiltless! All
A WHITE LIE. 43
the truth was now confessed, with deep
sorrow and shame; but the truth was not
now believed! Mark was dismissed from
his place in disgrace, and under suspicion of
theft! "A boy who could weave such a
web of falsehood," observed Mrs. Hayley
to a friend, would be capable of any crime.
He who is false in his words, is likely to be
dishonest in his deeds."
Miserable was the life which the poor
disgraced boy had for a long time to lead,
before any one would trust him again! If,
after a painful struggle through years of
hardship and toil, Mark did at last regain
the character which he had lost, it was only
through such trials as almost crushed his
young spirit. One lesson, however, he
thoroughly learned,-and this was worth
all that he suffered,-a dread of the begin-
nings of sins, a horror for a white lie!
"3on't be too Sure."
"" SHALL have a jolly time of it with
old Marsden the bookseller!" ex-
claimed Will Blane to his father;
"nothing to do but to carry the
papers round in the morning to his cus-
tomers, and get a peep at the news as I go;
and to take library books to the houses, and
run on an errand now and then And what
"a deal of time I'll have for reading, and what
"a glorious lot of books to read-for they say
Mr. Marsden is good-nature itself, and lends
willingly enough to young chaps! Why,
I'll get as clever-as clever as a Lord
Chancellor or a Lord Mayor!" cried the
DON'T BE TOO SURE." 45
boy, almost wild with joy at the thought of
leaving the shop of his father the cobbler,
to enter on his first situation.
Don't be too sure, Will," said old Blane,
as he quietly fitted on the heel to a shoe.
"You've no reason to be certain that even
Mr. Marsden will take you at all."
Oh, there's not a doubt of it! exclaimed
Will. "Didn't he tap me on the shoulder,
and say I was as 'cute a lad as ever he had
seen ? "
Blane only smiled and shook his grizzled
head, like one who has his doubts on some
"Father, don't you want me to get clever
and great ? asked Will, rather mortified at
I want you, my boy, to do your duty in
the station, whatever it may be, to which it
shall please God to call you, and not to set
your heart on, or make sure of, any mere
earthly success. When I see folk, as the
saying goes, counting their chickens before
46 DON'T BE TOO SURE."
they are hatched, it brings into my mind
what I read lately about the famous
"Let's hear about him; father; you can
talk quite well at your work, and I like to
hear what you get out of those learned books
that the clerk lends you to read of an even-
"This was taken out of a grand long
work, written by an earl, the Life of the
great William Pitt,' said the cobbler, and
it's all true, I haven't a doubt of it. When
Buonaparte-he was ruling over France,
he'd a mind to rule over old England too;
and so, making sure of conquest, he fixed on
the very time when he'd come over and
invade us. He got a lot of his soldiers to-
gether, and had ships to carry 'em across;
and he looked over the blue waves of the
Channel, and thinks he, 'I'll soon land in
England, march up to London, and take it.'"
"He made too sure," laughed Will.
"He made so sure," said the cobbler,
"DON'T BE TOO SURE." 47
"that-would you believe it, my boy ?-he
had actually a medal made to celebrate his
invasion of England "
"But he never invaded it! interrupted
"And on the medal was stamped in
French, 'Struck at London,'" continued old
"But he never entered London!" cried
"He made so sure of success," said the
cobbler, "that he prepared a medal in honour
of the conquest of a city that he was never
so much as to set his foot in "
"Well, that .was counting his chickens
before they were hatched-making too
sure exclaimed the boy. How ashamed
Buonaparte must afterwards have felt when-
ever he thought of that medal! Have you
any more stories for me, father ? "
"Yes, another comes into my head, which
I read in another clever book," replied
Blane. "It's about a very different man
48 "DON'T BE TOO SURE."
from him who struck the medal; it's about
the Duke of Wellington-"
Who beat Napoleon Buonaparte himself
at the battle of Waterloo cried Will. I
hope that he hadn't his medal ready before-
You know, or perhaps you don't know,
my lad, that Wellington was sent over to
Portugal to help the poor folk there who
were fighting against the French. God
gave wisdom to our great general, and suc-
cess to a good cause, so the enemy's soldiers
were driven out, and Portugal,was free."
"How glad the Portuguese must have
been," cried Will, and how they must have
honoured our duke. That was the time for
striking a medal-when the battle had been
fought and won."
"I don't know whether a medal was
struck," said Blane; "but I'll tell you what
the Portuguese did; they had a print made
of the general, and under it were these
words in Latin, 'Invincible Wellington, from
"DON'T BE TOO SURE." 49
'./raltful Portugal.' So the clerk made out
their meaning; he's more of a scholar than
"What does invincible' mean, father? "
"It means, one who cannot be conquered,"
"Oh, that was making too sure! The
duke might have won a hundred victories,
but as long as he lived no one could tell
that he might not be beaten at last."
Just hear the end of my story, my boy,
and you'll see that the duke was just -of
your mind in that matter. A friend asked
him to send him the print, so Wellington
got a copy and sent it: but he wouldn't put
up with that boasting word at the bottom of
his likeness, as if he thought himself sure of
victory; he scored out 'invincible' with a
dash of his pen, and underneath it he wrote,
'Don't halloo till you're out of the wood.'"
Will Blane burst out laughing. "That
showed the duke's good sense," said he.
"Ay, and good feeling, too, my boy. It
50 DON'T BE TOO SURE."
showed that he was not a man of a boastful
spirit, but knew that the highest may have
a fall. When you are tempted, Will, to
make too sure of the morrow, just mind you
of Buonaparte and his medal-of Wellington
and his print. But now "-the cobbler
raised his eyes to the little Swiss clock
which was fixed on the wall before him, "it
is nearly time for you to be off to call upon
Mr. Marsden, as he told you to do this
evening, that all may be settled and fixed."
"It is not six yet, father, and he bade me
be there at seven. But," added Will with
animation, "I should like to call at Jem's
and Wilson's on the way, to tell them of
my good luck; so it is not too soon to
Perhaps," said the cobbler with his quiet
smile, "you had better call upon them on
your way back-don't be too sure of the
Long before Will Blane returned home,
his father's day's work was over; but the
DON'T BE TOO SURE." 51
cobbler delayed his evening meal until his
boy could share it. Everything he placed
ready-the neat white cloth on the little
table, the loaf, the piece of yellow cheese;
and as twilight darkened around, Blane lit
his candle and sat down to read. The
volume which he now opened was not one
of those which the clerk had lenit him; the
fact was that Blane himself was anxious
about his son's getting the place, and felt as
if he could not fix his attention on common
reading. He, therefore, had taken down
the Bible, which is worth all other books
put together, and was searching the pages
of the sacred volume for that wisdom which
cometh from above. Blane had his finger
on the verse, Casting all your care 2pon him,
for he carethfor you, when he heard a step,
then the opening of a door, and turned round
to welcome his son.
'The step was not so quick and firm as
that with which Will had left his home.
The door was opened slowly, as if by a weary
52 DON'T BE TOO SURE."
hand; and when Blane glanced up at his
boy, he read disappointment in his face
before Will had uttered a word.
"It's no use. I've had my trouble for
my pains!" exclaimed the lad, throwing
himself down on a chair. "Mr. Marsden
has behaved shamefully to me!" Will
pulled off his cap, rubbed his heated brow,
and looked both weary and angry.
Mr. Marsden has not, then, settled with
you after all ? "
"No," replied Will, in a mortified tone.
"He has found out that he has a young
cousin in Suffolk, who will suit him exactly.
He might as well have thought of that this
morning, and not have sent me on a fool's
errand across half London, only to get dis-
appointment in the end And there was
a husky sound in the boy's voice, while,
though he tried hard to keep it down, the
moisture would rise to his eyes.
"Well, my lad," said Blane, after breathing
a little sigh-for he was disappointed as well
"DON'T BE TOO SURE." 53
as his son-" there are two things that we
may be sure of."
"I thought that you said, a little while
ago, that we should never be sure of any-
thing," cried Will, in rather a testy tone.
Two things that we may be sure of," re-
peated his father; and these are, that God
knows what is best for us, and that he mak-
eth all things work togetherfor good to them
that love him."
"You are always bringing in religion,"
said the boy.
"And haven't I reason for it, Will ?"
replied Blane. In a world like this, where
all is changing and moving like the clouds
in the sky, or the waves of the sea; where
we're like the ships on the ocean-now up
in hope, now down in disappointment;
where there's nothing of which we can say,
' This will be to-morrow as it is to-day ;'-
is it not a comfort to have something which
can never, never be moved; something like
a rock, to which we can cling amidst all the
54 DON'T BE TOO SURE."
changes and tossing of life ? Man's word
may fail us, but God's word is sure." Here
Blane laid his hand on the Bible. "Man
may break his promises; God's promise is
sure. Here is just one on which we can
rest." He turned over to the place where
it is written, The Lord will give grace and
glory; no good thing will he withhold from
them that walk uprightly."
But are not the promises only for God's
people ?" asked Will.
"For the redeemed of the Lord," replied
"And how can we be sure that we are so ?
We are all called Christians, I know; but
does that make us all Christians indeed ? "
"That's a sensible question, my son.
May God help me to give a right answer,
for it is a matter in which it would be a
terrible thing to make a mistake. There
are many as seem to take it as a matter of
course that they are right on the way to
heaven, 'cause they were baptized when
"DON'T BE TOO SURE." 55
young; and maybe they go to church or
chapel, and bear a good name in the world;
--and so they make sure of heaven-too
sure, as they'll find at the last. They strike
their medal of success, as it were, before
they've crossed the sea of temptation, or hit
one good stroke against sin.
But how can we tell that we are of God's
people ?" again asked Will.
"There are two marks which can't well
be mistaken," said his father; "let's search
and see if we have them. Real Christians
love God above all, and hate sin above all:
these are two simple tests. They love God
above all; and why ? Because they believe
that he gave his only Son to die for their
sins, and to save their poor lost souls;
because they believe that he will care for
them in this world, and will give them, in
the world to come, life and glory everlast-
ing And they hate sin above all. Why ?
Because sin is hateful to God; because sin
would keep them from God. They struggle
56 DON'T BE TOO SURE."
with it, they give it no quarter, they fight
against it, till God makes them more than
conquerors in the end !"
"If real Christians love God above all,
and hate sin above all, I'm afraid I'm not
one of them," said Will Blane.
"Do you wish to be one?" asked his
I should wish to go to heaven when I
"Then ask God for his blessed Spirit, to
make you live holily, die happily, and rise
gloriously at the last. Make sure, my boy,
-oh! make sure that you give your heart
to God. He is the kindest of masters, he
is the best of friends. Sorrow, labour, and
disappointment may be our lot in this life;
but remember that peace, and rest, and joy
are what God prepares for his people."
It was about a week after the day on
which Will was disappointed of his place
with Mr. Marsden, when, on his return from
going on a little errand, he found his father
"DON'T BE TOO SURE." 57
with a letter in his hand and a look of
pleasure beaming on his face.
Si l" 1* ..
-' --.% i -- *.-~:-_ .. .
i 2 I i' --.
"Here's a bit of good news for you, Will,"
he said, holding out the letter to his son.
58 "DON'T BE TOO SURE."
Will took the paper from his father, and
eagerly began to read it; but before he had
gone half through it, he burst out with an
exclamation of joy,--
"What! that good gentleman, Sir John
Bate, going to travel abroad, and offering
to take me with him; and you willing-I see
that you are-quite willing to let me go!
Oh, how glad I am, how very glad, that I
was disappointed last week! This place
will be better in every way-so far better
than the other There's nothing on earth I
should like so much as to go abroad with
"Did I not say truly, my son, that God
knows what is best for us ? observed Blane,
laying his hand on the shoulder of his boy.
"Let us once be sure, quite sure, that we
have taken the Lord for our Saviour and
Guide, and we may be sure, quite sure, that,
happen what may, he will never fail or for-
.'..' -.^ *- . *
" (iW, father, I want to ask you for
.:-! something," exclaimed Will Blane,
'' almost the instant that he rose
S from his knees, after joining, or
seeming to join, in the prayer that
his parent had been offering aloud. It was
the custom of Matthew Blanc to pray morn-
ing and evening with his son. The first
prayer, he would say, gave him heart for the
labours of the day, and the second prepared
him for the rest of the night. Matthew
would as soon have forgotten his daily bread
as his daily prayer to his God.
60 QUITE IN EARNEST.
"You seem to be in mighty haste to ask
me," observed Blane drily; he could not
but notice how little of his son's attention
had been given to the prayer.
"Well, you see, father, as I'm going,
abroad, I was thinking how useful I should
find one of those leather cases, with knife,
and pen, and pencil complete, and a place
for the paper and the stamps. Jem showed
me where I could get one very cheap; and
I thought, father, as a parting present, that
you would not mind buying one for me."
Matthew Blane gave a little dry cough.
"You're quite in earnest in wishing for
the case ?" asked he.
"Of course I am," replied Will, a little
surprised at the question.
"A good deal more in earnest, perhaps,"
observed his father, than you were a few
minutes ago, when you asked for safety,
health, and forgiveness, and food for both
body and soul."
"Well, to own the truth, father," said
QUITE IN EARNEST. 61
Will, "my thoughts will wander a bit while
I am saying my prayers."
Saying my prayers," repeated Blane,
half to himself; "ay, that is the word for
the thing. Saying your prayers is not pray-
ing. You ask God for certain blessings as
a matter of course, as a duty; but you don't
expect to get aught by your asking. You
don't look to receive an answer, as you did
when you told me you wanted the case."
0 father, it's so different !" cried Will.
"Ay, it's different; I grant ye that,"
said Blane, slowly stirring the fire as he
spoke. "It is a different thing to ask for all
that you can need from One who alone has
power to give or to take away all, than to tell
a father that you've a fancy for a trifle that
you could very well do without."
I did not mean that," said Will, colour-
ing; "but it does not seem as if the great
God in heaven would attend to the prayers
of such poor creatures as we are."
"That's it; 'tis unbelief that makes so
62 QUITE IN EARNEST.
many cold in prayer," observed Blane, look-
ing thoughtfully into the fire. "We do
not take God's word as we would that of a
fellow-creature whom we respected. Does
he not say again and again in the Bible
what ought to encourage us to pray-Ask,
and it shall be given unto you. If ye then,
beinj evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your
Father which is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him. There are many and
many promises like that, which we'd hold fast
and never let go if they were made by a friend
upon earth. And if promises are not enough
to content us, just look again into the Bible,
and see if it is not full of examples of an-
swers to prayer."
But that was in the old times," observed
God never changes," replied Blane.
"He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for
ever. The same Saviour who stopped to
listen to the cry of the poor, when he walked
QUITE IN EARNEST. 68
as a man upon earth, now listens with the
same love and pity, sitting as God in the
heavens. But then, prayer, to be answered,
must come not merely from the lips-the
heart must be quite in earnest."
"It is difficult to pray from the heart,"
"Ay, the best of us need to say with the
first disciples, Lord, teach us to pray. The
wisest of us need to ask for the Spirit of
grace and supplications, to help us to pray
as we ought."
"But, father," said Will, with a little
hesitation, "I don't see as how those who
pray hard get much more than those who
don't pray at all. If I were to ask God
now to make me very rich, and pray with all
my heart and soul, do you believe that he
would send me a fortune ?"
Maybe not, my boy," answered Mat-
thew Blane; "for God might see that a
fortune would do you harm, and not good,
as has happened to many afore. If you
64 QUITE IN EARNEST.
asked me for poisoned food, I'd not give
it, however hard you might beg. I'd not
harm ye even to please ye But what I
say, and what I'll stand by, is this: God
gives to his praying children all that they
ask for in faith, if it really is a blessing that
they ask for. He may keep them waiting
awhile, to try their faith and their patience;
but he never forgets their prayer. They
have at the last exactly what they would
think best for themselves, if they could see
all things as God sees-if they could know
all things as God knows. And when, in a
happier world, they look back upon their
past lives, they will find them-I'm sure
that they all will-full of answers to
Even in little earthly matters, father ?"
"Even in matters that may seem to us
earthly and little. I'll give you an instance,
my lad. One fact will often go further
than many words in the way of con-
vincing. I'll tell you what happened not
QUITE IN EARNEST. 65
very long since to our Bible-woman, Lucy
What was it, father ?" asked Will.
"Lucy had a ring that she dearly prized,
because it had belonged to a pious sister,
who was dead. I doubt if there was any-
thing that she had that she would not sooner
have lost than that ring. Lucy, as you
know, is employed, like many another in
London, in seeking out poor wandering
sinners, and trying to lead them co the
Saviour. There was one girl-her name
is Emily-who seemed minded to listen to
Lucy, and even agreed that she would go
one evening with the Bible-woman to a
meeting for prayer. It was on the very
day, if I remember right, on which the meet-
ing was to take place, as the two were to-
gether in Lucy's little room, there came the
postman's knock at the door. Off started
Lucy in haste, for she expected a letter.
* A. L. O. E. had the following facts from one thoroughly ac-
quainted with them, and on whose truthfulness she implicitly
relies. She has only changed the Bible-woman's name.
66 QUITE IN EARNEST.
And sure enough there was one, bringing
her news of her mother, who was ill. No
wonder that while the poor Bible-woman
was anxiously spelling over her letter, she
forgot that in the room in which she had
left the girl Emily there was her ring, be-
sides a golden sovereign in her work-box-
a work-box that was not locked."
"Ah !" exclaimed Will, "that was a for-
get indeed! Did the girl open the box
and take them ?"
The temptation was too strong for her,"
replied Blane; "Emily took both sovereign
and ring, and slipped them into her stock-
"Lucy might have expected as much,"
cried Will. "What could have made her
leave such a temptation as that in the way
of a stranger ?"
"I s'pose it must have been her anxiety
about her mother, and the worry of the
letter," answered Blane. "Anyways, it
added not a little to her trouble when she
QUITE IN EARNEST. 67
found that the girl whom she had hoped to
have as a penitent turned out such a thief;
and that, instead of going to the prayer-
meeting as was settled, she went away no
one knew where, with the stolen money and
the ring, which she denied knowing anything
"Didn't Lucy call the police?" asked
"No; she didn't like to set the police upon
the track of the wretched girl; she would
rather put up with her loss. And a sore
loss it was to Lucy," added Blane. "Ill
could a poor Bible-woman spare the sove-
reign that had been taken, but that loss
might be made up by hard work or by the
kindness of friends; but who could restore
the ring, the precious ring of her dead sister ?
How could Lucy hope to find again that
which she had valued so much ?"
"How, indeed !" exclaimed Will. "To
hunt out one little ring amidst the thousands
and thousands in the endless pawnbrokers
68 QUITE IN EARNEST.
and jewellers' shops in this big town of
London would be indeed, as the saying is,
like searching for a needle in a haystack !
One would as soon expect to fish up a ring
after throwing it into the Thames What
did poor Lucy do ?"
She went to her knees, my boy; she
laid her trouble before God. She and a
friend of hers prayed hard; they were quite
in earnest, mind ye; their words didn't go
one way and their thoughts another, like
those of some one that I know of."
But did Lucy ever get her ring back ?
that's the question," asked Will, who did
not like the turn the conversation was taking.
Be patient awhile, and you shall hear.
No policeman followed that miserable thief;
justice did not trace out her haunts ; no one
knew but herself in what pawnbroker's shop
she had pledged the stolen ring : but it was
as if she had been followed by Lucy's prayer;
that was like an arrow in her heart; go
where she might, she carried that with her.
QUITE IN EARNEST. 69
What was the surprise of the Bible-woman
when, about three weeks after the robbery,
the girl Emily came back of her own accord,
with a look of sorrow and shame She told
Lucy that she could neither sleep nor eat,
her conscience was so troubled by her sin.
She had but three and sixpence left out of
the sovereign which she had stolen, but this
she was ready to give back; and she offered
to take Lucy to the pawnbroker's shop,
where she might recover her ring."
"And Lucy went with the girl ?" asked
She went with Emily to the place, and
long and weary was her walk before she
reached it at last; for so bent had Emily
been upon hiding her wicked theft, that she
had gone to a shop distant three miles from
the lodging whence she had stolen the ring.
Right glad was Lucy to recover her treasure,
and all the more glad because she felt that
she got it in answer to prayer. While she
was engaged in the pawnbroker's shop, the
70 QUITE IN EARNEST.
poor shame-faced thief took the opportunity
of slipping away unseen."
"Poor soul !" exclaimed Will "there was
some good left in her. or she would not
some good ]eft in her, or she would not
QUITE IN EARNEST. 71
have come back at all. Did Lucy never
see her again ?"
"Not for about nine months, I think,"
said old Blane; and then she chanced-no,
that's not the right word-God willed that
they should meet in the streets. 'Why do
you turn from me ?' said Lucy, more anxious,
I take it, to recover the poor wandering
soul than she ever had been to recover her
ring. Emily owned that she was ashamed
to see her after having treated her so ill.
She then told Lucy, and after inquiries
showed that she told the truth, that she had
once gone with five shillings in her hand to
the lodging where she had stolen the money
and the ring, to give them to the Bible-
woman in part payment of what she had
taken. Lucy had, however, left her lodging,
and poor Emily frankly confessed that she
had been rather glad at not being able to
find her, being so much ashamed at the
thought of meeting the woman whom she had
so cruelly wronged. The poor creature had
72 QUITE IN EARNEST.
now only one shilling and fourpence in the
world. She offered Lucy the shilling; the
fourpence she said she must keep, as it was
her only means of getting food for that night."
"Well," exclaimed Will, if Lucy prayed
quite in earnest, that poor girl repented
quite in earnest, or she would not have tried
three times over to pay back as much as
she could of the money. Did Lucy take
her last shilling ?"
"No; she had not the heart to do that.
She showed the poor penitent girl the way
to her new home, and made her promise to
come and see her. I can't say-I don't
know," added Blane, whether Emily has
ever steadily begun a new life, and given
herself to her Saviour, but I know that she
has often been prayed for, and that the
Ali;-21ht.v heareth prayer. He who touched
her heart with shame and repentance can
touch it with faith and love. I don't
despair-not I-of meeting both the Bible-
woman and the poor thief in heaven !"
QUITE IN EARNEST. 73
"Father," said Will gravely, I never
before thought that prayer was so real a
thing; I never looked for an answer."
Mark those telegraph wires stretching
over the street," observed Blane, who was
fond of illustrating his ideas by the common
objects around him; "we can't see the
message that is darted along them quick as
lightning; but we know that messages are
sent, we know that answers are returned,
though plain folk like you and me cannot
understand how. Now I often think, as I
look at those lines, prayer is like a golden
wire that stretches all the way up to heaven,
and faith sends her messages by it. But
there is one thing which we must always
remember, Will, whether we ask for earthly
blessings or better gifts for our souls, we
must ask all in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is only for his sake that the
Almighty stoops to listen to the prayers of
poor sinners such as we."
Will sat for several minutes, turning over
74 QUITE IN EARNEST.
in his mind what he had just heard from his
father. Matthew Blane was the first to
"And now, my lad," said he, "you and
I will go together to buy the case which
you want. It may serve to remind you
sometimes of what we have been talking
over this morning. 'Tis well that every
one should f6rm a habit of daily prayer;
but mere lip-prayer without heart-prayer is
like a body without a soul, it has no more
power for good than a dead corpse has in its
coffin. To pray with power we must pray
with faith, we must pray in the name of the
blessed Saviour; and whether our words be
many or few, our hearts must be quite in
/' I. ~ . I "l I I, i I
I', ", 1-" - ;. ,I ". I, .. I
-" .- ,"-.- ;^ ",", ,
Zhe pli.iricc tlb r tire jtublit.iii.
"And he spake a parable unto certain which trusted in themselves
that they were righteous, and despised others."-LUKE xviii. 9.
' .f HICH of these two coins would
y-.-u think most precious, Anna ?"
',t; -; ** ,d Mrs. Fairley, placing before
.:*"Y Ile:r little girl what appeared like
I two pieces of money.
Oh, this bright shining sovereign, to be
sure the other looks dull and old, as if it
had been taken from the dust-hole."
"Now take them up in your hands; you
know that gold is a heavy metal,-weigh
76 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
them, and then tell me which you think the
How very light this bright one is! I
do not think that it is a sovereign at all."
It is not a sovereign; it is not made of
gold; a little thin gilding alone gives it so
bright an appearance."
"And the other one, mamma ?"
"The other is an old coin, not now used
as money, but valuable notwithstanding, be-
cause it is really gold. Do you remember
anything of which these things remind you,
my Anna ?"
Anna thought for a moment;-she was
a clever child, and her mother had accus-
tomed her to reflect.
They remind me that some people ap-
pear good, and are not really so, while others
may be better than we think them."
"Yes, even as we. read in the beautiful
Parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and
the Publican. The Pharisee doubtless de-
ceived others, he also deceived himself; he
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 77
believed himself to be holy, and little thought
how he appeared in the pure eyes of his
Maker Heaven preserve you, my child,
from self-righteousness and pride, and teach
you to know your own heart!"
Anna said nothing in reply; but, if the
truth must be told, she thought her mother's
caution very unnecessary as far as regarded
That my readers may judge how far it
was so, I will give a short account of the
next Sunday passed by the little girl; and
as we are rather writing about what she
was than what she did, I must let you into
the secret of her thoughts as well as of her
No one could look neater than Anna as
she stood ready to accompany her mother to
divine service in one of the churches in
London. Her hair nicely brushed, her look
quiet and sedate, just what might best be-
come a child upon the Lord's-day. No one
knew that she thought that she appeared
78 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
very nice, and that her mind was a little
running upon her new ribbons.
As she walked towards the church, she
passed near to a poor girl clothed in rags,
bare-footed and dirty, who was standing
with a basket of oranges to sell.
What a wicked little creature that
must be !" exclaimed Anna; "nothing could
ever make me break the Fourth Command-
ment in such a dreadful manner !"
"My Anna, let us pray that we be not
led into such temptation," replied Mrs.
Fairley: then, as she passed by the fruit-
seller, she said softly to her, "What shall
it profit a man if he gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul "
The girl looked sadly after the lady, and
her thin fingers grasped more tightly the
handle of her basket as she reflected on the
words just spoken to her.
To lose the soul Oh, that is a terrible
thought I remember that text, and where
it comes from. Oh, if the lady only knew
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 79
my trials! I stayed at home and sold
nothing last Sunday, because I feared to do
wrong. I went hungry to bed, and my
little brother cried himself to sleep. What
can I do? Oh! what can I do ? God help
me, a miserable sinner !"
At present we will follow the steps of
After entering the church and taking her
usual place, she appeared very devoutly en-
gaged in prayer, while all the time the
thought of her heart was, "How could my
mother speak a word to that wicked girl!
I wonder why the police have not orders to
take such people to prison !" Anna had never
known what it was to want one meal! Her
sins were of a different kind. Riches and
poverty have each their peculiar temptations
(Prov. xxx. 8, 9).
I promised that I would let you into the
secret of Anna's thoughts, but I have not
space to tell you one quarter of what passed
through her mind during the two hours that
80 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
she remained in church. I should be
ashamed also to put such trifling down; and
startled indeed would the little Pharisee
have been could she have seen a record of
them before her! There was certainly
very little that was at all like prayers,
though she seemed to repeat earnestly every
petition for pardon, for mercy, and for grace.
She had little idea that she required any of
these blessings,-such people as the orange-
girl might be miserable sinners,-but for
herself, her mind was quite at ease.
So Anna noticed the carving on the
pulpit, and the shape of the windows; ob-
served the fashion of the bonnets in front
of her; wondered why the clergyman read
so slowly; wished that the service were not
so long; and left church at last, feeling that
she had performed a great duty, and that who-
ever might wander from the straight path to
heaven, she at least was upon the direct road!
Dinner and an amusing Sunday-book
occupied Anna until it was time to prepare
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 81
for the second service. She attended to
the prayers this time still less than the first,
for she was tired as well as indifferent.
Many a plan for the business and amuse-
ment of the week did Anna devise while
the good clergyman was earnestly trying to
lead sinners to the God whom they had
offended And yet, could it be believed !
when walking home with a friend, Anna
presumed to find some faults in the preacher
and to express her sorrow that she had not
heard "dear Mr. Haynes, who always, she
felt, did her so much good !" She made
some observations, also, which she thought
clever and solemn, upon hearing of the
sudden death of a neighbour whom she
believed to have been worldly and gay; she
drew a contrast in her mind between his
character and her own, very decidedly to
her own advantage; and parted from her
companion with a comfortable. feeling that
she must certainly stand high in the-opinion
of her friend as a girl of singular piety.
82 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
Whose voice was so loud and full in the
evening hymns as Anna's She made sweet
melody upon erth, but not such melody
as is loved in heaven. The holy words
upon her lips were not what engaged her
attention,-she was admiring the sound of
her own fine voice, and feeling sure that
others must admire it also.
Anna retired to rest on that Sabbath
evening rather glad, in her heart, that the
solemn day was over, though she would not
for the world have said so. She was pleased
with herself for the way in which she had
observed it; she never doubted that her
conduct had been acceptable to the Al-
mighty; and she rather considered herself
as deserving of reward, than in any way
requiring forgiveness. Alas for the blindness
of sinners who thank God that they are
not as other men are !
Have I among my readers one thus blind,
one possessing the spirit of the Pharisee ?
Let him search his heart, his thoughts, and
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 83
his motives, and honestly examine his life to
see if his religion is the gilding or the gold !
" And the publican, standing afar off, said, God be merciful to me
a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified
rather than the other."-LUKE xviii. 13, 14.
"What shall it profit a man if he gain
the whole world, and lose his own soul ?"
These were the words which sounded in the
ears of Esther, the poor orange-girl, as she
stood, barefoot and ragged, near a church,
with her basket, tempted by hunger to sin,
but with her conscience awakened even by
this short sentence from a passer-by. As
she paused, irresolute and sad, a little bird
flew within a few feet of her, and carried
away a crumb from a spot where a beggar
had taken his early breakfast. This was a
very trifling occurrence, but the little winged
creature preached a sermon to the heart of
the poor girl. It brought back to her mind
a text heard long ago, during the time when
84 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
she had attended a Sunday school: "Behold
the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither
do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your
heavenly Father feedeth them: are ye not
much better than they ?"
"God will take care of me, if I only love
and trust him!" murmured poor Esther.
" Oh, how sinful I was ever to doubt it!
May the Lord forgive -me for intending to
do what is so wrong, and have pity upon
me and upon my poor little brother! I
will go home at once and pray for pardon
for my sin."
So Esther turned from the place with a
broken and contrite heart, and took her
way towards her wretched lodging. She
had to go through a narrow street, in which
there was a small chapel; but the bells were
:silent, because the service had begun, and
there was scarcely a passenger in sight.
Just as Esther was passing the door of the
chapel, a gentleman, walking rapidly, for
he knew that he was late, brushed past her
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 85
and entered the place. He drew a hymn-
book from his pocket at the moment that he
entered the door. Esther fancied that she
heard a slight chinking sound, turned her
head, and saw a bright crimson purse lying
on the door-step of the chapel. Trembling
she laid her hand upon it, paused, and
glanced round: there was no earthly eye to
behold her. Here was temptation in another
form. The Evil One seemed to whisper,
"This is an answer to your prayer; the
Lord has sent you help; neither you nor
your brother shall starve,-and as for the
money, the rich man will not miss it !"
But poor Esther had not heard in vain the
words of the Lord, "What shall it profit a
man if he gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul ?" She resisted the tempta-
tion with the sword of the Spirit-the good
seed had been received into an honest, faith-
Esther, barefoot and miserably clad, dared
not venture into the chapel to restore the
86 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
purse. She determined to remain and
watch until its owner should come out, and
give it back without even looking at the
contents. Oh, how many times was she
tempted, during the long two hours, to go
away with her unlawful prize! Once a
policeman ordered her to move on in a stern
tone of command which made the poor girl
tremble. She took up her basket, passed
round the corner of the street, then watched
her opportunity, and returned to her place.
She heard a faint sound of singing from the
chapel; she thought it very beautiful, and
listened with a mixture of pleasure and fear.
"Oh, while holy, happy beings are singing
in heaven," murmured Esther, "shall I be
shut out, as I am here ?" The tears filled
her eyes, but she looked up towards the
sky: "There is room there even for a poor
sinful creature like me !"
At length the door opened and the con-
gregation began to pour out. With what
scorn some looked, and others with what
TIlE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 87
pity, upon the miserable Sabbath-breaker,
as they thought her! Patiently Esther
watched till at length she perceived the old
gentleman to whom the purse belonged.
Timidly she approached him; she could not
catch his eyes-he had no attention to give
to such an object. She ventured very gently
to touch his arm; he started, and looking
angrily at her basket, asked if she were not
ashamed of such godless traffic upon the
Lord's-day. Silently Esther held up the
purse; it was her only reply, but it was
enough. Too much surprised to speak, the
gentleman took the purse, walked a few
paces and examined its contents; then hast-
ily returned and asked the orange-girl her
name, and that of the place where she lived.
Esther modestly replied; the old gentleman
nodded his head, put his purse in his pocket,
and walked away. Without a word of
praise-without a farthing of reward-the
poor girl returned to her home ; and through
that long day she and her young brother
88 THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN.
had nothing with which to satisfy their
hunger but a little of the fruit which con-
science forbade them to sell!
But this was the last day that Esther
was ever to know want; the God in whom
she trusted had not forsaken her. The
next morning the old gentleman called at
her lodging, inquired into her case, promised
to put her in the way of earning an honest
livelihood, and kept that promise faithfully.
Her rags were exchanged for good warm
clothes-her wretched lodging for one re-
spectable and clean. The next Sunday,
when worshippers sought the house of
prayer, Esther no longer stood trembling
without, but joined, heart and soul, in the
song of praise-" Bless the Lord, 0 my soul:
and all that is within me, bless his holy
., -.:- i 7 .. . ..._.- '
-' K , - .- . . '-, ; , h .
-" .. L ... .. .- .... i ,
"The hope of the righteous shall be gladness."-P'ov. x. 28.
?T will rain, I tell you !-it will rain!"
-F.-:. cried Priscilla; "it always does
i' ; when one wishes it to be fine So
.,i you need not put on your bonnet,
Lucy; there will be no boating for us to-
"It is not raining one drop,-the grass is
quite dry," replied Lucy, running for the
twentieth time to the door.
"But the sea-weed that hangs there is
quite soft and damp, and that is a sure sign
of rain. Only see these black, heavy clouds !"
"Only see that dear little bit of bright
90 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
blue between them! I think, Priscilla,
that you are always looking out for clouds.
I never notice them at all till the rain be-
gins to drop !"
"That is because you are a thoughtless,
foolish little thing!" observed her sister,
with a kind of scornful pity.
"Well, I'm glad that I'm not so wise as
you; I'd rather be merry than wise," was
the laughing Lucy's reply.
This time, however, it appeared that the
elder sister was the mistaken one. The
patch of blue in the sky, to Lucy's delight,
became larger and larger; the sun shone
out cheerfully ; and, no longer afraid of the
weather, both girls set out on their walk
towards Ryde. They were there to meet
their uncle, a boatman, who had promised
them a row over the water to Portsmouth,
where he was to show them the docks and
feast them with cakes; and as the girls had
never been to England before, having been
both born and brought up in the Isle of
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 91
Wight, they had both looked forward to
this expedition for a very long time, though
with different feelings, according to their
different dispositions. Lucy was all delight
at the thought of the pleasure; Priscilla all
fear lest anything should occur to prevent
their being able to enjoy it.
They made their way over the fields,-
the one mirthful, the other grave. They
shortened part of the distance by passing
along a lane; and a lovely lane it was, all
adorned with wild flowers.
"I like this path so much!" cried the
happy little Lucy. "Such beautiful plants
grow in the hedges, that were I not in a
very great hurry to get on, I should gather
a splendid nosegay on the way !"
I do not like this path at all," replied
her elder sister; "it is so narrow, one is
caught every minute by the thorns."
"Ah, Priscilla, you are always looking
out for thorns I never think of them till
I find myself caught."
92 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
"That is because you are a silly, giddy
child !" was Priscilla's contemptuous reply.
It will be easily seen, from this short
conversation, that however wise Priscilla
might be in the eyes of other people, or in
her own, she was not the most pleasant
companion in the world. She was con-
sidered a very sensible girl, one possessing
reflection beyond her years; and in some
respects she deserved the character. She
was wise in keeping clear of evil society;
she was wise in performing her daily duties,
and in not expecting too much from the
world: but she was not wise in ever casting
a shade of gloom over what Providence in-
tended to be bright; she was not wise in
ever meeting misfortune half way-in al-
ways looking at the dark side of every
event, and seeming as though she thought
it almost a sin to be happy! In truth, in
these matters, by taking the opposite ex-
treme, Priscilla was just as foolish as her
sister. The one, eager after pleasure, often
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 93
met with disappointment: the other, fearing
disappointment, scarce knew pleasure at all.
There was the same difference between
them on the subject of religion, in which
both had been carefully instructed. Lucy
was too easily carried away by amusement:
with a warm heart, but a giddy aid
thoughtless spirit, she too often, alas! ne-
lected the one thing needful for the pass-
ing diversion of the hour. Priscilla never
forgot her Bible-reading or her prayer; but
both were too often a mere matter of form.
She would not for any temptation have
worked, bought or sold, on the Sabbath:
but she never considered it a delight.
Priscilla quite put aside the command in
the Bible, Rejoice evermore; and again I
say unto you, Rejoice; while her sister for-
got, in her heedless mirth, that it is also
written, Rejoice with trembling. The one
girl knew too little of the fear of the Lord;
the other was a stranger to his love.
At length the sisters reached the shore,
91 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
and saw before them the sparkling waves of
the sea. On the waters large men-of-war
were lying at anchor;--little boats were
floating on the sunny tide, some moving on
steadily, as their line of oars rose and fell;
others speeding along with graceful motion,
like butterflies spreading their silver wings.
Amongst the many boats which were ply-
ing here and there, and those which were
fastened to the pier, Priscilla and Lucy
vainly searched for the Nautilus, which was
that which belonged to their uncle. As
with anxious looks they proceeded along
the shore, exclamations of impatience burst-
ing from their lips, they were approached
by an old friend of their uncle's whom they
had seen several times before.
"On the look-out, eh?" said the old
sailor, as he came towards them. "You'll
not hail the Nautilus to-day. Your uncle
was engaged this morning by a gentleman
to carry him round to the Undercliff in his
boat; and I suspect that they'll have ugly
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 95
weather," he added, turning his weather-
beaten face towards the sea: "so he asked
me to wait for you here, and tell you why
he could not give you a row over the water;
and, as. he thought as how you might be a
little disappointed, he sends you a shilling
a-piece to make all straight."
Tears burst from the eyes of little Lucy:
she turned aside that the sailor might not
see them. Delighted as she ever was at
the prospect of pleasure, she never could
bear to lose it; and every little disappoint-
ment appeared to her as a real and serious
misfortune. Priscilla showed less vexation
at losing her excursion, though she took the
shilling with a discontented air; and her
first words, as she turned to walk back with
her sister, were as unjust as they were un-
grateful to that good Providence that gives
us so much even upon earth to enjoy.
"I knew that it would be so! it always
happens thus !-if one expects a little plea-
sure, disappointment is sure to come! "
D6 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
How strange and unkind in my uncle !"
said Lucy, still half crying; "and to think
that these stupid shillings could make up
for the loss of such a delightful treat! "
"We had better walk faster," observed
her prudent sister; "your blue bit of sky
is quite disappearing now."
"And these thorns are very annoying,"
Lucy added fretfully, as, trying too hastily
to free herself from a bramble, she tore a
large hole in her dress.
"Life seems all full of clouds and of
thorns," observed Priscilla, in the tone of
one who is conscious of uttering a very wise
saying; "and to hope to find it anything
else is folly only fit for a very little child.
There!-was not that a drop of rain?
Yes another, and another !-and so large !
That great cloud is going to burst just over
our heads; and, as always happens, there is
no place near where we could take shelter
from a storm."
"Oh, you are wrong there for once!
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 97
there is Bertha Fielding's cottage; it is a
little, a very little out of our way, and I am
sure that the good woman will make us wel-
Thither ran the two little girls in the
rain, which was now falling thick and fast.
A sudden flash of lightning quickened their
steps, till, heated and breathless, they slack-
ened their pace as they approached the neat
little cot. There was the voice of a woman
singing within,-a feeble, trembling voice,
in which little melody was left; but its
tones sounded earnest, as if coming from
the heart, and from a heart that was cheer-
ful and happy:-
Content with this, I ask no more,
But to Thy care the rest resign;
Sick or in health, or rich or poor,
All shall be well if Thou art mine! "
The girls' hasty tap silenced the hymn,
and a kind voice bade them come in. The
inside of the cottage was clean and neat,
but its appearance bespoke great poverty.