The Baldwn Library
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A WAIF FROM TIE GREYFRIARS WYND.
JESSIE M. SAXBY
"THE ONE WEE LASSIE," "STORIES OF SHETLAND," &C.
Still Thy love, O, Christ, arisen,
Yearns to reach those souls in prison !
Through all depths of sin and loss
Drops the plummet of Thy Cross!
Never yet abyss was found
Deeper than that Cross could sound."-WHITTIER.
JOHN S. MARR & SONS, 51 DUNDAS STREET.
THE MEMORY OF
WHOSE LOVING HANDS
WERE ALWAYS STRETCHED OUT TO RESCUE
THE WAIFS OF EDINBURGH,
WHOSE EXAMPLE HELPED SO MANY ON THE WAY
WHICH SHE HAS PASSED OVER.
I. In the Shelter of the Fold," . 7
II. "Far off from the Gates of Gold," . 14
III. "I go to the Desert to find my Sheep," 25
IV. "Are they not enough for Thee ?" 44
V. "Pierced to-night by many a Thorn," 51
VI. Iow deep were the waters crossed," 65
VII. "Out in the Desert He heard its cry," 75
VIII. "'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost," 85
IX. "There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven," .93
X. Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own," Io6
Taken to the Royal Infirmary, 123
^ i t'if fow fi^e Krrknfri'irs %gnb.
"IN THE SHELTER OF THE FOLD."
" U ROM Captain Forsyth, barque 'Dunedin,'
to Mrs Forsyth, Preston Street, Edin-
burgh. Safe in Harbour. I will come
up from Leith by 1.45 train. If possible, meet
me at the Waverley Station." The little post-
office messenger ran up a long stair to give this
telegram into the hands that were trembling with
eagerness to receive it. Bright Maysie Forsyth read
the glad news with tears of joy, then she went into her
8 In the Shelter of the Fold."
bedroom, and, kneeling down, she thanked the Giver
of all Good for bringing her sailor safe home. He
had been away for a whole year, and a weary long
time it had seemed to her. But she would not dwell
on that now, for her soul looked up to God every
time He sent a blessing, just as the flower turns to
the sun, forgetful of the rain that fell upon it before
the light came back. In a few minutes Maysie
appeared in her small kitchen, to announce the
welcome news to Agnes, who was scarcely less
interested than her mistress. And the couple were
speedily engaged in various extravagant culinary pre-
parations against the arrival of the captain. An hour
soon fled in such occupation, and then Maysie donned
her blue serge, and the dainty blue tie with its sailor's
knot, and a certain white hat which Jack admired,
and when she was ready for her walk, she looked as
sweet and youthful, and altogether winsome as any
man could wish his wife to be. "Jack will like to
see me wearing just the things he gave me. I
wonder what he will say about--oh, how glad I
am about everything I hope he won't think that I
have grown too fat, for he used to like calling me
his 'tiny bit birdie,' and I am not like that now."
The little wife glanced at the plump cheeks and
matronly figure reflected in her glass, and concluded
"In the Shelter of the Fold" 9
that Jack would not think she had deteriorated in his
absence. But the castle gun boomed forth one
o clock, so Maysie only lingered by her parlour hearth
a moment, while leaving some very special instruc-
tions with Agnes on a subject which we will say more
about bye-and-bye, then ran off and reached the
station long before 1.45. Indeed, she believed that
the railway time must be wrong, and more than once
asked the porters who were hurrying about, if the
train from Leith was not over due. But it was
punctual, so for certain it was Maysie's heart that was
not beating at an orthodox pace, and the rail ay clock
was doing its regulation tick-tick properly enough.
At 1.45 the train arrived, and through the veil
which intense happiness hangs over the vision, Maysie
described the brown beard and blue eyes of her Jack
at a window, as the groaning monster rushed up to
its terminus. He had seen her also and was out of
the train as soon as she reached the carriage door.
If you had looked at the two then you would never
have guessed that they were a young married couple
meeting after a long separation. She merely put her
hand into his, and he merely kissed her. But the
way he held her hand, and the way her eyes looked
into his said much. I am bound to record that the
first words which were spoken was Maysie's matter-
Io "In the Shelter of the Fold."
of-fact question, "Have you got any luggage to
No, only this bag, but it is rather heavy, I must
have a wee message boy to carry it for me." Jack
glanced along the platform. There were plenty of
wee message boys, and, sailor-like, he picked out the
veriest beggar of them all, a dirty, ragged, unkempt
mannikin, whose age could not possibly be guessed.
He might have been only ten if his size was any
criterion; he might have been twenty if the knowing
twinkle in his eye belongs to years. Captain Jack
nodded, and this urchin sprang forward at once.
"Oh, not that boy," Maysie whispered; "he looks so
"It was just because he looked as if he needed
a few coppers more than the others that I chose him."
But then, to walk along with us," the worldly-wise
little woman rejoined.
As you like, dear," Jack replied, not caring at that
moment to object to anything she said. But while
talking, Maysie had looked a second time at the boy,
and something in the craving expression of his eyes and
mouth spoke to her heart.
"Have you had any jobs to-day ? she asked him.
"Not one, ma'am; I'll carry the gentleman's bag
safe enough. I'd be real thankful for the job, ma'am."
"In the Skelter of the Fold." 11
"Very well, you can come, but walk behind a bit,"
and the couple started for home too full of thoughts
of each other to think any more about their not very
How well you are looking, Maysie," and Jack bent
down in very lover like fashion to gaze upon his fair
"I'm so glad to have you back,-so thankful,"
she murmured. They were walking over the Bridges,
and the crowded thoroughfare was to them as much
a fairy-land as if it had been the woodland path where
love's young dream was realized.
"Jack, do you know-- Maysie began, then
came to an abrupt pause.
"What do I know?"
Oh not much, at least-only, I'm so glad."
"You look as if your heart were brimming over
with a charming secret."
"My face is wicked for telling my heart's secrets,"
she merrily replied.
"Do tell me what it is," Jack said.
"Oh, nothing-at least," again cried Maysie. "You
don't know how nice it is to have you back again.
I am glad."
The disreputable-looking boy behind them was
listening to all they said, and he mentally remarked,
12 In the Shelter of the Fold."
"She's very gude, I can see that; and wouldn't
I just like to fight the Turks for her, that's all.
Wonder how much he'll give me-looks open-handed.
Of course, she'll think of asking a chap to dine, of
course, oh yes!" and he smiled sarcastically, while
an old gentleman passing at the moment believed
that the boy was laughing at him, and he wondered
what sort of a man the captain was to hire such a
young rascal. Along the Bridges and the long dingy
streets of old Edinburgh, walked the sailor and his
wife, then turned off to the left and were at their own
door. Their house was a "flat," rather high up, for
Maysie liked to see the crags on Arthur Seat, and
glimpses of the free flowing Forth.
She ran nimbly up the stair, and Jack followed
hand-over-hand along the rail as if he were mounting
the shrouds of his ship. The boy and bag followed
rather more slowly; and on the landing Agnes was
smiling with the door wide open. Jack's bag and a
bright new shilling changed hands; then the disreput-
able-looking boy turned to Maysie and said,-
I'm real glad that ye've got your man safe back
from foreign parts." He never could tell what
prompted him to say those words, and she never
could tell what made her accept the speech in a spirit
of great kindliness. Jack stared at the boy as if
n the Shelter of the Fold." 13
he meant to box his ears, but Maysie said quite
Thank you, my boy, I daresay you are nicer
than you look; and, by the way, I am sure you would
like to have something to eat; come in, Agnes shall
see after you."
Just at that moment a sound was heard, something
between a cat's mew and a chicken undergoing
strangulation, which caused Captain Forsyth to start
and call out, what's that ?"
Agnes was smiling from ear to ear, and Maysie's
eyes were dancing with tears and fun as she led her
husband into the parlour, where his baby, whom he
never heard about till then, was trying to get out of
"I just believe that is her secret," thought the
message-boy, as he followed Agnes to -the kitchen.
And that is where we will follow too, if you please; for
I think the young couple and their baby are best left
to themselves, while the captain is getting over his
FAR OFF FROM THE GATES OF GOLD."
M HAT is your name ? Agnes asked, kindly,
as she put a plate of buttered scones into
the urchin's hands.
"Geordie Roye," and next moment the possibility
of conversation was ended by his ravenous attack on
the food before him. Agnes looked on aghast and
pitying, as one after one the scones disappeared
like magic and the plate became empty.
"Boy, when did you eat last? she exclaimed.
"No' this day," he answered, as he looked up with
"a far from satiated expression.
"Then you must have some more," and this time
"a portion of the meat simmering by the fire was put
on the plate. It followed the scones rapidly, and
Agnes began to consider if it would be wise to give
"F ar of from the Gates of Gold." 15
him more. She judiciously determined on putting
some more questions before serving a third course.
Have you got any folk to look after you, Geordie?"
"Nane but my mither, and she's in her bed."
"What is the matter with her?"
"I dinna ken-whiles she's very bad, and whiles a
Agnes read his face as he said this, and thought
within herself, "You are a bad boy and telling stories."
Next moment she thought, What a pleasant expres-
sion the poor child has got." Her changed opinion
was caused by Geordie smiling brightly, and saying
(without the slightest intention of being impudent),
"What a fine thing for the gentleman to find his
baby here after all his travels. She's a rael gude
lady yon, and as bonnie as gude."
Just then Maysie appeared with some instructions
for Agnes. I had almost forgotten the boy," she
said; "have you given him a nice dinner?"
He has had a great deal; I was afraid to give him
more, but he has had nothing to-day till now."
Poor child! have you got any parents, my boy?"
In the true professional mendicant whine, Geordie
replied, My father is deed, and my mither is aye
Even Maysie's guileless spirit was not deceived,
r6 "Far offfrom the Gates of Gold."
" I am sorry you were so hungry, poor boy; but you
need not bother to tell stories. I would like to know
about your relatives, for I might be able to help them
and you. I am more sorry for a child who has bad
parents, than for one who has none, for the Lord has
promised to look after orphans, and He never breaks
Geordie gazed in her face in utter amazement, then
said bluntly, My father gaed awa' and we dinna
ken where he is, and my mither drinks dreadful, that's
what makes her ill whiles."
"It's the truth he is telling now," Agnes broke
At any other time Maysie would have interested
herself entirely in the sad case before her, but I am
sure we can excuse her for merely doing as she did,
remembering that Jack was in the parlour, and Jack
had just come home. She put some pennies in the
boy's hand, and bade him come to her next day, and
she would have some clothes ready for him. He
thanked her and pulled his matted hair by way of
adieu. But as he crossed the hall, the baby laughter
in the parlour arrested his attention. The door was
ajar and he glanced wistfully into the room, but could
only catch a glimpse of the cradle, and Captain Jack's
brown beard stooping over it. Yet he lingered.
Far of frowm the Gates of Gold." 17
"Are you fond of babies?" Maysie said, surprisedly,
as she opened the door to let Geordie go.
Some babies, ma'am; would ye kindly let me look
Well, I never heard the like of that," ejaculated
Agnes, but Mrs Forsyth instantly beckoned him to
come with her, and to the captain's astonishment, the
disreputable-looking boy was standing beside him
"Isn't she a dear?" the young mother exclaimed,
as confidentially as if she were talking to some lady-
friend, and not to a ragged, story-telling street arab.
Geordie did not answer, but he stooped over the
cradle, and stroked the baby hands with a touch that
was all grace and tenderness; then one after another
some large dirty tear-drops fell on the dimpled fingers.
Large dirty tear-drops, but rising from a fountain-head
as pure and holy in the sight of God as that which
sent the dew to Maysie's eyes. She asked very softly,
for her woman's heart had guessed the truth, Did
you have a baby sister?"
"Yes, ma'am, my ain wee Allie." And Geordie,
turning hastily away, stamped out of the room, and
out of the house, sobbing as if his heart would break.
Maysie did not attempt to detain him, but merely
called out, be sure and come back to-morrow."
l8 ""Tar offifvm the Gales ef Gold."
He did not answer, but went sobbing and stamping,
faster and faster, till at last he was running with all
his might to a quiet part of the Meadows, and heavier
and heavier fell the large dirty tears, while ever
through his mind went the dirge of that one sweet
memory-" My ain wee Allie."
Geordie lay upon his face among the grass and
criedfor a considerable time. In fact, cried almost all
the soreness of heart away, then he sat up, and with his
knuckles for a towel, rubbed the traces of tears into
an indistinguishable map of grimyness all over his
face, and was himself again. But though he had
relieved his heart of its load, he was tired, and did not
feel inclined to try for more jobs that day. He strolled
eastward again with his hand in his pocket closed
tightly over the new shilling, and although loitering
along he had a goal in view, which proved to be the
quaint old cemetery at Newington. Geordie's eye
lost its roguish twinkle when he got inside the gate,
but it was not possible to guess what his thoughts
were about, for his expression was sufficiently concealed
beneath the dust and tear crust. You would not have
been to blame, if you had thought, on meeting him,
that he was after no good; and probably if a police-
man had passed he would have ordered Geordie out
of the cemetery. Such a thorough specimen of the
"Far of from the Gates of Gold." 19
lapsed masses did he look. He walked round a good
many of the paths with a sort of reckless swagger in
his gait, but there was a strange, troubled quiver about
his lips, and a short catching of his breath now and
then. After a time, he paused by a quiet neglected
corner of God's acre, where God's poor are buried.
A straggling bit of rose-bush was growing against the
wall, and within a very short distance of it stood a
plain glass tumbler turned upside-down over a broken
baby's rattle. The space between the rose-bush and
the glass was so small that one could easily guess how
young the little one had been who lay beneath.
Geordie did not cry over his ain wee Allie's grave
as he had wept over the baby's cradle, for a change
had come over his mood. He had cried then for
his own loss; there was no selfishness in whac he
said now. She's a heap better off doun here," he
muttered. Then glancing around to assure himself
that he was not observed, Geordie lifted the glass and
quickly hid the new shilling among the earth; then
replacing the toy and glass above it, he turned away,
muttering again, Mither will never dream o' looking
for money yonder. My bank is a safe bank, and
maybe when I need to fetch it, my ain Allie's
bonnie cauld feet will have changed the siller into
o0 "Far offrom the Gates of Gold."
There is something very, very wrong somewhere
when a child lingers on the road home. If the attrac-
tions there are what they ought to be, it is never
reluctant feet that turn in that direction. Alas, poor
Geordie 1 Had you followed him that evening, you
would not have wondered that he hung about the
streets till a late hour before going home. You
would almost have said that he would have done
better to have remained under the trees of the
Meadow-Walk, or by the Newington graves all night.
His mother lived in a wretched cellar in one of those
old tenements that are grouped in closes and wynds
leading out of the Canongate, Grassmarket, &c., &c.
Such places cannot be called homes. They are simply
dens which are the reproach of our beautiful city.
Its many churches rise heavenward with a protest
against the religion which rears a stately temple to
be opened once a-week for the Lord's service, and
leaves His poor to pass their life-time in dwellings
more loathsome than can be described.
But it was not the cellar and its surroundings which
repelled Geordie. He had never lived in a better
home, and he could have reconciled himself to the
one he had if love had been there. It was something
far worse that made him shrink from entering the
room. It was the woman he called mother, and who
Far of firm the Gates of Gold." 2
accosted him with drunken fury, and a demand to
give up any money he had received.
"Now for it," ejaculated poor Geordie, and immedi-
ately he was seized, shaken, and his pockets ransacked,
lest he might have any money hid away. Maysie's
pennies were found and confiscated; then a parting
cuff terminated what was evidently a daily ordeal.
The wretched woman picked up an empty bottle, and
staggered away to spend her boy's money as usual,
while he retired to sleep. Geordie's bed was a heap
of straw laid on the floor in a corner, and there was
no supper for him; but the good food bestowed by
Agnes had conveyed its own comfort to the inner
man, and his feelings had got somewhat blunted by
the frequency of such scenes with his mother; there-
fore, the poor boy composed himself for rest with much
nonchalance. He did not undress, and he did not
say any prayer, but he whispered, while drifting into
forgetfulness, "she's a real nice lady yon, and I will
go back the morrow-and maybe I'll see the baby
again. I am glad my ain Allie is no' here the night.
It's a fine thing to have siller in a safe bank, and I'll
never put that shilling to a bad use."
Who shall say that infant angels were not trans-
forming such uncouth expressions into the noble
impulses which they are employed to carry heaven-
22 Far of from the Gates of Gold."
ward? Who shall say that the Good Shepherd seek-
ing the lost was not led to where story-telling Geordie
lay by the simple thoughts which flitted through his
sleepy head. The Shepherd is so tender, and He
never passes by the most feeble aspiration after what
Although we have consigned Geordie to sleep till
morning, we have not done with that evening yet.
We must look in upon Captain Jack's household for a
few minutes. Maysie's "secret" had followed Geordie's
example, and was disposed of for the night, and Agnes
was keeping watch over it, singing softly to herself.
Maysie, resting in the strong arms of her husband,
and thinking with a grateful heart of all God's good-
ness to them, heard the hymn which her maid
was singing, and was led through it to think of
"I have taken quite a fancy to that boy who carried
your bag, Jack. I can't forget his crying over baby;
there must be good in him."
"You were always easily imposed upon by bad
boys, little wife,-witness your marrying me. But he
looked poor enough to move any heart, I must say;
and if you can cut up old clothes for him I will gladly
bring up some of mine from the ship. I suppose, boys
Can't help telling stories, it's their nature."
"Far off from the Gates of Gold." 23
(Maysie had unfortunately repeated to Jack the
conversation in the kitchen.)
"Oh, yes. I will manage the clothes, thank you,
Jack, but I was not thinking of his rags and untidiness
s3 much as the stories, and-listen to what Agnes is
"There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away
Far off from the gates of gold,-
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd's care."
"One of those revival hymns, I suppose, a sweet
tune," Jack, carelessly, answered.
"Oh, Jack, don't you see ? about the boy I mean,
out on the hills-far off-one of the Lord's lost lambs,
and fancy what a place for Him to go to find it."
"You are the same good little soul you always
were," laughed the sailor. "Ishould not like to go
hunting after lost kids of that sort in the Canongate,
and I am not going to let you go either. Try your
power of reclaiming nearer home. I suspect I am as
far astray as that city arab."
It is not my power. It is not Iwho am going to
seek the lost. Oh! I hope you will be in the fold,
dear Jack, before very long."
24 Far offrom the Gates of Gold."
"Meanwhile, I am content where I am."
Hush !" Maysie said, solemnly. "The Shepherd
was on His way to poor Geordie when he cried over
my baby, and I think, I hope, I pray, that He looked
upon you as He passed. Oh, surely you will not let
that outcast child go into the fold before you. Surely
the Shepherd will seek for you also. You need Him
as much as Geordie does."
I GO TO THE DESERT TO FIND MY SHEEP."
M -HE first thing that Geordie thought of when
She awoke next morning was buttered scones
and haricot mutton, for his plentiful dinner
of the previous day had done something more than
allay present hunger. It had whetted his appetite.
The wretched mother was sleeping in another corner
of the room on a heap of straw and rags, scarcely
more decent than Geordie's lair; and there was not a
morsel of food in the room, or fuel,-the whiskey bottle
was responsible for that-so Geordie shook himself,
rubbed his eyes, and stole off to try his luck in the
message-line once more. He well knew that on that
"luck" depended the chance of breakfast. It was
not early in the morning, and the busy life of the city
had begun, therefore the boy quickened his pace, and
26 "Igo to the Desert to find lmy Shcep.
reached the station as a passenger train from London
was being emptied of its occupants. Eagerly he
watched the travellers get out of each compartment,
but even people whose purses were third-class did not
seem inclined to employ so dirty and so ill-favoured
looking a messenger, and Geordie's heart sank as it
had often done before. Hour followed on hour; train
followed on train, and he did not get one halfpenny
job, and finally in despair he muttered between his
teeth, "The deil's in the folk !" Who that personage
really was, I suspect Geordie did not know better than
the learned men who confer the attributes of Divinity
on a fallen angel, and who tell children that Lucifer
is near them at all times. When this bad boy talked
to himself in that way, he probably meant that the
people were possessed by a principle of greed, or
selfishness, or want of discernment, which prevented
them from giving a penny to one who obviously
needed it much, while they were flinging shillings
about in exchange for sensation novels or cigars.
That spirit of evil which is part of ourselves is a far
more dangerous foe than the black bugbear of olden
times-though Geordie could not have reasoned on
the subject, nor have told the difference between the
tempter Satan, and the tempter Self To vary his
employment that weary, hopeless waiting which
"I gv to the Desert to fnd imy' Shcqp." 27
breaks so many hearts-he went and peeped in at
the refreshment room windows. He would not have
had any hesitation in stealing any one of the dainties
very near his reach but for a wholesome dread of the
police, which was the only moral restraint he knew.
On the present occasion it was a very effectual one,
so the hungry child looked at the food until his over-
charged feelings found an outlet in once more saying
(but this time aloud and energetically), "The deil's in
the folk !"
"Oh, you depraved child," said some one at his
elbow, and turning around hastily, Geordie found the
speaker to be a clergyman of very grave and some-
what austere manner.
"'Deed, sir," replied Geordie, with impudence in
every accent, "if ye had gone as lang as I without
supper and breakfast ye would call most things the
deil's wark too."
"I am shocked at you, boy. Do you ever read
"My Bible," with a blunt laugh. "The Bible is
for kirk-folk, and them that's weel off in the world,
no' for the like o' me."
You are quite wrong," replied the gentleman.
"In this free and blessed Scotland the Bible is for
everyone; but I believe you would not value it if you
28 I go to the Desert to find my Sheep."
had it. Here are some tracts, may they benefit your
The minister handed some leaflets, with a parting
admonition to read and ponder over the warning
therein contained against profane speaking. Geordie
dropped one, and twisted another into the form of a
cigar, then stuck it in the corner of his mouth with an
impudent leer at his retreating mentor.
I would not do that if I were you," spoke another
voice at Geordie's side, and this time it was also a
minister who addressed him. The boy knew that
fact at once, though the gentleman's white tie was
scarcely visible, and certainly not fastened in an
irreproachable bow. Nor did he wear an entire suit
of funereal black, and his felt hat bore evidence on its
brim of having been into grimy wynds that very morn-
ing. I think it was the benign and fatherly look in
the minister's eyes, and the firm yet pitying tone of
his voice which made Geordie guess his profession at
once. Both eyes and voice went straight into the
boy's heart, and he dropped the mock "weed" at once;
dropped also his head on his breast, with a faint tinge
of shame showing through the dirt upon his cheeks.
"You must have been very hungry to feel and
speak so. Can I help you? I love poor boys who
have few friends."
I go to the Desert to find my Skeep." 29
"I dinna beg," answered Geordie, "but if ye would
give me a job I would do it for a penny or two, and
that would get my breakfast."
"You don't beg! Then I think you must be an
honest little fellow (Geordie's conscience smote him
for the first time in his life); "will you take this parcel
to the address on it-can you read? No, I see you
can't. It is for Mrs Forsyth, 5 Preston Street. And
do you know, my boy, it contains good reading like
that I saw you treat so badly just now. Well!
perhaps you did not think enough about it. I do not
think you will let God see you do so again, or let
Him hear you speak so another time, when I assure
you that it grieves Him very much. Now run off,
and let me see how nicely you can deliver a message."
It's the captain's lady ye are sending me to, and
I was going there this very day," replied Geordie,
One or two questions served to enlighten the clergy-
man, and to interest him still more in the intelligent,
yet ignorant boy.
I am glad you have found such friends, and you
must henceforth count me as one. Ask Mrs Forsyth
to tell you about my evening school-she is one of
our teachers, and she will bring you there if you will
30 "I go to the Desert to find my Sheet."
"I would like that real weel. I went to a school o
the kind last winter, but the priest heard of it, and
told mither to take me away."
Well, if he teaches you instead, it does not much
A knowing smile flashed across the young rogue's
No, the priest never says a word to me, but when
he heard o' the missionary taking me up it was
We will talk of the school some other time then.
Go with the parcel now, and I shall look you up at
your home some day soon. Buy some food with this,
and when you eat it, my poor child, try to remember
this little text, 'The Lord will provide.'"
So they parted-the Master's messenger, and the
wee message boy.
Geordie had the making of a Premier in him, for he
knew how to manage affairs to his own advantage.
I will keep the siller," he said to himself, it is
only waiting till I get to Preston Street."
By this, you will see that he counted upon Agnes
instead of his new friend's sixpence, for a breakfast.
He continued to soliloquise as he went along, I am
in luck after all. Siller to-day. Siller yesterday. 'The
Lord will provide!' I have no doubt they are going
I go to the Descrt to fLnd my Skhcc." 31
to make something of me among them, for the lady
spoke about the Lord too, and it a' must mean one
His knowledge of the Father of the fatherless and
the Friend of sinners was much more limited than his
Acquaintance with that evil power which he believed
-was laying a restraining hand on the bounty of the
public; therefore Geordie went altogether on a wrong
tack (as was afterwards proved) in his interpretation
of the high aid alluded to by the minister and by Mrs
Our little hero had not been conscious of any rude-
ness in his behaviour on the previous day. He had
felt the very reverse of rude or ungrateful when over-
come by the sight of Maysie's pretty babe, so he never
entertained a thought of being rebuked for his un-
ceremonious departure, and went confidently on his
You are early back, my man," said Agnes, as she
answered his not modest ring at the bell. She partici-
pated in the interest which her mistress had shown in
Geordie; and, having received instructions about him,
she brought the boy to her kitchen and gave him
food. He delivered his parcel and message, then
begged Agnes to tell the lady that he was very thank-
ful for all her kindness, and the earnest expression
"32 "Igo to the Desert to find my Siccp."
with which he uttered his simple words lifted him a
long way up in the maid's esteem. She carried tidings
of Geordie to the parlour, and almost immediately
Maysie appeared with baby in her arms. Jack had
gone off to superintend the unlading of his ship, so
that the little wife's thoughts were rather more at her
own disposal than on the preceding afternoon. The
sudden joy which shone from Geordie's whole face at
sight of the infant struck Maysie with a sense of awe
and wonderment, and she thought within herself that
there must be good soil to work upon in that heart,
weed-bestrewn and ivy-tangled as it was.
And so you have met our dear minister, Geordie
he will make a good boy of you, for he loves little ones
"He said, The Lord will provide,' answered
Geordie; and, please ma'am, you. said that the
Lord had promised to look after poor lads that had
no father, and I have not seen mine for many years,
so it's just as bad. Will it be Donaldson's Hospital,
or Dr Guthrie's Schools, or the Training-ship, that he
will put me in?"
When Maysie was deeply stirred about holy things,
the playful smile which was always dancing on her
features became solemnised into a serious sweetness
which reminded one of the pictures of angels. That
"Igo ato fIe Desert to find my Sheep." 33
expression was shining from her face as she looked at
her untaught questioner, and she replied,-
I cannot tell you where the home will be that He
will give you on earth, but I think He means to take
you into His fold and keep you near Him."
I will be thankful for any place he likes, so that I
get enough to eat and a book to read whiles. When
will his honour send for me ? "
Maysie was quite startled at those last words, for
they proved that Geordie did not comprehend her
meaning aright. Geordie, poor boy," she exclaimed,
"don't you know the Lord ?"
Oh, yes I saw him on the Queen's Birthday, as
grand as ye like in his fine carriage, and a' the Bailies
He is meaning the Lord Provost," said Agnes,
with a stare of consternation at the small heathen
before her; and Maysie's eyes filled with tears.
I did not mean that gentleman, Geordie. I meant
your Lord and my Lord and our good minister's Lord.
Oh, poor Geordie, have you never heard of Him ? "
A city-arab's ideas fly at more than telegraph speed
and reach a conclusion before respectable people have
done more than arrange their thoughts a little.
Geordie had argued out in his own mind a whole
list of subjects before Maysie had done speaking. The
34 "Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep."
conclusion he had come to was that the clergyman's
Master must be even a greater personage than Lord
Provost of Edinburgh, whose chief function, he be-
lieved, was to induct poor boys into earthly paradises,
known as Hospitals in Scotland. The Pope, Prince
of Wales, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a few other
great men of whom he had heard flitted through his
mind, but not being sure which was the one whom
destiny had chosen for his benefactor, Geordie
looked simply at Mrs Forsyth, and said,-
Please ma'am, I dinna ken who He is, would you
be so good as tell me about the Lord."
Our Father and His love for her were among the
earliest things which Maysie remembered hearing
about. She had received that knowledge so gradually
as she grew from infancy to youth, from youth to
womanhood; and her mind had so readily accepted
without a doubt the precious truths of our Faith, that
she could scarcely believe it possible that a child in
Edinburgh did not know who his Father and Lord
was. She was not prepared to meet Geordie's question
at once. What could she say? where could she
begin? how would itbe possible to teach the boy the mys-
tery of Christianity, when he did not understand the diff-
erence between his Maker and all earthly potentates.
Maysie prayed silently, while Geordie stood waiting.
"Zgo to thoe Desert to find my Sheep. 35
" Have you not heard of Heaven and God?" she
"Oh, yes, many a time."
"And you know that God is a spirit, and that He
made you, and loves you and takes care of you, and
that He became a man that He might share all your
trouble and pain."
Is He the Lord you meant ?" and Geordie's face,
before so hopeful, fell considerably.
Yes, Geordie, and He is far greater than any one
in this world, and He is able to do anything."
"I am sair disappointed," was all poor Geordie could
Oh, you must not be disappointed, for I am sure
our dear Lord can make you much happier than any
one here could make you."
I ken He looks well after gude folk, but lam no
one o' them," replied the boy.
That is a mistake, Geordie; He looks after every
one, and is kinder to the poor and the wicked than the
best of us would deserve."
Why has He never helped me then ?"
Have you ever asked Him ? "
Geordie stared. Asked Him he repeated,
Yes, have you never said a prayer ?"
36 "I go to the Desert tofind my Sheep."
I learned some at the Mission School last year;. I
learned other lessons there too."
"Then you think saying a prayer is a lesson ?"
Geordie, when you are very hungry and you know
that your mother has some food for you, do you
make up a fine speech, learn it off, and say it to her,
and then go away without waiting to know if she heard
you, or if she means to give you the food ? "
The boy's face lit up with intelligence as he answered,
" No, no I just ask for the food and wait till I get
"Quite right and that is how you should pray to
God. He is your father, and He likes you to come
with every trouble to Him, and you should just ask
Him for what you want. First for His spirit to make
you good, after that for your daily bread,' and He
will certainly give you what you need if you love Him
and believe Him."
Geordie gazed at the earnest speaker as if he were
a parched and weary traveller who had lighted on a
hidden spring, and was drinking in new life with the
clear, cool water.
"Make me good, and give me what I need," he
said, slowly. Can that be true?"
"Indeed, it is, my boy, and He is more ready to
"Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep." 37
give than you can be to ask. Shall I speak to our
Lord now for you?"
Agnes had carried baby away at an early stage in
the conversation, so that Mrs Forsyth was alone with
Geordie. She knelt down, and he mechanically
followed her example. She only said a few words,
" Dear Lord, take this poor boy's soul and wash it in
the blood which Thou didst shed for him. Send Thy
spirit into his heart that he may know Thee and love
Thee, and give him faith to believe that Thou art
greater than all, and will hear the cry of a poor lost
little one. Oh, Saviour and Good Shepherd, find this
stray lamb and take him within the fold,, never to
wander away from Thee again."
Geordie \ :i'i,- after that. I do not know if
he understood any part of what she said, but his heart
willingly turned in the i I tl.-it his kind friend pointed
out, and that was the main thing. It was just the
ignorant child trying to find the way home in the dark,
who could not see a step ahead; but heard a voice
and strove to go in the direction from whence it pro-
I' 11 no' forget what you 've said," Geordie faltered.
"I wish I had known o' it before; but I'll begin this
very day to be a gude boy."
I am so glad," and Maysie's dainty white hand
38 "Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep."
came softly down upon Geordie's mat of unkempt
Oh, you must try and love the Lord and then you
will be quite happy, and He will teach you everything
in His own way."
"How long will it be before I am gude enough to
belong to the Lord ?"
"You can belong to Him just now, it isn't goodness
that does it. It is feeling how bad you are, and keep-
ing close to Him, and loving and obeying Him. He
loves you this moment as much as He loves any one
else in the world. Just think how much He loves,
when He died on the cross to save your soul."
Geordie had heard The old, old story of Jesus and
His love;" but had never applied it personally, and
he asked many startling questions (such as I have told
in part), while Maysie talked on in the same simple
loving way, unfolding bit by bit the gospel truths which
she had thought every child in Christian Scotland
At last the captain's return put a stop to further
conversation, but Maysie was well satisfied that the
work of conversion was begun. That the Shepherd
was out in the desert seeking His lost, and that this
stray lamb had heard His far-off call, had feebly re-
sponded, and would be found before long.
"I go to the Desert to find my Sheep." 39
Jack had not forgotten the promised clothes, which
his wife unfolded before Geordie's delighted eyes, at
the same time telling him that they should be ready
for his use in a couple of days. She gave him a little
hymn-book, directing his attention particularly to "The
ninety and nine," and Safe in the arms of Jesus," at
the same time promising to sing them to him if lie
returned next day.
"I would like that," Geordie said, with glowing eyes.
"I often stand at kirk doors to hear them sing, it's
One thing more Maysie said before sending him
away, "If you will wash yourself and be as tidy as
you can, poor Geordie, you shall have baby to hold
on your knee to-morrow."
He gladly promised to follow all her instructions,
and returned to the railway station with a light heart,
and conning over the hymns he was to hear her sing
In the evening Maysie repeated all her conversa-
tion with the child to Jack, who listened with amused
good nature. She had an innocent little device in
doing so, which was to awaken in her husband's
heart a vital interest in spiritual things. She ended
her story with an expression of surprise that there
could be such ignorance about the plainest doctrines
40 "Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep."
of our religion in any one living under the very sha-
dow of the church; and Jack, laughingly, answered,-
Well now, wifie, you will be shocked, no doubt,
when I tell you that your orthodox husband believed
with Geordie, that one must be good before being
saved; and it seems, from your teaching, that it is the
very reverse which is required to make a saint of a
sinner. One must feel desperately black before the
bleaching process will begin."
The captain spoke in a bantering tone, and his
words were sinfully flippant; but there was a dawn-
ing interest in his expression, combined with a certain
sadness, which Maysie had never seen on his face
before, that caused her to suppress the gentle rebuke
she had intended to bestow upon the levity in his
remarks, and she merely replied,-
"The work of conversion is formed on a much
more simple plan. The sinner has nothing to do but
believe. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved'-that is all; and from that proceeds
all the after-growth of a new life. Dear Jack, I am
praying always that you may come to a true know-
ledge of the Saviour; it is the one thing wanting to
make me quite happy."
The sadness deepened in his eyes, and he sighed
as he said,-
Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep." 41
"Little wife, you will not be quite happy, then, for
many a day. I can't see myself to be so very bad,
for when I look around at two-thirds of the fellows I
meet, I find that my morals are very much superior
to theirs, and yet they are called Christians-and per-
haps are so. How, then, can I believe the gospel,
though it sounds so sweet from my dear lassie's
"Oh, Jack," she said, with tears, "How often I
hoped, when a storm came on, and I knew that you
were out on the sea, that you would remember some
of our talks of long ago, and that you would find the
Lord who so gladly crossed the deep waters for you,
and who would cross them again if He heard you cry
for Him. Won't you believe on Him now? He will
make you believe when He speaks in the tempest and
angry seas. Won't you do so when He speaks
through the lips you love? Won't you come with me
Captain Forsyth was more moved by his wife's
earnest language than he liked to own, so he merely
patted her tearful cheek, and bade her go on pray-
ing for him, and some day, perhaps, he would try to
see it all.
"Some day Oh, Jack, that some day does more
to shut the door of Heaven than all the downright
42 "Igo to the Desert to nd my Sheep."
wickedness in the world. Poor, ragged, naughty
Geordie said he would begin to-day. Will you be
less brave than he ?"
I don't see what bravery has to do with it, my
good little woman, and you should not expect a man
to be so piously inclined as all that, unless he is a
clergyman. If I needed your gospel comfort as much
as that boy, no doubt I'd seek it. And besides, you
should remember that there are heaps of things I
would have to give up doing if I went in for Christi-
anity such as you believe in. You would not wish
me to be half-and-half goodie. It's a subject that
wants thinking about. Now, go away to your rest-
and your prayers. Yes, dear, I like to think that you
pray for me. We will talk more of this another
Maysie's little lamp of hope almost went out at
this dismissal, but she meekly answered,-
"I pray, believing that the answer I desire will
come in God's good time."
How brightly would her lamp of hope have burned
again if she had seen Jack when alone that night.
His head lay bowed on his arms for a long time, and
what his thoughts were, God only knows. After some
hours of such silent pondering, he murmured,-
"Oh if I could but see it all as she sees it. If I
"Igo to the Desert to find my Sheep." 43
could but meet that Shepherd while He is seeking
the lost. If the parsons tell truth, it is the Spirit that
turns a sinner from the error of his way. Why does
that Spirit not turn me now? It's all a dark maze.
I can't see ahead-yet-it would be awful, as Maysie
said, to be found by Him during a storm at sea.
Things have gone too smooth with me, surely. Why
can't I believe now, and find peace?"
"ARE THEY NOT ENOUGH FOR THEE?"
G. OU may be sure Geordie did not forget to
present himself before Mrs Forsyth on the
Nol morrow with clean face and hands. Indeed,
he went even further in his attempt at tidiness.
He borrowed an old comb from a neighbour, and
contrived with its aid to make his hair look much less
like a mat; and with the same good-natured friend's
assistance, he washed his clothes, thereby adding to
their ragged appearance, but certainly removing a
great portion of their unsavouriness. His efforts were
rewarded by the praise which Maysie bestowed upon
his improved appearance, and she set her baby on his
knee without hesitation. Geordie's pleasure was
beyond words to describe; but when the little one
smiled confidingly in his face and put its warm wee
hands on his thin cheeks, it seemed to our poor waif as
Are they not enough for Thee ?" 45
if a door in Heaven had opened, and his ain Allie had
laid her angel fingers upon him once more. He
started at the baby touch, and taking the small hands
reverently in his own looked at them as Romanists
gaze upon saintly relics, then pressed them with
pathetic grace to his half-clad bosom.
Mistress and maid looked on wonderingly, and
were moved, as tender women ever are by such sights;
but baby caused a diversion by suddenly clutching at
the locks which had cost their owner much trouble a
few hours before, and crowing over the feat with that
frantic joy which infants always evince when they get
the chance of tugging some one's hair.
I will not linger over that pleasant visit, the first
of many-nor over the time when Geordie was rigged
out in the old suit made down," and maist as gude
as new," by Maysie's deft hands. For a whole month
Geordie lived as happily as possible, seldom requiring
to ply his old trade at the railway station, for Jack
found him very useful in running messages to and
from Leith, and Maysie often required an errand-boy
to do odd jobs for her. They never employed any
messenger but Geordie, and they never failed to pay
him well for his services; he was always welcomed
heartily to their house and employment given him at
once, so that he never felt idle or in the way, and his
46 "Are they not enough for Thee?"
daily call became lengthened into what he blithely
One day the captain sent him to bring home a
pretty perambulator, and when baby was put into it,
Geordie was intrusted with the care of both. A
precious charge which he appreciated to its utmost
value. Soon his morning occupation became the
wheeling of this perambulator, and no other duty
delighted him so much. Often Mrs Forsyth or Agnes
accompanied him, but they took care to show that
they were not of the party, for the purpose of over-
looking. The young charioteer had permission to
ramble where he liked, and he usually led the way
to the Queen's Park. There Mrs Forsyth (or Agnes)
would sit down and work, while Geordie lifted the
baby from its chair that it might roll on the cool grass
and embibe fresh vigour, as he did, from the pure
air sweeping down the slopes of Arthur Seat.
What pleasant hours they spent thus, and often
Maysie would pause in her work to marvel at the
boy's gentle, thoughtful care of her little one. He was
baby's slave, and the amount of patience which he
showed would have done credit to the best of nurses.
It was indeed a marvellous change which had been
effected in Geordie Roye during those few weeks.
Not only had his thin limbs and cheeks grown plump
"Are they not enough for Thee 47
and robust, but his whole character had become
transformed. To deceive and use bad language were
abhorrent to him now. His anxious, over-shrewd ex-
pression had given place to a frank intelligent smile, and
the peace of a good conscience added its own charm
to his naturally pleasing face. The daily hourly
lessons which MAay-ie gave by both precept and
example fell upon rich soil, prepared for their recep-
tion by the Master, and His sunshine quickened into
life and full fruition the good seed thus sown. If you
have known anything of God's dealings with His
wandering ones, you will know that there is no exag-
geration in what I am telling of the rapid change
which religion and love had wrought in a depraved
heart. Ah! the fruit of the spirit does not ripen by
slow degrees, when the human soul yields itself will-
ingly and entirely to Divine influences; and Geordie
was only one of many rescued mortals, who testify to
that wonderful ower which can convert a sinner into
a saint, before e has realized more than his own utter
unworthiness, and the might of Him who saves.
But though our small hero was sufficiently happy
in his new life not to desire any further change, there
still hung over him the shadow of that wretched exist-
ence which he had led before. How could he forget
it when each evening he returned to the same wretched
48 "Are they not enough for Thee "
'home, and the same wretched parent? Impelled by
the heaven-sent instinct which makes a christian
long to bring others into the fold, Geordie once
ventured to remonstrate with his mother about the
life she was leading; but the violence with which she
retorted terrified him into absolute silence on the topic
henceforth. Nevertheless, he did what he could other-
wise to work for Christ; and though his mother made
no remark, she could not fail to observe how changed
he was. He never answered anger with anger, never
kept back pennies by the use of a ready lie, never sat
sullen, or self-absorbed, as had been his manner once;
but quietly performed such small kindly services for
her as were possible, leaving deeds instead of words
to speak for him. All passed unnoticed, and Geordie
never told even Mrs Forsyth of his feeble attempts to
lead his poor erring mother into the right way. Un-
noticed, unknown, by all but God.
I ought to tell you that the minister did not forget
his promise to look Geordie up. He also accomplished
what the boy had failed to do, for he persuaded Sarah
Roye into allowing her son to attend evening classes
for Bible instruction. I must confess, however, tl.at
Mr Stuart gained his object by an agency which
Geordie was not in a position to employ, namely,
money; but Geordie-only too thankful for being per-
"Are they not enough for Tee ?" 49
mitted to go-never asked what means had been used
to attain the purpose, and he never knew that every
evening which saw him in the mission-rooms, saw his
mother richer by sixpence! I have no doubt some
people would find fault with the minister for using
bribery for such a purpose. Doubtless he tried all
other forms of persuasion first.
Once, when the old woman was in an unusually
good temper, she asked, and what for new-fangled
lair (learning) will it be that ye get yonder?" but
when Geordie, eager to tell, began to expatiate on
the subject, she grumblingly stopped him by saying,
"Texts! hymns! ye say. If their fine Bible and
Catechism benefit you no mair than they did me, I'm
thinking it's time and money wasted. But they unco
gude folk must aye be busying themselves about either
folks' morals, and I'm thinking they keep they're own
morals out o' sight most whiles."
"I'm sure nobody can say that o' Mr Stuart,
mither," replied Geordie, with much energy, but he
was stopped from defending his friend further by an
oath, and "just haud your tongue, boy, or ye may
sing sma'. I'd see some sense in yon school if ye
were learned to earn your bread instead o' bawling
hymns and what no useless nonsense, but it keeps
you from mischief for a while, so I'll let ye bide a bit."
50 "Are they not enough for Thee?"
And Geordie, trembling lest the permission should be
retracted, was silent. He ought to have heard how
his mother finished up her remarks when she had no
listener. Weel, weel! wha kens? maybe Geordie
will turn out a respectable man some day. He's
wonderful changed o' late. I ken no what's come to
the boy, but anyways he is a better boy, an' it makes
me sair-hearted to think that I've no done him mickle
gude a' his days, puir bairn But if he's going to
turn out a respectable man, it shall no be me that shall
^l-r, ~ i s ^'"r~;
PIERCED TO-NIGHT BY MANY A THORN."
NE evening the little household in Preston
Street was stirred to unusual excitement by
Captain Forsyth proposing that they should
all go down to Leith next day and inspect his ship
before she took in cargo, preparatory to starting on
another long voyage. Geordie was informed that his
services would be required for the expedition, so
went home early, anticipating great pleasure on the
morrow. That he might do no discredit to his party,
he took off his "gude claes" and proceeded to sponge
them from all stains. Having tidied to his satisfaction,
he folded the garments neatly, and laid them beside
his humble bed, where he was soon lying dreaming
pleasant dreams. He woke up early, and remember-
ing the pleasure in store, he crept quietly from his
corner, not wishing to disturb his mother, and groped
his way to the chair upon which he had placed his
52 Pierced to-night by many a Thorn."
clothes. But they were not there. Wondering how
they had been displaced, Geordie opened a bit of the
window shutter to enable him to see better, and then
discovered that his mother was not in the room. She
had lain down on the previous evening before he did,
and he thought she had been too confused from the
effects of drink to observe how he was employed.
She had gone off to sleep, grumbling that it was so
early, and yet she "had no' a bawbee to get a drap
for supper with," and that was the last he had seen or
heard of her. The experience of former occasions
brought a sudden terrible thought to Geordie's mind.
Opening the window yet wider, he searched eagerly,
yet with a sure foreboding of the truth, for his missing
clothes, but they were no where to be found. The
suit which Jack had given, which Maysie had made,
which he had so proudly worn, was gone-gone, he
never doubted, as every home comfort had gone
before, for drink. All the old passions rose up in
Geordie's heart for a minute or two, and he muttered
an oath as he cast despairing eyes around the room.
Suddenly his eye fell upon the hymn-book, given by
Mrs Forsyth, which always lay upon his pillow, and
at that moment he seemed to hear her sweet voice
singing the lines which tell so beautifully of the Good
Shepherd's care, and of all He suffered for His wander-
Pierced to-night by many a Thorn." 53
ing ones. Bitter, reckless words rising to Geordie's
lips died unuttered; the anger faded before that piti-
ful picture of his loving, wounded, weary Lord; and,
sinking on his knees, the poor waif cried, Forgive us
saith, Oh Jesus."
There was a hush in the dim comfortless apartment
-a hush which Geordie felt as if it had been soft
pitying hands laid upon his troubled heart and stilling
all its passion. With his face buried in his arms, he
knelt, and could not move, for the spell of that
presence which held him calmed, entranced. He
knew, he felt that God was very near him, and that
conviction, which once would have terrified his guilty
soul beyond description, now gave him the deepest
comfort. After a long pause, his feelings found utter-
ance in broken petitions addressed to the sympathetic
Saviour which he knew to be so near; then, as the
thought of all Christ had suffered pressed more and
more upon his mental vision, he said, "and He suffered
a' that for poor me! sure I can suffer this for Him;
and Oh, mither mither one o' the Lord's sheep that
was lost; Oh, find her, Jesus, and forgive her too."
Then Geordie went back to his bed and lay there
for a long time communing with Him who heareth
always, and while so engaged the troubled heart be-
came quiet and happy, and forgot its disappointment.
54 Pierced to-night b ny may a Thor."
He did not know how the time went, for even the
cravings of hunger were forgotten, and it was only
when the one o'clock gun boomed forth its startling
"take notice how time flies," that Geordie became
aware that the morning had slipped past.
They will maist be coming back again from Leith
now," he said to himself, as, rising wearily, he donned
the old ragged garments still in his possession. For-
tunately for him they had proved too worthless to ex-
change for a glass of even the vilest of liquor. ." I must
tell Mrs Forsyth why I was absent, but I'm maist
ashamed, only-dear lady! she will understand and
no' be angry," and somewhat comforted by the recollec-
tion that he had so true a friend, Geordie passed out
of his old home.
A fresh trial waited him in the street, for the urchins
who had been quick-witted enough to discover the
improvement in his appearance of late, were also sharp
enough to spy the relapse, and to guess its cause.
"What'll your fine friends say, man?" called out
one street arab.
"Eh,Geordie, ye'll findyour fine coatieat our uncle's."
"The fine waistcoat's doun old Sarah's throat, boy,"
Not long ago, Geordie would have faced about on
his tormentors and given as good as he got, but some-
Pierced to-niht by many a Thorn." 55
how it seemed that he could not do so now. He
merely walked on silently, and his pale face expressive
of nothing but sorrow, stirred the pity of his juvenile foes.
Let him alone," said one lad, who at first had been
the m"st ready with chaf.
Ye'd no take itso patientlyashe does,"cried another.
"Cheer up, Geordie, your fine friends will gie ye
another suit," added a third.
"Take my advice, Geordie," said the first again;
"Cut the old woman, and your gude friends will put
you in the way o' earning an honest living. Turn
your back on this cursed place, and all in it, while ye
have the chance."
Geordie gazed at his blunt, well-meaning adviser
with a startled, almost glad look; then nodding his
head, he turned out of the wynd, and walked quickly
up the High Street, pondering over the counsel
Bad as his mother was, and uncomfortable as his
home had ever been, the boy had never dreamt of
deserting them,-nevu once supposed it possible for
him to change the miserable life he led for a happier
by cutting adrift from all old ties. But now it seemed
as if his eyes were being suddenly opened to a way
of escape from all the misery of the past-from all
his connection with sin and shame. He felt sure that
56 Pierced tc-night by many a T/orn."
he had only to go to Captain Forsyth, or Mr Stuart,
and lay his case before them, and they would soon
find a berth for him, where he would lead an honest,
independent life. Almost instinctively, while his
mind was fully occupied with this new hope, Geordie's
feet led him, by well-known by-paths, in the direction
of Newington; but when he had almost reached
Preston Street (intending to confide all to Mrs
Forsyth), a yet newer thought obtruded itself, and
this was it: TVould God be pleased wit him if he de-
serted his mother, even for his own well-being? Was it
by turningfrom sin and misery that the Shcpherd found
His lost sheep ? If he meant to be a true follower of
Jesus, ought he not rather to tread the rough and
thorny paths, and do what he could to lead his
mother back to the right way?
However perverted a soul may have been in its
ideas of right and wrong, after it has come under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, conscience tells unerringly
what is the true will of God. At least, so Geordie
found it to be, for he said to himself, "I'm thinking
He wadna' just like me to desert my mither, and if I
turn from her there is no' a life wad care to keep her
company, or do her a bit o' kindness, and I could not
be happy, kenning that she was sae left to herself. "
Instead of going to Mrs Forsyth, Geordie turned in
Pierced to-night by many a Thorn." 57
at the old cemetery gate, and sitting down beside wee
Allie's gave he fought it out. If anything could have
tempted him to curse his parent and turn from her,
the recollection of how he lost his baby sister would
have done so. In a moment of drunken incapacity,
the woman had dropped her child on the roadway of
a crowded thoroughfare, and a passing vehicle had
gone over it, crushing the spark of life out of its tiny
form in an instant. When Geordie went out that
morning, Allie had laughed to him, and returned his
hearty kiss with the open mouthed, loving eagerness
of infancy. When he came back at night, anticipating
the same sweet tokens of her artless affection he found
her mangled body hid under the tattered counterpane,
and never more could Allie's smile meet his. Their
father, never very patient or steady in principle, spoke
hard angry words, and left the guilty woman to remorse
and crime. Would Geordie do likewise? It seemed
that she deserved to be deserted by all the world, but
the boy said once more to himself, "If God can love
me, sure He can love her; and if He has forgiven me
-as I know He has-I'm thinking its possible He
may forgive her too. I've done nothing for Him yet
to prove my gratitude, but maybe if I tried more
earnestly and more wisely I might do mither some
gude yet. Anyhow, I'll no' leave her, for there is no
"58 "Pierced to-ni;ght by many a Thorn."
one else to speak to her of the Lord; and He may
ask me some day why I sought my ain weal and left
my mither to perish in her sin."
Having quite made up his mind, Geordie rose
strengthened and encouraged, although food had not
passed his lips that day, nor had any voice spoken
words of cheer. Taking the Captain's new shilling
from its safe bank, Geordie sought a shop, and, having
satisfied the cravings of hunger with twopenny worth
of bread, he invested the rest of the money in some
food which he thought would please his mother.
With the earnest desire to become at once a worker
for his Master warming his heart, Geordie hurried
home, and finding it empty-in fact as he had left it
-he proceeded to "tidy up" before spreading his
purchases to the best advantage. A few scones, two
saveloys, a mug of milk, and some peppermint drops
-that was Geordie's "love feast." Having spread *
his dainties, he set himself to wait for Sarah's return;
altogether forgetting, in his pleasure, that when his
mother did arrive she would most likely not be in a.
condition to appreciate his attention. But the hours
sped on, and evening drew near, spreading its dusky
wings abroad. Gradually Geordie grew chill and
drowsy; and at last, weary and c. j cted, he fell fast
asleep by his untasted food. Ho;w long he slept he
Pierced to-nzght by many a Thorn." 59
knew not, but he was waked up by a kind voice which
he recognized, saying "Ah, little man, have I got you
to stir at last." Geordie stared confusedly at the
minister, for he could not recollect at once where he
was, or what had occurred to bring them together,
"where-when-what is it?" he stammered.
"Taketime-take time," said his kind friend. "I
am in no great hurry, Geordie, when you are quite
awake, and composed, and can bear to hear what I
have to say, you can ask me questions."
The last part of the sentence was spoken gravely,
warningly, and Geordie took fright at once, as doubt-
less Mr Stuart meant he should.
"Has anything bad happened?" he cried wildly,
and the good man, knowing that the truest kindness
is to shorten suspense, replied,-
"Yes, my poor boy, but you must try to believe
that our Father doeth all things well, for it is fre-
quently difficult to see that it is so. There has been
an accident. Your mother was run over this morning,
and was conveyed to the Infirmary. She is badly
But she is living?" he asked, with a burst of tears.
Yes, and she wishes to see you. I came to fetch
you. Have you courage to face a great trial?"
"Oh, yes, let me go at once," and Geordie started up
60 Pierced to-night by many a Thorn."
eager to be off; but Mr Stuart gently detaining him,
"Understand me. clearly first, my boy. It is a
terrible thing to see a person who has been much
hurt, as your mother is hurt, and more terrible still
when we know that the unfortunate individual's own
failings have aggravated such injuries, and when-
Ah, Geordie, I must tell you all the truth-when the
doctors say that the poor sufferer will soon be out of
pain. So soon that perhaps you may only reach in
time to see her die."
"I will bear it. Let me go," was Geordie's brief
reply; but it was said with such firmness that the
minister felt that he was to be trusted.
Do you care to follow them to a surgical ward in
the Infirmary? I will not attempt to describe the
sight which met poor Geordie's gaze when he was led
to a bedside, and told that what lay upon the couch
was his mother. Prepared as he had been by the
minister's words, he was scarcely prepared enough,
and could not suppress an exclamation of horror at
the awful change which vice, physical injuries, and
the shadow of death had wrought. Sarah Roye
could never again look upon her boy's face,-nor upon
anything of earth-but she knew his voice, and called
out in heart-rending tones,-
"Pierced to-nzght by many a Thorn." 61
"Oh, Geordie! oh, I've been a bad mother, and
I'll never rise from this bed, and how can I go to
meet my Maker? His anger is crushing me. It
presses sorer than yon heavy wheel did. Geordie,
see what I'm come to, and take warning. I sent for
ye that ye might see what sin brings a body
"Sin brought you here, mither," sobbed Geordie,
as he knelt and pressed her helpless hands; "but
the Friend o' sinners will lift you up, far above a' pain
and a' sorrow."
"And what ken ye about that Friend, Geordie ? I
never told you of Him. I left Him when I was no'
much older than you are, and He is leaving me
"Christ Jesus is nearer you in this hour of your
extremity than He ever was before," said the
"Yes," she shrieked; "but He is near as my
offended Judge. Oh, save me! save me! What
shall I do? Eternal woe is before me !"
But nearer than eternal woe is everlasting love,"
replied Mr Stuart; and Geordie, trembling with fear
and grief, added in broken tones,-
"The Good Shepherd loves everybody, mither.
He loves the wandering ones as much as the gude
62 icrced tc-nmzht !by many a. Thorn."
folk that never leave Him. He is calling you now.
Tell Him ye are coming into His fold, for it's no
ower late to get shelter there."
"I hear only a Judge saying, 'Prepare to meet
thy God,'" was the awful answer which the invalid
made. Then losing consciousness for a few moments,
she moaned, "Eh, puir Geordie,-my puir boy's
claes that I stole; and he'll come to the same bad
end, for who will keep him from evil. He has
learned nothing but ill from me. Bring him to see me
noo-that will be a warning. Geordie, boy, dinna
curse your mither sae, for the Lord's froun is more
than I can bear; and your ill words are sinking me
All through that terrible night did Mr Stuart and
Geordie watch beside the wretched woman's death-
bed. Sometimes she was quite conscious, and then
earnest words of hope and comfort were whispered
by him who knew so well how to bear his Master's
message to the heavy-laden; but the sufferer would
turn from him, and cry out to her boy,-
"Geordie, Geordie, say you have forgiven a'. Tell
me you love the Lord, and then I can listen to what
the minister says."
"Over and over again did Geordie assure her that
all the past was blotted from his memory, as far as
"Pierced toa-night by many a Thorn." 63
wrothful feeling was concerned; and such an assur-
ance calmed the agony of self-reproach until the
cloud drifted across her reason again, when doubt
and despair would gain the mastery as before. But
when the end drew near the excitement passed away,
and she whispered quite quietly,-
"Geordie, my bairn, tell me that ye forgave me
before this happened, and I will then believe and
S trust the mercy o' God."
With touching simplicity the boy related all that
he had felt and done during the previous day--not
even omitting to tell of the little "feast" he had pre-
pared as a proof of his forgiving love. Minister,
doctor, and nurse, accustomed to death-bed revela-
tions, had never heard a more pathetic story; and
tears filled their eyes as they listened to Geordie's
simple way of proving how complete had been his
forgiveness; while over his mother's mutilated face
there swept a gleam of spiritual joy, the beauty ot
which not even unsightly wounds could altogether
Thank you, Geordie. If the love o' Jesus made
you feel like that, it can rescue me even now-even
now. Say yon Bible-words about scarlet sins,
Geordie, for I'm going-going fast; and-it will-
64 "Pierced to-night by many a Thorn."
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they
shall be as wool."
She only heard a portion of the passage, for when
Geordie paused, his mother had reached the land
where all the sin and suffering of this world are set
"How DEEP WERE THE WATERS CROSSED."
IE ND so you like our plan, small man; well!
S I think we shall turn you out a smart
sailor before long," and Captain Forsyth
cast his laughing eyes upon Geordie Roye, standing
before him in a neat sailor dress, and looking as
bright as if care and he had never met. It was some
months after his mother's death, and the sorrow of
that time had been eased to the boy, through the
unremitting care of Mrs Forsyth and the good clergy-
man. They had wisely shown him how impossible it
would have been for the unfortunate woman to have
lived a "changed life," when her besetting sin had
become almost second nature; and therefore how
much better it was that she was called away at the
moment when the clouded soul was striving to fling
the tempter's chain aside, and cast itself upon the
mercy of God. Mr Stuart pointed to the example of
66 "How deep were the waters crossed."
the thief on the cross; and Maysie, taught by her
keen, far-seeing woman's instinct, told Geordie that
since nothing has been revealed of what happens
after death, we have everything to hope from the
love of Him who has revealed Himself as all love on
this side the grave. That we must not limit God's
power or His pardoning grace, but must trust Him
utterly, believing that He willeth not the sinner's death,
and that He doeth all things well. Such words brought
their own comfort; and Geordie, never having known
the happiness of a mother's self-sacrificing love, soon
learned to forget the dark past, and to look forward
with confidence and hope.
His good friends had talked over many schemes for
starting him in life, and Captain Forsyth's proposal to
take him on board ship seemed the best plan of any,
as Geordie had a natural liking for sea-life. When he
was asked if he would like to go with the captain, you
may be sure he gave a willing assent, for he was well
aware that he could not be baby's page-boy much
longer, and he was anxious to prove his willingness to
work, and repay his friends for all they had done for
him. Although ready to adopt any means of earning
a livelihood, which his self-constituted guardians de-
sired, Geordie's wishes had been hankering after a
berth on board the Dunedin," therefore his joy was
How deep weie the waters crossed." 67
great when Captain Forsyth proposed the very thing
which the boy had been longing for.
It will be good for you as well as for Geordie," said
Mrs Forsyth to her husband, as her thoughts went
sorrowfully to the one thing yet wanting to complete her
happiness. I have watched over our poor little waif
daily, and I am convinced that there is no sham about
his changed nature. He has given himself unre-
' servedly to God; as I pray, oh, Jack, how often, that
you may do also."
"And you fancy if I take your interesting convert
with me that he may help me into the same state,
Yes," she frankly answered, I do hope that when
you hourly see the good which religion has wrought
in an ignorant erring child like that, you will be con-
vinced that no other state of mind can be safe, or
helpful, or wise."
"And don't I have the best of examples in you,
my pet?" he answered, tenderly, and Maysie smiling
"You always affirm that religion is a woman's
virtue, and fit for women only, so I want you to see
that it becomes your own sex as well."
"My wife," Jack said, with sudden intense serious-
ness, "I shall soon be gone on the longest, most
68 "How deep were the waters crossed."
dangerous of all my voyages, and I know you will
have many anxious thoughts about me till I return.
If your God is gracious enough to let me come back
to you in safety. Well, dear, I want to tell you that
I have thought very much lately upon this subject of
genuine heart-religion, and if a constant sense of
unrest and dis-satisfaction with one's self are signs of
anxiety about the safety of the soul, then I am anxious
about mine. You know, Maysie, I can't open my
heart even to you upon some subjects. But I want
you, when I am gone, to have the small comfort
of knowing that your protege's changed life (as you
call it) has set me thinking most deeply, and that his
presence in the ship will be a constant reminder of all
your efforts to teach me christianity. There-why
need I mind ? it must be Satan himself who holds me
back from telling you, that I am ashamed of my cold-
hearted way of treating your life-long efforts to win
me to a higher life; and yet-and yet-however,
that boy's piety has shown me the power of God more
than even your life of consistent goodness has done
(for I took it as a matter of course that women should
be pious), and I'trust that the same power that changed
him will change me."
Maysie's heart went up in thankfulness, but know-
ing how Jack shrank from conversation on things
"How deep were the waters crossed." 69
that touched him most, and comprehending too what
violence he had done to his natural inclination in
speaking out so much, she wisely made no remark.
Her only answer to his long speech, uttered in short
abrupt sentences, was a sweet smile and kiss, which
Captain Forsyth did not expect to return from his
projected voyage before two years had passed, there-
fore the little household was kept busy for some time
before the departure in making preparations for such
a lengthened absence. It seemed a long time to look
ahead, and poor Maysie's heart failed often, but Jack
did not guess how many forebodings she had, and he
gladdened himself by believing that she would bear
the long period of separation as a sailor's wife should
-cheerfully, patiently, bravely.
As for Geordie, he was all glee at the prospect of
embarking so soon; endless were his plans; marvel-
lous were the trophies which he was to bring from
foreign parts to his "queen-baby;" the voyage was to
be for him a time of unalloyed delight, and at last
even Maysie caught a gleam of his enthusiasm, and
talked hopefully of the future. The weeks flew past,
all too quickly; and then the "Dunedin's" white
wings were spread, and she drifted down the Firth of
Forth, while Maysie, kneeling alone in her little home-
70 "How deep were the waters crossed."
nest, sought comfort from God as she gave the sailors
to His keeping.
Who can describe the sensation which one feels
when at sea for the first time ? The wonderful charm
of being launched upon the deep, the mystery of the
fathomless ocean, the sailing away into unknown
regions, then speedily all the charm and wonder and
mystery giving place to the miseries of sea-sickness,
and these in turn yielding to a certain hardy, indifferent,
reckless enjoyment of the present without thought or
care for past or future. All this Geordie passed through,
and in a short time the captain declared that our little
hero was a born sailor, and fit to sail round the world.
The boy's merry humour and stainless purity of word
and deed won upon the rough mariners, who could
scarcely believe that he had not long ago been a city
waif, unloved, untended, knowing little of human kind-
ness, and less of God's grace. Sometimes his com-
panions chafed Geordie about what they called his
"psalm-singing goodness," but they never succeeded
in weakening his faith, and even the most reckless
among them soon learned to respect that Divine
power which kept our little man from falling back
into his former dark condition.
I do not mean that we shall follow the Dunedin,"
over the world of waters, recounting all her adventures.
"How deep were the waters crossed." 71
You would weary if I lingered over the days and weeks
and months which passed slowly enough for Maysie,
who counted them as many waiting wearying wives
do. It will be enough for our purpose if we take up
the thread of our story about a year after the "Dunedin"
sailed. At that time Maysie began to think that the
worst was over since half the time of probation was
ended. Her last letters from Jack said that he had
reached his destination, was reloading, and hoped to
start on the return voyage about the time she would
get his letter. The knowledge that he was coming
instead of going, gave lighter wings to the second
year than the first had worn; and in spite of the
presentiments which had assailed her all the time,
Maysie began to feel her old light-heartedness coming
back. Yet she did not plan as on former occasions,
she merely tried to believe that the shadow which had
rested upon her spirits so long had been a want of
trust on her part, and she reproached herself accord-
Baby was baby no longer, but a lively chattering
wee lassie, who did not know how to keep quiet for
one instant. "Geordie would have difficulty in keeping
her out of harm's way now," Maysie often said to
Agnes as they watched the little one's antics. He
will have grown quite a lad," Agnes would reply, and
72 How deep were the waters crossed."
then they would talk about our waif, and marvel as of
old, upon the rapid transformation which he had gone
Two years to-day since the "Dunedin" sailed. "We
ought to hear soon of her arrival in British Seas," said
Maysie, one morning as she unfolded the Scotsman,"
and, with an eager glance, scanned the shipping in-
telligence. Nothing there, but on another page an
appalling announcement met her eye, sending the
warm blood with a sudden rush back to her heart
where the life-current seemed to stand still for a
moment. Loss of a Scottish Barque. Survivors
from the Dunedin picked up by a homeward-bound
steamer." Then followed a brief account of what had
happened as far as the few men saved could tell, but
poor Maysie did not read this. She only glanced
over the list of their names and knew that his was not
among them. It was only after the first terrible
suffering had calmed a little that Mrs Forsyth sought
to know the particulars of the catastrophe, but the
intelligence given was very meagre. A boat containing
five seamen and the first mate of the Dunedin" had
been picked up by a vessel driven somewhat out of
her course by stress of weather. The mate said that
one stormy night their ship came into collision with a
large iron-clad, of what nation they could not tell, and
How deep were the waters crossed." 73
never knew, for the stranger made off at once, evidently
little the worse of the encounter. That no blame was
attached to those in charge of the Dunedin seemed
certain, as they were quite unaware of the other vessel's
vicinity, for she was not carrying her lights.
The damage seemed slight at first; but in a few
hours it was discovered that water was rushing into
the hold, and that their position was most critical.
The storm prevented them from attempting to patch
their unfortunate ship well enough to enable her to
reach a port, and in a short time she became water-
logged and quite unmanageable.
Through the example of their gallant young captain,
the men were encouraged to work at the pumps, and
not lose heart, but after two days of terrible strain to
mind and body Captain Forsyth came by an accident
which seemed the crowning stroke to their misfortunes.
He had gone to direct the clearing away of some
rigging, hoping by that means to lighten the ship,
when a heavy yard snapped overheard, and, falling
across the deck, struck the captain on the head and
side. He fell senseless and maimed, and it was some
time before his men knew that he had not been killed
outright. While they were striving in their rough, yet
kindly way, to ease his pain, the mate discovered that
their disabled ship was driving towards a dangerous
74 "How deep were the waters crossed."
reef, which more than one of the crew had had cause
to dread on former occasions. There seemed nothing
for it but to abandon the Dunedin to her fate, and
this the captain proposed, though he knew that it was
not possible for him to be removed from his ship.
To do the men justice, their first thought was for their
much-loved commander, and some fruitless efforts
were made to lift him into one of the boats. But all
in vain, while nearer and nearer came the roar of surf
breaking on rocks, and by the gleaming light could
be seen the awful danger ahead. Time pressed-life
is all precious to a man when he seems to see its end
approaching. Although the men grieved at the
thought of leaving their captain, they clung to a chance
of saving themselves. A last desperate attempt to
remove him was made and failed, then the mate
calling to Geordie to follow him, sprang into the
nearest boat. The boy did not come; but as the
mate cut his boat adrift, he saw Geordie pass aft to
the second boat which followed his one. What
followed, the mate did not know-he had enough to
do to manage the small craft he was in, and he soon
lost sight of the other boat, and of the Dunedin,"
which he never doubted must have perished on the
reef shortly after she was abandoned.
"OUT IN THE DESERT HE HEARD ITS CRY."
OU have heard the mate's account of what
happened to the Dunedin." Now, if you
please, you shall hear mine. When that
officer turned to leave his ship, he passed Geordie
kneeling beside Captain Forsyth, and weeping bitterly.
Touched, by what he took for signs of fear, the mate
"Come along, lad. It is hard to leave him here,
but if we stay we die."
Geordie looked up, amazement striving with grief
in his expression, and staying the tears at once.
"And did ye think I wad leave the captain?" he
"Well," said the other, rather abashed at the mis-
take he had made, "I think if you look ahead, those
breakers will show you that it isn't much good you
(or any one) will do by staying here much longer. I
76 Out in the Desert He heard its cry."
can't linger, so you had better look alive. God bless
you, captain. I would stay if I could do you any
good. Come on, Geordie."
I will stay," was Geordie's answer.
"No! no!" cried Captain Forsyth, who, ill as he
was, had understood what was passing. "No, Geordie,
you must not sacrifice yourself for me. God has willed
me to go down with the ship, but you can and must
"I would rather die with you," sobbed the boy.
"No, you must go home and tell my wife that I
was met, in the storm by One she knows, but I am
not afraid, for He has said 'It is I,' and I know Him
at last. Now go, I beg, I command you, Geordie."
Geordie bent over his captain, and pressed his head,
then hurried aft where the last of the boats was pre-
paring to push off. Jack, left alone, leant his languid
head upon his hand and closed his eyes. Many were
the conflicting thoughts which rose up in his mind in
that moment of supreme distress. He had faced death
often before and he was not afraid, but now that his
soul was yearning after its immortal weal, he strove to
realise how far he was prepared to meet the future.
It was with intense thankfulness, then, that he learned
how hopefully his soul was resting on its Saviour, that
all was peace at last. He had been striving and
"Out in the Desert He heard its cry." 77
praying for many months, but he had not known fully
how changed his heart had become, until that moment
when the near prospect of death lifted the curtain from
his spirit and he read himself aright.
"Oh, if Maysie only knew-oh, if some angel could
but tell her that I am reconciled to her God;" and then
Jack fervently committed wife and child to the Father's
care, and quietly waited for the awful moment when
the "Dunedin" should be dashed to pieces against
the reef. As he lay with closed eyes communing with
that Friend so lately found, a timid hand was softly
laid on his. Looking quickly up, Captain Forsyth's
gaze met that of Geordie.
"You here! why did you not go as I bade? Why
did you not go to my wife?"
"I could not have met her, captain. I could never
have told her that I left you to die alone. Oh, do
forgive me. I'm not worth thinking about. My life
was of no' much use to anyone; but I'd have been
miserable to the end o' my days if I had gone with the
rest, and left my best friend-my own kind master."
Tears sprang to Jack's eyes, and he pres.e'Itthe
hand still lying with mute entreaty upon his. He.
could not censure the boy for such noble self-forget-"
"It will not matter, Geordie, bye-and-bye. I am
78 "Out in the Desert He heard its cry."
sorry that you should die so young, but we are going
home together, after all; and in God's good time.
She will follow and know all."
"He doeth all things well," murmured Geordie,
using the very words which had been so frequently
on Maysie's lips, and Jack, recognizing them, smiled,
as he answered,-
"Yes, my boy. She has helped many a one by
the use of that text, and I know our Father will teach
her to apply it for her own consolation."
The couple could scarcely hear themselves speak
for the roar of the breaking surf. And now the
"Dunedin" began to rock yet more violently, and
her shattered hulk trembled, toiled, and groaned like
a living creature in its death agony. Geordie crept
yet nearer to Jack, whose courage remained un-
S "You are not afraid, boy ?" he asked; "you who
know so well what the power of God is."
"I am no' feared to die, but I cannot help shrinking
just like any poor animal would. It's no fear o' the
judgment, but its fear o' the pain we can never experi-
ence twice." Jack scarcely seemed to hear what his
poor young companion said, for his thoughts had flown
to the far off home where his wife was perhaps at
that moment praying for him, though little knowing
"Out in the Desert He heard its cry." 79
the straits he was in, almost unconsciously he mur-
"There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away,
Ere the line was completed a great shock went
through the ship. It seemed as if she had been torn
asunder by the giant force of demons, but was resist-
ing with all her might. Straining, striving, groaning,
the doomed barque struggled in the toils of her
enemies. Once she rose on a huge billow and rested
for an instant on its crest. Next moment a yet more
terrible crash made an end of the Dunedin." Falling
broadside on the edge, as it were, of a line of rock,
she split across below the main-deck which floated up,
partly sustained upon rocks, while the greater portion
of the wreck disappeared in the vortex of maddeied ,
waters. A cry burst from Geordie's lips, and Jac :4
clasping the boy's trembling fingers, exclaimed,'
"Father into Thy hands-" At that moment the deck
upon which they lay was carried by the surf over the
reef, and at once all the violent motion subsided, and
the wreck floated quietly upon water as calm as that
of Leith Docks. Captain Forsyth opened his eyes
scarcely knowing whether he were still alive or no,
80 Out in the Desert He heard its cry."
for when the Dunedin went down, the wild deafen-
ing noise of conflicting elements had bewildered all
his faculties, and the possibility of escaping the fate
of his ship had never crossed his thoughts. "Are we
yet in life?" he murmured, wonderingly.
Geordie stood up and looked around, not realising
what had happened more than the captain did. But
their position was soon ascertained, and with a joyous
shout the waif exclaimed, "Thank God, we are
The portion of wreck which supported our two
friends, and which looked like a badly constructed
raft, was lying in a basin of sea. Behind stretched
that terrible line of rock and raging waters. Before
spread a smiling land showing every sign of being
inhabited by an industrious community. But what
cheered the adventurers as much as the sense of com-
parative safety, was the sight of a boat coming rapidly
towards them. The swift reaction from despair to
hope was more than Captain Forsyth could bear, in
his weakened and exhausted condition, and a deadly.
paleness spread over his features even while he mur-
mured words of thanksgiving. So that when the
rescue-party reached them, he was not able to return
their hearty greeting. But Geordie, you may be
sure, hailed the strangers with delight; and no sooner
S"Out in the Desert He heard its cry." 8i
had he explained his captain's helpless state, than he
was lifted with the greatest tenderness and placed in
the boat, while one big bearded fellow, who seemed the
leader of the men, picked Geordie up, all wet and
numb as he was, and set him beside Jack.
"Where are the rest of your crew ?" the man asked;
and Geordie briefly explained how all had deserted
the ship before she struck.
"And how came you to be left?" was the next
"The captain could not be moved, and I was no'
going to leave him," Geordie answered, simply.
To his surprise a hearty cheer burst from the men's
lips, and their leader shook the boy's hands energeti-
cally, as he said, "You are a hero, my lad; a brave
good boy : and it warms my heart to hear ye tell your
noble deed so modestly-in my auld Scotch tongue
"Are you Scotch? I'mreal glad," answered Geordie
in his turn, warming to the accents of the mountain
"Aye, laddie, I hail from Auld Reekie."
"And I am an Edinburgh boy."
"That's better news still. And what will your name
be, my fine fellow ?"
82 Out in the Desert He heard its cry."
His questioner started and stared at our waif, who
returned the look with one of puzzled surprise. It is
not such a very uncommon name," the man muttered
inquiringly, and Geordie replied,-
No, it's common enough in Scotland, I have known
more than one boy o' the same name as myself."
True true !" and'the man, turning abruptly away,
busied himself with Captain Forsyth. But though he
did not address Geordie again, he frequently cast
stolen glances at him, and whenever he did so, his
expression became troubled as if by some tender, re-
When the boat reached the shore, Jack was immedi-
ately carried to the nearest house, and there consigned
to the care of a surgeon and women always ready and
able to help the sick. The broken bones were mended
by the surgeon, and all the necessary nursing was
accomplished by the women, so that Geordie found
himself rather de trop in the sick room. Being, more-
over, weary himself, and assured that the captain was
not dangerously hurt, he thankfully accepted the
offer which his big bearded friend made of a bed and
breakfast. Following the man, Geordie soon found
himself in a small bachelor establishment. A cozy
neat cottage, surrounded by a garden where many
flowers bloomed. A very home-nest our waif thought
"Out in the Desert He heard its cry." 83
it looked, and he gladly made himself comfortable in
it. There was not much talking done, the host was
silent though kind, and Geordie was too tired to speak
much, so, after a hearty meal, he lay down and was
soon in the blessed dreamless slumber which attends
upon exhausted nature. When he woke up it was
almost evening, and his friend was seated near, watch-
ing over him with a look of the deepest interest-nay,
You feel rested, Geordie, I think."
"Yes. I am all right now. How is the captain
"Very nicely, I am told. I went round to ask for
him, making sure you would want to know as soon as
"Thank you, how glad I am." But-and Geordie
sat up and looked at his friend with as much earnest-
ness as the man had first looked at him. But I have
a notion I have seen you before somewhere. At least,
I have n't seen your beard, but I think I've seen your
"Look again, and try to recollect, Geordie, my
Geordie gazed wildly at his companion, and gasped,
"It is-sure it can't be-yes oh, tell me tell me,
84 Out in the Desert He heard its ery."
And the couple were sobbing in each others arms."
"'ERE HE FOUND HIS SHEEP THAT WAS LOST."
HAT wonderful experiences the father and son
had to relate to each other, but you know
the chief incidents of Geordie's life since the
time when his parent absconded, so I need not repeat
any part of what the little hero had to tell. A few
particulars of John's history, however, are necessary
to the development of our story.
I think I have already hinted that he was by no
means steady or amiable. How could he be either
with such a wife as Sarah, and without the guidance
of the Spirit to keep him in the right way? But you
must not judge John Roye too hardly for all that.
You can scarcely comprehend how poverty and vice
combined blunt men's feelings upon points which
appear to you very clearly defined. Early training,
such as he had had, also helps largely to tangle the
threads of right and wrong, so that it becomes next to
86 "'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost."
impossible for any but God to lay them straight side
by side, and show how wide is the difference between
the black thread and the white. The more I see of
the working-class, and the more I learn of all their
training and their temptations, the more I wonder at
the real virtues which they possess. I marvel that the
good can live at all in their lives, so strong is the
power of evil. And yet, I ought not to marvel either,
knowing as I do that God is over all; and that He
can sow the seed of His Spirit in the most unpromising
soil; and will gather its fruit from amid a wilderness
I do not suppose that John had ever been warned
about his responsibility as a father, and a member of
a Christian community. The church does much, but,
alas! she cannot reach as far as sin can, she must
leave those deepest depths to her Master, whose
"blood drops all the way that mark out the mountain
track," tell us the price He pays for His ransomed
ones. No! John Roye had never been led to see his
own failings, consequently he made a very indifferent
father to Geordie, who was, at that time, the repulsive
looking, neglected street arab with which we became
acquainted not long ago-a son, of whom no parent
could be proud, you will allow! In fact, John's affec-
tion for wife and children was not strong enough to
"'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost." 87
rise above external things; and when the unfortunate
woman became the means of poor Allie's death, her
husband was only too glad of such a good excuse for
deserting her. John buried his poor baby, and left
the cemetery, vowing that he would never set foot in
Edinburgh again. Of Geordie's claims upon him, he
was altogether forgetful, for the boy, cast upon his
own resources from infancy almost, had seldom troubled
his father with his childish wants. Poor child! he had
Only learned too early that any request he might make
for even the necessaries of life would be met with
harsh words, and, like so many of his class, Geordie
found that the simpler and wiser plan was to "feud
for himself, which he did in the way you know.
Thus no thought of the boy, as one dependent on
him, crossed John's mind, and without any remorseful
scruples he turned his back upon what ought to have
been his first care. Having been at sea for some
years when a lad, he had no difficulty in choosing a
new calling, and soon found a berth on board a Leith
vessel "outward bound." Under an assumed name,
John shipped as able-bodied seaman, and worked his
way to a foreign land; then finding some lucrative
employment on land, he gave up his intention of
following the seafaring life. Severed now from all
old evil associations and their attendant pernicious
88 "'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost."
examples, the temptation to go astray was not so
strong as it had been formerly. Also the genial
climate, open-air work, wholesome country fare, and
difficulty of obtaining (in a thriving rustic locality) the
strong drink which undoes so much that has been
done for good-all these had a wonderful effect upon
John's susceptible nature. He felt self-respect assert-
ing itself within him as it had not done for years, and
soon he began to reap the fruits of his own steady
industry, which helped him to enjoy his new life the
more. When he had saved a little money, he rented
the cottage, and spent his leisure-time in improving
the bit of land attached to the house, and bye-and-bye
ladies took notice of his beautiful flower-beds; and
market-gardeners came to'him for choice vegetables
and fruit. Soon he was so frequently employed in
garden work for big folk that he found his purse
becoming quite heavy, and his heart light! But,
though John Roye thus became a prosperous man
through mere moral reformation, he had not awakened
to a sense of his sinfulness in the sight of God, there-
fore, all his better feelings remained callous-dead-
and he seldom gave a thought to the abject misery of
those whom he had left in Edinburgh. Self was still
before Christ, therefore, before wife and son.
But one night, about a week before the wreck of
'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost." 89
the Dunedin," John had a remarkable dream, which
roused a strange uneasiness in his mind, and was
doubtless the voice of conscience making itself heard
atlast. He dreamt that as he walked along the uneven
dusty road, he came to where a child lay wretched and
bleeding, unable to speak; but gazing at him with a
dumb entreaty that touched his heart. Smitten with
pity, he stooped and, with difficulty, raised the boy in
his arms, but the blood ran from his wounds until it
seemed to become a flood in which John felt himself
drowning. God help me," he cried, and then his
heavy listless burden seemed to become smaller, and
lighter, and presently it changed into the frail little
body of wee Allie. The ragged clothing which the
wounded boy had worn had changed into snowy robes.
The blood-stains and the filth were transformed into
jewels, and the only resemblance left between the poor
road-side waif and the lovely cherub on his bosom
was the pathetic entreaty in its eyes. Awe-struck,
John then heard in his vision, a voice, that was neither
Allie's nor the boy's, saying, "They are both yours
and both mine," and at once John knew that the boy
must have been Geordie. Looking around for the
speaker, John's gaze met that of one so royal, so
terrible in majesty, so awful as He frowned upon
the man, that John trembled even in his slumber.
90 "'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost."
"Both yours, and both mine. Look up," repeated
the voice. John looked and saw the children float-
ing heavenward on a cloud, both still looking at him
with a reproachful tenderness that smote him to the
soul. Thus, it seemed as if the red flood were closing
over him, and, stretching towards that Presence which
stood near, in the blood and yet shrouded in glory,
he cried aloud, Lord, save me," and awoke.
Only a dream! Yes, only a dream; but do what
he could, John was unable to shake the impressions
it had produced from his mind. He became engrossed
with speculations regarding Geordie, for paternal
affection now fully awakened, tortured him with the
most fearful suggestions as to what had befallen his
neglected son. He would have given all the comfort
and pleasure of his present life for an assurance that
Geordie had not met with any calamity; he bitterly
reproached himself for his desertion of the boy;
but self-interest and a rash vow held him back from
taking immediate active steps to discover what had
become of his son. It was while John was suffering
those pangs of self-inflicted anguish, and cogitating
at the same time over a scheme whereby his desire
could be attained without violating his determination,
sealed with oaths, never to return home, that he was
called upon to aid his neighbours in going to the
"'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost." 91
rescue of those who were perishing on the reef. The
marvellous way in which Providence brought about
the very thing which John's wakened conscience so
much desired you know. But Geordie remained
ignorant of a great part of what I have just told you
about his father. Once, as they talked, he ventured
"Why did ye no' write to us? It would have been
JoIn, perceiving by the question that Geordie
could not imagine that his father had purposely in-
tended to cut himself off from all communication with
home for all time, was at a loss how to answer.
I did not know," he said, confusedly, if a letter
would reach-at least (and he spoke very bitterly),
I did not believe I could make things better. I
could not guess that you were alone, and you know
what your mother was-the curse of "
"Yes, father, I know; and I also know what she
is. One of Christ's saved ones. Saved at the last
moment, it's true; but still saved-for one cry is
enough for Him. He heard that cry, and He saved her."
Geordie spoke with gentle dignity, but with a
strong conviction of the truth of his affirmation; and
his father, much impressed, requested him to tell all
particulars of what had happened. During the nar-
92 "'Ere He found His Sheep that was lost.
rative, Geordie was not'backward in speakingg for
Jesus." To Him, and Him alone, did this humble-
minded young Christian give all the praise for the
light which had shone upon his mother's last mo-
ments, and for all the good which had befallen him-
self; and John, softened by a sense of his own
shortcomings, and the recital of the sufferings through
which our poor waif had passed, replied,-
There must be a power that I have not yet known
in what folks call religion."
That was his first acknowledgment of having met
with One who is for ever treading earth's desert
places in search of His lost; and not many months
later John Roye stood forth manfully, and confessed
himself a Christian, partly through the teaching and
example of his young son.
"THERE ROSE A CRY TO THE GATE OF HEAVEN."
HILE this happy change was being effected
in the life and character of Geordie's
father, Captain Forsyth was struggling,
as youthful manhood strives, with a serious illness,
brought on by the accident which had befallen him
and the subsequent exposure.
When first he found himself safe on terra-firma,
and in friendly keeping, Jack hoped and believed
that he would have a speedy recovery, and perhaps
reach Scotland before tidings of the shipwreck.
Hoping thus, he delayed to send news of his escape,
and then before many days had passed, unfavourable
symptoms set in, which deprived him of the power to
write, or even give instructions to others.
Geordie watched over his beloved friend with the
utmost solicitude, and was in fact so much engrossed
94 There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven."
by anxiety on his account, that all thought of sending
news home escaped from our little hero's thoughts.
I daresay, he took for granted at first that the captain
had written to his wife immediately. It was only
when the weary weeks of watching were over, and the
invalid pronounced convalescent, that Geordie came
to know of the unfortunate delay there had been
about sending letters to Scotland; of course, the mis-
take was rectified as soon as discovered, but in the
meantime the rescued sailors had told their tale; and
while Jack was fighting with disease and conquering
it, Maysie was suffering all the anguish of widowhood.
That her husband had escaped the fate of his ship she
never supposed possible, after hearing the mate's
"narrative; and she could only bow submissively and
try to bear the overwhelming blow with christian for-
tidude. It is only when such heavy and unexpected
bereavements come, that we learn how wonderfully
God helps His people. He gives such a sense of being
lifted above the trouble that the deepest affliction fails
to crush the heart of a believer. This was fully realized
by Mrs Forsyth, for even in the first hour of her
sorrow she felt that One was with her who would
S comfort and sustain her. I would not mind so much,
for after all it is only waiting a little while; if I only
were assured that my darling had met Christ before the
There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven." 95
end came. Oh, if I were certain that he had gone
home I would not grieve," such were the touching
expressions which poor Maysie uttered, when alone
and dwelling upon that vital question, which had not
been answered before Jack started on his voyage, and
which could not (so she thought) be answered, until
that day when the sea shall give up its dead. But
though her heart was not satisfied, she was so simply
and entirely the child of God that she learned to leave
even that sorest trial of all in her Father's keeping, and
He gave a blessing in His good time.
A short time after the first boat belonging to the
" Dunedin" had been picked up, there came tidings
of the second. It too had escaped, and Maysie looked
eagerly for the arrival of its crew, hoping that Geordie
(as the mate had reported him to be in the second
boat) would be able to give her more particulars re-
garding poor Jack. Indeed, she almost let herself
believe that Geordie was probably the bearer of a last
message to herself-perhaps her husband had, in the
near prospect of death, told the boy something of his
feelings regarding the future. Thus Maysie hoped
and dreamed, losing sight altogether of her own pain,
and thinking only of her husband's immortal well-
being. Alas, when the men arrived, Geordie was not
with them, nor had been. The coxswain, who had
96 There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven."
charge of the second boat, said he understood that the
boy had gone with the mate; and the mate, as we
know, thought Geordie had secured a place with the
coxswain. Both now believed that our waif had
perished with their captain; but Maysie, led by some
unaccountable instinct, expressed a hope that Geordie
had not been lost. And if he had managed to escape
why not Jack? Geordie was not likely to seek self
preservation without attempting first to aid his captain.
Who could tell? The men described the position of
their ship and the reef minutely, and, from what they
said, there seemed no possibility of saving life; yet
Maysie well knew that marvellous escapes were often
made, and, with such a slender hope to rest upon, she
ventured to dream that she might have further tidings
of her beloved husband. The constant prayers for
him, which had been silenced as soon as news of the
shipwreck came, were now changed into a continual
cry, Lord, if it be Thy will, save him," and the
more she cried to Heaven, the more she felt an
urgent need to do so. It just seemed as if there
had come to her by intuition, a knowledge of what
was happening on the other side of the world, and
hour by hour, and day by day, the loving, sorrowing
wife poured out her soul in prayer, encouraging her-
self the while by the thought that God would never
There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven." 97
suffer her to petition Him so earnestly if He had re-
moved her husband beyond the need of her prayers.
Thus the weary weeks went past. No letter came.
No message. At last a paragraph in the newspaper
brought a glimmer of light, but the report was so vague
that Maysie dared not accept it as a certain token.
All the paper said was that a man and boy had been
rescued from a wrecked vessel, supposed to be the
"Dunedin." But more than one ship had been
lost in that vicinity during the storm, and Maysie,
though hoping, could not venture to believe that
those unknown survivors were Geordie and Captain
She was sitting alone one evening thinking-nay,
praying, for now all her thoughts seemed to go up
beseechingly in the form of prayer. Baby was sleeping
in her little cot, and Agnes had gone out. Maysie
was so occupied with her own sad thoughts that she
did not hear Agnes open the house door. Or if she
did hear, she certainly did not heed. Did not even
turn her face when the room was entered, and Agnes
was obliged to drop the latch key to draw attention.
With a slow, weary movement, Maysie glanced at
Agnes, but no sooner did she catch sight of the glad
smile on the faithful girl's face than light and life
sprang into her own expression.