The Baldwin Library
IL' n'B or
There is nothing finer on earth than a Lancashire man or a Lanca-
shire woman. I have known these people now for a great number of
years....They are a people kind and open-hearted; a people ready to
receive instruction in religion ; orderly, and loyal....I really do not be-
lieve there is such another race of people to be found on the face of
the earth."-Lord Shaftesbury's Diary in 1862.
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TIlE STORM.I'S GIFT.
THiE STORM'S (IFT
:a r ** ^ s
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Hr/'l kSneel on thte floor i wiN/ his /iLt s nid r tls, ald c'/2 lreihter
see nohr ien,'J t/to no ozes or goes.
T. NELSON AND SONS
London, Edtinburgh, and New York
R' Lancasbire Storp.
By the Author of
"THE GOOD OLD SAYING," "KIND WORDS,"
THE ROLLING STONE,"
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgh, and New York
" Is it true ?" is the frequent inquiry the child puts
to the story-teller.
It is not untrue, would be the conscientious
answer of the teller of the story in this case. In
explanation it might be added: It is the true depic-
tion in many instances of real scenes, incidents, and
characteristics in a frame-work of fiction; for though
the characters themselves may be somewhat travestied
or blended, the characteristics are genuine, as memory
has preserved them. It is indeed altogether more
from memory than imagination that the writer has
The honourable testimony borne to the fine and
sterling qualities of the Lancashire people by one so
honoured in his wide knowledge and experience as
the late Lord Shaftesbury-and, in his case, apart
from all ties of birth or association-may perhaps
accredit the assurance here given that what is strong
and tender and true in piety, attachment, gratitude,
and in the affectionate relations between the owners
and the workers of the soil (having regard to the
date of the story), is simply the genuine record of
experience, and not due only to the partiality of the
writer, as one by origin deeply rooted in the sand-soil,
and to the manner born."
BARTON HALL, LANCASHIRE,
Sontt en ts.
I. THE GIFT, ... .. *** 11
II. THE RECTOR, ... ... ... ... 39
III. CHANGE, .. .- ... .. ... 50
IV. ATTAINhIENT, ... ... ... ** 79
I. THE DISCOVERY, .. ... ... ... ... ... 1U5
II. CONCLUSION, ... ... ... .. .. ... 121
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I l _- GIFT .
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'Ay! and I've bruouh t thee 5umlnlllt :, answered Jack.
THE STORM'S GIFT.
IT was a fearful night. The wind swept past in
howling gusts. Sudden drifts of hail and sleet
dashed against the small latticed window of a thatched
fishing cottage with a force that threatened to burst
God be merciful to them at sea !" exclaimed Ally
"Thou may'st say that for a true prayer; there's
need enough on it," answered her husband. "There'll
be many a life lost this night !"
Eh, it's fearful enough for them on land too. God
be merciful to us all!" ejaculated Ally, as a whirling
gust, fiercer than all before, shook the little tenement
to its foundations, and strained the door and window
12 THE GIFT.
fastenings to the last limit of their strength, dashing
against them some fragments of broken boughs with
a rattling sound.
Jack Mateson was well inured to every variety and
degree of rough weather, fisherman and boatman as
he had been from his boyhood, and high in the life-
boat's crew now to boot. But even he was awed by
the fury of the gale.
"Ay, it's a wild night," said he; there's no ship 'ull
weather through it on this coast. Pray God there's
none near the Sandhohne Bank this night. But take
heart, Ally my woman; it's none so far from dawn
now, and the wind 'ull lull as the tide drops."
There's no sign on it yet," said Ally, rocking her-
self to and fro as she sat up in bed straining her eyes
to catch a streak of blessed dawn.
"Well, I must be off all the same," said Jack. "I
promised Bill and Dickison to meet them at the Dead
Slack between five and six to help them to haul down
their boat to near water-mark; and there's no time
"Why, thou'll never turn out now. It's pitch dark
yet; thou'll never find thy way," pleaded Ally.
"Bless thee, woman, couldn't I find my way if I
were blind?" answered Jack.
"Ay; but it's no common bad night," urged Ally.
"There hasn't been such a one since the big storm
THE GIFT. 13
when the Bonnie Lizzie went down this very month
of February five years back."
Jack pondered a little as his memory was called
back by Ally's remark to that terrible time when he
and all his comrades had vainly striven to reach the
doomed ship, and every soul on board her had per-
It's well-nigh as bad," said he musingly. But
for all that I'll be off; Bill and Dickison 'ull keep their
time, and we'll not be drowned on the dry land any-
And, so saying, he got up, groped about for all his
gear, pulled his long-flapped fishing-cap well over his
ears, and after waiting for a momentary lull of the
wind, that he might be able to open the door, he went
out fearlessly into the dark storm.
The fishing cottage was a low mud and rubble
building, whitewashed and thatched. It owed its
safety to its thick walls and its little height. It lay
ensconced in a green hollow of the sand-hills, sheltered
by them and by a belt of stunted, weather-beaten
sycamores behind. Just in front was a patch of very
green short grass and moss-in summer a little garden-
plot of Nature's own making, wherein she seemed to
have scattered all varieties of wild sand-flowers, and
flanked them in sport by a little forest of dwarf
willow wands, hiding the silver underneath each
14 THE GIFT.
leaf ;" but a desert waste now-a wild wilderness in
its solitude, as the dun morning dawned slowly that
dark day, the wild clouds breaking up the leaden can-
opy of darkness, the wind soughing and sobbing as it
lulled, and the surging of the waves sounding like the
boom of distant cannon.
Desolate and dreary indeed it looked, with broken
boughs and twigs strewed around, and an uprooted
tree lying aslant to leeward-not unlike a deserted
ship on the heaving ocean, lying as it did among the
upheaved waves of sand-hillocks crested by their
gray-green growth of star-grass or sea-reed. Who
would have thought on that lowering February morn-
ing that when next the white clouds of June would
float across a sky of deepest liquid blue, sun-gleam
and shadow would play over a little paradise of calm
below them-a spot where a botanist might forget
the hours, where, in the silence of that "companion-
ship where none intrude," a poet might be inspired,
or philosopher or moralist muse, and feel with the
Psalmist that the little hills bring righteousness unto
the people" ?
Over those sand-waves, and through the tangled
hollows, in the darkness, and against the fury of the
wind, Jack Mateson piloted himself with a fisherman's
true guiding instinct; and presently answered the hail
of his companions, who, as he had foreseen, were true
STHE GIFT. 15
to their agreement, and were already before him at
the place of meeting-one of those same larger hol-
lows, in the summer an oasis of flowery green, but-
now a small lake filled by the rains of the winter.
Very few words were exchanged between the
friends; the deafening roar of the wind and waves
overwhelmed their voices. The boat lay on the shore
edge. Bending their heads forward, the strong,
weather-used men turned away from the partial
shelter of the hills, and steadily fronted the living
strength of the gale on the wide unsheltered shore-
a- vast level of sand and shell, broken, alas! with
many a heap of wreck and ruin left by the ebbing
tide after any such storm as this.
The three men made but slow advance; the faint
dull dawn, now beginning to break through the dark-
ness, guided them on their way.
"Hollo !" exclaimed the two companions, as Jack
Mateson, stumbling over some obstruction in the way,
fell at last fairly over it-" hollo Hold out-a hand
to haul thee up again."
Stand off, stand off a bit!" shouted out Jack,
"or ye'll make bad worse. Here's something wrong.
Bide a while yet," he went on, feeling cautiously
about; "there's more than ropes and wreck here-
there's the body of some one; and by the clothing it's
a woman too."
16 THE GIFT.
The other two men knelt down, and carefully feel-
ing all around, helped to disengage the tackling and
sail-cloth from what was seemingly the-corpse of some
poor creature just then left on shore by the receding
"It's not a woman either," said Jack. "By its
size it's a child, and a young un too; and it's fastened
tight to the raft with the rigging. Lend a knife to
cut the tackle with. Lord! if it were but light
enough to let one see which were rope and which
were flesh and bone !"
"Thou'st better leave it a bit may be," suggested
Dickison, "till it comes lighter."
"Nay; it won't do to let the babby die outright
for fear o' hurting it; though like enough it's dead
already," said Jack. "But we're bound to give it a
And with a strong knife that one of the men
handed to him he cut through the rope that crossed
over the shoulders, and gently liberating limb after
limb, succeeded, with the help of the two men, in free-
ing the little body from the sail-cloth it was wound
in, and from the ropes that had bound it so securely.
"It's a light weight," said Jack, lifting up the
drenched bundle in his arms with the gentleness of a
woman. Who knows but there may be life in it yet,
seeing it's been well floated up all along. I'll be off
THE GIFT. 17
with it to Ally, anyhow; and you two stay and find
out if there's any others to look to. There's light
enough to see now."
The men assented, and Jack, turning round, opened
his heavy fishing-coat, and laying the small body close.
to him, folded his arms round it to give it what
warmth he could; and, with the wind at his back, the
strong man, for all his inconvenient burden, was at
his cottage door again in much less than half the time
it had taken him to make his way from it.
Ally had already kindled the turf-fire, and there
was a pleasant warm glow in the kitchen that lighted
up the nets, and cork-floats, and fish-creels, and dried
flukes that hung from the rafters.
Thou'rt soon back again," said Ally, only glancing
slightly round from the fire-place as she knelt there
cleaning up the hearth for the day.
"Ay; and I've brought thee summat," answered
Jack, and he offered to Ally's unexpectant arms the
bundle of drenched, twisted clothes in which the child
lay seemingly lifeless.
"Is it dead ?" faltered Ally.
"It looks like it, and it would be a'most a miracle
if it weren't," returned Jack, shaking the dropping
water from himself. "But we'd happen -as well try
what we can do for a bit."
It was not the first time that the drowned had
18 THE GIFT.
been brought to the fishing cottage for restoration,
and both the worthy couple knew well enough what
to do in this case.
"He'll come round, thou'll see he will," broke out
Ally half crying, after they had despairingly tried
again and again all the means their experience had
taught them. "He'll come round; and a sweet face
it is, now that we have got all the sand and tang
away. Eh, but what long hair for a boy! he'll not
be likely from these parts."
Jack had been hitherto as active as his wife in
their joint efforts at restoration-blowing up the fire
for hot water, heating Ally's old flannels, rubbing the
icy little limbs as the child lay across his knees.
Now he stood by the settle where they had laid
him on the doubled-up bolster from their own bed,
wrapped in Ally's best flannel petticoat, and covered
over with her well-warmed gray duffel cloak. He
stood still, watching intently the pale face; while Ally,
kneeling by the settle, chafed the little hands that
dropped so listlessly from her hold. Discerning a
faint quiver in the features, he again renewed his
efforts; and, becoming presently assured that the
child would revive, he lapsed into some pretence of
"Ay, ay; like enough he'll be wanting all that
long hair curling for him. He'll be some little foreign
THE GIFT. 19
shaver," added he-" some Frenchman's little brat,
"Nay, nay," pleaded Ally; "I dunnot think it.
He'd never have such a sweet face, nor such a clean,
fair skin, if he were French, nor such beautiful soft
light hair, though it be over-long for a boy. And
he'll have blhe eyes when he opens them. Poor little
lamb, so he has!" she exclaimed as the child, with a
quiver in his limbs and an effort to move, opened his
eyes and heaved a sigh. He closed them again in-
stantly; but they were blue eyes without doubt, as
Ally had foretold.
The kindly heart of the good woman was deeply
stirred at the success of their prolonged endeavours.
She raised the now breathing bundle of warm flannels
in her motherly arms, kissed the closed eyes and the
little helpless hands, her own tears wetting the pale
cheeks, lavishing all the while every loving epithet of
her copious vocabulary on the still unconscious object
of her solicitude and tender care.
"And what art thou going to do with the boy,
Ally?" asked her husband.
"Do-with him ?" said Ally, turning round half-
inquiringly; "why, what should I do with him but
tend him, to be sure ?"
"Tend him, ay; but how long ?" said Jack.
How long ?" repeated Ally, still rocking the child;
20 THE GIFT.
"what makes thee ask that? Why, as long as he
"And how long will that be ?" persisted Jack.
"Well, to hear him now !" exclaimed Ally, growing
vexed; "well, till some one or other fetches him some
way. Thou wouldn't turn the child God has sent to
us on such a day as this out of doors belike ?"
"Nay, nay, Ally; I dunnot mean that, thou knows
well enou'. But there's more to think on than just
tending him now, poor little chap."
Ally had been wetting the child's lips with warm
milk; and as he seemed to sleep quietly, she laid him
down again on the warm bolster, and leaving his side,
took up his clothes, which lay in a heap as she had
let them fall in first undressing him, and shook -them
out one by one -before hanging by the fire such as
could not be washed.
Pretty little broidered trousers, and linen shirt,
and fine soft petticoats, and a bonny little plaid coat,
wi' buttons and braid, like I've seen.childer wear in
the town," said Ally, shaking out each small -article.
"He's not of poor folks' kin, that's sure, anyhow;
but whoever they are, they'll be sore and sad for him
if they're alive to know anything."
"There'll not be any left either to sorrow or think
about him," said Jack slowly, as he thought over the
probable consequences of the morning's adventure
THE GIFT. 21
with some natural uneasiness; they'd never turn the
little chap adrift as long as there were any chance
left. They'll have braced him to the spars thinking
he might float, so light as he was. And so he has;
but they themselves 'ull all have gone down to the
bottom, sure enough. Doesn't thou see that ?"
"Ay, ay; I fear me thou'rt likely right," said
Ally sorrowfully. "Poor little left lamb But there'll
be some one or other belonging to him somewhere.
There's no need that every one kin to him should
have gone on board, all on 'em together all at once."
While the couple thus pondered and talked together,
and the child lay seemingly sleeping, the storm had
much quieted. The sun now broke through the wild
clouds, and darted a bright gleam through the lattice
window, lighting up all the disorder that the child's
advent had brought into the living-room of the fishing
cottage. Presently the two men who had remained
on the shore came up to tell of a capsized boat floating
out at sea, and of another vessel feared to be in danger;
but, so far, no more bodies cast up.
The noise made by their coming disturbed the child.
He moved, opened his eyes, uttered some plaintive
murmur, and, gazing bewildered on the unfamiliar
scene and faces around him, began to cry.
"Poor little lamb! Poor little motherless, lost
lamb !" cried Ally, choking with her own compassion-
22 THE GIFT
ate emotion at the sight of the child's distress. And
again taking him in her arms, hushing him, and kiss-
ing the tears from his soft cheeks, she soothed him
into quiet; for indeed he was too weak to contend.
He quietly swallowed the spoonful of warm milk that
Ally kept supplying, and sank again into slumber or
The men looked on with no lack of silent sym-
pathy. All felt the gravity as well as the interest of
the unwonted occurrence.
"What's to be done with him?" asked Jem
"We must wait a bit and see," answered Jack.
"It's hard upon ye both to have all the burden,"
"We munnot make a burden o' what God sends,"
said Ally; "more fit take it as a gift."
"Ally would rather have him than not," said her
husband good-naturedly. She was begging our Mar-
get t'other day to let her have their little Dick; and
this one 'ull do instead, mebbe, if we're.like to keep
"A stranger isn't the same as one's own, though;
and quality folk isn't the sort to turn to use in a
hard life. I fear me the storm has brought ye but a
costly gift, if gift he turns out to be." So said Dicki-
son as he scanned the fair face and delicate limbs of
THE GIFT. 23
the child as he lay languid and but half-conscious
in Ally's arms.
"But take heart though," he added, with a desire
to console; "ye, happen, mayn't have the keeping of
him over-long. It's like enough he'll be claimed by
some of his own one day or other; and it'll be their
business then to make up some way for all the trouble
he'll have been to ye."
Dickison's remarks were reasonable, but something
in Ally's heart resented them. It was a very simple,
kindly, feeling heart, and the sweet face of the child,
his utter helplessness, and this unlooked-for coming to
life, as it seemed, from the dead, all through their per-
severing, fostering efforts, had drawn out its tenderest
emotions. Possibly even the very delicacy and gentle
semblance which Dickison contemned added a share to
her interest; and the idea of his being taken away'
from her jarred already-for the moment at least.
"It's not the poor little lamb's fault if he has come
of gentle blood," said she almost sharply. "And as to
his being a stranger, it's harder for him than us, lost
and left as he is among us rough folk, poor little
fatherless and motherless babby We should care for
him the more for that. Doesn't the Bible say some-
where that we should love the stranger ?"
Jack Mateson was a fine specimen of the sailor and
fisher nature-strong and daring, and tender to the
24 THE GIFT.
weak, as the brave and strong so often are. He, too,
had been drawn to the child who owed the preserva-
tion of his little spark of life to him. The hearts of
both of them had sorrowed and softened under the
loss by drowning of two fine lads of their own. And
at all times Jack was kindly to his wife.
"You see," said he, in answer to the two men's
further offers to help in any way they could, "that
Ally's willing; and we can manage with the little
chap for a bit well enou', if only he can speak plain
But the child could not speak English at all. To-
wards evening, after he had long lain quiet, he became
restless, and, rousing up from his semi-slumber, re-
peated again and again some plaintive questioning
words of want and inquiry all unintelligible to Ally.
And it was too clear to her that he understood her
answers as little as she did his sorrowful inquiries;
and it keenly distressed her to see the tears on the
pallid cheeks, and note the look of alarm in the wan-
dering eyes, as still he repeated the same strange words
of seeming entreaty.
But there is no misunderstanding altogether, even
in an unknown tongue, the tone and manner of ten-
der kindness; and the child was soothed presently by
Ally's endearing assurances, though he understood not
a word" of them, and with shut eyes, and his arms
THE GIFT. 25
round her neck, he clung convulsively to her, sobbing
out again and again, in broken syllables, what sounded
to Ally like, Mam-ma, mam-ma."
"Ay; mammie's here, my lamb; my poor little
lost lamb, I'm-mammie to thee now. I'll be mammie
to thee so long as ever thou wants thy mammie's care.
Thou'st come a- good gift to us mebbe, and we'll take
good care on thee sure enough." And Ally went
crooning on and on a lulling welcome to the poor
little ocean waif so strangely cast upon her care.
And her care indeed he sorely needed, and for long.
The shock and the chill had been too severe to be
easily rallied from. For days the child lay between
life and death-delirious at times and terrified, then
sweetly docile and languid.
Ally nursed him untiringly, with an affection which
only grew the more with his need of it, drawn the
more closely to him by his suffering and danger, and
touched in her heart's core by the winning abandon-
ment with which the child clung to her as to his only
stay in the new strange life to which he had awakened
from one he could explain and confide to none about
What a.proof it is of the loving providence of our
heavenly Father that he has implanted in the true
woman's nature such compassion and tenderness as
ever give ready answer to the call for help and sym-
26 THE GIFT.
pathy; and has also made child helplessness so especi-
ally eloquent in its pleading as to draw forth all her
tenderness, and so winning in its trust as to repay
all the care and trouble its helplessness demands.
So it was with Ally: the close care, and watchful-
ness that the child required only endeared him the
more to her. Her heart grew bound up in the inter-
est of his returning life. And Jack, too, after his
more rugged fashion, felt strongly and warmly for
the little sufferer, as fever and inflammation increased
and ebbed, and life flickered, and sank even to seem-
ing extinction, and the struggle left him at last weak
and helpless as an infant new born. And he daily
watched with growing satisfaction each little sign of
returning power as the tide of life less fitfully set in
from ebb to flow.
It was indeed just as if the child had been, in fact,
new born. The time of delirium and unconsciousness,
and the succeeding long prostration, obliterated from
his childish memory all vivid sense of his preceding
life and surroundings. He awoke gradually to his
new being, and learned gradually to speak the new
tongue. If his nature had ever been other than
tractable and docile, his severe baptism had washed
away the rebel element. He was docile and tract-
able now to a fault, Jack said, for a lad.
But Ally ever jealously defended her foundling.
THE GIFT 27
" It's his sweet temper," she would say; "it's just
his loving heart. Thou wouldn't have him peevish
and naught, wouldst thou ?"
It must not be supposed, however, that Jack and -
Ally had borne all the care and burden of the child's
severe illness and slow recovery unsympathized with
and unaided. -The story of his finding had, as a
matter of course, spread around, and it had excited
in full the natural interest and sympathy of the
neighbourhood. The doctor of a small town some
miles distant had given his services gratuitously, and
spared neither skill nor trouble in the case. Food,
more delicate and nourishing than Ally knew how to
concoct, was supplied from the rectory. Jem Dicki-
son's wife and others had been ready to help with
the watching, and to lend or give a change of little
under-garments from their own store.
Altogether, there had been no lack of human sym-
pathies or of active help while the need and the
novelty held together. But every one has his or her
home claims and interests to mind; and it is with
the constitution of the human framework as with
that of the marvellous compass of the mariner-when
the excitements that cause the deviations are past,
the needle returns to its polar rest.
The child's restoration was very slow. It needed
a prolonged time to recover from the prostration that
28 THE GIFTT
followed such a succession of shocks as this frail
young life had sustained.
For many weeks it was feared that the limbs had
for ever lost their power. As the genial early summer
sunshine warmed the air, Jack would carry the boy
to some sheltered sand-hill hollow, and lay him on his
thick fishing-coat on the warm sand; while Ally
would sit by him, mending or making the household
garments, telling him simple tales, and coaxing him
to crawl about on hands and knees after one or other
childish lure, and so woo back the power to use his
One day Jack carried him to the shore. It was
high tide, and the waves fell on the sandy level with
a joyous plash. The child clapped his hands with
delight, which he had not, as yet, acquired language
to express in its fulness. The start towards strength
was made from that day. Joy returned by degrees,
and boyish ambition budded forth and found an ob-
ject and an aim; for he would make any exertion to
get to the shore.
At first he would sit content, gazing over the wide
waters with a far-away look into the horizon, as
though watching and waiting for something beyond,
and want no companion. But active interests chased
away this dreaminess. The sea breezes brought
strength to the languid limbs, and coloured and
THE GIFT. 29
bronzed the once-pale cheeks. With health came
energy; and to help his foster-father, after his child
fashion, and to be with him in his boat, grew to be
the boy's pride and his highest delight.
And so the summer and the winter passed, and no
one claimed the child. The rector of the parish, Mr.
Manley, had not ceased to interest himself in his
cause, and had done what he could to make the cir-
cumstances known through the local papers. Some
temporary interest had been excited; but this had
died away, and the busy public of the distant town
concerned itself little, and the simple dwellers in the
sand-lands were quietly content that the ocean waif
should find home and parentage in the fishing cottage
of Jack and Ally Mateson.
The boy went by the name of Jonah. He had
called himself by some lisping word too foreign and
indistinct to be clearly made out. Jack adjudged
that it meant John; but Ally would have it to be
more like Jonah. "And fitter so," said she; "for
didn't he come to us from the storm and out of the
sea, like Jonah the prophet did ?"
From two to three years after the great storm had
brought its unexpected gift, Mr. Manley paid an un-
wonted Sunday call at the fishing cottage after the
Sit still, Ally," said he, as in response to her call
30 THE GIFT.
t,:, c,?n i in he lifted the latch and entered the room-
it. till, :ni.l '= on with your lesson. I want-a little
t.ilk with y':.u :n that very subject. Are you teach-
ing Jonah to read ?"
Jonah was sitting on Ally's knee, with one arm round
her neck and the other hand on a good-sized open
Bible, brown-tinted in the pages with age, enriched
with old illuminated capital letters, and with some
quaint pictures, one of which was of the whale vomit-
ing forth the prophet Jonah on the shore-a volume
a book collector would have gloried in. Ally's arm
encircled the boy, and ''lp-., to steady the upraised
book, as she pointed out with the other hand the sub-
ject of her lesson. It was a pretty picture, that an
artist might not have disdained to preserve. Ally's
cap of Sunday whiteness, with its band of black rib-
bon, shaded a face with that expression of sober
sweetness which an honest heart and healthful labour
often give to the cottage housewife under the favour
of the peaceful country life.
The boy's head with its soft cheeks, no longer pale
but ruddied and bronzed by sun and healthful breeze,
and with the golden hair, now short but abundant in
wave and curl, met and leant on the kindly, furrowed
face that bent over him, the sunny curls garnishing
the softening gray of the dark hair, which was becom-
ingly turned over in a roll under the snow-white cap.
THE GIFT. 31
Sit still, sit still," repeated the rector, unv ""ir.
to break up the grouping; "I can get ii- lf a ch.ir."
But the boy, abashed, slid off to his i -r; and Ally
rose, intent on doing honour to her visitor.
You were giving Jonah his Sunday lesson," said
I am a poor scholar myself," quoth Ally apolo-
getically. Father gives him the teaching mostly;
but he's not back to-day. They'll have missed ib'
tide last night. He wouldn't take Jonah with him
yester morning, for he said it were a chance.-My
man," said she, turning to t h boy, go to the look-
out, and if thou sees aught of father, tell him as
Mester Manley's come to see him."
"I daresay you can tell Jack as well as I can
myself about my business, if I don't see him," said
Mr. Manley. How old do you reckon Jonah now?
-Ay, I know you cannot tell to a nicety. Well,
you guess about seven or eight; and that's time for
some schooling. We'll give him the schooling at the'
rectory, if Jack and you are willing."
Ally overflowed with grateful thanks. How
could we be aught else but willing, and thankfully
willing? But how can you put up with the trouble,
sir, and so many boys as you've got now ?" said she
with a divided tone of hope and doubt.
That's just one reason why it will be less trouble
32 THE GIFT.
to us- and more good to the boy, Ally," said Mr.
M.:nley. But, in any case, I have always meant to
do something for the lad's schooling as soon as he
got strength in his legs and a good colour in his face."
Thank God! he has got both now," said Ally.
"He's as fine a lad now as any anywhere, and a
power better than most. Eh, sir," continued she, the
tears rising as she summed up her foundling's merits,
"he's as dosome as a lamb. He'll do anything-come,
or go, or stay-at half a word. He'd lay his little
life down for Jack any day, or for me either, I dare-
say; but father's the king to him, poor little father-
less laddie! He's never so happy as with father
about the boat or the nets. And for all he's so good
at bidding, he's a hot spirit. You see, sir, the boys
about here tease him at times, and call him a forrener;
and he's for fighting them and showing he's as good
English as any on them. I tell him he shouldn't
show it that way; but Jack- says there are worse
things than a good stand-up fight, and that the Bible
tells us that. What do you think, sir, for you know
Jack is not wrong in saying that the Bible tells
us to fight a good fight,'" said the rector, rather evad-
ing the direct bearing of the question, and perhaps
not altogether sorry to learn that the boy, so gentle
in look and ways, had the elements of fight within
THE GIFT. 33
him; "only we must take care it is a good fight, and
certainly we must not pick a quarrel. But, Ally, I
came to you on an errand of peace, not of war; we
will leave the fighting question to another time.
Jonah must learn to read before he learns to fight."
Mr. Manley was a bachelor. He owned most of the
small parish, of which he was rector and squire at once;
and he ruled alike over the consciences and hearts of
the simple folk, to whom he was attached both by
the ties of birth and duty.
He and a brother younger than himself had been
latterly left the only survivors of all their family.
This brother had recently died, leaving a widow and
several young children, mostly boys. Mr. Manley
had given them all a home with him, and, as well to
meet the greater expenses caused by so large an addi-
'tion to his household, as also to provide companions
to his nephews and stimulate their learning, had
taken three or four other boys to educate with
The offer he now made to Ally and Jack Mateson
was to take the boy Jonah for an hour or two of
schooling each morning till he was advanced enough
to enter on full school work. My sister," said he,
will take the little fellow at first with the little girl
and the two younger boys that she is preparing for
me for the next half-year. The ladies manage the
34 THE GIFT.
very young ones best. We will try what we can do
between us to make Jonah a scholar."
Ally's thanks had been warm. As to her husband's
mind she had no doubt. Jack has said to me many
a time as we must try soon to get the boy some better
learning nor he could put into him; but you see, sir,
we neither of us just knew how it were to come
about. And now you've opened the door to us. In-
deed, sir, you are good and kind; and Jack 'ull be
as thankful as me.-My man," added she, as Jonah
made his appearance from his fruitless errand to look
for his foster-father, go and thank Mester Manley.
He's going to make thee a better scholar than father
The boy stood still and coloured. He raised his
hand to his forehead, as he had been taught, and bent
his head, but said nothing; his countenance was not
indicative of joy.
My boy," said Mr. Manley kindly, "it's not so
pleasant to come to school just at first, but, like every-
thing else we put our heart into, it soon grows easy
enough;" and, turning to Ally: We had better begin
at once. Send him up to-morrow at nine o'clock, and
he'll be back to his dinner. We'll find him what
books he may need;" and patting Jonah on the'head,
he left the cottage.
Mammie," said the boy, the tears rising, "-am I
THE GIFT. 35
to leave father and you, and go to the rectory to
Ally kissed the tears away. "Thou'll do what
father and me wishes for thee, I know, my jewel.
Thou'll not leave us, never fear for that; but thou
must be a better scholar than either of us, and Mester
Manley says so too, and it's as good to thee as a
fortune to give thee such a chance. Thou'll go and
do thy best, and thou'll try and do credit to his good-
ness, won't thou ?" And Ally stroked the curly head
fondly as it was raised towards her, watching and
listening to its doom--not rebellious, but sorrowful.
Ally had not calculated upon the boy's unreadiness,
but she did not swerve from the plan for a moment;
she had his good too much at heart to hesitate.
Her affection for her charge was deep and touching.
There was in it that element of half-proud, half-
respectful devotion that we have seen in the old days
of domestic loyalty in the faithful nurse towards the
children she has tended with a love as self-sacrificing
as a mother's, and perhaps even more admiringly
blind. The sentiment of loyal allegiance, the pride
in a nature and culture above her own, supply an
element of homage to her devotion peculiar to itself.
Those who have known the dear, blind, unreasonable
pride and fealty of a faithful old nurse of the type
we term "old-fashioned" now, will endorse this remark.
36 THE GIFT.
Ally's love for the child was natural enough in the
circumstances. As we have already said, the desola-
tion of the little being cast up by the.fierce elements
in the dark night; the days and nights of suffering
after, while the frail life hung trembling in the
balance; the weeks, nay, months, of gentle languor
that followed; and throughout, the close clinging of
utterly helpless dependence to her alone, had drawn
forth all the tenderest feelings of a tender woman's
heart. As time went on, the pretty child-thought-
fulness for her, and the little outbursts of love and
gratitude as he strengthened into boyish happiness-
above all, his unbounded admiration for his foster-
father, had endeared the foundling to her inner soul.
And it was pretty to note the touch of respect that
mingled in her .irit.:,ln.it..t.,-:, in speaking either to
or of the boy.
"He's not of our rough sort, you see," she would
say, "and he doesn't need rough words."
Go to Mester Manley ? Ay, to be sure thou mun
go; and thou'll never be able to thank him enough
for his goodness in giving thee such a fine chance for
making a man of thee, Jonah, my lad."
This hearty conjoining of Jack Mateson in the
rector's proposition took away any hope of escape, if
any had lurked in Jonah's heart.
So on the following morning, in his Sunday clothes,
THE GIFT 37
the boy presented himself at the rectory door, parting
at the entrance gate from the motherly hand that had
led him there on this first occasion to give him more
courage, and with the parting injunction dwelling on
his ear: "Now, my darling, go thy way; stand up
boldly, and speak up like a man, and do thy duty, and
God bless thee."
Counsel goes mostly in contrariety to our natural
leanings. Had Jonah been forward and self-asserting,
Ally's guiding cue would doubtless have been some-
thing more like the reverse of these last injunctions;
which, however, served their purpose, and nerved the
shrinking spirit to its first encounter in actual pres-
ence with those hidden powers which, in their indis-
tinctness, had loomed as objects of terror to the
childish fancy-a terror greatly exaggerated, as it
confessed to itself even on the first introduction, and
soon dispersed by closer approach to the gentlest of
Mrs. Bertram Manley-" Mrs. Bertram," as the
neighbourhood called her more familiarly-was a
gentle, indulgent woman, whom the sorrows of be-
reavement had made yet more gentle. She lacked
indeed the strength of character which would have
fitted a mother to bring up a family of sons unsup-
ported by the paternal authority; a strength which
her brother-in-law supplied to her generously in her
38 THE GIFT.
need, and which she had the sense to value at its
A power so benignant could not long inspire dread,
even to a sensitive child. Mrs. Bertram Manley would
have been kind to any one placed in her charge; but
her maternal heart went forth with especially kindly
interest to the pretty boy, the orphan of the sea, who
thus on his first approach, with timid grace and tear-
ful reverence, seemed to appeal to her for toleration.
THE Rev. Roger Manley had not been rector very
many years. For two or three he had been
squire only of the quiet seaboard district of Sand-
holme, living with his widowed mother after his
father's death. Two older brothers had died within
a short period of each other, one from an accident;
and it was the grief of that shock which had hastened
his father's end.
It thus transpired that Roger Manley found himself
unexpectedly the inheritor of the home of his fore-
fathers, and this change in his position led him to
make a change in his life. He left the army and took
holy orders, that he might live amongst his people with
a rightful claim to aid and care for their moral and
spiritual welfare as well as their temporal. He repaired
and enlarged the old rectory-house; and, after his
mother's death, removed there himself, to be near to the
church and more in the heart of his parish. Sandholme
40 THE RECTOR.
was his birth-place, the home of his happy boyhood,
and was dear to him as no other place, he felt, could
ever be. And now that it had been appointed to him
to own it as his heritage, he had made it his l' :'.v
and his aim that he might view it and its simple
population as the home and family which God had
allotted to him, and deal in his stewardship faithfully,
as in God's sight, and under the guidance of that
Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding whose
influence he ever recognized all through the common
course of ." the day of small things," which is to most
of us the ordinary every-day of our lives.
"Let us have God in mind," he would say, "from
Monday till Saturday, as well as on Sunday-as we
draw up the fishing-net or house the hay, as well as
when we are on our knees in church; God is about
our path and about our bed as much as about us in
our church pew.
Honest industry is only another kind of service
which God commanded us to render when He said:
'Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast
to do.' Therefore, my friend, do it with thy might,
and with the knowledge that God's eye is upon thee.
And what I say to thee I say to myself; for woe to
me if I forbear to proclaim to you all plainly the true
and the right way, whether it be for Sunday or
THE RECTOR. 41
Peter Wright, the lame school-master, was fond of
reading out these and other like extracts from the
rector's sermons, at a kind of night-school, or class,
which he opened on winter evenings, and at which
many a grown and even old man attended at times;
for Peter was good company, and varied his teaching
with anecdote and tale, and sometimes with a spice of
"You see," said Peter, on one of these occasions,
"our rector tells us in the pulpit the like of what he
does when he talks to us, only more solemn like."
"Ay," responded the old clerk, "he puts on his
Master's livery on Sundays, and doesn't take it off all
Mr. Manley had declared his intention of rebuilding
the church on an enlarged and handsomer plan. The
old building was in poor repair, and a gallery had to
be raised to find accommodation for the increasing
church-goers. He was only waiting, he had said, to
put by sufficient funds to begin and finish without debt.
"Ay, the church will be his wife, and his people
will be his family," Mrs. Margery was wont to say.
Mrs. Margery had been nurse to all the generation.
She was living out an honoured old age now, as Mr.
Manley's housekeeper. And who could know, if not
she, why he was not to be expected to look out for a
wife and family himself, like most other folk.
42 THE RECTOR.
She had hinted to 'Lisbeth of the Hall Farm that
this would not be, by-reason of a great trouble that
had clouded his younger life. What.was the exact
true story of it, even Mrs. Margery herself either
could not or would not tell. But good folks said it
was that, anyway, that had made him so wise and
"Ay," 'Lisbeth would say, and who should know
better than herself, widowed, and with a family in
her charge of almost all ages ?-" ay, and made him
so able to understand other folks' troubles, and to say
the right thing to them, and just at the right
Ay, ay, there's no one, sick or sorry, but they
may go to Mester Manley and get help or comfort. It
may chance they may hear a plain truth along wi' it,
and told pretty strong too, if he thinks fit to let 'em
hear it," quoth the old clerk one Sunday.
"You may say that," remarked 'Ziah Jobson, who
was known to be too good a customer at the Manley
Arms; "there's a rough edge to his tongue as well as
a smooth un. He doesn't soften a hard crust to
everybody 'same. There's them as he favvers, and
them as he doesn't."
"I'll tell thee what, 'Ziah," said old Peggy, the
rabbiter's mother; "just thou be at thy work every
day in the week, and take thy wage straight-home,
THE RECTOR. 43
and thou'll get 'same favver as any other as does
"Anyhow," remarked 'Lisbeth, "he has a family of
his own, so to say, now, large, enough, and his
sister-in-law so sweet and nice. Eh, I'm fain to
think he has such a lot about him to make his home
lively, just at the time he needed something to stir
him up after his good mother's death. There's been
trouble enough these last years. Troubles and mis-
fortunes is like swallows-they mostly comes i' corn-
This conversation took place after Sunday afternoon
service, the various speakers having unintentionally
gathered together over a new tombstone of a pre-
tentious order which had just been erected by far-
distant relatives over one whose body had been
washed to shore in a state of so great decomposition
that it had necessitated burial on the spot.
How could they make sure that he were either
son or brother to them as never saw him before he
was buried ?" observed a fresh looker on.
"It's strange they should claim the dead so ieady
above the living," said 'Lisbeth. "There's that boy
o' Mateson's, and never a soul come forward to ask a
word about him; and a bonnie fine lad too as he is."
"Well, Mr. Manley's taken him up now. I suppose
he's going to make a gentleman on him, because he's
44 THE RECTOR.
a soft face," said Josiah Jobson, with a touch of sneer
in his tone.
"I don't know about a gentleman," said the old
clerk in sharp response, "but he'll make a man on
him. You may set that down for certain. Our Mester
Roger 'ull never make a soft on any one, gentle or
simple. Look at them nevvies of his-they're twice
the lads they were when they first came, nigh a year
The old clerk, who had once worked at the hall,
and had known the family in their boyhood, fell often
into the old familiar titles, and there seemed to him a
closer bond binding him to Mester Roger" than to
the newer style of "Mr. Manley the rector."
Not many days after this conversation had taken
place over the new tombstone, the subject of it reined
up his white cob at the door of the fishing cottage.
"Well, Ally," said Mr. Manley, as a touch on the
door with the knob of his riding-whip brought the
good soul to the horse's neck, in her comfortable
country dress of dark print jacket and bright-striped
linsey skirt-" well, Ally, how is Jonah getting on
at home with his new scholarship ? Is he as fond of
the boat as ever ? Is he as good a lad with you and
Jack as he used to be ?"
"Eh, sir! he's over-fond of the boat, if anything.
I'm feared he's not as good with you, sir, as he is
THE RECTOR. 45
here. He's none as fond of his books as we could
wish. He like grudges aught as takes him off from
going with father. But then you see he's easy bidden.
Do or don't-that's enough from father, or me either.
I hope, sir, you and Mrs. Bertram finds it 'same too,"
and Ally looked up inquiringly.
"Oh yes, he. does as he's told," said the rector
in reply. If his heart were more in his lessons he
would get on faster, I daresay; but he brings his
tasks fairly well done, and that is as much as we
can bargain for just yet. If, please God, we all see
to the start of a fresh year or two, we shall require
more. Now I see the boy coming up from shore
with his good foster-father. Call him here to hold
the pony, and I'll have a little talk with you both
about him inside the house."
So the rector went in with the good couple.
Now," said he to Jack Mateson, "it's time to come
to some plan about this lad. There's poor chance of
anybody claiming him now. I have little doubt that
the ship foundered out at sea, or might be the very
one we read of that was burned and seen floating a
black hulk by a Jamaica-bound vessel. The time
would fit if some on board got off in boats and were
lost afterwards in the great storm. But whichever
way it might be, here we have the boy, and it's time now
to turn our minds to what may be best to do with him."
46 THE RECTOR.
Jack was silent. He looked to Ally to be spokes-
woman for him. Ally was not backward.
"We're willing, ay, with all our- hearts, we're
willing to make the boy our own," said she. "Them
as is our own is scattered, and, thank God! is doing
well for aught we know. And God has sent us a
child in our old age to care for-ay, and to help us.
He is a help to Jack already-Jack 'ull tell you so;"
and Ally looked appealingly to the fine weather-beaten
figure who had modestly got to the far corner, and
was leaning over a chair back, not choosing to sit
down at his ease before the rector.
"Ay," said Jack, he's a handy little fellow; and he
doesn't know what fear is. There's some odds and
ends as he'll do for me as well as a grown man. He's
right welcome to home and fathering as long as I live;
and I don't think as Ally 'ull desert him if she's the one
of us to be left alone."
The rector saved Ally a half-sobbing reply of
assurance by a nod, and turning to Jack in the back-
ground-" You have been very kind and generous to
the boy, Jack, my good friend," said he, and perhaps
for the next year or two things might well enough
go on as they are now. I don't want to press the boy
too hard with his learning; he had best grow and
strengthen in out-door life, and there is nothing
better for him than the sea breezes. There's a trifle
THE RECTOR. 47
of delicacy left in him yet-yes, in spite of his rosy
cheeks, Ally, which do you such good credit. Go on
as you are doing for a while; make him a hardy and
honest lad, an industrious lad, as you are doing, and
a truthful lad. Now, mark that both of you, my
good friends,-if he were to say he was four feet six
inches, when he was only four feet five and three
quarter inches, call him back for it. Make him
truthful and accurate. And if you ever catch him
bragging because he can learn this, or knows that
better than another, or bragging for anything what-
ever, knock it out of him. If you will look to such
things as these, we will look to his books and his
clothing. And when he can write a bit better, and
has strengthened a bit more still, I will take him in
hand myself, and see what we ought to make of him;
for he has good abilities, and should get beyond the
fishing-boat some day."
"Ah, sir," said Ally, with a sigh, "'you are right,
no doubt, and we must give in to what you think
best. He warn't born just to help Jack and me; but
I'm fain to think we may have him yet a while as he
is. And indeed, sir, both Jack and me, we'll mind
what you say. We'll bring him up honest and true.
But as to bragging, there's little enough of that in him;
he hangs back too much, as if he were not as good as
other lads that have kith and kin as everyone knows on."
48 THE RECTOR.
"Well, well, Ally," said the rector, rising to go,
"we needn't go far for some one to speak a good
word for him as long as you are near. And as to
kith and kin, you and Jack have been as good to him
as father and mother and twenty of kin besides. And
be sure of this, I shall do nothing or plan nothing for
him seriously without consulting Jack and you, with
the same respect to your wishes as if he were indeed
your own boy.-Now, Jonah, my lad," continued Mr.
Manley as he came out of the cottage, "can I trust
you to take Druid to the rectory, and give him safe
into John's hands at the stable-door ? "
Jonah coloured up with pride and pleasure, and
looked to his foster-father, who. had followed Mr.
"Well, my man, speak for thyself," said Jack.
"Thou'll lead him steady, won't thou? "
"Yes, sir," said Jonah to the rector, half hesitating,
and putting his hand to his forehead.
Mr. Manley put his hand kindly on the boy's
shoulder. "You shall get on his back, Jonah, and
ride him home, if you will promise you will not go
beyond a quiet trot at most, and play no tricks on the
way. I have seen you ride Farmer Ford's horses in
hay-time; and if I can't trust you to follow directions
faithfully for half-an-hour, why, my boy, you're not
worth as much as I supposed."
THE RECTOR. 49
And so saying, Mr. Manley gave him a lift into
the saddle, put the rein into his hand, added a kindly
nod, and bade him start. "Without the whip," said
he; "he needs no whip. I only take it to beat off
loose colts as I ride through the fields. Just touch
his shoulder with the bridle end if you want him to
trot, and do it -gently.-The pony is as quiet as a
sheep," said he to Ally; "and it's well to let a -lad
feel that he is thought fit to be trusted. And I'm
glad to be free of the pony, for I have some visits
to pay where he would be more trouble than use."
S it possible that it is three years since? How
We have heard and said the like ourselves-how
often! Perhaps we might more correctly say, How
quickly it has flown !
We take no note of time
But from its loss."
It is rather more than three years since the con-
versation at the close of the last chapter. Jonah was
then hardly more than a child; but three years have
made a marked, change. Three years under the close
influences of kindness, in hand with culture and good
breeding, had made their mark on the susceptible
nature of the growing boy.
That his heart was not wholly in his books might
still have been said of him; but he worked con-
scientiously, and had made very fair progress in his
studies. He had long before this been promoted from
the gentle teaching of Mrs. Bertram Manley to the
longer hours and fuller discipline of the school-room
proper; and in this change there was considerable
tightening of the working traces. Mr. Manley had
taken a distant relation of his as curate, and tutor to
the older boys under his supervision. He was young,
and a little inclined to domineer. He was especially
severe with Jonah in pressing forward his studies.
The boy's good abilities interested him, and he was
impatient at his preference for active life over book
work. He presently represented to Mr. Manley the
great disadvantage of his losing the hours from twelve
to two by returning home for dinner, and often losing
entire afternoons by going with his father in the boat.
"He will never master Euclid by halves,' was his
The idea did not come quite freshly upon Mr.
Manley. He had been turning it over in his own
mind, and now the zeal of his coadjutor decided him.
"The boy shall dine here," he said. "I will speak
to his parents about it."
Now, Ally," said Mr. Manley on the following
day, meeting her on the road with a creel of herrings
at her back, "the time has come for giving Jonah
harder head-work, and keeping him to it. Will you
and Jack spare him all day, and every day but
"Ay, sir," said Ally sorrowfully; "I've been ex-
pecting summat o' that sort. Ay, it must be when
and how just as you think proper; and I can easy
send his dinner with him."
Nay, nay, his dinner is soon managed," returned
Mr. Manley. "He will dine with the boys at one;
and then go in at once to afternoon school, and home
to you in time to put his hand to something. But
will Jack spare him? He's got old and strong enough
to be of some real use to him now. What will Jack say?"
"Jack 'ud never let himself stand in the boy's
light. It was t'other day only he were saying as he
saw more and more clear that he were meant for
finer craft than t'fishing-smack. He says the gentle-
man in him shows at many an odd turn. With your
pardon, sir, he's summat like you. It's like enough
he catches it easy, if it fits natural to him."
"I wish," said the rector, very gravely, "that he
may make as thorough a gentleman as Jack would
have made, if it had been his lot to deal with thou-
sands instead of odd pounds now and then. But it's
not money, and it's not birth always, no, nor learning
either, nor all three together, that makes the true
gentleman, for certain. Jonah has had a very good
home, Ally; and we must try to make him worthy
of all you and Jack have done for him. And it's
time now to set to work in earnest."
Ally had slackened her creel-strap, and rested her
burden upon the copse. The tears were in her eyes,
and her voice choked over the first words,-
It's to you we owe all our best-to you and
yours, sir, except as we owes everything that's good
foremost to Almighty God. Eh, I mind when Jack
and I were boy and girl, what good teaching we had
from the good ladies who are gone; and it doesn't go
for nought-eh no! it doesn't go for nought. I
mind it just as how I were there again;" and the
spirit of re-vision gave suddenly a dramatic effect to
her words as she continued: I mind how they used
to call a little class on us to them in the room they
built agin the garden wall, and teach us Scriptur' and
Catechism, and tell us about being 'true and just in all
our dealings,' and 'kindly affectioned one to another,'
and honouring father and mother. And they hon-
oured theirs; they were patterns to us as well as
teachers. And older than me will tell how they sat
by the old and the sick and comforted them, and
talked to them, as if they'd been sisters or mother to
them. It's what folk does as makes what they say
take hold and stick; and they didn't talk one way
and do another. And I've heerd Jack tell over and
over how the old squire-your father's father, sir-
in his top-boots, with his beautiful powdered head,
would pat him on the shoulder and say to him as he
were to stand in the place of his drowned father, and
be his mother's prop and stay and her strong right
arm. Ay, 'honest and true to God and- to his mother'
-that were his talk, and it took hold. Jack were a
good son, and it's that's med him a good man. Eh,
Mester Manley, there's a gret power in looking up to
them as is good."
The rector had stood quietly listening to Ally,
touched and impressed by the warmth with which
she spoke. "Yes," said he, "it was good teaching.
To honour our father and mother is a good step
towards honouring God. Our Saviour himself re-
peated that commandment more than once to us;"
and the rector raised his hat reverently. "And now,
Ally, you want to go on your way with your fish,
and I must go on mine. Let me help you with your
load." And the rector raised up the creel and laid it
over Ally's shoulders with the same respectful courtesy
with which he might have laid an ermine-cloak over
those of a duchess, and turned back on his way home.
That evening Ally called Jonah to her knee, great
boy as he was getting to be.
"Sit down here," said she. Mammie's something
to say to thee." And she proceeded to unfold, rather
nervously, the new plan that had been resolved on as
to the future school-life.
The boy started to his feet when he heard of the
dinner arrangement. "Mother," he said, "I can't
Ally was startled. This was the nearest approach
to rebellion that she had ever encountered from the
"Jonah, my man, thou mustn't speak like that.
Thou doesn't mean what thou says."
Mother" persisted Jonah, "I'll do the lessons, if
father and you and Mr. Manley wish it; but I can't
stand the dinner. They won't like it, and I won't do
it. I'll go without dinner."
The boy s face was flushed crimson. "They won't
like it!" expostulated Ally. "Why, Mr. Manley
himself said it, and as kind and pleasant as if thou
wert his own boy."
"Ay, but the others won't like it. They don't
like me, I know. They look down upon me; they
don't like it if I ever by good chance bring a better
exercise than theirs. They don't like me-at least
none but Corey; and they'll not like me to seem just
one of them. And, mother, I can't stand pushing
myself among them that look down upon me."
There was bitterness in the boy's voice as he spoke,
and Ally noted a tight clenching of the hand. She
was taken aback and was silent, pondering over what
she would say. Jonah stood silent too, perhaps won-
dering at what he had said.
Ally spoke first. Very seriously and sadly she
uttered the few words: "What'll father think on thee,
Jonah, setting thyself against all thy. best friends ?
Eh, I never looked for this from thee, my man."
Jonah still stood silent. Ally raised her eyes to
his. Jonah saw the tears there, and knew that he
had brought them. A great tumult worked within
him. Love, and gratitude conquered. He threw
himself on Ally's knee with his arms round her neck
and sobbed out, as from the child-heart that he was
overgrowing, "0 mammie mammie! I will do any-
thing-anything father and thou want me; I'll do it
Ally kissed and stroked the head from which the
child-curls had been long shorn. "Thank God !" she
sobbed out too-" thank God, my darling, my own-
man! Go to thy bed, my darling, and I'll tell father
when he comes in; I'll tell him thou'll do just what
he wills, and master thyself. Thou'll do thy duty,
and bide what comes on it."
"Ay," said Jack next morning as Jonah started,
"that's like a man. Go thy way;" and Jack himself
went off to his boat somewhat sadly alone.
And that was all that passed on the subject for
When Jonah came back in the evening he said
nothing, and the old people asked no questions.
1 .V'.r L. 57
"Have thy supper later, my man," said Jack. "I
waited for thee. Come and help me with the nets
Weeks ran into long months. Jonah buckled to
his school work, and advanced even to the curate's
satisfaction, who continued to press him hard, looking
for credit from him.
One summer afternoon all the boys had been play-
ing at cricket after class-time. Bertram, the eldest of
Mr. Manley's nephews, came in late with his shirt
stained with blood in front. His mother asked with
alarm what had happened.
"Nothing," he answered with an assumed careless-
ness, only my nose bled a little."
"Why, your trousers and even your shoes are
marked with blood," said the anxious mother.
Oh, it's nothing," persisted the boy; you see I'm
no worse-no one's the worse for a bit of nose-
bleeding. We are all late. I must get to my lessons,
or I shall get into trouble to-morrow;" and his
mother, content to see that he was seemingly not
materially the worse, forbore more questioning at the
The next morning Jonah made his appearance with
the signs of a coming black eye.
"How is this ?" asked the curate; "have you hurt
"No, sir," said Jonah. "It's nothing it's of no
consequence ;" and he bent over his exercise-
Presently Mr. Manley came in. He had heard
from his sister-in-law of Bertram's nose-bleeding, and
noticing Jonah's discoloured face, he put the two
things together and suspected something amiss.
He let the class hours pass on, but summoned
the two boys to his study before the dinner-hour.
Jonah, you have a black eye.-And, Bertram, your
nose had been bleeding badly b:,:f'. r. you came in last
evening. Have these two things anything to do with
each other ?"
The boys were both silent.
Bertram, what made your nose bleed ? I have
never known of that happening before."
"If you please, sir, I struck him," said Jonah, coming
a step forward, ".and I am very sorry for it."
"Oh, indeed!" said Mr. Manley; "and how did
you get your black eye ?"
Jonah was silent.
"I gave it him, sir," said Bertram.
Oh !" said Mr. Manley again. "I conclude you
fought together." He spoke very slowly.
The boys assented by a murmured "Yes."
"And what did you fight for ?" He paused.
"Can neither of you tell me the cause of quarrel ?
Come, answer me. Who began the fight ? who struck
the first blow ?"
I did, sir," answered Jonah in a very low
"Then," said Mr. Manley, "you can tell me the
reason of the fight. Why did you strike Bertram ?"
Jonah hesitated. We fell out at cricket, sir. We
had some rough words."
"What words ?" asked Mr. Manley.
"Master Bertram called me a Frenchman," said
Jonah hardly audibly.
"Called you what ?" asked Mr. Manley. Speak
out, Jonah; and both of you answer me openly. If
you have anything to be ashamed of, bear the blame,
but speak out clearly. Did I understand right that
Bertram called you a Frenchman ?"
"Well, that is not such a very bad name: it is
hardly enough to justify a bleeding nose. Anything
Here Bertram answered: "Yes, sir, a good many
other things. We were both very angry, and the
rest said we had best fight it out."
"Well, considering that you are probably about two
years older, and certainly stronger, than Jonah, I think
the fighting it out does not do you so much credit,
"I said that I would not fight him, sir; but he
rushed at me, and I was obliged to."
Jonah, coloured up high at this. His face worked;
he was about to speak, then checked himself. He
gulped down a rising in his throat. He was agi-
tated all over, and turned round to hide his face.
Mr. Manley was closely observing both boys. He
saw there was something much deeper to probe than
they had yet disclosed. Jonah," said he, speak out.
It will be the worse for you both if you don't tell me
plainly the cause of this fight. I can't have my boys
blustering in this way for mere nonsensical fancies.
Jonah, say at once, why did you rush upon Bertram
when he did not wish to fight you ?"
"Sir," said Jonah, every muscle in his face working,
"because-he said-he said he would not fight a
charity boy. And what made me wish to fight him
was his laughing and sneering at the way my father
and mother speak."
Again Mr. Manley spoke very quietly and slowly:
"And so, Bertram, you called Jonah a 'charity boy.'
Will you tell me what you are yourself "
Well," said Bertram surprised, "I am not a charity
"How do you live ?" asked Mr. Manley. "Do you
earn your own bread ? "
Bertram was silent at this question.
"I should say," continued Mr. Manley, "that you
are more a charity boy than Jonahl; for, to speak
plainly, I don't know of a single thing you do to help
either your mother or i-:i f You live entirely upon
our charity, or love. Jonah does something to help
his foster-father. He does an honest half-day's work
now and then;. while you eat my bread and wear out
your mother's clothes, and give absolutely nothing of
service in return. Pray, what is that but living on
charity-or love, if you like the word better ?"
Bertram was staggered. Jonah cast his eyes to the
ground. There was a pause.
"Now, boys," said Mr. Manley presently, "you are
both to blame. Jonah, you have been very angry
and passionate, and where angry passions are there is
always cause for blame.-But, Bertram, you are most
to blame, and you have not been very candid in your
explanation. You are but a boy yet. When you are
more of a man, you will look back upon all this in-
sulting hectoring with pain. Now, make up for it as
well as you can, and frankly. Shake hands with
Jonah, and treat him in future as a gentleman should
do, and not like a bully. And both of you boys be
the better friends for having fought and. forgiven-
better friends, as generous boys mostly are."
Bertram had not a bad heart, and he had consider-
able love and honour for his uncle. He advanced,
held out his hand, and murmured, "I am sorry, Jonah,
for what I said yesterday. Will you shake hands ?"
It was an effort, but it was accomplished.
Jonah turned pale. "Oh, Mr. Manley, sir," ex-
claimed he tremblingly, "I am so sorry." He held
out a limp hand to Bertram: his humiliation distressed
him. It was all a new experience-an astonishment
to him. He would have prevented it if he could. He
did not know what to say. "Don't mind-I don't
care," was all that came into his head at the moment
in his confusion.
"Was any one on your side in this quarrel, Jonah?"
asked Mr. Manley.
"James Corey, sir."
Any one else ?"
No, sir; the rest were against."
"Now," said Mr. Manley, liiIn-. "we will say no
more on this unpleasant matter. We will wipe it out
altogether, if you will each give me your word to let
bygones be bygones and start fresh as friends."
Both boys answered frankly enough to satisfy Mr.
Manley; and, to make the first start easier, he took them
both with him to look at the new colt before dinner.
Towards evening, as Mr. Manley was strolling about
looking over home work in grounds and plantations,
he came across James Corey, whose name has already
been once or twice mentioned.
James Corey was lame, and a very delicate boy.
He was the only son of a leading merchant and large
shipowner in the not very distant great seaport town.
At his father's special desire, Mr. Manley had taken
him as one of the small number he was bringing up
with his nephews.
The kind care of Mrs. Bertram Manley, the sea air,
and the freedom of country life were invaluable in
Mr. Corey's estimation for his motherless boy. The
rector himself had been an early school-fellow of his;
and the request that his boy should be received into
the home life at the rectory had been so urgent, that
Mr. Manley had yielded to it, though not without
hesitation at undertaking so anxious a charge.
Young Corey was not strong enough to join in the
boys' more active games, and he found amusement in
little ingenuities of hand-craft. He was now busied
in carving the stock of a cross-bow from the thick
branch of a cherry tree lately pruned off.
James, that wood will warp," said Mr, Manley.
"Don't you know that it is quite green ? Ask Smith-
son to give you some of the seasoned beech out of the
joiner's shed, if you want to make a good job of your
cross-bow. And stay a moment. They tell me you
were at that fight between Jonah and Bertram yester-
day. How did it come about?"
"Well, sir, they all badgered Jonah till he could
stand it no longer. They jeered at his fishing-parents,
and put him in a passion. So we said he had better
fight it out; and then Bertram said he was not going
to fight with a charity boy, and that made Jonah more
determined to force him to do it in his own defence."
What has set them all so much against Jonah ?"
asked Mr. Manley.
"Oh, they're not all so much against him always;
they're only a bit jealous now and then. Mr. Repton
tells us that he'll be at the top of us all, and they
don't like that dinned into them always. And Ber-
tram's a bit more jealous than the rest, because he
thinks, sir, that Jonah stands between you and him."
"Are you jealous of him too, James?" asked Mr.
No, sir; not a bit. I like Jonah. He is my best
friend. He helps me to everything I can't do myself.
He is the best fellow in the world; but you see, sir,
he hangs back from some of them. He thinks he
doesn't stand even with them, and that makes them
Feeling now pretty sure that he had got to the
bottom of this business, which had a good deal an-
noyed him, Mr. Manley contrived to put himself in
Jonah's way as he was returning home.
"Jonah," he said, "I want a word with you; turn
back for a bit with me."
"Thank you, sir," said Jonah; "I wanted so much
to see you. May I speak to you now, sir ?"
Mr. Manley nodded assent, and stood still for Jonah
to say his say. But Jonah, confused and silent, cast
his eyes down to the ground. He fixed them upon
a patch of yellow sand-flowers at his feet, marking
with an unconscious intentness their colour and shape,
all unable for the moment to collect his thoughts and
fix them on the various bearings of the subject his
heart had been full of before this unexpected coming
in contact with the rector, the suddenness of which
seemed to have driven away all his power to take
advantage of it, leaving the patch of sand-flowers in
sole possession of his mind.
"Well ?" said or asked Mr. Manley with an in-
flection of impatience in his tone.
Jonah roused himself. His feeling was that he
was touching upon a crisis in his life. "I wanted to
ask you, sir," said he. And again he cast his eyes
upon the foot of
Short turf, gay with tormentil
And bird's-foot trefoil,"
and hesitated. "I wanted to ask you to-to-let
me give up schooling-that is-to stay at home and
go with father altogether."
Why, Jonah, what is all this for? Is it just a
freak of temper because of a foolish boy-quar-
rel ?" There was displeasure in Mr. Manley's
Oh no, sir, no. But what they said has made it
plainer to me." Difficulty and fear vanished; the
boy's tongue was unloosed. "I've known it always,
ever since I knew anything, but it's plainer to me
since yesterday. I owe everything in the world to
my foster-father and mother-my father and mother,
sir. They're all the father and mother I shall ever
have; and I want to be a help to them-what help I
can be-to repay them what I can for all I owe
them-what little I can, all I can, poor as it will
be. Oh, sir," he went on, losing all shyness, and
looking up to Mr. Manley with earnest eyes, 1 would
do anything in the world if I could but repay them-
if I could but make them any sort of half-return.
No one but myself knows how much I owe them,
how good they have been to me!"
Mr. Manley had listened calmly, but had watched
with close attention the boy's eyes kindling and light-
ing up to enthusiasm as his sense of gratitude towards
his benefactors found its full expression. He was
not wont to give way to emotion; but he was moved
by the unmistakable proofs of the young heart's de-
-votion. He paused a few moments, then kindly lay-
ing a hand on each shoulder, said, using the familiar
epithet of the foster-parents, with something of their
own tender feeling towards the boy,-
My man, if you will be guided by one who can
see further on in this matter than you can--if you
will be guided by me-I will help you to repay your
excellent foster-parents better than by hauling up
fishing-nets. You have a good head, Jonah, and head-
work pays better than hand-work. You will do
something creditable some day. You must study
navigation. You may make the sea your province,
but it must not be in the fishing-boat. Take my
counsel. I will think it well over, and make a plan
for you if you will follow it out. Say nothing about
all this anywhere just now. Go home, and come to
the rectory as usual. Get rid of your black eye, iand
have no more fights, and in a few more days I rill
see you again. Before long you shall make a fresh
start in life."
Sir," faltered out Jonah, "I cannot thank you; I
don't know how. You are very good to me-you
have been very good to me. You have been next to
my father and mother to me. I will do whatever
you tell me." And brushing his sleeve over his face,
he turned off homewards, and the rector musingly
retraced his steps.
As soon as he reached home he went at once into
his study and wrote to Mr. Corey, asking him what
information he could give on the subject of preparing
a boy for the study of navigation and for the higher
lines of sea-faring life. The answer came after some
delay, owing to Mr. Corey's absence from home. He
had information in plenty to give. If his friend
"could put him up for a night, he would come and
have a look at Jemmie and talk the matter over."
After a few more days the proposed visit was paid,
and the subject was very fully gone into between the
merchant and the rector.
Mr. Corey was essentially a man of commerce.
His whole mind was given to his business in all its
branches, and consequently he was successful in it.
But success and wealth did not induce him to relax
in his watchfulness. He fully realized that if the
road was stony and uphill to the making of a fortune,
it was very smooth and easy to the losing of it. The
one soft and tender corner in the heart of the worldly-
wise and business-engrossed man of wealth and credit
was for his delicate boy and anything and all things
that concerned him.
"Is this lad that you are inquiring for the Jonah
that Jemmie talks of so often-the one who saved
him once out of a bad fall into a pond or ditch-I
forget which-and got a wetting himself ?" asked
"I don't know about the fall and the wetting,"
said Mr. Manley, but I find James likes the lad very
much, and thinks he has helped him through different
troubles of one kind or other."
"Is there not some story about him? Wasn't he
saved from a wreck or something of the sort? If
he's been a friend to Jemmie, I should like to have a
little talk with him. I could better tell what sort of
a sea captain he is likely to make."
"I shall be very glad if you will see him, Corey,"
said the rector, "and turn him inside out, and give
me your judgment. The lad is friendless, and has to
carve out his own fortune-a cast-up from the sea,
poor fellow! and not a clue to parentage or kin
beyond the clothes he was washed up in, which his
foster-mother has kept as proofs, if any should ever
be asked for hereafter. I see the lad out there," con-
tinued Mr. Manley, interrupting himself, talking to
your boy. I will call him in at once and leave him
with you; you will get more out of him by yourself.
Make him speak up and speak out-he is shy."
And the rector opened the window, called to Jonah,
bade him come up, and left the room.
In half an hour Mr. Corey rejoined the rector.
"That's a very intelligent, sensible lad, Manley,"
said he. "He's just suited for the sort of thing.
He's a sailor ready made, with a good practical know-
ledge of the working part of the business to start
with; and with the good education you have given
him, his course is clear and easy enough. He ought
to rise, and quickly too."
Is he willing, on his part, to fall in with what you
may suggest ? asked Mr. Manley.
"Oh, willing enough, no doubt of that. When he
understood fully that I would make an opening for
him, his countenance showed his mind. He didn't
profess much certainly, but he said he would stick at
nothing if he could only win his way to earn any-
thing. And he said it as if he meant it. There's a
look of resolve in the boy's face that I like.. It's
worth while helping those that are eager to help
themselves, and I will give him a hand towards get-
ting the knowledge he needs."
"Thank you, Corey," said the rector. "I for one
am very much indebted to you for your goodwill
towards the boy."
"Not at all, not at all," said Mr. Corey. "I shall
be glad to do what I can; and Jemmie will be pleased
that his friend should get a push forward." He
looked at his watch. "My time is up," said he. "I
will just go and thank your sister-in-law for all her
good care of Jemmie before I say good-bye to you."
He closed the door after him; but in another moment
he returned. "A thought has occurred to me,
Manley," said he; "I want a companion for Jemmie
in the holidays. Let the boy come to us for Christ-
mas. He can see a deal and learn a deal that will
be useful to him. It will serve two purposes: it
will give the lad a start, and please Jemmie."
"You are very good indeed," said the rector, "very
good. But the fact is, I am not so sure that Jonah
will be as willing as I am. It will be like going to
court to him; and he is very timid and sensitive
about putting himself too forward."
"Nonsense! it will be our putting him forward,
not his. He promised that he would stick at nothing,
and he mustn't stick at this. And as to shyness,
'going to court,' and all that, the boy knows well
enough how to behave himself. I shall make the
arrangements for it all; and meanwhile I will send
you books and charts for him. He may do a good
deal at home during the next month or six weeks till
he comes to me; and you can shape his studies a
little for him. Put him more to French than Latin.
He told me the boys were learning French."
"Yes; our curate is a very good French scholar,"
said Mr. Manley. "I shall join you at the stables
after you have seen my sister."
What a total change in any life a single day may
make! Who of us all can venture to forecast what
a day may bring forth ?
The rector was very thoughtful all that afternoon.
He walked up and down the shrubbery-walk by
himself, and then went to the drawing-room, sent the
younger children away, and had a talk with his
"He must make a start some time," said Mrs. Ber-
tram Manley after hearing all the rector had to tell,
"and better at once, while he is young enough to
take fresh impressions easily and fall in with the new
life. You have always said, dear Roger, that he
must strike out in some line very different from the
present; and is it not well to follow this excellent
opening, and with all thankfulness too ?"
"My dear Mary, you are wiser than I am. You
have strengthened me and convinced me," said the
rector. But I wonder what Jack and Ally will think,
and I wonder how the boy will take it. I must find
out these important points to-morrow."
Oh ay, sir, ay. I know it's a fine thing, a very fine
thing for him. And it's good of the gentleman, it's
more than common good. We could never have asked or
thought o' such a thing; and what can we do now but
give in to it, and thank him, sir, and you. But eh !
first hearing on it comes sharp and sudden. Mayhap
no one would reckon how we shall miss him. It'll
never be the same house again without him, and his
bonnie face, and his willing hand, and his learning,
and all his wise talk. It's only God as knows how
we shall miss him, and how good he is!" and Ally
buried her face in her apron. "Jack ? ay, Jack 'ull
only blame me for making a trouble on it. There's
no need to hold back half a minute to ask what
Jack 'ull say."
What will Jonah himself say ? asked Mr. Manley.
Ally dried her eyes. In the first surprise at the
strange news she had not thought of anything but
the shock to herself. She pondered a little.
"Father must tell it to him; I dasn't," said she.
Now, here's Jack himself," said the rector, opening
the door.-" Jack, I'll leave your wife to tell you
what I have been here to say, and you must use your
authority to clear any difficulty away with Jonah."
"The lad 'ull make no difficulty to aught as you
wish, sir, or I'm very much out of reckoning. Sum-
mat's made a man on him out of a lad these late weeks
back," said Jack.
An hour afterwards Jonah entered the open door very
slowly, twisting a piece of string round and round his
forefinger with a far-away look in his eyes. He had
two large books under his left arm, which he proceeded
to lay carefully down on the table, without uttering
a word of the usual cheerful greeting on his return.
Ally's heart misgave her. Jonah," she said, what
ails thee ? Has aught gone badly ? What dost thou
look that fashion for ?"
"What fashion, mother?" asked Jonah, rousing
himself as if from a dream. I wasn't looking at any-
thing. Nothing's gone badly-at least I suppose not.
Mother," he added, going up to Ally with the slow
thoughtful step with which he had entered, I'm going
for the Christmas holidays to Mr. Corey's in Liverpool."
Who told thee that, Jonah ?"
"James Corey," said Jonah; "and I saw Mr. Man-
ley as I came home."
"And art thou going with thy own mind ?" asked
Yes; that is, if father and you don't say no to it."
"Say no to it! Nay, nay, we shall never stand in
thy light, thou may'st be safe of that. It's very kind
on 'em all. It may lead to something more than
"I shall learn navigation there," said Jonah. "I
shall get a step towards earning my own living; you
and father shan't be burdened much longer, nor Mr.
Manley either, with an idle fellow learning Latin and
Greek. Mammie dear," he added, on seeing the look
of distress which told him the kind heart was hurt at
his words or the tone of them-" mammie, I'll come
back some day to be a help, please God, and not a
"A burden exclaimed Ally half-crying; "thou'st
never been a burden to either of us-never for one
moment. Thou'st paid thy way over and over again,
if that's what thou'rt thinking of. And eh, my man,
but we shall miss thee come Christmas time!"
The boy's heart was touched and comforted by
Ally's loving assurances more than she could guess;
for it had been heavy and almost soured of late by
the fuller sense that had grown upon him of all the
depth of his obligations, and the seeming small chances
of his doing anything to repay them.
Mother, mother," said he, it's your goodness says
that. Nothing that I can do can ever pay my debt
to father and you, nor to Mr. Manley either; I know
that well enough, though I may not be saying it day
by day. Mother, may I sit up after you go to bed,
and get on with this navigation reading ? I want to
make the best of these weeks before I go."
Days glided on, insensibly working transformation.
"Ay, he'll kneel on the floor with his maps and.
charts about him, and he'll neither see nor hear who
comes or goes. Ay, it's change to all on us, and I'm
like to cry over it any minute, while I'm glad all the
same, and thankful to all them as has brought it about.
But he's been all our own all these years, and it's
aye hard to think he'll not be our own much longer."
"I think he'll be your own as long as he lives, in
his own heart," said Mrs. Bertram Manley, to whom
Ally's lament had been addressed.
The change was subtle, but it was unmistakable.
Jonah's manner to his foster-parents was even more
tender and respectful as theirs to him grew insensibly
more deferential; but his thoughts were away. A
definite aim and purpose were fixed in his mind-the
vague desire of his heart had taken form and sub-
stance; the goal, however distant, was in sight. The
change might have been explained by a student in
science as concentration of forces."
The day has come. Jonah has on his new suit and
his man's coat. He is leaving the cottage to join
Jemmie at the rectory, and start with him in Mr.
Jack laid a hand on Jonah's shoulder. Good-bye,
my man," said he; thou'rt a man now, and thou'll
be a fine man some day-thou'll other do or dee."
And Ally ? Ally had little to say. For once her
tongue found no expression for the tumult of feeling
within. Her heart yearned towards her foster-child;
but the new deference which had grown upon her
made her hesitate. Trembling, she held out both
hands to him in silence.
Mother !" said he, distressed, "mother!" Then
in a firm, grave voice he added, Mother, give me a
kiss, and say, God bless thee!"
Ally threw her arms round her foster-son. He
bent on one knee. "God bless thee, my darling!"
she said, choking with emotion. She could say no
more. Something whispered to her heart that he was
going from her mother's care for always.
Jonah knew that the dear old home would never
be his daily home again.
It was a long farewell, but it was only a change of
place-not of heart, not of aim. He carried his single
purpose into his new life. His one care was to learn,
and this won interest from his elders; and there was a
modest manliness in him, mingled with a boyish defer-
ence, which gained him favour, and disarmed jealous
feelings even in the officials with whom, for the sake
of practical advantage, Mr. Corey threw him a good
There was in the firm a leading manager and clerk
of the name of Salter; a man as diligent and capable
as he was honest, and consequently well valued by
Mr. Corey, who never either undervalued good service
or overlooked it. Salter had a son preparing for
sailing service of the highest class, and Mr. Corey
proposed to him to let Jonah go hand in hand with
the young man in his studies. After a short trial
Salter expressed a wish to retain Jonah in the service
of the firm.
"Very good," returned Mr. Corey; "I shall be glad
to keep him for Jemmie's sake, and I like the young
fellow myself. Can you find him lodging and work
till the right place turns up for him ?"
"Yes, easily, sir," answered Salter readily; "he's a
help to me in many ways. He'll either help with
book-keeping, or he'll unlade a ship-he's as good
with his head as his hands; he's a power of strength
in his arms."
"That's his fishing-smack training. What wage is
he worth ?" asked Mr. Corey.
Salter considered a little.
"Well, never mind at this moment," continued Mr.
Corey; "he must serve his apprenticeship. He can
have his keep and his learning, and what further he
may prove himself worth; only put him to work at
once, regular work; let him force his way up. Don't
spoil him, for there is a trick about his look or his
way that gets hold of people, and turns the soft edge
of most that he comes across. Don't make a favourite
of him, that's all; for favouritism only makes fools,
and finds them enemies."
IN a luxurious drawing-room of a pleasant marine
residence on the south-east coast of England,
and by the cheerful glow of a winter's fire, sat an
elderly gentleman, chatting with his daughter in the
gloaming, before the bringing in of the evening lights,
which he had begged to be delayed, that they might
watch the weather, which was threatening, and, as he
judged, blowing up for a heavy storm.
A gun--a signal-gun! Was it a gun, or only a
stronger gust in the chimney, or the falling of a brick
or a chimney-pot ? In another minute another; and
Yes; there is a vessel in distress," and Mr. Brookes
got up from his arm-chair and went to the window.
"I can see nothing," he said. "The wind is rising
still. What a night it will be !-what scuds of snow !
I can see neither water nor land-only snow above
and snow in front."
"Is the firing from the Ramilies," asked his
daughter, "or from a sailing vessel ?"
The Ramilies was a fine old seventy-four gun ship
moored out as a guard-ship two or three miles from
"It is impossible to say at once," answered her
father. "If the firing goes on we shall have the
coastguardsman here before long for orders."
Mr. Brookes was a magistrate, and had an additional
office under government of supervision over the coast-
guardianship. And, in fact, a servant shortly after
came in to say his master was wanted by the coast-
guard and one or two other men.
At this summons he went down at once. His
daughter remained at the window anxiously watching,
though nothing could be seen in the dusk and the
It was a dreary l6ok-out. What a contrast to
what it had been on the previous day, when the sun
rose in a sky of pearly opal, green, and blue, suf-
fused with streaks and flushes of orange and red, col-
ouring with their reflections a wan gray sea of glassy
calm, and a beach of fresh green dotted over here and
there with small garden plots still enlivened with
lingering autumn flowers-chrysanthemums and China
roses hanging their heads languidly, yet giving colour
to the grassy beach which stretched out along the
steep shingly sea-board-a calm level of green then,
but now one white sheet dimly seen through the snow-
mist, and swept over by the howling winds.
Yes; the wind was rising to a gale, and the roar
of the sea blended with its howl in fearful accompani-
ment to an outlook dreary in the extreme. Presently
darkness closed over it as the evening advanced-
darkness so thick that even the white sheet of snow
below the windows could not be discerned. And still
the wind rose.
Now broke out a lurid light to the left. It flared
up and sank down, gleaming for a moment over a
circling crowd of dark figures. They were making a
bonfire on the beach at the water's edge.
Lights sent up from the sea at no great distance
had revealed a vessel in distress, or more than one.
It was hard to say whether thi;'lights which shot up
fitfully were from the same quarter always-whether
from one vessel, or from two in near companion-
Fascinated by the dreadful interest, Mr. Brookes's
daughter, now joined by her sister, sat by the window
watching the party by the bonfire. It was not much
above two stone's-throws from the house. Mr. Brookes
himself had gone out and joined the bonfire circle.
The light seemed to dim more and more, almost to die
out. How was it? and why? The reason showed
itself presently: the driving snow had blocked up the
The ladies went upstairs. Even there the snow
had almost blocked up the panes. A candle held close
thawed one sufficiently to reveal a terrible scene which
a huge volume of flame brought within sight, a barrel
of tar having been thrown on the burning heap of
wood. A large vessel was tossing among the waves,
now carried high on the crest of one, now hid in the
chasm behind another; ropes and strips of sail torn
and shattered streamed from her masts. She was
dangerously near the beach, drawing on towards the
breaking waves which dashed against the shingle,
throwing their spray in splashes even as far as the
houses which dotted the roadway along the skirt of
the grassy beach, and now and then washing down a
mass of the coating snow from the window-panes.
The tar consumed, the flame sank lower, and shone
luridly through the broken groups of men around, re-
vealing a sight .so sad that the ladies turned from it
for a while for relief.
On the white snow sheet lay stretched out here
and there black objects. Some few had two or three
men about them; others lay stretched, half-covered
with snow. Were they indeed drowned men washed
After a while loud shouts arose, and drew the
ladies to the window again. The men on the beach
were cheering and encouraging the poor fellows cling-
ing to the masts and yard-arms of the large ship, which
was still closer nearing the beach.
"She is dragging her anchor," said their father,
hastily entering the room; nothing can save her
from coming on shore. Get a bed or two made warm,
my dears, in case there should be women or children
on board," and turning hastily round, his coat drop-
ping large drops from the thawing snow, he rejoined
the crowd of helpers on the beach.
Along with the drowned and half-drowned men had
been washed ashore small kegs, which lay also as
smaller black objects on the snow. The crowd found
out quickly that they were kegs of spirit, and they
began to tap them and drink. Already some of the
supposed helpers were reeling about or lying drunk
among the dead on the snow.
"This won't do," exclaimed Mr. Brookes. I'll have
every man that touches a mouthful -more before the
Bench. Now, men," he called out in a voice of authority,
"take up that keg you have just broached, and throw
it on the fire. It is good stuff," said he coolly, as the
flame broke out in such a volume as to drive the sur-
rounding circle hastily to a distance.
The light for a few moments made all around as
clear as day, revealing all the peril of the now stranded
84 A TTAINMENT.
vessel close opposite, and also, a few hundred yards .to
windward, another smaller one, already cast up high
on the shingle-a complete wreck. This proved the
next day to be a smugglers' craft, and from it had been
washed up the spirit-kegs and the few drowned men
who lay now unnoticed on the beach, all the interest
being concentrated on the fine bark which had just
struck her bow on the shingle, and was being swayed
on and off by the terrific waves.
"The wreck is beyond help. All hands to the relief of
the poor fellows before us here !" shouted Mr. Brookes.
Let them throw out a rope," cried an old fisherman
from the crowd.
"Rope ahoy!" shouted out first one and then an-
other; but the roar of the winds and the waves carried
away the shout like a feather.
One voice will do nothing," cried out Mr. Brookes,
"nor two or three either; but a hundred at once might
have a chance. Now, my men, draw together and try,
softly first a time or two, 'Throw-rope-ashore;'
and when I hold up both hands, slowly and clear, all
well together, shout your loudest."
The crowd fell in at once with this suggestion: a
trial or two in undertones, to get them together; then
one stentorian shout arose that seemed to break through
the wind. It was heard. Following Mr. Brookes's
directions, two or three of the men kept up a steady
AT/._!_-.U !.\_ 85
blaze by feeding the fire from a fresh barrel of tar, and
the strong illumination enabled them all to see they
One of the shipmen stood out from the rest, rope in
hand. It was spliced to a block and thrown out. It
was carried away by wind and waves. Again and
again it was hauled up and thrown. No; it was be-
yond hope. Meanwhile the landsmen cheered and
cheered and clapped their hands to keep up the faint-
ing spirits of the crew.
They'll never weather it, I fear me," said the old
fisherman; "they'll lose hold through numbness, and
fall over, if we don't get a rope between them and here
one way or another, and soon."
"Hold-a signal! More light; throw on tar !" The
stronger blaze revealed a man folded round with a
cork-jacket, round which a thick rope was knotted.
He held up a flag for an instant to secure notice, took
a strong, bold leap into the seething waves, and sank.
The excitement of the watchers was intense.
He floats! he floats!" shouted they, and their cheers
shook the winds.
No; he's sunk again!" and a dead silence followed.
"He'll never weather it," said the old fisherman.
"If he does, he'll be dashed to death on the shingle."
He's up again !" shouted all, and cheered vocifer-
All rushed forward as they saw the swimmer's head
and shoulders above the heading of a breaker just about
to dash on shore.
The boldest ran down the steep slant of the shingle,
a few steps after the receding wave, at their peril.
Joy they laid hold of the cork-jacket. With desperate
effort their united strength enabled them to drag up
the poor fellow in time to save him and themselves
from more than the upward swish of the succeeding
wave, which in its full fall would have carried all to
"Alive, or dead ?" asked Mr. Brookes with the
"Dead; I fear," said one of the dripping few who
had drawn him up.
"No; stunned and half-drowned. Turn him over
on his face, and lift him near the fire."
"Loose the rope off first," muttered the reviving
"Ay, the rope, the rope!" shouted all; and while
a few rendered what help they could to the gallant
fellow who had brought it to land, the mass of the
crowd, under the old fisherman's guidance, made it fast
to the iron ring sunk in stone which held the signal-
lines of the flagstaff of the coast.
Now is the time to make the whisky useful," said
Mr. Brookes. "Break into a keg, and I will give this
fine fellow two or three mouthfuls. Now leave the
rest open for the others we hope to save."
"Let me go back to the ship. I must go back to
the ship," said the rope-bearer. I'm as strong as ever
I was in my life now, thanks to you all," and he broke
from those who held him back. "I'll pass across the
rope first, and -try it," said he; and with the agility of
an acrobat he twisted himself by feet and hands along
the rope, which was now firmly fastened between the
bow of the ship and the shore, and in an incredibly
short time was on board again, the landsmen cheering
and the crew answering, for this unexpected chance of
safety acted like a cordial to all.
What passed on the ship could be only partly dis-
cerned by the landsmen through the dashing breakers
and the thick spray, spite of the glowing light in-
dustriously kept up by tar and spirits on the fierce
fire. But there was life and stir. Many who had
been clinging to the masts and yard-arms joined now
in the little knot who could find footing on the prow,
tilted up above the rest of the ship more out of the
wash of the breakers.
A cheer was raised as two or three men were dis-
cerned making their way across the rope, and a shout
of welcome greeted them as they were safely hauled
by helping hands on to the snowy beach.
Inquiries were poured upon the landed men. They
explained that they had been sent by the captain to
take the first danger and the first chance in testing
fully the firmness of the rope. One of their fellows
was to follow with two children, whose mother and
nurse were to be -next got over. All were terribly
"mashed up," said the men; but the chance that the
rope brought them had put new life into them.
All interest was centred now on one figure slowly
progressing along the rope, heavily burdened as it
proved with a young child bound to him in front, and
an older one of two years firmly strapped on his back.
Anxiously and fearfully he was watched slowly mak-
ing his way, grasp after grasp, weighted and hampered
by his double burden, solely by strength of arm.
Will the muscles bear the strain ? Will this almost
superhuman strength last out ? Will he resist for so
long the choking spray of the breakers ? He nears
the point of safety. They recognize the swimmer of
the rope. The enthusiasm redoubles. Hush A
trembling instinct keeps them silent. Don't distract
his attention; let him work out his own salvation.
No one can help him; but a breath may precipitate
the catastrophe. Hark what is that which is heard
in the breathlessness through all the tumult of the
wind and waves? The wail of an infant! More
light. Heap up the fire.-" Here, a dozen of the
strongest of you bind yourselves together and join me."
A TTAINMENT. 89
It is Mr. Brookes's voice. The old fisherman starts
forward. The band is formed at the instant. It
forms into a circle. It is strong enough to resist the
breaker as it rolls its surf up the shingle. It is in
time! The exhausted bearer lets go his hold, and
falls at the last foot-a fatal fall but for the encircling
band, who break it, and bear him and his burdensome
impediments away from the fierce sweep of the suc-
"Safe, safe!" is the ringing cry at last, after the
voiceless excitement which had kept the whole crowd
as one man silently intent upon every nearing inch of
advance through the fearfully perilous course.
A good fellow out of the crowd took off his warm
coat for the babies to be wrapped in, and they were
soon under the fostering charge of Mr. Brookes's house-
hold; and their gallant deliverer was the care of all the
sympathizers, who were only likely to kill him out-
right with their overflow of ministering zeal.
By degrees he recovered; for youth, health, and har-
dihood are fine materials to work upon. But the
restoration took time; and meanwhile the rest of the
crew, the captain excepted, had, one by one, got across
the rope to shore, two or three of them in so maimed
and exhausted a condition that but for the lessened
distance given by the ebb-tide and subsiding waves
they must have been lost in the attempt.
While the attention of the diminishing crowd was
divided by the last arrivals from the ship, Mr. Brookes
remained by the deliverer's side, deeply touched as he
was by the self-devotion he had shown. "The mate
of the vessel, I am told," observed a recent comer among
the lookers-on. "Ah, poor fellow !" returned a second.
"One of the crew told me their mate had been seriously
Mr. Brookes's well-tried knowledge and experience
had done much to secure and hasten the recovery.
When consciousness had fully returned, the young
man's first, inquiry was for the children. Assured of
their safety, his next was for the women-their mother
and nurse. Alas! no reasonable hope could be in-
dulged. Men of the crew had said they were in a
pitiable state from exposure to the wet and cold on
deck, the cabins being full of water.
"And the captain?" The captain had not chosen
to leave them. He had bidden all others save them-
selves, but he had refused to desert the vessel.
The young man struggled to his feet. "I must go
over again," cried he.
"Impossible shouted several voices, and strong
hands were laid on him for detention.
I am able now," said he. "I am strong again,"
and he shook off his friendly opponents with over-
mastering resolution. "What! the men all safe, and
A TT.iA IE'.V f 91
the women left to die! And the captain!" This
last thought half-maddened him. He dashed to the
Yes: youth, strength, and hardihood are strong
powers in themselves; but when conjoined to a gen-
erous heart and to the highest of all principles, might
we not say, strong even to the moving of mountains.
At least take these thick gloves," said Mr. Brookes,
taking off his. "Your hands are raw." He felt he
could not, he dared not, obstruct the noble resolve.
Gone! They watched the progress back by hands
and feet, less rapid than before, but firm. They look
for the return; they wait.
His last words had been, "If there is any chance
left, I will return, or put up a signal."
How depressingly dreary is the dull gray dawn
after the subsidence of a great storm !-the first dilut-
ing of the thick darkness, the creeping on of the dun
light over the gray canopy of misty cloud, revealing,
little by little, more and more of the havoc the winds
What a scene was that to look upon in the first
light of that late November morning the half-thawed
snow patches, the seared circle where the bonfire had
burnt itself out, leaving a mass of smouldering ashes:
the skeleton ribs of the smuggling craft carried on to
the very beach itself; the two or three carts there to
carry off the remains, human and other, of its cargo;
and, conspicuous above all, the black mountain-like
prow of the noble bark rising high upward on the
steep of the shingly sea-barrier, while the stern lay
sunk deep in the sand below low-water mark; masts
broken and dismantled, rigging hanging like sea-weed
from split yard-arms; the waves no longer dashing,
but heaving up its sides with the defeated power of
exhausted tumult and wearied force.
And on board ? What sad sight shall meet the eye
that first scans the scene of all the terror and solici-
tude of the past long night ?
All the living freight of the fine ship landed and
cared for-all but her captain, the two women, and
the saver of all the saved.
The hulk could now be approached by a small boat,
though still the swell of the waves created difficulty.
Mr. Brookes, whose interest had been strongly excited,
declared his purpose, in his official capacity, to accom-
pany the coastguard and some of the crew in the
first effort to board her.
The prow stood so high in air that nothing of the
deck could be seen from the beach. The boatmen
scaled the side of the ship, and by their help Mr.
Brookes found himself on his feet on the deck with
them in a scene of desolation such as might make a
stout heart sink. Amid splinters of mast and yard-
arms, oars, blown across or half-slanted upwards,
matted in ropes and shreds of sail-cloth, boxes broken
and their contents dispersed, the eye wandered in vain
at first to discover any object betokening human life
A streak of colour lying under the shelter of the
gunwale insensibly guided the step to where a Union
Jack shrouded a still form beneath it. Mr. Brookes
raised a corner of the flag and reverently replaced it
over a white, sad face, proceeding anxiously to look
onward. At a little distance further another too
similar object met his gaze. A larger form lay under
a sail-cloth ; and by it the seemingly lifeless body of
the young man who had aroused in him so strong an
interest. Grasping a strong box broadly clamped
with iron, he lay with his head on his arm, and the
strong and agile limbs carelessly doubled up, as it
seemed to Mr. Brookes's intense disappointment, in the
unconsciousness of death. No; he slept-he slept
the sound, tired sleep of youth-the sleep of over-
tasked powers commanding restoration.
For pity's sake let him sleep on," said Mr. Brookes,
and he spoke with authority; "it will be the saving
of his life or reason. There is plenty of work," added
he, for us elsewhere at present."
The newspapers were full of the accounts of the
wrecks and the damage of that eventful night all
along the southern coast.
"The chief interest," said the London Courier,
"centres in the coming ashore of the Princess Char-
lotte, a fine bark belonging to the well-known firm
of Corey, Carlton, and Co., bound to Liverpool, but
charged first to the London port -to disembark a valu-
able consignment of ivory and tiger-skins, and spec-
ially of jewels-chiefly diamonds. The heroism of
the ship's mate, whose name we could not learn,
saved the crew and two young grand-children of Mr.
Carlton, one of the senior partners, at the repeated
risk of his own life.
"It is, however, our painful duty to record the
death of the children's mother, the wife of Mr. Edward
Carlton, junior partner in India. She succumbed to
the severity of the weather, too weak to attempt the
mode of escape which saved ,the men. The nurse, in
a vain effort to follow it, lost hold of the rope at the
first onset and sank at once. The captain, we deeply
regret to add, gallantly refusing to desert Mrs. Carlton
and the ship, fell a sacrifice to honour and duty. A
severe blow, we understand from the falling of some
block or spar, accelerated his death."
This newspaper account was the first intimation
Mr. Corey received of the events so important to him
-telegrams and railways being non-existent at that
"Jemmie," was his remark to his son, now a youth
in his father's office, as he laid down the newspaper,
" if it had been Jonah that had behaved in this gallant
way, I should not have wondered so much; but the
paper says authoritatively 'the mate.' I did not
think it had been in. Roper to have distinguished him-
self so notably in this particular way. At any rate,
besides acting nobly, he has rendered us great service,
and we must see to it."
We cannot follow all the details of the measures
that science and labour pursued for the saving of the
ship. The weather favoured the result. The storm
did not repeat itself, as so often is the case; and when
a fortnight brought the next high tides, a land wind
and a fairly calm sea aided all the appliances brought
to bear on the stranded ship, and in the middle of
December she sailed for the Liverpool docks, where
she arrived in dilapidated trim, but without irreparable
damage to her seaworthiness, and with the most valu-
able part of her cargo very slightly injured.
Shortly after the vessel's arrival in port, the mem-
bers of the firm conferred together, and fixed at an
early time to meet at Mr. Corey's house and carry out
the decision they had arrived at.
On the appointed day, a number of the chief
officials and friends of the firm were assembled in Mr.
Corey's dining-room, and among the number the rector
"Manley," said Mr. Corey, greeting his friend
warmly, "your unusual absence prevented my com-
municating in the first instance the facts of this case;
but now on your welcome return we can easily make
the matter straight if any error remains uncorrected."
Then turning round-" Salter, will you call in the
young man to whom so many of us owe so much ?"
In a few moments a tall, fine, but somewhat slen-
derly-formed figure entered the room, the handsome
expressive face bronzed by sun and sea, and a wounded
hand still plastered with surgical strips. With a look
of surprise he cast his eyes round the assembled
gathering, then with rising colour turned them to the
"Jonah!" involuntarily exclaimed Mr. Manley.
"Yes, Jonah Mateson," repeated Mr. Corey.-" Be
good enough to come forward, sir, a little more."
"It is my pleasing duty," he continued, speaking
in a slow and measured voice, with some suppressed
emotion-" my pleasing duty to offer to you the thanks,
the warm thanks of the firm, and in a double degree,
of one leading member of it, Mr. Carlton. His joy at
the safety of the children is too sadly blighted by their
mother's loss, and he deputes me to speak for him.
We congratulate you, sir, very warmly upon the high
place you have won in the esteem of all ranks of men,
and we beg you to accept, from the firm at large, this
bag of a hundred guineas merely as a present hasty
proof of our sense of the great service you have ren-
dered us;" and rising, Mr. Corey presented the sealed
bag of coins, and shook the young man very cordially
by the hand.
Wholly unprepared for such a result, and thus taken
by surprise, Jonah hesitated. The old shyness came
over him; but making a strong effort to overcome it,
he bowed and speaking deliberately, said,--
Gentlemen, you must forgive me if I say little.
I cannot thank you fitly now. I hope to do it better
hereafter, I cannot take this money as a reward for
simply doing my duty to those who have honoured me
with their confidence, and to whom, and to you, sir, in
chief (he bowed to Mr. Corey), "I owe all my pro-
fessional advancement. But I accept it, gentlemen, as
a most generous gift, which will help me to acknow-
ledge an earlier debt that nothing will ever enable me
to repay. May I ask," added he, for the favour of
the early part of to-morrow off duty ? I know the
work presses, but I can make up for it."
A full assent was given. Jonah was about to retire.
One word," said Mr. Manley, looking about from