Who is my neighbor?

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Material Information

Title:
Who is my neighbor?
Physical Description:
60 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 15 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Gall & Inglis ( Publisher )
Publisher:
Gall & Inglis
Place of Publication:
London ;
Edinburgh
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Charity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adopted children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Husband and wife -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Farm life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1880   ( local )
Bldn -- 1880
Genre:
Family stories.   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note:
Baldwin Library copy contains binding error: cover title is "Proved in peril" by ALOE.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002239685
notis - ALJ0219
oclc - 61747535
System ID:
UF00048301:00001


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issue from one of the barn windows. \\hat could it be?
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CONTENTS.



OiAP. I. The Adopted Child,
11. Fanny Proves a Blessing,
III. The Fire,
IV. The Blind Child, .
V. The Mother's Letter,
VI. Arthur and his Friend,



PAGE
. 5
. 13
. 19
. 27
* 40
. 51





















CHAPTER 1.

THE ADOPTED CHILD.

IT was the first evening after their marriage. They
sat together, husband and wife, before the cheerful
firelight of their new home for the first time. Mr
Wilson was reading from the Bible, the old family
Bible that was once his father's; and he paused a
few moments after these words; Thou shalt love
the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy
strength; and thy neighbour as thyself."
Let us, dear wife," said he, "commence out
new life, resolving to make these Divine commands
the guide of all our actions, and our rule of con-
duct. Let us seek to live, not for ourselves, but
for each other, and the good of all around us. So
shall our own enjoyment be most promoted, and we
be enabled to glorify our Father in heaven."
With such sentiments the young newly wedded







6 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?

pair started upon. the journey of life which they
had undertaken together, through weal or wo, until
separated by the hand of death. Self was to be
banished from the foremost rank of principles and
aims-to be laid, as it were, on one side; .but not
without a struggle, for human nature is not easily
conquered, and its own aggrandisement is the most
powerful incentive to action. Selfish principles
are so closely entwined among the fibres of our
moral nature as oft-times to elude detection, unless
brought to light by the searching, sanctifying in-
fluences of religion. The Christian is ever to bear
in mind that he is not his own, but a steward of
th,3 Lord, who will demand of him at last a faith-
ful account of all that is entrusted to his earthly
keeping.
Time passed rapidly but pleasantly on, bringing
with it, as usual, changes, joys, and cares.
Arthur, their first born, a fair blue-eyed child,
came to gladden their hearts, and kindle the new,
sweet emotions of parental love. Happy is the en-
trance of little children into this world, though it
be one of sin and sorrow, when the young immor-
tal spirit, fresh from its Maker's hand, is considered
by those into whose earthly keeping it is given,
as still belonging to its Creator, and is ever
cherished as some priceless jewel to be restored
again.







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



So felt the father and the mother, rejoicing in
the new fountain of love stirring at their hearts,
the well spring of that deep, holy affection that
penetrates into the inmost recesses of the soul; and
they prayed earnestly for wisdom and strength to
train their helpless charge aright, and that grace
divine might polish the jewel it contained, and
make it worthy at last of the Saviour's crown.
Next came Charley, then Susan, both healthy,
happy children; and afterwards little Mary, a de-
licate one, whose birth occurred in the seventh year
after their marriage, and awoke still another chord
of gladness in their peaceful, contented home.
In the meantime, Mr Wilson's maiden sister,
Aunt Betsy, as she was usually called, came to re-
side among them. She had no home in the true
sense of the word, but here and there in the wide
world; though not entirely dependent upon her
own exertions for means of support. They bade
her a cordial welcome to their fireside and family
circle, which she gladly accepted, and thenceforth
her interest became their interest, and in the fer-
vour of her gratitude and love she guarded with a
jealous eye any encroachments upon their comfort
and advancement in life.
Grandma, Mr Wilson's mother, had also found
a pleasant home with her only son; so that now
Mr Wilson found it necessary to redouble his dili-



7







,WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



gent endeavours in behalf of the dear ones who
were dependent upon him, though no fears for the
future ever darkened his mind. It was on a win-
ter's evening, and grandma and the children had
retired to rest, leaving Mr Wilson, his wife, and
Aunt Betsy, conversing together concerning a little
orphan child Mrs Wilson had expressed a wish to
adopt.
Susan and you can do as you choose, brother,"
said Aunt Betsy, "but all I have to say is, I won-
der at you both for thinking of such a thing."
But little Fanny has no home," mildly an-
swered Mrs Wilson, as she sat rocking her infant
to and fro in her arms.
Well, I don't know that you are bound to pro-
vide her with one, any more than other people;
one new comer at a time is enough, I think," added
she, glancing at the baby.
I know it will make more work for you, Aunt
Betsy," said Mrs Wilson, and perhaps on that
account I ought not to think of taking Fanny."
'Tisn't the work, Susan," replied Aunt Betsy
with a slight tone of asperity; who ever saw me
afraid of work ? It is not that by a great deal.
It is the taking an unnecessary burden upon your
shoulders, when you've enough already, and it's
no way in your line of duty."
I ma not so sure of that," interposed Mr Wil-



8







WHIO IS MY NEIGHBOUE



son. God has blessed us that we in turn may
do good to others. I know Fanny has no claim
upon us but of humanity; and if Susan is willing,
I for one would not pass it by."
Well, if she must come, she must, I suppose,"
said Aunt Betsy, jerking her knitting-needles with
such energy that the slender thread of white
worsted broke in twain, and the ball rolled away
upon the floor. She picked it up hastily, and then
took a candle from the table, and turned her face
towards the door, saying, hcwEver, as she did so,
" if you insist upon taking her, I am willing for
one to do my part; but I must say, I do not think
duty requires us to take other folks' children to be
a burden to us."
Perhaps she will be a help instead of a bur-
den," suggested Mr Wilson, when she is a little
older."
May be so," answered Aunt Betsy, but I
doubt it will be a good while first. Better take
them that don't need teaching. However, as
I said before, if you take her, I will do my
part."
That is all we want, sister," said Mrs Wilson,
" if every body was only willing to do their part,
what glorious schemes of benevolence might be
carried out."
Well, my motto is, charity should begin at



9








10 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
home," answered Aunt. Betsy, opening the door,
and closing it after her with no gentle noise.
Little Fanny was an orphan of about six years
of age. She had been found one bitter cold night
in winter, weeping by the side of her mother, who
had sunk down by the wayside faint with cold and
exhaustion. The humane persons who found them,
had them immediately removed to a house near
by, where the mother revived a little at first, but
seemed to grow weaker and weaker. After this,
they were carried to the almshouse, where the mo-
ther shortly died, leaving little Fanny alone in the
world. Even in her dying moments she was un-
willing to give any account of herself, and the child
when interrogated only said that her name was
Fanny, and that she with her mother had been tra-
velling in search of her father, but never had
found him. Her grief for the death of her mo-
ther was touching in the extreme, and so much
pity was excited by her sweet pale face, and'
mournful story, that many plans were devised for
her future welfare. Rich Mrs Fenton, who lived
in a splendid mansion upon a hill not far from Mr
Wilson's, was for a while half inclined to adopt
Fanny as her own child. It was so in keeping too
with her reputation for benevolence-for her name
headed half the subscription lists in the country,
and it was reported she lent a helping hand to







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR I1



every good work. But from some reason this
lady's zeal for the cause of poor Fanny cooled sud-
denly down, and she thought that her health and
present engagements would not admit of another
claimant upon her care and bounty. It would
tbe such an undertaking," she said, to "bring up
the child properly," she did not feel herself com-
petent to the task. So little Fanny still remained
in the charge of the overseers of the poor, pining
incessantly for her mamma, and, unlike other
children, refusing to be comforted. It was about
this time that Mr and Mrs Wilson saw her, and
the expression of deep sorrow upon her childish
face touched both their hearts, and the thought oc-
curred to each, unknown to the other, "why could
not we adopt the little orphan, and bring her up
with our own children." They were hard-work-
ing, industrious people, of moderate, I might say
small means, but with large, loving hearts. Love
thy neighbour as thyself" was a precept which ex-
tended through all their actions, with beautiful and
holy simplicity. "' We can do but little," Mr
Wilson would say, "for the good of others, and
that little we will do."
Before Mr and Mrs Wilson retired to rest, they
made the matter of their decision, according to
their usual custom, a subject of prayer. When
they had concluded, they felt an inward peace



11







12 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
which assured them that they had acted rightly,
and this settled them in the determination, not-
withstanding Aunt Betsy's disapproval, to adopt
the little homeless orphan; and the result was, that
Fanny ame.







WIO IS MY NEIGHBOUR f



CHAPTER 11.

FANNY PROVES A BLESSING.

MANY people wondered that Mr Wilson, in his
moderate circumstances, and with quite a family
already upon his hands, should be willing to bur-
den himself, as they expressed it, with a strange
child. Some were secretly of Aunt Betsy's opinion,
that it was by no means his duty. But he and his
wife felt that they had acted rightly, and received
the forsaken little girl into their home and bosom
with no feelings but those of pleasurable satisfac-
tion. They regarded their decision as influenced
by an overruling Providence.
Mrs Wilson said rightly when she remarked
that no one could help loving Fanny. She was a
child of a sweet disposition, quiet and docile; with
features plain indeed, but lit up with light from a
good little heart, that lent them a charm more
powerful than beauty, and won the heart of the be-
holder. Even Aunt Betsy's cold, stern face lost
something of its ungraciousness, and softened not
a little, as she gazed upon the pale face so expres-
sive of sorrow and suffering. She even went so






1 WuO IS MY NEIGHBOUR f

far, when no one was by, as to pat the child on
the head, and tell her that she must not cry any
more; that crying only spoiled the eyes, and did
no good ; besides what did it signify, had she not
another mother now ?"
Before many months had passed away, Fanny
had greatly endeared herself to her foster parents,
and to all the family. She was sent to the same
school with Susan and Arthur, the elder children,
and treated in every respect as they were. Little
Susan's rough, boisterous way softened beneath the
influence of Fanny's more quiet manner. She was
trusted with the baby, and was so pleasant and
obliging, that Mrs Wilson thought it was a favour
that they had been allowed to adopt her. But it
took a long time to wear away Aunt Betsy's pre-
judices. She still considered Fanny in the light
of an interloper, until a little incident occurred,
which, though trifling, manifested the sweetness
of Fanny's disposition so plainly, that she was con-
strained to love her.
On Susy's birthday, Aunt Betsy presented each
of the little girls with a new white apron. She
would have given one to Susy only, but it was Mr
"Wilson's wish that the children should always share
alike. So Fanny had a new apron also. Equipped
in them, the children went to visit at the house of
a neighbour. When they returned home, Fanny's







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



apron was observed to be torn, and very much
soiled. Aunt Betsy was angry; she seized her
roughly by the arm, and demanded how the acci-
dent happened, telling her, at the same time, she
was a thankless little thing, and deserved only to
be clothed in rags. Susan looked frightened, and
the large blue eyes of Fanny were filled with tears;
her lip quivered,but she did not reply. Again did
Aunt Betsy roughly demand the cause of the acci-
dent. "If you please, ma'am," said Fanny, this
is Susy's apron." Yes," chimed in Susy, "I tore
my apron, and Fanny said she would wear it in-
stead of me." This artless explanation checked
the rising spirit of anger in Aunt Betsy's bosom,
who only said, Well, well, child, you need not
cry about it;" but after this little event, Fanny
seemed to acquire a little more favour in her eyes,
But perhaps next to Mrs Wilson, grandma loved
Fanny most of all. She had now become very old
and feeble. Like all aged people she loved quiet,
and was particularly sensitive to annoying sounds.
Mr Wilson's children were taught to reverence the
aged always, and from the eldest to the youngest,
grandma was ever regarded with love and respect.
When they entered her chamber, they hushed their
noisy play, and spoke in soft and quiet tones. The
old lady loved to listen to the reading of the Bible,
of hymns and good books. After Fanny and



" 15







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



Arthur and Susan had learned to read, she used
frequently to ask them to read to her a chapter
from the Bible, which was truly to her the Book
of books. Of the three children, the quiet ways of
Fanny suited her best. Arthur was always in too
great haste to get to his play, and Susy could sel-
dom seat herself comfortably to read, without first
overturning the footstool, and causing the little
table by grandma's side to shake upon its slender
foundations. Send Fanny to read to me to-day,"
the old lady would say, when her frame was most
irritated with the pains of age, and her ears most
sensitive to discordant sounds. And Fanny would
leave her play without a murmur, and steal softly
to grandma's side; and almost before the dim eyes
of the old lady perceived her presence, would com-
mence reading words of comfort from the precious
Bible. Beautiful was the sight thus presented-
childhood ministering to the spiritual Wants of age;
and beautiful the contrast between the grey-haired
mother in Israel, fast ripening for a brighter and
better world, and the fair young child, whose
blooming life might be said to have scarcely begun.
The one had seen her eightieth winter shed its
snows upon the earth, while the eighth summer of
the other had but just blossomed and gone.
It was on one of these occasions that they sat
together at the close of a beautiful Sabbath after-



16







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



noon in autumn. The window was open, and the
golden sun shed his warm light on the aged form
of the old lady as she reclined in her easy chair.
Fanny was reading the twenty-third Psalm.
When she came to the passage, Though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil; for Thou art with me," she was
interrupted by grandma's tremulous voice, re-
peating it over feebly but yet distinctly, then
after a few broken words, her head sank upon her
bosom, and her hands clasped each other as if in
prayer. Fanny resumed her reading, but in a
lower voice, thinking grandma had fallen into a
doze. In the mean time the family arrived from
church, and Aunt Betsy, as was her usual custom,
proceeded immediately to grandma's chamber.
But the angel of death had been there before her,
and sealed with his icy finger the dull ears of age
that had loved to drink in the inspiring words.
One glance at the dear face of her apparently
sleeping parent, told the solemn tale that thrilled
Through Aunt Betsy's soul. Grandma was dead !
With an agitated voice she hurried Fanny from
the room, bidding her send Mr and Mrs Wilson
thither directly. Efforts were made to recal the
vital spark; but in vain, it had fled for ever.
The pilgrimage of the aged saint upon earth had
ended, and her spirit had commenced its new and



17







18 WHO IS MY NEIGHBnOUR

eternal career in that world where sin, sorrow, and
death can never enter. So peacefully had the
lamp of life expired, so serenely had she departed.
She passed through the dark valley leaning upon
the arm of her Saviour, as she listened to the
words, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with
me."
The children wept for her, and those who were
older mourned with a deeper sorrow, but not as
those who have no hope. So felt they all, as, on
the evening after her funeral, Mr Wilson read to
his assembled family the words, Blessed are tho
dead who die in the Lord, Yea, saith the Spirit,
for they rest from their labours, and their works
do follow them."







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



CHAPTER III.

THE FIRE.

ONE incident occurred during the summer of this
year, which may perhaps be worth recording. A
poor sailor, travelling to a distant seaport town,
and pale with illness and fatigue, humbly begged
of Mr Wilson a night's lodging. The next morn-
ing he was unable to rise, much to the discomfort
of Aunt Betsy, who averred that in her opinion
no good came of lodging strange people. For all
they knew he might be ill of some infectious dis-
order, which would endanger the lives of the
whole family. In this last suggestion, she was
right; for the poor man grew rapidly worse, and
a physician was sent for who pronounced his dis-
ease to be a fever of a violent and infectious kind.
Now did Aunt Betsy's face assume an expression
which plainly said, this is just what I expected,"
as she moved to and fro with noiseless footsteps,
never refusing to do her part for the sick man, but



19







2) WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?

uttering in whispers her intense anxiety lest others
of the family would yet suffer through her unwel-
come patient. For many days his life hung upon
a very slender thread. Mr Wilson watched with
him night after night, fearlessly ministering to his
wants. And he was rewarded for his kind labours.
Under the blessing of God, nature and a good con-
stitution triumphed. The crisis of the fever passed,
and from that time the sick man slowly recovered
SIt was several weeks, however, before he was able
to leave the house ; and during this time Mr Wil-
son frequently endeavoured to impress with reli-
gious truth the neglected mind of the poor seaman
When the man was able to travel, Mr Wilson,
though he could ill afford it, gave him a small
sum of money. Mrs Wilson also gave him a
Bible. On the day of his departure, he expressed
his warm gratitude to the family, and grasping Mr
Wilson's hand, exclaimed to his generous friends,
"; God will reward you, sir, for your kindness. I
fear I never can." With tearful eyes he then
walked rapidly away. Even Aunt Betsy's
womanly heart was touched as she gazed upon his
retreating, form. Perhaps it was gratitude that
her fearful apprehensions had not been realized
that led her to exclaim, Well, it is a mercy after
all, and a pleasure, to be able to raise a poor dying
fellow creature."







WHO AS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



It was in the early spring of the new year fol-
lowing this event, that one cold, stormy evening
the family were assembled as usual around their
comfortable fireside. The rain and sleet came
heavily against the casement, and the wind
whistled and moaned drearily. At the sound of
an unusually strong gust which seemed almost to
shake the house, the family raised their heads to
listen. There was a knock at the sitting-roon
door. It was John Copley, the farm boy, who,
with lantern in hand, wished to speak with Mr
Wilson. There is a poor man outside, sir,"
said he, who wishes for leave to sleep in the
barn to-night. Are you willing ?" I will step
out and see him myself," said Mr Wilson, taking
the lantern from the boy's hand, and putting on his
hat. Aunt Betsy dropped her knitting work.
"9 Now, brother, I would not let him; he might
set the barn on fire, and then what would the con-
sequences be ? Give him some money, and let him
go on to the tavern; it is not far." Betsy,"
said Mr Wilson sternly, I would scarcely turn a
dumb animal away from my door such a night as
this, much less a human being." Well, well
brother," answered Aunt Betsy, looking a little
ashamed, "I've no wish to be inhuman; I only
thought it would bd best to be on the safe
side."



21






22 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR I
When Mr Wilson arrived at the barn, he found
a miserable, ill-clad man, old in years, and shiver-
ing with wet and cold. Mr Wilson was moved
with compassion. He bade John bring some warm
food from the house, and a couple of coarse
blankets. He also gave him permission to dry
himself by the kitchen fire, which the old man
declined, but accepted the food and blankets with
gratitude. Having seen him comfortably disposed
of for the night, Mr Wilson left him.
The family, after their evening devotions-for
these were never omitted-had all retired to rest
except Aunt Betsy, who was performing her night-
ly round to see that the house was properly fas-
tened, and the kitchen fire extinguished. This
done, she paused a moment before a window look-
ing toward the barn. Suddenly a red flash passed
before her eyes, appearing to issue from one of the
barn windows. What could it be ? Another came,
and yet another-it was fire !-the barn was burn-
ing. With a face white with terror, and trem-
bling in every limb, she rushed to Mr Wilson's
door and roused him from his slumbers. In a few
moments the whole house was astir, and the
neighbours were speedily attracted to the spot.
Men and boys used their utmost efforts to extin-
guish the flames, but in vain. The fire had made
such rapid headway, that all that could be saved







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



from its devouring jaws were a cow and one horse.
Another horse, less valuable, perished in the
flames. Mr Wilson felt extremely anxious lest
the old man had shared the same fate, but could
learn nothing respecting him.
The house communicated with the barn by means
of a wood-shed, and great apprehensions were enter-
tained for its safety. Fortunately the wind carried
the flames with great violence in a contrary direc-
tion, otherwise its destruction would have been un-
avoidable. The wood-shed was torn down, however,
as a precaution, and the firemen and neighbours
were unremitting in their endeavours to quench the
fire. It was a grand but terrible sight to watch the
flames as they streamed up like spires against the
black sky, shedding a lurid light on the country
for miles around, which had been enveloped in
pitchy darkness. The timbers of the barn, after
standing a few minutes in bold relief, soon tottered
and fell, scattering a shower of sparks in all direc-
tions. But the danger was now over, and collect-
ing his family around him, Mr Wilson returned
thanks to God that their lives and so valuable a
portion of his property had been spared. When
morning dawned he learned from one of the neigh-
bours, who came to visit the scene of the confla-
gration, that the story of the old man's sleeping in
the barn had been circulated; that he had been



23







24 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?
discovered a short distance from the fire, arrested
on suspicion of being the incendiary, and in spite
of his remonstrances lodged in the county jail to
await Mr Wilson's further orders. Mr Wilson
regretted this precipitancy, and very unwillingly,
and only at the urgent persuasion of his friends,
allowed him to remain committed for trial. He
had no proof, he said, that the prisoner was the
means of burning the barn; while they thought
there was but little doubt of his guilt, and even
Mr Wilson's charitable heart was puzzled to know
how the event could otherwise have happened. As
for Aunt Betsy, she was positive that he had done
it. No good," she said, ever came of such
miserable wanderers. She had warned her brother,
but in vain." And for a while she triumphed in
her sagacity. In the mean time, the kind-
hearted neighbours contributed a fund towards
rebuilding the demolished structure; and each
lending a helping hand, a new barn, before
many weeks, rose upon the ruins of the former
one.
The trial of the old man was not to come off for
several weeks. Before the end of this period, John
Copely, the farm boy, was taken suddenly ill, and
his life was in imminent danger. Terrified at his
situation in prospect of a near approach of death,
he confessed that he, and not the old traveller, had







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ? 25
caused the burning of the barn. He acknowledged
that having neglected some important duty, he had
stolen out to the barn at a late hour to perform it,
and that while so doing, he had removed the lamp
from its place in the lantern, which he had been
strictly forbidden to do. By some careless move-
ment, the flame came in contact with some loose
straw, and in a few moments the lower extremity of
one of the hay lofts was in a light blaze. Terri-
fied at the sight, the boy fled in haste, and se-
creted himself till the alarm was given, and the
family roused. He then conceived the unjust idea
of never confessing his careless fault, but of allow-
ing the sleeping traveller to bear the blame, and
extreme terror confirmed him in the resolution.
The old man, he supposed, awakened in the mean-
time by the glare of the fire, had hurried from his
place of shelter, and escaped just in time to save
his life. Everything took place as he wished, the
old man was arrested and imprisoned to answer for
the catastrophe.
Mr Wilson was much distressed at this recital,
but did not reproach the unhappy boy. He re-
solved to make reparation as soon as possible, and,
hastening to the jail, procured the release of the
unfortunate prisoner.
This event was not without its good effect upon







26 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?
Aunt Betsy. She, with others, was astonished at
the disclosure ; and ever after she seemed inclined
to treat the poor way-faring man, who might chance
to petition for rest and shelter, with a little more
charity and a little less suspicion.







WrO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?



CHrPTER IV.

THE BLIND CHILD

" I SHALL lose that debt of Russell's, I fear," said
Mr Wilson to a friend one day, as they were walk-
ing together.
Why so?" was the reply. What reason
have you for thinking so V"
He is always behind with his payments,
though he is a good workman, and has only a wife
and one child, I believe, to support."
How much does he owe you ?"
Why, two years ago, 1 lent him twenty pounds
at his urgent request, with a part of which he
bought tools to commence working at his trade.
He is a journeyman carpenter, you know. I took
his bills, one for six, the other for nine months, for
ten pounds each, but I have not received yet a
single penny. When the first one became due, he
complained of a scarcity of work, and requested
me to wait until the expiration of the other, pro-
mising solemnly that he would then pay both; but
I have not heard a word from him since, excepting



27







38 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
once, when he frankly confessed his fears of never
being able to pay."
Were they endorsed by any one ?" inquired
the friend.
Yes, the endorser is Edwards, a very indus-
trious, hardworking man, a mason by trade, and
some relation, I believe, of Mr Russell. But I
cannot think of calling upon him for payment.
Hle has a large family upon his hands, and struggles
hard to bring them up respectably. Such a loss
would discourage, if not ruin him."
But you cannot afford to lose it, I should
think."
Not very well," replied Mr Wilson, I have
already experienced a similar loss this year, from
another source."
Well, I should compel him to pay, or else talk
his tools. There is a law for such things, is there
not ?"
Yes, I suppose so, but it would not be of much
advantage to me to take possession of his tools,"
answered Mr Wilson; it would only be like
avenging myself upon him. Besides, it would be
taking away the only means by which he ever
could pay off the debt, should he have the disposi-
tion to do so."
It is too bad," was the reply.
With this remark the conversation ended, and







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ? 29

the friends soon after parted. On his way home,
Mr Wilson resolved to call upon his debtor, and
ascertain, if possible, something respecting his
prospects and situation. He soon reached the
house where he resided, a small, but comfortable-
looking dwelling, with a neat little garden plot in
front. A child was sitting in the door-way sing-
ing in the fulness of her happy little heart, and
playing with some wild flowers, with which her
lap was full. When she saw Mr Wilson coming,
she dropped the blossoms and ran in before him.
He knocked gently at the door, and a feeble voice
answered, Come in." Entering softly and half
reluctantly, he saw a thin pale woman, bearing the
marks of recent and severe illness, seated in a
chair, supported with pillows, trying to sew. Her
hands trembled, and a flush passed over her pallid
face, as she saw Mr Wilson, for she recognized
him, and guessed at the purport of his visit.
Set a chair, Jenny, for the gentleman," said
she to the child, and then go and call father."
" Please to be seated, Sir," said she to Mr Wil-
son, Mr Russell will be here in a few moments."
Mr Wilson sat down, and took a glance around
him at the room. It was poorly furnished, but
neat and clean. What few things there were had
evidently been well kept, and used with care.
Mr Russell soon appeared, but with a downcast







.q0 WHO It MY NEIGHBOUR ?
eye, and troubled countenance, for he feared his
creditor had come to demand the sum which was
so justly his due, and he was conscious of his utter
inability to pay. But Mr Wilson's friendly man-
ner soon reassured him, and gradually a brief ac-
count of his circumstances, past and present, was
drawn from him, which placed his deficiencies in a
rather more favourable light. It seemed that,
after borrowing the money from Mr Wilson, and
expending it, partly for a valuable stock of tools,
he found that the contract for a long and profitable
job, in which he expected to have been engaged,
was thrown up, so that he was obliged to look for
employment elsewhere. In this he was for a time
unsuccessful, so that when his first bill became due,
he, of course, was unprepared to meet it. He had
the misfortune afterwards to injure his right hand
with a chisel, which disabled him for nearly two
months. He was afterwards more fortunate, and
contrived, by dint of diligent labour, to lay by a
little towards the discharge of the debt. But just
at this time his wife was taken sick, and in the ex-
penses of her long and severe illness, it was nearly
all expended. Discouraged and tried sorely by his
troubles, he had almost made up his mind to give
up struggling to discharge what he had so long
owed.
Mr Wilson heard his story, and when he had






WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



concluded, remarked kindly, You have indeed
been unfortunate; very unfortunate. But why did
you not make known your distress to me ?"
"' I was ashamed to do so, Sir, after your kind-
ness to me," said the man. Besides, I thought
you might feel as if I wanted to be excused from
paying you what I owed, and I knew you could not
afford to lose it."
Very true, I could not," answered Mr Wilson,
"but I think I can show you a way by which you
will be able to pay me in part at least, and we can
leave the rest a while longer."
The man's face brightened at this proposal, for
he was honest. Mr Wilson continued-
I want a small out-building erected in the rear
of my barn, and there are several repairs to be exe-
cuted in and around my premises. Now I will give
you this job, and you can get whoever you choose to
assist you. It will occupy you in all, perhaps, two
or three weeks. It is now the season for vege-
tables and fruits in their greatest profusion. Any-
thing that will contribute to the support of your
family, of such things, you shall be freely wel-
come to, while you are at work for me, and can
gather them fresh from the garden each day. In
this way if you choose you can liquidate a part of
the debt."
Surprised and pleased at this unexpected offer,
B



31








WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?



Mr Russell gratefully accepted it. while his poor
sick wife looked the thanks she could not speak,
and a tear dropped from her eye.
I should like to have you commence next week,"
said Mr Wilson, without appearing to observe the
emotion his words had occasioned. Saying this,
he took his leave, followed by the secret thanks of
one who now saw light in his troubles.
Ah!" thought Mr Wilson, as he returned
home, kindness is better than compulsion: if
I had proceeded to extremities at once with my
debtor, I fear I should have crushed his faint ener-
gies for ever, besides defeating my own ends. Such
a course as mine in this instance, I know, would
not answer in every one, but how much suffering
might often be saved by a little inquiry and encou-
ragement.
Mr Russell faithfully and punctually executed
the work assigned him, and carried home to his
family many acceptable gifts from his kind friends.
When the jobs were all accomplished, the balance
due Mr Wilson was about four pounds, which he
informed Mr Russell he need not attempt to Pay
at present.
The result of this was, that Mr Russell, freed
from the disagreeable consciousness of owing what
to him was a heavy debt, felt stimulated and en-
couraged, and set himself to work with great dili-



32







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



gence and activity. Gratitude is a strong incentive
to action. He did not rest till he had honestly
paid off all the remainder of the debt; and, pros-
pering, as the diligent always do, he soon rose
above want, and became a flourishing workman in
his line of business, ever cherishing the remem-
brance of Mr Wilson's kindness with grateful af-
fection.
But now a great sorrow came upon the Wilson
family from the oldest to the youngest, for Mary,
the fourth child, a little delicate creature of only
six summers, was in danger of being blind. Gra-
dually her sight was becoming more and more in-
distinct, and her parents saw with pain and deep
anxiety that her step was growing cautious and
slow, and that it was becoming difficult for her,
except by the aid of a strong light, to distinguish
the faces of those she so fondly loved. One beau.
tiful morning, when the children were all at play
in the garden, except Arthur, who was away at
school, her mother saw little Mary suddenly leave
the others, and, unperceived by them, grope her
way to the foot of a shady tree, and seating herself
upon the grass weep bitterly. Mrs Wilson ran to
her, raised her in her arms, and tried to soothe her.
But it was long before she could hush her passion-
ate sobs of childish sorrow.
0 mother, mother," said the child, "if I could



33







34 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOURa
only see like the others. They are kind to me,
but I can scarcely see their faces, or what they are
playing. It is just like one long night to me."
And she wept afresh.
Mary," said her mother gently, you know
we are all sorry for you, and that we love you more
than ever."
Yes, mother, but if I could only see as I used
to do. I can feel your kiss upon my cheeks, and the
soft touch of the children; but O I do want to
see your faces once more. Fanny brought me a
beautiful rose. It smelled so sweetly, I knew it
must be beautiful. I held it in my hand toward
the sun, but I could not see its colour. Shall I
never, never see the pretty flowers, nor your face,
your dear face again ?" It seemed as if the child's
heart would break, so heavy was its load of grief.
Till now, the magnitude of her affliction had never
been so clearly perceived by her, and it had opened
suddenly upon her like a long night of darkness
and sorrow.
Her mother pressed her gently to her bosom,
and taking one of the little cold hands in hers, said,
Mary, if it is God's will that you should be blind,
don't you think you could learn to bear it ? There
are things in heaven far more beautiful than these
here upon earth; and if you submit patiently to
the will of the Lord here, he will permit you some







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



day to see those glories, and behold the shining faces
of his angels and of all good people. I know it is
hard, very hard for you to suffer the loss of your
eye-sight; but try, my darling, to bear it patiently
till is the will of God to restore it."
These words of comfort soothed a little the suf-
fering spirit of the child. She dried her tears,
and, spent with weeping, fell into a soft slumber
in her mother's arms, and forgot for a time her
great sorrows. From that day the poor child
seemed to bear it more patiently. Sometimes she
would say the time was very long, and that she
wished she could amuse herself like the others;
but she never again gave way to such deep grief.
Each member of the household tried to divert her,
and teach her many ways for busying and making
herself happy, so that the days began to seem to
her a little less tedious and wearisome. But it
was easy to see that her blindness cast a shade of
gloom over the family, for so close was the link
that bound them together, that both joy and sor-
row were felt alike by all. The father would take
his little blind girl upon his knee, and tears would
gather in his eyes as he gazed upon her pale sight-
less face, and thought of her deprivation. But
grief lay heaviest and deepest in the heart of the
mother. It was indeed a sore trial, but she strug-
gled with her almost murmuring spirit, that it



35







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?



might utter no language but that which she had
endeavoured to teach her child-submission to the
will of God. Not my will, 0 Lord, but thine
be done."
Hitherto various remedies had been applied for
the cure of the little sufferer, and more than one
physician reputed to be skilful, consulted, but in
vain; and as a last resort, Mr Wilson and his wife
resolved to take her to an eminent oculist residing
at a considerable distance. In a few days they
arrived at the house of Dr H--, a skilful ocu.
list, and withal a truly kind-hearted and generous
man. He became at once much interested in the
case of his little patient, and also in her parents.
After a careful examination of her eyes, he pro-
nounced it as his opinion, that he feared, even af-
ter the cataracts, which had become deeply seated
and quite dense over the pupil of the eye, should
be removed, the disease was of such a nature as to
render it extremely doubtful if the sight would
even then be restored. Notwithstanding this, an
operation, in his opinion, was deemed advisable,
and the parents, after some little deliberation, con-
sented. It was exceedingly painful, but the sweet
child bore it with wonderful patience and fortitude,
while the silent tears of the father and mother,
and the benevolent face of the operator, attested
their deep sympathy. When all was over, her



36







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



eyes were bandaged, and for several days all light
was excluded. When the time came to test the
efficacy of the operation, the bandage was removed,
but alas, not the faintest ray pierced the dense
darkness that shrouded her vision. It was a ter-
rible disappointment, for they now were led to be-
lieve that she was incurably blind. With heavy
hearts, they bade adieu to the physician, and de-
pavrd, The journey home was a sad one; and
very sad lavugh tender were the affectionate greet-
ings exchanged o their arrival. But Christian
faith and resignation enabled them to bear their
great disappointment without repining. Not
our will," said the father, in his evening prayer,
" but thine, O Lord, be done."
A few months had rolled away after this event,
when one day little Mary joyfully exclaimed to her
mother, O mother mother it is light around
me this morning. I cannot see, but there is some-
thing bright wherever I turn my head." Scarce
believing what she heard, the mother answered,
with a beating heart, Can you see any object,
Mary?" No, mother," replied the child, "but
I can almost see." And she pressed her little fin-
gers upon her veiled orbs, as if doubting even the
reality of the imperfect light that seemed to have
found its way into them. Great joy sprang up,
and a new hope was kindled in the breast of the



37







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



family at this information. Again was a journey
undertaken, and Dr H- again consulted. He
expressed much pleasure at what had occurred, and
felt almost confident in the belief that now her
eye-sight might be restored. Again was an ope-
ration performed, and again, after a time, were
the bandages removed. It was a trying moment.
Little Mary turned her head to and fro for a few
seconds with a bewildered air, then uttering a fant
scream of joy, she flung her arms aro-mn her me-
ther's neck, exclaiming, "0 pnoter! mother! I
can see I can see you." Dim and imperfect still
was her newly found vision, but she could distin-
guish objects and faces quite well. Thanks be
to God," said the grateful father, as he gazed upon
his child, while the tears-the joyful tears-of the
mother mingled with the fair hair of the precious
one whose head lay upon her bosom, while from
her heart silent but fervent thanksgiving for His
great goodness ascended to the Divine Being. The
physician himself was affected, at the scene. Now
there was a joyful return home. The journey was
performed by slow and easy stages, for Mary was
very weak, and the good doctor had enjoined the
utmost care and caution in every respect until her
health and sight should become confirmed. Sweet
indeed was the hymn of gratitude, and fervent and
loud the thanksgiving that rose that night from the



38







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ? 39

family altar for this precious token of the unceas
ing goodness of God.

"In every joy that crowned their days,
In every pain and care,
Their spirits found delight in praise,
Or sought relief in prayer."







40 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR i



CHAPTER V.

THE MOTHER'S LETTER.

ARTHUR, the eldest son, was a quiet, studious boy,
and fond of his books and school from a child.
When he had reached his seventeenth year his
parents perceived, with much pleasure, that his
mind was deeply impressed with religious truth.
The evidence of a change, deep and abiding, in
his heart, was so satisfactory to his parents and
friends, that, after his return home, he made a
public profession of his faith, and became a mem-
ber of the visible church of Christ.
His parents had in their hearts designed him
for the ministry, and Arthur himself expressing a
similar wish, his father entered him at college.
And here for the present we will leave him, and
turn to Charles, the second boy, who had begun to
be a source of some anxiety to his father and mo-
ther. Charles was an intelligent, but wild, un-
easy boy, of a roving disposition, and possessed of
an eager desire to go to sea. This desire his pa-
rents ha never encouraged, thinking it would wear







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR? 41
away, but now it had become almost ungovernable.
" Only let me have one voyage, father," he would
say, and perhaps I shall be content at home."
A reluctant consent was finally given, and pre-
parations were made for his departure. His clothes
were arranged and packed, and the last evening
previous to his departure had arrived. His father
had given him much excellent advice as to his fu-
ture course, but it was the parting voice of his mo-
ther that sank deepest into his heart. She went
softly to his chamber after he had retired to rest,
and, seating herself by his bedside, uttered in his
ears the deep, earnest longings of a mother's soul
for his spiritual and eternal good. In whatever
circumstances," said she, my dear son, you may
be placed, never, never for a single moment forget
your sense of duty and accountability to God. You
will soon be where our eyes can no longer behold
you, but the all-seeing eye of Omnipotence will be
upon you, and your every action known by Him.
Should we never meet on earth again, may your
life and mine be such as to give us a blissful re-
union in heaven. Let not the world tempt your
feet from the narrow path that leads thither, but
now, in the bright morning of life, make God your
friend, and He will be your eternal portion." She
said a few words more, then, bending over him,
imprinted a kiss upon his cheek, as shto used to do







WHO IS MY NEI11BOUR ?



when he was a little child, and as she did so, he
felt a warm tear drop upon his forehead. He lay
awake for an hour after she had left the room,
thinking upon what she had said, and forming
many bright resolutions for the future. He thought
of his father's kindness, and of his mother's love,
how she had wept over him, and prayed for his con-
version, and, in the glow of his kindling affection,
he resolved again and again, that, come what would,
he would never forget her counsel, and never dis-
grace her by unworthy conduct.
The next day he left home, bearing with him tha
kind wishes and tearful farewells of the whole fa-
mily. His father accompanied him to a distant
city, whence he was to embark. The ship was
bound for the East Indies, and was destined to
touch at several ports, so that Charles would have
a fine opportunity of seeing something of the
world. Her voyage was to be from two to three
years in length. The captain was a noble man,
and somewhat acquainted with Mr Wilson. I
will do the very best in my power for your lad,"
said he to Mr Wilson, but, like others, he must
take his chance." Mr Wilson made an arrange-
ment with the Captain for sending Charles home
at the expiration of a year, should it seem desir-
able, and then, leaving Charles on board, returned
home. The novelty of the scene now engrossed



U2






WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ? 43
Charles' attention. The loud singing of the sailors
as they hoisted the heavy anchors from their briny
bed, and spread wide the snowy canvas to catch
the breeze, the bustle ana hurrying to and fro upon
the decks, the rattling of the ropes, and the loud
voice of the Captain giving out his orders, com-
pletely. diverted his mind for a season from the
memories of his parting with the loved ones at
home. His heart beat quick, and his frame trenm
bled with a new and strange emotion of pleasure
as he saw the huge vessel turn her bows toward
the mighty, restless sea, that stretched far, far
away, and seemed mingled with the sky. His
ardent, long cherished wishes were accomplished;
he was going to sea; he had become a sailor.
But a sailor's life is no easy berth. Charles
soon found that he had much to learn, in which
practice only could make him expert, and until he
had thus acquired it, he found he would have to
bear not only ridicule, but rough words and usage,
But he was resolved to do the best in his power,
and by perseverance and good temper he succeeded
before many weeks in making his situation more
comfortable. But we will not follow him through
the details of his long voyage. Before many
months had rolled away, his intercourse with
the seamen had imparted to his own character
a tinge of theirs. He grew reckless in his de-






14 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
meanour, though always attentive to his duties,
and acquired the habit of using boisterous and
profane language. An oath which once it would
have shocked him to hear, now glided almost
unheeded from his lips. At times the memory of
his father's counsel and his mother's tearful words,
would fill him with shame and sorrow, but after a
year had worn away, most of these holy impres-
sions had departed with it. But God hears prayer;
the many petitions his parents had offered for
him, and were still offering from time to time at
home, were not unheeded. The recording angel
had gathered them up, and presented them before
the throne of grace.
It was a beautiful Sabbath morning. The ship
was moored in the harbour of Valparaiso, and it
was Charles' turn with others to have the day on
shore. Such days are usually spent by seamen in
riotous mirth and dissipated conduct. Full of
elated spirits at the prospect of a day of enjoyment
beyond the narrow confines of the vessel, Charles
was dressed with unusual care. As he was over-
turning the contents of his chest, a small package
fell from an article of clothing of which he was in
pursuit. He took it up and opened it. It was a
a small Bible and a letter from his mother, which
had remained until now undiscovered. A thousand
memories rushed over the mind of Charles. His







WHO IS MY NEIGHEOUR ?



conscience smote him. His mother and father-
what would they say to the manner in which he
was intending to spend the holy Sabbath? His
hand trembled as he broke the seal, and as his eye
fell upon her well-known hand-writing in the
words, My dear son," his eyes filled with tears.
"I will not go with them," he said to himself, and
notwithstanding the entreaties and ridicule of his
messmates, he persisted in his resolution, and from
the ship's side he saw, without regret, the boat
with its noisy and jovial crew strike out for the
distant shore. He then, with the Bible in his
pocket and the precious letter, climbed into the
long boat, which hung astern, and beneath an
awning of sail-cloth, sat down to read. Just then
the captain, who was about to descend the ship's
side to be rowed to the shore, caught a sight of him.
" How now, Wilson," said he, why are you not
on shore with the others ?" I did not wish to go,
Sir." All right, then," answered the captain,
and departed, leaving Charles to read without far-
ther interruption.
The letter ran thus,-
My dear son, when you read this, we shall probably be
separated by the wide ocean, and nothing around you will
perhaps remind you of your mother and home. Read, then,
this blessed Book, my last and best of gifts to my beloved
boy. Study its precepts, lay them up in your heart, live
by them, and you will become wise unto salvation. There



45







46 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
will be many who will try to make you think lightly of this
precious volume, which we consider priceless and above
rubies, but do not give heed to such. Treasure up the
words of these sacred pages in your heart, and this book
Divine will be the chart which will guide you over the
stormy sea of life to the port of eternal peace. Our prayers
will ascend for you morning and evening, but we want you
to think and read and pray for yourself. You are young,
and life seems as yet to you without a cloud, but days of
darkness will come, and thick darkness to those who know
not God. They who forget their Creator in the days of
their youth, will sooner or later lie down in sorrow and de-
spair. Choose then now the Lord for your portion, the Sa-
viour for your Redeemer, and you will find a shield in
temptation, a comfort in distress, a refuge in peril, and,
above all, a Friend who will guide you safely through life,
and grant you in death a triumphant entrance into his
glorious and celestial kingdom. This, my dear boy, is our
fervent wish and prayer, and may the Bible and these few
lines remind you of us while far distant, till you find the
pearl of great price, and the peace which passeth all under.
standing. May God grant it, se prays
Your affectionate Mother."
Charles was much affected by this letter, and
his heart was filled with shame and penitence for
his past neglect and misconduct. He gazed over
the blue, tranquil water to the distant city, and for
the first time almost, since the commencement of
his voyage, longed earnestly for his home. He
resolved that he would begin a reformation in his
conduct, that he would read the Bible his mother
had given him, and seek religion.
The next day the ship, after making up her







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



cargo, and taking on board a dozen new hands, set
sail from Valparaiso for another port. Charles'
mind remained for some time impressed with the
seriouss emotions which had been kindled in his
\osom, but by degrees they became weakened and
began to wear away, until an event occurred which
gove them a greater degree of power than ever
before. The Brilliant," for this was the name
of the vessel, had not been more than four weeks
out, when a contagious fever broke out among the
crew, two of whom died. Their bodies were
wrapped in a sheet, and committed for burial to
the dark depths of the ocean, to find a nameless
grave. Shortly after, Charles was taken sick, and
now as he lay alone, tossing to and fro in his
hammock, burning with fever, thoughts of his
home, and mother, and his neglected Bible rushed
across his mind. "0 ," thought he, what if I
should die like the others? how unprepared! I
cannot think, I cannot pray 0 for mother, for
some one in this dreadful hour to give me comfort
and peace !"
His distress of mind was very great. His
messmates, and the captain, and the ship's phy-
sician did all in their power for him, for his life
was in imminent danger, but as yet he found no
one to whom he could confide the agony of his
soul. At last one night a sailor came to watch



47







4s WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
with him, who brought a Bible. Charles' eye fell
upon it. "I too have a Bible," whispered he in
feeble tones, it was my mother's last gift; take
it from the chest yonder, and let me see it once
more." The sailor did so, and opening it at tie
fly leaf, read, Charles Wilson, from his d(ar
mother." Search the Scriptures." "Your name
then is Wilson," said the man. "Yes." Xre
you from H- in 0-- county ?" he aslea.
"Yes," answered Charles, somewhat surprised.
"Well," replied the other, "your parents shoved
me a great kindness many years ago. I was tra-
velling through H- ; was taken sick, and had
neither money nor friends. Your father, at the
risk of the health of his family, took me in, nursed
me, and, under God, saved my life. Nor was this
all; when I left, your mother gave me this Bible,
and it has been the means of my conversion.
Through her instrumentality I found a Saviour,
who is indeed precious to my soul, I can never
repay your parents, but anything in my power will
I do for their son, and 0 that your mother's gift
to you might bring you to a knowledge of the same
glorious truths which the Bible has unfolded to
me." He then read a few verses, and kneeling by
Charles' hammock engaged in prayer; afterwards
he drew from him an account of the anxious state
of his mind, and endeavoured to direct his sin-bur-







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



dened soul to the Lamb of God who taketh away
the sin of the world.
For the two days following this night, Charles
continued very ill, and during a part of the time
was delirious. On the third, however, his disorder
was checked. His new friend was allowed by the
captain to nurse him, for the others were unwilling
from fear of contagion. But Thomas Stone had
no such fear; and gratitude made him never weary
of administering to Charles' wants. Nor was this
all, through the blessed influence of the Holy
Spirit, he was enabled to lead the inquiring mind
of Charles to the way in which he himself had
found a Saviour so precious. As Charles recovered,
a sweet peace was shed upon his soul, for he had
found Him whom to know aright is life eternal,
and pleasant indeed were the seasons they spent
together in reading the Bible, and in prayer and
praise.
He wrote to his parents an account of what had
befallen him, and of his interview with the sailor,
Thomas Stone. This letter made his parents'
hearts leap for joy, that another of their beloved
ones, a wanderer far from home and fireside, had
been reached by the Spirit of God. They also re-
joiced that the bread they had cast upon the waters
years before, had thus returned after many days.



49







WHO 18 MY NEIG&IBOUR



CHAPTER VI.
ARTHUR AND HIS FRIEND.

DURING this period while Charles was at sea.
Arthur was pursuing his studies at college. A
college life has many temptations, and happy is
he who enters upon it fortified and shielded by
religious principles. His feet can stand secure on
slippery places, where others fall, some to utter
ruin. Thus shielded, thus fortified was Arthur
"Wilson, and though often taunted for the lofty
tone of moral principle that governed his actions,
and ridiculed for his piety, he never wavered in
the path of duty, or departed from his sense of
Christian integrity and virtue. By his example
he influenced others for good, and sought by every
means in his power to contribute to their spiritual
benefit. With his heart firmly fixed in its pur-
pose of entering the Christian ministry, he found
no pursuits productive of so much pleasure as those
that tended directly or indirectly to this high and
holy calling. Arthur had not been long in college
before he had many warm friends.



50







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



The young man who shared the- same room
with Arthur at college was called Edward Leslie.
He was the only son of wealthy parents, who were
at that time on a tour through Europe. Mr Leslie
had left his son at college with ample means for
paying all his expenses, and whatever else he
might chance to require. Edward Leslie was pos-
sessed of talents of the highest order, amounting
to genius. He was generous to a fault, and of
a kind and sympathising nature. But he was a
lover of pleasure, and addicted to many habits
which prove fatal to the young; and more than
this, he was in his sentiments an atheist. Yes,
that proud intellect, gifted with wonderful quick
ness and intelligence, had never yet bowed in
acknowledgment of the glorious and exalted idea
of an infinite Supreme Being, who holds in his
hands the destinies of all things. The dark-
ness of infidelity still shrouded his mental vision,
so bright, so clear in his perceptions of the
mysteries of science and the beauties of literature.
Between Arthur and Edward an intimacy had
sprung up which could scarcely have been expected
between two so dissimilar in many respects; but
Arthur only loved in his friend those qualities and
sentiments his spirit could approve, while he la-
mented the deep and dangerous errors and false



51







5 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?

views which had fettered the intellect whose
powers he admired.
It was a cold winter evening when a student
left the college buildings with a rapid pace, and
muffled in a large cloak that almost concealed his
face. He shaped his course out of the busy,
lighted city towards the country. Coming at
length to a bridge which spanned a noble river, he
paused midway across, and leaned over the parapet
as if to survey the scene. Above him, the un.
numbered stars of heaven glimmered like silver
gems, and the broad bright moon was ascending
her shining pathway in her queenly splendour,
and casting upon the earth beneath a flood of soft,
clear, brilliant light. Her rays fell upon the river
whose banks were piled with masses of glittering
ice, but in whose channel a black swift current
rolled rapidly but noiselessly on, and disappeared
under the dark arches of the bridge. As the sta-
dent gazed on this scene, his frame appeared agi-
tated by some violent emotion. His hands were
clenched, his face was pale but resolute, and from
his lips broke forth these words, Here let me
die. One leap forward, one plunge, and my ex-
istence is ended, my agony of spirit fled for ever.
Death cannot be worse than the pangs which have
seized upon my soul. Death will save me from
dishonour; ay! that were worse than a thousand







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



deaths: it would kill my poor mother, it would
bring my father in sorrow to the grave What is
death, compared with disgrace and everlasting in-
famy ? It is nought. And what is death itself?-
Annihilation, eternal oblivion, nothing more. I
do not fear it, I am past fear now." He raised
his foot, and planted it firmly upon the parapet; a
moment more, and the rash young man would
have vanished for ever from human sight, when a
distant voice singing in loud, sweet tones, fell on
his ear, and arrested him in his terrible purpose.
It sang thus:

I will fear not the grave where my ashes must lie,
For my soul is immortal, ana never can die."

The night was clear and still, and each word
reached him with distinctness, and sank deeply
into his soul. The solemn truth, so grand, so
mighty, of the immortality of the soul, seized upon
his spirit with overwhelming conviction for the
first time. It was as if all his unbelief and scep-
tical reasoning had, like a dark veil, been drawn
aside from his mind by a powerful, but unseen
hand; and this sublime truth broke in upon its
darkness with a celestial glory. With the words
still ringing in his ears, he raised his eyes from the
dark abyss beneath him to the beautiful scene
around. For the first time a fear, wild and



53







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?



intense, of a terrible hereafter, which might
be beyond death, took possession of his soul.
The refuge of annihilation failed; he felt that
stirring within him which nothing could ever
annihilate; neither time, nor change, nor death.
As his mind paused, memory drew vividly a
picture of the past; of his childhood, when life
was pure and new, and his infant lips had lisped
the name of God, whose existence his manhood
had denied. As he compared those peaceful, in-
nocent days with the dark, sinful years that had
rolled between, his heart was softened and humbled
in its pride and strength, its fountains were un-
sealed, and tears flowed from his eyes. His
courage had fled; his intention of self-destruction
was completely overthrown; and shrinking in ter-
ror from the abyss into whose depths he had
sought to plunge, and muffling once more his face
in his cloak, Edward Leslie, .for it was he, turned
his steps from the spot, and strode rapidly away.
He had scarcely disappeared, when the singer
of the lines which had so affected him reached the
bridge, and, when midway over, paused, and leaned
ever the parapet in the same spot, and gazed upon
the beautiful landscape around him. It was Arthur
Wilson. He had been attending a prayer meet-
ing in a neighboring village, and during his walk
homeward his happy spirit had broken the stillness



54







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR 5



of the night with its glad song of triumph. A
holy peace pervaded the soul of the young Chris
tian. How different! 0 how different from the
dark and stormyv aplrit which had been there but a
few bri-Cm1oments before him. To him all nature
,a. but a revelation of the glorious Infinite, whose
skill and matchless creative power proclaimed His
existence on every side. He, too, gazed upon the
dark waters that rolled beneath him, and on thb
glittering sky above ; the one an emblem of death,
the other of celestial life and glory, and he rejoiced
in his unshaken faith in another and better state
of being.
Such were the reflections of Arthur as he too
turned at last from the scene, and commenced his
walk homeward. When he reached his room Ed-
ward was not there, nor did he appear until mid-
night, when Arthur was wrapped in peaceful re-
pose. Then, pale and haggard, he entered the
room, and, after hastily undressing, threw himself
upon his bed. The next morning Arthur was
awakened by the groans of his companion, whom
he found alarmingly ill. A physician was sent for,
who came twice during the day to the bedside of
the unhappy young man. Delirium had seized
upon his faculties, and a raging fever burned in
his veins. Arthur did all in his power to alleviate
his distress, but for some time all remedies seemed



55







5f WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?
without effect. Three days passed in this state
and with the fourth came a crisis. Reason returned,
and the opinion of the physician, though cautiously
expressed, was favourable.
A few days after this the physician "-rarked to
Arthur, Your friend, though better, is still 1L.&
very precarious condition. Something, evidently,
is preying upon his mind, and until it finds relief,
all my efforts for the recovery of the system are
greatly retarded. Unless his mind becomes more
at ease, I cannot answer for a return of his disorder,
which would then probably prove fatal. See if
you cannot obtain in some way his confidence; it
will aid us both."
But Arthur upon trial found this was delicate
ground. Edward seemed to have locked up in his
own soul his source of uneasiness and distress, and
refused to impart a word. It so happened that Mr
Wilson came just then to the college to see Arthur.
Edward's peculiar state was told him, and his kind
heart listened with interest. lie offered to watch
that night with the young man, and finding him
extremely restless and unable to sleep, he entered
into conversation with him. Edward's replies were
at first brief, and even morose, but by degrees Mr
Wilson's kind manner and fatherly regard won
upon his confidence, and he unfolded to him the
sources of anxiety that were preying upon him. He







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



was fond of play, and of many follies which result
from a dissipated life. His father, now upon a
distant journey, had left hinl with liberal supplies
of money beyond his expenses, but he had lost it
at the gaming table, and then contracted, among
other obligations, debts of honour, so called, which
he was unable to pay. They stared him in the
face, and his creditors were importunate. He must
pay them, or be exposed and disgraced. In this
exigency he was tempted to forge a bill, which
proved successful. He obtained the needful sum,
paid his debts, and only waited for supplies from
his father to take up this bill. For these supplies
he had written. But he received in reply a letter
upbraiding him for his extravagance, and refusing
his request for the present. Before another letter
could reach his father, this bill would become due.
The whole fraud would be exposed, and disgrace
and utter ruin follow. I could bear my punish-
ment," said the young man in conclusion, but
for my father and mother. I am their only child,
and to be publicly branded as a forger, doomed to
a felon's cell; 0 God! it will kill them both!"
and he hid his face in the pillow and groaned
aloud.
Mr Wilson was astonished as well as affected
at this recital, and, for a few moments, scarce knew
how to reply. Then he said, Your situation



57








WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?



my dear young friend, is truly a bad one; but I
will not reproach you, for your punishment now is
even more than you can well bear."
Sir," interrupted Edward, you have not
heard all. So deep, so terrible has been the dis-
tress of my mind, that, maddened by despair, I
resolved to throw away my life, that in eternal
oblivion the memory of my sins might never reach
me more, and my death evince a penitence, which
might, in the eyes of some, atone for my fault."
Then he related the scene at the bridge, and the
strange power the words of the unknown singer
had to break the dark spell that bound him, and
shake, for the first time, the strong hold of his
scepticism.
The hand of God has been in all this," said
Mr Wilson. His finger has dissolved the bands
of the tempter, to reveal to you Himself, as the
God of salvation."
The young man, exhausted by the long conver-
sation sunk into a refreshing slumber, as if his con-
fession had removed a weight from his soul, which
had prevented repose.
In the meantime, Mr Wilson sat revolving the
matter over in his own mind, and resolved to assist
him. When Edward awoke, he informed him that
provided he would solemnly pledge his word to ab-
stain from gaming in future, he would pay the bill



58








WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?



and make no disclosure, except to his parents.
Astonished at this unexpected kindness, and gene-
rous offer, Edward grasped the hand of his benefac-
tor, and burst into tears. He wept long and freely,
then pledging his word as Mr Wilson required
he exclaimed, 0, sir, how can I ever repay you
You have saved me from ruin, and my parents from
bitter sorrow over the disgrace of their beloved,
but unworthy son.
From that day Edward slowly recovered. He
wrote to his parents a full account of the past. Mr
Wilson wrote also, and his letter softened the heart
of Mr Leslie, so that his feelings of anger toward
his son melted away, and gratitude for his timely
deliverance from disgrace and punishment filled
his mind. Edward had been destined for the pro-
fession of law; but a change in his sentiments was
gradually taking place, and influencing his choice
for the future. The Holy Spirit had been operate,
ing powerfully upon his mind since his conflict
upon the bridge. In his new and deep convictions
of the existence and attributes of a Supreme Being,
the fearful sin of unbelief appeared in all its glar-
ing impiety and wickedness. In the clear and
searching light of Divine truth, each doubt was
exposed in all its fallacy, and scattered for ever;
and his humbled spirit fled for hope to a precious
atoning Saviour, where he found peace and joy.



59







WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR



Edward now expressed a desire to study for the
ministry; and the two young men, after passing
an examination testing their capacity and senti-
ments, entered a Theological School together, to
prepare themselves for the high and holy duties of
the Christian ministry.
Reader, these sketches of life show you the only
real life worthy of a Christian. No man ought
to live unto himself."
Providence has so ordered it, that he who im-
parts most happiness, enjoys most happiness him-
self; while he who shuts up the springs of sym-
pathy against the troubles of his kind, seals in his
own soul the fountain of enjoyment which God
ordained as his highest happiness.
We are, indeed, connected with our fellow
creatures by ties which nothing can sever; and
since we have the power of influencing them so
deeply for weal or woe, our days, weeks, and years
should be made the opportunities for doing good.
Christian, remember who first gave the answer
to Who is my neighbour?" Follow His steps,
%nd no matter where your lot be cast, in poverty,
or riches, in a life of leisure, or the engrossing
wYhirl of business,--" Work while it is to-day"-
" do it with thy might:" and when the time is
fully come, you shall hear as your reward, Well
done, good and faithful servant, enter into the Joy
of thy Lord."



60