41 l. ILIM4
gaet public 7>o
S..PRIZE forl/e /.b.i -
SESSION 188 -18 .
The Baldwn Librry
-- --Um- r- y
VICTOR'S FIRST INTRODUCTION.
< _.., _
THE ADOPTED SON;
ind Otl3er Stories,
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW' 65, Sr. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
0 ' .. ./ -. ,
i ,' -" i "
THE ADOPTED SON:-
I.-AN UNEXPECTED CHARGE. 5
II.-VICTOR FINDS HIS FATHER 17
FRANK'S TEMPTATION AND VICTORY:-
i.-How FRANK WAS TRIED 25
II.-GooD CONDUCT REWARDED 29
THE SKATERS 33
THE FIRST LIE:-
I.-THE OLD BROWN JUG,. t
II.-A USEFUL LESSON. 5
T HZE ADOPTEDD )S0.
An Unexpetdeb charge.
?. .__' .. EAR a secluded hamlet lying
F. among the lofty mountains
Which, in various divisions
."' and ranges, intersect Switzer-
land, dwelt, many years since,
S an honest, hard-working pea-
sant, by name Moritz Elmer,
and his wife. Moritz was by profession a wood-
carver, and by the sale of the rudely-cut spoons,
dishes, and drinking-cups he manufactured, con-
trived to eke out a scanty subsistence for himself,
his wife, and his only child Alex. Very few
and simple were the wants of these mountain-
folk, They worked hard, fared plainly and
frugally, and lived in almost total seclusion
6 The Adopted Son.
ignorant of all that was passing in the world
outside, and taking interest only in what im-
mediately concerned themselves and their well-
being. In summer the monotony of their
existence was somewhat broken, for tourists and
travellers penetrated into the heart of the little
Alpine hamlet, and for a few weeks infused new
life into it. Moritz Elmer and his wife always
anticipated with pleasure the coming of these
summer days, for then Moritz was able to sell
the various trifles, in the carving of which he
had occupied himself during the long and dreary
months of winter, and also to add to the scanty
pittance realized by his labours, small sums
which he earned in the capacity of guide -to
travellers crossing the mountains. Many of
Elmer's neighbours who followed the same
calling as himself realized far larger profits than
he had ever been able to do; but Moritz had
but little talent for carving, and wanted both
the inventive skill and the'delicate workmanship
indispensable to success in his art. His young
son Alex promised to become in time a far
better workman than his father; but as yet the
boy was not able to do much, so the whole bur-
An Unexpected Charge 7
den of supporting the little household fell upon
It was the close of a warm day late in spring;
the sun, which for many weeks had been in-
creasing in power, had by this time dissolved
the last remains of the broad, deep snow-drifts
which for many months had almost entirely en-
compassed and shut in the scattered cottages of
the lonely hamlet. Elmer and his wife stood at
the low door of their humble dwelling, watching
the reflection of the sun's last rays fading slowly
from the tops of the opposite mountains.
"I must finish my work, wife," said Moritz,
withdrawing his gaze, and fixing it on a partly-
carved drinking-cup that he held in his hand;
"for summer is very near now, and neighbour
Heiter and neighbour Schell have all their store
ready for sale."
The woman sighed involuntarily, thinking how
well both neighbours would be paid for their
work, whilst her husband would be forced to
content himself with far smaller remuneration
Don't sigh, Else," said the husband, tenderly,
looking at the worn face and poorly-clad figure
8 The Adopted Son.
by his side. "Why should we grieve because
others are better off than ourselves? I know
that neighbour Heiter will be a rich man before
the summer is out; but I know also that he
would gladly be as poor as we are if he could
but have a boy like our Alex. You see, wife.
God has given him one blessing, and us another."
Yes, I know you are right, Moritz," answered
Else, still sadly; "but I can't forget all that we
have suffered during the long winter. It has
nearly broken my heart to hear Alex crying for
food when I have had none to give him, and to
see him shivering in his poor threadbare clothes;
and the summer is so short, and passes so quickly."
Elmer did not answer, but carved on industri-
ously at the unfinished cup, pondering, however,
somewhat anxiously the undeniable and increas-
ing difficulties of their position.
Days passed away in quick succession, and
soon the accustomed stream of visitors set in
towards the village. Little Alex was never
tired of watching the strangers, and attracted a
good share of notice by his bright, intelligent
face, and simple, frank manners.
One day a well-dressed lady and gentleman,
An Unexpected Charge. 9
accompanied by a young boy, stopped at the
entrance to the Elmers' little dwelling. Alex,
who was playing on the doorstep, ran indoors to
call his mother, thinking that the visitors had
come to purchase some of his father's handiwork.
Moritz himself was away on a mountain ex-
pedition; the mother came to receive the
"We do not come to buy anything, good
woman," said the gentleman, as Else pointed
towards her simple store; "but we wish to
leave this little nephew of ours in your care
whilst we ascend yonder mountain. Come,
Victor," he added, turning towards the little
boy at his side, "will you stay and play here
until we come to fetch you again?"
The child ran readily towards Alex, whilst
Else expressed her willingness to undertake the
charge offered to her.
"My husband is away on the mountains,"
she continued, rather uneasily. "Would you
not wait for his return, that he may guide you
on your way ? The mountain-paths are narrow
and unsafe, and to strangers- "
"Be easy, good woman," answered the gentle-
10 The Adopted Son.
man, gaily; "this is not our first risit here, and
I am familiar with the dangers you point out.
You need have no fears for us; only be careful
of our child until our return."
Else promised, not without apprehension, and
the strangers departed, engaging to return to
the village at nightfall. Little Victor, pleased
at having a companion of his own age, and at
the novelty of his position, played happily with
Alex throughout the long summer day.
Just after sunset Elmer returned from his
excursion, and sat down, hungry and wearied,
to his simple supper; whilst Else recounted to
him the events of the day, dwelling much on
the uneasiness she still felt respecting the rash
strangers who had persisted in venturing alone
upon the dangerous mountain. Moritz looked
very grave at the recital, pushed away his
scarcely tasted meal, and rose from the table.
"I must see after them, wife," said he,
moving towards the door. "Don't be troubled
about me if I am not home to-night. Take
care of the little stranger, and keep him from
fretting. Good-night, my Else; good-night,
Alex, my son,"
An Unexpected Charge. 11
The father was gone, and the mother, having
watched him from the door until he disappeared
from sight, returned slowly into the house, and
called the boys from their play. That night
Victor shared his little playfellow's humble bed,
and kind-hearted, motherly Else gave him a
good-night kiss as hearty and loving as she
bestowed on her own Alex.
It was late on the following afternoon when
Elmer returned, followed by several of the
neighbours, who had set off early that morning
to assist in the search. Every effort to find the
missing travellers had been unsuccessful, and it
seemed but too probable that they had perished
among the treacherous abysses of the mountain.
Inquiries were made after them in the neigh-
bouring villages, but in vain, and soon the affair
was almost entirely forgotten by the peasants;
for accidents among the mountains were too
numerous to excite more than passing attention.
But the Elmers had the recollection of the
disaster ever fresh in their minds, for every
sight of little Victor recalled it; and Victor still
remained in their cottage, as he had done since
his first arrival in the village. Many and
12 The Adopted Son.
anxious were the discussions between Moritz
and his wife touching the forsaken boy. Their
kind hearts were full of compassion for him,
and they shrank from giving him up to the
magistrate of the nearest town, to be treated
and reared as a pauper child; yet it seemed
impossible for them to provide for him. As
long as the summer lasted they could contrive,
they thought, by self-denial, to find food and
shelter for the little orphan; but how were they
to manage when winter set in, with its terrible
ice and snow?
Else vividly remembered the miseries she and
her husband had endured during the winter
that had just passed; the lack of fuel, of warm
clothing, even of the coarsest food. The tears
came into her eyes as she heard once again, in
fancy, Alex's piteous appeal, so often repeated
and so often necessarily unanswered, for a little
bread; and the yet greater anguish she had
endured at seeing her husband, when he fancied
himself unnoticed, transfer from his plate to
hers a part of his own scanty and insufficient
portion. Every summer, too Moritz's earnings
seemed to decrease; the skill of his neighbours
An Unexpected Charge. 13
in carving quite eclipsed his own poor attempts,
and few cared to purchase the rough and almost
clumsy articles at which he had worked so long
and patiently. Else looked disconsolately at
the slender provision they had laid by, and
thought apprehensively of the long and severe
winter that was fast approaching. If, during
the last one, they had barely escaped starvation,
how could they hope this year to find the means
for providing, not themselves alone, but also the
little stranger, with food? But in the end
affection prevailed over every other considera-
tion, and Moritz and Else determined to adopt
the friendless orphan-to treat him as their own
Alex, and to trust to God to find the necessary
means for his support.
Years passed by, and meanwhile changes had
come to the inmates of the humble dwelling on
the mountain-side. The Elmers had faithfully
performed the mutual promise they had made
respecting little Victor, and had denied them-
selves everything save the barest necessaries of
life, in order that he might want for nothing.
The boy had now passed from childhood to
youth, and was at once the pride and delight of
14 The Adopted Son.
his adopted parents, and the loved companion of
Poor Alex's lot was a hard one. In climbing,
whilst still quite young, among the mountains,
he had fallen from a giddy height, and had
barely escaped with his life; so severe indeed
were the injuries he had received, that it seemed
probable he would never rise again from his bed.
His only solace was in carving, and the great
skill he manifested in this work delighted and
astonished his less gifted father.
Moritz carved no longer now. He and Else
were rapidly growing old and infirm, and needed
comforts which, however, they were wholly
unable to procure. Victor acted as mountain-
guide to strangers during the short summer-
time; but in winter the little family fared as
badly, and experienced almost as great distress,
as in the old days.
The weather was now bleak and threatening;
the little lakes, lying embosomed among the
mountains, were thickly coated with ice, and all
the inhabitants of the lonely hamlet predicted
the near approach of the dreaded snows. Poor
old Moritz sat shivering by the side of the
An Unexpected Charge. 15
empty and cheerless grate, listening to the
Monotonous sound of wood-chipping that came
from the corner by his son's bed. Alex lay,
partly propped by pillows, working industriously,
and glancing at intervals, with pardonable satis-
faction, at a large tray by his side, covered with
specimens of his handiwork. The boy could
not help sighing as he reflected how many
weary months must pass before he could hope
for a chance of selling his little stock. Victor,
too, was gazing in turn at the tray of carvings
on the table, and at the bent figure at the fire-
side, as if revolving some plan in his mind.
Presently he rose, and took his cap from its
nail on the wall. Moritz, Else, and the invalid
all fixed their eyes on him in inquiring astonish-
"Victor, my child," remonstrated the mother,
"you are not going out in this bitter cold on
the treacherous icy paths ?"
The boy came over to where she sat, and
bent down to kiss tenderly her wrinkled forehead.
"Don't oppose me, mother," said he, entreat-
ingly. "I must go. I cannot remain inactive
here, and see you and my father slowly perish
16 The Adopted Son.
for want of comforts. There is yet time before
the snows set in for the accomplishment of my
IHe turned towards the sick boy.
"Alex, will you trust your finished work to
me ? I will go down into the valley and try to
sell it for you."
My boy, you will perish with cold," remon-
strated Moritz; and Else laid her hand on his
shoulder to detain him.
But Alex listened eagerly to the proposal,
and stretched out his arm to push his treasures
towards Victor. Finding objection and opposition
useless, the aged father and mother at length
gave a reluctant consent to the plan, and the
boy, followed by _their prayers, started on his
dangerous and self-chosen mission.
%idctor ,ilb his father.
J T FTER his friend's departure Alex
K,":" carved more industriously than
",'7' ever, and tried to cheer his
I 1 parents by picturing the change that
SVictor's successful return would
l make in their poverty-stricken home.
But Moritz and Els6 had borne
S privation and want too long to hope for
any relief; and their hearts misgave
them whenever they thought of, or
prayed for, the absent boy.
Soon the snows came on, and drifted thickly
around the secluded little cottage, and even fell
occasionally through its decaying roof and the
insecure frames of its small narrow windows.
Never had the Elmers felt the pressure of want
so severely as now; and never before had the
winter seemed so hard, or the cold so piercing.
18 The Adopted Son.
The half-finished spoon which Alex was carving
dropped repeatedly from his benumbed hands;
tears of weakness and grief coursed frequently
down old Moritz's furrowed face; and Else
moved slowly and painfully about the cold and
dreary room, trying to give it somewhat of a
home-like look. There were no signs of Victor's
return; but although the father and mother
doubted if they should ever see him again, they
never failed to pray for him daily. It was their
greatest comfort to kneel by the bedside of their
sick son, and commit themselves and their wan-
dering boy into the keeping of Him whose eyes
are if every place, and whose mercies are over
all His works. Moritz and Else had preserved,
through all their trials and hardships, the same
simple piety and faith taught to them in youth,
and now it was to be their stay and support
when all else was taken from them.
The distress and want in the little home were
daily felt with increased acuteness, and the
father and mother had reason to fear that soon
food would fail them altogether. But suddenly
the frozen banks of snow began to soften under
the unexpected influence of a mild wind and
Victor Finds his Father. 19
scarcely had the thaw set in, when Victor
Not alone he came. Moritz and Else gazed
with astonishment at his companion; for in the
handsome bronzed features of the high-born
gentleman they traced a striking likeness to
those of their adopted son.
Victor's tale was soon told. He had, with
much difficulty, made his way down into the
valley, and proceeded, by slow and laborious
journeys, to the largest town in the Canton,
where he hoped to obtain a higher price for
Alex's delicate carvings than the country-people
could afford to give. He paced the streets per-
severingly with his load, insensible to cold or
hunger; the recollection of the dear ones whom
he had left in want and distress at home gave
additional stimulus to his exertions, and he
resolved not to return to them until he was able
in some degree to raise them from their im-
poverished condition. After much waiting, and
many unsuccessful attempts to dispose advanta-
geously of his wares, he resolved, not without
some hesitation, to offer them to the proprietor
of a large business exclusively connected with
20 The Adopted Son.
carving. Timidly and doubtfully he presented
himself at the great warehouse, and solicited an
interview with the owner. He was introduced
to a grave and melancholy-looking gentleman,
who examined, critically and minutely, the
delicate and graceful ornaments on which Alex
had bestowed so much care and attention. The
result of the scrutiny was more than satisfactory,
and the merchant offered for the goods a far
higher price than even Victor would have dared
to ask. Grateful for so much kindness, the boy
readily answered the questions put to him
respecting the talented carver of the wares, and
related, with touching simplicity, the reasons
that had induced him to leave home, and the
pleasure he anticipated in returning to relieve
the wants of those who were as dear to him as
father, mother, and brother. The merchant
had understood that he was speaking of his
parents. Victor, in explanation, related his own
history, secretly wondering at the great im-
pression it seemed to produce on his hearer.
He was still more astonished when, at its close,
he found himself held in a close and tender
embrace, and felt warm tears dropping on to his
Victor Finds his Father. 21
face, and learned, by the broken and agitated
utterances of his companion, that he was in his
Else lifted her hands in silent amazement and
thankfulness at so unexpected a revelation, and
gazed in bewildered inquiry at the stranger,
who now spoke.
"My good people, I cannot express to you in
words the gratitude I feel in my heart for your
unwearied kindness and love to my boy; but I
hope to manifest my thankfulness in a better
way. I think you have the right to know how
Victor came to be first brought to your dwelling;
it is my purpose to tell you this as briefly as
possible. When he was a young child, his
mother died suddenly; and my grief at her loss
was at first so great that the sight of the boy
(for he much resembled her) was insupportable
to me. My brother and his wife were then
setting out on a long travelling expedition, and
they offered to take charge of Victor, hoping
that, when they returned, the violence and
passion of my sorrow would have in some degree
abated. I willingly acceded to the proposal,
and suffered my boy to go with them, without
22 The Adopted Son.
making any inquiry into their proposed move-
ments. I never saw them again, and only
heard, incidently, after the lapse of many years,
that they had perished on a mountain expedition.
Of my son I could learn nothing. It was in
vain that I made incessant inquiries, and paid
repeated visits to every place at which the
travellers had been seen. I offered large re-
wards for his recovery, and set on foot a strict
search, which I fondly hoped would prove
eventually successful; but every attempt to re-
cover my child was vain. At length I gave up
all hope, and resigned myself to a lonely and
miserable existence. Business prospered with
me; in a few years I was a rich man. But
riches were of little worth in my eyes, and only
valuable as enabling me to relieve suffering and
want. I looked for no more joy on earth, when
suddenly more was given me than I had possessed
for years. In the simple, brave mountain boy
who came to sell me the ornaments his adopted
brother had made I recognized my Victor, and
his artless recital of the history of his life placed
his identity beyond a doubt."
The speaker paused, trembling with emotion.
Victor Finds his Father. 23
Moritz lifted his bowed head, and audibly
thanked God for His wonderful mercies; while
Elsa wept unrestrainedly. Victor seated himself
by Alex's bedside, and clasped his brother's
hand affectionately. It was long before any of
the party spoke again. There was a thankful-
ness, deep in its very silence, in the hearts of all.
Victor presently described the difficulties that
he and his father had experienced in attempting
to reach the cottage; and the merchant hastened
to assure the Elmers that, after recovering his
son, his one desire was to care for the comfort
of those who had acted a father and mother's
part towards the helpless child for so many
Moritz and Else were never again now to feel
privation or want; Alex was no more to sigh in
vain for the luxuries dear to all sufferers; for
the father of their adopted son felt unable to do
enough for these devoted friends. He would
gladly have removed them into his own magni-
ficent dwelling; but to this neither father nor
mother would consent; their hearts' affections
were fixed in their own humble home, and the
desire of both was to die among the mountains
24 The Adopted Son.
they loved so much. Alex too was happy in
the simple life he led, and refused to leave his
parents; so the Elmers still remained in the
midst of their neighbours and friends, having
their every want provided for, and almost their
every wish fulfilled, by the grateful love and
generosity of the youth whom they had cherished,
and the father to whom they had been, in God's
good providence, the unconscious means of re-
FRANK'S TEMPTATION AND VICTORY.
I.-HOW FRANK WAS TRIED.
NDUSTRIOUS, unselfish, and
obedient, Frank Baldwin was
a son of whom any parent's
heart might well be proud.
Frank's home was a humble
one, and when a mere boy he
felt it a delight to be able to
do anything to make lighter
the burden which he saw
rested heavily on his parents.
He had early listened to the voice which says,
"My son, give Me thine heart;" and when he
expressed a desire to go from home to try his
fortune, his parents consented, for they felt
assured that in all times of trouble and per-
plexity he would seek comfort and guidance
from his Father in heaven.
26 Frank's Temptation and Victory.
Frank left home with a brave heart, and
found his way to one of our large western cities.
He immediately began his search for employ-
ment. IHe met rebuffs, but he was not dis-
couraged. He had no friends to aid him, but
he asked God to guide him.
The only position that opened to him at
this time was one but little above that of a
porter. The compensation offered was small,
but Frank did not on that account hesi-
tate. "Who knows," thought he, "but if the
duties of this humble office are faithfully per-
formed, the way may thus be paved to some-
thing better?" and he cheerfully entered upon
his duties. His companions were not congenial,
but Frank's pleasant face and friendly way soon
won their hearts.
Longing, as he sometimes did, almost to home-
sickness, for a sight of the dear faces far away,
it was hard always to keep up a brave heart;
and he might have been tempted into wrong
paths but for his precious Bible, with its sweet
promises and kindly warnings.
Soon after Frank entered upon his new duties
he was told by his employer that he expected
flow Frank u'as Tried. 27
him to be at his post on Sabbath morning, as
Frank felt a choking in his throat as he an-
swered, "I have always been accustomed to
spend the Sabbath morning in church, and I
supposed when I entered your service that I
could still enjoy that privilege."
"You have the evening for that purpose,"
was answered. "I am sorry to take from you
a part of the day that you consider your own;
but the work must be done, and as it properly
belongs to you, I expect you to do it."
He had spoken firmly, and in a moment was
gone. Frank was greatly troubled. His em-
ployer had said that the work must be done,
and that he would be expected to do it. What
could he do?
When the Sabbath morning came, with a
heavy heart he went to the office and performed
his accustomed tasks. In the evening, he occu-
pied his place in the sanctuary, but he could
not enter heartily into the services. He felt
that he had robbed God of a part of the day,
and was offering to Him but the remnant.
Through the weeks that followed, the matter
28 Frank's Temptation and Victory.
was much on his mind. He felt that he could
not retain his position if he insisted that on the
Lord's day no work should be required of him;
and out of employment, and without friends in
that great city, what could he do ? When he
turned to his Bible, this plain command con-
fronted him: "Remember the Sabbath day to
keep it holy."
But other thoughts came at length, bringing
gleams of light into the darkness. Had not
God promised blessings to those who call the
Sabbath a delight, honourable; not doing their
own ways, nor finding their own pleasure, nor
speaking their own words. He would not longer
dishonour God. He would keep holy God's
Sabbath, and believe God's promises. When
he had thus decided, his mind was at rest.
Before Saturday night came again, he sought
an interview with his employer.
"I cannot work on the Sabbath," he said,
"for I am sure that I am not doing right, and
I have been very unhappy about it."
It cost him an effort to make this honest state-
ment, but he could not waver, for God, he felt,
had made his duty plain.
Good Conduct Rewarded. 29
His employer looked at him steadily for a
moment, and then said, Come to me on Monday
morning, and I will then decide your case."
The Sabbath was an anxious day for him;
and many a prayer was offered up that God
would help him to bear with the right spirit
whatever might lie before him.
II.--GOOD CONDUCT REWARDED.
AT the appointed time on Monday morning
he presented himself at the office. His employer
received him kindly; and after a moment of
silence, he said:
"I have watched you carefully since the first
day that you entered this office, and I can truly
say that you have been faithful, discharging
with cheerful alacrity every duty that has de-
volved upon you. In nothing have you manifested
a spirit of insubordination, except in the matter
of spending a portion of the Sabbath in your
customary employment. But in this I believe
that you have acted conscientiously, and your
30 Fraink's Temptation and Victory.
scruples shall be respected. You shall no longer
Le required to work on the Sabbath: but I
cannot longer permit you to occupy your present
Frank's heart sunk like lead. So he was
after all to lose his situation!
"I cannot longer allow you to retain your
present position," continued his employer; "but
you have proved yourself so capable and so
trustworthy that I cannot part with you. One
week from this day the post of cashier in this
office will be vacant. That position I offer to
you. The post is an important one; but you
will, I am sure, so discharge your duties as to
give me no occasion to feel that my confidence
in you has been misplaced. Take your place at
the desk this morning. Mr. Clarkson, as I have
said, will remain one week longer, and you will,
I trust, at the expiration of that time have
become somewhat familiar with your new duties."
Frank was bewildered. Had he heard aright?
Yes, it was all true; and there sat his employer,
looking kindly at him, and smiling at his evident
"You may go to the office now," he said,
Good Conduct Rewarded. 31
presently. "You will find Clarkson there to
Frank's heart was too full then to trust him-
self to thank his employer, but he asked, May
I go to my room for a short time, now ?"
Certainly you may go," was the kind answer.
Going hastily out, Frank went quickly to his
room, and closing the door behind him, threw
himself on his knees and poured out his thanks-
giving to God who had ordered all this. He
had hoped only that he might retain his place.
He felt that he could never again doubt God
who had so greatly blessed him.
After offering up a fervent prayer that God
would enable him to discharge well and worthily
the duties of his new office, and to honour him in
all things, he went, as he had been directed tc
do, to the cashier's desk.
Mr. Clarkson was much interested in the
young man thus unexpectedly called to fill an
important position in the office, and he resolved
to do all in his power to aid him.
The week that followed was a very happy
and a very busy one; and at its close, Frank
was left alone with his new duties.
32 Frank's Temptation and Victory.
In his new position Frank was called to en
counter new trials. There were several men in
the office who felt that they had claims upon
the post soon to be made vacant, and each had
secretly hoped that he would be the favoured
one. What then was the surprise and chagrin
of all, to see a "mere boy," as they regarded
Frank, and one, too, who had occupied so humble
a place, promoted to the coveted position.
They did not attempt to conceal the nature of
their feelings from Frank, and in many ways
tried to annoy him.
All this Frank bore patiently, never resenting
by word or act any unkindness received. As
he gradually became familiar with his duties, so
that he found it necessary to spend less time at
the desk, he employed his leisure hours in assist-
ing those whose duties occupied more time than
his own; and by his continued and unobtrusive
kindness, he won his way to the hearts of those
who bad regarded him with envious feelings.
Frank still lives, an honoured man in every
circle where he is known. In all his ways he
has acknowledged and honoured God, and. God
has greatly blessed him.
A CAA D I fAJ4 J TO Y.
SH '.111IE Christmas holidays were
drawing to a close, and the
S' i school-boys of Littleton had,
.-'. individually and collectively,
made up their minds to enjoy
I that remained. There were
not two opinions as to the
means to be used to this end.
s- It does not often happen in
King Winter's Canadian dominions that the
coming of the bitter frost precedes the coming
of the snow; but it was so now, and the mill-
pond near the village lay glittering in the sun-
light, a firm sheet of crystal. The skating was
perfect. The sky was clear; but there appeared
upon it, here and there, misty streaks and
34 The Skaters,
flakes of clouds, towards which many boyish
eyes were turned knowingly. Before another
sunrise, the snow might lie deep upon the smooth
surface of the lake; and the pleasure of three
days must be crowded into this one day of sport.
So the village street rang with shout and halloos,
as the merry lads took their way to the ice.
Even the mothers of Littleton were content
to-day, and tied on mufflers and sought out stray
mittens, and sent off the merry skaters with good
will, glad to secure the quiet of the house with-
out disturbance to their own peace of mind. For
not the most timid and anxious of them all
could, with any show of reason, cast a doubt on
the strength of the ice after two or three such
nights as had just passed. The most reckless
lad of the village could not possibly drown him-
self to-day,-unless, indeed, he went willingly
into the glade which was always open near the
upper end of the pond, or strayed too far down
past the bridges and past the point where the
Deering Brook falls into the larger stream, just
above the dam. And of course that could never
happen; for the glade was beyond a sudden
bend of the river, quite out of sight of the very
A Canadian Story. 3 5
best skating-ground; and the ice was rough
round the mouth of Deering Brook, which was
a warm little stream, and usually broke up more
than once before it could bring itself to submit
to rest contentedly beneath its icy covering. No:
there could be no possible danger, all agreed;
and so the enjoyment of the day promised to be
as nearly perfect as it is ever likely to be in this
Nor was the pleasure to be enjoyed by the
school-boys alone. This was before ladies gene-
rally had begun to distinguish themselves on the
ice; but still there was here and there among
the groups of rough-coated lads the gleam of a
gay scarf or plume, and more than one pretty
figure made the bright scene brighter, as, with
timid boldness, she ventured alone over the
All who could show a passable pair of skates
were there, and some who could show none at
all. There were sledges of all sorts and sizes;
and every now and then one of these would come
rushing down the steep bank of the pond wi!h a
force that sent it to the other side, amid the
hlcuts and cheers of all.
36 The Skcaters,
The sky clouded as the day wore on, but it
grew milder, too; and some who would not have
ventured forth in the intense frost of the morning
were beguiled in the afternoon to share the
limited pleasure of those who, from the bridge,
were watching the skaters on the mill-pond
above. The days were at the shortest now, and
there was no moonlight; but, though the dark-
ness was beginning to fall, the skaters showed
no signs of weariness, but every sign that they
would enjoy the pleasure to the very last; for
even now there came silent messengers from the
clouds, bearing the tidings that, for this time at
least, it was the very last.
It was pleasant enough on the bridge, too;
not so pleasant, however, but that some of the
loiterers had turned homeward,-though the
greater number lingered still. Nor did they
linger for nothing. Partly conveyed by shouts,
partly by signs, came up the news that another
race-the last and best-was to come off at
There had been a good many trials of skill
through the afternoon; but two new competitors
were to take the ice,-lads, almost men, whom
A Canadian Story. 37
office-duties had kept within-doors till now.
One of them had long been acknowledged to be
the best skater in Littleton; the other was a
new-comer, who, though used to the sport, had
never tried the ice on that pond; but he seemed
to accept the challenge with a brave heart.
They were to start from the bridge, and make
the circuit of the pond twice. The word was to
be given by a young lady with a crimson plume;
and a feather from that very plume was to be
the winner's prize.
"One-two-three!" and away both flew,
amid shouts and cheers that made the air ring.
Both? Nay, there were three; for behind them
at first, and then abreast, was a little ragged
figure in a blue frock and overalls. The frock
was fastened round the waist by an old red sash,
and the overalls were tied at the ankles with
bits of twine, over boots much too large for the
little figure above them. But the skates were
right: there could be no mistake about that.
"Teddy Lane!" shouted the school-boys from
"Teddy Lane!" echoed the gazers from the
~8 The Skaters,
"Teddy Lane But when, and where, and
how could he have learned to skate?" is the
question from all.
Who knows ? Probably on borrowed skates,
on moonlight nights, or when less fortunate lads
were pining in the school. Skate he did, and
well, too. He was abreast of them when they
disappeared behind the point; he was before
them when they came in sight again. He doffed
his cap to the lady with the crimson plume full
five seconds before the other skaters came near;
pausing to start fair with them again, he disap-
peared first beyond the point; and when the
distance could be fairly measured from the
bridge as they came in sight once more, he was
full three rods before the foremost.
With a whoop and a call, he circled round
the group at the goal, and, with no pause as the
other lads came up, skimmed away, beneath the
bridge, and past the mouth of Deering Brook,
and still farther over the ice beyond. Then
from the bridge there arose a cry, which echoed
among the hills like the voice of Death; and
then came a silence as terrible. Then those who
did not shut their eyes in horror saw the
A Canadian Story. 39
treacherous mass give way,-and Teddy Lane
No He rose again, and, clutching, first with
one hand and then with the other, the brittle
edge that broke at his touch, he struggled till a
long, narrow fragment, loosened from the mass
by his frantic efforts and by the pressure of his
weight, sailed slowly away towards the middle
of the stream.
"He will be over the dam !" cried one.
"No: he may stick at the jutting rock
above!" cried another.
"God keep him from the jutting rock The
eddy there would put him beyond all help."
Poor, ragged, motherless, homeless Teddy
Lane! How many hearts stood still with fear
in that moment so perilous to him! How many
eyes were strained to catch a glimpse of safety
Already a score or two of runners had crossed
the foot-bridge over Deering Brook, and were
jostling each other on the brink of the larger
stream. In another minute the gazers on the
bridge saw a slender figure, without hat or coat,
advancing rapidly over the ice towards the
40 The Skacers.
moving mass to which the boy still clung.
Around his waist was fastened a rope, and in
one hand he carried a pole, with which he
proved the ice before he trusted himself to it.
God give him strength and courage! for he is
trying for a higher prize than a crimson feather
Teddy Lane was saved; and of course the lad
who saved him was a hero, from that day, to all
the skaters on the pond, and to all the village
besides. If he were to be my hero, I would tell
you all about Teddy Lane and him,-how,
though Teddy won the crimson feather, the
other won from the fair umpire something that
he valued more, and how he "lived happy ever
after," as, in story-books, heroes are supposed
THE FIRST LIE,
The Olb grotun 9ug.
S-. LBERT WALILBROOK was the only
S son of his mother, and she was a
S widow. No mother and son were
ever happier together. They loved
ach other truly; and what sweetened
and deepened their natural affection was that
they both loved God, and tried to serve Him.
Thus passed the happy days of childhood
and youth with Albert Wallbrook, till the time
came when he said he must go out into the
world, and begin life for himself. Mrs. Wall-
brook wept much when she thought of his going,
but she knew that it was necessary, and gave
her consent readily.
But it was not so easy to find employment as
42 The First Lie.
Albert expected. He found that the world was
full of young men beginning life like himself;
and whenever he discovered a vacant place that
he thought he was exactly qualified to fill, some
one else stepped in before him and took posses-
sion of it. So a year passed, and he was no
nearer a situation than at first, while the neces-
sity for it was greatly increased.
Albert had a friend named Walter Egerton,
who knew of his anxiety to obtain a situation.
Walter's father, a solicitor, was intimate with
several men of influence, and he promised to do
what he could for his son's friend. So when
he heard one day that a nobleman, one of his
clients, wanted a private secretary, he recom-
mended Albcrt so highly that Lord Elmore
wrote to say he would engage the young man,
provided only he was a member of a Protestant
church, and was not over twenty years of age.
Walter was greatly delighted when his father
received this letter, and he set of at once to tell
Albert the good news. You may guess how
glad and thankful Albert was. God had heard
his prayers, he thought, and he would now be
able to help his mother as she had hitherto
The Old Brown Jug. 43
helped him. But when he read the nobleman's
letter a second time, his countenance fell, and he
exclaimed sorrowfully, "I am too old; I was
twenty-one a few days ago."
No matter for that," returned Walter. "A
few days cannot make much difference; and
Lord Elmore will never know."
"But I know."
Oh, nonsense You must not throw away a
chance like this for such a scruple. Lord El-
more is a man of great influence, and his private
secretary may rise to be anything."
I know that, and I am very sorry that I am
not qualified for the situation."
But you are qualified, if you will only say
you are twenty instead of twenty-one. Such
things are done every day. People would never
get on in the world if they did not strain their
consciences a little."
"Then better not to get on at all. It is more
necessary that we should have a conscience void
of offeuce than prosper in the world."
But this is such a slight matter. It is not
like sayir.g you belonged to a Protestant church
if you didn't: it will do no one the least harm:
4 The First Lie.
for what difference can it make to Lord Elmore ?
and it will do you a great deal of good."
"No, Walter; it would do me only harm;
for it would come like a cloud between God and
my soul. I told a lie once, and by God's help I
shall never tell another. There are no little
false words in His sight."
"I never knew you tell a lie, old fellow."
"No, I hope not; it was long ago, when I
was a very little boy, yet I recollect it as dis-
tinctly as if it had happened yesterday."
"Tell me all about it."
It would take me too long to do that; you
would be tired of listening."
No, I shall not. I want to hear it; and
perhaps your story may convince me that you
are right in ruining your prospects. At present
I cannot help thinking you altogether wrong."
Now, my dear young readers, before you hear
Albert's story, I must say a word or two about
Walter, who appears as tempting him to do
wrong. He was not wholly bad, or he would
not have been the friend of Albert. But he had
not been trained in the same careful and prayer-
ful way; and his conscience was not so tender,
The Old Brown Jug. 45
or scrupulous, as he called it, as that of his
companion. He did not really believe there
was sin in what he advised, saying that Albert
was not twenty-one when the situation was
heard of. I am not giving this narrative to
injure Walter, but to approve the conscientious
and truthful character of Albert. So now for
the story, as told by him, of his first and only lie.
The first thing I ever remember seeing was
my dear mother's face; the next was an old-
fashioned brown jug, covered with white raised
hunting figures, and having a white handle
twisted like a rope. It used to be on a small
round table in the nursery, and I have often lain
looking at it for hours at a time, waiting for the
men to mount their horses, and for the hunts-
man to loose his hounds from their leashes, and
wondering why they never moved.
My mother prized the jug, because it had
been in the family for a long time; and when-
ever Bridget, my nurse, let me go to it for the
milk that was always kept in it for my use, she
would warn me to take care of breaking my
mamma's jug. Since so much store was set by
46 The First Lie.
this jug, it seems strange that it was left exposed
to daily peril. I never thought of that th en ; but
as nothing happens by chance, I can see now
why it all was, as you shall soon hear.
When I was about five years old, my constant
playfellow was Topsy, a little black terrier, that
I loved a little less than my mother, and a little
more than my nurse Bridget. One summer
evening I was playing with a ball in the
nursery. Suddenly there was a crash ; and to my
dismay I saw the beautiful white rope handle of
the jug lying in two pieces on the table, and the
jug itself on the floor, with part of the rim
broken. Topsy sat at my feet, looking up in
my face as if asking who was to pay the
Bridget, hearing the noise, ran into the room;
and when she saw the mischief, she exclaimed,
angrily, "There! you have broken your mam-
ma's jug. I know you would do some harm
with that nasty ball : it shall be taken from you,
and thrown into the fire." She made a snatch
at the ball as she spoke; but I caught it up
from the table before she could reach it, and
held it tightly, saying, "It was not I broke the
The Old Brown Jug. 47
jug; it was Topsy ;" but I felt my face grow very
red, and knew I did not look like a truth-teller.
"You bad, wicked boy You know you are
telling a falsehood. Come along to your mam-
ma, and see what she'll do to you," said Bridget,
laying hold of my arm.
"I don't want to go to mamma," I said,
flinging away from her; but Bridget caught
me again, and dragged me to the drawing-room
Although I did not want to go to my mother,
I had yet some hope that she would rescind
Bridget's L.-lfill edict for the burning of the
ball. She looked very much surprised to see me
thus brought before her, sobbing tearless sobs;
while Bridget still held my arm, as if I were a
prisoner wanting to run away.
"Why, Bertie, what is the matter?" she
asked, holding out her hand to me.
"Ile's a bad, wicked boy, ma'am," answered
nurse, still clutching my arm. lie has broken
tbh milk-jug with that nasty ball; and then
told a lie to hide it, and said it was Topsy."
So it was Topsy ; and it's you that is wicked
to say that it was I, and to want to burn my
ball," I sobbed.
48 The First Lie.
"Bertic, Bertie! my mother remonstrated;
and Bridget exclaimed,
Well I never did hear the like of that "
"That will do, nurse. Leave Bertie to me
for a little while," said my mother.
As soon as Bridget left the room, she took me
on her knee, and kissed me, saying, Now, my
boy, tell me what is the matter."
I would have been glad enough to have done
so: but having once told the lie, something
seemed to impel me to stick to it. Besides,
nurse's threats still held me in terror, and
mamma might be persuaded by her that the
ball ought to be burned if she knew the damage
I had done with it. So, instead of confessing
what I had done, I made up the most plausible
story I could think of to deceive her, saying that
Topsy jumped up on the table, when I was
playing with him and the ball, and knocked
down the jug.
"Well, love, I am very sorry, but it cannot
be helped; and I do not see that you were to
blame, except in being so rude with Bridget."
"Not to blame!" I thought, and sobbed
harder than ever.
The Old Brown Jug. 49
Hush Bertie dear. Tears will not mend
it, and there is really nothing to cry about."
"She said you would burn the ba-all," I
sobbed, feeling that my grief might seem sus-
picious if not accounted for.
Burn your ball for Topsy's fault ? Nurse
ought to have known I would not do that. You
are quite certain it was Topsy did it ?"
"Oh yes, mamma."
"Then there is nothing more to cry about.
We cannot punish poor little Topsy, who did
not know he was doing any harm, can we?-
unless we keep his bone from him to-night.
Shall we do that ? "
Oh no, mamma."
The meanness and ingratitude of laying the
blame on Topsy had not struck me till then;
and I felt that if he were to be punished for it,
I must tell the truth at any cost. Mamma, I
knew, was only joking; but there was no say-
ing what punishment Bridget might inflict on
Topsy if she really believed that he broke the
jug; so I sobbed harder than ever.
Bertie darling," said mamma, "stop crying
now, like a good little boy, and run out into the
50 The First Lie.
garden, and have a game before bed-time."
She dismissed me with a kiss; and, slipping
down from her knee, I ran to the garden, with
Topsy at my heels, and the ball in my hand.
I had never told a lie before, but I knew
quite well how sinful it was, and it lay very
heavy on my conscience. Still, I was not really
sorry; for I rejoiced more at having saved the
ball, than I grieved at having saved it at the
cost of a falsehood. If nurse does say any-
thing more about it, mamma will not believe
her," I thought, as Topsy and I began running
races along the garden walks; and in the fun
and excitement I soon forgot all about the lie.
But the sun went down while we played;
and a grey mist crept over the sky, and the tall
yew-trees at the garden gate began to look
grim and spectral in the uncertain light. A
strange wierd feeling took possession of me; I
felt as if every one was far away out of reach,
and only Topsy and I were left in the world. I
began to wish that Bridget would come and
take me to bed; but the light grew dimmer,
and the yew-trees grew dimmer, and still she did
not come. Topsy had slunk away as if he found
The Old Brown Jug. 51
my company no longer pleasant: At last I was
afraid to stay out any longer. Just as I
reached the door, and was going to run in, I
remembered that it would not be safe to take
my ball into the house; if Bridget was too
angry with me to put me to bed she might de-
stroy the ball if it fell into her hands.
I must hide it outside, that was plain; and I
paused to think where I should put it. There
was an old nest in the very heart of one of the
bushes. I would deposit it there, if only I
could muster courage to put in my hand, and if
nothing would jump out and bite me as I did it.
I slipped up to the bush, and laid the ball
securely in the nest. Just then a bird in the
next bush, disturbed by this unusual visit, and
from its first sleep, flew away scolding, and
scared me by its noise.
How guilt makes cowards of us That poor
little bird, frightened out of its wits, probably,
did certainly frighten me out of mine. It
seemed as if it had been a witness of what I
was about and had gone to tell, as little birds
of the air are said to do. I took to my heels,
fleeing, though none pursued.
,..- y' OME, Walter, you must be
S tired of this long tale. But
,F _- 'V ._>'
a, ',7 /, you asked to ]ear it all "
-," Not a bit, old fellow.
,' li r ,,*#=,", It is as good as a story out
of a book. Besides, it is
worth your trouble to tell,
S for you have more than half
convinced me already that I was in the wrong.
Go on. What is it that Dr. Watts, or one of
those old poets, says,
A verse may find him who a sermon flies ?'
And if a verse, much more a story."
"Well, I agree with you, that a story or a
parable may point a moral as well as can be
done by a sermon or a poem: and for the
young, better. I must write out this tale some
day. But, by the way, it was George Herbert
who wrote the line you quoted just now. But
I will go on. Where was I "
A Useful Lesson. 53
"You were running back to the house when
the bird flew out of the bush."
Well, I never stopped till I got to the door.
Nurse was not in the parlour, nor in the nursery,
so I went to look if she were in the drawing-
room with mamma. I was not afraid of her
now that my ball was safe, and I was very
tired, and wanted her to put me to bed.
When I got to the drawing-room door I heard
hei talking with mamma. I did not hear what
she was saying; but just as I was going to turn
the handle, mamma said, You must be mis-
taken, nurse; it would break my heart if I
thought Bertie would tell me a lie."
He did then, ma'am, you may depend upon
it. I wouldn't have told you to-night, only you
got it from me before I knew."
I waited to hear no more, but slunk away
like the culprit I was, and slipped quietly up
stairs to my own bedroom. I undressed my-
self as quickly as I could, and crept under the
After a while, Bridget came in with a candle
in her hand, and pulled down the quilt.
54 The First Lie.
"Oh, you are there !" she said, "and I've
been looking for you all over the place. Why
didn't you wait for me to put you to bed ?"
"I can go to bed without you," I answered,
plunging round so as to turn my back to her.
"I dare say you can. Little boys that are
old enough to tell lies are old enough to undress
themselves. But I am sure you didn't say your
I will say them to mamma when she comes
to bid me good night."
Your mamma won't come to-night; she is
I felt stunned with grief and terror when
she told me that, for I thought I had really
broken my mother's heart, and that she would
die. The very word "broken called up afresh
the scene of my guilt.
"Can it ever be mended again, nurse ?" I
Oh yes, dear. I kept the pieces, and it is
not so badly broken. But you shouldn't have
told a lie about it."
"I don't mean the jug, I mean mamma's
A Useful Lesson 55
"Why, the child is dazed! exclaimed
Bridget, while I sat up in bed, sobbing. "Lie
down like a good boy; ask God to forgive you,
and to make dear mamma well, and then go to
I lay down as she bade me, and she tucked
the clothes in well at my back and then went
away; telling me again to go to sleep.
But I could not sleep; whenever I closed my
eyes I saw my mother's face, pale as death,
before me; and once when I dozed off for a
minute, I imagined I saw her standing by my
bed, reproaching me for having broken her heart.
I sat up in bed again, listening-oh so eagerly !
-for any sound from her room; but though I
strained my ears, and held my breath, I could
hear nothing. I could see the light streaming
faintly under the door from where I lay, for
her room was directly opposite mine, at the
further end of the lobby; but all was still.
The agony of those hours I shall never
forget. My mother had always taught me that
God would hear and answer prayer; but I
dared not pray, because I had been so wicked.
Had it been possible, I would have hid myself
56 The First Lie.
from sight. I was afraid to sleep, although I
could scarcely keep awake, lest I should waken
in the place where liars have their portion.
Early in the morning I heard a man's step in
the lobby, and soon knew the doctor was come.
He and Bridget whispered together at the head
of the stairs for several minutes, and as he
was going away I heard him say,
We can tell nothing for a few days."
Then Bridget came into my room for some-
thing, and I asked eagerly,
How is she ?"
"Very ill; go to sleep," she answered, look-
ing very grave.
I rose long before my usual time, and dressed
myself, intending to go at once to mamma and
ask her to forgive me. But Bridget would not
let me go near her; the doctor said she was to
be kept perfectly quiet, and would be very angry
with her if she disobeyed him.
In a few hours the doctor came again. 1
waited till I thought he was gone, and then
ran upstairs to mamma's room. I had heard
Bridget in the kitchen, and meant to go in to
mamma without her knowing.
A Useful Lesson. 57 'r
But the doctor was not g2ne as I supposed;
and just as I got to the door he came out
You must not come in here, little man," he
said; mamma 'must not be disturbed."
He spoke kindly; but he, too, looked so grave
that I feared he had not been able to mend
mamma's heart; and I wondered if they had
told him that it was I had broken it.
The doctor saw I looked wretched, and patted
my head, saying Poor child! with such
kindness that I could not keep from crying.
"You must not cry, but ask God to make
poor mamma better soon," he said, when he saw
But I dared not ask; I thought God was too
much displeased to heed anything I might say.
I moped in the house all day. Topsy won-
dered what ailed me; and leaped round me,
barking, to try to coax me to have a game with
her; but after a while she seemed to discover
that I was in trouble, and getting on my knee,
she licked my hands and face all over, and then
curled herself up and went to sleep. Bridget
gave me my meals, as usual; but she was too
busy attending mamma to take any further
58 Mie First Lie.
notice of me; and no one heeded me till the
doctor paid his visit in tho evening.
I was standing on the steps, feeling very miser-
able and forlorn when he was leaving the housa
and he stopped to speak to me.
"Why don't you run and amuse yourself, my
boy ? Mamma will not know you when she
gets up again if you mope about in this way."
He spoke as if he expected her to get better;
but his looks were not so hopeful as his words,
and I got no comfort from them. I did not go
out to play, but went upstairs and stood in the
lobby, hoping to get a glimpse of my mother
when nurse should open the door. It was a
long time before she came out; but I waited
patiently, and at last the door opened and I
saw mamma lying, looking very flushed, with
her eyes very bright; not at all like what I had
imagined her. And yet I was more frightened
by her appearance than if she had been pale,
and her eyes closed.
She saw me as soon as I saw her; but some-
how she did not seem to know me.
"Bertie never told me a lie. Bertie would
not deceive me," she said, speaking in a strange
A Useful Lesson. 59
loud voice, quite unlike her usual sweet low
tones; and looking at me as if I were a stranger.
Bridget turned hastily back into the room,
and closed the door, so that I could see no more ;
but I still heard my mother's voice, pitched in a
high excited key, and I felt as if my own heart
My ball still lay in the green linnet's nest,
where I had hid it the previous night; I could
not bear to look at it or play with it, yet
through all my misery it had been a comfort to
think that it was safe. But now I felt as if I
hated it, because for its sake I had broken my
mother's heart with a lie.
I rushed downstairs, sobbing, and out into the
garden; Topsy running after me in delight,
thinking that at last we were going to have a
game. He watched me put my hand into the
yew-tree and get the ball. When I saw him
stand with open mouth, ready to spring after
and catch it as soon as I threw it, my purpose
was shaken for a moment. But the thought of
my mother strengthened me; and without ven-
turing another look at the dog, I ran back to
the house and threw the ball into the nursery _
60 The First Lie.
fire, champing it down with the poker, and
watching it consume with much satisfaction.
But poor Topsy whined piteously as he stood
with his fore paws on the fender, making little
leaps at the grate as if he meant to rescue his
plaything from the flames.
When it was all burned, and I could see
nothing left of it, except a shrivelled bit of
leather, I sat down and grieved that my beau-
tiful ball was gone. Some natural tears I shed,
yet I felt happier than I had done since I told
the lie; and I was no longer afraid to ask God
to forgive me and to mend my mother's broken
At the end of a week, the fever having left
her, I was told I might go to her if I would
promise to be very quiet.
Of course I promised; but as soon as I saw
her I sprang upon the bed in a way that was
not at all quiet.
Poor little Bertie-poor little man has he
missed mamma, sadly ? she asked caressing
Oh mamma! is your heart mended ?" I
cried, as I kissed her face all over.
A Useful Lesson. 61
"Is what mended, darling ?"
"Your heart. You said it would break if I
told a lie, and I did. It was not lopsy that
broke the jug; I did it myself with my ball,
and I have been wanting to tell you all this
week, but they wouldn't let me near you; and
I thought your heart was too broken ever to be
"My poor little boy, why did you tell me a
lie ? she asked, with a sorrowful face.
"Nurse said she would burn my ball, and I
was afraid, and said it was Topsy. But I
burned it myself when I saw you look so strange;
only poor Topsy was so lonely without it, I had
to roll up an old pair of socks for him to play
with-they do fcr him just as well-and you
know it wouldn't have been fair to have taken
his plaything from him because I told a lie,
would it mamma?"
"No, love "
And then she shut her eyes and looked so
white, I feared she was going to die.
But after a little she opened them again, and
I saw they were full of tears.
"Poor little boy she repeated, kissing me
62 The First Lie.
tenderly, and then she said, It would break
my heart, Bertie, if you sinned, and were not
sorry for it. I think your burning the ball
shows you repented of the lie; but have you
asked the Lord of Truth to forgive you ? "
"I did, mamma, afterwards. I was afraid to
do it at first."
Shall we ask Him, now, to keep you from
ever telling a falsehood again, no matter how
you are tempted?"
I said "Yes," and knelt down on the bed,
while she prayed that I might, through all my
after life, love truth as my own soul, and, never
swerve from it even one hair's breadth. If I
were to live a thousand years I would not for-
get that prayer. When it was ended I promised
my mother that my first lie should be my last.
By God's grace I have kept my promise up till
now; and by His continued help shall keep it to
Well, old fellow," Walter said, when Albert
had finished, I am convinced you are right,
although, for your own sake, I wish it were
A Useful Lesson. 63
"Do not say that," replied Albert. God's
love is better than silver or gold. Something
else will turn up for me. Thank your father
from me, very heartily, and tell him how it is
that I cannot profit by his kindness."
Walter went home very much cast down, and
told his father all that had passed. Mr. Egerton,
too, thought Albert was over-scrupulous. Yet
he could not help thinking the more highly of
him for it. He wrote to Lord Elmore, regret-
ting that Albert was too old for the situation,
telling him how he had refused to conceal his
age, though very little over what was required.
The next day he had the following letter
from Lord Elmore:
"Dear Egerton,-I made a stupid blunder:
when I said not over twenty, I meant not under;
and even had I not, I think, for once, I would
have changed my mind for your high-minded
young friend. Will you kindly ask him to call
upon me at his earliest convenience, that we
may settle as to salary, etc.; and the sooner he
can enter on his new duties, the better I shall
be pleased. I am, dear Egerton, yours truly,
64 The Fl4 Lie.
I need not tell you, my young readers, lhow
grateful Albert was when he heard the good'
news. And the best of it was that there were
eight months of the year when he was able to
see his mother every day; for Lord Elmore only,
spent the winter in London, and Albert could
often find time to go to see her.
He lived to occupy a high official 1.:.iJt ,-.n,
and every one admired him for his talents, but
still more for the unswerving truth and honour
that never ceased to distinguish him all his days.
Walter Egerton never bantered him again about. '
" scruples of conscience; and when, sometimes,
he remembered the story of the first lie, and the
curious blunder about the age required, his
heart warmed to his old friend. It was not
merely that he knew that honesty is the best
policy, but he had learned that the fear of the
Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and them that
honour God, He will honour. This was cer-
tainly true in the life of Albert Wallbrook.
LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, MIDDLE STREET, E.C.