• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 On reading the bible
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Boys who could not read
Title: The boys who could not read
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066401/00001
 Material Information
Title: The boys who could not read
Physical Description: 96, 16 p., 1 leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Unwin Brothers (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication: London ;
Manchester ;
Brighton
Manufacturer: Unwin Brothers
Publication Date: [1874]
 Subjects
Subject: Boys -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Reading -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
School attendance -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Literacy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1874   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1874
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Manchester
England -- Brighton
 Notes
General Note: Undated. Date from BLC. Inscription on fly leaf dated Nov 14 1874.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue on 16 p. at end.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066401
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002218966
notis - ALF9146
oclc - 63093250

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Chapter I
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Chapter II
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Chapter III
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Chapter IV
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Chapter V
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Chapter VI
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
    On reading the bible
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Advertising
        Page A 1
        Page A 2
        Page A 3
        Page A 4
        Page A 5
        Page A 6
        Page A 7
        Page A 8
        Page A 9
        Page A 10
        Page A 11
        Page A 12
        Page A 13
        Page A 14
        Page A 15
        Page A 16
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text
















F:~U

ii 7-5--


4k_...,


THE BOYS WHO COULD NOT READ.










THE BOYS WHO



COULD NOT READ.


1 o~Ibtt i
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CIIURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER: 00, CORPORATION STREET;
IBRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD.















































ctn ort.i-lun a)rcgo,
JNWIN BROTHERS, CIIILWORTH AND LONDON.












THE BOYS WHO COULD

NOT READ.


CHAPTER I.

N a small room in one of a
M neat row of houses at the
entrance of a large village, three
people sat at breakfast-or rather at
the table, for one, a girl of about
twelve or thirteen years old, had
pushed back her chair a little, and was
busily engaged in needlework. She
was a short, lively-looking child,
whose sensible, sedate expression and







THE BOYS WHO


general appearance bore so strong a
resemblance to her mother, who sat
near, that the likeness was remark-
able.
The third person, a boy of ten years
of age, a sturdy, thick-set lad, had an
obstinate expression of face, but his
features were not bad, nor by any
means deficient in intelligence, and this
expression seemed more the result of
bad training than natural defect of
disposition.
"Come, Phil," cried his mother,
"look sharp now look sharp, and
don't go on pottering over your break-
fast in that way, or you will be late at
school, as you were the other morn-
ing; and then the master will be
down upon you again, and serve you






COULD NOT READ.


right, too. I have nothing to say
against it, not I, for why can't boys
be early as well as late? There's
nothing to prevent them."
"I don't see where's the use of
school," grumbled Phil.
Not see where's the use of school ?"
repeated the mother, impatiently.
"Why, the use is to make a decent
man and a Christian of you, 'stead
of only an ignorant savage-that's
what school is for; so now be sharp,
I tell you."
I'm too old for school now," per-
sisted Phil, munching at a huge piece
of bread and butter. I'm quite old
enough to work with father, and
should like it a deal better than
sitting stuck up in that horrid room,







T4IHE BOYS WHIO


with a lot of fellows all round laugh-
ing at me."
"Yes, it isn't pleasant for you, I
know," replied Mrs. Gage, in a milder
tone; "but there's no help for it now;
you can't read or write a word, and
until you do both well I won't let you
go working. If there is one thing
more than another I shall through my
life regret, it is the having let you
bide all these years with your grand-
father and grandmother, who allowed
you to grow up just as you liked, and
learn nothing. Well, they are gone
now, dear folks, and so there's an end
of it; but you must just try and make
up for lost time, that's what you must
do."
But I can't learn, it's such a dread-






COULD NOT READ.


ful bother," grumbled Phil; "and I
don't see there would be any use in it
if I did either. There's a plenty don't
know how to read, and they get on
just as well as others that do. Grand-
father couldn't read, and what loss
was it to him ?"
"There, do hold your silly tongue,"
said his mother, angrily; I can't
abide to hear such nonsense. How
do you know whether others do as
well without being able to read?
Is it likely? And for your grand-
father, many's the time he has told
me that the bitterest sorrow and loss
to him through his whole life was the
not knowing how to read and write.
See what a use your sister Jane is to
father, writing all his bills, and keep-






THE BOYS WHO


ing his accounts for him. Not but
what he is a first-rate scholar himself,
only he is always so busy. But, come,
be off now to school, and don't waste
more time talking, for I have none to
spare, I can tell you."
Fortunately for Phil, he had learned
that his mother's serious moods were
not to be trifled with, so finishing his
breakfast, he set off for school.
I hate school, I do! I don't see
a speck of good in it, not I," he mut-
tered, as sullenly he trudged along
with his one book under his arm, out
of which he had the evening before
been learning the alphabet, kindly
assisted by Jane. "School won't
make me stronger or bigger to work
with father, or teach me to be a car-






COULD NOT READ.


penter, as he is, or anything else that
I can see. And what's the use of
reading for one who can't abide books,
as I can't? Oh, it's all stuff! that's
what it is!" and thus winding up the
matter, Phil began to whistle away
the unpleasant subject, staring about
for better amusement.
At that instant he was hailed by a
lad, a couple of years or so older than
himself, who was standing idly near a
cottage door on the roadside. Look-
ing round, he stopped as the boy came
forward, saying, "Where are you
bound for ? Are you off to school ?"
"Yes," replied Phil, gloomily, and
I wish it were at the bottom of the
sea, I do."
Well, that would be a long wet






THE BOYS WHO


walk, anyhow," rejoined the lad,
gravely; "to my thinking, I would
rather it was where it is, on Glenfield
Road."
I say, Sam, do you know how to
read ?" inquired Philip.
Read ? no, not I-nor don't want
to either. Books are all rubbish, say
I-the most of them at least. Some-
body takes the fancy to write, and
they write, just to make up a book for
the sake of money, and that's all they
trouble about."
Do they, though ?" cried Phil, in
amazement.
Oh, that they do. But look you
here, Phil," interposed Sam Trigg,
drawing close, and speaking in a
lower tone, I'm going out nutting-






COULD NOT READ.


ever so far off. What say you to
cutting school to-day and coming too
-hey ?"
But suppose I should get found
out and punished ?" replied Philip, in
a half-frightened voice, his broad,
round face widening yet more with
mingled feelings of pleasure and fear
at the proposal.
Found out! How can you, unless
you tell it yourself?" answered the
other, with contempt. Them at
home will think you are at school, and
them at school will, of course, think
you are at home, and neither will ever
be the wiser, you may depend."
Philip Gage, though ignorant and
idle, was not an ill-disposed boy, nor
did it enter his young head to think






THE iOYS WHO


that other boys of his own age were
more evil inclined than himself. So
it was, therefore, Sam Trigg- with
whom, unknown to his mother, he had
become acquainted whilst loitering on
his way to and from school-obtained,
by his ready address, his more en-
larged, but not more desirable, know-
ledge of the ways of the world, his
boastful, bragging, and, at the same
time, quiet superiority of manner, an
influence over Phil that made his most
trifling opinion of weight. Not that
Sam was at heart such a bad boy
either; but he was clever, bright-
witted, and inventive, which obtained
for him the character of being more
mischievous than he really was. Edu-
cated and wisely controlled, Sam







COULD NOT READ.


Trigg might have honourably distin-
guished himself in his sphere of life;
as it was, he and young Gage were, in
their present state of mental darkness,
exposed to every evil influence. If
good seed is not sown in the heart,
ill weeds will grow apace. And it is
also true that the heart is desperately
wicked, and without the converting
grace of the Holy Spirit will bring
forth only evil thoughts, leading to a
sinful life.
Well, Sam's proposal tallied so
agreeably with Phil's inclinations this
morning, that but few more persua-
sions were necessary to induce him to
consent, and thereupon, hiding their
books in a corner of Mrs. Trigg's
garden, off set the two lads. Phil's







THE BOYS WHO


face brightened wondrously as he
turned from the Glenfield Road, and
followed another that led to a large
wood in the far distance, where, Sam
assured him, they shouLld find no end
of nuts.


CHAPTER I,

jir was decided that both boys
were to return home for their
one o'clock dinner, Phil saying he
should get into sad trouble with his
mother if he did not, as she would
then discover his non-attendance at
school. His father was fortunately
absent, he added, working at a gentle-
man's place that lay too far off to
allow of his coming back at night,







COULD NOT READ.


and would therefore be away several
days.
"Well, I have no father, nor
brothers, nor sisters either," rejoined
Sam; "and mother has no one else to
love but me, and will fright herself if
I am not back for dinner, thinking I
have come to grief in some way; and
I should not like to fret her, you see,
for she is not strong, so that time will
just suit me as well as you."
Doesn't your mother want you to
go to school ?" inquired Phil, pre-
sently. Mine makes such a work
about my learning to read and write,
and all that nonsense."
Oh, yes," replied Sam, flipping off
the pretty flower-heads growing be-
side a hedge they were passing. "I






THE BOYS WHO


was sent many times, and didn't I
hate it! and didn't I plague the
teachers, till, at last, they declared I
was not worth the trouble I cost-
I quite agree with them there," and
Sam smiled grimly; "so I was re-
turned home one fine day as a hope-
less case, and have rarely been since,
for mother-poor mother!-she thinks
I was treated most hard and unjust,
and would not let me go now if they
would have me."
I think I will try that dodge-it
is a capital one !" laughed Phil; "the
only thing is, I am afraid mother
would go to the school, and find out
the truth for herself, and then father
would, be so angry, and I should
catch it, I can tell you."






COULD NOT READ.


I cannot think why chaps cannot
be let alone," rejoined Sam; "some
have a gift that way, and like learn-
ing: well, then let them; and some
hate it-and that's you and I-well,
then let them, too-that is what I say.
Hallo! who is this ?"
A man sitting on a heap of stones
on the roadside caused this sudden
interruption. He was a sailor-dressed,
middle-aged looking man, holding a
letter open on his knee.
At sight of the boys he threw up
one of his hands, crying, joyfully,
"Ah! that's just it! that will do.
You are just the lads I am wanting.
Look, my boys, I have got a letter
here from my poor old mother; I
found it this morning at the post-
2







THE BOYS WHO


office, as I expected, when I came
ashore. The last I had from her
was in India, and then she told me
she was going a long way from home,
to live somewhere near Susan, who
had got married that is my sister,
you know. And now here is my
trouble. Not a bit can I mind me
the name of the place she is gone to,
and I have lost the other letter, and
if so be she do not name it again in
this, I shall be stranded, and no mis-
take. You see it is not everybody
I should like to take the liberty of
asking to read this poor bit of a letter
for me; but thinks I, there is no need
to mind two such young lads as you,
who both seem sharp enough to read
the hardest thing ever writ; and by







COULD NOT READ.


your looks I am sure you have a
mother, and will feel for a poor fellow
whose heart is aching to hear about
his. God bless her, for as kind and
good a soul as lives! It is three
years and more since I saw her.
Are you brothers ?"
No," they both answered.
"I did not think you were, some-
how. Well, come my lads, sit down
here, and just read this for me," hold-
ing out the letter eagerly.
Throughout all their short lives,
Sam and Phil had never felt as utterly
disconcerted as they did by this pro-
posal, and their shame was doubly
increased by the amazed look and
cries of disappointment on the part of
the sailor, when, one after the other,







THE BOYS WHO


they were obliged to confess they
could not read.
"Well! if that don't beat every-
thing I ever heard! Why, I did hot
think that in all England there were
two decent lads of your ages to be
found, living ashore, and not knowing
how to read!" The good sailor's
land experiences were not extensive.
" It is not your faults, surely ? But
may be I am all wrong, and neither
of you have a mother ?" His voice
softened as he said this.
"Yes, they had," the boys mur-
mured-their faces all aglow, and
turned away from the keen scrutiny
of the sailor's eye.
Well-I cannot make it out," he
continued, not liking, evidently, to






COULD NOT READ.


press the case too close upon the
ashamed lads, "unless," he added,
more quickly, "your parents be very
poor, and obliged to make you both
work for your food, instead of sending
you to school. Mine were. I earned
money as soon as I could well run
about, and at eight years old was
sent to sea-that is how it came to
pass I did not learn to read."
On any other occasion young Trigg
would not have been behindhand in
making out a plausible case in his own
favour, but so unusually subdued and
mortified did he feel by the astonished
looks and words of the sailor, that
his inventive powers utterly failed
him, and like Phil, he remained silent
and covered with confusion.







THE BOYS WHO


"Ah, well-I see how it is," said
the good-natured tar, rising to take
his departure, and thrusting his letter
with a regretful look into his pocket.
" I am sorry for you both-for myself
too-and I will just say this before we
part, may be never to meet again.
You see the fix I am in now from not
knowing how to read-and let me tell
you, it is nothing to the many I have
been in before, and no doubt shall be
in again. Ah! my lads, and, worst of
all, I cannot read God's holy Book, as
many and many a time I have wished
to do. He has, thanks be to His
blessed name, led me to hear of my
Saviour and to love Him; I know
He died for my sins on the cross;
and He has taught me to seek Him






COULD NOT READ.


with all my heart; but how much
more would I know if I could read
His own message. Be advised by
me, then; go back, lose no more
time, but begin to learn to read and
write this very day. And now good-
bye to you both."
In silence for some minutes the
boys walked on. Then Sam uttered
a half-bitter, half-amused laugh.
"Well," he said, "if that was not
a queer conclusion to our discourse
on reading, Phil, I do not know what
would be. For my part, I never felt
so knocked over before in my life,
and hope I never shall again. Poor
old fellow!" (so he seemed in the
eyes of the twelve year-old lad) "I
never cared to read before-but I






THE BOYS WHO


did then, when he spoke so of his
mother."
"But as we are not going to be
sailors, reading will not be necessary
for us as for him," objected the un-
reasoning Philip Gage, "because we
shall always be nigh our mothers."
Besides, if there was, I would not
manage so stupidly as he did," re-
joined Sam, making a bold effort to
throw off the feeling of annoyance
that was as new as it was unpleasant
to him. "I should have got some
one to read my letter to me before
leaving the town where I had it.
Why, may be he has started on the
wrong track from the first, and every
step is perhaps taking him farther and
farther from the right road."






COULD NOT READ.


Ah, Sam Trigg, you little surmised
at that moment how soon just such a
case would be your own!
You may depend he did not like
to tell any but boys like us he could
not read," suggested Philip, wholly
unconscious that by this very remark
he was foretelling one of the sure
and certain punishments his own idle-
ness was storing up for his manhood
-painful feelings of regret-and shame
of that ignorance he now regarded so
lightly.
They had almost reached the wood,
and Sam was talking of his future
prospects his mother was wanting
him to be an errand-boy again. He
said he had been one twice before,
but somehow his employers were






THE BOYS WHO


neither of them contented with his
conduct; for, in fact, he added, in a
self-sufficient tone, they were to the
last degree unreasonable in their
wants, and he could not please them
anyhow. Unfortunately, however, the
world would not take that view of
the matter, and as neither master
would say a good word for him, his
mother had not been able as yet to
get him another place, try as she
would.
At that instant Doctor Griffiths, a
medical man of much esteem in the
country round about for his skill and
kindly nature, stopped as he was
driving by in his gig, and looking at
young Trigg, said, Oh, Sam-I was
intending to call to-day or to-morrow






COULD NOT READ.


at your cottage, to have a talk with
your mother about you; but perhaps
speaking to you will do as well. I
hear she wants to get another situa-
tion for you as errand-boy, and as
I am in need of one, was thinking I
would, for the sake of your poor
mother-an honest, worthy woman,
whom I have known a great many
years-give you a trial. I am well
aware, you know, Sam, you did not
give that satisfaction to your other
masters which, for your mother's sake,
and your own credit, you ought to
have done; but trust, if you come to
me, you will turn over a new leaf, and
be steady."
"I hope I shall please you, sir,"
replied Sam, in a low voice, and with






THE BOYS WHO


brightening face; for, in common with
all the village, he greatly liked the
good-natured doctor. I will try my
best to do so."
"Then there is no fear of your not
succeeding," he said, encouragingly.
" And now, let me see-you will have
to help my assistant in the surgery,
to carry all the medicine (without a
minute's loitering on the way, mind)
to my patients, and between all this
you must make yourself generally use-
ful in the house and garden. You
see it will be an active place you will
have to fill, and any neglect of its
serious duties will deprive you of it.
Do not decide in a hurry, therefore,
but think well over it, and talk to
your mother on the subject. I know







COULD NOT READ.


you love her, and would not, I be-
lieve, willingly grieve her on any ac-
count-that is a point in your character
which principally inclines me in your
favour. And now I think I have said
all," added the doctor, thoughtfully,
and preparing to drive on. "Oh!
by-the-bye no. Dear me !-I had
nearly forgotten the most essential
want of all-not that there is any
cause for fear, I am sure, for I know
you went to school and are a sharp
fellow-but of course you read and
write well ?"
The sudden change of feeling this
question occasioned, made poor Sam
turn quite pale, as with voice and
look that pained the benevolent heart
of the doctor, he murmured-






THE BOYS WHO


No, sir-I can't read-nor write."
"Oh, Sam, Sam! is it possible!" he
cried, in extreme astonishment. Oh,
I am sorry-sorry for every reason;
for it proves that you are as idle and
good for nothing as is. reported of you.
Of all the boys in the village you are
the last whom I should have thought
would have rested contented, for one
day even, under such a state of ignor-
ance. Well-I deeply regret it is so;
but you would be worse than useless
to me in such a case, as fatal mistakes
might be made in the delivery of the
medicines, to say nothing more; so
there's an end of it." And with a
vexed expression of face the worthy
doctor touched his horse with the
whip and drove on.






COULD NOT READ.


CHAPTER III.

" -:.i i.-'. nonsense!" said Sam, in a
L i ,, p.:ssion, hurrying forward to
conceal the tears of bitter mortifica-
tion filling his eyes. Just as if a fel-
low could not be every bit as good a
servant without reading as with !"
"Well I do not know, Sam,"
objected Philip, rather more thought-
fully than usual. I do not see as
how you could be a doctor's boy and
carry about the physic. If you could
not read you would not know who
they were for, and mayhap leave a
black dose. for somebody who ought
to have a blister, and the other who
ought to have the blister you would






THE BOYS WHO


give the black dose to, or something
worse-do you not see ?"
No, I do not see it at all," replied
Sam, in the same angry voice, "because
I would ask people on the way who
the different physics were for- "
Oh! and keep telling everybody
like that you could not read? Besides,
you may be sure some one would send
you wrong just for fun, and would not
he laugh at you !"
"I should like to see any fellow
play me that dodge," retorted Sam,
too thoroughly disconcerted to joke
upon the subject; and for a short time
they now walked on in silence. Indeed,
so out of heart was he at the loss of
such a prize situation, as Dr. Griffiths'
was considered by the village folks,






COULD NOT READ.


.that when in the wood he felt no incli-
nation for nutting, but sat down in a
gloomy, thoughtful mood, under a tree,
watching Philip.
The latter also was in by no means
so easy a frame of mind since the
interview with the doctor. He knew
he was well acquainted with his mother,
whom, should he see and speak to, he
would be sure to inform of this meeting
with her son. The last look Dr. Grif-
fiths had fixed upon him before driving
away haunted and worried his mind;
it was a look full of inclination, had
his time allowed, to question the
reason of the lad's presence in that
far-off part of the country instead of at
school. These sad thoughts, along
with Trigg's suddenly unsociable tem-
3






THE BOYS WHO


per, damped his pleasure, and finally,
losing all patience, he turned to his
moody companion, saying sulkily-
"I say, Sam-how long, do you
mean to carry on that brown study of
yours ? Look here-you do not want
any help in that sort of thing, and if
you do not care to come nutting, I will
just go straight away back to school-
you see if I don't."
Phil looked so resolved to put his
threat into instant execution, that again
making an effort to shake himself up,
as he said, he sprang to his feet, crying,
" I am a fool for my pains-catch me
being so any more-so here goes."
Thereupon he bounded up into a nut-
tree, and for a brief while the two boys
seemed not only to have recovered







COULD NOT READ.


from their annoyances, but to have
even forgotten them.
The wood they were in was not
very productive of nuts, and soon they
quitted it for another farther off, wan-
dering from this place to that, forgetful
alike of time and distance, until, grow-
ing very hungry, they bethought them
of returning to dinner.
Cutting across some fields, they
entered on a high road, and pursued
their way, as they believed, home. In
truth, however, every step was-as
Trigg surmised to be the case of their
sailor acquaintance of the morning-
taking them farther and farther on the
wrong road; for neither of the boys
knew anything of this part of the
country, having, while in search of






THE BOYS WHO


nuts, walked a far greater distance and
longer time than they had any concep-
tion of.
"Well, I must say it would be a
comfort if one of us could read what is
on this milestone," observed Sam, stop-
ping and gazing longingly at the block
of stone-which was but a block of
stone to him, and nothing more-by
the roadside.
Oh, we are all right, depend upon
it," rejoined Phil, hopefully. You
know our village of Colworth is just
three miles from the town of Newton,
and this stone is sure to be marking
the distance to that town, for there is
not any other in these parts."-
Yes ; but which way is it marking
-to, or from? that's what we ought to







COULD NOT READ.


know," replied Trigg, looking eagerly
round for somebody near to enlighten
them.
But no one was visible, and, not
knowing what better to do, on they
went. After proceeding another three
quarters of a mile, meeting only an
occasional passer-by, riding or driving
quickly, whom they could not take the
liberty of stopping to question, they,
to their great comfort, came upon a
farm-boy getting over a stile. He was
a merry-looking lad, whose roguish
face bespoke him wide awake to any
frolic that fell in his way.
"I say, can you tell me if we are
right for Colworth ?" inquired Sam.
Colworth ? Where's that ?"
"About three miles from Newton."







THE BOYS WHO


Newton!" repeated the lad, with
mischief in his black eyes. Oh-
well-you are all right as to being on
the Newton Road; only you are seven
miles off yet, or thereabouts. But did
you not meet a milestone further
down ?" pointing to the way they had
come.
"Y-e-s," answered Sam, redden-
ing; only-I cannot read, you see."
"Well, if you were blind, I should
see that," replied the farm-boy, laugh-
ing; "but as you are not, I do not.
However, that is no business of mine.
I can read, and that is all I care for."
Now, look you here," said Trigg,
in a tone of anger, "I asked you a
civil question, and don't want any of
your impudence, but a civil answer in






COULD NOT READ.


return. How much farther is New-
ton ? Tell me that, will you ?"
I told you-seven miles," rejoined
the other, with increasing -mirth in his
good-tempered face. You go ahead,
and then you will come to Newton."
Saying which, he jumped over the stile,
secretly suppressing another laugh.
"I brought him to his senses pretty
quick-saucy young rascal!" said Sam,
in a self-satisfied tone, as once more
the two boys pursued their way with
revived hopes.
They now met several persons
whom they might have questioned;
but not only were they persuaded of
being, as Phil said, "all right, after
all," but a keen feeling of shame of
exposing their ignorance was begin-






THE BOYS WHO


ning to take possession of their hearts,
and so for another mile they plodded
wearily along.
Oh, when shall we ever get home ?"
sighed Philip, as again they came to
another milestone. Woefully tired was
he with all the morning's unusual exer-
tions: and both boys were hungry, for
the nuts they had eaten were as yet
too small and unripe to contain any
nourishment.
Do you know, I more than half
suspect we are, after all, on the wrong
road," Sam said, looking anxiously
over the country from side to side.
"We ought by this time to be nearing
Colworth, all round which I know well
for two miles at least; but this is every
bit strange to me."






COULD NOT READ.


"Oh, me! what are we to do now ?"
moaned Philip.
"There's nothing for it but to go
on, and ask the next person or at the
next cottage we meet whether we are
right," replied Sam. It's of no use
standing groaning here."
About a quarter of a mile farther on
they saw, a short distance ahead of
them, another boy walking on before.
Hastening forward as fast as their
weary feet would let them, they were
soon beside him, and Trigg asked if
they were right.
He was an older lad than the last,
and of a more trustworthy appearance.
" Right ?" he replied. No!-miles
wrong! Why, that is your way to
Newton," pointing back the road they






THE BOYS WHO


had come. "You will have to walk
six miles to reach it."
"Oh, my!" groaned poor little
Philip, feeling ready to sink to the
ground at hearing these words. Six
miles before he could hope to reach
home! and he was so worn out already,
he could scarcely drag one foot after
another; and it might be farther; for
what if Colworth lay on the opposite
side of the town ? And what would
be his mother's reception of him
when at last he did get home ? Oh,
that he had never listened to Sam
Trigg, but gone direct to school!
Why, learning to read was nothing to
all this misery. Then, too, came the
thought that the very want of the
knowledge of reading had been the







COULD NOT READ.


sole cause of their trouble ; for when
first quitting the fields for the high
road they had almost immediately seen
a milestone, whose direction, had they
understood, would have at once set
them right, and long before now
would have brought them home.
How far have you come along this
way ?" asked the boy.
"Oh, miles and miles!" interposed
Philip, in a choking voice.
"Miles and miles!" repeated the
other. "Why, then, did you not look
at one of the milestones ? That would
have told you everything."
But we cannot read," continued
Philip, who was too miserable to
think or care for aught else, and had
enough ado to avoid a burst of tears.







THE BOYS WHO


"What, neither of you big boys?
Well, if I ever! Why, I could read
at five years old."
There-come along, Phil," cried
Trigg, angrily. We have no time
to lose, if we hope to get home
to-day." Saying which, he began to
hastily retread the road they had come
along.
To think of that little ill-natured
rascal having sent us all wrong!"
growled Sam, fuming with wrath and
mortification. "I wish I could only
catch him, the spiteful little dog!"
There, you see, that's just what
I told you," grumbled Philip.
What did you tell me ?" snapped
the other.
Why, don't you remember I said






COULD NOT READ.


that some one would be sure to send
you wrong with the physic, just for
fun ? And you said you should like
to find any fellow play that trick upon
you. Well, now you have found one,
you see.
I say the same thing still!" re-
torted Sam, who was full of bad
temper. Have I not said I should
like to catch that scamp ? and I hope
I shall."
He's not small in figure, though
he's short; and he might fight you,"
suggested Phil, in a warning voice.
What do I care for that ?" snapped
Sam again. He'll find he's got more
than his match, if he attempts any more
trifling with me. I have been stupid
enough to be taken in once by his






THE BOYS WHO


impudence, but it won't be a second
time."
Shame that he had been thus made
such a sufferer filled young Trigg's
heart with a feeling of bitter wrath
that was not really natural in him. So
it was, therefore, that many miles of
the way were rendered yet more un-
pleasant than even fatigue made them
by bickerings and petty sparrings on
both sides; until, late in the evening,
they arrived in Colworth, utterly worn
out, half-starved, quarrelsome, and to
the last degree heart-sick with their
stolen day.


IN






COULD NOT READ.


CHAPTER IV.

HEN Philip, with face paled by ex-
haustion, and foot-sore, limped
into the room where his mother sat
working and Jane was preparing tea,
he saw by a glance that she had heard
of his conduct.
"Well, Philip, and where have you
been all day?" she asked, fixing her
eye sternly upon him, and speaking
slowly, in a tone of great anger.
Subdued in mind and body, the lad
stopped, and leaning against the side
of the door, covered his face with his
arm, and burst into a violent flood of
tears, not attempting a word of de-
fence.






THE BOYS WHO


Jane went to him, and took his
hand in hers, saying, in a voice that
seemed to threaten an imitation of his
example, He looks so tired and ill,
mother-please do not scold him to-
night. Please forgive him this time."
Go upstairs at once, Philip-and
to bed," continued Mrs. Gage, in the
same tone; and away walked poor
Philip, only too glad to escape his
mother's offended eye, and rest his
tired limbs.
The parent's hearthowever, h r, softened
towards her erring son when she saw
how much he had really suffered, and
she allowed Jane to carry him up some
tea and bread and butter.
The next day Mrs. Gage got the
whole truth from Philip as to the cause






COULD NOT READ.


of his absence, and, upon hearing his
trouble, she was not sorry that he had
been taught a lesson by this adventure,
which whole days of lecturing and
advising would not have equalled in
value.
Mr. Griffiths had told her, she said,
of young Trigg's companionship with
her son. Now, I have no particular
bad opinion of Sam," she added. He
has always been a very civil-spoken
lad to me, and he is quite a pattern of
love to his mother; but still, for all
that, I do not like you to go with him,
he is so dreadfully idle and ignorant.
You are bad enough that way yourself,
and it will not do to let the evil be
increased by the example of another,
who, beside being no scholar any more






THE BOYS WHO


than you, is by nature twice as sharp.
So mind-do you not ever go walking
with him again. If you do, as sure as
you sit there, I will tell your father.
Now go upstairs to your room, as
breakfast is done, and lie down again
on your bed, for you look wretchedly
ill. You are not over strong, remem-
ber, and never were, which is the
reason we sent you away-more is the
pity."
When the dinner was over, and
Philip once more sent to his room-
for Mrs. Gage would allow no children
of hers, she said, to be "hocking" about
the door-steps, instead of being either
at school or work-Jane came up to
the young prisoner with a book in her
hands. He was sitting gazing through






COULD NOT READ.


the window, and still presented a very
doleful appearance.
Phil, mother wishes me to teach
you these texts," she said, gently;
" and as you must be feeling very dull
and lonely by this time, it will be a
pleasant occupation for you. So come
and sit down here."
Oh, but it won't," objected Philip.
"I would rather look out of the win-
dow-I am so tired, you see, Jane."
"Yes, I am sure you must be," she
answered, "sitting here so stupid like
all day, doing nothing. If you had
only been able to read, now, I could
have lent you such pretty books full of
stories, which would have made the
time pass so quickly and pleasant, you
have no idea." *






THE BOYS WHO


Philip looked gloomily doubtful of
that fact.
"However, you must learn these
texts, Phil," continued Jane, primly;
"for mother intends by-and-by to
come up and hear you say them, and
if you cannot, you are to have no tea."
"Oh, that's not fair!" exclaimed
Philip. "I am sure I have been
punished quite enough," he added,
" and do not need to have lessons put
upon me as well."
Oh, you will not dislike it when
once you begin," urged Jane; "so
just sit down here and try. I know
all these texts by heart myself, and
a great many more; but mother
will only require you to learn four
short ones. And now, this is the







COULD NOT READ.


first" -Phil had reluctantly seated
himself beside her as she proceeded
"'He that diligently seeketh good
procureth favour; but he that seeketh
mischief it shall come unto him'
(Prov. xi. 27). Is not that a nice
text? and is it not true ? Mother,
she gave it me to get by heart one
evening, after I had been shocking
idle all day, playing most of the time
with a kitten somebody had given
me."
"Were you ever idle?" cried Phil,
opening his eyes to their utmost ex-
tent.
"Yes, that I was. And now listen
to this: 'Children, obey your parents
in all things, for this is well pleasing
unto the Lord' (Col. iii. 20). I learned







THE BOYS WHO


that after disregarding mother's fre-
quent warnings to me not to play
with- indeed, not even to stop to
speak to-the young Hills, on my way
backwards and forwards from school,
as two of the family were ill of scarlet
fever, and for that reason the others
were not let come to school. Mother
desired me just to say a few kind
words in passing them by, but nothing
more. Well, for all that, I did stop
twice, and talked with them, and
mother found it out, and gave me
that text, with two more, to learn,
and sent me to bed without my tea.
And what do you think-the next
morning I was taken bad myself.
Was not that a lesson ? was not that
just.confirming the words of the text ?"







COULD NOT READ.


"Oh, was not it!" responded Philip,
who had a very wholesome dread of
fevers, having suffered severely in
one himself.
Yes ; well, these two other texts
I had to learn for taking a piece
of cake out of the cupboard without
asking leave: 'Ye shall not steal,
neither deal falsely, neither lie one
to another' (Levit. xix. 11). 'The
eyes of the Lord are in every place,
beholding the evil and the good'
(Prov. xv. 3)."
"Oh, but, Jane, I have not stole,
so no need to learn me those," in-
terposed the boy, in an injured tone.
'I never did steal, and never mean
to. I would not do such a thing."
Ah, Phil, that is just what I






THE BOYS WHO


thought before I took the cake,"
replied Jane, "and just what I am
sure I should have said, if mother
had given me the texts then. But
we little know our own hearts, Phil.
Doesn't the Bible tell us so ? Doesn't
it say, 'The heart is deceitful above
all things, and desperately wicked;
who can know it ?'"
You must have been less by a
deal than I am when you stole, Jane;
for I know I would not-there," per-
sisted Phil.
Well, let us begin with the others,
at any rate, or you won't know them
by tea-time," suggested his sister. So
they set to work, and, by dint of
patient teaching on the one side,
and honest enough endeavours on







COULD NOT READ.


the other, four texts were mastered
sufficiently well to repeat very toler-
ably to Mrs. Gage when she pre-
sented herself in Philip's bedroom.
The boy had been astonished to
find how much less disagreeable the
task of learning by heart was than
he had expected; and, as Jane was
good-temperedly untiring in her assist-
ance, he quite warmed into a liking
for the task, and surprised himself
by the ease with which he effected
it. He was not naturally a stupid
lad; but his mind was dulled from
the want of that education which
principally helps to raise man above
the level of the brute creation.
The two texts, however, on the
subject of honesty, he continued to







THE BOYS W-HO


object to So decidedly -seeming to
think his sister had some bad motive
regarding himself in thus wishing
him to acquire them-that she sub-
stituted the two following, as good
for all conditions and circumstances:
"The wages of sin is death;" "God
so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whoso-
ever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life."



CHAPTER V.

ir, next morning Philip again
vent to school, and for some
days gave his teachers more satisfac-
tion than he had yet done. He was







COULD NOT READ.


the more inclined to diligence by a
declaration on Sam's part (for the two
boys often met on the road as before)
-a- declaration delivered with all the
self- importance peculiar to Master
Trigg-" that really he was half
thinking he would follow their old
friend the sailor's advice, and again
come himself to school and learn to
read; for, after all, it was a useful
thing to be able to do sometimes, as
they. had found, and that to their cost,
the other day."
But, unhappily, in a short time
these good feelings on both sides
began once more to give place to
idleness 'and love of pleasure; and,
although Philip did not venture as
yet to disobey his mother's wish not







THE BOYS WHO


to go out walking with Sam Trigg,
a vast deal of time was frittered away
on the road-side or by his garden-
gate, talking or idling with him, that
would have sufficed to make both
boys very tidy scholars. No; Sam
Trigg's half-formed thought did not
come to anything, nor did he go to
school, despite his poor mother's
earnest efforts to induce him to go;
for the ignorance and idleness of her
son was a subject of bitter distress to
her.
Philip presently became as careless
and indifferent to the improvement of
his mind as before, being yet unable
to read even the easiest words.
Meanwhile the friendship which had
arisen between the two lads strength-






COULD NOT READ.


ened daily; and so it was about this
time that Trigg, one morning meeting
Philip, proposed his again committing
the daring act of once more shirking
school," and devoting another day to
nutting.
"You have been going ahead at
scholaring, you see, Phil, such a des-
perate long time now, that I think it
is quite right you should allow your-
self a little recreation," observed Sam,
in his cynical manner; "so give us
your book to hide, and come along
without more ado."
It required no small amount of
persuasion, however, before Philip's
scruples were sufficiently appeased to
induce him to consent; but at last he
was prevailed upon, and off they set.






THE BOYS WHO


A long distance had been walked,
when Sam suddenly cried, I say,
Phil, I wonder what is written on that
there board," pointing to one high
mounted on a pole in the hedge, and
just next to a gate, on the other side
of which ran a path across the mea-
dow.
Can't think, unless it's to say the
land is for sale," replied Philip, staring
vacantly at the largely-written words,
warning, or threat, whichever it was,
looming down upon them.
"It is queer enough; but of late
we have had no end of polite hints
to us to learn to read," observed
Trigg. "I want to go into these
fields, over to the wood yonder; but
if that thing is ordering us not to






COULD NOT READ.


trespass, we may come to grief if we
do."
"Oh, it cannot be that," objected
Philip. There are too few words,
you see-only four-just enough to
say that these fields are for sale.
That is it, you may depend, Sam;
so come along."
"Yes I suppose it must be,"
agreed Sam, still eyeing the board
wistfully, for greater experience had
rendered him more wary; but he got
over the gate, nevertheless, followed
by Philip, and the two went along the
path.
The meadow was wide and long,
and towards the centre a neighboring
field ran, as it were, far into it, oblig-
ing the path to make an abrupt curve






THE BOYS WHO


round the corner of a thick hedge.
The boys had just turned this point
when, close before them, they saw a
huge, fierce-looking bull, who, tossing
its head and uttering a long savage
growl, began walking quickly towards
them.
"Oh, my!-look at that!" gasped
Philip. What are we to do ?"
Run for our lives!" replied Sam,
turning at once, and scampering, faster
than he had ever run before, back to
the gate.
As a sure consequence, the two
flying- figures roused the wild nature
of the animal into giving chase, and
Trigg, who heard the tramp of his
feet behind, decided on the instant
that to escape by running was impos-







COULD NOT READ.


sible. He was a slight, active lad,
and, without a moment's hesitation,
made a flying leap over a deep ditch
into the middle of the hedge. This
unexpected movement rather per-
plexed the bull, who thereupon half
halted, doubtful which object to con-
tinue pursuing. Philip, by a scared
backward glance, perceived this state
of affairs, and instantly took advan-
tage of it to tumble himself into the
ditch, where, concealed by a thick
overgrowth of thorns and briers, he
lay panting with terror.
In a few minutes Sam contrived to
scramble through the hedge into an
adjoining field, and was after a while
followed by his companion, who now
presented, as well as himself, a most
5






THE BOYS WHO


woeful appearance. Their clothes
were torn in every direction, and their
faces and hands, streaming with blood,
looked as though just tattooed. They
were safe, however, from the enraged
bull, and, as they stood together
wiping their wounds, congratulated
themselves on their narrow escape.
While thus occupied, a loud voice
hailed them from a short distance,
and filled their hearts with fresh fear.
"Hallo, boys! what's the matter?"
cried a farmer-like 'looking man, com-
ing towards them.
What more ill luck is in the wind
now ?" murmured Phil.
The farmer was soon beside them,
and seemed at once to comprehend
the case, for, with an unusual smile,






COULD NOT READ.


he said, "Ah-I see-you have had
to rush through the hedge, from the
bull ?"
Yes, sir," muttered both boys.
"Well, but why did you venture
into the meadow, when you were
warned not to do so ?" inquired the
farmer.
Please, sir, we were not warned,"
replied Philip, hastily.
Sam instantly guessed the truth,
and his face burned.
Not warned ? Why, which way
did you come in, then ?"
"Over the gate beside the road,
sir," continued Philip, pointing in the
direction named.
"Exactly-well, did you not see the
board stuck up there before your eyes ?"
5*






THE BOYS WHO


Y--e-s; we saw a board, sir,"
answered the boy, now in a very
hesitating voice.
"And what was written on it, and
that in the biggest of big letters -
hey ?"
I thought- stammered Philip.
"Well ?"
I thought it was land for sale."
Land for sale Why, can't either
of you read ?"
N-o," replied Philip, in a scarce
audible tone; for this oft repeated
question now brought with it very
bitter feelings of shame.
No-of course you cannot, or you
would never have made such a blun-
dering mistake. Land for sale !" re-
peated the farmer, with a loud laugh,







COULD NOT READ.


which, although he did not intend
it, sounded very mocking in the ears
of the ashamed boys. Why, it's
' BEWARE OF THE BULL !'" and again
he laughed vociferously. Presently he
bethought himself, and stopped laugh-
ing, and looked grave. He was a
fine, stalwart man, with a fine face
and good expression, and the latter
came out strongly as he said-
So you cannot either of you read ?
Now, whose fault is that ? Yours or
your parents' ?"
It isn't poor mother's fault!" ex-
claimed Sam, his filial affection ren-
dering him at the moment nobly
honest.
I, like that answer," rejoined the
farmer, in a warm tone of approval.







THE BOYS WHO


" It says a great deal in your favour,
my lad. Have you a father ?"
No, sir."
What is your name ?"
Sam Trigg, sir."
"And yours ?"
Philip Gage, sir."
"And whose fault is it you cannot
read ?"
Philip muttered something about
it's not anybody's fault; that he went
every day to school leastways most
days, for he suddenly remembered his
then bodily presence in the farmer's
field; and he was learning to read,
he was, as fast as he could.
Now, listen to me, my lads," re-
sumed the farmer, yet more seriously.
" It is plain to see the fault of your







COULD NOT READ.


ignorance rests with yourselves-more
shame for you! And look what
might have befallen you in conse-
quence. That bull is the fiercest in
all the country round. It has three
times nearly killed some of my people,
and only one of my men can manage
him. He is a first-rate, splendid beast,
however, and I cannot afford to kill
him just yet; but I do everything
necessary to secure people's safety.
He is kept always in a private field,
and at each end of the path cutting
across to my farm a large board has
been placed up, with BEWARE OF THE
BULL' painted on it in big letters.
From not being able to read the
warning, one or both of you as near
lost your lives as possible; for had






THE BOYS WHO


the distance been much farther from
the hedge, he would have overtaken
and gored and tossed you to death.
Well, if your escape to-day is not a
lesson to you to learn to read forth-
with, nothing else will be."
I will learn to read, sir-I promise
you I will," cried Sam, earnestly.
"That is right, my boy-I think
you will. And now I will just say
a word on its great importance as
regards a far higher matter. If, for
the want of reading, you cannot take
a walk in safety about the country,
how do you expect to get to heaven ?
You cannot read your Bible, and your
utter ignorance makes you careless
and indifferent to everything read to
you. But mark this: we are told the






COULD NOT READ.


path to heaven is strait and narrow,
while that to hell is broad. Now I
can tell you, my lads, there are no
end of small by-paths and cross-roads
cutting from one to -the other; and
if you are not able to read any of the
numerous finger-posts and sign-boards
which the Lord has set up right and
left on the way to heaven, you will
for a surety find you are going di-
rectly along the road to ruin, without
perhaps intending it, or before you
know where you are."
Please, sir, are those finger-posts
and boards we see by the roads
them ?" inquired Philip, eagerly..
"La, Phil! how can you be such
a stupid ? Why, you don't suppose
the master means real finger-posts







THE BOYS WHO


and sign -boards ?" interposed the
quick-witted Sam Trigg.
You are a sharp lad, Sam," said
the farmer, smiling good-humouredly.
" Come, let us hear what your notion
of these finger-posts and sign-boards
is."
"They are all in the holy book, sir,
are they not ?" replied Trigg. It
has no end of telling and teachings
in it which is the right road to go
ahead upon has it not, sir? And
that is what you mean by the finger-
posts and sign-boards."
Quite right, boy-that is exactly
what I mean. And do not you see,
if you cannot read and direct your-
selves, you are sure, as I say, to get
on the broad track, which somehow






COULD NOT READ.


never needs any guiding to, for there
it is always just before one; the only
difficulty is how to keep off it. Now,
good morning to you both. Over
there you will find a gate that will
take you to the road you left; and
do not come into these fields again,
as they are all private."
Saying which the farmer walked on,
and Sam and Philip instantly hurried
away.


CHAPTER VI.

ir excitement the two boys
had just gone through, to-
gether with the painful smarting of
their faces and hands, which the heat
of the weather tended greatly to






THE BOYS WHO


increase, rendered them very thirsty,
and destroyed for the present all incli-
nation to continue nutting.
We cannot lose ourselves on this
road, for I know it well," observed
Sam; "so let us come along, and look
for a cottage where they will give us
some water to drink."
To this proposal Philip readily
agreed, and off they started.
The way was very hot, the sun
pouring its whole brightness and
strength down between the hedges,
and the dust was choking; so, unable
to bear it long, they turned off on one
side into a shady lane.
"I say, Sam, aren't those tempt-
ing ?" suddenly cried Philip, pointing
to a high, wide-spreading apple-tree,






COULD NOT READ.


laden with large, juicy-looking, red-
cheeked apples, in an orchard.
"Are not they, that's all!" re-
sponded Trigg.
"We are so thirsty, and they are
so near the hedge too !" added Philip,
drawing a deep breath as he gazed
hungrily at the forbidden fruit.
The two boys had stopped now,
and they looked about them at the
tree with an uncertain, half fearful
expression.
"We could get some so easy," sug-
gested Philip, in a low tone; "and,
being so nigh the hedge, we could
escape in a minute if we heard or saw
any one."
But suppose they came upon this
side, instead of .the other ?" replied






THE BOYS WHO


the more thoughtful Sam. How-
ever," he added, quickly, "it is not
the being caught I was bothering
about exactly."
Oh, never mind that, Sam," urged
Philip, whose unholy wish increased
the more as his companion's reluctance
made him fear it would not be gratified :
"but come, let us get some of those
apples. Do not they make your
mouth water only to look at? We
will not take many, you know, but
only just a few to slake our thirst.
Why, those they belong to would not
care if a dozen or more lay rotting on
the ground; so it is not likely they
would mind our having three or four.'
N-o; perhaps not," said Trigg,
"but, for all that, we should not either






COULD NOT READ.


of us like any one to catch us at it.
I know I should feel ashamed of my-
self if that farmer gentleman were to
come upon us."
But we will not stop to feel one
way or the other," argued Phil; "we
will just run for our lives if we see
anybody coming."
Yes-like the sneaking thieves we
shall be," rejoined Sam, with a grim
smile. "Not," he added, "that it
would be the first time by many I
have picked apples in the orchards;
but somehow I never thought about
it before as I do to-day. I hope
nothing bad is going to happen; for
I feel desperate like it."
Philip shrank inwardly from this
style of objection, He was not with-







THE BOYS WHO


out secret misgivings himself on the
point; for, besides that, the little con-
versation with his sister on thieving
came back to his recollection. He had
been brought up from babyhood to
strive to love honesty and truth, and
he had never before thought of steal-
ing anything. Now, remembering his
unyielding objection to the texts on
honesty proposed by Jane, and his
even indignant rejection of the idea
that he could be guilty of the crime
of theft, my right-thinking young
readers will, no doubt, feel surprised
that in so short a time as scarcely
more than a fortnight afterwards
Philip Gage should have been the
most eager to commit the very sin
he then scorned so heartily. So it






COULD NOT READ.


was, however; and so it will ever be
with those, both young and old, who
in the pride of their hearts trust in
their own strength, and not in the all-
powerful grace of God's good Spirit.
It is true, certainly, the temptation
was a more than usually trying one to
these spoilt boys, added to which they
were used to hear many of their young
companions speak of the robbing
orchards of a few apples as a very
small offence. Ah, let us remember
that from small seeds grow huge trees,
and many a little beginning has proved
the first step to the soul's ruin.
After a while doubts and fears were
got over, and the boys soon found
themselves standing in the orchard,
and beneath the tempting tree. The
6






THE BOYS WHO


finest and most beautiful apples were
those which glittered in the bright
sunshine, on the highest boughs, and
forthwith they resolved to obtain them.
Sam possessed the sharpest sight, and
it was therefore decided he was to
keep a keen look-out at the bottom,
while Philip clambered up to the top,
and gathered and threw down the
fruit.
He was a good climber; but to-day,
on account of the daring wrongfulness
of the act he was engaged in, he
lacked nerve, and two or three times
during his ascent nearly slipped and
fell. The top was reached in safety,
however, and rapidly the large apples
began to tumble about Sam's head.
Two more than commonly big ones






COULD NOT READ.


finally attracted Philip's attention,
who, deciding to pocket these for him-
self, was leaning forward to grasp
them, when-
"Phil! Phil! drop down at once!"
came hissing into his ears in low,
terrified tones, from Sam. "There is
a man coming fast along the hedge!-
be quick!"
The position Philip was in at that
moment was a very perilous one to be
hastily frightened out of. The con-
sequence was that, in his hurry to
follow Trigg's advice, he missed his
footing, fell, and came crashing through
branches and foliage to the ground,
bringing down with him a whole
shower of red and golden apples.
Of what followed he had a very im-
6*







THE BOYS WHO


perfect knowledge. -He had but a
dim consciousness, as it were, amidst
his agony, that Sam, who was escaping
over the hedge, bravely turned back
to help him, and that a man soon
joined them. Then there came what
seemed to him a whole week, but was
in reality a couple of hours, of great
suffering, while he was borne on a
hurdle to his home, and committed to
the care of his mother and sister.
Dr. Griffiths was soon in attendance,
and, upon examination, found the
poor lad had sustained a frightful
fracture of the right leg, besides divers
hurts and bruises about his body, the
latter sufficient of themselves to lay
him up for a fortnight.
So day after day, week after week,







COULD NOT READ.


Philip lay on his little bed in great
pain. Happily for him, he was nursed
with loving, skilful care by his mother
and sister, which did much towards
lightening his sufferings. Feeling how
entirely he had brought the affliction
upon himself and his family, and how
doubly grateful he ought to be for
their kind attendance night and day
upon him, Philip bore his injuries with
a repentant, even praiseworthy, en-
durance.
Brightly, too, did the best side of
Sam Trigg's character shine out on
this occasion; for, bitterly blaming
himself as the direct cause of this
heavy trouble to the Gage family,
who had always been his mother's
best friends, he every day visited poor







THE BOYS WHO


Phil, often remaining a good while
to help Jane nurse and comfort him.
Frequently at such times the doctor
came in, and the kindly feeling which
he had always entertained for this
rather peculiar boy grew yet stronger
at this proof of his kindness.
"Look you here, Sam," said the
doctor one day, when meeting him in
Philip's room, "you are a good-hearted
lad, and I do not like to see you going
to the dogs, which your idle, ignorant
life is sure to bring you to at last. I
will give you another chance for my
place. Are you willing to try for it ?
-that is, are you willing to strive
hard to learn to read and write for
one whole year ? You are a quick lad,
and by that time will have acquired







COULD NOT READ.


sufficient knowledge for my purpose,
and when with me, can go on improving
yourself. You will have spare hours,
too, of an evening, and I can, if you
wish, have-you taught a trade of some
sort, which, when you are old enough,
will enable you to provide a home for
your poor invalid mother, should she
still be living."
At this generous proposal Sam's thin
face lighted up with delight, and with
eager gladness he accepted it. For
some time after Dr. Griffiths's depar-
ture he continued very grave.
"What are you thinking of, Sam ?"
inquired Jane, for she was also be-
ginning to feel much interest in the
kind lad. You are not already re-
gretting your promise to the doctor ?"







THE BOYS WHO


"Oh, no! not I!" he answered,
with a readiness that reassured her.
Oh, no!" he went on, presently,
"that is not it. I would have promised
again fifty times over, for that matter.
The fact is, Jane, I am bothered with
the thought of how I am to carry it
out. I hate the school, don't you see
-I hate the being laughed at by those
scraps of boys, half my size and age,
who can read well themselves, and
who would be shouting after me on
the road, b, a, ba-b, e, be, whenever
we met. But there is no help for it
-learn I must, and will. I promised
the gentleman-you remember, Phil ?
And now I have promised the doctor;
and keep my promise I will, at any
cost."






COULD NOT READ.


Jane looked sorry and perplexed;
then a thought flashed through her
mind that brightened her face at once.
What do you say to this plan-
both of you?" she said, eagerly-
"that I should give you an hour's
teaching every morning, and one in
the evening, as long as Phil is kept
from school ? Dr. Griffiths says that
will be for a great while yet, though
he is doing very well so far. Now,
if you try hard, you might both be
able to read easy lessons nicely in a
short time, and then go comfortably
to school together, and finish learning
properly. So what say you, boys ?"
Trigg was delighted at this pro-
posal, and Philip too, who was always
readily influenced by his companion's







THE BOYS WHO


example. They had both arrived at
the conclusion that being unable to
read was not only a miserably blind-
folded way of going through the
world, but also a dangerous one.
That very evening, therefore, the lads
commenced their first lesson.
Mrs. Gage, anxious for young
Trigg as well as her son, sought as
far as possible to favour the praise-
worthy efforts of the little party.
Poor Sam soon mastered the first
difficulties, and he spared no pains to
get forward, reading at home by him-
self, and getting what further help he
could from his mother, who was a
poor, hard-working needlewoman, and
little able to spare time for aught else
than her business.






COULD NOT READ.


The day came at last, however,
when Philip was declared quite well
enough, with the help of crutches, to
attend school as before. Trigg, being
again received by the teacher, accom-
panied him. Both boys could now
read tolerably well, to their intense
delight, and soon made rapid pro-
gress. By the end of the year Sam,
having undergone an examination by
Dr. Griffiths, was declared by him
better fitted for the place he designed
him than he had ventured to hope.
Thus, with strong feelings of gra-
titude, Sam Trigg was installed as
page and messenger in the doctor's
comfortable house.
Philip, whose slower intellect had
attained to only the half of Sam's






THE BOYS WHO


acquirements, continued his schooling
for six months longer: and then
became assistant to his father, and,
under Jane's direction, kept his ac-
counts, and wrote out his bills for
him an office he was quite proud
of.
But, before concluding our little
narrative, I must go back to say a few
words of the last evening prior to
Philip's return to school after his fear-
ful accident. Jane and he were sitting
alone together in their kitchen.
Do not think I am saying this to
reproach you, dear Phil," the former
began, presently, but do you remem-
ber how positively you refused to
learn those texts on honesty I wanted
to teach you ? It was a little while






COULD NOT READ.


before you broke your leg-do you
not remember ?"
Yes-I remember," replied Philip,
in a low, ashamed tone.
"And that I said to you at the time
I was sorry you would not learn
them-most sorry because of the want
of humility-because of the pride that
made you refuse. I thought of the
words in the Bible, 'Before pride
cometh a fall.' Ah, I little looked
for so fearful a fall! Through your
future life, my dear brother, bear in
mind that God Himself has declared,
' He resisteth the proud, and giveth
grace to the humble.' And oh, Phil!
we know that neither safety nor
happiness can ever attend the steps
of those whom the Lord resisteth,"






94 BOYS WHO COULD NOT READ.

Philip, while kissing his sister affec-
tionately, and thanking her for all her
kindness to him, promised to keep
this advice in lasting remembrance,
and never more to trust alone in his
own strength to do any good thing,
but to seek for the strength that God
can give, and to look to Him, that for
Christ's sake all his sins may be for-
given.











ON READING THE BIBLE.


THIS is a precious Book indeed!
Happy the child that loves to read!
'Tis God's own word, which He has given,
To show our souls the way to heaven.

It tells us how the world was made,
And how good men the Lord obey'd;
Here His commands are written, too,
To teach us what we ought to do.

It bids us all from sin to fly,
Because our souls can never die;
It points to heaven, where angels dwell,
And warns us to escape from hell.

But, what is more than all beside,
The Bible tells us, Jesus died!
This is its best, its chief intent-
To lead poor sinners to repent.








96 ON READING TIE BIBLE.

1e thankful, children, that you may
Read this good Bible every day;
'Tis God's own word, which He has given
To show your souls the way to heaven.


UNWIN 1M'OTIIJES, P1rTNTERS CHIILVWOPTJT AND LONDLON.










BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG,






in @iI tdanxms.

PUBLISHED BY THE


RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,








DEPOSITORIES:
56, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND 65, ST. PAUL'S
CHURCHYARD.
WESTERN DEPOSITORY: 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER: 1oo, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON; 31, WESTERN ROAD.
May be had of the Booksellers.
Catalogue D.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs