-'Q- N O
iz W. MR,
The Baldwin Library
m /l FIcrida
SERIES III.-No 51.
UJBL(SHED BY THE
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW YORK.
THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
ANNIE and Jim were factory children. All
day long they stood among the busy wheels in
the mill, where thousands and thousands of
yards of cotton cloth were woven. Annie and
6 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
Jim did not think they had a hard life; they
were thankful to be able to earn an honest liv-
ing, and to carry home their wages to their poor
All through the week these children slept at
a miserable lodging-house; but when Saturday
evening came, they were at liberty to spend the
blessed Sabbath at their home.
Children who have only their merry play and
their pleasant school to occupy them, hardly
know how to prize the day of rest. To Annie
and Jim it was a delightful thought that the
week's labors were over, and that they should
see their mother's face and hear her voice once
Saturday evening had come, and hand in hand
the children set out for their far-off home. They
had been on their feet in the mill since early
dawn, but their fatigue seemed all gone when
they turned their faces homeward. Jim, as the
elder of the two children, claimed the privilege
of carrying the money they had earned during
the week. Tied fast in a bit of rag, it was thrust
into the depths of his pocket, and now and then
he put in his hand, as he walked, to feel that it
was safely there.
Annie was only seven years old, yet she had
THE FACTORY CHILDREN. 7
already learned to know much of the cares and
troubles of life. More than this, she had fund
out that this is a wicked world; she knew the
meaning of temptation. Among the factory chil-
dren with whom she was daily thrown, there
were many who took God's name in vain, many
who did not fear to break his laws. Side by
side with these children Annie worked day
after day, and crowded into -a close room she
slept with them at night; yet she did not follow
Like them, Annie had by nature a wicked
heart; but she bad a pious mother, who early
taught her to ask God to make that heart clean,
and to lead her in the right way. God had
heard the prayers of the another and her child.
He always hears the prayers of those who
sincerely ask of him what they most need-
that is, the blessings of salvation. He loves to
welcome the little ones who come unto him, that
their sins may be forgiven, and they be made
holy and happy. Annie was not afraid to kneel
down and speak to God at evening, while all
around her were forgetting her heavenly Father.
When bad words and noisy oaths were spoken
in the room where she lay down to sleep, she
sang her sweet hymns, and so shut out from her
8 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
ears the evil sounds. God can help any one to
do right; and e was watching over little Annie,
and giving her his aid, in the midst of her great
Now that you know something of Annie's
trials, you can think how glad she was when the
time came for her to turn her back on the great
dingy factory, and step over the green fields
towards her quiet home.
Jim did not love work; he did not care for
any thing but play. Perhaps he would not have
gone so willingly to the factory, but for Annie's
example. When he saw his younger sister glad
to do any thing for her mother's support, and
cheerfully bearing all the trials of her hard lot,
he felt ashamed not to be as generous and in-
dustrious as a girl who was not as old or as
strong as himself.
Jim had not yet joined himself to the bad
boys in the factory, but little by little he was
learning their ways. He thought he should
never grow like them, but he did not feel his
need of God's help, and pray to be kept from
evil in the midst of temptation. Though Jim
did not pray for himself, his mother was pray-
ing for him, and his little sister asked every day
the blessing of God. Annie watched over her
THE FACTORY CHILDREN. 9
brother, and tried to lead him in the right way.
She feared lest he should learn to be very wicked
and forgetful of God; and she was most happy
when he was by her side in the open country,
away from bad companions.
The children had four miles to walk before
they could reach the poor cottage where their
mother lived alone. Through the week she bore
patiently the pain and weakness that made her
unable to work for her daily bread, always think-
ing of the bright Sabbath morning, when she
should have her children at her side, and speak
with them of the loving Saviour. When Satur-
day evening came, she drew her rush-bottomed
chair near to the cottage-door, and waited there
to receive them. The sun was just sinking in
the west; she knew that her children were set-
ting out on their homeward walk, and her heart
was with them.
Though Jim and Annie did not think of their
fatigue, their tired limbs did not move on brisk-
ly. Only half their walk was over, when .a
heavy black cloud that had darkened all the sky
began to pour down torrents of rain. In the
wide field which the children were then cross-
ing, a rude shelter for cattle had been put up.
Into this miserable place the children crept,
10 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
glad to escape being drenched to the skin. Jim
had hardly stretched himself on the ground in
this poor place, when he fell fast asleep. All
the fatigue of the week came over him, and his
sleep was as sound'and sweet as if he lay on a
bed of down.
Annie sat at his side, her eyes now and then
closing; yet she could not forget her lonely
mother watching for them in the distant cottage.
That thought kept her awake. Annie listened to
the pattering of the rain on the roof, and hoped
every moment that it would cease. She was
anxious to be on her way, anxious to save her
mother the pain of looking and watching still in
vain. When the weary child was ready to sink
with drowsiness, she rose and walked up and
down the narrow space, and tried to rouse her-
self, that she might be sure to be ready to start
at the first moment that it was possible.
At length the rain ceased; then Annie called
to, Jim to rise and follow her. But Jim either
could not or would not hear. She shook him
with all her little strength. She shouted in his
ears; yet he lay still and motionless, as if he
would never wake again. Annie knew what it
was to sleep that heavy sleep of an over-fatigued
body, and she was not frightened; but what
THE FACTORY CHILDREN. 11
should she do? She would gladly have lain
down beside him, and passed the night where
she was; but she could not forget her mother.
Should she go on alone? She shrank at first
from the thought. All sorts of dangers seemed
to crowd the way. The night was dark. She
could not see the homeward path. She might
stumble and never rise again.
Such thoughts had power only for a moment
to keep Annie at her brother's side. Her moth-
er's pale anxious face rose before her, and she
resolved to go on. God could keep her from all
dangers. God could guide her safely through
the darkness. To him she prayed a simple
trusting prayer, and then she rose, prepared to
Before starting, she made one more effort to
rouse her brother, but it was vain. It would
have taken the harsh voice of the overseer of
the factory to wake him then. From his pocket
Annie took their precious earnings, lest some
dishonest traveller should rob the sleeping boy
in the early morning. Annie's shawl was but
poor and thin, yet she spread it over her broth-
er. "I shall be warmer walking," she said; and
with this last unselfish, sisterly act, she went
out into the darkness alone.
12 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
She knew where the rude shelter stood; she
could not therefore doubt in which direction to
turn her footsteps. Steadily, steadily on she
went for a while. So truly had she followed
the path, that'she laid her hand on the stile and
crossed the fence at the right place.
In getting down from the stile her head be-
came confused. She knew that she was now on
a kind of bare and open plain, at the extremity
of which stood her mother's house; but how
should she find her way to it? The little girl's
heart beat fast. There was not a star to be seen
in the sky, not a ray of light to guide her on her
way. Should she give up and go back? No;
she would not cause her mother a night of anx-
ious watching. Annie closed her eyes for a
moment. She knew where to find comfort in all
her troubles. She asked her Saviour to help
her in the darkness.
When Annie again opened her eyes, she look-
ed about her on every side, to know which way
to direct her steps. Round and round she turned
for an instant; then she gave a sudden cry of
joy, a sudden exclamation of thanksgiving to the
Lord. Far, far across the plain twinkled a little
light. She knew that light was placed at the
cottage-window by her mother's loving hand, and
THE FACTORY CHILDREN. 13
towards it she joyfully went her way. Some-
times she stumbled over great stones that lay
in her path, and sometimes the bushes wounded
her shoeless feet; yet she pressed on. That
cheering light was still in sight. There was a
quiet home waiting for her; her mother would
soon give her a welcome.
The poor little girl was at length ready to
sink with fatigue and exhaustion from the fright
and anxiety she had passed through. She could
hardly step, yet she forced herself to go forward.
That pleasant light called her to her mother's
side. At length she reached the cottage-door.
She did not need to lay her finger on the latch.
Her mother's watchful ear had heard her trem-
bling footstep; her mother's ready hand had
opened wide the door. To her mother's arms
little Annie was welcomed. Oh how she loved
her mother at that moment How full, of, hap-
piness was her little heart!
Annie soon told why she came alone. She
told how Jim lay sleeping in the wayside shel-
ter, but that she could not rest and know her
mother was watching for her. How that mother
clasped her dear unselfish child to her heart,
and how she thanked God for such a daughter!
Sweet was Annie's sleep that night at her moth,
14 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
her's side; and the angels who linger about the
little ones whom Jesus loves must have been
near Annie, the factory child.
The Sabbath sun was high in the heavens
when Jim appeared at the cottage-door. He
had slept away the fatigue of the week, and was
full of strength and life. He had found the poor
shawl spread over him, and had missed the
treasured earnings from his pocket, and he un-
derstood that Annie's dutiful spirit had led her
A blessing came to Jim on that Sabbath morn-
ing-a blessing such as only comes down from
above. Jim was touched by the conduct of his
little sister. He knew her timid spirit; yet she
had ventured out alone in the darkness to save
her mother pain. He knew that she trusted in
God to help her, and so feared no evil. Jim re-
solved to be like her, a child of God, sure of a
heavenly home through the blood of Christ. On
his knees that morning he asked God to forgive
him for all the past. In his mother's ear that
day he poured out his deep sorrow for all the
pain he had ever given her, and his wish to
walk in the better path for ever.
There was no church within reach where this
humble family could worship God together; but
THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
in their cottage home they read the Bible and
knelt down to pray; and the Most High, we can-
not doubt, looked upon them with love, taught
them by his word, and heard their simple, ear-
That poor and widowed mother, with her chil-
dren at her side, would not then have exchanged
places with the richest or proudest in the land.
There was a heavenly joy in her heart; for she
trusted that her little ones had a blessed home
in store for them," a house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens."
Like little Annie, all of us who love the Sav-
iour are going to a far-off home, where love
awaits us. There is some one looking,watching
for us. It is not the will of Jesus that any of
his lambs should go astray, that any should fail
to find their way to him. He is ready to help
and guide us, if we put ourselves in his care.
Let us trust in him, and go cheerfully on in our
duty, through all trials and temptations.
The light in the cottage window cheered little
Annie on her dark and lonely path. So let the
promise of our heavenly home be ever leading
us joyfully on. Let us not forget that, but ever
keep it in mind.
There is a love greater than a mother's, watch-
16 THE FACTORY CHILDREN.
ing for us, if in our wanderings our heart is
towards our Father's house. There is a bet-
ter than a mother's welcome preparing for us.
There is a joy in store for us more blessed than
the purest Sabbath joy we can know on earth.
Little Annie would not suffer her mother to
watch and wait in vain. Shall any of us turn
from the dear Saviour who has so loved us?
Shall we refuse to hear him say, "Come unto
me?" No. We will love Jesus, that he may
welcome us, and we shall not be shut out from
his eternal home. We will so follow Jesus that
he may say of us at last, Come, ye blessed of
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world."