Citation
Drayton Hall, or, Laurence Bronson's victory

Material Information

Title:
Drayton Hall, or, Laurence Bronson's victory and other tales illustrating the Beatitudes
Portion of title:
Laurence Bronson's victory
Creator:
Mathews, Julia A
James Nisbet and Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
James Ballantyne and Co ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
James Nisbet & Co.
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne and Company.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
New ed.
Physical Description:
vii, 567 p., [6] leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1874 ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1874
Genre:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by the author of "Nettie's mission," "Little Katy and jolly Jim," etc.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026870483 ( ALEPH )
ALH4477 ( NOTIS )
39269278 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text





eran eeenes



ie Lee ade edema ah ce





























x y . : 3 g - ye x P
ee . 8 é ae “ y
es ps zs ‘ Z
“ ‘ J
:
Pay
Ags, |
a s L
.
/ yseg
~ N
3 c
=
x
~ =
rae ee : aD eo on ARENT Asn ae oa meee SN Se SE ROS Nae NON KSC Te ee ONE NNT tn ea Oe tene t am : :
ei es renee e Ss > ae
ge nn en ee eee
P ; ee sess ai be “ = = SERRE oi acca ACD BOD os
einen NRE ne x ;





The Baldwin Library

University
mB ss
Florida



















rt
Braise esa.

ee

ee

Arye Ps.

Sera!
ormeronsen
ea tyeet)
sratpe ly a3

ete

ea)

Presets sates

to i

es

oe an

ies Weer ie

[Osa

ba ets

eet
on a a ee ee
Cy fea the ey

LAS

ee

TAT KS

Eeke iit pat

ry
ps
Ae

by

Aa

ie
hte

is
see:

pestis

seen ee ge

ee
Sot

Cees

AY

ur

eh ge ee

Sion hadunnaetcer

S

a

5

bourgeois

iS
ws

ee

oa

—

Ee paw aie

pera ea reas
ott
SESL

'

much, but we all re-
for the best skater in our

Bentley over

©
+2
)
>
>
E
Be
oO
+
oO
=
So

— Page 423.

a>

love Professor

‘**We do not any of us

spect him as a teacher.
school, Professor Bentley.’





DRAYTON HALL;
LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY, |

AND OTHER TALES,

ILLUSTRATING THE BEATITUDES.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

‘‘NETTIE’S MISSION,” “LITTLE KATY AND JOLLY J IM,”
ETC.

ew Cdition.

LONDON: ae 626

JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.
\\ | MDCOCLXXIV.



PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON



TO

The Memory of my Sather,

WHOSE BRAVE, SWEET LIFE AND BEAUTIFUL DEATH HAVS
TAUGHT HIS CHILDREN WITH WHAT FULNESS OF
BLESSING OUR MASTER WILL REWARD

HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS,

I DEDICATE THESE LITTLE BOOKS.

a“





we



CONTENTS.

LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

CHAP, - PAGE
I, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS : : : es
II, THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE ,. a . : ; 13

Ill. UNCLE ETHAN . ; : ‘ ‘ , | "5 Q1

Iv. THE DECISION : ‘ . ; - 2 «~~ 88

V. PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY . ° ° : ;: 44
VI. VICTORY . ‘. ; ° . : : 53

VII. OLD CHRISTY ; . 's . : . 59

‘VIII AUSTIN’S VISIT . ; : . , * % 65
IX. THE BRIDGE ao ot" 4 ; ; ; ‘ 73
X. MR SEMMONS ; , ° ;: : ‘a 83

CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

~ \

I. JEMMY FORD ° ‘ ° ‘ eo. OD
Il. ANEW FRIEND . : : 8 . 106
Ill. MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED . > . . 416
Iv. TRYING TO DO RIGHT ; go ae .- 1b.
V. JEM’S PARTY a re ee oe a - 186

VI

e

°

e

bt
Or.

Oo

CHRISTY’S HOME . :



CHAP.

VII.
VIII.

IX,

IT

III,
IV.

Vv.
VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

II.
IT.

IV.

VI.
VII.
VIII.

IX.

CONTENTS,

“JESUS ONLY” ; :
JEM’S DONKEY ‘ . :
OLD MATTY . : ‘
JEM’S HOME-COMING ; :

ALLAN HAYWOOD.

. DRAYTON BOYS. . a

CHURCHILL MANOR-HOUSE . .

EAGLE CRAG : . :
AS MEEK AS MOSES : °
THE PARODY . ° ;
TRUST AND SUSPICION : °
PATIENT WAITING . ; °
BEN THOMPSON . , °
REPARATION . ; ‘
THE ‘STARRY NIGHT ” . :

2

FRANK AUSTIN’S

. THE PICNIC : :

MOUNTAIN LAKE . . .
‘THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH .

MILWARD’S CORNER : ,
MARY ALLEN . ° .
IN THE OLD BARN . ; .
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT : ;
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND .

HIDDEN MANNA ° ‘ °

PAGE.

159
167
178
188

i99
206
217
227
256
247
209
270
280
286



CHAP,
I.

IT.
IT.

IV.

VI.
VII.
VIII.

IX.

I.
Il.
III.

IV.

VI

VII.
VIII.

IX.

CONTENTS.

EAGLE CRAG.

UNCLE HENRY :
NED'S FRIENDS.
A FRUITLESS SEARCH
THE SKATING CLUB
ARTHUR BENTLEY .
ON THE CRAG ;
A PERILOUS WALK .
IN THE CABIN :
MAKING FOR PEACE

BRIGHTENED PATHS

TRUE TO
THE WAGER ; :
FATHER AND SON . a
WILL SEATON oe ;

WILL’S “ FIRST AND BEST”

‘COE THAT LOVETH FATHER OR MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS

NOT WORTHY OF ME” :
THE DECISION. ;
OFF FOR ST WILFRID’S :

SEEKING FOR REFUGE ;

THE THANK-OFFERING ‘

PAGS

387
395
404
416
Ad
433
440
450
460
469

‘483
492
501

- 509

520
529

539

551
562



©








a,





ett

y









LAURENCE BRONSON'’S VICTORY. ~~



.







LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

CHAPTER I.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS,

“WELL, Stevens, how are you, and how are they all at
home?” asked Laurence Bronson, springing into the sleigh
which had just drawn up before the main gate of Drayton

_ Hall, and proceeding to enwrap himself in the heavy robes

with which it was well-nigh filled.

“T’m well, sir, thank you; and the family’s the same.
All right and comfortable now, Mr Laurence ?”’

“Yes: I'll take the reins. Good-bye, boys;” and he
nodded merrily to a group of his: schoolfellows who stood
near. “I hope you’ll all have a jolly good time. Merry
Christmas !”

‘Good-bye! Merry Christmas!” shouted back a dozen
happy voices; and Laurence drove ay over the hard,
smooth road foward home.

“Has my father returned, Stevens?” he asked, after they .
had left the Hall behind them. “Mrs Bronson wrote me
that he had gone to New York on business.”

“Yes sir; he’s back again. He’s not looking quite
well either, I think, since his journey.”

“Perhaps he tired himself too much.” |

‘That may be, sir, for he doesn’t complain. He only



A LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

looks heavy and quiet like. JI dare say he’ll be more like
himself when he’s rested.”

“Oh, yes; he always does come home from New York
tired out. He rushes through with his business so, in order
to be home the sooner.”

There was no.room in his glad, joyous heart for a thought
of apprehension or anxiety. The sun threw such a flood of
light over the snow-covered fields and roads, and sparkled
with such beauty in the diamond particles of ice which
covered every tree and shrub, that it was no wonder that
his heart should catch its reflection, and be so filled with
light and joy that it could not harbour a dark thought.
And the fresh, cold wind came singing through the leafless
branches, not in wild, sharp notes, but softly and caress-
ingly, yet with a bracing strength in its touch which
brought a glow to his cheek, and kindled his eye with a
brighter light. :

“It seems like spring to-day,” ne said, after enjoying in
silence for a while the perfect loveliness of the day. “ By
afternoon those old oaks will have lost some of the dia-
monds with which they have bedizened themselves.”

“JT think it’ll not be so mild for long, Mr Laurence.
The: wind is turning to the north, and it is colder now
than when I left Glencoe.” | |

“All the better,” replied Laurence, who seemed deter-
mined to be pleased, whatever happened. ‘‘ We couldn’t
quarrel with such a glorious day as this, but I was a little
afraid the skating would be spoiled. There’s the church
spire. How pretty the village looks, all covered with
snow |”

He was so full of enjoyment, this light-hearted, happy
schoolboy, that everything looked lovely in his eyes that
beautiful morning ; and when he reached his home, throw-
ing the reins to Stevens, and springing out of the sleigh to
greet the five little sisters who stood at the lodge-gates



HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 5

waiting for him, he did not see that the eldest of the, yroup,
despite fier joy in meeting him, had a troubled look which
might have warned him that the hearts at home were not
as light as his, “i

“Now bundle into the sleigh, every mother’s child of
you, and we will drive up to the house in gay style,” he
sald, keeping in his arms the last one who had claimed a
kiss, a little blue-eyed, fair-haired maiden, who clung about
his neck and called him “ Lally,” with a musical little
tongue which refused to give him his rightful name.

So they all sprang in, crowding together like the children
of the unfortunate ‘‘ old woman who lived in a shoe ;” and
even Jessie’s sober face lost its serious look, and was radiant
with laughter and fun, when the mother came out upon the
piazza to welcome her boy.

‘“¢ Merry Christmas, mother darling! I shall have to wait
one minute for my kiss, for my family cares are very heavy |
_ just now,” he said, glancing merrily up at her, as he jumped
one little sister after another out of the crowded sleigh.
‘Come, Minnie, you’re the last;” and he lifted the
youngest in his arms again, and turned to place her on the
piazza steps.

But the little one stoutly resisted her dethronement, and
insisted upon being carried into the house. The piazza
reached, however, her claims were ignored ; for there stood
the mother ; and less than two clasping arms could not tell
her how glad he was to be with her again.

“ But, mother,’ and he held her off from him after the
first long kiss, and looked anxiously into her face, “you
look so tired nid pale.”

‘No; I am not tired,” she answered, smiling ; for she
could met bear that his gladness should be dimmed s0 soon.
‘T am often pale, you know. But how well and bright and
happy you seem, my boy ;” and she pushed back the curls
from his forehead, looking fondly into his handsome face.



6 | LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T am well and happy, and I try to be bright,” he
answered. ‘“‘ But somehow I generally manage to prove
rather stupid than bright as far as study is concerned,”
he added, with a laugh. “Never mind though, mother ;
T’ll battle through, and come out a student yet; you shall
see if I don't.”

Again that pained expression, which he had aotieed te
fore, flitted over his mother’s face; but the next moment it
was gone ; and, turning to Jessie, eh said—

‘¢ Now, order luncheon, dear. Laurence must be famished
after his cold drive.”

‘Where is father?” asked Laurence, as he followed his
mother into the house, the children all hanging about him,
as if determined not to lose sight of him for a moment.

“He had to drive over to Mr Cuyler’s on business. He
expected to be back before you reached home, but charged
me if he were detained to tell you how sorry he was to be
called away just at this time. He will be back soon.”

“ Here he is now,” said little Minnie, who had run to the
window at the sound of sleigh-bells. “* But only just look
at him,” she said, in a troubled little voice. “ He feels
real bad about something. See, Lally, doesn’t he?”
Laurence sprang up quickly, but his mother was before
him. | |

“ Father is very tired,” she said, drawing Laurence’s arm
within her own. “He has had too much to do lately.
Come, we will go out to meet him. MHere’s your boy home
again, father,” she called in a pleasant voice, as they went
out upon the piazza again.

The weary, spiritless look in Mr Bronson’s face changed
to one of pleasure, and he came quickly forward.

‘Welcome home, my son,” he said, grasping both
Laurence’s outstretched hands. ‘I need not ask if you are
well with such a face as that beaming before me.”

Laurence wished that he could say as much for him, for



HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 7

all his father’s attempted cheerfulness could not hide the
furrows in his face, nor the gray lines scattered through
his dark hair; but he fell in at once with his assumed
happiness.

‘‘T should answer the question just as you would expect
it to be answered, Isn’t it a grand morning for a sleigh-
ride, father 1”

“Yes, it is indeed a perfect day. How did you leave
all your schoolfellows at the Hall?”

And so half a dozen indifferent questions and answers
passed between them, until lunch was announced. But
Laurence went into the dining-room with the full deter-
mination to find out, as soon as the meal was over, what
was the cloud whose shadow had been so carefully kept
from his own path, only, as it seemed, to darken the more
heavily upon those whom he most loved.

Luncheon was scarcely over when Mr Bronson rose from
his seat, and saying that he had some writing which it was
necessary for him to attend to immediately, went out of
the room.

‘“‘Can I help you, father?” Laurence had asked.

“No,” had been the answer ; and the boy could not fail
to notice the heavy tone in which the words were spoken.
“No; I have only to affix my signature to two or three
papers. But they must be sent to Mr Cuyler at once.
Stevens is waiting for them. I will be back directly.”

The papers had been signed and sent to the lawyer, Mr
Cuyler ; and now Mr Bronson pushed back his chair from
his writing-table, and leaned his head upon his hand in deep
thought. But the next moment there came to him the
sound of a quick, elastic step in the hall. then a knock
upon the door; and he lifted his head and smiled as.
Laurence came in.

“Well, my boy?” he said, as if to ask what had brought
him there. Laurence crossed the room ; and, tall, manly-



8 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

looking fellow as he was, sat down upon his father’s knee,
and put his two strong arms about his father’s neck.

“‘ Now, father ?”

“ What will you have, my son ?” |

He knew what he would have ; but he asked the question
to gain a moment’s time, in which he might try to measure
his son’s power of endurance, and also to seek for tender
words in which to break the truth to him.

‘“ You know what I want,” said Laurence. “ There is a
heavy load on your heart and on mother’s. I want to know
what it is, that I may lift it, if such a thing is possible : if
not, that [ may share it, and so at least ease the burden.”

His father took the earnest face between his hands, and
looked long into the depths of the clear hazel eyes. At
length, he said—
= Can you bear a sore trial pany and bravely,
Laurence ?”
~ “T can,” said the boy.

“Tt is a very heavy burden ; so heavy, that it must press
upon every joy and pleasure of your life.—so heavy, that it
may crush out all your hopes and glad anticipations. Can
you bear it ?”

“T can.”

“Then you shall know it, and we will try to strengthen _
one another. Laurence, I am a ruined man.” )

‘Your property is all gone?”

“Everything. I have just signed the last paper yielding
all'to my creditors.”

“ How came it about, father? May I know ?” :

The question was asked in a low, almost whispering voice ;
he was awe-struck with the weight of this great calamity.

“Partly through my own fault, Laurence ; for I should
have been more cautious; and-yet I was only doing fora
friend.in need what he had once done for me. I indorsed.
heavily—heavily, at least, for a man in my circumstances—



HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. | 9

for Henry Lee. You know him, and you know what a
friend he was to me in my younger days, when I was a
stranger in a strange city. His platted has proved himself
a villain. Lee is bankrupt, and I am”

“Still a young man, with a strong , right arm of your
own, and another eich can at least do something to aid -
you ;” and the boy held up his hand before his father’s face,
as if to show him how broad and sinewy it was. ‘“ Keep
up a good heart, father—we’ll do well yet.”

‘“My brave boy,’ said his father, fondly, “you have
lifted a great load from my heart, for I dreaded to tell you
of this trial, lest it should overwhelm you. It has come so
suddenly upon us, that I scarcely knew how to prepare you
for it by letter. But, Laurence, do you know that it entails
upon you a great disappointment? I cannot afford to send
you back to school.” : | |

It was a terrible disappointment, and one of which, in his
desire to comfort his father, he had not thought. He was
not a quick nor a showy student ; but he loved study for its
own sake, and would plod for hours over a problem upon
which many of his classmates would spend but half the
time, and yet rise from the laborious task as fresh and
vigorous as if it had been but recreation to him. The
dream of his life had been to become a scholar; to spend
his years in researches and discoveries ; and now it must
all end just here. “A great disappointment!” It was
something more than that: it was a blow which almost
staggered him ; and, for the moment, his own sorrow blotted
out the thought of his father’s grief. Huis sudden start and
look of blank dismay told Mr Bronson how sharply the
stroke had fallen upon him ; and his voice was very tremu-
lous as he tried in his turn to be the comforter.

“T told you, my boy,” he said, laying his hand tenderly
upon Laurence’s bowed head—bowed lest his father should
see the pain which he knew must be manifest in his face,—



10 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T told vou that we would need to strengthen one another,
for I knew how bitter this change would be to you. But
Dr Drayton’s charges are very heavy ; and, although I have
been most fortunate in obtaining a position which will be
open to me next week, my salary will not be sufficient to
maintain us all. I must try to find a place for you as well,
and we shall have to work together for the mother and the
little sisters.”

He could not have drawn the dark picture in better
colours. “The mother and the little sisters” were the joy
of Laurence’s life ; and the thought of his father, cheerfully
descending from the high position he had held, and thank-
fully accepting a situation which might at least keep his
wife and children from want, brought a glow of enthusiasm
in the work to his own heart. The bowed head was lifted ;
and the boy stood up manfully to accept the burden which
had been laid upon his young shoulders.

“Well, father,” he said, ‘we will do our best. With
two of us to shield them, they ought not to suffer. Ag
soon as I can find a clerkship, I am ready to do my share.”

“God bless you, Laurence! you have borne this nobly,”
said Mr Bronson, “Jf you knew how much easier you
have made my share of the cross, you would feel that you
could thank Him also for having given you strength to take
up your portion so courageously.”

For a long while they sat together, talking over the
change in their prospects ; and then Laurence went to seek
his mother. He was glad to think that she would be spared
the recital of the sad story ; and he lost no time in telling
her that he knew all, and was ready cheerfully to do his
part in the new life which awaited him. They had scarcely
had time to say more than half of what was in their hearts,
when the children came in to plead for a sleigh-ride. Jessie,
guessing rightly that Laurence wanted to be alone with his
mother, had done her best to keep the little ones in the



HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 11

nursery ; but all her wiles were of no avail. Laurence
must come,—he had talked long enough with father and
mother ; and, finally, they all rushed in, pell-mell, to carry
him off a prisoner. He yielded, and went with them ; for
he had promised them this ride on their way up fon the
lodge-gates, and he was not sorry that he had done so when
once they had started.

The children were wild with delight, and their merry
laughter echoed gaily in the clear frosty air,—excited by
anything or by nothing, as the case might be,—that made
but little difference ; for their hearts were so light that they
overflowed with joy at their own sweet will,—it needed
nothing to call it forth, And, by and by, he began to enter
into the spirit of the frolic himself. His counterfeited
mirth changed to enjoyment almost as hearty and unre-
strained as that of his little sisters, who knew nothing of
the cloud which hung over their home.

And when they had returned, there was the long winter
evening to be gone through with somehow, and Christmas
Eve too. So he set them at a game of romps, which lasted
till they went to bed; and then ‘he began to look forward
to the hour when he might shut himself up in his own
room, and think it all over. By and by it came; and when
prayers were over, he went up-stairs for a quiet time before |
he should go to rest. Even here, however, an interruption
came between him and his wishes. The door was scarcely
closed behind him, when he heard a gentle knock; and,
opening it, saw Jessie standing there.

oo May I come in, just for a minute or two, Larry? I
want you to talk to me.”

She had always been his pet sister —this gentle, ‘matronly
little Jessie ; and now, when he met those glistening eyes,
heavy with the weight of tears which she had so struggled
to keep out of sight, he could not resist her, much as he
wished to be alone.



12 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘Come in,” he said, drawing her to him, and keeping his
arm still around her as he led her to.a chair, and lifted her
on his knee. “You are full of this trouble, aren’t you,
little woman ?”

For answer she laid her head down upon his shoulder,
and cried as if her heart would break. :

“T’ve wanted you so, Larry,” she sobbed, as soon as she
could speak. “The children don’t know about it, and I
couldn’t talk to mother because I couldn’t keep back the
tears when I said anything, and I didn’t want her to see me
cry. You won’t mind very much, will you ?”

“No, indeed, I won’t;” and the tender hand, passing
caressingly over her hair, soothed and calmed her, while it
left her free to cry herself into quiet.

By and by he began to talk in his bright, pleasant way of
the change before them; and while he did not attempt to
disguise from her that he thought it hard to bear, he found
so many sunny spots in the dark road, and showed them to
her so clearly, that she began to wonder that she had not
seen them herself.

“Why, it won’t be so very bad after all, Larry, will it?”
she said, at length; “ except for yousand father. I am so
very sorry that you cannot go back to school.”

“ Oh, don’t worry yourself about that,” he said, cheerily.
‘‘T shall manage to have some time for study at home.
And now don’t you think you had better go to bed? It is
after eleven o’clock.”

So she kissed him good-night and went away, thinking
that in all the wide world there was not a dearer, more

.. « loving brother than her own Laurence.

When she was gone, he sat down before the fire again, and
gave himself up to his thoughts. Sad enough they were.
The crushing of all his hopes of a life of study was but one
-grief.among many. The dear old home in which he had
lived from his babyhood must be sold! It was not a splen-





iol
a ae . :
AS GO a $s
y oo See! es sf oF

e f / Qh

THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE. _ 13

did home, but it was one of perfect comfort and ease; and
he could scarcely bear to think of the sad change for his
mother and the girls, from the entire immunity from all
unwelcome care to the drudgery and toil which must be
theirs so soon. |

There was another thing, too, which weighed heavily upon
him. He was a proud boy,—a very proud boy; and he
shrank from the thought of all the slights which fall upon
the poor. His cheek burned when he thought of the re-
marks of his schoolmates when they should hear that he
could no longer-afford to take his place among them, but
must earn his own living.. With some he knew this would
make no difference, many of them would love him as well
and respect him quite as much as before ; but, with others,
he knew that his poverty would be the signal for sneers and
—if they dared so far—insults. Poor fellow! It was not
a happy face which looked into the dying fire for hours after
Jessie left him, and when at last he threw himself upon his
bed, his sleep was broken with dark, troubled dreams, from
which he woke restless and uneasy, until, at length fairly
tired out, he fell into a slumber too deep to be disturbed by
dreams. ‘

CHAPTER IT.
THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE.

Tae bright morning sun did a great deal toward driving
away dark thoughts and anticipations; and by the time
Laurence was dressed and ready to go down-stairs, his brow
was as unruffled and his eye as clear as ever. Besides, it
was Christmas morning, and Laurence was a Christian. To
him the sweet Christmas morning dawned with a brighter



14 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

light than that which shone on common days; and his heart
was full of the warm, soft glow, which it had caught as he
stood at his window, singing an old Christmas carol. A
‘* Merry Christmas” it could scarcely be to the elder mem-
bers of the family, but a “happy” one it should be so far
as he could render it so.

The day was not to be spent as every other Christmas of
his life had been spent. Even the younger children under-
stood that the time-honoured tree was not to delight their
eyes this year, and that presents were to be dispensed with,
Laurence himself, although he had known nothing of the
state of affairs, was unprepared with gifts; for his father
had written him, telling him that his month’s allowance
would have to lie over until the last of the month, as it was
not convenient to send it to him at that time, and he had
expected to receive it on his return home for the holidays.
But before the last of the month, the blow which had threat-
ened Mr Bronson at the time he wrote had fallen, and poor
Laurence’s allowance was.among the things of the past.

But still the day was not to be permitted to pass un-
noticed. The little children were to have a tea-party, to
which all the family were to be invited; and no one, not
even the father or mother, was to be excused from atten
dance. The time was fixed for three o’clock in the afternoon,
but in the morning Mr Bronson said that it would be neces-
sary for him to drive to Glencoe in the afternoon; and so
the preparations were hurried, and the tea-party took place
at eleven o’clock.. ?

“You can play we had early tea,” said Lily, who was the
hostess on the occasion. So the order of the meals was a
little transposed, and tea was announced a short time before
lunch ; but the merry party enjoyed it none the less. Even
Mr Bronson’s careworn face lightened into pleasure as he
heard the peals of laughter that rang around the table, and
watched the delight of his little eldeen in their play.



THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE. 15

Laurence and Jessie threw themselves into the frolic with
their whole souls, having determined, after a long talk on
the subject, not to let the day pass gloomily ; and the tender,
grateful love which shone upon them from their mother’s
eyes was quite reward enough for the effort which they had
made,

There was no small amount of objection raised when it
was found that Laurence intended to drive his father over
to Glencoe ; but a well-timed proposal from Jessie, that the
children should occupy the time of their absence in making
a gay pen-wiper for each of them, so took their fancy, that,
instead of attempting to detain them further, their only
concern seemed to be that they should start as soon as pos-
sible, in order that the work might be done in secret.

‘The little ones don’t seem inclined to give you much
rest, Laurence,” said his father, as they drove off, with a
promise to return as quickly as they could.

‘Qh, the novelty will wear off when I have been at home
a day or two,” said Laurence. ‘I am always a lion at the
first of my vacations. They will not hang about me so
when they grow more accustomed to see me going in and
out every day.”

His father glanced quickly toward him, but the face into
which he looked returned his gaze with a smile which told
nothing of the boy’s disappointment.

Their drive was not a pleasant one, the bright morning
having darkened into a dull, gray afternoon; and before -
they reached Glencoe a drizzling, sleety rain began to fall,
freezing as it touched the ground, and making the roads
very dangerous for travelling.

“ Kitty is sharp-shod of course, father, is she not ?” asked
Laurence, as, for the third time, the horse slipped on the
icy road.

“Yes; she will hardly fall, I think ; but hold her in well.
I want to stop a moment at Dr Wells’s, so we will drive



16 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

right over there. I shall be more sure to find him than on
any other day.” :
“‘T shall not be here more than a moment or two,” said
Mr Bronson, as he stepped out of the sleigh ; “but I have
another errand to attend to; and you might drive up to Mr
Cuyler’s with these papers, which I promised to let him have
this afternoon, and then meet me at the foot of Gray’s Hill.”
Laurence drove off quite pleased with his errand. Mr
Cuyler, his father’s lawyer, was a great favourite with all
the family, and the boy was always glad to be sent to him

with any message. The old gentleman received him very

kindly, greeting him even more cordially than was his
wont, and talked so pleasantly and encouragingly of his
father’s affairs, that Laurence left him at last almost per-
suaded that things were not so bad with them, after all;
and that, with industry and effort on his own part, he might
yet, though it would perhaps be retarded for a year or two,
pass through the course of study which he had mapped out
for himself.

“Well, good-bye, and success to you,” said Mr Cuyler, as
Laurence bundled himself up in the robes once more.

“‘ Good-bye, sir, and thank you for your encouragement,”
said Laurence; and he drove off with a lighter heart than
he had carried in his breast for the last twenty-four hours.

At the foot of Gray’s Hill there stood.a small well-kept
hotel, where Mr Bronson always stopped to water his horses
when he had been out for a long drive ; and it was here
that he had appointed to meet his son. As Laurence neared
the hotel, he noticed a group of men moving slowly up toward
the house ; and as his eye fell upon them, one figure separated
itself from the rest and came running swiftly up the road.

“What is wrong?” asked Laurence, as the man neared
him, for it was easy to perceive that something unusual had
~ occurred.

“There’s a man killed, He fell on the ice coming down

—_

i Saal



THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE, 17

the hill, and they think he's broke his neck. I’m off for
the doctor ;” and he rushed on toward Dr Wells’s house,
which was close at hand. What was it that made the boy
seize the whip and strike Kitty such a cutting blow that
she reared until she stood almost erect on her hind feet—then
springing forward, dashed furiously up the road, until Laur-
ence drew her suddenly up at the door of the hotel, into
which the crowd of men were bearing some heavy burden ?
Something within him, he knew not what, had told him
that the burden they bore was his father.

“ Killed! killed! killed!”

The word seemed to be burning itself into his soul; and
flinging the reins upon Kitty’s neck, he sprang out of the
sleigh and rushed into the house, his white, terrified face
startling all who met him as he fiercely elbowed his way
through the throng which had followed the bearers into the
parlour.

“Let me pass,” he said, roughly grasping the shoulder of
a large man who stood in his path, and putting him aside
as if he had been a child. The man turned round sharply,
with a threat on his lips; but one glance at that blanched
face stilled him, and the crowd fell silently apart to let the
boy pass. On and on, up through the long room, at the
very end of which, stretched on a sofa, lay the object of his
search. Two men stood leaning over it, hiding the face
from his sight. In a moment a hand was upon each of
them ; they were thrust aside; and Laurence was kneeling
beside the pallid face upon the pillow.

“My father! Oh, my father!” The cry rang through
the room, bringing tears to eyes which had been long unused
to weep ; but the leaden lips did not move in response to |
the appeal.

“Is he dead? Tell me, is he dead?” cried Laurence,
springing to his feet again, and facing suddenly round upon
the two men whom he had just pushed aside. .

B



18 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“Hist, lad, hist,” said the elder of the two, laying his
hand gently upon the boy’s shoulder. “ He’s not dead, I’m
thinkin’ ; but terrible stunned, just. Mike’s run for the
doctor, and Mike’s very fleet of foot. He'll not be long gone.”

“They are coming now,” said a voice which Laurence
seemed to know, and looking up, he saw that the other per-
son who had been watching his father so closely was Mr
Braisted, the hotel-keeper.

ey think that there is life,” he said, in response to Laur-
ences look. “But here is the doctor; he can tell us.”

Dr Wells passed through the crowd, bidding them to
stand back and give the injured man air ; hurriedly grasped
Laurence’s hand; and bent over the unconscious figure
upon the couch.

‘“‘T would like to have this room cleared.”

The words seemed a suggestion, but they were obeyed as
a command ; for there was a power in Dr Wells’s gentleness
that no one ever thought of resisting.

“He is not dead, my son,” he said, in answer to the
hungry eyes which were watching his every movement with
such terrible interest ; “he isin a deep faint—we can bring
him to.” :

Even as he spoke, Mr Bronson’s head stirred upon the
pillow, his eyes opened and met Laurence’s frightened face.
He tried to smile, but a spasm of pain crossed his lips, and
he sank back into unconsciousness. |

“Ts he very badly hurt?” asked Laurence, when, after a
long and thorough examination of his patient, the doctor
lifted his head, and turned a very serious face on the boy.

“Yes, he is badly hurt. I think you had better drive
over for your mother and bring her here.”

** Then I cannot take him home?”

“No; the long drive would kill him in his present state.
I will remain with him until you return; you had better
go at once. Make as light of it as you can to your mother,”



THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE, 19

Make as light of it as he would, his face bore too much
of the impress of the fright and suffering through which he
had passed for Mrs Bronson to be greatly deceived ; and
although she said but little at home before the children,
they had not passed over a quarter of the road to Glencoe
before she had drawn from her son all that he knew. That
was little enough. He had heard from aman who had seen ©
the accident that his father, in descending the hill, had
slipped and pitched violently backward ; but that was all
that the bystanders could tell; for when they ran to his ©
aid he was unconscious, and had so remained up to the
moment of Laurence’s departure, except for that one gleam
of recognition. The doctor had purposely told him but
little, fully expecting that his mother would win from him
all that he could tell.

When they reached the hotel, Mr Braisted came out to
meet them, stopping Laurence as he was about to help his
mother from the sleigh. |

“ Your father is not here,” he said. “Dr Wells has had
him carried to his own house. He told me to tell you to go
over there, as he thought it best to remove him before he
became conscious,”

He was watching for them, the good old man, when they
drove up to his door, and came out to welcome them.

‘You have made good speed,” he said, cheerily, “and I
am glad to say that my patient seems a little easier, and is
quite himself. I had him brought here lest he might not
like being in that noisy hotel; and, besides, I can watch him
more closely when he is under my own roof.”

‘Then he is seriously injured ?” Mrs Bronson asked, her
hand trembling in the doctor’s firm grasp.

“Yes; I will tell you the truth, he is seriously hurt ;
you must keep a brave heart and a cheerful face. Now
come up-stairs, for he has asked for you.”

Her own loving hand could not have arranged him more



20 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

easily in the white bed on which he lay; but the heavy
eyes were turned to the door as she entered, with a look
which showed that, after all said and done, he needed her,
and could not rest content without her. Mrs Wells, who had
been sitting beside him, left them together ; but Mrs Bronson
soon followed her, leaving Laurence with his father.

‘Ts the doctor in his office?” she asked, when she had
thanked Mrs Wells most warmly for her kindness.

“Yes ; he is coming right up.”

“But I would like to see him before he comes up. May
I go down to him ?”

“ Certainly ; you will find him alone. ‘You know the
ways of the house, I believe.”

“T ought to know them,” said Mrs Bronson, looking into
the pleasant face with a world of gratitude in her own.
This is not the first time that I have tasted of its hospi-
tality.”

The doctor opened the office-door before she reached it,
and met her in the hall.

“T was on my way to your room,” he said; “am I
needed ?” and he looked anxiously at her.

‘““No; my husband seems to be falling asleep, but I
wanted to speak to you. Doctor, I want you to tell me
the whole truth. Is he fatally injured 2?”

“T will tell you the whole truth. No; he is not.”

“What, then ?” she asked, with a sudden, quick breath of
deep relief.

“His spine is badly injured. There, my child, try to be
calm ;” and he drew her toa chair. “The bene nursing
which your love will give him will bring him through. In
the meantime, he is in a good home, with friends who will
do their best for him.”

“But, doctor’”—her lips faltered ; the words were hard,
sO very ead. to say.
‘Wait one moment, if you please. I want to tell you a



UNCLE ETHAN, Zz.

little story. Twenty years ago, a physician settled in this
place. For five years his practice was insufficient to main-
tain his family ; and, at the end of that time, on the very
brink of insolvency, he sold his house and prepared to leave
Glencoe. Did you ever hear who bought that house and
gave it for two years, rent free, to the almost bankrupt
doctor? Iam nota rich man, Mrs Bronson, or I would do
for him what he has done for me ;. but while my little roof-
tree covers my head, there is a home i in Glencoe for George
Bronson.”
“ But that debt was paid long since, Dr Wells.”

“Jn bank-notes, yes ; but not in that more precious cur-

rency in which your husband loves to deal. Not another
word, my child. I know just how things stand with you,
for George told me all; and I thank God that now, when
you are in trouble, He has put it in my power to return
some of the kindness which I have received at your hus-
band’s hands. , Now let us go up to him.”

CHAPTER IIL
UNCLE ETHAN,

AuL night long the snow had been falling silently upon
the sleeping city, waking no one among the thousands of
slumbering people, but softly covering everything with a
sheet of spotless white. The dusty streets had, during those
few quiet hours, been paved with pure marble, the church
spires had been wreathed with orange blossoms, and the
Teafless trees hung with garlands of white chrysanthemums.
Even the very beans of ashes in the poorer streets had been



22 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

.

_ transformed into fair little hillocks, which, for all that any
one could now see, might have been brought by some loving
fairy from the snow-covered fields on the farther side of the
river, to blossom into greenness when their pretty mantles
should slip from their shoulders.

But in the early morning the wind changed suddenly to
the south-east—a fine mist, which speedily resolved itself
into a heavy rain, took the place of the beautiful snow-
flakes ; and before the great world had fairly taken up the
burdens of the day, almost every trace of beauty had faded
from the scene. The pure marble changed to a grayish hue,
slipping from beneath the feet of the vexed pedestrians with
a treacherous slide that betrayed many a trusting foot ;
orange-blossoms and chrysanthemums melted away into
heavy drops of moisture, which dripped, dripped upon the
passers-by in merciless showers. The little hillocks lost
their beautiful cloaks, and stood revealed, not as grassy
mounds, but as heaps of rubbish and filth, reeking in the
all-prevailing damp and wet. Oh, how quickly that un-
sparing rain did take the romance out of the thing! Laur-
ence Bronson, stepping from the train as it whistled and
screamed into the depot, certainly saw nothing to admire
in it.

Turning up his coat collar to protect his throat—for an
umbrella served but half its purpose in the saturated atmo-
sphere—he set out courageously for his destination. To
reach it, he must cross the city, for he was on his way to
the house of his uncle, Mr Ethan Bronson. It was a long
walk and a hard one, but it was accomplished in good time;
_ and, taking an omnibus at the avenue, he was soon depo-
sited at his uncle’s door.

His errand there was not an enviable one, his uncle never
having been much of a favourite in the family ; for Ethap
Bronson was, strangely unlike his brother George, hard ana
cold as he was gentle and warm-hearted, and wholly wants



UNCLE ETHAN. | 93 |

ing in that sympathetic kindliness which made his brother
a welcome visitor even where he was a stranger.

‘‘Good morning, Laurence,” he said, turning from his
seat by the glowing fire, as the servant opened the door for
his nephew's entrance. “Rather a wet day, isn’t it? How
is your father?” |

‘“‘T have come to see you on father’s account, Uncle Ethan.
He has had a terrible fall.”

“ He has!” exclaimed Mr Bronson. “Is he much hurt?”

“Yes, sir, very badly hurt; he has injured his spine.
The doctor says it will be months before he can move.”

The alarm expressed in Mr Bronson’s face was not all
occasioned by the thought of his brother’s suffering. Not
that he was regardless of that ; but at the same moment
there came to his mind the thought of a family of eight
persons, one of them a helpless invalid, to be provided for ;
and from whence was the provision to come ?

“Of course, he will have to resign his post with Mr
Englis ?” |

‘Yes, sir. JI am to go to Mr Englis when I leave here,
and tell him that father is not able to fulfil his engagement.”

“Then you have absolutely nothing to depend upon.
What are you going to do?”.

Not one question had he asked as to whether his brother’s
life were endangered, or whether he were likely to be
crippled by his injury. That last inquiry had struggled to
his lips as if he were so overwhelmed by the idea of their
poverty that he had no thought to give to any other view
of the case. Laurence’s spirit rose. He had feared this;
and now he lifted his head as he answered proudly—

‘‘T do not know, as yet. God will open some path to
me.”

“To you,” said his uncle, laying great stress upon the
pronoun, ‘Do you expect to be able to maintain. the
family 1” |



le ee

24 - LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T expect to do all I can toward it,” said Laurence,
quietly.

“‘ But to do anything in that way you will have to leave
your studies ; and Dr Drayton, whom I. met in the street
the other day, told me you would make a first-rate engineer
in the course of three years, young as you are. He says
that your talent for mathematics and engineering is some-
thing quite wonderful.”

Laurence’s cheek flushed with pleasure, but the next
moment it paled again as he said,— |

“TI know that Dr Drayton thinks me a good mathe-
matician, for he has told me so, and it is a great disappoint-
ment to me to have to give up my studies; but as my father
is helpless, the care of my mother and sisters, as well as of
himself, devolves upon me.”

No wonder that this hard, close man, grudging a few
hundreds out of his many thousands, looked away from that
generous young face, glowing with the light of an earnest,
self-sacrificing purpose. For a few moments Mr Bronson
sat gazing into the fire; then he rose to his feet, saying,—

“T suppose some of the rest of us must see what can be
done. Some of the rest of us I say, but I don’t see but
that it must all come upon me. There is no one else to
whom you can apply.”

‘“Uncle Ethan,”—Laurence wondered at the sound of
his own voice, it was so cold and hard ; and yet such a tem-
pest of outraged pride, of grief and shame, was raging within
him,—“ Uncle Ethan, I certainly had no intention of ‘ apply-
ing,’ as you term it, to you. My only business here this
morning was to obey my father’s request that I should ask
you to go up to Glencoe to-morrow, if it is possible for you
todo so. If it should turn out that he thinks it best to
ask you for a loan, you may rest assured that the money
shall be returned to the uttermost farthing, if I have to giva

- up every moment of my life to the task of earning it,”



NG

ey Vy

‘ur



ive

s not unkindly.”—Page 25.

its expression wa

down upon Laurence was not altogether an attract

ing

one, and yet

** The face look



UNCLE ETHAN, 25

“Stop there, boy,” said his uncle, gruffly; “you have
said enough. You are too proud, too proud by half, for a
poor man’s son. You may tell your father I will be up. by
the ten o’clock train.”

Laurence took up his hat, and rose at once.

“Very well, sir,” was his response.

“But you had better wait for lunch,” said Mr Bronson,
as he laid his hand upon the door.

“Thank you, I cannot wait,” he answered. Good
morning ;” and with. a bitter sense of shame and degra-
dation, he went out into the storm, feeling as if he would
rather face it for a week, than remain for another moment in
his uncle’s house.

_ Hailing an omnibus, he seated himself in.a corner, think:
ing sadly enough of the difficulties of his position. If there
were only some means by which he might see his way clear
to reject all aid from his uncle! Deeply and seriously he
pondered the question, but no light came to him; and he
sat looking out on the pitiless storm in a mood which ac-
corded well with the dreary prospect. If he had not been
so buried in his disagreeable thoughts, he might have noticed
that a gentleman, at whose side he had seated himself, was
regarding him with close attention. The face looking down
upon him was not altogether an attractive one, and yet its
expression was not unkindly. The smile on the lips was
somewhat grim, hovering uncertainly there as if it were
not quite sure that it was well te appear at all; and the
deep-set eyes looked out from beneath their bushy brows
with a keen and piercing glance which seemed to be reading
one through and through. But there was a something in that .
face which told you that you might trust the man ; that, how-
ever stern and uncompromising he might prove, he would be
true and faithful, even at the expense of his own interests.

‘‘ How long are we to sit side by side without speaking

to one another ¢”



26 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY,

Laurence, looking up with a start as the slow, measured
tones fell on his ear, saw Dr Drayton, the principal of the
school which he had attended for the past five years.

“Dr Drayton! I beg your pardon, sir. Have you been
sitting here ever since I came in ?”

“Yes. You do not seem to enjoy the storm. You look
as if you were engrossed in meditating upon this evil world.”

‘““T have some reason to look grave,” said Laurence.
“You have not heard, I suppose, of my father’s accident ?”

‘* No, indeed! what has befallen him ?”

The passionless face was not wholly unmoved by the boy’s
story ; and when it was ended, Dr Drayton said kindly—

‘“‘T am grieved, deeply grieved, to hear this. Iam afraid,
from what I hear,” he added, lowering his voice, “ that it is
especially trying to him to be laid aside just now.”

“Yes, sir; that is true. As long as you have spoken of
it, doctor, I may as well tell you at once that, through the
failure of another house, my father’s affairs are greatly em-
barrassed ; and it will be necessary for me to leave school
at once.”

Dr Drayton looked at him in blank dismay. —

“‘ Leave school!” he repeated, slowly. ‘ Bronson, that
would be a shame. The loss to yourself would be incal-
culable.” |

“IT know that, sir; but itmust be done. My father is
utterly helpless, and likely to be so for the rest of his life ;
and I have a mother and five little sisters. What can I do
except obtain a situation, and earn what I can for their
support? I cannot look at my own wishes or interest in
this case.” —

‘‘But it is their interest as well as yours,” insisted the
doctor. ‘ You know very well, Bronson, that I am not in
the habit of complimenting my pupils; and you will there-
fore understand that I am in thorough earnest when I tell
you that I never met with another boy of your age, and .



UNCLE ETHAN. 27

have seen but few men, who could compete with you in
mathematics and engineering. Your talents in that line are
wonderful ; and it will be throwing away the greatest gift
which God has given you if you lay your studies aside.
Three years of steady application will fit you for some high
and lucrative position. If you could be spared from home
for that time, you would then be able to do more for your
family in six months than you could do as a clerk in a
mercantile house in years. You were never meant for a
business man, een but you will make one of the first
engineers of the age.”

Never had Laurence heard that measured voice quicken
into so much life and animation. It was no wonder that
his own eyes kindled, and his heart beat quick. But it was
of no use to listen to the doctor’s unusual enthusiasm. It
could not be: he must work, and work at once. Even if
those at home could be provided for in any other way,
where was the money to pay for his education? Uncle
Ethan’s heavy purse could easily bear the drain; but no
earthly power could compel him to ask a favour at his
hands,

“You are very kind to say so,” he answered slowly, after
a little pause ; ‘“‘ and I can never tell you what a trial it is to
me to give up all my hopes, and devote myself to an entirely
different life. But it must be, Dr Drayton; I can only take
things as they stand. And now I must say good-bye, for
I leave the omnibus here.”

“So do I; I want to stop at number seventy.”

‘“‘Laurence,”—they had reached the sidewalk, and
Laurence had shaken hands with him and was turning
away, when the doctor’s voice recalled him,— “if you find
that any arrangmement can be made, either with your uncle
or any one else, by which the family can be taken care of
without your aid, the question with regard to funds for your
own use need not embarrass you: your studies shall be no



28 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

expense to you. No, don’t say a word,” he added, lifting
his hands in deprecation of the thanks which he saw were
breaking from Laurence’s lips. “You can aid me in many
little ways in the school, if you prefer to do so; and
I should be so sorry to lose you, that the proposition is quite
a selfish one on my part. Tell your father all that I have
said before you decide on your future course, and then let me
know your final determination. I advise you most earnestly
to consider the matter with an eye to the future as well as
the present need. Good-morning ;” and before Laurence
had time for a single word in response, he was gone.

The errand to Mr Englis was soon accomplished ; and
then Laurence gladly turned his face toward home. The
long ride would have been tedious enough with nothing to
look at but “water, water everywhere,” if he had not had
so much to think of; but for some time his brain was
too busy with plans and contrivances for any loneliness or
ennut. Nothing could have done more to convince him of
the magnitude of the sacrifice which it seemed necessary for
him to make, than the fact that its announcement had so
roused this constrained, immovable man. If every profes-
sor and teacher in the school had thrown their influence into
the scale, urging him to continue his course, their combined
voices would not have affected him so much as those few
words from Dr Drayton, coupled with a demeanour so dif-
ferent from his usual manner. He had known him for go
long, and seen him maintain that cold indifference under
such a variety of circumstances, both in school and out of
it, that the feeling he had manifested had astonished him
beyond measure ; and had doubled and trebled his own pain
and disappointment.

Plan after plan, expedient after expedient, all equally
fruitless and impracticable, floated through his mind, and
were impatiently thrown out again; until at last, fairly
wearied out, he laid his head against the back of the seat,



UNCLE ETHAN, 29

and tried to forget his perplexity in sleep. That also
proved a futile attempt, and finally he gave it up, and
began to count the passengers in the car; then the drops”
of blackish water which dripped in through the roof, falling
on the seat before him, and forming a little dark pool on
the shabby cushion ; but by and by, with a shrill whistle of
defiance, the engine dashed up to the depot, and there he
was at Glencoe, with only a few rapid steps between him
and his mother. There was comfort in that thought at
least ; and with a lightened brow he jumped from the car,
and walked swiftly up the village street.

She was there to open the door for him as he ran up the
piazza steps, having seen him from the window.

“What a terrific day it has been,’ she said. “I am
afraid that you are worn out, my boy.”

“Oh no,” he answered, cheered already by the sight of
her dear face. “I shall do very well. How is father?”

‘He has been suffering very much all day, but now he has
fallen asleep. What did Uncle Ethan say ?”

It was not of the slightest use for him to try to answer
lightly, for she read his face as if it had been an open book,

‘‘Was he unkind, Laurence? Tell me all the truth. I
did not expect any great amount of sympathy from him.”

‘‘Nor did I, and I received even less than I expected. I
did not mean to tell you, mother; but since you have
guessed it, I need not try to hide it. Uncle Ethan’s only
concern seemed to be in the question of our support. If
father does as I would wish, he will not accept the first
penny from him. But 1 do not want to pain you, mother,”
he added, seeing the troubled look which came into her
face. “I did not mean to say one word about it, but it
slipped out. He is to be here to-morrow, and father will
do as he thinks best. But, mother dear, if we must have
help from Uncle Ethan, let it be as a loan ; don’t let him
give us anything.”



30 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

He spoke impetuously and earnestly; but his mother
only smiled; a sad, patient smile it was, and said quietly—

| seal pine have asked any one for aid than your
uncle; but we have no claim on any one else, and the trial
must ‘be borne. Let us try submissively to take up the
cross which our Master has seen it best for us to carry, re-
membering that He has promised the ‘kingdom of heaven’
to the ‘poor in spirit... We must try to bear our burden
humbly, Laurence, that so the promised blessing may be
given to us by our wise and tender Father. I know that
is hard, very hard for you. It will be a struggle for
all of us, but perhaps you will find the battle most difficult
to win; yet your Captain is ever in the advance, and surely
you need not fear defeat while fighting beneath His
banner.”

But Laurence’s proud heart could not submit patiently
just then.. The recollection of his uncle’s cold reception of
his sad story was still fresh upon him ; and his spirit
chafed at the thought of taking any favours from that
grudging hand. He would not, however, tell his mother all
he felt ; he could not add this to what she already bore;
and her long anxious day in the sick-room had left its traces
so plainly written on her face, that he felt that he must do
all he could to strengthen her. So he looked up at her,

trying to throw into his face something of its usual bright
expression, and said—

“Well, we’ll see how things turn out for us, mother,
Perhaps Uncle Ethan was in a gruff humour this morning ;
he may be very pleasant to-morrow. Now, will you see if
father is awake? Ifhe is, I will run up and speak to him
for a moment before I go back to the children.”

But Mr Bronson was still sleeping when his wife stole
up to his room and peeped in at the door; so Laurence
prepared to start at once on his homeward journey. The
horse which he had driven down in the morning was stand-



- UNCLE ETHAN, | ol

ing in the doctor’s stable, waiting for him ; and he was bid-
ding his mother good-bye, and receiving all kinds of loving
messages for the little girls, when Dr Wells’s voice stopped him.

‘Laurence Bronson, is that you out there in the hall?”
he called from the office.

“Yes sir, it is 1;” and the boy stepped toward the office
door, but the doctor met him half way. |

“Just go back, and take off your overcoat. Do you
mean to say that you have come up from the city, and are
starting off for that long ride home without taking any-
thing to eat? Come into the dining-room, and have your
dinner with me. I was not home at dinner time, and they
are bringing something up for me now.”

“ But I cannot wait, doctor. The girls have been alone
all day, and they must be very anxious to hear from father
again,”

“They heard from him this morning, and at noon also:
Stevens came over to ask how he was. But if they had not
heard since daybreak, you should not go out in this storm
without your dinner. How many meals have you eaten
to-day? Nothing since breakfast, unless I am greatly mis-
taken.”

‘‘T have not felt hungry, sir; and indeed, I think that I
had better return home at once.”

The doctor wasted no more words, but, taking him by
the shoulders, turned him face about, marched him before
him into the dining-room, and seated him at the table, be-
fore he released his grasp. Laurence had not felt in the
least hungry ; but the hot dishes looked very tempting, and
_ In fact, his dinner did him good. When he rose from the
table, though the storm was beating as pitilessly as ever, he
had more courage and strength to meet it; and the world
in general appeared far less black and hard than it had done
when he had looked out at it two hours before.

“Did you meet any one you knew in the city, to-day ?”



32 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

asked the doctor, as Laurence once more buttoned his over.
coat and muffled his throat, preparatory to starting on his
wet drive. |

“Only Dr Drayton, sir. It was not a very good day for
meeting friends out of doors.” |

‘No, not very. What had the doctor to say?”

“More than I know how to thank him for,” replied Laur-
ence, quickly. “Of course you will let the story travel no
farther, doctor ; but Dr Drayton has offered me the rest of
my course free of charge. I cannot accept his offer, but that
makes it none the less noble.”

‘“And why can you not accept it? It is not possible,
Laurence, that you will throw away such an opportunity.
You surely are not so proud that you will not take the good
gift which God offers you?”

“No, sir, indeed I am not. But, Dr Wells, if I return to
my studies who will take care of my family ?”

The doctor could scarcely help smiling, but his companion
looked most seriously in earnest.

“Your Uncle Ethan must do that,” he answered: “he is
perfectly able.” |

“Never,” said Laurence, quickly; but the next moment
he checked himself. ‘I beg your pardon: I should not
have said that. It must all be left until I can talk with
father. Now I must go home to the children.”

“Well, well, don’t fret about Uncle Ethan, or anything
else ; for it will all work out right in time. Only Laurence,
my boy,” and the old man laid his hand gently on the boy’s
shoulder, ‘don't let angry pride blind your eyes to the bless-
ings with which God would lighten a dark path. I would
think deeply and prayerfully over your friend’s kind offer
before refusing it. Present submission to what seems an
almost insupportable cross, may bring you to see by and by
that ‘all things work together for good to them that love
God.’ ?



THE DECISION, oo

“We certainly have one true friend, at ary rate,” said
Laurence, clasping the old wrinkled hand. ‘You have
done me real good, doctor. I feel ever so much better than
when I came in.” |

“That is well. There is your mother’s step on the stairs
again ; and as I suppose she has some last messages for you,
I will let you go.” |

But he remembered after the boy had left him, in think-.
ang over his answer to his appeal, that he had in truth given
no answer at all.

CHAPTER IV.
THE DECISION.

THE Christmas holidays were over, the day had come for a>
return to school, and Laurence Bronson stood in the door-
way of the little cottage to which the family had removed,
ready for his drive to Drayton Hall. The hard fight had
been fought, the victory won; and he was starting out upon
his new life as half scholar, half teacher in the school in
which hitherto he had ranked with the foremost. He knew
full well what lay before him. He had seen enough of the
life of one who had for the past two years filled that same
position at the Hall, to know that vexations and annoyances
awaited him at every turn; but these seemed but secondary
considerations, as he looked back to the struggle through
which he had passed before he had been able to accept his
uncle’s assistance. If there had been one voice to encourage
him, he would have refused Dr Drayton’s offer, for he re-
belled, heart and soul, against receiving at his uncle’s hand
a single dollar which his own labour might earn; but als
| G



34 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

though the final decision was left to himself, every one
steadily counselled his return to school. Dr Drayton was
almost peremptory ; Dr Wells had something to add to
his persuasion every time he saw him; and his father and
mother, although they said but little, were plainly on the same
side. Finally, as a forlorn hope, he went over to Mill Creek,
a little village adjoining Glencoe, to see Frank Austin, his
schoolfellow and most intimate friend, to ask his advice.

‘* Austin,” he said, as they sat together over an impromptu
lunch, ‘‘ tell me honestly what you would do in this case,”
_and he proceeded to give him his story.

“Well,” exclaimed Frank, ‘‘ our old Professor is a jolly
fellow after all, if he is pretty stiff sometimes, Well set him
up two or three pegs higher for that, Larry.” 7

“'That’s so, Frank; but now comes the question, what
am Il todo? You know my uncle almost as well as I do.
Put yourself in my place, and decide for me. Honestly now,
Austin.” :

Frank Austin rose from his seat and took two or three
turns up and down the room with his hands thrust into his.
pockets, and his head bent forward as if he were very deep
in thought over this hard problem. By and by he stopped
beside Laurence, and, leaning on his chair, said—

‘Bronson, I know you won’t want to hear what I have
to say ; but you’ve put me on my honour, old fellow, and—
I think you ought to go back.”

So Laurence came home ; and shutting himself into his
-eoom, he fought the battle which every soul must fight in
the course of its Christian warfare. His proud spirit had
refused to bear the yoke with which the Master’s wise hand
saw best to curb it ; and now the conflict was hard and long.
_ But he was thoroughly in earnest; and little by little the
- strong will yielded to the still, small voice, which had been
striving with it ever since that weary day which followed
‘his father’s accident ; until at last he left his room, and with



THE DECISION. 35

a firm step went to find his uncle, who was then in the
house. ;
“Uncle Ethan,” he said, walking directly up to him, and
taking his stand before him, “I think that I have been in
the wrong, and I have concluded to go back to school. If
you will consent to take care of the family in the meantime,
I promise to spare no study and no pains to fit myself as
speedily as possible to relieve you of the charge; and I
pledge myself also to return to you, at as early a day as
may be, all that you find it necessary to advance to my
father,” -

Mr Ethan Bronson looked up with a grim smile into the -
glowing young face, |

‘‘Humph !” he said, dryly. ‘You have come down from
your high pedestal, have you? I am glad to hear it; for
Drayton tells me that, if you live, you are sure to make a
splendia engineer, and that the investment will certainly
pay. lam glad that you bind yourself to return the funds
which I must advance ; it will give you a sense of responsi-
bility, which will be an additional spur to study.”

Laurence had not expected anything better than this
cold, mean response to his acknowledgment of his error ;
and yet his cheeks fairly tingled with anger and mortification.
He was almost tempted to recall his words ; and he stood,
for an instant, irresolute, his eyes flashing and his lips |
trembling with the feelings which were burning within him.
But the next moment he had conquered himself again, and,
turning abruptly away, he left the room.

The dear old home had been sold, with its familiar furni-
ture, excepting a few articles which had been given to Mrs
Bronson by her mother. The purchaser had wished to have
immediate possession; but, fortunately, Mr Bronson had
arranged to take a little cottage in the village of Glencoe,
as part of the purchase money, and so they were not left
houseless and homeless in this great emergency. Happily,



36 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

too, their new abode was but a stone’s throw from Dr Wells’s
house.

Laurence was greatly disappointed in his hope of being
able to see his father and mother settled in their new home
before he left, the doctor having peremptorily refused to
allow his patient to be removed, even that short distance,
nt least, for some days to come; but Janet, the nurse, who
had lived in the family for the last: five years, and who had -
been retained as the one servant when the others were dis-
missed, was fully competent for the care of the five little
girls, especially with their mother so close at hand, and the
doctor dropping in for a moment, two or three times a day,
for a merry word or two with his young friends.

What a busy, strange time it had been to Laurence, these
two weeks, in which, as it seemed, the whole current of his
life had been changed! He had come from school, a care-
less, happy boy ; fond of study, but equally fond of play
and fun: he was returning to it, almost a man, and a grave,
anxious man at that. He was bearing his first heavy cross ;
and he had yet to learn that only they who, with childlike
trust, lay their burthen in the strong Hand which is stretched
out for their help, find the true joy of dependence upon the
Master. Well might He, who knew what joy He could pour
into a humble heart, which, doubting its own strength,
comes to Him for help, liken that joy to the kingdom of
heaven.

Frank Austin, standing at the foot of the steps waiting
for him, having stopped, according to a previous arrange-
ment, to take him up to school in his sleigh, noticed the
change in him at once; and when, having waved his last
g00d-bye to the group on the piazza, Laurence turned his
face toward him, he broke out in abrupt, school-boy fashion—

“Don’t try to get up any of those smiles for my benefit,
Bronson. Why, what is the matter with you? ‘You look
tfty years old.”



THE DECISION. 37

“ Hardly that yet, Frank,” said Laurence, smiling in ear-
nest now, at his friend’s startled manner.

“But you look blue,” said Frank, ‘‘ Your mother says
your father is better. Is anything else wrong?”

The question gave Laurence a feeling of shame. Surely
he had no right to look “ blue,” when the doctor had assured
him that his father’s life was no longer in danger ; and the
colour mounted to his cheeks, as he answered—

‘No, Frank, nothing but what you already know of. But
never mind all that. Let us talk of something else. Do
you know that Dr Drayton means to give us more liberty ?
He says that those of us whose parents or friends choose to
send for us, may spend Saturday at home.”

That piece of information changed the course of the con-
versation at once; and it ran upon school, schoolfellows,
and holidays, until they had nearly reached the Hall, when
Frank suddenly broke out with— .

‘Look here, Larry!” and stopped as abruptly as he had
commenced. |

“Well, what am I to look at ?” asked Laurence, in surprise.

“T don’t exactly know how to begin what I wanted to
say,” Frank went on, after a moment’s pause, “ for I’m not
much used to preaching, as you know; but the fact is,
Larry, I don’t quite understand you fellows—you Christians,
Imean. You profess to believe that God is your Father,
and that He is able and ready to carry you through any sort
of trouble, and that everything will come out all right for
you, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Laurence, slowly and thoughtfully.

“Well, then, what bothers me is, that you should let
things worry you, just as other people, who don’t look to
anybody stronger than themselves for help, let troubles
worry them. That’s a queer sort of sermon for me to
preach, isn’t it?” he added, with a somewhat embarrassed
laugh ; “but it was in my mind, so I just spoke it out,”



38 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

It was a curious sermon for him to preach, but the most
talented sermoniser could not have done better. Sharp,
concise, and to the point, it went right home to Laurence’s
heart.

‘Tam ashamed of myself, Frank,” he said, as they sprang
from the sleigh at the Hall gates. “I have thought too
much of myself, and too little of my Master. But—Frank
Austin ”’—

“Well?” said Austin, turning toward him.

‘Why are you not a Chain ? You ought to be.”

“T know that, but there’s something wanting: I don’t know
what. Come along ; there’s a lot of the boys coming down to
meet us ;” and, slipping his arm through Laurence’s, he drew
him on up the hill on whose summit Drayton Hall stood
sentinel over the surrounding country.

The Hall was an old institution, and had been governed
by Draytons—father, son, and grandson—until now it
seemed as if the right of succession to the office of in-
structor to the young minds of the rising generation, was
vested in that family, beyond all dispute. For sixty years
the Hall had overlooked the village from its high point of
observation. Notthat it had from the beginning boasted the
lofty title of “‘ Drayton Hall.” There were some white heads
in the little village of Graydon that could remember the day
when the time-honoured institution went by the simple
name of ‘ Master Drayton’s school-house ;” when, a rough
_ building of unhewn logs, its one apartment had answered all
the needs of its twenty or thirty inmates. But, year by
year, the scholars had increased in numbers; the oscapa:
for it was no more, had been replaced by a small brick
building, capable of accommodating some five or six boarders,
boys from the surrounding villages, whom the fame of Master
Drayton’s success as a teacher, had drawn from the schools
of their own districts, |

Mr Drayton, the second, on his accession to office, as his



THE DECISION. 39

father’s successor, had torn down the brick edifice, to make
room for one much larger and more commodious ; and this
had, in its turn, been enlarged by Dr Drayton, the present
incumbent, until 1t now presented quite an imposing front,
and was capable of accommodating some three hundred
scholars, |

‘“‘ Here are Austin and Bronson,” shouted a stentorian
voice, as the boys entered the gates; and the cry was re-
echoed with welcomes and huzzas, which told very plainly
that the two friends were favourites among their comrades.
A troop of boys came rushing down the hill to meet them,
foremost of all, Will Seaton, the owner of the voice which
had rung out so gladly the news of the arrival; the rough-
est, loudest, rudest boy in the school, and yet the boy whom
every one liked, whom every one trusted, whom every one
really loved,—an honest, true heart, untutored and un-
governed, but faithful unto death, if need were.

Dashing down upon Frank and Laurence, he thrust him-
self between them; and, seizing each by the arm, exclaimed—

‘Hurry up, you slow coaches. You need a tug to tow
you up the hill;” and forthwith he began to puff and pant
aiter the manner of a small steam-tug, enlivening the per-
formance with an occasional shrill scream, in such exact
imitation of those apparently unhappy and exhausted craft,
that his captives fairly shouted with laughter.

“There, let go now, Seaton, till we speak to the rest of
the fellows,” said Austin, as the other boys gathered
round them, attempting to release them from Seaton’s
grasp.

But his captor had no such idea. He tightened his grip
at once, and still steamed on as remorselessly as an actual
tug, apparently unmoved by the fact that the two boys,
_ entering into the frolic, neither resisted nor aided him, but
simply allowed themselves to be towed on, letting their
whole weight fall upon his arms. But Seaton was not to



40 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

be overcome: on he puffed and panted, until at last, reach.
ing the top of the hill, he suddenly released his hold, ex-
pecting to see his two prizes slip as suddenly backward.
They knew him too well for that, however, and were quite
prepared for his quick movement. The useless limbs, which
had dragged so helplessly over the snow, were instantly
endued with strength ; and the two boys, after a retrograde
step or two, stood triumphantly beside their propeller.

‘There ’s nothing like letting a fellow have his own way,
Will,” said Frank, as Seaton, feigning utter exhaustion,
threw himself back upon the snow. ‘Would you like to
try it over again ?” ,

“Not this term, thank you,” said Seaton; “I had no
idea that you were so heavy. I thought your bodies.
matched your heads.”

Laurence made a grasp at him, but he was too quick to
be caught ; and springing nimbly aside, he burst into a roar
of laughter, in which none joined more merrily than the two
victims of his jokes.

‘There was no time for any serious thought during the
remainder of the afternoon, for the boys all seemed deter-
mined to make the most of the little time which intervened
between their reunion and the sound of the five o’clock study-
bell which would call them in to resume the labours which
had been laid aside for a full fortnight. But even in the
midst of all the fun and frolic which were going on around
_ him, and in which he joined very heartily, the remembrance
of Frank’s little sermon would thrust itself in upon Laur-
ence’s mind now and then; and when bedtime came, and
the long dormitory was silent except for the heavy breath-
ing of the many sleepers, that same troublesome sermon
kept him wakeful and uneasy.

Had Frank spoken truly? He knew that he had, yet he
could: not bear to admit to himself that he had so dis-
honoured his Master; that professing to love and trust Him



THE DECISION. 41

completely, he had yet shown himself so wanting in submis-
sion and faith, that his dearest friend could see no difference
between his conduct and that of those who, to use Frank’s
own words, “ don’t look to any one stronger than themselves
for help.” And there lay all the difficulty. He had not
looked up to Him who is so ready with strength wherewith
to uphold His children, Determining in the pride of his
spirit to force his way through all the difficulties which
surrounded him, he had forgotten that we not only can but
must “do all things through Christ which strengtheneth”
us ; and he had begun this new and trying life, asking per-
haps in his morning and evening prayers for help, yet utterly
failing to lay his burden upon Him who was so able and
willing to bear it. And so he had found no peace and rest
even in giving up his own will to the advice of his father
and mother ; for that too had been done as a necessity, not
because it was his heavenly Father’s will.

As he lay there, thinking it all over, there came to him
the memory of his mother’s words on the day of his visit to
his uncle. “We must try to bear our burden humbly, that
so the promised blessing may be given to us.” How far
from humble and lowly had been his bearing of his heavy
cross ; no wonder that he had failed of the promised comfort
and blessing. The soft light which shone in his mother’s
eyes as she bade him good-bye, the gentle, restful face which
had watched him from the window, told him that the pro-
mised peace from Heaven had come to her,

By and by he rose quietly from the side of his companion,
and knelt down by the bed. For a long, long while he
knelt there, his face hidden in the bedclothes, forgetting the
cold, forgetting his weariness, forgetting all save that he had
by his own pride and folly dishonoured his Lord, and
brought a heavy weight of pain and anxious care on his
own heart. But even then and there the blessing came to
him. He had only to whisper his repentance and his gor.



42 AURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

row, and the mighty God “bowed the heavens and caine
down” to dwell with a contrite and humble spirit.

“Who is that?” asked the usher, who was sleeping in
the dormitory, waking suddenly as Laurence threw himself
_ upon the bed again.

“Tt is I Mr Upton,’ he answered. “I am sorry I
aroused you.” |

“ Are youill? What make you toss about so?”

‘¢T shall not toss any more,” said Laurence, with a smile
which the oe hid from his questioner ; “I shall go to
sleep now.’

‘¢T am done with boners and fretting,” he said to himself,
as he laid his head upon the pillow, “ thank God for that !”
And in a few moments he was sleeping quietly beside Frank,
who had lain all this while close to him, but perfectly igno-
rant of the good which his few wondering words had done
his friend.

“ Phew, this is as cold as Greenland!” exclaimed Cuthbert
Grey, as he hurried on his clothes the next morning, shiver-
ing and shaking in the cold atmosphere of the dormitory.

“You have to make something of a jump from your cosy
room at home into this cold barn; don’t you, Bertie? But
never mind: we’ll have time for a coast down hill before
breakfast, and that will warm us up.”

Frank Austin looked round to see whether his ears had
deceived him ; but the bright face he saw matched the plea-
sant voice which had spoken to the petted, spoiled boy,
whose life at home in the holidays always seemed to unfit
him for the sterner routine of school.

“Holloa, old chum, it seems to me you are waked up
since last night. That sounds like old times. What has
come to you?”

_ “Tt was your voice that waked me,” said Laurence, draw-

~ . ing closer to him, and speaking in a low voice, “and you

don’t know how much I thank you.”



THE DECISION. 43

“Thank you for nothiag, I should say,” said Austin, in
the same tone. “ But at anyrate, I am glad the shadow
has gone off your face.”

“‘T have lost one shadow in finding another, the shadow
of a great Rock,” said Laurence, with a smile. ‘ Frank, I
only wish that you knew what it is to sit down under this
shadow with great delight.”

“ Look here, you fellows, what mischief are you brewing
over there?” broke in Will Seaton’s voice. “They ’re
planning some sort of a dodge, boys, I’ll be bound. What
now, Larry ?”

“ Nothing in the dodge line, Will. Are you all ready ?
Come, Bertie, we ‘ll warm you up into a fine glow before
breakfast time ;” and the boys all sallied out together into
the clear frosty air of the winter’s morning.

It was a glorious day for a snow frolic, whether it were
coasting, snow-balling, or fort-building ; into all of which the
boys threw themselves with the energy and enjoyment with
which such a sparkling morning always inspires a healthful,
active, frame. Even Cuthbert, poor, shivering, little mortal,
fresh fromthe home in which an over-careful love shielded him
from every cold breath of wind, glowed with the active work
at which Laurence set him ; and shouted with the loudest,
as he toiled up the steep ascent with his sled, or packed a
hard snowball with which to return some of the heavy mis-
siles which were flying hither and thither in such quick
succession that no one escaped the crystal shower.

The fun was at its height when the breakfast-bell rang out
its summons ; and there were none who resisted that call
after their morning’s hungry work. Then followed an hour
for study; and after that, another clang, clang, clang, this
time from the deep-toned bell in the western turret, called
all the young fort-builders and coasters into the long school-
rooms for the serious, earnest work of the day. And
serious work study was at Drayton Hall. Not that the boys’



44 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

brains were strained beyond their power,—Dr Drayton was
far too wise a teacher for that, and play and work were
well balanced in the old Hall; but school was school, and
study was study in his eyes, and woe to the boy who
dared to look at it in any other light. Even Will Seaton,
wild, ungovernable spirit as he was, sat quietly conning, or
pretending to con, his books when the doctor’s-tall form
stood in the master’s desk, or when he marched through the
schoolroom, seeming to pierce through every face, and to
read the very thoughts of one’s heart with that eagle eye of
his.

There was perhaps not one of those young hearts which
loved the man, and yet there was not one which did not
trust him, not indeed with their joys and sorrows,—of
these they never spoke to the head master; but they knew
him to be strictly just and true, and even though they
might rebel against what they considered a severe sentence,
no Drayton boy had ever had occasion to charge the doctor
with partiality or unfair dealing. |

CHAPTER V.
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY,

It was no easy matter for a boy like Laurence Bronson
to take up in all its details the new position which he
had assumed. Many of his companions, with ready sym-
pathy for his trial, did all that they could to render his post
as little disagreeable as possible ; but some of the smaller
boys, over whom he had been placed as assistant teacher,
rebelled against his authority, took advantage of his youth
and inexperience, and led on by two or three of the older



PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. ® 45

scholars who disliked Laurence, vented their displeasure
when he was forced to give them less than their full quota
of marks, by taunting him with “earning his schooling,” as
they termed it. But with all these difficulties Laurence
battled bravely ; and although he often left the class-room
with flushed face and aching head, he went steadily on in
his work, striving to throw his whole burden upon Him »
who was able to bear it. He had had enough of fighting the
battle in his own strength; his proud self reliance had
been rebuked ; and he was astonished at himself when he
found how easily he could bear the annoyances of his lot,
now that he had taken hold upon a higher power.

There was one boy in his own class who seemed con-
stantly on the watch for opportunities to vex and mortify
him, Albert Semmons had never liked Laurence Bronson ;
for more than once the latter had found him out in acts of
meanness and roguery which he had supposed too well con-
ceived and carried out to be detected by any one, but which
proved unable to stand the test of Laurence’s straight-
forward and clear-sighted manner of looking into things.
It had so happened that they had come into collision quite
often, both in the schoolroom and on the playground, for
Laurence never would overlook any underhand or treacherous
dealing, even in a game; and his scathing scorn had so
often fallen upon Albert’s devoted head, that the boy both
hated and feared him. Now he seemed to think that the
hour of his vengeance had come; and every petty annoy-
ance and slight which he could invent was used to its ut-
most capacity for Bronson’s discomfiture. As he was far
from being a dull or stupid boy, his fertile imagination was
at no loss for material for his work ; and many an arrow shot
trom his bow struck deep down into the wound which was so
often touched that it had no chance to heal. For in determin-
ing to throw aside all self-trust and confidence, Laurence
had by no means conquered entirely his natural pride,— it



AG LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

was only in abeyance ; and although it was held down and
kept under by his resolute will, it lay like a chained lion,
ready to seize upon the first opportunity for a spring.

But as week after week passed on, the quiet force of
Laurence’s firmness and determination made itself felt in
his classes. There was less and less of insubordination and
» disorder as the little fellows began to learn that resistance
was useless, and to find out also that, however decided and |
inexorable their young teacher might show himself as to the
obedience which they owed him in the class-room, in play-
hours he was quite as decided in his resolve that they
should not be tyrannised over by the older and stronger boys.
And so by and by this source of trouble almost ceased to
yield him any vexation ; for as his scholars learned to look
up to him as their champion, they also began to discover
that those who incited them to rebellion against his authe-
rity were the very ones who, when opportunity offered,
were the most ready to abuse and victimise them.

With the older classes the case was different; and as
time went on, he felt a greater and greater shrinking from
the performance of any duty which brought him in con-
tact, In any position of authority, with those nearer his own
age. |
_ “ Bronson,” said Dr Drayton, meeting him in the Hall
one morning as he was on his way to a recitation, “ you
will have to take Mr Upton’s place at your table to-day,
He is unwell, and cannot come down.”

He was passing on, without waiting for any reply, when
Laurence’s voice checked him. |

“Dr Drayton, would you object to my asking one of the
older teachers to change places with me? I think our fel-
lows would like it better,” he said, colouring deeply as he
spoke.

“T should decidedly object,” said the doctor, somewhat
curtly. ‘I am perfectly aware, Bronson, that some of the



PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. & 47

young gentlemen do not see fit to acknowledge those whom
I choose to set over them; but as I consider myself quali-
fied to select my assistants, [intend to show all malcontents
that their resistance is quite useless. You will please to.
report all cases of insubordination.”

Off went the doctor, leaving Laurence no chance for a
reply, and the dinner-bell would ring fifteen minutes after ,
the close of the lesson. There was no remedy; and so, with
his heart sinking within him, he joined his class.

“What’s up now, Larry?” asked Frank Austin, as Laur-
ence took a vacant seat beside him: “more trouble with
those youngsters 4”

“No, but I’m ina royal fix, I can tell you. The doc-
tor”

‘“‘Silence, young gentlemen! The hour has already
struck.”

So the story was deferred while the lesson went on; and
Laurence construed Greek verbs with his lips, but all the
while was sitting at the head of the long dining-table, the
butt of all the jokes of over forty laughing schoolfellows,
some of them good-natured jokes, perhaps, but others sharp
and cutting as malice and ill-feeling could make them.

“Well, Larry, let’s have it,” said Austin, as soon as they
were released.

“Mr Upton is unwell, and the doctor has ordered me to
take his seat at the table.”

“Phew!” The whistle was prolonged until Frank nearly
choked for breath. Then he said laconically, ‘“ That’s
bad.”

“Tsn’t it? Some of the fellows are cross enough already,
and I don’t know that I can blame them if they do cut up
when they see me at the head of the table. I’d rather the
doctor would have given me a hundred lines.” |

“T’ll settle it,” said Frank. “Some of them will be
madder than hornets, I suppose, but the rest of us will put





483@ — LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

you through. You just stay where you are a few mo-
- ments.” |

The boys had all gone out upon the hill for the fifteen
minutes’ recess which preceded dinner; and Frank rushed
out to join them, swinging his cap into the air with a loud
hurrah. } |

“Come on, Austin: we want you,” shouted two or three
voices in concert. ‘‘ Let’s have a game of ball.”

“Wait a moment,” said Frank. “I’ve something to tell
you. Bronson is as mad as canbe. What do you think the
Professor’s been up to?”

“T don't know”—“ Hurry up”—“ Let’s have it”—were
some of the responses from an eager crowd of listeners ; and
Austin, finding their curiosity quite sufficiently excited, told
his story.

“Upton is unwell, and the doctor has ordered Larry to
take his seat. He hates to do it, and I don’t wonder. I
would not be in his place for a kingdom. We'll have to
stand by him, boys, and help him through by behaving de-
cently.”

“Why couldn’t some one else come to our table?” asked
a voice in the crowd, in a somewhat surly tone.

‘The doctor wouldn’t allow it. Larry asked him to make
some other arrangement; but we all know that when he’s
made up his mind to a thing, hell walk through fire and
water but he ‘Il carry it out, and he wouldn’t listen to Bron-
son.” |

There was much laughing, many jokes, and some sulky
remarks passing through the crowd as the boys stood about,
waiting for the dinner-bell.. Austin looked on for a moment
or two ; then, calling a few of his own and Laurence’s friends
about him, he prevailed on the little group to pledge them-
selves to sustain Bronson in his disagreeable position.

More than one pair of eyes were turned even from the
other tables toward that of the senior class, where the young



PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY, 49

teacher stood at the head, erect and firm, but rather paler
than usual, waiting for the entrance of his class. Austin’s

clique led the way. They took their seats quietly, with a —
slight bow to the Master, as was customary, one or two of
them congratulating him half-laughingly on his promotion ;
then came Will Seaton. He walked straight up to the head
of the table, bowed until his forehead almost touched the
carpet ; and, raising himself, said with mock deference—

‘* Please, sir, shall I wait behind your chair ?”

‘No, I had rather have you under my eye,” said Laur-
ence, good-humouredly returning his deep inclination.
‘You may take your usual seat, if you please.”

But far different from teasing but good-natured Will
Seaton’s entry was that of Albert Semmons. Without a
glance at Bronson, he walked to his seat ; and looking care-
lessly around, said—

“‘ Are we to have no teacher at our table?”

“Mr Upton is unwell,” replied Laurence, quietly, “and
I am to fill his place for the day. Will you please to take
your seats ?”

Two or three boys who had come in with Semmons, and
had agreed with him in his plan of resistance, sat down ;
they were not quite prepared for Laurence’s air of command.
But Semmons stood his ground.

““T believe it is against the rules for us to take our seats
before the Master appears,” he answered, with a sneer,

“T fill that post, Mr Semmons, for the present,” replied
Laurence, with such an evident effort at self-restraint that
even Semmons’s promised supporters went over in heart to
the enemy at once. “As I have been ordered to report all
cases of insubordination, it will perhaps be for your own
interest to take your place as usual.”

Manifestly it would be so; for that Laurence was fully
determined to maintain his delegated authority, disagree-
able as it was to himself, no one who looked into his

D



50 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

face could doubt. But Semmons had no idea of owning
his defeat.

“Well, if no one is coming, I suppose we need not let
our dinner grow cold, waiting,” he said, throwing himself
into his chair. »

No notice was taken of these words, and the flow of talk
went on much as usual; until suddenly Bronson, who was
answering some banter of Will penton 8, Was interrupted by
Albert Semmons.

“ By the way, Bronson, I should think that might do for
you,” he said, with a disagreeable laugh.

‘What is that 1” asked Laurence, who had not heard the
conversation going on at the lower end of the table.

‘“‘T was saying that my uncle, who is an architect, wants
something new in the way of plans for bridges, gateways,
é&c, ; you are a pretty fair draughtsman, I believe, and you
seem so anxious to make a penny when a chance comes in
your path, that I thought, maybe, you would like to earn
your bread in that way.” ,

A low murmur ran round the table; but it was hushed
in the next moment by Laurence’s voice.

“T should think it might be quite a pleasant way of
-making money,” he said, very coolly. “TI will think of it,”

Semmons’s eye fell before his steady gaze: if it had not,
he might have seen that Laurence was less calm than he
seemed. His lips were far. more firmly compressed than
was consistent with an easy frame of temper; and his eyes
were lit with a flame which told that a fire of indignant
feeling was burning within him. But Semmons did not
see all this; and, totally ignorant of the depth to which his
words had cut into that proud young heart, felt himself
foiled, and tried to hide his confusion by turning to his
neighbour with another sneering allusion to Bronson. But
he received only a rough reply ; for even his own clique of
_ friends were delighted with Laurence’s cool response to his



PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. . 51

insolence, and were somewhat ashamed to appear on his
side. Glad enough he was when the head-master gave the
signal to rise, and he could escape from the table, and the
smiles and jokes which were passing around it at his expense.

‘Well, Larry,” said Frank Austin, slipping his hand
through his friend’s arm, as they left the dining-room,
“how soon do you expect to commence operations as
draughtsman for the house of Semmons & Driggs?” and
he looked into Laurence’s face with a roguish twinkle in his
eyes, .

“T don’t know. Perhaps as soon as I have proved my
ability to satisfy their wants.”

Austin faced round upon him with such a look of utter
bewilderment that Laurence laughed outright.

‘You don’t mean to say,” exclaimed Austin, “that you
intend to do anything toward accepting that impudent
offer of Semmons. Why, Bronson, what are you made
of 9”

‘Of something which fights ike a Trojan against all such
work, and especially against taking it from Semmons or any
one belonging to him. But, Frank,” and he threw his arm
sareaunel: over Austin’s shoulder, “it was whispered in my
ear the other day that all this fighting was wrong; that l
was doing battle in my own strength, and in my own way,
when I was at the same time professing to follow my chosen
Captain. I have determined to do so no longer, but to fol-
low His guidance, and leave the end in His hands; and it
seems to me that He has opened this way for me. It may
result in nothing, for I do not know how such things pay,
but ”—he hesitated for a moment; then went on, speaking
rapidly, but resolutely —

“Tf I have manhood and courage enough to win this
battle against myself, I shall write to Mr Semmons.”

When 2” asked Austin.

“To-morrow. TI don’t want to decide too quickly; bat



&

52 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

when once my mind is made up, the sooner it is done the
better.”

‘Do you know how to direct a letter to him?”

“No, I shall have to ask Albert.”

“You needn’t do that, Larry. I’ll see to it for you.
You can write confidentially to Mr Semmons, and Albert
need know nothing about it.”

Laurence laughed. “ And so escape a little dieting eh?”
he said. ‘ No, no, Austin, that wouldn’t do. If I do it at
all, I shall be open and aNove bean about it. You shouldn’t
be the one to discourage me, old fellow, when it was your
own words which set me thinking what an addle-brained
stupid I had been, to worry and vex myself so about things
that were beyond my control. I have determined now to
leave all in God’s hands, and to walk right on in the path
where He seems to lead. If I know His hand, it is point-
ing out this way of aiding my father; and I think I shall
use it. IfI do, I shall speak to Semmons first. I can’t do
any underhand work, Frank ; and you wouldn't be the one ©
to advise it if you thought a minute, would you?”

‘ Perhaps not,” said Austin, slowly. ‘I can’t tell what
to say about the matter, for never thought of such a thing
as your accepting any such task. When will you find time
for it?”

‘In play-hours. Drawing is no labour for me, I enjoy
it so much. It will be as good recreation as anything else.”

“Then all the school will find it out, and you would so
hate that.” |

“T must learn not to hate it,” returned Laurence. “Come,
~ come, Frank, it won't do for you to spoil your own work in
this fashion.”

“T don’t know why you will persist in calling this my
work,” replied Frank, in a somewhat vexed tone: “I had
nothing to do with it.” |

“ Nothing except to show me the folly of leaning on per-



VICTORY. 53

fect weakness when perfect strength was offered me. That
was all you did, Austin ; but wasn’t that something ?”

Austin made no answer. He sauntered slowly along by
Laurence’s side for a few moments, then, turning away with
an abrupt ‘“‘I want to find Seaton,” left his friend to his
meditations.

But if Laurence had followed him, he would have.found
that he did not seek Seaton’s company. On the contrary,
he betook himself to the empty schoolroom, where he wan-
dered up and down in no apparently easy frame of mind, if
his impatient kicking aside of every scrap of paper or other
bit of rubbish in his path, and the contraction of his usually
smooth forehead, were any indication of his mood..

CHAPTER VI

VICTORY.

Durina the next two days but little was seen either of
Laurence Bronson or Frank Austin, outside of the school-
room. Every spare moment was occupied by Laurence in
drawing small models for the inspection of Messrs Semmons
& Driggs ; and as to Austin, he seemed to prefer wandering
off by himself in solitary places to taking part in the general
round of games and frolics. Once in a while, however, he
would join his comrades, and then he was the wildest and
the loudest of them all. The boys wondered at his alter-
nate fits of moodiness and gaiety; and even Laurence,
absorbed as he was in his new occupation, noticed a restless-
ness of manner and a sort of instability which was strangely
different from Frank’s ordinary demeanour. But when he
spoke of it, Austin laughed it off, and would give him no
reason for the change which every one noticed.



54 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

Since the day of Albert Semmons’s proposition, Laurence
had been steadily busying himself in his preparations for its
acceptance ; but he had not yet obtained from Semmonis his
uncle’s address. The asking for it seemed now the hardest
part of his self-imposed task, and he had put it off from time
to time on one excuse or another, until finally the day came,
when—his models drawn and the letter itself written—he
had no further pretext for delay. Then came the struggle,
and it was both hard and long; but the proud spirit, once
so unbroken, had been humbled before, and again the hard-
fought battle was won. He had been writing his letter in
one of the study halls; and, having finished it, and growing
restless and uneasy with the thought of the disagreeable task
which lay before him, was walking slowly up and down
through the long room, when from the window he saw Sem-
mons leaning against a tree on the lawn, talking with Will
Seaton. | |

‘There ’s a good chance, and I won’t lose it this time,” he
said ; and without giving himself an opportunity for second
. thought, he sprang out of the window upon the hard, crisp
snow. The two boys had not noticed him, and as he
reached the ground, they turned from the house and walked
quite briskly down the hill, keeping for a few moments in
company; but before Laurence reached them, some new
object had caught the attention of volatile Will, and, with a
whoop, he had rushed off in an opposite direction from that
which they had at first taken, while Semmons walked on to-
ward a group of boys who had gathered at the foot of the
hill.

At the sound of a quick, brisk footstep crackling the snow
behind him, Semmons turned his head ; but seeing that the
new comer was Laurence, to whom he had not spoken since
the day of the difficulty at the dinner-table, he resumed his
walk, without waiting for him to come up with him. But
Bronson’s voice checked him again.



VICTORY. 55

“Hallo, Semmons, wait a minute. You’re the very
fellow I’m looking for.”

“What now?” asked Albert, ungraciously enough to
have deterred any one less bent on his purpose.

“‘T want to ask you for your uncle’s address.”

‘You don’t mean to say,” said Semmons, drawing back,
and looking at his companion with the most unmistakable
amazement written on every feature of his face,—‘“ you
don’t mean to say that you have been attempting those
designs ?”

‘| have attempted them,” said Laurence, smiling; “and
now I would like to know where I am to send them.”

“And is it possible that you expect your drawings to suit
my uncle?” asked Semmons, with the faintest imaginable
sneer in his tone.

“T hope they will answer, of course, else I should not
have spent my time on them. As for my expectations, I
can scarcely answer that question, having very little idea of
what Mr Semmons requires. They will at least give him a
specimen of my work. Will you tell me how to direct my
letter 1”

“71 Romer Street. But I’d no idea of your having the
face to take me in earnest, Bronson. If you expect to get
up anything that such architects as Semmons & Driggs
have never seen, you must have an amazing amount of self-
conceit.”

‘‘ Perhaps I have,” replied Laurence ; “but as that isn’t
to the point, we won’t discuss it, Thank you for your
information. I shall send my letter off at once.”

“ That’s pretty plucky,” said a voice just behind them ;
and turning towards it, the boys met Will Seaton’s merry
face. “So you’ve been and gone and done it, have you ?
That’s the tallest joke this term, any way. ‘To think of the
Duke of Glencoe descending to the ranks of the labouring
classes. Fellow-citizens, attention !”



56 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

At the shout, a crowd of schoolboys came rushing pell-
mell up the hill, all ready for any fun into which mischievous
Will might see fit to lead them. ‘ Duke of Glencoe” was
a sobriquet with which Will had long ago nicknamed Bronson. -
Laurence had borne it good-humouredly enough, comforting
himself perhaps with the reflection that if his manner were
somewhat too restrained and “stately,” as. Will termed it,
for his years, it did not suffer by comparison with that of his
teasing schoolfellow. But this morning the blood mounted
angrily to his face. He had been chafed and fretted already
by Semmons’s contemptuous manner, and he felt in no
humour to stand one of Will’s mocking tirades. For Will’s
fun was apt to be more personal than pleasant, when he set
cut to make a stump speech, as he evidently intended to do
at present.

An eager, laughing crowd had gathered around the three,
cheering Seaton on to do his best, with cries of “ Let’s have
it!” “Goit, Will!” &c., his orations being bits of fun that all
were loath to lose. But mischievous as Seaton was, he had
a good heart and a quick eye; and that same quick eye had
caught the expression of Bronson’s face as he turned it
slightly aside, and had sent a telegram down to the merry,
kindly heart. He cast a roguish glance at Bronson, which
Laurence met with a shrug of his shoulders, and a lifting of
the head, which seemed to say,—

‘‘Go on: you may do your worst without harming me.”

But Will had changed his mind; he did not mean to do
his worst. Looking from Laurence back to his enthusiastic
audience with an expression of comical despair, he clasped
both hands across his breast, and gasped out, as if panting
for breath, —

“Gentlemen and friends,—I rose to my feet with the
intention of electrifying this audience with such a speech as
you have never heard, even from the eloquent lips of W. B.
Seaton, Esq. The subject of my oration was the Duke of



VICTORY. 57

Glencoe! But—but—the Duke is here! He gave me one
look, and it was done. I had soared to the seventh heaven.
of eloquence, when lo!—one piercing glance from his eagle
eye, and—TI was knocked as flat as a pumpkin seed.”

The orator’s arms fluttered wildly for a moment; then,
staggering backward, he fell at full length upon the snow,
and lay motionless, with closed eyes and parted lips. Ap-
parently tender nursing was not considered the proper treat-
ment for his exhausted state, for a dozen strong arms seized
the prostrate form, and swung it up upon six or eight pairs
of broad shoulders, upon which it was borne, amid shouts
and laughter, up the hill and around the Hall. But just as
the noisy crowd turned an angle of the great house, the
bearers came full upon Dr Drayton; and dropping their
load, rushed away, one and all, leaving the fallen hero to his
fate.

“Why, Seaton, what is this?” asked the doctor. ‘“I
thought that you had been hurt.”

‘¢T was riding, sir, ‘and met with an accident. Perhaps
the horses saw something which startled them ;’ and touch-
ing his cap with the gravest of salutes, Seaton leisurely
followed his comrades. ‘The doctor looked after him with
a grim smile.

‘“‘ Always ready with an answer except in his class,” he
said to himself; “ what can be made of him?” And with
even a graver look than usual on his brow, Dr Drayton
passed on.

What could be made of him? That was a question
which more than one anxious heart had asked itself as it
watched this wild, ungovernable boy. There was so much
to make or to mar in him, such a wealth of force and energy
and will, with no fixed principles to serve as ballast for the
rich freight ; with nothing indeed to steady it but an affec-
tionate, loving heart, of which, strange as it may seem, he
was ashamed, striving to cover it with a rough and boister-



58 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

ous manner, which served to veil it sometimes, but only
from those who did not know him well. It would peep
out, as it had done to- day, in spite of all his efforts to
hide it.

“You’re a right good fellow, Will,” said Laurence, as
Seaton rejoined the boys after his encounter with Dr Dray-
ton ; “and I am more than half ashamed of myself for being
SO a at a trifle.”

“What’s up now?” asked Will. ‘‘ You aren’t going into
the humble-pie business, are you, Bronson ?”

“No, not yet,’ said Laurence, with a smile; “at least
not into the buying and selling department. It is as much
as I can do to make what I need for my own use just now.
But you did turn that off splendidly.”

“T turned what off? What are you talking about ?”
asked Seaton, with affected surprise.

“You needn’t pretend to misunderstand, Will. I know
what you were up to, and why you did not carry out your
joke ; and I wil/ thank you, and love you for it too, old
fellow, in spite of you.”

“T was up to fun, and I had it,” replied Seaton, care-
lessly. “If that 1s anything to thank me for, I’m willing.
And as to love, why in that you only reciprocrate my
abounding attachment to yourself, Duke. Why, my dear
friend, you have no conception of the ecstatic, the perfectly
frantic affection with which I regard your Highness. Come
to my bosom, friend of my heart ;” and, flinging his arms
around Laurence’s neck, he proceeded to express his affec-
tion in such bear-like hugs and embraces, that Bronson,
crying out for mercy, flung him off, telling him that he would
take his love in smaller doses at less rare intervals,

The two boys had been standing slightly apart, unnoticed
at first by the rest of the party ; but Will’s attack had drawn
all eyes toward them.

“Qh! stop your tomfoolery and come along, Will,” called



OLD CHRISTY. 59

a voice from the group below. “We’re going down to
Christy’s, Bronson. Will you come?”

“Yes. Where is Austin? Is he with you?”

“No; he went off by himself a while ago,”
“ Anything wrong, Tom?” asked Laurence, as he reached
the side of the boy who had spoken. |
‘No ; unless he is in another fit of the dumps. What
ails him; do you know?”

‘““T did not know anything ailed him,” said Laurence,
“Tt has not struck me that he was mopy.” |

“Well, perhaps not so very mopy as quiet and sober.
He acts as if his mind were all the time full of something
different from what he is doing. Haven’t you seen it?”

“Yes, [ have ; but I did not think of it when you spoke.
He is rather unlike himself lately. By the way, I wish
that he. were with us. He always likes to go down to
Christy’s. Holloa, Austin! Frank !” |

There was no answer to the loud call, though it was
_ twice repeated.

“Come, Bronson, come,” said Tom Morrison, impatiently.
‘‘ The fellows are half-way down there already. He’s away
off somewhere ; and if he comes back soon, some of those
little chaps will tell him where we are.”



CHAPTER VII.
OLD CHRISTY,

CHRISTOPHER DUNN was a fisherman, whose little cabin‘
on the shore had been a favourite resort for all the Drayton
boys for twoscore years and more. ‘The genial, quaint old
man was always ready with a hearty welcome for his young —



60 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

visitors, even when they came down upon him, as they had
done to-day, in numbers entirely disproportioned to the size
of his small domicile.

‘Well, well, and here you are again, young gentlemen,”
he said, turning his wrinkled face, with its crown of snow-
white hair, toward the opening door. ‘Come in, come in.
There ’s always room for one more, you know, in Christy’s .
little place. I was just reading a verse or two to comfort
me a bit when one of your mates came in; and I laid my
‘glasses within the good book while I talked with him, so
you ‘ll not shut it up quite tight, sir, if— Well, now, if it
isn ’t Master Laurence !”

He interrupted himself in the midst of his flow of talk
to grasp the hand which had been extended to lift the Bible
from the chair on which he had placed it ; and the fine old
face flushed with pleasure as he greeted his favourite.

“Ay, but it’s a long while since you came to see me.
Not since Christmas, boy.”

Now it was Laurence’s turn to colour, but not with plea-
sure, for the secret of his long absence lay in the fact that
the Christmas gift which Christy had for years received
from him on his return to school had not been his to bestow ;
and it was a foolish pride—he felt if so now—which had
kept him away from the cabin for so many weeks.

‘“ But it’s full glad Iam to see you anyways; for when
Master Austin came in and you wasn’t with him, thinks I
there ’s some reason why the boy doesn’t come, for the one
of you has never been here without the other before. But
when I asked Mr Frank for you, he didn’t know your
whereabouts at all.”

“Where is he now?” asked Laurence, looking round in
search of his friend.

‘¢ Over there by the Why the boy’s gone! Well, he’ll
be back, no doubt ;” and Old Christy nodded his head at
Laurence, with a knowing look which the latter failed to





OLD CHRISTY. ~ 61

comprehend, “No matter,” he added, seeing that Laur-
ence had not understood him. “It will all come right in
time. The Lord can do his own work : we needn’t fear.”

“And now if there’s a pair of legs here that’s younger
than mine,” said Christy, turning to his visitors, who filled
the tiny room to overflowing, “they must just run up the
ladder and fetch a bag of nuts that lies up in the loft, and
we ’li have a chat over them.”

Half a dozen sprang up to fulfil the welcome commis-
sion; and in a twinkling the bag was in the midst of the
circle, and a score of busy hands were diving into its depths.

“Give us a yarn, Christy,” said Tom Morrison. “A
regular sea-talk.”

“Oh yes, a yarn—a yarn ! ? was repeated from all sides.

“Well, I was just thinking of a bit of a yarn, and wonder-
ing in my mind if you would like to hear it. I don’t
know whether you’d like it or no; but I can tell it to
you, and then you can say if it pleases you.” —

He was standing with his back to the fire, his hands
clasped behind him, looking from one to another of the
bright young faces about him, with a tender lingering look
which rested on each as if with an unspoken blessing.

“Ts it about yourself, Christy?” asked Will Seaton.
“Those are the stories we like best.”

“No, it’s not about myself, Master Seaton.”

‘““ About some of your mates, then ?”

“No, nor my mates, sir. But the men were in a manner
friends, by hearsay at least, for I knew a good deal of them,
and loved them for what I knew. And then, though we ’ve
never set eyes on one another in this world, there ’ s a strong
rope to bring us together, for they ’ve sailed under my Cap-
tain, and served Him true and faithful. A good Captain
He is; and if ever any of us meet, as I hope we may one
day, it? s a long story we'll have to tell one another afore
we ‘ll tire talking of Him.”



_~ $2 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“ Who was He?” asked Morrison ; for the old face had
so brightened and glowed that his interest was excited in
this unknown Commander whom Christy evidently looked
up to with love and admiration.

“T’ll tell you the tale, and then you can see if you

know aught of Him.”
_ “Ts it a shipwreck, Christy?” asked a voice from the
outer edge of the circle, which had closed around the chair
in which the fisherman had seated himself.

“And is that you, Charles, away off there? Let him in,
boys. He’s such a small little chap that he can scarce see
_ or hear back there. No, sonny,” he went on, as, the boys
making way for him, little Charlie Grant came forward
and was placed betwecn the old man’s knees. ‘‘ No, sonny,
it wasn’t a shipwreck ; but that’s what it would have been
most likely but for the Captain. It was in a small ship
they were, on a sea far away on the other side of the world.
It had been a fair day and a bright ; butit was a treacherous
water, that you could never count on, for the squalls would
fly up just in a flash like, and, almost afore you knew, the
sun was darkened, the wind would break upon you in a
tempest, and if every man wasn’t at his post and minding
his work, the craft would never see shore again.

‘Well, they were sailing along placid enough, when, of
a sudden, a huge black cloud swept up over the sky ; the
wind came rushing across the sea, beating it into foam ; and
the big waves rose higher and higher, dashing like thunder
against the side of the ship, until she quivered and moaned
like some poor dumb beast in agony. The crew sprang to
the ropes, and the helmsman clung for dear life to the helm;
but what could they do when the masts bent and groaned
in the tempest, which howled and shrieked through them
like some monster determined to dash them into eternity,
and the fierce waves rushed over the deck, sweeping it clear
at every burst ?



OLD CHRISTY. - 63

‘And all this while, when the crew were struggling and
battling for their lives, the Captain was not at His post.
For days past He had been that pressed and overborne with
work that He was clear exhausted and worn out, and a
while back He had thrown Himself down for a little rest.”

Charlie Grant raised his eyes with a quick, intelligent
look, and putting his lips close to Christy’s face, whis-
pered— :

‘Was He ‘in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a
pillow ?” ”

The sailor answered him by a nod, and a closer clasp of
the arm which encircled him, ~

‘And that wearied was He that all the fury of the storm,
the cries of the sailors, and the beating of the waves, even
the very starting and cracking of the timbers beneath Him,
had failed to waken Him. The crew, knowing all He had
gone through, had hoped to weather the storm without His
help ; and the brave, loving hearts fought it hard afore they
called Him to their aid. But the breakers rolled higher and
higher, the wind screamed madder and madder, beating
against them until they could scarce hold on even by the
masts ; and the poor ship pitched and tossed about like a
toy in the wild waters. I said they were brave hearts, that
little crew, and so they were, but human strength could
stand it no longer; and brave though: they were, it was with
their rough faces pale with fear that they shouted to the
Captain, waking Him in a moment with their ery of fright.
He had lain sleeping through all the fury of the storm ; but
the voices of His men roused Him in a moment. He sprang
up to meet a dozen white faces, wild with fear ; to hear the
cries of the mariners mingling with the howling of the blast ;
and to see His craft, water-soaked, with bending masts and
useless helm, rolling helplessly in the trough of the sea.”

“ What did He do ?” asked one of the eager listeners, as
Christy paused.



G4. LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘‘ What did He do? He stood up and looked out on the
awful scene before Him, then stretched out His hand, and
said, ‘Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was
a great calm.’”

A great calm had fallen also on that little room ; a quiet,
broken, after a moment, by Christy’s voice.

‘“ He’s the very best Captain we can sail under—as strong
and as faithful and as true now as He was then. God
grant that you may all take your orders from Him ; and
that in every storm which threatens you, you may hear His
voice, saying, ‘Peace, be still.’ Never fear, my boys, even
if He does seem to be in the ‘ hinder part of the ship, asleep.’
You ’ve only to speak His name, and you will see the storm
sink in a moment before the arm which He will stretch out
to save you.”

““ Qne, two, three, four, five, six,” spoke out the tall clock
on the mantel-shelf, with a sharp ring which brought every
boy in the room to his feet.

‘“That’s the supper-gong, I see,” said Christy. “ Well,
good-night, and come again soon. So you knew my Cap-
tain, eh, Charlie?” and he laid his hand lovingly on the
child’s head.

‘Yes, I was sure you meant the Lord Jesus,” whispered
the boy. “ You made a beautiful story out of it, Christy.”

“The beauty was ready to my hand, little one. Good-
night. Good-night, and God bless you, one and all.”

“ Good-night, ory, Thank you for your story.
We'll come again soon,” came back to him on the clear,
frosty air, as he stood in his doorway, looking after his
departing guests. —

And after they had passed beyond his sight, he still stood
there, but looking upward now toward the starlit sky ; and
on the head of every one who had listened to his story
there came a blessing, called down upon it by that a
ing look,



AUSTIN’S VISIT. . 65

CHAPTER VIIL

AUSTIN’S VISIT.

CHRISTY paused in the doorway as he re-entered his cot-
tage, and, with a puzzled look on his face, stood listening,
Surely he had heard a sound like a step in the loft, he
thought. Who could it be?

“ Any one up-stairs?” he called, going to the foot of the
ladder, which served as a stairway to the upper regions.

“Yes, I’m here, Christy ;” and, to the old man’s utter
amazement, Frank Austin sprang lightly down the ladder.
“Your penny has come back, you see. Haven’t you heard
that it is very hard to get rid of a bad coin 2”

He asked the question with a short laugh; and, passing
_ Christy, seated himself before the fire, leaning his head
down upon his hand.

“But how came you here, Mr Austin? I thought you
had gone to the Hall long ago.”

“No; I have been up there all the time. I didn’t feel
like seeing all those fellows when they came in, so I just
ran up the ladder and sat down in the garret. When they
came up after the nuts, | went behind that old sea-chest,
and they never saw me; but I’ve been sitting there all this
while. When you were telling that story, I was lying at
the stair-head listening to you.”

“ But it’s long past six, sir, and the young gentlemen are
all gone up to supper.”

“Never mind, I don’t want any supper.”

“ But won’t you be called up for not being on hand?”

“Oh, maybe I’ll have some lines set me, but I don’t care
for that. I don’t want my supper, and I don’t feel like
seeing any one, or speaking to any one. Fact is, Christy,
I’d like to get miles away from everybody, and most of all
from myself ;” and with an impatient thrust of his foot, he

EK:



66 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

dislodged a huge log which was burning in the great fire-
place, whose fall sent thousands of sparks flying up the
broad chimney.

“You need to follow them sparks, Mr Austin,” said the
old. man, quietly pointing as he spoke to the brilliant
shower.

““Up into the dark, eh?” said Frank, almost roughly,
and concluding with the same sharp laugh which had before
grated on Christy’s ear.

“Not ento the dark, sir; through it, it may be, but into
_ the light. The sparks will lose fligmclyes in that bright
moonlight, Mr Austin ; and you need to lose yourself in the
brighter light of the Sun of Righteousness, You’ll get away
from aust sure enough, when you find that, for you’ll be
all overshadowed and enw nape in its glory. ‘May you find
it full soon, my son, for you’re wearying for it, I know, poor
boy.”

He might have borne the gentle words without flinching;
he might even have withstood, in his irritable, inpatient
mood, ‘the pathos of the tremulous, pitying voice ; but the
touch of the hand which was laid on his bent head un-
manned him; and in another moment the flood-gates had
burst, and he was. sobbing like a little child, with hig face
hidden on Christy’s arm.

But it was only for a moment. Christy had not even
had time to choose the words in which to strive to answer
this speechless cry for help, when Austin raised his head ;
and, dashing off the tears, said, with attempted carelessness—

‘There, Christy, you have seen what no one else in Gray-
don ever saw—Frank Austin fairly crying like a two-year-
old baby. The very king of the Blues has had me in his
grasp for the last week. I suppose he’ll let me go now,
ater putting me through that performance.” And rising
from his seat, he took up his hat asif to leave; but Christy,
rising also, laid a detaining hand upon his shoulder, ,



- AUSTIN’S VISIT. 67"

“Tt’s no such king as him you spoke of, boy,” he said,
solemnly, “ but the very King of kings, and Lord of lords
that has had you in the grasp of His hand this past week,
and I warn you not to fling aside that mighty Hand. ’Tig
pressing you hard, I know, and in the pride of your young
heart you are striving to escape it—but you cannot. It is
vutstretched for your help; only clasp it, and it will lead
you into eternal life.” |

They stood together for a moment in silence; the old,
wrinkled, weather-beaten face almost touching that of the
boy, so fresh and fair, yet working now in every feature
with his determined effort at self-control.

“ Believe, only believe.”

The mois broke the silence so softly that it seemed to
Austin as if he felt rather than heard them; and in the
same low, whispered tone, he answered— |

“T would, Christy, if I could ; but I cannot.”

“ And do you not know why you cannot?” asked Christy,
drawing him toward a low settle, and seating himself close
beside him there. ‘I can just tell you in a minute what it
is. You’re trying in your poor, forlorn human weakness to
do the work which only God can do. It takes the power
and might of a God to save one human soul, and you’re
striving to save yours without His help.”

‘No, no,” said Austin ; “ that isn’t so, Christy. I know
I need His help.”

“Aye, aye ; you know it well enough in your mind, per-
haps, but you don’t feel it in your heart. Or if the feeling
is in your heart at all, there’s a big mountain of pride there
that’s crushing it to bits. But you’ll never do it, never.
You may try your very best; but you’ll never weather the ©
storm and bring your vessel into port, unless you take the °
Lord Christ aboard as both Captain and Pilot. There’s —
nope for you now, for you see the breakers ahead, and
you’re wanting to steer clear of them if you can ; but did



68 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

you ever hear of a skipper so mad as to try to steer his own
vessel into a strange harbour, which he knew was full of
rocks and reefs? That’s what you’re doing; andI tell you
solemnly, my boy, as one should speak who himself has been
nigh shipwreck, that your vessel will be dashed to splinters _
in the doing of it.

“ But we needn't talk of shipwreck,” he went on, more
gently. “* For the craft is sound in all her timbers yet; and
though the breakers are just ahead, there’s the lighthouse
on the point, and the Pilot stands ready, waiting for our
call. O Mr Austin! you’ll not rush on the reefs, with the
Pilot close at hand—for sure you’ll not?”

“But I cannot see either Pilot or lighthouse,” said
Austin. “It is allas dark as night, Christy. There isn’t
even a glimmer of light that I can find.”

“Because you don’t look in the right place, Master
Frank. You’re looking straight down into your own dark
heart, when you should be lifting your eyes to the clear
shining of His face who has said, ‘ Look unto me, and be ye
saved.’ There’s no need at all for you to be wandering in
the shadow of the night ; for the Lord Christ has called you
to the brightness of His rising. Turn your face to the
light, Mr Austin, turn your face to the light.”

Frank rose slowly from his seat and moved toward the
door.

“T can’t stay any longer,” he said. “It will be study-
hour in fifteen minutes, so I must go. I know it’s all as
you say, Christy. I know the light is shining somewhere ;
but that is just the trouble,—that it should shine, and that
I should not be able to find it.”

““¢Seek and ye shall find.” That is a promise of the
God of truth,” said Christy.

“Oh! I know all that,” replied Austin, impatiently ;
“but I’ve been seeking and seeking, and I haven’t found
what I need. I’m sorry to be so snappish, Christy,” he



AUSTIN’S VISIT. 69

added, in a quieter tone, “ but the truth is, I don’t feel as
if I could stand it any longer. I’ve always, as long as I
can remember, thought I would be a Christiam some time ;
but lately it has seemed as if I must do something at once ;
and for the last week, especially, I haven’t had a minute’s
rest. It seems as if I could not possibly stand another
night like the last three or four that I’ve spent, tumbling
and tossing, with the fellows around me all snoring like
mad, or else sleeping as quietly as babies with nothing to
vex them, while I couldn’t get a moment’s rest for this
miserable worrying and fussing. Now don’t go and quote,
‘Come unto me, and I will give you rest.’ I know it’s
there as well as you do; but it don’t seem to come home to
me. It’s better for a hungry man not to see food at all,
than to have it lying right before his eyes, and not be able
to stretch out his hand to take it.”

‘But if one stands ready to reach it to him, Mr Austin.
If a gracious Hand is willing to lift the Bread of Life to his
famished lips, will he not take it? Don’t try even to put
out your own weak hand, dear boy. Just open those poor,
hungering lips, and let the Master fill them.”

“Perhaps He may some day, when I am a different fellow
from what Tam now,” said Austin, with a sigh. “But I
thank you, Christy, with all my heart ; for you have tried
your best with me, I know. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye. Don’t grope in the dark, Mr Austin, trying
to be a ‘ different fellow,’ as you say, before you take the
Lord at His word. Just believe what He says, and sit you
right down in the light of His love, and let Him work the
change in you.”

Austin smiled—a sad, tired smile it was, to be geen on
such a youthful face; and, giving the old man’s hand a
parting grasp, went out, without attempting to answer his
last words.

To “ sit down in the light of His love.” That was just



70 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

what he longed to do; but then it was just what he could
not do. If there had only been some great act of self-denial
or hard duty to be performed, he would have thrown his
whole soul into the performance of it ; but this simple sit-
ting at Jesus’ feet to learn of Him was quite another thing,

He had gone down to Christy’s cabin that afternoon,
hoping that something that he might say would bring him
peace and comfort. He had scarcely begun his talk with
the old man, when they had heen interrupted by the sudden
irruption of the noisy crowd who had followed him there ;
but even when the boys were gone, and they were alone
together once more, Christy had done nothing to help him.

““T can’t go on in this way any longer,” he said to himself,
pausing suddenly in his rapid walk up the hill, and sitting
down on the trunk of a huge tree, which, struck by light-
ning the summer previous, had fallen by the road-side, and
now lay there, covered with snow.

As he sat with his head bent, and his eyes wandering
restlessly to and fro, the glimmer cf something bright caught
his attention. A little beyond where he had placed himself,
there was a cleft in the side of the tree, riven perhaps in its
fall; and the rays of the moon struck on something bright
which lay within the aperture. Scarcely thinking what he
did, he left his seat, and bent down over the cleft. There,
in that little spot, surrounded on every side by cold and wind
and darkness, yet sheltered in perfect safety beneath the huge
old trunk, a tiny dandelion lifted its bright head.

For a moment Frank stood and gazed at it in silent won-
der; then he knelt down on the ground and looked and
looked at the little child of summer, as if his eyes would
never weary of the sight. Gradually, the hard, strained
expression of his face changed. It grew softer and more
tender, and a tremulous quiver passed over his lips. After
a while, he put his hand into the cleft,—how warm it was!
The little flower was quite safe in its strange abiding-place!



AUSTIN’S VISIT. 71

He touched it very tenderly, put his fingers beneath it, and
turned its golden face more fully to the moonlight ; and then,
very suddenly and quickly, he bent his own face closely down,
and kissed it.

What if it were but a simple field-flower, and he almost
aman! It had taught him a lesson of lowly trust and con-
fidence ; and even as his lips touched the tiny blossom which
the mighty hand of God had planted in that strange spot,
that the finding of it might lead that troubled soul to Him,
even then the humbled heart yielded, and “sat down under
His shadow with great delight,” to find that “ His banner
over him was love.” |

“What is the meaning of this, Austin?” asked the sharp
voice of Mr Acton, one of the masters, as Frank entered the
Hall. “Absent from supper, absent from study-hall, and out
until nine o’clock !”

“Nine o'clock !” repeated Austin, in astonishment. “Is
it so late? I suppose it must be, though,” he added, as if
to himself. ‘The moon is so high, and it rose about six.
I have been reported to the Doctor, Mr Acton ?”

“Yes: Ihave just given in the day’s report. I am sorry,
Austin, How did it happen? This is something very un-
usual for you.”

“Yes,” replied Frank, “it is. Perhaps I had better go
to Dr Drayton at once with my apology ;” and he turned
away, leaving Mr Acton to look after him wonderingly for
a moment, and then to go on his way with the feeling
that the delinquent would probably be able to satisfy the
principal.

“He certainly does not look as if he had been in mis-
chief,” he said to himself, as he returned to the study-hall.

He certainly did not. Mischief in any form never brought
that quiet, restful look on any human face.

Entering, in answer to the short ‘“ Come in,” which had
been the response to his knock at the door of Dr Drayton’s



72 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

study, he saw at once that the report of nis misdoing had
been read; and scarcely needed the question which was
sternly addressed to him—

‘How do you account for this, sir? Three hours’ absence
without permission.”

“My absence was quite unintentional, sir; at least my
absence from the study-hall. I must confess that I had not
intended to be at home for supper,” replied Austin, respect-
fully.

“Where have you been?” and the searching eyes scanned
his face narrowly, but saw no signs of guilt there,

At old Christy’s cabin.”

“Until this time of night ?”

“No, sir; I left there at a quarter before seven, but—I
think I must have been lost in thought,” he went on, after
a moment's hesitation ; “for I suddenly found myself quite
a distance beyond the Hall, upon the precipice road, and the
moon was so high that I think I must have been walking
for some time.”

The gray eyes bent themselves even more sharply than
before on the boy’s face ; but it neither flushed nor paled
beneath their scrutiny.

“Of what were you thinking so deeply, may I ask ?”

Then indeed his face glowed with a sudden, quick colour,
which dyed it crimson ; but he answered, steadily —

“Of myself, sir.”

A suspicion of the truth flashed across Dr Drayton’s mind ;
but absence from the Hallat such an hour was a grave offence,
and he was determined so sift the matter thoroughly.

“You say that you were intentionally away from supper,
and that you spent the time at Christopher Dunn’s cabin.
What led you there at that time ?”

Austin hesitated. Was he ready to confess Christ before
all men ; to “stand up for Jesus” so soon? Yes, he was.
Like the little dandelion, he had found a hiding-place from



THE BRIDGE. (od

the wind and cold and storm; and now he was: ready to
bear testimony to the love which had so blessed him.

“T wanted to talk with him,” he said, looking straight
into Dr Drayton’s face with fearless eyes, yet with a strange
gentleness of expression ; “and I did not wish to be inter-
rupted by any of the other boys. The truth is, Dr Drayton,”
and the strong young voice trembled slightly, “I wanted
Christ, and Christy seems to me more Christ-like than any ;
one Iknow. I did not know when I went to him that that
was what led me there, but I know it now.”

“And you have found what you sought?” The Doctor’s
voice was husky. He rose and came toward Frank, and
laid his hand upon his shoulder.

“Yes, I found Him,” said Austin, quietly, looking up
into the master’s face with a smile. ‘I have been very
proud and self-willed, determined to fight my own way to
heaven ; but, after all, a flower led me into the kingdom,
and somehow I feel like a little child to-night.”

“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven,” said Dr Drayton. “May God keep you a
learner at the Saviour's feet for ever. Good-night, my son,
and God bless you.”

And Austin left the study with a glow at his heart such
as he had never felt before, in thinking of the grave, stern
master,



CHAPTER IX.
THE BRIDGE,.

“ Austin, I want you to come down to Daisy Creek with
~ me this afternoon, Don’t make any plans with the other
fellows, will you?”



74. LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘What now?” asked Frank. “Have you some new
notion in your head, Larry ?”

“Not quite a new one. Keep my counsel, and I will
show you my last effort in the oe line,” ne Bronson,
“T want your opinion of it.”

“T’ll be quiet as a mouse. I wish it were time for the
show now ; for you look as if it were a great success.”

‘“T think it is asuccess. If it had been a failure, I don’t
much believe that even you would have seen it.”

“T’d trust you for that, you proud old mastiff. You’d
bury every failure in the bottom of your kennel, and stand
growling before the door if even your best friend tried to
touch it. Isn’t that so?”

“Yes, more so than it ought to be. I confess that my
mistakes and blunders are a terrible cross to me, especially
if they are seen. But I’m trying to keep that old spirit
under, Frank: I really am.”

“t know that. I can see that you are trying for it, and
it is hard work, too ;” and Austin threw his arm around his
friend’s neck with almost girlish tenderness. ‘ Don’t think
I meant to twit you unkindly; I think you are doing
bravely. But then the old fellow will show his colours once
in a while, you know, and I was only chaffing.”

“T know, I know,” said Laurence. ‘Now we must go
in. Don’t forget to keep yourself for me this afternoon.”

It was a month since the day on which Bronson had sent
his designs to Messrs Semmons & Driggs, and he had as
yet heard nothing from them. In the meantime, no one, not
even Austin, had seen anything of him out of ‘ Hall hours,”
as the Drayton boys denominated the time given to recita-
tion and study. More than once Frank had asked him
where he had hidden himself, but the question was always
parried ; and he was as much in the dark as any of Laurence’s
less intimate companions.

But little as they had seen of one another, the two friends

ee



THE BRIDGE, "5

had drawn more closely together than ever in these few

weeks. On the night of Austin’s visit to Christy, Laurence | a
had gone to bed, worried and anxious. No suspicion‘of the .-

truth had entered his mind, and he began to fear that Frank
would bring himself into serious trouble : first by the neglect
of his studies, a fault very unusual with him; and now by
this apparently wilful breaking of a most strenuous rule.
But spite of his uneasiness, being very thoroughly tired, he
fell asleep before Austin came up into the dormitory. He
was wakened by hearing his name very softly spoken, and
roused himself to find Frank’s head lying on the pillow close
to his own.

“Quiet, old fellow! don’t wake the rest,” whispered
Vrank’s warning voice, as he started up.

‘But what is the matter, Austin? Are you in trouble?”

“No, not now.”

It broke upon Laurence all at once; and, rising quickly
in the bed, he caught Austin’s hands in both his own, and
looked into his face. The room was almost as light as if it
were day. The bright moonbeams falling in at the window
struck on Frank’s calm, happy face ; Aad Laurence did not
need to ask him any questions.

“O Frank!” he said. And then Frank caught him close,
and hid his face on his neck, and clung to him like a child.

‘Don’t think me a baby,” he said at length, lifting him-
self up with a little joyous laugh. “ But I have been awfully
wretched, and now I am so happy.”

And hea they lay down again with their heads on the
same pillow, and Laurence heard the whole story.

“ Frank,” he said, after they had ie “ a while, “the
boys are all wild to hea about your ‘scrape,’ as they call it.
I'm afraid that youll be set upon the very first thing in the
morning. What shall you do?”

“Tell them the truth,” replied Austin, unhesitatingly.

‘Will you have the strength ?”



76 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“No; but Christ will, You don’t need to be told that
| Larry.”

“No, Frank; I do believe you took Him at His word
more than I did, even before you were a Christian, Have
you lost yourself in Him already ?”

‘““T don’t know; but somehow I don’t seem to think
much about myself to-night. That boy, Frank Austin, with
whom I was so well satisfied, has slipped away and left no
one behind him but a poor, despairing fellow, whom Christ
has lifted into peace and joy. That’s all I know about it,
Larry.”

Laurence had not been mistaken in his estimate of the
storm of questions which would beset Frank the next morn-
ing. Scarcely had the gong struck the hour for rising, when
a score of heads were lifted from their pillows, and as many
voices began eager inquiries for him.

“Hallo, Frank!” “Is Austin there?” “Did he come
in last night?” &c., were some of the questions, which he
answered with a cheery—

“All right. I’m on hand,” as he sprang up, and began
to dress somewhat hastily.

And then a host of new queries rushed in upon him.

‘“Where have you been?” “What did the Professor
say?” ‘Were you reported?” and a multitude more,
which he at first attempted to parry or laugh off; until
finally some one asked the direct question, in a moment’s
lull,—

“But really, Austin, let’s have it. What were you
doing ?” | a

The room was still, for all were interested in the answer.
Laurence watched him closely. It was no slight ordeal for
a boy of sixteen to stand up before twenty-five merry school-
fellows, and tell them that he had chosen Christ Jesus as
his Lord. But Laurence saw that he would do as he had
said, tell them the truth;” for though his face was as



THE BRIDGE. ee

white as the linen which his nervous fingers were unsuccegss-
fully trying to button at his throat, it was set and deter-
mined. ‘The silence had lasted but a moment, when Frank
broke it, speaking very deliberately —

“‘T don’t want to make any secret of it,” he said. “If
you wish to know what I was doing last night, it was just
this: I was looking for a hiding-place, and I found it in the
Rock of Ages.”

What a small thing it seemed, after all, when it was done.
Perhaps the simple, natural way in which the words were
spoken ; Frank’s unconstrained manner; and, above all, the
change in his expression from the worried, troubled look his
face had worn for some days,—had their effect. At any
rate, the sneers and laughter which Laurence had feared for
him were not heard. Every one of the expectant faces
watching Frank expressed utter astonishment and wonder ;
but the only word spoken was a prolonged “ Holloa !” from
Will Seaton.

The room was unusually quiet during the few moments
which passed before the second bell rang; but no one spoke
to Austin, until just as they left the room, when Ned
Churchill, a frank, open-hearted, but very careless young
fellow of about his own age, stretched out his hand as Frank
was passing hima, and said—

“T don’t think much about these things myself, Austin ;
but I respect you for showing your colours at once.”

Even if Frank had not at the outset “‘ shown his colours,”
as Ned had termed it, the change in him would very soon
have been noticed by all his companions, even the least
observant among them ; for it had struck with the greatest
force one of the most prominent points in his character—
his self-esteem. He was not a foolishiy vain or conceited
boy, but he was talented, quick, and very well read for one
of his years ; and he had been so much praised and flattered
that he had come to think that Frank Austin’s opinions and



78 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

decisions were quite equal to those of any man he knew,
and far superior to those of his ownfriends. And the place
he had chosen for himself as umpire of the school was yielded
to him with scarce a murmur. To be sure, the boys some-
times called him “The great Mogul,” and other nicknames
of the same signification ; but they all consulted with and
deferred to him, and he held his position with the air of a
man who knew his own worth. The little boys looked up
to him as a prince among their elders ; and even those of his
own clique, although they joked among themselves some-
times over his self-confidence, always ended their little rail-
leries with—

“Well, if he does think Frank Austin is a pretty good
fellow, he don’t stand alone in his opinion.”

And just here it was that the change in him showed itself
most plainly. Those wretched days when he had so vainly
sought to help himself out of his misery had shown him
how little after all he knew, and how little strength he pos-
sessed ; and the knowledge gave him a humility and gentle-
ness of manner which no one had ever seen before in him.
Not that he was the less able or ready to speak his mind on
any point; but the thing was done in a way so different
from his former dictatorial manner, that no one could fail to
notice it.

‘That is what I think, but perhaps you all know as much
about it as I do,” or some such disclaimer, was now always
the conclusion to any expression of opinion in a discussion ;
and the alteration in his manner and whole bearing was as
marked as in his speech.

Laurence gave Austin no chance to forget his engagement
with him “after hours ;” for no sooner were they set at
liberty, than Frank found him at his side.

“Are you ready?” he asked, eagerly, linking his arm in
that of his friend.

“Yes, more than ready ; for I’m wild to know what has



THE BRIDGE. 79

set my cool old iceberg on fire. Why, Laurence, I never
saw you look so much excited in my life. What is it all
about?”

‘“Come, and [ will show you. We must go through
Merriman’s Woods;” and he turned out of the road in
which they were standing, into a narrow footpath, which,
after ten minutes’ fast walking, brought them into a dense
forest of trees—dense, at least, when in leaf; even now,
when just budding out, they grew so close that two could
scarcely walk abreast between them.

No pleasanter place could be chosen for a ramble, on a
bright afternoon in the early spring, than Merriman’s Woods.
The air was laden with the sweet, fresh smell of the bursting
buds: the busy birds, nest-building in the branches, paused
every little while in their work to pour outa gush of happy
song; and the ground was covered with a carpet of purple
violets and delicate white anemones, with here and there a
golden crocus scattered through ea:

But the boys had no time is more than a passing clance
at all this loveliness, They hurried on; for they had quite
a long walk before them, and their time was short. On
through the woods they walked for three miles and more,
until they came at length to a break,—an open clearing,—
beyond which the woods grew up again thicker and closer
than on the other side, But they were now almost at their
journey’s end; for just within this second forest, a little
brook crept out from beneath a huge rock, and ran its merry,
rippling course over a bed of stones and moss. A pretty,
tiny thing it was,—so tiny that it seemed almost as if it had
been made to show how perfect so small a stream could be
in its beauty. Its edges, fringed with feathery ferns and
drooping grasses, were hollowed here and there by miniature
bays, where the water ran in with a soft little gurgle, to run
out again the next moment, and a little farther on dash
itself down over some obstructing stone in a mimic water-



80 | LAURENCE BROUNSON’S VICTORY.

fall. Beyond, again, the water lay in a still pool, clear as
crystal; and still farther, rippled and danced over small,
white pebbles, running in and out among then, seeming
fairly to laugh aloud in very glee.

It was to this brook that Laurence led his companion.
Just beyond the spot where the laughing little wavelets
stopped to kiss the pure white pebbles, the stream. suddenly
narrowed, and ran quietly beneath the shade of an over-
hanging willow, whose branches fell almost into the water,
and reached quite to the farther side. It was perhaps a
yard across at this point; and here, to his utter astonish-
ment, as Bronson sprang before him, and threw aside the
boughs, Frank saw that a miniature bridge had been thrown
across the brook. And such a bridge! Light, graceful, per-
fect in all its tiny proportions! It looked to him like a bit
of work which the fairies, who were reported to haunt these
woods, might have performed with their own deft little
fingers.

No words that he could have spoken would have so grati-
fied Bronson as the perfect silence in which he stood gazing
at the pretty thing. For full five minutes he stood and
looked at it. Then he turned to Laurence, and, holding
out both his hands, said heartily—

‘‘ Bronson, I give you joy; with all my heart, I do!”

And Bronson—well, who could blame him for it? He
just threw himself down upon the grass and hid his face on
his arms, for he did not want even Frank to see it just then.
That bridge had been the one thought of his mind, and of
his heart as well, for a full month. Every spare moment
had been given to it. Through wind and storm and rain
he had traversed those four weary miles every day, to work:
with all his strength for its completion. He had given up
rest, recreation, companionship,—every enjoyment,—to de-
vote himself to it; and now, when his reward came in that
long gaze of delight and admiration given to his work by his



THE BRIDGE. ~ §l

dearest friend, the lips with which he strove to answer his
congratulations would quiver and tremble, in spite of him.
When at length he raised his head, it was to find Frank
sitting at his side, with his eyes still intently fixed on his
bridge.

“ Bronson,” he said, turning towards him, “ that thing is
perfectly beautiful. The more I look at it, the more perfect
it seems to me. I can’t imagine how you ever made time to
do so much. Did Morgan help you?”

“No: I could not pay him for his work. He promised
to keep my secret, and wanted to give me all his time after
work-hours ; but I would not hear of it, of course, for the
man’s time is his money. It is only lightly thrown together,
and one can doa good deal in a month, Austin, when one is
‘trying to make a penny,’ as Semmons says. Looking the
whole thing over, can you suggest any alterations ?”

“Not one. If I had made it, I should have liked some
darker wood; but that is a mere matter of taste.”

“Not with me. It was a matter of dollars and cents, and
I had not the dollars.”

‘And you did not come to me?” said Frank, reproach-
fully. “ You would not ask me to help you in such a way?
You might at least have borrowed what you needed.”

‘‘ With no present prospect of paying my debts? No, no,
Frank: I cannot ask such help, even from you. I had rather
ten thousand times build my poor little bridge of common
pine, as I have done. Do you call that false pride?”

“No, Larry. I think you are right to do just as you like
best in the matter. Only, I should have been glad to have
had a hand in it.” And as Austin watched his friend’s
flushed face, he could not but feel how tremendous must have
been the effort which this boy, who was too proud to take
such a favour from his bosom friend, must have been making
through the past three months.

And yet he knew, for Laurence had told him ag much,



82 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

that those very months had been the happiest of his life. A
few weeks ago, he would not have understood it; but now
he knew the secret. He had learned what it was to “humble
himself as a little child ;” and he had learned, also, that to
such “little children” God gives a peace and strength and
joy which those who trust in their own strength can never
know.

‘““T wish,” said Frank, after they had been sitting silent
for some moments, “I wish that Mr Semmons could see
that bridge. It is strange that you don’t hear from him,
Laurence.”

“Yes, itis. I should think that he would write me a
line, even if he does not fancy my designs. He would at least
return them.”

‘Qh! ef course he would do that; but perhaps there has
been some delay in the post. Wait another week, and then
write again, asking if he received them. How does Albert
behave ?”

“About as usual. He asks me every day regularly if I
have heard from Messrs Semmons & Driggs. I don’t trouble
myself on his account much ; though, I confess, I should
have been glad if those designs had been accepted, and he —
had known of it. No matter: it would not have done either
of us any good, perhaps;” and Laurence heaved a sigh,
which said very plainly that he would have liked to try it,
at any rate.

“But come,” he went on, more cheerily, “I must take
my precious baby home: it has never been out so Jeng be-
fore. Mrs Morgan gives it house-room for me, unt? £ want
to take it up to the Hall, Wait a moment until I go over
to the other side. There now;” and he sprang across the
brook. “Take out that tie beneath there, Frank, and take
_ your end down as she parts in the middle. There she is,
all safe ;” and he sprang back again, with one half of the
bridge held fast in his arms, as tenderly as if it had been a



MR SEMMONS. 83

veritable baby, and he its young mother, while Frank car-
ried the other portion almost as lovingly.

Their errand to the carpenter’s house was soon accom-
plished, the treasure hidden securely away, and then they
started off on their walk back to the Hall.

CHAPTER X.
MR SEMMONS.

“Taat gentleman is in the parlour, waiting to see you, Mr
Bronson,” said Briggs, the head-waiter at the Hall, laying a
card on the table before Bronson, as he sat in one of the
study-halls, busily engaged at his books. Laurence took up
the card, and after studying it a moment, threw it across
the table to Austin, who sat opposite.

“Mr Semmons!” was all he said.

‘So he is one of the ceremonious sort, eh?” said Austin.
“Tt looks encouraging, any way, his coming here, doesn’t
ij? I wish you success, old fellow. Good-bye ;” and he
gave Bronson’s hand a hearty grip, as he passed out of the
room to go down to meet his visitor.

When he entered the parlour, he found no one there but an
elderly gentleman, who looked up as he entered the room,
and merely returning his bow with a slight nod, turned again
toward the window at which he was sitting. Laurence
glanced round the room to see if there were any one else
there; but finding no one, stepped toward the window, and
asked—

“Ts this Mr Semmons ?”

‘It is,” said the gentleman. “TI called to see Mr Bronson.
The man has gone to tell him.”



84 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“He told me that you were here. My name is Brom
son.”

“I beg your pardon,” said the gentleman, rising. “Iam
sorry that you were disturbed; but it is Mr Laurence
Bronson whom I wished to see. There has been some mis-
take.”

“There is no mistake, sir. I am Laurence Bronson. I
Suppose that you have called to answer in person’a letter I
sent you some weeks ago,”

“This is very curious,” said Mr Semmons, looking much
perplexed. ‘ I had supposed that my correspondent was one
of the teachers in this establishment. What I want, young
gentleman, is to see the originator of the designs which that
letter enclosed. Perhaps you acted as his scribe.”

‘The designs were my own, sir, as well as the letter. I
heard that you wanted something of the sort, and so sent
them to you. Did they suit your purpose ?”

“And you mean to tell me,” exclaimed the astonished old
gentleman, “that those designs were the work of your own
brain, and your own unaided hand ?”

“T do, sir,” said Laurence, smiling,

“Then I have only to say that you are a very smart fel-
low,” was the somewhat abrupt response.

“For which I thank you, sir,” said Laurence, looking
exceedingly pleased.

“* Well, then, we may as well sit down and settle the thing
at once, since we understand one another now,” said Mr
Semmons, who was evidently accustomed to doing things in
a very business-like manner. ‘‘ What did you expect to
receive for those drawings ?”

“‘T had no expectations whatever, sir; for I have no idea
what they are worth. In fact, I did not even know that it
was customary for architects to buy designs. I supposed
that they did all that part of their business themselves.”

“We do, as a general thing ; but just now we happen to



MR SEMMONS. 85

have an immense number of orders to fill, and our house
prides itself on the variety of the patterns it sends out. So
I determined to call in some outside aid, if I could find what
pleased me. Your designs are peculiarly graceful and
pretty. If you conclude to let us have them, I shall use
them in a new park which is being laid out by private enter-
prise, not many miles from here. Suppose I offer you
for them? I want to do the fair thing by you, especially
since I find that you are beginning so young to try to make
your own way; and I think that is what they are worth.
Does that satisfy you?”

“Yes, sir: I had not supposed them worth so much,” said
Laurence, frankly. ‘Iam very glad.”

“So am I,” said Mr Semmons, heartily. “But I must
say | was never so surprised in my life as when I found that
they were the work of a mere boy. Are you as smart at all
your studies as you are at drawing ?”

“No, sir; I am not smart at anything else. The truth
is, Mr Semmons, that I am exceedingly stupid,” said Bron-
son, with such honest earnestness that his visitor laughed
outright.

‘““Itis so,” persisted Laurence. ‘TI love study, but I am
very dull ; and I am often three hours in learning a lesson
which almost every fellow in the class will master in an
hour.”

“But I warrant that what once goes into your head never
strays out_again,” said Mr Semmons.

“No, it generally stays there. It has such hard work to
find its way in, that I suppose it never attempts any farther
journeys ;” and the boy laughed merrily.

He hardly knew what to make of himself, chatting so
gaily and unreservedly with a perfect stranger: it was
quite a new experience for him; but even, while wondering
at his own freedom, he found himself telling Mr Scninens
why he had spent all his leisure moments in steady work,





Full Text





eran eeenes



ie Lee ade edema ah ce





























x y . : 3 g - ye x P
ee . 8 é ae “ y
es ps zs ‘ Z
“ ‘ J
:
Pay
Ags, |
a s L
.
/ yseg
~ N
3 c
=
x
~ =
rae ee : aD eo on ARENT Asn ae oa meee SN Se SE ROS Nae NON KSC Te ee ONE NNT tn ea Oe tene t am : :
ei es renee e Ss > ae
ge nn en ee eee
P ; ee sess ai be “ = = SERRE oi acca ACD BOD os
einen NRE ne x ;


The Baldwin Library

University
mB ss
Florida







rt
Braise esa.

ee

ee

Arye Ps.

Sera!
ormeronsen
ea tyeet)
sratpe ly a3

ete

ea)

Presets sates

to i

es

oe an

ies Weer ie

[Osa

ba ets

eet
on a a ee ee
Cy fea the ey

LAS

ee

TAT KS

Eeke iit pat

ry
ps
Ae

by

Aa

ie
hte

is
see:

pestis

seen ee ge

ee
Sot

Cees

AY

ur

eh ge ee

Sion hadunnaetcer

S

a

5

bourgeois

iS
ws

ee

oa

—

Ee paw aie

pera ea reas
ott
SESL

'

much, but we all re-
for the best skater in our

Bentley over

©
+2
)
>
>
E
Be
oO
+
oO
=
So

— Page 423.

a>

love Professor

‘**We do not any of us

spect him as a teacher.
school, Professor Bentley.’


DRAYTON HALL;
LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY, |

AND OTHER TALES,

ILLUSTRATING THE BEATITUDES.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

‘‘NETTIE’S MISSION,” “LITTLE KATY AND JOLLY J IM,”
ETC.

ew Cdition.

LONDON: ae 626

JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.
\\ | MDCOCLXXIV.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
TO

The Memory of my Sather,

WHOSE BRAVE, SWEET LIFE AND BEAUTIFUL DEATH HAVS
TAUGHT HIS CHILDREN WITH WHAT FULNESS OF
BLESSING OUR MASTER WILL REWARD

HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS,

I DEDICATE THESE LITTLE BOOKS.

a“


we
CONTENTS.

LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

CHAP, - PAGE
I, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS : : : es
II, THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE ,. a . : ; 13

Ill. UNCLE ETHAN . ; : ‘ ‘ , | "5 Q1

Iv. THE DECISION : ‘ . ; - 2 «~~ 88

V. PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY . ° ° : ;: 44
VI. VICTORY . ‘. ; ° . : : 53

VII. OLD CHRISTY ; . 's . : . 59

‘VIII AUSTIN’S VISIT . ; : . , * % 65
IX. THE BRIDGE ao ot" 4 ; ; ; ‘ 73
X. MR SEMMONS ; , ° ;: : ‘a 83

CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

~ \

I. JEMMY FORD ° ‘ ° ‘ eo. OD
Il. ANEW FRIEND . : : 8 . 106
Ill. MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED . > . . 416
Iv. TRYING TO DO RIGHT ; go ae .- 1b.
V. JEM’S PARTY a re ee oe a - 186

VI

e

°

e

bt
Or.

Oo

CHRISTY’S HOME . :
CHAP.

VII.
VIII.

IX,

IT

III,
IV.

Vv.
VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

II.
IT.

IV.

VI.
VII.
VIII.

IX.

CONTENTS,

“JESUS ONLY” ; :
JEM’S DONKEY ‘ . :
OLD MATTY . : ‘
JEM’S HOME-COMING ; :

ALLAN HAYWOOD.

. DRAYTON BOYS. . a

CHURCHILL MANOR-HOUSE . .

EAGLE CRAG : . :
AS MEEK AS MOSES : °
THE PARODY . ° ;
TRUST AND SUSPICION : °
PATIENT WAITING . ; °
BEN THOMPSON . , °
REPARATION . ; ‘
THE ‘STARRY NIGHT ” . :

2

FRANK AUSTIN’S

. THE PICNIC : :

MOUNTAIN LAKE . . .
‘THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH .

MILWARD’S CORNER : ,
MARY ALLEN . ° .
IN THE OLD BARN . ; .
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT : ;
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND .

HIDDEN MANNA ° ‘ °

PAGE.

159
167
178
188

i99
206
217
227
256
247
209
270
280
286
CHAP,
I.

IT.
IT.

IV.

VI.
VII.
VIII.

IX.

I.
Il.
III.

IV.

VI

VII.
VIII.

IX.

CONTENTS.

EAGLE CRAG.

UNCLE HENRY :
NED'S FRIENDS.
A FRUITLESS SEARCH
THE SKATING CLUB
ARTHUR BENTLEY .
ON THE CRAG ;
A PERILOUS WALK .
IN THE CABIN :
MAKING FOR PEACE

BRIGHTENED PATHS

TRUE TO
THE WAGER ; :
FATHER AND SON . a
WILL SEATON oe ;

WILL’S “ FIRST AND BEST”

‘COE THAT LOVETH FATHER OR MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS

NOT WORTHY OF ME” :
THE DECISION. ;
OFF FOR ST WILFRID’S :

SEEKING FOR REFUGE ;

THE THANK-OFFERING ‘

PAGS

387
395
404
416
Ad
433
440
450
460
469

‘483
492
501

- 509

520
529

539

551
562
©








a,





ett

y






LAURENCE BRONSON'’S VICTORY. ~~
.




LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

CHAPTER I.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS,

“WELL, Stevens, how are you, and how are they all at
home?” asked Laurence Bronson, springing into the sleigh
which had just drawn up before the main gate of Drayton

_ Hall, and proceeding to enwrap himself in the heavy robes

with which it was well-nigh filled.

“T’m well, sir, thank you; and the family’s the same.
All right and comfortable now, Mr Laurence ?”’

“Yes: I'll take the reins. Good-bye, boys;” and he
nodded merrily to a group of his: schoolfellows who stood
near. “I hope you’ll all have a jolly good time. Merry
Christmas !”

‘Good-bye! Merry Christmas!” shouted back a dozen
happy voices; and Laurence drove ay over the hard,
smooth road foward home.

“Has my father returned, Stevens?” he asked, after they .
had left the Hall behind them. “Mrs Bronson wrote me
that he had gone to New York on business.”

“Yes sir; he’s back again. He’s not looking quite
well either, I think, since his journey.”

“Perhaps he tired himself too much.” |

‘That may be, sir, for he doesn’t complain. He only
A LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

looks heavy and quiet like. JI dare say he’ll be more like
himself when he’s rested.”

“Oh, yes; he always does come home from New York
tired out. He rushes through with his business so, in order
to be home the sooner.”

There was no.room in his glad, joyous heart for a thought
of apprehension or anxiety. The sun threw such a flood of
light over the snow-covered fields and roads, and sparkled
with such beauty in the diamond particles of ice which
covered every tree and shrub, that it was no wonder that
his heart should catch its reflection, and be so filled with
light and joy that it could not harbour a dark thought.
And the fresh, cold wind came singing through the leafless
branches, not in wild, sharp notes, but softly and caress-
ingly, yet with a bracing strength in its touch which
brought a glow to his cheek, and kindled his eye with a
brighter light. :

“It seems like spring to-day,” ne said, after enjoying in
silence for a while the perfect loveliness of the day. “ By
afternoon those old oaks will have lost some of the dia-
monds with which they have bedizened themselves.”

“JT think it’ll not be so mild for long, Mr Laurence.
The: wind is turning to the north, and it is colder now
than when I left Glencoe.” | |

“All the better,” replied Laurence, who seemed deter-
mined to be pleased, whatever happened. ‘‘ We couldn’t
quarrel with such a glorious day as this, but I was a little
afraid the skating would be spoiled. There’s the church
spire. How pretty the village looks, all covered with
snow |”

He was so full of enjoyment, this light-hearted, happy
schoolboy, that everything looked lovely in his eyes that
beautiful morning ; and when he reached his home, throw-
ing the reins to Stevens, and springing out of the sleigh to
greet the five little sisters who stood at the lodge-gates
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 5

waiting for him, he did not see that the eldest of the, yroup,
despite fier joy in meeting him, had a troubled look which
might have warned him that the hearts at home were not
as light as his, “i

“Now bundle into the sleigh, every mother’s child of
you, and we will drive up to the house in gay style,” he
sald, keeping in his arms the last one who had claimed a
kiss, a little blue-eyed, fair-haired maiden, who clung about
his neck and called him “ Lally,” with a musical little
tongue which refused to give him his rightful name.

So they all sprang in, crowding together like the children
of the unfortunate ‘‘ old woman who lived in a shoe ;” and
even Jessie’s sober face lost its serious look, and was radiant
with laughter and fun, when the mother came out upon the
piazza to welcome her boy.

‘“¢ Merry Christmas, mother darling! I shall have to wait
one minute for my kiss, for my family cares are very heavy |
_ just now,” he said, glancing merrily up at her, as he jumped
one little sister after another out of the crowded sleigh.
‘Come, Minnie, you’re the last;” and he lifted the
youngest in his arms again, and turned to place her on the
piazza steps.

But the little one stoutly resisted her dethronement, and
insisted upon being carried into the house. The piazza
reached, however, her claims were ignored ; for there stood
the mother ; and less than two clasping arms could not tell
her how glad he was to be with her again.

“ But, mother,’ and he held her off from him after the
first long kiss, and looked anxiously into her face, “you
look so tired nid pale.”

‘No; I am not tired,” she answered, smiling ; for she
could met bear that his gladness should be dimmed s0 soon.
‘T am often pale, you know. But how well and bright and
happy you seem, my boy ;” and she pushed back the curls
from his forehead, looking fondly into his handsome face.
6 | LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T am well and happy, and I try to be bright,” he
answered. ‘“‘ But somehow I generally manage to prove
rather stupid than bright as far as study is concerned,”
he added, with a laugh. “Never mind though, mother ;
T’ll battle through, and come out a student yet; you shall
see if I don't.”

Again that pained expression, which he had aotieed te
fore, flitted over his mother’s face; but the next moment it
was gone ; and, turning to Jessie, eh said—

‘¢ Now, order luncheon, dear. Laurence must be famished
after his cold drive.”

‘Where is father?” asked Laurence, as he followed his
mother into the house, the children all hanging about him,
as if determined not to lose sight of him for a moment.

“He had to drive over to Mr Cuyler’s on business. He
expected to be back before you reached home, but charged
me if he were detained to tell you how sorry he was to be
called away just at this time. He will be back soon.”

“ Here he is now,” said little Minnie, who had run to the
window at the sound of sleigh-bells. “* But only just look
at him,” she said, in a troubled little voice. “ He feels
real bad about something. See, Lally, doesn’t he?”
Laurence sprang up quickly, but his mother was before
him. | |

“ Father is very tired,” she said, drawing Laurence’s arm
within her own. “He has had too much to do lately.
Come, we will go out to meet him. MHere’s your boy home
again, father,” she called in a pleasant voice, as they went
out upon the piazza again.

The weary, spiritless look in Mr Bronson’s face changed
to one of pleasure, and he came quickly forward.

‘Welcome home, my son,” he said, grasping both
Laurence’s outstretched hands. ‘I need not ask if you are
well with such a face as that beaming before me.”

Laurence wished that he could say as much for him, for
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 7

all his father’s attempted cheerfulness could not hide the
furrows in his face, nor the gray lines scattered through
his dark hair; but he fell in at once with his assumed
happiness.

‘‘T should answer the question just as you would expect
it to be answered, Isn’t it a grand morning for a sleigh-
ride, father 1”

“Yes, it is indeed a perfect day. How did you leave
all your schoolfellows at the Hall?”

And so half a dozen indifferent questions and answers
passed between them, until lunch was announced. But
Laurence went into the dining-room with the full deter-
mination to find out, as soon as the meal was over, what
was the cloud whose shadow had been so carefully kept
from his own path, only, as it seemed, to darken the more
heavily upon those whom he most loved.

Luncheon was scarcely over when Mr Bronson rose from
his seat, and saying that he had some writing which it was
necessary for him to attend to immediately, went out of
the room.

‘“‘Can I help you, father?” Laurence had asked.

“No,” had been the answer ; and the boy could not fail
to notice the heavy tone in which the words were spoken.
“No; I have only to affix my signature to two or three
papers. But they must be sent to Mr Cuyler at once.
Stevens is waiting for them. I will be back directly.”

The papers had been signed and sent to the lawyer, Mr
Cuyler ; and now Mr Bronson pushed back his chair from
his writing-table, and leaned his head upon his hand in deep
thought. But the next moment there came to him the
sound of a quick, elastic step in the hall. then a knock
upon the door; and he lifted his head and smiled as.
Laurence came in.

“Well, my boy?” he said, as if to ask what had brought
him there. Laurence crossed the room ; and, tall, manly-
8 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

looking fellow as he was, sat down upon his father’s knee,
and put his two strong arms about his father’s neck.

“‘ Now, father ?”

“ What will you have, my son ?” |

He knew what he would have ; but he asked the question
to gain a moment’s time, in which he might try to measure
his son’s power of endurance, and also to seek for tender
words in which to break the truth to him.

‘“ You know what I want,” said Laurence. “ There is a
heavy load on your heart and on mother’s. I want to know
what it is, that I may lift it, if such a thing is possible : if
not, that [ may share it, and so at least ease the burden.”

His father took the earnest face between his hands, and
looked long into the depths of the clear hazel eyes. At
length, he said—
= Can you bear a sore trial pany and bravely,
Laurence ?”
~ “T can,” said the boy.

“Tt is a very heavy burden ; so heavy, that it must press
upon every joy and pleasure of your life.—so heavy, that it
may crush out all your hopes and glad anticipations. Can
you bear it ?”

“T can.”

“Then you shall know it, and we will try to strengthen _
one another. Laurence, I am a ruined man.” )

‘Your property is all gone?”

“Everything. I have just signed the last paper yielding
all'to my creditors.”

“ How came it about, father? May I know ?” :

The question was asked in a low, almost whispering voice ;
he was awe-struck with the weight of this great calamity.

“Partly through my own fault, Laurence ; for I should
have been more cautious; and-yet I was only doing fora
friend.in need what he had once done for me. I indorsed.
heavily—heavily, at least, for a man in my circumstances—
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. | 9

for Henry Lee. You know him, and you know what a
friend he was to me in my younger days, when I was a
stranger in a strange city. His platted has proved himself
a villain. Lee is bankrupt, and I am”

“Still a young man, with a strong , right arm of your
own, and another eich can at least do something to aid -
you ;” and the boy held up his hand before his father’s face,
as if to show him how broad and sinewy it was. ‘“ Keep
up a good heart, father—we’ll do well yet.”

‘“My brave boy,’ said his father, fondly, “you have
lifted a great load from my heart, for I dreaded to tell you
of this trial, lest it should overwhelm you. It has come so
suddenly upon us, that I scarcely knew how to prepare you
for it by letter. But, Laurence, do you know that it entails
upon you a great disappointment? I cannot afford to send
you back to school.” : | |

It was a terrible disappointment, and one of which, in his
desire to comfort his father, he had not thought. He was
not a quick nor a showy student ; but he loved study for its
own sake, and would plod for hours over a problem upon
which many of his classmates would spend but half the
time, and yet rise from the laborious task as fresh and
vigorous as if it had been but recreation to him. The
dream of his life had been to become a scholar; to spend
his years in researches and discoveries ; and now it must
all end just here. “A great disappointment!” It was
something more than that: it was a blow which almost
staggered him ; and, for the moment, his own sorrow blotted
out the thought of his father’s grief. Huis sudden start and
look of blank dismay told Mr Bronson how sharply the
stroke had fallen upon him ; and his voice was very tremu-
lous as he tried in his turn to be the comforter.

“T told you, my boy,” he said, laying his hand tenderly
upon Laurence’s bowed head—bowed lest his father should
see the pain which he knew must be manifest in his face,—
10 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T told vou that we would need to strengthen one another,
for I knew how bitter this change would be to you. But
Dr Drayton’s charges are very heavy ; and, although I have
been most fortunate in obtaining a position which will be
open to me next week, my salary will not be sufficient to
maintain us all. I must try to find a place for you as well,
and we shall have to work together for the mother and the
little sisters.”

He could not have drawn the dark picture in better
colours. “The mother and the little sisters” were the joy
of Laurence’s life ; and the thought of his father, cheerfully
descending from the high position he had held, and thank-
fully accepting a situation which might at least keep his
wife and children from want, brought a glow of enthusiasm
in the work to his own heart. The bowed head was lifted ;
and the boy stood up manfully to accept the burden which
had been laid upon his young shoulders.

“Well, father,” he said, ‘we will do our best. With
two of us to shield them, they ought not to suffer. Ag
soon as I can find a clerkship, I am ready to do my share.”

“God bless you, Laurence! you have borne this nobly,”
said Mr Bronson, “Jf you knew how much easier you
have made my share of the cross, you would feel that you
could thank Him also for having given you strength to take
up your portion so courageously.”

For a long while they sat together, talking over the
change in their prospects ; and then Laurence went to seek
his mother. He was glad to think that she would be spared
the recital of the sad story ; and he lost no time in telling
her that he knew all, and was ready cheerfully to do his
part in the new life which awaited him. They had scarcely
had time to say more than half of what was in their hearts,
when the children came in to plead for a sleigh-ride. Jessie,
guessing rightly that Laurence wanted to be alone with his
mother, had done her best to keep the little ones in the
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 11

nursery ; but all her wiles were of no avail. Laurence
must come,—he had talked long enough with father and
mother ; and, finally, they all rushed in, pell-mell, to carry
him off a prisoner. He yielded, and went with them ; for
he had promised them this ride on their way up fon the
lodge-gates, and he was not sorry that he had done so when
once they had started.

The children were wild with delight, and their merry
laughter echoed gaily in the clear frosty air,—excited by
anything or by nothing, as the case might be,—that made
but little difference ; for their hearts were so light that they
overflowed with joy at their own sweet will,—it needed
nothing to call it forth, And, by and by, he began to enter
into the spirit of the frolic himself. His counterfeited
mirth changed to enjoyment almost as hearty and unre-
strained as that of his little sisters, who knew nothing of
the cloud which hung over their home.

And when they had returned, there was the long winter
evening to be gone through with somehow, and Christmas
Eve too. So he set them at a game of romps, which lasted
till they went to bed; and then ‘he began to look forward
to the hour when he might shut himself up in his own
room, and think it all over. By and by it came; and when
prayers were over, he went up-stairs for a quiet time before |
he should go to rest. Even here, however, an interruption
came between him and his wishes. The door was scarcely
closed behind him, when he heard a gentle knock; and,
opening it, saw Jessie standing there.

oo May I come in, just for a minute or two, Larry? I
want you to talk to me.”

She had always been his pet sister —this gentle, ‘matronly
little Jessie ; and now, when he met those glistening eyes,
heavy with the weight of tears which she had so struggled
to keep out of sight, he could not resist her, much as he
wished to be alone.
12 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘Come in,” he said, drawing her to him, and keeping his
arm still around her as he led her to.a chair, and lifted her
on his knee. “You are full of this trouble, aren’t you,
little woman ?”

For answer she laid her head down upon his shoulder,
and cried as if her heart would break. :

“T’ve wanted you so, Larry,” she sobbed, as soon as she
could speak. “The children don’t know about it, and I
couldn’t talk to mother because I couldn’t keep back the
tears when I said anything, and I didn’t want her to see me
cry. You won’t mind very much, will you ?”

“No, indeed, I won’t;” and the tender hand, passing
caressingly over her hair, soothed and calmed her, while it
left her free to cry herself into quiet.

By and by he began to talk in his bright, pleasant way of
the change before them; and while he did not attempt to
disguise from her that he thought it hard to bear, he found
so many sunny spots in the dark road, and showed them to
her so clearly, that she began to wonder that she had not
seen them herself.

“Why, it won’t be so very bad after all, Larry, will it?”
she said, at length; “ except for yousand father. I am so
very sorry that you cannot go back to school.”

“ Oh, don’t worry yourself about that,” he said, cheerily.
‘‘T shall manage to have some time for study at home.
And now don’t you think you had better go to bed? It is
after eleven o’clock.”

So she kissed him good-night and went away, thinking
that in all the wide world there was not a dearer, more

.. « loving brother than her own Laurence.

When she was gone, he sat down before the fire again, and
gave himself up to his thoughts. Sad enough they were.
The crushing of all his hopes of a life of study was but one
-grief.among many. The dear old home in which he had
lived from his babyhood must be sold! It was not a splen-


iol
a ae . :
AS GO a $s
y oo See! es sf oF

e f / Qh

THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE. _ 13

did home, but it was one of perfect comfort and ease; and
he could scarcely bear to think of the sad change for his
mother and the girls, from the entire immunity from all
unwelcome care to the drudgery and toil which must be
theirs so soon. |

There was another thing, too, which weighed heavily upon
him. He was a proud boy,—a very proud boy; and he
shrank from the thought of all the slights which fall upon
the poor. His cheek burned when he thought of the re-
marks of his schoolmates when they should hear that he
could no longer-afford to take his place among them, but
must earn his own living.. With some he knew this would
make no difference, many of them would love him as well
and respect him quite as much as before ; but, with others,
he knew that his poverty would be the signal for sneers and
—if they dared so far—insults. Poor fellow! It was not
a happy face which looked into the dying fire for hours after
Jessie left him, and when at last he threw himself upon his
bed, his sleep was broken with dark, troubled dreams, from
which he woke restless and uneasy, until, at length fairly
tired out, he fell into a slumber too deep to be disturbed by
dreams. ‘

CHAPTER IT.
THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE.

Tae bright morning sun did a great deal toward driving
away dark thoughts and anticipations; and by the time
Laurence was dressed and ready to go down-stairs, his brow
was as unruffled and his eye as clear as ever. Besides, it
was Christmas morning, and Laurence was a Christian. To
him the sweet Christmas morning dawned with a brighter
14 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

light than that which shone on common days; and his heart
was full of the warm, soft glow, which it had caught as he
stood at his window, singing an old Christmas carol. A
‘* Merry Christmas” it could scarcely be to the elder mem-
bers of the family, but a “happy” one it should be so far
as he could render it so.

The day was not to be spent as every other Christmas of
his life had been spent. Even the younger children under-
stood that the time-honoured tree was not to delight their
eyes this year, and that presents were to be dispensed with,
Laurence himself, although he had known nothing of the
state of affairs, was unprepared with gifts; for his father
had written him, telling him that his month’s allowance
would have to lie over until the last of the month, as it was
not convenient to send it to him at that time, and he had
expected to receive it on his return home for the holidays.
But before the last of the month, the blow which had threat-
ened Mr Bronson at the time he wrote had fallen, and poor
Laurence’s allowance was.among the things of the past.

But still the day was not to be permitted to pass un-
noticed. The little children were to have a tea-party, to
which all the family were to be invited; and no one, not
even the father or mother, was to be excused from atten
dance. The time was fixed for three o’clock in the afternoon,
but in the morning Mr Bronson said that it would be neces-
sary for him to drive to Glencoe in the afternoon; and so
the preparations were hurried, and the tea-party took place
at eleven o’clock.. ?

“You can play we had early tea,” said Lily, who was the
hostess on the occasion. So the order of the meals was a
little transposed, and tea was announced a short time before
lunch ; but the merry party enjoyed it none the less. Even
Mr Bronson’s careworn face lightened into pleasure as he
heard the peals of laughter that rang around the table, and
watched the delight of his little eldeen in their play.
THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE. 15

Laurence and Jessie threw themselves into the frolic with
their whole souls, having determined, after a long talk on
the subject, not to let the day pass gloomily ; and the tender,
grateful love which shone upon them from their mother’s
eyes was quite reward enough for the effort which they had
made,

There was no small amount of objection raised when it
was found that Laurence intended to drive his father over
to Glencoe ; but a well-timed proposal from Jessie, that the
children should occupy the time of their absence in making
a gay pen-wiper for each of them, so took their fancy, that,
instead of attempting to detain them further, their only
concern seemed to be that they should start as soon as pos-
sible, in order that the work might be done in secret.

‘The little ones don’t seem inclined to give you much
rest, Laurence,” said his father, as they drove off, with a
promise to return as quickly as they could.

‘Qh, the novelty will wear off when I have been at home
a day or two,” said Laurence. ‘I am always a lion at the
first of my vacations. They will not hang about me so
when they grow more accustomed to see me going in and
out every day.”

His father glanced quickly toward him, but the face into
which he looked returned his gaze with a smile which told
nothing of the boy’s disappointment.

Their drive was not a pleasant one, the bright morning
having darkened into a dull, gray afternoon; and before -
they reached Glencoe a drizzling, sleety rain began to fall,
freezing as it touched the ground, and making the roads
very dangerous for travelling.

“ Kitty is sharp-shod of course, father, is she not ?” asked
Laurence, as, for the third time, the horse slipped on the
icy road.

“Yes; she will hardly fall, I think ; but hold her in well.
I want to stop a moment at Dr Wells’s, so we will drive
16 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

right over there. I shall be more sure to find him than on
any other day.” :
“‘T shall not be here more than a moment or two,” said
Mr Bronson, as he stepped out of the sleigh ; “but I have
another errand to attend to; and you might drive up to Mr
Cuyler’s with these papers, which I promised to let him have
this afternoon, and then meet me at the foot of Gray’s Hill.”
Laurence drove off quite pleased with his errand. Mr
Cuyler, his father’s lawyer, was a great favourite with all
the family, and the boy was always glad to be sent to him

with any message. The old gentleman received him very

kindly, greeting him even more cordially than was his
wont, and talked so pleasantly and encouragingly of his
father’s affairs, that Laurence left him at last almost per-
suaded that things were not so bad with them, after all;
and that, with industry and effort on his own part, he might
yet, though it would perhaps be retarded for a year or two,
pass through the course of study which he had mapped out
for himself.

“Well, good-bye, and success to you,” said Mr Cuyler, as
Laurence bundled himself up in the robes once more.

“‘ Good-bye, sir, and thank you for your encouragement,”
said Laurence; and he drove off with a lighter heart than
he had carried in his breast for the last twenty-four hours.

At the foot of Gray’s Hill there stood.a small well-kept
hotel, where Mr Bronson always stopped to water his horses
when he had been out for a long drive ; and it was here
that he had appointed to meet his son. As Laurence neared
the hotel, he noticed a group of men moving slowly up toward
the house ; and as his eye fell upon them, one figure separated
itself from the rest and came running swiftly up the road.

“What is wrong?” asked Laurence, as the man neared
him, for it was easy to perceive that something unusual had
~ occurred.

“There’s a man killed, He fell on the ice coming down

—_

i Saal
THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE, 17

the hill, and they think he's broke his neck. I’m off for
the doctor ;” and he rushed on toward Dr Wells’s house,
which was close at hand. What was it that made the boy
seize the whip and strike Kitty such a cutting blow that
she reared until she stood almost erect on her hind feet—then
springing forward, dashed furiously up the road, until Laur-
ence drew her suddenly up at the door of the hotel, into
which the crowd of men were bearing some heavy burden ?
Something within him, he knew not what, had told him
that the burden they bore was his father.

“ Killed! killed! killed!”

The word seemed to be burning itself into his soul; and
flinging the reins upon Kitty’s neck, he sprang out of the
sleigh and rushed into the house, his white, terrified face
startling all who met him as he fiercely elbowed his way
through the throng which had followed the bearers into the
parlour.

“Let me pass,” he said, roughly grasping the shoulder of
a large man who stood in his path, and putting him aside
as if he had been a child. The man turned round sharply,
with a threat on his lips; but one glance at that blanched
face stilled him, and the crowd fell silently apart to let the
boy pass. On and on, up through the long room, at the
very end of which, stretched on a sofa, lay the object of his
search. Two men stood leaning over it, hiding the face
from his sight. In a moment a hand was upon each of
them ; they were thrust aside; and Laurence was kneeling
beside the pallid face upon the pillow.

“My father! Oh, my father!” The cry rang through
the room, bringing tears to eyes which had been long unused
to weep ; but the leaden lips did not move in response to |
the appeal.

“Is he dead? Tell me, is he dead?” cried Laurence,
springing to his feet again, and facing suddenly round upon
the two men whom he had just pushed aside. .

B
18 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“Hist, lad, hist,” said the elder of the two, laying his
hand gently upon the boy’s shoulder. “ He’s not dead, I’m
thinkin’ ; but terrible stunned, just. Mike’s run for the
doctor, and Mike’s very fleet of foot. He'll not be long gone.”

“They are coming now,” said a voice which Laurence
seemed to know, and looking up, he saw that the other per-
son who had been watching his father so closely was Mr
Braisted, the hotel-keeper.

ey think that there is life,” he said, in response to Laur-
ences look. “But here is the doctor; he can tell us.”

Dr Wells passed through the crowd, bidding them to
stand back and give the injured man air ; hurriedly grasped
Laurence’s hand; and bent over the unconscious figure
upon the couch.

‘“‘T would like to have this room cleared.”

The words seemed a suggestion, but they were obeyed as
a command ; for there was a power in Dr Wells’s gentleness
that no one ever thought of resisting.

“He is not dead, my son,” he said, in answer to the
hungry eyes which were watching his every movement with
such terrible interest ; “he isin a deep faint—we can bring
him to.” :

Even as he spoke, Mr Bronson’s head stirred upon the
pillow, his eyes opened and met Laurence’s frightened face.
He tried to smile, but a spasm of pain crossed his lips, and
he sank back into unconsciousness. |

“Ts he very badly hurt?” asked Laurence, when, after a
long and thorough examination of his patient, the doctor
lifted his head, and turned a very serious face on the boy.

“Yes, he is badly hurt. I think you had better drive
over for your mother and bring her here.”

** Then I cannot take him home?”

“No; the long drive would kill him in his present state.
I will remain with him until you return; you had better
go at once. Make as light of it as you can to your mother,”
THE DRIVE TO GLENCOE, 19

Make as light of it as he would, his face bore too much
of the impress of the fright and suffering through which he
had passed for Mrs Bronson to be greatly deceived ; and
although she said but little at home before the children,
they had not passed over a quarter of the road to Glencoe
before she had drawn from her son all that he knew. That
was little enough. He had heard from aman who had seen ©
the accident that his father, in descending the hill, had
slipped and pitched violently backward ; but that was all
that the bystanders could tell; for when they ran to his ©
aid he was unconscious, and had so remained up to the
moment of Laurence’s departure, except for that one gleam
of recognition. The doctor had purposely told him but
little, fully expecting that his mother would win from him
all that he could tell.

When they reached the hotel, Mr Braisted came out to
meet them, stopping Laurence as he was about to help his
mother from the sleigh. |

“ Your father is not here,” he said. “Dr Wells has had
him carried to his own house. He told me to tell you to go
over there, as he thought it best to remove him before he
became conscious,”

He was watching for them, the good old man, when they
drove up to his door, and came out to welcome them.

‘You have made good speed,” he said, cheerily, “and I
am glad to say that my patient seems a little easier, and is
quite himself. I had him brought here lest he might not
like being in that noisy hotel; and, besides, I can watch him
more closely when he is under my own roof.”

‘Then he is seriously injured ?” Mrs Bronson asked, her
hand trembling in the doctor’s firm grasp.

“Yes; I will tell you the truth, he is seriously hurt ;
you must keep a brave heart and a cheerful face. Now
come up-stairs, for he has asked for you.”

Her own loving hand could not have arranged him more
20 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

easily in the white bed on which he lay; but the heavy
eyes were turned to the door as she entered, with a look
which showed that, after all said and done, he needed her,
and could not rest content without her. Mrs Wells, who had
been sitting beside him, left them together ; but Mrs Bronson
soon followed her, leaving Laurence with his father.

‘Ts the doctor in his office?” she asked, when she had
thanked Mrs Wells most warmly for her kindness.

“Yes ; he is coming right up.”

“But I would like to see him before he comes up. May
I go down to him ?”

“ Certainly ; you will find him alone. ‘You know the
ways of the house, I believe.”

“T ought to know them,” said Mrs Bronson, looking into
the pleasant face with a world of gratitude in her own.
This is not the first time that I have tasted of its hospi-
tality.”

The doctor opened the office-door before she reached it,
and met her in the hall.

“T was on my way to your room,” he said; “am I
needed ?” and he looked anxiously at her.

‘““No; my husband seems to be falling asleep, but I
wanted to speak to you. Doctor, I want you to tell me
the whole truth. Is he fatally injured 2?”

“T will tell you the whole truth. No; he is not.”

“What, then ?” she asked, with a sudden, quick breath of
deep relief.

“His spine is badly injured. There, my child, try to be
calm ;” and he drew her toa chair. “The bene nursing
which your love will give him will bring him through. In
the meantime, he is in a good home, with friends who will
do their best for him.”

“But, doctor’”—her lips faltered ; the words were hard,
sO very ead. to say.
‘Wait one moment, if you please. I want to tell you a
UNCLE ETHAN, Zz.

little story. Twenty years ago, a physician settled in this
place. For five years his practice was insufficient to main-
tain his family ; and, at the end of that time, on the very
brink of insolvency, he sold his house and prepared to leave
Glencoe. Did you ever hear who bought that house and
gave it for two years, rent free, to the almost bankrupt
doctor? Iam nota rich man, Mrs Bronson, or I would do
for him what he has done for me ;. but while my little roof-
tree covers my head, there is a home i in Glencoe for George
Bronson.”
“ But that debt was paid long since, Dr Wells.”

“Jn bank-notes, yes ; but not in that more precious cur-

rency in which your husband loves to deal. Not another
word, my child. I know just how things stand with you,
for George told me all; and I thank God that now, when
you are in trouble, He has put it in my power to return
some of the kindness which I have received at your hus-
band’s hands. , Now let us go up to him.”

CHAPTER IIL
UNCLE ETHAN,

AuL night long the snow had been falling silently upon
the sleeping city, waking no one among the thousands of
slumbering people, but softly covering everything with a
sheet of spotless white. The dusty streets had, during those
few quiet hours, been paved with pure marble, the church
spires had been wreathed with orange blossoms, and the
Teafless trees hung with garlands of white chrysanthemums.
Even the very beans of ashes in the poorer streets had been
22 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

.

_ transformed into fair little hillocks, which, for all that any
one could now see, might have been brought by some loving
fairy from the snow-covered fields on the farther side of the
river, to blossom into greenness when their pretty mantles
should slip from their shoulders.

But in the early morning the wind changed suddenly to
the south-east—a fine mist, which speedily resolved itself
into a heavy rain, took the place of the beautiful snow-
flakes ; and before the great world had fairly taken up the
burdens of the day, almost every trace of beauty had faded
from the scene. The pure marble changed to a grayish hue,
slipping from beneath the feet of the vexed pedestrians with
a treacherous slide that betrayed many a trusting foot ;
orange-blossoms and chrysanthemums melted away into
heavy drops of moisture, which dripped, dripped upon the
passers-by in merciless showers. The little hillocks lost
their beautiful cloaks, and stood revealed, not as grassy
mounds, but as heaps of rubbish and filth, reeking in the
all-prevailing damp and wet. Oh, how quickly that un-
sparing rain did take the romance out of the thing! Laur-
ence Bronson, stepping from the train as it whistled and
screamed into the depot, certainly saw nothing to admire
in it.

Turning up his coat collar to protect his throat—for an
umbrella served but half its purpose in the saturated atmo-
sphere—he set out courageously for his destination. To
reach it, he must cross the city, for he was on his way to
the house of his uncle, Mr Ethan Bronson. It was a long
walk and a hard one, but it was accomplished in good time;
_ and, taking an omnibus at the avenue, he was soon depo-
sited at his uncle’s door.

His errand there was not an enviable one, his uncle never
having been much of a favourite in the family ; for Ethap
Bronson was, strangely unlike his brother George, hard ana
cold as he was gentle and warm-hearted, and wholly wants
UNCLE ETHAN. | 93 |

ing in that sympathetic kindliness which made his brother
a welcome visitor even where he was a stranger.

‘‘Good morning, Laurence,” he said, turning from his
seat by the glowing fire, as the servant opened the door for
his nephew's entrance. “Rather a wet day, isn’t it? How
is your father?” |

‘“‘T have come to see you on father’s account, Uncle Ethan.
He has had a terrible fall.”

“ He has!” exclaimed Mr Bronson. “Is he much hurt?”

“Yes, sir, very badly hurt; he has injured his spine.
The doctor says it will be months before he can move.”

The alarm expressed in Mr Bronson’s face was not all
occasioned by the thought of his brother’s suffering. Not
that he was regardless of that ; but at the same moment
there came to his mind the thought of a family of eight
persons, one of them a helpless invalid, to be provided for ;
and from whence was the provision to come ?

“Of course, he will have to resign his post with Mr
Englis ?” |

‘Yes, sir. JI am to go to Mr Englis when I leave here,
and tell him that father is not able to fulfil his engagement.”

“Then you have absolutely nothing to depend upon.
What are you going to do?”.

Not one question had he asked as to whether his brother’s
life were endangered, or whether he were likely to be
crippled by his injury. That last inquiry had struggled to
his lips as if he were so overwhelmed by the idea of their
poverty that he had no thought to give to any other view
of the case. Laurence’s spirit rose. He had feared this;
and now he lifted his head as he answered proudly—

‘‘T do not know, as yet. God will open some path to
me.”

“To you,” said his uncle, laying great stress upon the
pronoun, ‘Do you expect to be able to maintain. the
family 1” |
le ee

24 - LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“T expect to do all I can toward it,” said Laurence,
quietly.

“‘ But to do anything in that way you will have to leave
your studies ; and Dr Drayton, whom I. met in the street
the other day, told me you would make a first-rate engineer
in the course of three years, young as you are. He says
that your talent for mathematics and engineering is some-
thing quite wonderful.”

Laurence’s cheek flushed with pleasure, but the next
moment it paled again as he said,— |

“TI know that Dr Drayton thinks me a good mathe-
matician, for he has told me so, and it is a great disappoint-
ment to me to have to give up my studies; but as my father
is helpless, the care of my mother and sisters, as well as of
himself, devolves upon me.”

No wonder that this hard, close man, grudging a few
hundreds out of his many thousands, looked away from that
generous young face, glowing with the light of an earnest,
self-sacrificing purpose. For a few moments Mr Bronson
sat gazing into the fire; then he rose to his feet, saying,—

“T suppose some of the rest of us must see what can be
done. Some of the rest of us I say, but I don’t see but
that it must all come upon me. There is no one else to
whom you can apply.”

‘“Uncle Ethan,”—Laurence wondered at the sound of
his own voice, it was so cold and hard ; and yet such a tem-
pest of outraged pride, of grief and shame, was raging within
him,—“ Uncle Ethan, I certainly had no intention of ‘ apply-
ing,’ as you term it, to you. My only business here this
morning was to obey my father’s request that I should ask
you to go up to Glencoe to-morrow, if it is possible for you
todo so. If it should turn out that he thinks it best to
ask you for a loan, you may rest assured that the money
shall be returned to the uttermost farthing, if I have to giva

- up every moment of my life to the task of earning it,”
NG

ey Vy

‘ur



ive

s not unkindly.”—Page 25.

its expression wa

down upon Laurence was not altogether an attract

ing

one, and yet

** The face look
UNCLE ETHAN, 25

“Stop there, boy,” said his uncle, gruffly; “you have
said enough. You are too proud, too proud by half, for a
poor man’s son. You may tell your father I will be up. by
the ten o’clock train.”

Laurence took up his hat, and rose at once.

“Very well, sir,” was his response.

“But you had better wait for lunch,” said Mr Bronson,
as he laid his hand upon the door.

“Thank you, I cannot wait,” he answered. Good
morning ;” and with. a bitter sense of shame and degra-
dation, he went out into the storm, feeling as if he would
rather face it for a week, than remain for another moment in
his uncle’s house.

_ Hailing an omnibus, he seated himself in.a corner, think:
ing sadly enough of the difficulties of his position. If there
were only some means by which he might see his way clear
to reject all aid from his uncle! Deeply and seriously he
pondered the question, but no light came to him; and he
sat looking out on the pitiless storm in a mood which ac-
corded well with the dreary prospect. If he had not been
so buried in his disagreeable thoughts, he might have noticed
that a gentleman, at whose side he had seated himself, was
regarding him with close attention. The face looking down
upon him was not altogether an attractive one, and yet its
expression was not unkindly. The smile on the lips was
somewhat grim, hovering uncertainly there as if it were
not quite sure that it was well te appear at all; and the
deep-set eyes looked out from beneath their bushy brows
with a keen and piercing glance which seemed to be reading
one through and through. But there was a something in that .
face which told you that you might trust the man ; that, how-
ever stern and uncompromising he might prove, he would be
true and faithful, even at the expense of his own interests.

‘‘ How long are we to sit side by side without speaking

to one another ¢”
26 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY,

Laurence, looking up with a start as the slow, measured
tones fell on his ear, saw Dr Drayton, the principal of the
school which he had attended for the past five years.

“Dr Drayton! I beg your pardon, sir. Have you been
sitting here ever since I came in ?”

“Yes. You do not seem to enjoy the storm. You look
as if you were engrossed in meditating upon this evil world.”

‘““T have some reason to look grave,” said Laurence.
“You have not heard, I suppose, of my father’s accident ?”

‘* No, indeed! what has befallen him ?”

The passionless face was not wholly unmoved by the boy’s
story ; and when it was ended, Dr Drayton said kindly—

‘“‘T am grieved, deeply grieved, to hear this. Iam afraid,
from what I hear,” he added, lowering his voice, “ that it is
especially trying to him to be laid aside just now.”

“Yes, sir; that is true. As long as you have spoken of
it, doctor, I may as well tell you at once that, through the
failure of another house, my father’s affairs are greatly em-
barrassed ; and it will be necessary for me to leave school
at once.”

Dr Drayton looked at him in blank dismay. —

“‘ Leave school!” he repeated, slowly. ‘ Bronson, that
would be a shame. The loss to yourself would be incal-
culable.” |

“IT know that, sir; but itmust be done. My father is
utterly helpless, and likely to be so for the rest of his life ;
and I have a mother and five little sisters. What can I do
except obtain a situation, and earn what I can for their
support? I cannot look at my own wishes or interest in
this case.” —

‘‘But it is their interest as well as yours,” insisted the
doctor. ‘ You know very well, Bronson, that I am not in
the habit of complimenting my pupils; and you will there-
fore understand that I am in thorough earnest when I tell
you that I never met with another boy of your age, and .
UNCLE ETHAN. 27

have seen but few men, who could compete with you in
mathematics and engineering. Your talents in that line are
wonderful ; and it will be throwing away the greatest gift
which God has given you if you lay your studies aside.
Three years of steady application will fit you for some high
and lucrative position. If you could be spared from home
for that time, you would then be able to do more for your
family in six months than you could do as a clerk in a
mercantile house in years. You were never meant for a
business man, een but you will make one of the first
engineers of the age.”

Never had Laurence heard that measured voice quicken
into so much life and animation. It was no wonder that
his own eyes kindled, and his heart beat quick. But it was
of no use to listen to the doctor’s unusual enthusiasm. It
could not be: he must work, and work at once. Even if
those at home could be provided for in any other way,
where was the money to pay for his education? Uncle
Ethan’s heavy purse could easily bear the drain; but no
earthly power could compel him to ask a favour at his
hands,

“You are very kind to say so,” he answered slowly, after
a little pause ; ‘“‘ and I can never tell you what a trial it is to
me to give up all my hopes, and devote myself to an entirely
different life. But it must be, Dr Drayton; I can only take
things as they stand. And now I must say good-bye, for
I leave the omnibus here.”

“So do I; I want to stop at number seventy.”

‘“‘Laurence,”—they had reached the sidewalk, and
Laurence had shaken hands with him and was turning
away, when the doctor’s voice recalled him,— “if you find
that any arrangmement can be made, either with your uncle
or any one else, by which the family can be taken care of
without your aid, the question with regard to funds for your
own use need not embarrass you: your studies shall be no
28 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

expense to you. No, don’t say a word,” he added, lifting
his hands in deprecation of the thanks which he saw were
breaking from Laurence’s lips. “You can aid me in many
little ways in the school, if you prefer to do so; and
I should be so sorry to lose you, that the proposition is quite
a selfish one on my part. Tell your father all that I have
said before you decide on your future course, and then let me
know your final determination. I advise you most earnestly
to consider the matter with an eye to the future as well as
the present need. Good-morning ;” and before Laurence
had time for a single word in response, he was gone.

The errand to Mr Englis was soon accomplished ; and
then Laurence gladly turned his face toward home. The
long ride would have been tedious enough with nothing to
look at but “water, water everywhere,” if he had not had
so much to think of; but for some time his brain was
too busy with plans and contrivances for any loneliness or
ennut. Nothing could have done more to convince him of
the magnitude of the sacrifice which it seemed necessary for
him to make, than the fact that its announcement had so
roused this constrained, immovable man. If every profes-
sor and teacher in the school had thrown their influence into
the scale, urging him to continue his course, their combined
voices would not have affected him so much as those few
words from Dr Drayton, coupled with a demeanour so dif-
ferent from his usual manner. He had known him for go
long, and seen him maintain that cold indifference under
such a variety of circumstances, both in school and out of
it, that the feeling he had manifested had astonished him
beyond measure ; and had doubled and trebled his own pain
and disappointment.

Plan after plan, expedient after expedient, all equally
fruitless and impracticable, floated through his mind, and
were impatiently thrown out again; until at last, fairly
wearied out, he laid his head against the back of the seat,
UNCLE ETHAN, 29

and tried to forget his perplexity in sleep. That also
proved a futile attempt, and finally he gave it up, and
began to count the passengers in the car; then the drops”
of blackish water which dripped in through the roof, falling
on the seat before him, and forming a little dark pool on
the shabby cushion ; but by and by, with a shrill whistle of
defiance, the engine dashed up to the depot, and there he
was at Glencoe, with only a few rapid steps between him
and his mother. There was comfort in that thought at
least ; and with a lightened brow he jumped from the car,
and walked swiftly up the village street.

She was there to open the door for him as he ran up the
piazza steps, having seen him from the window.

“What a terrific day it has been,’ she said. “I am
afraid that you are worn out, my boy.”

“Oh no,” he answered, cheered already by the sight of
her dear face. “I shall do very well. How is father?”

‘He has been suffering very much all day, but now he has
fallen asleep. What did Uncle Ethan say ?”

It was not of the slightest use for him to try to answer
lightly, for she read his face as if it had been an open book,

‘‘Was he unkind, Laurence? Tell me all the truth. I
did not expect any great amount of sympathy from him.”

‘‘Nor did I, and I received even less than I expected. I
did not mean to tell you, mother; but since you have
guessed it, I need not try to hide it. Uncle Ethan’s only
concern seemed to be in the question of our support. If
father does as I would wish, he will not accept the first
penny from him. But 1 do not want to pain you, mother,”
he added, seeing the troubled look which came into her
face. “I did not mean to say one word about it, but it
slipped out. He is to be here to-morrow, and father will
do as he thinks best. But, mother dear, if we must have
help from Uncle Ethan, let it be as a loan ; don’t let him
give us anything.”
30 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

He spoke impetuously and earnestly; but his mother
only smiled; a sad, patient smile it was, and said quietly—

| seal pine have asked any one for aid than your
uncle; but we have no claim on any one else, and the trial
must ‘be borne. Let us try submissively to take up the
cross which our Master has seen it best for us to carry, re-
membering that He has promised the ‘kingdom of heaven’
to the ‘poor in spirit... We must try to bear our burden
humbly, Laurence, that so the promised blessing may be
given to us by our wise and tender Father. I know that
is hard, very hard for you. It will be a struggle for
all of us, but perhaps you will find the battle most difficult
to win; yet your Captain is ever in the advance, and surely
you need not fear defeat while fighting beneath His
banner.”

But Laurence’s proud heart could not submit patiently
just then.. The recollection of his uncle’s cold reception of
his sad story was still fresh upon him ; and his spirit
chafed at the thought of taking any favours from that
grudging hand. He would not, however, tell his mother all
he felt ; he could not add this to what she already bore;
and her long anxious day in the sick-room had left its traces
so plainly written on her face, that he felt that he must do
all he could to strengthen her. So he looked up at her,

trying to throw into his face something of its usual bright
expression, and said—

“Well, we’ll see how things turn out for us, mother,
Perhaps Uncle Ethan was in a gruff humour this morning ;
he may be very pleasant to-morrow. Now, will you see if
father is awake? Ifhe is, I will run up and speak to him
for a moment before I go back to the children.”

But Mr Bronson was still sleeping when his wife stole
up to his room and peeped in at the door; so Laurence
prepared to start at once on his homeward journey. The
horse which he had driven down in the morning was stand-
- UNCLE ETHAN, | ol

ing in the doctor’s stable, waiting for him ; and he was bid-
ding his mother good-bye, and receiving all kinds of loving
messages for the little girls, when Dr Wells’s voice stopped him.

‘Laurence Bronson, is that you out there in the hall?”
he called from the office.

“Yes sir, it is 1;” and the boy stepped toward the office
door, but the doctor met him half way. |

“Just go back, and take off your overcoat. Do you
mean to say that you have come up from the city, and are
starting off for that long ride home without taking any-
thing to eat? Come into the dining-room, and have your
dinner with me. I was not home at dinner time, and they
are bringing something up for me now.”

“ But I cannot wait, doctor. The girls have been alone
all day, and they must be very anxious to hear from father
again,”

“They heard from him this morning, and at noon also:
Stevens came over to ask how he was. But if they had not
heard since daybreak, you should not go out in this storm
without your dinner. How many meals have you eaten
to-day? Nothing since breakfast, unless I am greatly mis-
taken.”

‘‘T have not felt hungry, sir; and indeed, I think that I
had better return home at once.”

The doctor wasted no more words, but, taking him by
the shoulders, turned him face about, marched him before
him into the dining-room, and seated him at the table, be-
fore he released his grasp. Laurence had not felt in the
least hungry ; but the hot dishes looked very tempting, and
_ In fact, his dinner did him good. When he rose from the
table, though the storm was beating as pitilessly as ever, he
had more courage and strength to meet it; and the world
in general appeared far less black and hard than it had done
when he had looked out at it two hours before.

“Did you meet any one you knew in the city, to-day ?”
32 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

asked the doctor, as Laurence once more buttoned his over.
coat and muffled his throat, preparatory to starting on his
wet drive. |

“Only Dr Drayton, sir. It was not a very good day for
meeting friends out of doors.” |

‘No, not very. What had the doctor to say?”

“More than I know how to thank him for,” replied Laur-
ence, quickly. “Of course you will let the story travel no
farther, doctor ; but Dr Drayton has offered me the rest of
my course free of charge. I cannot accept his offer, but that
makes it none the less noble.”

‘“And why can you not accept it? It is not possible,
Laurence, that you will throw away such an opportunity.
You surely are not so proud that you will not take the good
gift which God offers you?”

“No, sir, indeed I am not. But, Dr Wells, if I return to
my studies who will take care of my family ?”

The doctor could scarcely help smiling, but his companion
looked most seriously in earnest.

“Your Uncle Ethan must do that,” he answered: “he is
perfectly able.” |

“Never,” said Laurence, quickly; but the next moment
he checked himself. ‘I beg your pardon: I should not
have said that. It must all be left until I can talk with
father. Now I must go home to the children.”

“Well, well, don’t fret about Uncle Ethan, or anything
else ; for it will all work out right in time. Only Laurence,
my boy,” and the old man laid his hand gently on the boy’s
shoulder, ‘don't let angry pride blind your eyes to the bless-
ings with which God would lighten a dark path. I would
think deeply and prayerfully over your friend’s kind offer
before refusing it. Present submission to what seems an
almost insupportable cross, may bring you to see by and by
that ‘all things work together for good to them that love
God.’ ?
THE DECISION, oo

“We certainly have one true friend, at ary rate,” said
Laurence, clasping the old wrinkled hand. ‘You have
done me real good, doctor. I feel ever so much better than
when I came in.” |

“That is well. There is your mother’s step on the stairs
again ; and as I suppose she has some last messages for you,
I will let you go.” |

But he remembered after the boy had left him, in think-.
ang over his answer to his appeal, that he had in truth given
no answer at all.

CHAPTER IV.
THE DECISION.

THE Christmas holidays were over, the day had come for a>
return to school, and Laurence Bronson stood in the door-
way of the little cottage to which the family had removed,
ready for his drive to Drayton Hall. The hard fight had
been fought, the victory won; and he was starting out upon
his new life as half scholar, half teacher in the school in
which hitherto he had ranked with the foremost. He knew
full well what lay before him. He had seen enough of the
life of one who had for the past two years filled that same
position at the Hall, to know that vexations and annoyances
awaited him at every turn; but these seemed but secondary
considerations, as he looked back to the struggle through
which he had passed before he had been able to accept his
uncle’s assistance. If there had been one voice to encourage
him, he would have refused Dr Drayton’s offer, for he re-
belled, heart and soul, against receiving at his uncle’s hand
a single dollar which his own labour might earn; but als
| G
34 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

though the final decision was left to himself, every one
steadily counselled his return to school. Dr Drayton was
almost peremptory ; Dr Wells had something to add to
his persuasion every time he saw him; and his father and
mother, although they said but little, were plainly on the same
side. Finally, as a forlorn hope, he went over to Mill Creek,
a little village adjoining Glencoe, to see Frank Austin, his
schoolfellow and most intimate friend, to ask his advice.

‘* Austin,” he said, as they sat together over an impromptu
lunch, ‘‘ tell me honestly what you would do in this case,”
_and he proceeded to give him his story.

“Well,” exclaimed Frank, ‘‘ our old Professor is a jolly
fellow after all, if he is pretty stiff sometimes, Well set him
up two or three pegs higher for that, Larry.” 7

“'That’s so, Frank; but now comes the question, what
am Il todo? You know my uncle almost as well as I do.
Put yourself in my place, and decide for me. Honestly now,
Austin.” :

Frank Austin rose from his seat and took two or three
turns up and down the room with his hands thrust into his.
pockets, and his head bent forward as if he were very deep
in thought over this hard problem. By and by he stopped
beside Laurence, and, leaning on his chair, said—

‘Bronson, I know you won’t want to hear what I have
to say ; but you’ve put me on my honour, old fellow, and—
I think you ought to go back.”

So Laurence came home ; and shutting himself into his
-eoom, he fought the battle which every soul must fight in
the course of its Christian warfare. His proud spirit had
refused to bear the yoke with which the Master’s wise hand
saw best to curb it ; and now the conflict was hard and long.
_ But he was thoroughly in earnest; and little by little the
- strong will yielded to the still, small voice, which had been
striving with it ever since that weary day which followed
‘his father’s accident ; until at last he left his room, and with
THE DECISION. 35

a firm step went to find his uncle, who was then in the
house. ;
“Uncle Ethan,” he said, walking directly up to him, and
taking his stand before him, “I think that I have been in
the wrong, and I have concluded to go back to school. If
you will consent to take care of the family in the meantime,
I promise to spare no study and no pains to fit myself as
speedily as possible to relieve you of the charge; and I
pledge myself also to return to you, at as early a day as
may be, all that you find it necessary to advance to my
father,” -

Mr Ethan Bronson looked up with a grim smile into the -
glowing young face, |

‘‘Humph !” he said, dryly. ‘You have come down from
your high pedestal, have you? I am glad to hear it; for
Drayton tells me that, if you live, you are sure to make a
splendia engineer, and that the investment will certainly
pay. lam glad that you bind yourself to return the funds
which I must advance ; it will give you a sense of responsi-
bility, which will be an additional spur to study.”

Laurence had not expected anything better than this
cold, mean response to his acknowledgment of his error ;
and yet his cheeks fairly tingled with anger and mortification.
He was almost tempted to recall his words ; and he stood,
for an instant, irresolute, his eyes flashing and his lips |
trembling with the feelings which were burning within him.
But the next moment he had conquered himself again, and,
turning abruptly away, he left the room.

The dear old home had been sold, with its familiar furni-
ture, excepting a few articles which had been given to Mrs
Bronson by her mother. The purchaser had wished to have
immediate possession; but, fortunately, Mr Bronson had
arranged to take a little cottage in the village of Glencoe,
as part of the purchase money, and so they were not left
houseless and homeless in this great emergency. Happily,
36 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

too, their new abode was but a stone’s throw from Dr Wells’s
house.

Laurence was greatly disappointed in his hope of being
able to see his father and mother settled in their new home
before he left, the doctor having peremptorily refused to
allow his patient to be removed, even that short distance,
nt least, for some days to come; but Janet, the nurse, who
had lived in the family for the last: five years, and who had -
been retained as the one servant when the others were dis-
missed, was fully competent for the care of the five little
girls, especially with their mother so close at hand, and the
doctor dropping in for a moment, two or three times a day,
for a merry word or two with his young friends.

What a busy, strange time it had been to Laurence, these
two weeks, in which, as it seemed, the whole current of his
life had been changed! He had come from school, a care-
less, happy boy ; fond of study, but equally fond of play
and fun: he was returning to it, almost a man, and a grave,
anxious man at that. He was bearing his first heavy cross ;
and he had yet to learn that only they who, with childlike
trust, lay their burthen in the strong Hand which is stretched
out for their help, find the true joy of dependence upon the
Master. Well might He, who knew what joy He could pour
into a humble heart, which, doubting its own strength,
comes to Him for help, liken that joy to the kingdom of
heaven.

Frank Austin, standing at the foot of the steps waiting
for him, having stopped, according to a previous arrange-
ment, to take him up to school in his sleigh, noticed the
change in him at once; and when, having waved his last
g00d-bye to the group on the piazza, Laurence turned his
face toward him, he broke out in abrupt, school-boy fashion—

“Don’t try to get up any of those smiles for my benefit,
Bronson. Why, what is the matter with you? ‘You look
tfty years old.”
THE DECISION. 37

“ Hardly that yet, Frank,” said Laurence, smiling in ear-
nest now, at his friend’s startled manner.

“But you look blue,” said Frank, ‘‘ Your mother says
your father is better. Is anything else wrong?”

The question gave Laurence a feeling of shame. Surely
he had no right to look “ blue,” when the doctor had assured
him that his father’s life was no longer in danger ; and the
colour mounted to his cheeks, as he answered—

‘No, Frank, nothing but what you already know of. But
never mind all that. Let us talk of something else. Do
you know that Dr Drayton means to give us more liberty ?
He says that those of us whose parents or friends choose to
send for us, may spend Saturday at home.”

That piece of information changed the course of the con-
versation at once; and it ran upon school, schoolfellows,
and holidays, until they had nearly reached the Hall, when
Frank suddenly broke out with— .

‘Look here, Larry!” and stopped as abruptly as he had
commenced. |

“Well, what am I to look at ?” asked Laurence, in surprise.

“T don’t exactly know how to begin what I wanted to
say,” Frank went on, after a moment’s pause, “ for I’m not
much used to preaching, as you know; but the fact is,
Larry, I don’t quite understand you fellows—you Christians,
Imean. You profess to believe that God is your Father,
and that He is able and ready to carry you through any sort
of trouble, and that everything will come out all right for
you, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Laurence, slowly and thoughtfully.

“Well, then, what bothers me is, that you should let
things worry you, just as other people, who don’t look to
anybody stronger than themselves for help, let troubles
worry them. That’s a queer sort of sermon for me to
preach, isn’t it?” he added, with a somewhat embarrassed
laugh ; “but it was in my mind, so I just spoke it out,”
38 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

It was a curious sermon for him to preach, but the most
talented sermoniser could not have done better. Sharp,
concise, and to the point, it went right home to Laurence’s
heart.

‘Tam ashamed of myself, Frank,” he said, as they sprang
from the sleigh at the Hall gates. “I have thought too
much of myself, and too little of my Master. But—Frank
Austin ”’—

“Well?” said Austin, turning toward him.

‘Why are you not a Chain ? You ought to be.”

“T know that, but there’s something wanting: I don’t know
what. Come along ; there’s a lot of the boys coming down to
meet us ;” and, slipping his arm through Laurence’s, he drew
him on up the hill on whose summit Drayton Hall stood
sentinel over the surrounding country.

The Hall was an old institution, and had been governed
by Draytons—father, son, and grandson—until now it
seemed as if the right of succession to the office of in-
structor to the young minds of the rising generation, was
vested in that family, beyond all dispute. For sixty years
the Hall had overlooked the village from its high point of
observation. Notthat it had from the beginning boasted the
lofty title of “‘ Drayton Hall.” There were some white heads
in the little village of Graydon that could remember the day
when the time-honoured institution went by the simple
name of ‘ Master Drayton’s school-house ;” when, a rough
_ building of unhewn logs, its one apartment had answered all
the needs of its twenty or thirty inmates. But, year by
year, the scholars had increased in numbers; the oscapa:
for it was no more, had been replaced by a small brick
building, capable of accommodating some five or six boarders,
boys from the surrounding villages, whom the fame of Master
Drayton’s success as a teacher, had drawn from the schools
of their own districts, |

Mr Drayton, the second, on his accession to office, as his
THE DECISION. 39

father’s successor, had torn down the brick edifice, to make
room for one much larger and more commodious ; and this
had, in its turn, been enlarged by Dr Drayton, the present
incumbent, until 1t now presented quite an imposing front,
and was capable of accommodating some three hundred
scholars, |

‘“‘ Here are Austin and Bronson,” shouted a stentorian
voice, as the boys entered the gates; and the cry was re-
echoed with welcomes and huzzas, which told very plainly
that the two friends were favourites among their comrades.
A troop of boys came rushing down the hill to meet them,
foremost of all, Will Seaton, the owner of the voice which
had rung out so gladly the news of the arrival; the rough-
est, loudest, rudest boy in the school, and yet the boy whom
every one liked, whom every one trusted, whom every one
really loved,—an honest, true heart, untutored and un-
governed, but faithful unto death, if need were.

Dashing down upon Frank and Laurence, he thrust him-
self between them; and, seizing each by the arm, exclaimed—

‘Hurry up, you slow coaches. You need a tug to tow
you up the hill;” and forthwith he began to puff and pant
aiter the manner of a small steam-tug, enlivening the per-
formance with an occasional shrill scream, in such exact
imitation of those apparently unhappy and exhausted craft,
that his captives fairly shouted with laughter.

“There, let go now, Seaton, till we speak to the rest of
the fellows,” said Austin, as the other boys gathered
round them, attempting to release them from Seaton’s
grasp.

But his captor had no such idea. He tightened his grip
at once, and still steamed on as remorselessly as an actual
tug, apparently unmoved by the fact that the two boys,
_ entering into the frolic, neither resisted nor aided him, but
simply allowed themselves to be towed on, letting their
whole weight fall upon his arms. But Seaton was not to
40 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

be overcome: on he puffed and panted, until at last, reach.
ing the top of the hill, he suddenly released his hold, ex-
pecting to see his two prizes slip as suddenly backward.
They knew him too well for that, however, and were quite
prepared for his quick movement. The useless limbs, which
had dragged so helplessly over the snow, were instantly
endued with strength ; and the two boys, after a retrograde
step or two, stood triumphantly beside their propeller.

‘There ’s nothing like letting a fellow have his own way,
Will,” said Frank, as Seaton, feigning utter exhaustion,
threw himself back upon the snow. ‘Would you like to
try it over again ?” ,

“Not this term, thank you,” said Seaton; “I had no
idea that you were so heavy. I thought your bodies.
matched your heads.”

Laurence made a grasp at him, but he was too quick to
be caught ; and springing nimbly aside, he burst into a roar
of laughter, in which none joined more merrily than the two
victims of his jokes.

‘There was no time for any serious thought during the
remainder of the afternoon, for the boys all seemed deter-
mined to make the most of the little time which intervened
between their reunion and the sound of the five o’clock study-
bell which would call them in to resume the labours which
had been laid aside for a full fortnight. But even in the
midst of all the fun and frolic which were going on around
_ him, and in which he joined very heartily, the remembrance
of Frank’s little sermon would thrust itself in upon Laur-
ence’s mind now and then; and when bedtime came, and
the long dormitory was silent except for the heavy breath-
ing of the many sleepers, that same troublesome sermon
kept him wakeful and uneasy.

Had Frank spoken truly? He knew that he had, yet he
could: not bear to admit to himself that he had so dis-
honoured his Master; that professing to love and trust Him
THE DECISION. 41

completely, he had yet shown himself so wanting in submis-
sion and faith, that his dearest friend could see no difference
between his conduct and that of those who, to use Frank’s
own words, “ don’t look to any one stronger than themselves
for help.” And there lay all the difficulty. He had not
looked up to Him who is so ready with strength wherewith
to uphold His children, Determining in the pride of his
spirit to force his way through all the difficulties which
surrounded him, he had forgotten that we not only can but
must “do all things through Christ which strengtheneth”
us ; and he had begun this new and trying life, asking per-
haps in his morning and evening prayers for help, yet utterly
failing to lay his burden upon Him who was so able and
willing to bear it. And so he had found no peace and rest
even in giving up his own will to the advice of his father
and mother ; for that too had been done as a necessity, not
because it was his heavenly Father’s will.

As he lay there, thinking it all over, there came to him
the memory of his mother’s words on the day of his visit to
his uncle. “We must try to bear our burden humbly, that
so the promised blessing may be given to us.” How far
from humble and lowly had been his bearing of his heavy
cross ; no wonder that he had failed of the promised comfort
and blessing. The soft light which shone in his mother’s
eyes as she bade him good-bye, the gentle, restful face which
had watched him from the window, told him that the pro-
mised peace from Heaven had come to her,

By and by he rose quietly from the side of his companion,
and knelt down by the bed. For a long, long while he
knelt there, his face hidden in the bedclothes, forgetting the
cold, forgetting his weariness, forgetting all save that he had
by his own pride and folly dishonoured his Lord, and
brought a heavy weight of pain and anxious care on his
own heart. But even then and there the blessing came to
him. He had only to whisper his repentance and his gor.
42 AURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

row, and the mighty God “bowed the heavens and caine
down” to dwell with a contrite and humble spirit.

“Who is that?” asked the usher, who was sleeping in
the dormitory, waking suddenly as Laurence threw himself
_ upon the bed again.

“Tt is I Mr Upton,’ he answered. “I am sorry I
aroused you.” |

“ Are youill? What make you toss about so?”

‘¢T shall not toss any more,” said Laurence, with a smile
which the oe hid from his questioner ; “I shall go to
sleep now.’

‘¢T am done with boners and fretting,” he said to himself,
as he laid his head upon the pillow, “ thank God for that !”
And in a few moments he was sleeping quietly beside Frank,
who had lain all this while close to him, but perfectly igno-
rant of the good which his few wondering words had done
his friend.

“ Phew, this is as cold as Greenland!” exclaimed Cuthbert
Grey, as he hurried on his clothes the next morning, shiver-
ing and shaking in the cold atmosphere of the dormitory.

“You have to make something of a jump from your cosy
room at home into this cold barn; don’t you, Bertie? But
never mind: we’ll have time for a coast down hill before
breakfast, and that will warm us up.”

Frank Austin looked round to see whether his ears had
deceived him ; but the bright face he saw matched the plea-
sant voice which had spoken to the petted, spoiled boy,
whose life at home in the holidays always seemed to unfit
him for the sterner routine of school.

“Holloa, old chum, it seems to me you are waked up
since last night. That sounds like old times. What has
come to you?”

_ “Tt was your voice that waked me,” said Laurence, draw-

~ . ing closer to him, and speaking in a low voice, “and you

don’t know how much I thank you.”
THE DECISION. 43

“Thank you for nothiag, I should say,” said Austin, in
the same tone. “ But at anyrate, I am glad the shadow
has gone off your face.”

“‘T have lost one shadow in finding another, the shadow
of a great Rock,” said Laurence, with a smile. ‘ Frank, I
only wish that you knew what it is to sit down under this
shadow with great delight.”

“ Look here, you fellows, what mischief are you brewing
over there?” broke in Will Seaton’s voice. “They ’re
planning some sort of a dodge, boys, I’ll be bound. What
now, Larry ?”

“ Nothing in the dodge line, Will. Are you all ready ?
Come, Bertie, we ‘ll warm you up into a fine glow before
breakfast time ;” and the boys all sallied out together into
the clear frosty air of the winter’s morning.

It was a glorious day for a snow frolic, whether it were
coasting, snow-balling, or fort-building ; into all of which the
boys threw themselves with the energy and enjoyment with
which such a sparkling morning always inspires a healthful,
active, frame. Even Cuthbert, poor, shivering, little mortal,
fresh fromthe home in which an over-careful love shielded him
from every cold breath of wind, glowed with the active work
at which Laurence set him ; and shouted with the loudest,
as he toiled up the steep ascent with his sled, or packed a
hard snowball with which to return some of the heavy mis-
siles which were flying hither and thither in such quick
succession that no one escaped the crystal shower.

The fun was at its height when the breakfast-bell rang out
its summons ; and there were none who resisted that call
after their morning’s hungry work. Then followed an hour
for study; and after that, another clang, clang, clang, this
time from the deep-toned bell in the western turret, called
all the young fort-builders and coasters into the long school-
rooms for the serious, earnest work of the day. And
serious work study was at Drayton Hall. Not that the boys’
44 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

brains were strained beyond their power,—Dr Drayton was
far too wise a teacher for that, and play and work were
well balanced in the old Hall; but school was school, and
study was study in his eyes, and woe to the boy who
dared to look at it in any other light. Even Will Seaton,
wild, ungovernable spirit as he was, sat quietly conning, or
pretending to con, his books when the doctor’s-tall form
stood in the master’s desk, or when he marched through the
schoolroom, seeming to pierce through every face, and to
read the very thoughts of one’s heart with that eagle eye of
his.

There was perhaps not one of those young hearts which
loved the man, and yet there was not one which did not
trust him, not indeed with their joys and sorrows,—of
these they never spoke to the head master; but they knew
him to be strictly just and true, and even though they
might rebel against what they considered a severe sentence,
no Drayton boy had ever had occasion to charge the doctor
with partiality or unfair dealing. |

CHAPTER V.
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY,

It was no easy matter for a boy like Laurence Bronson
to take up in all its details the new position which he
had assumed. Many of his companions, with ready sym-
pathy for his trial, did all that they could to render his post
as little disagreeable as possible ; but some of the smaller
boys, over whom he had been placed as assistant teacher,
rebelled against his authority, took advantage of his youth
and inexperience, and led on by two or three of the older
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. ® 45

scholars who disliked Laurence, vented their displeasure
when he was forced to give them less than their full quota
of marks, by taunting him with “earning his schooling,” as
they termed it. But with all these difficulties Laurence
battled bravely ; and although he often left the class-room
with flushed face and aching head, he went steadily on in
his work, striving to throw his whole burden upon Him »
who was able to bear it. He had had enough of fighting the
battle in his own strength; his proud self reliance had
been rebuked ; and he was astonished at himself when he
found how easily he could bear the annoyances of his lot,
now that he had taken hold upon a higher power.

There was one boy in his own class who seemed con-
stantly on the watch for opportunities to vex and mortify
him, Albert Semmons had never liked Laurence Bronson ;
for more than once the latter had found him out in acts of
meanness and roguery which he had supposed too well con-
ceived and carried out to be detected by any one, but which
proved unable to stand the test of Laurence’s straight-
forward and clear-sighted manner of looking into things.
It had so happened that they had come into collision quite
often, both in the schoolroom and on the playground, for
Laurence never would overlook any underhand or treacherous
dealing, even in a game; and his scathing scorn had so
often fallen upon Albert’s devoted head, that the boy both
hated and feared him. Now he seemed to think that the
hour of his vengeance had come; and every petty annoy-
ance and slight which he could invent was used to its ut-
most capacity for Bronson’s discomfiture. As he was far
from being a dull or stupid boy, his fertile imagination was
at no loss for material for his work ; and many an arrow shot
trom his bow struck deep down into the wound which was so
often touched that it had no chance to heal. For in determin-
ing to throw aside all self-trust and confidence, Laurence
had by no means conquered entirely his natural pride,— it
AG LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

was only in abeyance ; and although it was held down and
kept under by his resolute will, it lay like a chained lion,
ready to seize upon the first opportunity for a spring.

But as week after week passed on, the quiet force of
Laurence’s firmness and determination made itself felt in
his classes. There was less and less of insubordination and
» disorder as the little fellows began to learn that resistance
was useless, and to find out also that, however decided and |
inexorable their young teacher might show himself as to the
obedience which they owed him in the class-room, in play-
hours he was quite as decided in his resolve that they
should not be tyrannised over by the older and stronger boys.
And so by and by this source of trouble almost ceased to
yield him any vexation ; for as his scholars learned to look
up to him as their champion, they also began to discover
that those who incited them to rebellion against his authe-
rity were the very ones who, when opportunity offered,
were the most ready to abuse and victimise them.

With the older classes the case was different; and as
time went on, he felt a greater and greater shrinking from
the performance of any duty which brought him in con-
tact, In any position of authority, with those nearer his own
age. |
_ “ Bronson,” said Dr Drayton, meeting him in the Hall
one morning as he was on his way to a recitation, “ you
will have to take Mr Upton’s place at your table to-day,
He is unwell, and cannot come down.”

He was passing on, without waiting for any reply, when
Laurence’s voice checked him. |

“Dr Drayton, would you object to my asking one of the
older teachers to change places with me? I think our fel-
lows would like it better,” he said, colouring deeply as he
spoke.

“T should decidedly object,” said the doctor, somewhat
curtly. ‘I am perfectly aware, Bronson, that some of the
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. & 47

young gentlemen do not see fit to acknowledge those whom
I choose to set over them; but as I consider myself quali-
fied to select my assistants, [intend to show all malcontents
that their resistance is quite useless. You will please to.
report all cases of insubordination.”

Off went the doctor, leaving Laurence no chance for a
reply, and the dinner-bell would ring fifteen minutes after ,
the close of the lesson. There was no remedy; and so, with
his heart sinking within him, he joined his class.

“What’s up now, Larry?” asked Frank Austin, as Laur-
ence took a vacant seat beside him: “more trouble with
those youngsters 4”

“No, but I’m ina royal fix, I can tell you. The doc-
tor”

‘“‘Silence, young gentlemen! The hour has already
struck.”

So the story was deferred while the lesson went on; and
Laurence construed Greek verbs with his lips, but all the
while was sitting at the head of the long dining-table, the
butt of all the jokes of over forty laughing schoolfellows,
some of them good-natured jokes, perhaps, but others sharp
and cutting as malice and ill-feeling could make them.

“Well, Larry, let’s have it,” said Austin, as soon as they
were released.

“Mr Upton is unwell, and the doctor has ordered me to
take his seat at the table.”

“Phew!” The whistle was prolonged until Frank nearly
choked for breath. Then he said laconically, ‘“ That’s
bad.”

“Tsn’t it? Some of the fellows are cross enough already,
and I don’t know that I can blame them if they do cut up
when they see me at the head of the table. I’d rather the
doctor would have given me a hundred lines.” |

“T’ll settle it,” said Frank. “Some of them will be
madder than hornets, I suppose, but the rest of us will put


483@ — LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

you through. You just stay where you are a few mo-
- ments.” |

The boys had all gone out upon the hill for the fifteen
minutes’ recess which preceded dinner; and Frank rushed
out to join them, swinging his cap into the air with a loud
hurrah. } |

“Come on, Austin: we want you,” shouted two or three
voices in concert. ‘‘ Let’s have a game of ball.”

“Wait a moment,” said Frank. “I’ve something to tell
you. Bronson is as mad as canbe. What do you think the
Professor’s been up to?”

“T don't know”—“ Hurry up”—“ Let’s have it”—were
some of the responses from an eager crowd of listeners ; and
Austin, finding their curiosity quite sufficiently excited, told
his story.

“Upton is unwell, and the doctor has ordered Larry to
take his seat. He hates to do it, and I don’t wonder. I
would not be in his place for a kingdom. We'll have to
stand by him, boys, and help him through by behaving de-
cently.”

“Why couldn’t some one else come to our table?” asked
a voice in the crowd, in a somewhat surly tone.

‘The doctor wouldn’t allow it. Larry asked him to make
some other arrangement; but we all know that when he’s
made up his mind to a thing, hell walk through fire and
water but he ‘Il carry it out, and he wouldn’t listen to Bron-
son.” |

There was much laughing, many jokes, and some sulky
remarks passing through the crowd as the boys stood about,
waiting for the dinner-bell.. Austin looked on for a moment
or two ; then, calling a few of his own and Laurence’s friends
about him, he prevailed on the little group to pledge them-
selves to sustain Bronson in his disagreeable position.

More than one pair of eyes were turned even from the
other tables toward that of the senior class, where the young
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY, 49

teacher stood at the head, erect and firm, but rather paler
than usual, waiting for the entrance of his class. Austin’s

clique led the way. They took their seats quietly, with a —
slight bow to the Master, as was customary, one or two of
them congratulating him half-laughingly on his promotion ;
then came Will Seaton. He walked straight up to the head
of the table, bowed until his forehead almost touched the
carpet ; and, raising himself, said with mock deference—

‘* Please, sir, shall I wait behind your chair ?”

‘No, I had rather have you under my eye,” said Laur-
ence, good-humouredly returning his deep inclination.
‘You may take your usual seat, if you please.”

But far different from teasing but good-natured Will
Seaton’s entry was that of Albert Semmons. Without a
glance at Bronson, he walked to his seat ; and looking care-
lessly around, said—

“‘ Are we to have no teacher at our table?”

“Mr Upton is unwell,” replied Laurence, quietly, “and
I am to fill his place for the day. Will you please to take
your seats ?”

Two or three boys who had come in with Semmons, and
had agreed with him in his plan of resistance, sat down ;
they were not quite prepared for Laurence’s air of command.
But Semmons stood his ground.

““T believe it is against the rules for us to take our seats
before the Master appears,” he answered, with a sneer,

“T fill that post, Mr Semmons, for the present,” replied
Laurence, with such an evident effort at self-restraint that
even Semmons’s promised supporters went over in heart to
the enemy at once. “As I have been ordered to report all
cases of insubordination, it will perhaps be for your own
interest to take your place as usual.”

Manifestly it would be so; for that Laurence was fully
determined to maintain his delegated authority, disagree-
able as it was to himself, no one who looked into his

D
50 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

face could doubt. But Semmons had no idea of owning
his defeat.

“Well, if no one is coming, I suppose we need not let
our dinner grow cold, waiting,” he said, throwing himself
into his chair. »

No notice was taken of these words, and the flow of talk
went on much as usual; until suddenly Bronson, who was
answering some banter of Will penton 8, Was interrupted by
Albert Semmons.

“ By the way, Bronson, I should think that might do for
you,” he said, with a disagreeable laugh.

‘What is that 1” asked Laurence, who had not heard the
conversation going on at the lower end of the table.

‘“‘T was saying that my uncle, who is an architect, wants
something new in the way of plans for bridges, gateways,
é&c, ; you are a pretty fair draughtsman, I believe, and you
seem so anxious to make a penny when a chance comes in
your path, that I thought, maybe, you would like to earn
your bread in that way.” ,

A low murmur ran round the table; but it was hushed
in the next moment by Laurence’s voice.

“T should think it might be quite a pleasant way of
-making money,” he said, very coolly. “TI will think of it,”

Semmons’s eye fell before his steady gaze: if it had not,
he might have seen that Laurence was less calm than he
seemed. His lips were far. more firmly compressed than
was consistent with an easy frame of temper; and his eyes
were lit with a flame which told that a fire of indignant
feeling was burning within him. But Semmons did not
see all this; and, totally ignorant of the depth to which his
words had cut into that proud young heart, felt himself
foiled, and tried to hide his confusion by turning to his
neighbour with another sneering allusion to Bronson. But
he received only a rough reply ; for even his own clique of
_ friends were delighted with Laurence’s cool response to his
PRIDE VERSUS HUMILITY. . 51

insolence, and were somewhat ashamed to appear on his
side. Glad enough he was when the head-master gave the
signal to rise, and he could escape from the table, and the
smiles and jokes which were passing around it at his expense.

‘Well, Larry,” said Frank Austin, slipping his hand
through his friend’s arm, as they left the dining-room,
“how soon do you expect to commence operations as
draughtsman for the house of Semmons & Driggs?” and
he looked into Laurence’s face with a roguish twinkle in his
eyes, .

“T don’t know. Perhaps as soon as I have proved my
ability to satisfy their wants.”

Austin faced round upon him with such a look of utter
bewilderment that Laurence laughed outright.

‘You don’t mean to say,” exclaimed Austin, “that you
intend to do anything toward accepting that impudent
offer of Semmons. Why, Bronson, what are you made
of 9”

‘Of something which fights ike a Trojan against all such
work, and especially against taking it from Semmons or any
one belonging to him. But, Frank,” and he threw his arm
sareaunel: over Austin’s shoulder, “it was whispered in my
ear the other day that all this fighting was wrong; that l
was doing battle in my own strength, and in my own way,
when I was at the same time professing to follow my chosen
Captain. I have determined to do so no longer, but to fol-
low His guidance, and leave the end in His hands; and it
seems to me that He has opened this way for me. It may
result in nothing, for I do not know how such things pay,
but ”—he hesitated for a moment; then went on, speaking
rapidly, but resolutely —

“Tf I have manhood and courage enough to win this
battle against myself, I shall write to Mr Semmons.”

When 2” asked Austin.

“To-morrow. TI don’t want to decide too quickly; bat
&

52 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

when once my mind is made up, the sooner it is done the
better.”

‘Do you know how to direct a letter to him?”

“No, I shall have to ask Albert.”

“You needn’t do that, Larry. I’ll see to it for you.
You can write confidentially to Mr Semmons, and Albert
need know nothing about it.”

Laurence laughed. “ And so escape a little dieting eh?”
he said. ‘ No, no, Austin, that wouldn’t do. If I do it at
all, I shall be open and aNove bean about it. You shouldn’t
be the one to discourage me, old fellow, when it was your
own words which set me thinking what an addle-brained
stupid I had been, to worry and vex myself so about things
that were beyond my control. I have determined now to
leave all in God’s hands, and to walk right on in the path
where He seems to lead. If I know His hand, it is point-
ing out this way of aiding my father; and I think I shall
use it. IfI do, I shall speak to Semmons first. I can’t do
any underhand work, Frank ; and you wouldn't be the one ©
to advise it if you thought a minute, would you?”

‘ Perhaps not,” said Austin, slowly. ‘I can’t tell what
to say about the matter, for never thought of such a thing
as your accepting any such task. When will you find time
for it?”

‘In play-hours. Drawing is no labour for me, I enjoy
it so much. It will be as good recreation as anything else.”

“Then all the school will find it out, and you would so
hate that.” |

“T must learn not to hate it,” returned Laurence. “Come,
~ come, Frank, it won't do for you to spoil your own work in
this fashion.”

“T don’t know why you will persist in calling this my
work,” replied Frank, in a somewhat vexed tone: “I had
nothing to do with it.” |

“ Nothing except to show me the folly of leaning on per-
VICTORY. 53

fect weakness when perfect strength was offered me. That
was all you did, Austin ; but wasn’t that something ?”

Austin made no answer. He sauntered slowly along by
Laurence’s side for a few moments, then, turning away with
an abrupt ‘“‘I want to find Seaton,” left his friend to his
meditations.

But if Laurence had followed him, he would have.found
that he did not seek Seaton’s company. On the contrary,
he betook himself to the empty schoolroom, where he wan-
dered up and down in no apparently easy frame of mind, if
his impatient kicking aside of every scrap of paper or other
bit of rubbish in his path, and the contraction of his usually
smooth forehead, were any indication of his mood..

CHAPTER VI

VICTORY.

Durina the next two days but little was seen either of
Laurence Bronson or Frank Austin, outside of the school-
room. Every spare moment was occupied by Laurence in
drawing small models for the inspection of Messrs Semmons
& Driggs ; and as to Austin, he seemed to prefer wandering
off by himself in solitary places to taking part in the general
round of games and frolics. Once in a while, however, he
would join his comrades, and then he was the wildest and
the loudest of them all. The boys wondered at his alter-
nate fits of moodiness and gaiety; and even Laurence,
absorbed as he was in his new occupation, noticed a restless-
ness of manner and a sort of instability which was strangely
different from Frank’s ordinary demeanour. But when he
spoke of it, Austin laughed it off, and would give him no
reason for the change which every one noticed.
54 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

Since the day of Albert Semmons’s proposition, Laurence
had been steadily busying himself in his preparations for its
acceptance ; but he had not yet obtained from Semmonis his
uncle’s address. The asking for it seemed now the hardest
part of his self-imposed task, and he had put it off from time
to time on one excuse or another, until finally the day came,
when—his models drawn and the letter itself written—he
had no further pretext for delay. Then came the struggle,
and it was both hard and long; but the proud spirit, once
so unbroken, had been humbled before, and again the hard-
fought battle was won. He had been writing his letter in
one of the study halls; and, having finished it, and growing
restless and uneasy with the thought of the disagreeable task
which lay before him, was walking slowly up and down
through the long room, when from the window he saw Sem-
mons leaning against a tree on the lawn, talking with Will
Seaton. | |

‘There ’s a good chance, and I won’t lose it this time,” he
said ; and without giving himself an opportunity for second
. thought, he sprang out of the window upon the hard, crisp
snow. The two boys had not noticed him, and as he
reached the ground, they turned from the house and walked
quite briskly down the hill, keeping for a few moments in
company; but before Laurence reached them, some new
object had caught the attention of volatile Will, and, with a
whoop, he had rushed off in an opposite direction from that
which they had at first taken, while Semmons walked on to-
ward a group of boys who had gathered at the foot of the
hill.

At the sound of a quick, brisk footstep crackling the snow
behind him, Semmons turned his head ; but seeing that the
new comer was Laurence, to whom he had not spoken since
the day of the difficulty at the dinner-table, he resumed his
walk, without waiting for him to come up with him. But
Bronson’s voice checked him again.
VICTORY. 55

“Hallo, Semmons, wait a minute. You’re the very
fellow I’m looking for.”

“What now?” asked Albert, ungraciously enough to
have deterred any one less bent on his purpose.

“‘T want to ask you for your uncle’s address.”

‘You don’t mean to say,” said Semmons, drawing back,
and looking at his companion with the most unmistakable
amazement written on every feature of his face,—‘“ you
don’t mean to say that you have been attempting those
designs ?”

‘| have attempted them,” said Laurence, smiling; “and
now I would like to know where I am to send them.”

“And is it possible that you expect your drawings to suit
my uncle?” asked Semmons, with the faintest imaginable
sneer in his tone.

“T hope they will answer, of course, else I should not
have spent my time on them. As for my expectations, I
can scarcely answer that question, having very little idea of
what Mr Semmons requires. They will at least give him a
specimen of my work. Will you tell me how to direct my
letter 1”

“71 Romer Street. But I’d no idea of your having the
face to take me in earnest, Bronson. If you expect to get
up anything that such architects as Semmons & Driggs
have never seen, you must have an amazing amount of self-
conceit.”

‘‘ Perhaps I have,” replied Laurence ; “but as that isn’t
to the point, we won’t discuss it, Thank you for your
information. I shall send my letter off at once.”

“ That’s pretty plucky,” said a voice just behind them ;
and turning towards it, the boys met Will Seaton’s merry
face. “So you’ve been and gone and done it, have you ?
That’s the tallest joke this term, any way. ‘To think of the
Duke of Glencoe descending to the ranks of the labouring
classes. Fellow-citizens, attention !”
56 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

At the shout, a crowd of schoolboys came rushing pell-
mell up the hill, all ready for any fun into which mischievous
Will might see fit to lead them. ‘ Duke of Glencoe” was
a sobriquet with which Will had long ago nicknamed Bronson. -
Laurence had borne it good-humouredly enough, comforting
himself perhaps with the reflection that if his manner were
somewhat too restrained and “stately,” as. Will termed it,
for his years, it did not suffer by comparison with that of his
teasing schoolfellow. But this morning the blood mounted
angrily to his face. He had been chafed and fretted already
by Semmons’s contemptuous manner, and he felt in no
humour to stand one of Will’s mocking tirades. For Will’s
fun was apt to be more personal than pleasant, when he set
cut to make a stump speech, as he evidently intended to do
at present.

An eager, laughing crowd had gathered around the three,
cheering Seaton on to do his best, with cries of “ Let’s have
it!” “Goit, Will!” &c., his orations being bits of fun that all
were loath to lose. But mischievous as Seaton was, he had
a good heart and a quick eye; and that same quick eye had
caught the expression of Bronson’s face as he turned it
slightly aside, and had sent a telegram down to the merry,
kindly heart. He cast a roguish glance at Bronson, which
Laurence met with a shrug of his shoulders, and a lifting of
the head, which seemed to say,—

‘‘Go on: you may do your worst without harming me.”

But Will had changed his mind; he did not mean to do
his worst. Looking from Laurence back to his enthusiastic
audience with an expression of comical despair, he clasped
both hands across his breast, and gasped out, as if panting
for breath, —

“Gentlemen and friends,—I rose to my feet with the
intention of electrifying this audience with such a speech as
you have never heard, even from the eloquent lips of W. B.
Seaton, Esq. The subject of my oration was the Duke of
VICTORY. 57

Glencoe! But—but—the Duke is here! He gave me one
look, and it was done. I had soared to the seventh heaven.
of eloquence, when lo!—one piercing glance from his eagle
eye, and—TI was knocked as flat as a pumpkin seed.”

The orator’s arms fluttered wildly for a moment; then,
staggering backward, he fell at full length upon the snow,
and lay motionless, with closed eyes and parted lips. Ap-
parently tender nursing was not considered the proper treat-
ment for his exhausted state, for a dozen strong arms seized
the prostrate form, and swung it up upon six or eight pairs
of broad shoulders, upon which it was borne, amid shouts
and laughter, up the hill and around the Hall. But just as
the noisy crowd turned an angle of the great house, the
bearers came full upon Dr Drayton; and dropping their
load, rushed away, one and all, leaving the fallen hero to his
fate.

“Why, Seaton, what is this?” asked the doctor. ‘“I
thought that you had been hurt.”

‘¢T was riding, sir, ‘and met with an accident. Perhaps
the horses saw something which startled them ;’ and touch-
ing his cap with the gravest of salutes, Seaton leisurely
followed his comrades. ‘The doctor looked after him with
a grim smile.

‘“‘ Always ready with an answer except in his class,” he
said to himself; “ what can be made of him?” And with
even a graver look than usual on his brow, Dr Drayton
passed on.

What could be made of him? That was a question
which more than one anxious heart had asked itself as it
watched this wild, ungovernable boy. There was so much
to make or to mar in him, such a wealth of force and energy
and will, with no fixed principles to serve as ballast for the
rich freight ; with nothing indeed to steady it but an affec-
tionate, loving heart, of which, strange as it may seem, he
was ashamed, striving to cover it with a rough and boister-
58 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

ous manner, which served to veil it sometimes, but only
from those who did not know him well. It would peep
out, as it had done to- day, in spite of all his efforts to
hide it.

“You’re a right good fellow, Will,” said Laurence, as
Seaton rejoined the boys after his encounter with Dr Dray-
ton ; “and I am more than half ashamed of myself for being
SO a at a trifle.”

“What’s up now?” asked Will. ‘‘ You aren’t going into
the humble-pie business, are you, Bronson ?”

“No, not yet,’ said Laurence, with a smile; “at least
not into the buying and selling department. It is as much
as I can do to make what I need for my own use just now.
But you did turn that off splendidly.”

“T turned what off? What are you talking about ?”
asked Seaton, with affected surprise.

“You needn’t pretend to misunderstand, Will. I know
what you were up to, and why you did not carry out your
joke ; and I wil/ thank you, and love you for it too, old
fellow, in spite of you.”

“T was up to fun, and I had it,” replied Seaton, care-
lessly. “If that 1s anything to thank me for, I’m willing.
And as to love, why in that you only reciprocrate my
abounding attachment to yourself, Duke. Why, my dear
friend, you have no conception of the ecstatic, the perfectly
frantic affection with which I regard your Highness. Come
to my bosom, friend of my heart ;” and, flinging his arms
around Laurence’s neck, he proceeded to express his affec-
tion in such bear-like hugs and embraces, that Bronson,
crying out for mercy, flung him off, telling him that he would
take his love in smaller doses at less rare intervals,

The two boys had been standing slightly apart, unnoticed
at first by the rest of the party ; but Will’s attack had drawn
all eyes toward them.

“Qh! stop your tomfoolery and come along, Will,” called
OLD CHRISTY. 59

a voice from the group below. “We’re going down to
Christy’s, Bronson. Will you come?”

“Yes. Where is Austin? Is he with you?”

“No; he went off by himself a while ago,”
“ Anything wrong, Tom?” asked Laurence, as he reached
the side of the boy who had spoken. |
‘No ; unless he is in another fit of the dumps. What
ails him; do you know?”

‘““T did not know anything ailed him,” said Laurence,
“Tt has not struck me that he was mopy.” |

“Well, perhaps not so very mopy as quiet and sober.
He acts as if his mind were all the time full of something
different from what he is doing. Haven’t you seen it?”

“Yes, [ have ; but I did not think of it when you spoke.
He is rather unlike himself lately. By the way, I wish
that he. were with us. He always likes to go down to
Christy’s. Holloa, Austin! Frank !” |

There was no answer to the loud call, though it was
_ twice repeated.

“Come, Bronson, come,” said Tom Morrison, impatiently.
‘‘ The fellows are half-way down there already. He’s away
off somewhere ; and if he comes back soon, some of those
little chaps will tell him where we are.”



CHAPTER VII.
OLD CHRISTY,

CHRISTOPHER DUNN was a fisherman, whose little cabin‘
on the shore had been a favourite resort for all the Drayton
boys for twoscore years and more. ‘The genial, quaint old
man was always ready with a hearty welcome for his young —
60 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

visitors, even when they came down upon him, as they had
done to-day, in numbers entirely disproportioned to the size
of his small domicile.

‘Well, well, and here you are again, young gentlemen,”
he said, turning his wrinkled face, with its crown of snow-
white hair, toward the opening door. ‘Come in, come in.
There ’s always room for one more, you know, in Christy’s .
little place. I was just reading a verse or two to comfort
me a bit when one of your mates came in; and I laid my
‘glasses within the good book while I talked with him, so
you ‘ll not shut it up quite tight, sir, if— Well, now, if it
isn ’t Master Laurence !”

He interrupted himself in the midst of his flow of talk
to grasp the hand which had been extended to lift the Bible
from the chair on which he had placed it ; and the fine old
face flushed with pleasure as he greeted his favourite.

“Ay, but it’s a long while since you came to see me.
Not since Christmas, boy.”

Now it was Laurence’s turn to colour, but not with plea-
sure, for the secret of his long absence lay in the fact that
the Christmas gift which Christy had for years received
from him on his return to school had not been his to bestow ;
and it was a foolish pride—he felt if so now—which had
kept him away from the cabin for so many weeks.

‘“ But it’s full glad Iam to see you anyways; for when
Master Austin came in and you wasn’t with him, thinks I
there ’s some reason why the boy doesn’t come, for the one
of you has never been here without the other before. But
when I asked Mr Frank for you, he didn’t know your
whereabouts at all.”

“Where is he now?” asked Laurence, looking round in
search of his friend.

‘¢ Over there by the Why the boy’s gone! Well, he’ll
be back, no doubt ;” and Old Christy nodded his head at
Laurence, with a knowing look which the latter failed to


OLD CHRISTY. ~ 61

comprehend, “No matter,” he added, seeing that Laur-
ence had not understood him. “It will all come right in
time. The Lord can do his own work : we needn’t fear.”

“And now if there’s a pair of legs here that’s younger
than mine,” said Christy, turning to his visitors, who filled
the tiny room to overflowing, “they must just run up the
ladder and fetch a bag of nuts that lies up in the loft, and
we ’li have a chat over them.”

Half a dozen sprang up to fulfil the welcome commis-
sion; and in a twinkling the bag was in the midst of the
circle, and a score of busy hands were diving into its depths.

“Give us a yarn, Christy,” said Tom Morrison. “A
regular sea-talk.”

“Oh yes, a yarn—a yarn ! ? was repeated from all sides.

“Well, I was just thinking of a bit of a yarn, and wonder-
ing in my mind if you would like to hear it. I don’t
know whether you’d like it or no; but I can tell it to
you, and then you can say if it pleases you.” —

He was standing with his back to the fire, his hands
clasped behind him, looking from one to another of the
bright young faces about him, with a tender lingering look
which rested on each as if with an unspoken blessing.

“Ts it about yourself, Christy?” asked Will Seaton.
“Those are the stories we like best.”

“No, it’s not about myself, Master Seaton.”

‘““ About some of your mates, then ?”

“No, nor my mates, sir. But the men were in a manner
friends, by hearsay at least, for I knew a good deal of them,
and loved them for what I knew. And then, though we ’ve
never set eyes on one another in this world, there ’ s a strong
rope to bring us together, for they ’ve sailed under my Cap-
tain, and served Him true and faithful. A good Captain
He is; and if ever any of us meet, as I hope we may one
day, it? s a long story we'll have to tell one another afore
we ‘ll tire talking of Him.”
_~ $2 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“ Who was He?” asked Morrison ; for the old face had
so brightened and glowed that his interest was excited in
this unknown Commander whom Christy evidently looked
up to with love and admiration.

“T’ll tell you the tale, and then you can see if you

know aught of Him.”
_ “Ts it a shipwreck, Christy?” asked a voice from the
outer edge of the circle, which had closed around the chair
in which the fisherman had seated himself.

“And is that you, Charles, away off there? Let him in,
boys. He’s such a small little chap that he can scarce see
_ or hear back there. No, sonny,” he went on, as, the boys
making way for him, little Charlie Grant came forward
and was placed betwecn the old man’s knees. ‘‘ No, sonny,
it wasn’t a shipwreck ; but that’s what it would have been
most likely but for the Captain. It was in a small ship
they were, on a sea far away on the other side of the world.
It had been a fair day and a bright ; butit was a treacherous
water, that you could never count on, for the squalls would
fly up just in a flash like, and, almost afore you knew, the
sun was darkened, the wind would break upon you in a
tempest, and if every man wasn’t at his post and minding
his work, the craft would never see shore again.

‘Well, they were sailing along placid enough, when, of
a sudden, a huge black cloud swept up over the sky ; the
wind came rushing across the sea, beating it into foam ; and
the big waves rose higher and higher, dashing like thunder
against the side of the ship, until she quivered and moaned
like some poor dumb beast in agony. The crew sprang to
the ropes, and the helmsman clung for dear life to the helm;
but what could they do when the masts bent and groaned
in the tempest, which howled and shrieked through them
like some monster determined to dash them into eternity,
and the fierce waves rushed over the deck, sweeping it clear
at every burst ?
OLD CHRISTY. - 63

‘And all this while, when the crew were struggling and
battling for their lives, the Captain was not at His post.
For days past He had been that pressed and overborne with
work that He was clear exhausted and worn out, and a
while back He had thrown Himself down for a little rest.”

Charlie Grant raised his eyes with a quick, intelligent
look, and putting his lips close to Christy’s face, whis-
pered— :

‘Was He ‘in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a
pillow ?” ”

The sailor answered him by a nod, and a closer clasp of
the arm which encircled him, ~

‘And that wearied was He that all the fury of the storm,
the cries of the sailors, and the beating of the waves, even
the very starting and cracking of the timbers beneath Him,
had failed to waken Him. The crew, knowing all He had
gone through, had hoped to weather the storm without His
help ; and the brave, loving hearts fought it hard afore they
called Him to their aid. But the breakers rolled higher and
higher, the wind screamed madder and madder, beating
against them until they could scarce hold on even by the
masts ; and the poor ship pitched and tossed about like a
toy in the wild waters. I said they were brave hearts, that
little crew, and so they were, but human strength could
stand it no longer; and brave though: they were, it was with
their rough faces pale with fear that they shouted to the
Captain, waking Him in a moment with their ery of fright.
He had lain sleeping through all the fury of the storm ; but
the voices of His men roused Him in a moment. He sprang
up to meet a dozen white faces, wild with fear ; to hear the
cries of the mariners mingling with the howling of the blast ;
and to see His craft, water-soaked, with bending masts and
useless helm, rolling helplessly in the trough of the sea.”

“ What did He do ?” asked one of the eager listeners, as
Christy paused.
G4. LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘‘ What did He do? He stood up and looked out on the
awful scene before Him, then stretched out His hand, and
said, ‘Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was
a great calm.’”

A great calm had fallen also on that little room ; a quiet,
broken, after a moment, by Christy’s voice.

‘“ He’s the very best Captain we can sail under—as strong
and as faithful and as true now as He was then. God
grant that you may all take your orders from Him ; and
that in every storm which threatens you, you may hear His
voice, saying, ‘Peace, be still.’ Never fear, my boys, even
if He does seem to be in the ‘ hinder part of the ship, asleep.’
You ’ve only to speak His name, and you will see the storm
sink in a moment before the arm which He will stretch out
to save you.”

““ Qne, two, three, four, five, six,” spoke out the tall clock
on the mantel-shelf, with a sharp ring which brought every
boy in the room to his feet.

‘“That’s the supper-gong, I see,” said Christy. “ Well,
good-night, and come again soon. So you knew my Cap-
tain, eh, Charlie?” and he laid his hand lovingly on the
child’s head.

‘Yes, I was sure you meant the Lord Jesus,” whispered
the boy. “ You made a beautiful story out of it, Christy.”

“The beauty was ready to my hand, little one. Good-
night. Good-night, and God bless you, one and all.”

“ Good-night, ory, Thank you for your story.
We'll come again soon,” came back to him on the clear,
frosty air, as he stood in his doorway, looking after his
departing guests. —

And after they had passed beyond his sight, he still stood
there, but looking upward now toward the starlit sky ; and
on the head of every one who had listened to his story
there came a blessing, called down upon it by that a
ing look,
AUSTIN’S VISIT. . 65

CHAPTER VIIL

AUSTIN’S VISIT.

CHRISTY paused in the doorway as he re-entered his cot-
tage, and, with a puzzled look on his face, stood listening,
Surely he had heard a sound like a step in the loft, he
thought. Who could it be?

“ Any one up-stairs?” he called, going to the foot of the
ladder, which served as a stairway to the upper regions.

“Yes, I’m here, Christy ;” and, to the old man’s utter
amazement, Frank Austin sprang lightly down the ladder.
“Your penny has come back, you see. Haven’t you heard
that it is very hard to get rid of a bad coin 2”

He asked the question with a short laugh; and, passing
_ Christy, seated himself before the fire, leaning his head
down upon his hand.

“But how came you here, Mr Austin? I thought you
had gone to the Hall long ago.”

“No; I have been up there all the time. I didn’t feel
like seeing all those fellows when they came in, so I just
ran up the ladder and sat down in the garret. When they
came up after the nuts, | went behind that old sea-chest,
and they never saw me; but I’ve been sitting there all this
while. When you were telling that story, I was lying at
the stair-head listening to you.”

“ But it’s long past six, sir, and the young gentlemen are
all gone up to supper.”

“Never mind, I don’t want any supper.”

“ But won’t you be called up for not being on hand?”

“Oh, maybe I’ll have some lines set me, but I don’t care
for that. I don’t want my supper, and I don’t feel like
seeing any one, or speaking to any one. Fact is, Christy,
I’d like to get miles away from everybody, and most of all
from myself ;” and with an impatient thrust of his foot, he

EK:
66 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

dislodged a huge log which was burning in the great fire-
place, whose fall sent thousands of sparks flying up the
broad chimney.

“You need to follow them sparks, Mr Austin,” said the
old. man, quietly pointing as he spoke to the brilliant
shower.

““Up into the dark, eh?” said Frank, almost roughly,
and concluding with the same sharp laugh which had before
grated on Christy’s ear.

“Not ento the dark, sir; through it, it may be, but into
_ the light. The sparks will lose fligmclyes in that bright
moonlight, Mr Austin ; and you need to lose yourself in the
brighter light of the Sun of Righteousness, You’ll get away
from aust sure enough, when you find that, for you’ll be
all overshadowed and enw nape in its glory. ‘May you find
it full soon, my son, for you’re wearying for it, I know, poor
boy.”

He might have borne the gentle words without flinching;
he might even have withstood, in his irritable, inpatient
mood, ‘the pathos of the tremulous, pitying voice ; but the
touch of the hand which was laid on his bent head un-
manned him; and in another moment the flood-gates had
burst, and he was. sobbing like a little child, with hig face
hidden on Christy’s arm.

But it was only for a moment. Christy had not even
had time to choose the words in which to strive to answer
this speechless cry for help, when Austin raised his head ;
and, dashing off the tears, said, with attempted carelessness—

‘There, Christy, you have seen what no one else in Gray-
don ever saw—Frank Austin fairly crying like a two-year-
old baby. The very king of the Blues has had me in his
grasp for the last week. I suppose he’ll let me go now,
ater putting me through that performance.” And rising
from his seat, he took up his hat asif to leave; but Christy,
rising also, laid a detaining hand upon his shoulder, ,
- AUSTIN’S VISIT. 67"

“Tt’s no such king as him you spoke of, boy,” he said,
solemnly, “ but the very King of kings, and Lord of lords
that has had you in the grasp of His hand this past week,
and I warn you not to fling aside that mighty Hand. ’Tig
pressing you hard, I know, and in the pride of your young
heart you are striving to escape it—but you cannot. It is
vutstretched for your help; only clasp it, and it will lead
you into eternal life.” |

They stood together for a moment in silence; the old,
wrinkled, weather-beaten face almost touching that of the
boy, so fresh and fair, yet working now in every feature
with his determined effort at self-control.

“ Believe, only believe.”

The mois broke the silence so softly that it seemed to
Austin as if he felt rather than heard them; and in the
same low, whispered tone, he answered— |

“T would, Christy, if I could ; but I cannot.”

“ And do you not know why you cannot?” asked Christy,
drawing him toward a low settle, and seating himself close
beside him there. ‘I can just tell you in a minute what it
is. You’re trying in your poor, forlorn human weakness to
do the work which only God can do. It takes the power
and might of a God to save one human soul, and you’re
striving to save yours without His help.”

‘No, no,” said Austin ; “ that isn’t so, Christy. I know
I need His help.”

“Aye, aye ; you know it well enough in your mind, per-
haps, but you don’t feel it in your heart. Or if the feeling
is in your heart at all, there’s a big mountain of pride there
that’s crushing it to bits. But you’ll never do it, never.
You may try your very best; but you’ll never weather the ©
storm and bring your vessel into port, unless you take the °
Lord Christ aboard as both Captain and Pilot. There’s —
nope for you now, for you see the breakers ahead, and
you’re wanting to steer clear of them if you can ; but did
68 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

you ever hear of a skipper so mad as to try to steer his own
vessel into a strange harbour, which he knew was full of
rocks and reefs? That’s what you’re doing; andI tell you
solemnly, my boy, as one should speak who himself has been
nigh shipwreck, that your vessel will be dashed to splinters _
in the doing of it.

“ But we needn't talk of shipwreck,” he went on, more
gently. “* For the craft is sound in all her timbers yet; and
though the breakers are just ahead, there’s the lighthouse
on the point, and the Pilot stands ready, waiting for our
call. O Mr Austin! you’ll not rush on the reefs, with the
Pilot close at hand—for sure you’ll not?”

“But I cannot see either Pilot or lighthouse,” said
Austin. “It is allas dark as night, Christy. There isn’t
even a glimmer of light that I can find.”

“Because you don’t look in the right place, Master
Frank. You’re looking straight down into your own dark
heart, when you should be lifting your eyes to the clear
shining of His face who has said, ‘ Look unto me, and be ye
saved.’ There’s no need at all for you to be wandering in
the shadow of the night ; for the Lord Christ has called you
to the brightness of His rising. Turn your face to the
light, Mr Austin, turn your face to the light.”

Frank rose slowly from his seat and moved toward the
door.

“T can’t stay any longer,” he said. “It will be study-
hour in fifteen minutes, so I must go. I know it’s all as
you say, Christy. I know the light is shining somewhere ;
but that is just the trouble,—that it should shine, and that
I should not be able to find it.”

““¢Seek and ye shall find.” That is a promise of the
God of truth,” said Christy.

“Oh! I know all that,” replied Austin, impatiently ;
“but I’ve been seeking and seeking, and I haven’t found
what I need. I’m sorry to be so snappish, Christy,” he
AUSTIN’S VISIT. 69

added, in a quieter tone, “ but the truth is, I don’t feel as
if I could stand it any longer. I’ve always, as long as I
can remember, thought I would be a Christiam some time ;
but lately it has seemed as if I must do something at once ;
and for the last week, especially, I haven’t had a minute’s
rest. It seems as if I could not possibly stand another
night like the last three or four that I’ve spent, tumbling
and tossing, with the fellows around me all snoring like
mad, or else sleeping as quietly as babies with nothing to
vex them, while I couldn’t get a moment’s rest for this
miserable worrying and fussing. Now don’t go and quote,
‘Come unto me, and I will give you rest.’ I know it’s
there as well as you do; but it don’t seem to come home to
me. It’s better for a hungry man not to see food at all,
than to have it lying right before his eyes, and not be able
to stretch out his hand to take it.”

‘But if one stands ready to reach it to him, Mr Austin.
If a gracious Hand is willing to lift the Bread of Life to his
famished lips, will he not take it? Don’t try even to put
out your own weak hand, dear boy. Just open those poor,
hungering lips, and let the Master fill them.”

“Perhaps He may some day, when I am a different fellow
from what Tam now,” said Austin, with a sigh. “But I
thank you, Christy, with all my heart ; for you have tried
your best with me, I know. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye. Don’t grope in the dark, Mr Austin, trying
to be a ‘ different fellow,’ as you say, before you take the
Lord at His word. Just believe what He says, and sit you
right down in the light of His love, and let Him work the
change in you.”

Austin smiled—a sad, tired smile it was, to be geen on
such a youthful face; and, giving the old man’s hand a
parting grasp, went out, without attempting to answer his
last words.

To “ sit down in the light of His love.” That was just
70 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

what he longed to do; but then it was just what he could
not do. If there had only been some great act of self-denial
or hard duty to be performed, he would have thrown his
whole soul into the performance of it ; but this simple sit-
ting at Jesus’ feet to learn of Him was quite another thing,

He had gone down to Christy’s cabin that afternoon,
hoping that something that he might say would bring him
peace and comfort. He had scarcely begun his talk with
the old man, when they had heen interrupted by the sudden
irruption of the noisy crowd who had followed him there ;
but even when the boys were gone, and they were alone
together once more, Christy had done nothing to help him.

““T can’t go on in this way any longer,” he said to himself,
pausing suddenly in his rapid walk up the hill, and sitting
down on the trunk of a huge tree, which, struck by light-
ning the summer previous, had fallen by the road-side, and
now lay there, covered with snow.

As he sat with his head bent, and his eyes wandering
restlessly to and fro, the glimmer cf something bright caught
his attention. A little beyond where he had placed himself,
there was a cleft in the side of the tree, riven perhaps in its
fall; and the rays of the moon struck on something bright
which lay within the aperture. Scarcely thinking what he
did, he left his seat, and bent down over the cleft. There,
in that little spot, surrounded on every side by cold and wind
and darkness, yet sheltered in perfect safety beneath the huge
old trunk, a tiny dandelion lifted its bright head.

For a moment Frank stood and gazed at it in silent won-
der; then he knelt down on the ground and looked and
looked at the little child of summer, as if his eyes would
never weary of the sight. Gradually, the hard, strained
expression of his face changed. It grew softer and more
tender, and a tremulous quiver passed over his lips. After
a while, he put his hand into the cleft,—how warm it was!
The little flower was quite safe in its strange abiding-place!
AUSTIN’S VISIT. 71

He touched it very tenderly, put his fingers beneath it, and
turned its golden face more fully to the moonlight ; and then,
very suddenly and quickly, he bent his own face closely down,
and kissed it.

What if it were but a simple field-flower, and he almost
aman! It had taught him a lesson of lowly trust and con-
fidence ; and even as his lips touched the tiny blossom which
the mighty hand of God had planted in that strange spot,
that the finding of it might lead that troubled soul to Him,
even then the humbled heart yielded, and “sat down under
His shadow with great delight,” to find that “ His banner
over him was love.” |

“What is the meaning of this, Austin?” asked the sharp
voice of Mr Acton, one of the masters, as Frank entered the
Hall. “Absent from supper, absent from study-hall, and out
until nine o’clock !”

“Nine o'clock !” repeated Austin, in astonishment. “Is
it so late? I suppose it must be, though,” he added, as if
to himself. ‘The moon is so high, and it rose about six.
I have been reported to the Doctor, Mr Acton ?”

“Yes: Ihave just given in the day’s report. I am sorry,
Austin, How did it happen? This is something very un-
usual for you.”

“Yes,” replied Frank, “it is. Perhaps I had better go
to Dr Drayton at once with my apology ;” and he turned
away, leaving Mr Acton to look after him wonderingly for
a moment, and then to go on his way with the feeling
that the delinquent would probably be able to satisfy the
principal.

“He certainly does not look as if he had been in mis-
chief,” he said to himself, as he returned to the study-hall.

He certainly did not. Mischief in any form never brought
that quiet, restful look on any human face.

Entering, in answer to the short ‘“ Come in,” which had
been the response to his knock at the door of Dr Drayton’s
72 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

study, he saw at once that the report of nis misdoing had
been read; and scarcely needed the question which was
sternly addressed to him—

‘How do you account for this, sir? Three hours’ absence
without permission.”

“My absence was quite unintentional, sir; at least my
absence from the study-hall. I must confess that I had not
intended to be at home for supper,” replied Austin, respect-
fully.

“Where have you been?” and the searching eyes scanned
his face narrowly, but saw no signs of guilt there,

At old Christy’s cabin.”

“Until this time of night ?”

“No, sir; I left there at a quarter before seven, but—I
think I must have been lost in thought,” he went on, after
a moment's hesitation ; “for I suddenly found myself quite
a distance beyond the Hall, upon the precipice road, and the
moon was so high that I think I must have been walking
for some time.”

The gray eyes bent themselves even more sharply than
before on the boy’s face ; but it neither flushed nor paled
beneath their scrutiny.

“Of what were you thinking so deeply, may I ask ?”

Then indeed his face glowed with a sudden, quick colour,
which dyed it crimson ; but he answered, steadily —

“Of myself, sir.”

A suspicion of the truth flashed across Dr Drayton’s mind ;
but absence from the Hallat such an hour was a grave offence,
and he was determined so sift the matter thoroughly.

“You say that you were intentionally away from supper,
and that you spent the time at Christopher Dunn’s cabin.
What led you there at that time ?”

Austin hesitated. Was he ready to confess Christ before
all men ; to “stand up for Jesus” so soon? Yes, he was.
Like the little dandelion, he had found a hiding-place from
THE BRIDGE. (od

the wind and cold and storm; and now he was: ready to
bear testimony to the love which had so blessed him.

“T wanted to talk with him,” he said, looking straight
into Dr Drayton’s face with fearless eyes, yet with a strange
gentleness of expression ; “and I did not wish to be inter-
rupted by any of the other boys. The truth is, Dr Drayton,”
and the strong young voice trembled slightly, “I wanted
Christ, and Christy seems to me more Christ-like than any ;
one Iknow. I did not know when I went to him that that
was what led me there, but I know it now.”

“And you have found what you sought?” The Doctor’s
voice was husky. He rose and came toward Frank, and
laid his hand upon his shoulder.

“Yes, I found Him,” said Austin, quietly, looking up
into the master’s face with a smile. ‘I have been very
proud and self-willed, determined to fight my own way to
heaven ; but, after all, a flower led me into the kingdom,
and somehow I feel like a little child to-night.”

“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven,” said Dr Drayton. “May God keep you a
learner at the Saviour's feet for ever. Good-night, my son,
and God bless you.”

And Austin left the study with a glow at his heart such
as he had never felt before, in thinking of the grave, stern
master,



CHAPTER IX.
THE BRIDGE,.

“ Austin, I want you to come down to Daisy Creek with
~ me this afternoon, Don’t make any plans with the other
fellows, will you?”
74. LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘What now?” asked Frank. “Have you some new
notion in your head, Larry ?”

“Not quite a new one. Keep my counsel, and I will
show you my last effort in the oe line,” ne Bronson,
“T want your opinion of it.”

“T’ll be quiet as a mouse. I wish it were time for the
show now ; for you look as if it were a great success.”

‘“T think it is asuccess. If it had been a failure, I don’t
much believe that even you would have seen it.”

“T’d trust you for that, you proud old mastiff. You’d
bury every failure in the bottom of your kennel, and stand
growling before the door if even your best friend tried to
touch it. Isn’t that so?”

“Yes, more so than it ought to be. I confess that my
mistakes and blunders are a terrible cross to me, especially
if they are seen. But I’m trying to keep that old spirit
under, Frank: I really am.”

“t know that. I can see that you are trying for it, and
it is hard work, too ;” and Austin threw his arm around his
friend’s neck with almost girlish tenderness. ‘ Don’t think
I meant to twit you unkindly; I think you are doing
bravely. But then the old fellow will show his colours once
in a while, you know, and I was only chaffing.”

“T know, I know,” said Laurence. ‘Now we must go
in. Don’t forget to keep yourself for me this afternoon.”

It was a month since the day on which Bronson had sent
his designs to Messrs Semmons & Driggs, and he had as
yet heard nothing from them. In the meantime, no one, not
even Austin, had seen anything of him out of ‘ Hall hours,”
as the Drayton boys denominated the time given to recita-
tion and study. More than once Frank had asked him
where he had hidden himself, but the question was always
parried ; and he was as much in the dark as any of Laurence’s
less intimate companions.

But little as they had seen of one another, the two friends

ee
THE BRIDGE, "5

had drawn more closely together than ever in these few

weeks. On the night of Austin’s visit to Christy, Laurence | a
had gone to bed, worried and anxious. No suspicion‘of the .-

truth had entered his mind, and he began to fear that Frank
would bring himself into serious trouble : first by the neglect
of his studies, a fault very unusual with him; and now by
this apparently wilful breaking of a most strenuous rule.
But spite of his uneasiness, being very thoroughly tired, he
fell asleep before Austin came up into the dormitory. He
was wakened by hearing his name very softly spoken, and
roused himself to find Frank’s head lying on the pillow close
to his own.

“Quiet, old fellow! don’t wake the rest,” whispered
Vrank’s warning voice, as he started up.

‘But what is the matter, Austin? Are you in trouble?”

“No, not now.”

It broke upon Laurence all at once; and, rising quickly
in the bed, he caught Austin’s hands in both his own, and
looked into his face. The room was almost as light as if it
were day. The bright moonbeams falling in at the window
struck on Frank’s calm, happy face ; Aad Laurence did not
need to ask him any questions.

“O Frank!” he said. And then Frank caught him close,
and hid his face on his neck, and clung to him like a child.

‘Don’t think me a baby,” he said at length, lifting him-
self up with a little joyous laugh. “ But I have been awfully
wretched, and now I am so happy.”

And hea they lay down again with their heads on the
same pillow, and Laurence heard the whole story.

“ Frank,” he said, after they had ie “ a while, “the
boys are all wild to hea about your ‘scrape,’ as they call it.
I'm afraid that youll be set upon the very first thing in the
morning. What shall you do?”

“Tell them the truth,” replied Austin, unhesitatingly.

‘Will you have the strength ?”
76 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“No; but Christ will, You don’t need to be told that
| Larry.”

“No, Frank; I do believe you took Him at His word
more than I did, even before you were a Christian, Have
you lost yourself in Him already ?”

‘““T don’t know; but somehow I don’t seem to think
much about myself to-night. That boy, Frank Austin, with
whom I was so well satisfied, has slipped away and left no
one behind him but a poor, despairing fellow, whom Christ
has lifted into peace and joy. That’s all I know about it,
Larry.”

Laurence had not been mistaken in his estimate of the
storm of questions which would beset Frank the next morn-
ing. Scarcely had the gong struck the hour for rising, when
a score of heads were lifted from their pillows, and as many
voices began eager inquiries for him.

“Hallo, Frank!” “Is Austin there?” “Did he come
in last night?” &c., were some of the questions, which he
answered with a cheery—

“All right. I’m on hand,” as he sprang up, and began
to dress somewhat hastily.

And then a host of new queries rushed in upon him.

‘“Where have you been?” “What did the Professor
say?” ‘Were you reported?” and a multitude more,
which he at first attempted to parry or laugh off; until
finally some one asked the direct question, in a moment’s
lull,—

“But really, Austin, let’s have it. What were you
doing ?” | a

The room was still, for all were interested in the answer.
Laurence watched him closely. It was no slight ordeal for
a boy of sixteen to stand up before twenty-five merry school-
fellows, and tell them that he had chosen Christ Jesus as
his Lord. But Laurence saw that he would do as he had
said, tell them the truth;” for though his face was as
THE BRIDGE. ee

white as the linen which his nervous fingers were unsuccegss-
fully trying to button at his throat, it was set and deter-
mined. ‘The silence had lasted but a moment, when Frank
broke it, speaking very deliberately —

“‘T don’t want to make any secret of it,” he said. “If
you wish to know what I was doing last night, it was just
this: I was looking for a hiding-place, and I found it in the
Rock of Ages.”

What a small thing it seemed, after all, when it was done.
Perhaps the simple, natural way in which the words were
spoken ; Frank’s unconstrained manner; and, above all, the
change in his expression from the worried, troubled look his
face had worn for some days,—had their effect. At any
rate, the sneers and laughter which Laurence had feared for
him were not heard. Every one of the expectant faces
watching Frank expressed utter astonishment and wonder ;
but the only word spoken was a prolonged “ Holloa !” from
Will Seaton.

The room was unusually quiet during the few moments
which passed before the second bell rang; but no one spoke
to Austin, until just as they left the room, when Ned
Churchill, a frank, open-hearted, but very careless young
fellow of about his own age, stretched out his hand as Frank
was passing hima, and said—

“T don’t think much about these things myself, Austin ;
but I respect you for showing your colours at once.”

Even if Frank had not at the outset “‘ shown his colours,”
as Ned had termed it, the change in him would very soon
have been noticed by all his companions, even the least
observant among them ; for it had struck with the greatest
force one of the most prominent points in his character—
his self-esteem. He was not a foolishiy vain or conceited
boy, but he was talented, quick, and very well read for one
of his years ; and he had been so much praised and flattered
that he had come to think that Frank Austin’s opinions and
78 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

decisions were quite equal to those of any man he knew,
and far superior to those of his ownfriends. And the place
he had chosen for himself as umpire of the school was yielded
to him with scarce a murmur. To be sure, the boys some-
times called him “The great Mogul,” and other nicknames
of the same signification ; but they all consulted with and
deferred to him, and he held his position with the air of a
man who knew his own worth. The little boys looked up
to him as a prince among their elders ; and even those of his
own clique, although they joked among themselves some-
times over his self-confidence, always ended their little rail-
leries with—

“Well, if he does think Frank Austin is a pretty good
fellow, he don’t stand alone in his opinion.”

And just here it was that the change in him showed itself
most plainly. Those wretched days when he had so vainly
sought to help himself out of his misery had shown him
how little after all he knew, and how little strength he pos-
sessed ; and the knowledge gave him a humility and gentle-
ness of manner which no one had ever seen before in him.
Not that he was the less able or ready to speak his mind on
any point; but the thing was done in a way so different
from his former dictatorial manner, that no one could fail to
notice it.

‘That is what I think, but perhaps you all know as much
about it as I do,” or some such disclaimer, was now always
the conclusion to any expression of opinion in a discussion ;
and the alteration in his manner and whole bearing was as
marked as in his speech.

Laurence gave Austin no chance to forget his engagement
with him “after hours ;” for no sooner were they set at
liberty, than Frank found him at his side.

“Are you ready?” he asked, eagerly, linking his arm in
that of his friend.

“Yes, more than ready ; for I’m wild to know what has
THE BRIDGE. 79

set my cool old iceberg on fire. Why, Laurence, I never
saw you look so much excited in my life. What is it all
about?”

‘“Come, and [ will show you. We must go through
Merriman’s Woods;” and he turned out of the road in
which they were standing, into a narrow footpath, which,
after ten minutes’ fast walking, brought them into a dense
forest of trees—dense, at least, when in leaf; even now,
when just budding out, they grew so close that two could
scarcely walk abreast between them.

No pleasanter place could be chosen for a ramble, on a
bright afternoon in the early spring, than Merriman’s Woods.
The air was laden with the sweet, fresh smell of the bursting
buds: the busy birds, nest-building in the branches, paused
every little while in their work to pour outa gush of happy
song; and the ground was covered with a carpet of purple
violets and delicate white anemones, with here and there a
golden crocus scattered through ea:

But the boys had no time is more than a passing clance
at all this loveliness, They hurried on; for they had quite
a long walk before them, and their time was short. On
through the woods they walked for three miles and more,
until they came at length to a break,—an open clearing,—
beyond which the woods grew up again thicker and closer
than on the other side, But they were now almost at their
journey’s end; for just within this second forest, a little
brook crept out from beneath a huge rock, and ran its merry,
rippling course over a bed of stones and moss. A pretty,
tiny thing it was,—so tiny that it seemed almost as if it had
been made to show how perfect so small a stream could be
in its beauty. Its edges, fringed with feathery ferns and
drooping grasses, were hollowed here and there by miniature
bays, where the water ran in with a soft little gurgle, to run
out again the next moment, and a little farther on dash
itself down over some obstructing stone in a mimic water-
80 | LAURENCE BROUNSON’S VICTORY.

fall. Beyond, again, the water lay in a still pool, clear as
crystal; and still farther, rippled and danced over small,
white pebbles, running in and out among then, seeming
fairly to laugh aloud in very glee.

It was to this brook that Laurence led his companion.
Just beyond the spot where the laughing little wavelets
stopped to kiss the pure white pebbles, the stream. suddenly
narrowed, and ran quietly beneath the shade of an over-
hanging willow, whose branches fell almost into the water,
and reached quite to the farther side. It was perhaps a
yard across at this point; and here, to his utter astonish-
ment, as Bronson sprang before him, and threw aside the
boughs, Frank saw that a miniature bridge had been thrown
across the brook. And such a bridge! Light, graceful, per-
fect in all its tiny proportions! It looked to him like a bit
of work which the fairies, who were reported to haunt these
woods, might have performed with their own deft little
fingers.

No words that he could have spoken would have so grati-
fied Bronson as the perfect silence in which he stood gazing
at the pretty thing. For full five minutes he stood and
looked at it. Then he turned to Laurence, and, holding
out both his hands, said heartily—

‘‘ Bronson, I give you joy; with all my heart, I do!”

And Bronson—well, who could blame him for it? He
just threw himself down upon the grass and hid his face on
his arms, for he did not want even Frank to see it just then.
That bridge had been the one thought of his mind, and of
his heart as well, for a full month. Every spare moment
had been given to it. Through wind and storm and rain
he had traversed those four weary miles every day, to work:
with all his strength for its completion. He had given up
rest, recreation, companionship,—every enjoyment,—to de-
vote himself to it; and now, when his reward came in that
long gaze of delight and admiration given to his work by his
THE BRIDGE. ~ §l

dearest friend, the lips with which he strove to answer his
congratulations would quiver and tremble, in spite of him.
When at length he raised his head, it was to find Frank
sitting at his side, with his eyes still intently fixed on his
bridge.

“ Bronson,” he said, turning towards him, “ that thing is
perfectly beautiful. The more I look at it, the more perfect
it seems to me. I can’t imagine how you ever made time to
do so much. Did Morgan help you?”

“No: I could not pay him for his work. He promised
to keep my secret, and wanted to give me all his time after
work-hours ; but I would not hear of it, of course, for the
man’s time is his money. It is only lightly thrown together,
and one can doa good deal in a month, Austin, when one is
‘trying to make a penny,’ as Semmons says. Looking the
whole thing over, can you suggest any alterations ?”

“Not one. If I had made it, I should have liked some
darker wood; but that is a mere matter of taste.”

“Not with me. It was a matter of dollars and cents, and
I had not the dollars.”

‘And you did not come to me?” said Frank, reproach-
fully. “ You would not ask me to help you in such a way?
You might at least have borrowed what you needed.”

‘‘ With no present prospect of paying my debts? No, no,
Frank: I cannot ask such help, even from you. I had rather
ten thousand times build my poor little bridge of common
pine, as I have done. Do you call that false pride?”

“No, Larry. I think you are right to do just as you like
best in the matter. Only, I should have been glad to have
had a hand in it.” And as Austin watched his friend’s
flushed face, he could not but feel how tremendous must have
been the effort which this boy, who was too proud to take
such a favour from his bosom friend, must have been making
through the past three months.

And yet he knew, for Laurence had told him ag much,
82 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

that those very months had been the happiest of his life. A
few weeks ago, he would not have understood it; but now
he knew the secret. He had learned what it was to “humble
himself as a little child ;” and he had learned, also, that to
such “little children” God gives a peace and strength and
joy which those who trust in their own strength can never
know.

‘““T wish,” said Frank, after they had been sitting silent
for some moments, “I wish that Mr Semmons could see
that bridge. It is strange that you don’t hear from him,
Laurence.”

“Yes, itis. I should think that he would write me a
line, even if he does not fancy my designs. He would at least
return them.”

‘Qh! ef course he would do that; but perhaps there has
been some delay in the post. Wait another week, and then
write again, asking if he received them. How does Albert
behave ?”

“About as usual. He asks me every day regularly if I
have heard from Messrs Semmons & Driggs. I don’t trouble
myself on his account much ; though, I confess, I should
have been glad if those designs had been accepted, and he —
had known of it. No matter: it would not have done either
of us any good, perhaps;” and Laurence heaved a sigh,
which said very plainly that he would have liked to try it,
at any rate.

“But come,” he went on, more cheerily, “I must take
my precious baby home: it has never been out so Jeng be-
fore. Mrs Morgan gives it house-room for me, unt? £ want
to take it up to the Hall, Wait a moment until I go over
to the other side. There now;” and he sprang across the
brook. “Take out that tie beneath there, Frank, and take
_ your end down as she parts in the middle. There she is,
all safe ;” and he sprang back again, with one half of the
bridge held fast in his arms, as tenderly as if it had been a
MR SEMMONS. 83

veritable baby, and he its young mother, while Frank car-
ried the other portion almost as lovingly.

Their errand to the carpenter’s house was soon accom-
plished, the treasure hidden securely away, and then they
started off on their walk back to the Hall.

CHAPTER X.
MR SEMMONS.

“Taat gentleman is in the parlour, waiting to see you, Mr
Bronson,” said Briggs, the head-waiter at the Hall, laying a
card on the table before Bronson, as he sat in one of the
study-halls, busily engaged at his books. Laurence took up
the card, and after studying it a moment, threw it across
the table to Austin, who sat opposite.

“Mr Semmons!” was all he said.

‘So he is one of the ceremonious sort, eh?” said Austin.
“Tt looks encouraging, any way, his coming here, doesn’t
ij? I wish you success, old fellow. Good-bye ;” and he
gave Bronson’s hand a hearty grip, as he passed out of the
room to go down to meet his visitor.

When he entered the parlour, he found no one there but an
elderly gentleman, who looked up as he entered the room,
and merely returning his bow with a slight nod, turned again
toward the window at which he was sitting. Laurence
glanced round the room to see if there were any one else
there; but finding no one, stepped toward the window, and
asked—

“Ts this Mr Semmons ?”

‘It is,” said the gentleman. “TI called to see Mr Bronson.
The man has gone to tell him.”
84 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

“He told me that you were here. My name is Brom
son.”

“I beg your pardon,” said the gentleman, rising. “Iam
sorry that you were disturbed; but it is Mr Laurence
Bronson whom I wished to see. There has been some mis-
take.”

“There is no mistake, sir. I am Laurence Bronson. I
Suppose that you have called to answer in person’a letter I
sent you some weeks ago,”

“This is very curious,” said Mr Semmons, looking much
perplexed. ‘ I had supposed that my correspondent was one
of the teachers in this establishment. What I want, young
gentleman, is to see the originator of the designs which that
letter enclosed. Perhaps you acted as his scribe.”

‘The designs were my own, sir, as well as the letter. I
heard that you wanted something of the sort, and so sent
them to you. Did they suit your purpose ?”

“And you mean to tell me,” exclaimed the astonished old
gentleman, “that those designs were the work of your own
brain, and your own unaided hand ?”

“T do, sir,” said Laurence, smiling,

“Then I have only to say that you are a very smart fel-
low,” was the somewhat abrupt response.

“For which I thank you, sir,” said Laurence, looking
exceedingly pleased.

“* Well, then, we may as well sit down and settle the thing
at once, since we understand one another now,” said Mr
Semmons, who was evidently accustomed to doing things in
a very business-like manner. ‘‘ What did you expect to
receive for those drawings ?”

“‘T had no expectations whatever, sir; for I have no idea
what they are worth. In fact, I did not even know that it
was customary for architects to buy designs. I supposed
that they did all that part of their business themselves.”

“We do, as a general thing ; but just now we happen to
MR SEMMONS. 85

have an immense number of orders to fill, and our house
prides itself on the variety of the patterns it sends out. So
I determined to call in some outside aid, if I could find what
pleased me. Your designs are peculiarly graceful and
pretty. If you conclude to let us have them, I shall use
them in a new park which is being laid out by private enter-
prise, not many miles from here. Suppose I offer you
for them? I want to do the fair thing by you, especially
since I find that you are beginning so young to try to make
your own way; and I think that is what they are worth.
Does that satisfy you?”

“Yes, sir: I had not supposed them worth so much,” said
Laurence, frankly. ‘Iam very glad.”

“So am I,” said Mr Semmons, heartily. “But I must
say | was never so surprised in my life as when I found that
they were the work of a mere boy. Are you as smart at all
your studies as you are at drawing ?”

“No, sir; I am not smart at anything else. The truth
is, Mr Semmons, that I am exceedingly stupid,” said Bron-
son, with such honest earnestness that his visitor laughed
outright.

‘““Itis so,” persisted Laurence. ‘TI love study, but I am
very dull ; and I am often three hours in learning a lesson
which almost every fellow in the class will master in an
hour.”

“But I warrant that what once goes into your head never
strays out_again,” said Mr Semmons.

“No, it generally stays there. It has such hard work to
find its way in, that I suppose it never attempts any farther
journeys ;” and the boy laughed merrily.

He hardly knew what to make of himself, chatting so
gaily and unreservedly with a perfect stranger: it was
quite a new experience for him; but even, while wondering
at his own freedom, he found himself telling Mr Scninens
why he had spent all his leisure moments in steady work,


86 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

and how anxious he was to do all he could for the support
of his family.

“And what have you been doing since you sent me these
designs ?” asked Mr Semmons. “It isa full month; and
I should have written you, if it had not been that I was
daily expecting to come up here on other business, and pre-
ferred to see you. Have you any more pretty arches and
bridges to show me ?”

“No, sir, not on paper. My whole spare time, since I
wrote you, has been spent in building the model of a bridge.
I wish that it were here. I would like to show it to you ;”
and he looked really sorry.

‘Where is it? At your home?”

“Oh, no, sir! I built it at the shop of a carpenter, who
lives about four miles from here, through the woods. There
is a beautiful little brook near his house, and I wanted to
throw it across this stream. It is a long walk over there.”

“Not so very long, if it is only four miles, Could you
get permission to go ?”

‘Would you be willing to go, if I could?” said Laurence,
perfectly delighted at the prospect.

“Certainly I would. There is nothing I like better than
a tramp through the woods, on a bright spring day ; but I
would not like to interfere with your studies. Have you
anything more to do this afternoon ?”

“Yes, sir: I have one recitation, which will keep me half
an hour. As Dr Drayton excused me from the last hour,
on account of your wish to see me, I do not like to ask for
farther time; but if”—and he hesitated, colouring deeply,

“If I can wait, you will go? Is that it?”

“Yes, sir.” |

“I can wait very well. I will amuse myself here until
you come back. Bring my nephew with you, when your
class is over. He will like to go with us. Has he gean
your bridge ?”
MR SEMMONS, 87

“No, sir, it was only completed yesterday. I spent the two
hours between daylight and breakfast-time in putting the
last touches to it. No one has seen it but my friend Frank
Austin.”

“Well, be off now to your class, and bring Albert with you.”

sronson could not help smiling as he went out of the
room, to think how little Albert Semmons would care to look
at any work of his. He did not want to tell him of his
interview with his uncle ; so, passing him on his way to his
place at recitation, he simply said—

‘Your uncle is in the parlour, and would like to see you
alter class ;” and Albert, supposing that he had received
the mewaee for him from some one else, nodded his head,
and bent again over his book, thinking no more of him.

When Laurence went down again to rejoin Mr Semmons,
he found Albert there before him.

“Well,” said the old gentleman, ‘are you ready? Albert,
here, does not seem so much interested in bridges, &., as
you and I are; but if he wants my company during my
little visit here, he must go with us; for I must have a look
at your work.”

“Oh! Iam very ready to go,” said Albert, indifferently.
“T haven't any fancy for such things ; but I would like the
walk, as far as that is concerned.”

‘“‘T shall have to ask you to let me start a little aed of
you, Mr Semmons,” said Laurence. ‘I would like to have
you see the bridge to the best advantage, and it looks twice
as well when it is over the brook. So if you will give Austin
and myself an extra five minutes, we will have it up before
you reach the water.”

“Oh! let us all start together,” said Albert. “If there
is any beauty at all in the thing, I don’t see why it won’t
show as well in one place as another.”

There was no misunderstanding the contemptuous tone
in which he spoke. His uncle turned sharply round.
88 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

‘‘ That is simply because you know nothing about it,” he
said, in a tone of great vexation. “By all means, Bronson,
take the start of us. I would much prefer to see your bridge
when in position. We will give you all the time you want.”

“Five minutes will be quite enough, sir. We will make
up what extra time we need by fast walking ;” and he went
out to call Austin, leaving Mr Semmons to talk to Dr
Drayton, who had just entered the room.

The boys had not allowed themselves more than time
enough, for, scarcely was the bridge securely fastened in its
place, when the sound of many voices, talking merrily, came
ringing through the woods; and the next moment they saw
approaching them, not only Mr Semmons and Albert, but
Dr Drayton, two of the other teachers, and a crowd of scholars,
whom, it seemed, Mr Semmons had met as he came out of
the Hall, and had invited to join the party, telling them the
object of the walk. Of course the invitation had been
eagerly accepted ; and the result was, an assemblage such as
Laurence had not dreamed of.

And surely no artist ever had a more appreciative audi-
ence. No sooner did the boys catch sight of his “ first-born,”
as Frank had already christened it, than a delighted shout
woke a thousand echoes through the silent woods.

“Three cheers for the Duke of Glencoe!” cried a well-
known voice ; and the cheers were given with a hearty good-
will, waxing louder and louder as the boys noticed that Dr
Drayton and Mr Semmons were joining in the general
tumult of applause.

Albert Semmons stood quite behind the crowd who were
pressing forward to obtain the nearest possible view of the
bridge, but he could not escape notice. The group of boys
whom Mr Semmons had brought with him happened to be
principally the members of Laurence’s class; and there was
not one there who did not remember the occasion of Albert’s
insulting offer, and know that this triumph for Laurence had
MR SEMMONS. 89

grown out of it. There was but little said to him, for his
uncle’s presence protected him; but if looks could have
withered him, as he stood there biting his lip in his intense
vexation, he certainly would have quailed beneath the glances
of his companions.

- “There, young gentleman,” said Dr Drayton’s deep voice,
at length. “I think that will do. I was glad to hear such
an expression of good-will, and of admiration for the work
of your schoolfellow. We all think that he has done won-
ders. But here is Mr Semmons, whose word is law in these
matters. Let us hear what is his opinion of Bronson’s
effort.”

‘My opinion of it is just this, sir,” said Mr Semmons.
“It is as pretty a bit of work, of its kind, as I have ever
seen, Itis very simple, but light and elegant ; and, so far
as I can tell, entirely original in design, and perfect in
proportions. This young gentleman is going to eclipse us
all, if he keeps on, Doctor.”

“Semmons,” said Will Seaton, creeping up to Albert’s
side, “I’ve heard you ask the Duke pretty often lately
whether he had heard from Semmons & Driggs. He has
just heard from them. I thought, perhaps you ’d be pleased
to know.”

With a muttered threat, Semmons turned his back upon
his tormentor, and Will left him to his reflections.

As for Laurence, he had had almost more than he eould
bear. Hehad stood listening, with rapidly changing colour,
to the cheers of his friends; but when Dr Drayton and Mr
Semmons had paid him—each in his own characteristic
way—their tribute of praise, the colour faded out entirely,
leaving his face almost as white as marble.

'“You’re not going to faint, are you?” whispered Austin,
anxiously.

‘No, not I; but I wish I was out of this, Austin. Let’s
get away somewhere,”
90 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

But just at that moment a crowd of eager boys came up
to congratulate him; and the choking in his throat, which
had seemed about to suffocate him, was forgotten, as he
listened to their hearty expressions of admiration and
delight.

“Mr Austin, will you let some one else aid your friend
in taking down his bridge, while you walk with me to the
Hall?” asked Mr Semmons.

‘Certainly, sir,” said Frank; and Laurence called Will
Seaton to his side.

They had a pleasant walk together ; for the old gentleman
wanted to hear all that he could of Bronson, and Austin
was delighted to tell him what he knew. |

“The fact is, Mr Semmons,” he said, in conclusion, as
they neared the Hall, “he is the best fellow in school.”

‘That ’s as people think,” said a sharp voice just at his
elbow, and Albert came up and joined them. “ Ned
Churchill is worth ten of him.”

A month ago, Austin would have taken no notice of such
a speech, further than to answer it by a haughty stare; now
he laughed, and said—

“Yes; it is as people think, and I was telling your
uncle what I thought.”

“What is the matter between you and this Laurence
Bronson?” asked Mr Semmons. “TI have not said a word
in his praise that you have not combated; and I find it is
the same thing now. What have you against him ?”

‘Oh! nothing. I don’t fancy him, that’s all;” and
Albert turned off, and entered the house alone.

“Strange fellow!” said his uncle, looking after him.
“Always was disagreeable from the cradle; and always
will be, I suppose. They spoil him shamefully at home.
Where is Bronson ?” |

“Just coming up that footpath, sir,” replied Austin,
smiling at the sudden change of conversation,
MR SEMMONS. ; 91

“Do you suppose he is so in love with that thing that he
can’t part with it? I want it, and I would pay him hand-
somely. Shall I ask him ?”

“I think so, sir,” said Austin ; and he turned away as
Laurence drew nearer.

‘ Bronson,” said his new friend, as the boy walked toward
him, “I have taken a wonderful fancy to that toy of yours.
If it wasn’t your first, I would ask you to let me buy it for
a model for my rooms ; but I suppose you want it yourself.”

“T should like to keep it, Mr Semmons ; but if you want
it, I cannot afford to keep it; for, as I told you this morn-
ing, I need not only to economise, but to do everything I
can to lighten my expenses. If you wish to buy the bridge,
you may put your own price on it, and take it.”

It was a great effort to say so much, for he really loved
the thing. It had cost him much self-denial, hard labour,
and exertion, and he thought it very beautiful. Mr Sem-
mons did not fail to see this, but he was a man of business
carrying on a business transaction ; and, besides, he did not
want to give the boy a wrong estimate of the worth of his
work. His offer was a liberal one, but it was nothing
more.

“T will give dollars for it. That is about what I
would expect to pay any one else for such a piece of work.”

“That seems to me a very good offer, sir, and I thank
you for it. The bridge is yours.”

“Very well. Now I must bid you good-bye. I should
like a dozen more designs, if you can contrive some that are
perfectly original. When I want another supply I will let
you know. And let me hear from you once in a while,
even if you do not hear from me. I should like to know
how you get on, and might perhaps be in the way to aid
you. I think I can obtain for you all the work that you
can do; and I like to help young fellows who are willing to
put their pride in their pockets, and help themselves when.


99 LAURENCE BRONSON’S VICTORY.

it 1s necessary. There is my nephew: I must speak with
him.”

They parted with as friendly a grasp of the hand as if
they had known each other for years; and certainly there
was in Drayton Hall that night no happier boy than Laur-
ence Bronson.

Mr Semmons’s visit to the Hall had been made just two
days before the commencement of the Easter holidays,—
holidays to which Laurence was looking forward with great
delight, for Austin was to spend them with him, his own
father and mother being away on a long journey.

He had somewhat dreaded, it is true, the first visit to the
small house in Glencoe village ; but when he and his friend
reached it, they found quite as warm a welcome as had ever
greeted them at the old home, and the place looked far
more pleasant and home-like than he had thought possible.

The library—which was now sitting-room and dining-
room as well—was furnished with the very same furniture
which he had been familiar with for so many years; and ag
he leaned over the sofa on which he had so often played
with his little sisters, but which was now his father’s resting-
place, and looked down into that father’s happy face, he felt
perfectly content.

Leaning so, an hour or two after he had reached home,
his mother sitting close beside him, and Frank not far away,
he laid an envelope in his father’s hand, saying—

‘Those are my first earnings, father,” |
CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.
CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

CHAPTER I,
JEMMY FORD.

He stood just outside the door, looking in curiously, a stray
waif. It was a poor room; but in it were gathered many
children, sitting around in groups of six or seven, each with
a lady or gentleman seated in the centre. The shabby old hall
looked beautiful to Jemmy’s eyes, and he gazed longingly
in at the door. “A Sunday-school,” a man standing at
the corner of the street had’said it was ; and Jemmy had
gone up the long stairway to see what a Sunday-school was
like. |

“Look at that boy, teacher,” said a child who sat on a
bench near the door. ‘‘ He looks as if he wanted to come
in.”

The lady leaned forward, and touching Jemmy’s arm,
said, smiling pleasantly —

‘“* Come here, and tell me your name.”

He came slowly and somewhat timidly in, twirling an
old remnant of a hat between his black hands; for black
they were, as black as the mass of curly hair which covered
his head, or the dancing eyes which glanced out beneath.

‘Will you tell me your name,” asked the lady again, as
he reached her side.
96 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Jem Ford.”

‘¢ Where do you live ?”

“T don’t live, I work.”

‘But you must live somewhere. Where do you sleep?

‘In old Barnes’ woodyard, under one of them sheds;
and days I work.”

“What do you work at?” asked the lady, thinking as
she looked at Jemmy’s ragged trousers, reaching but little
below his knees, and the apology for a jacket which hung
upon his shoulders, that his work could not be of a kind
which paid very well.

‘“ Anythin’ what turns up. Don’t care what, so I get
suthin’ to eat,” said the boy. ‘ What’s that man doin’ ?”

His quick eyes had been glancing all about the room,
attracted by every little stir; and now they rested on the
Superintendent, who stood at the desk, ready to call the
school to order.

‘¢ Sit down here,” said the lady, making room for him on
the bench at her side. ‘‘ Keep very quiet, and listen to all
you hear.”

There was a great deal to hear, and those sharp, curious
ears of Jemmy’s did not lose a word. First the gentleman
at the desk spoke for a few moments, in a quiet but very
earnest voice, words which the boy could not understand.
He watched him very anxiously, for every one about him
whose face he could see seemed very serious and attentive,
and he could not understand what it all meant. All at
once his face brightened.

‘‘T bet he’s prayin’,” he said to himself. ‘I’ve heered
they prayed in Sunday-schools, and I just bet that’s what
the feller ’s at.”

Soon the gentleman ceased speaking, and, opening a largs
book, began to read.

‘“That’s a nice story,” said Jemmy to the lady beside
him, as the book was closed.
JEMMY FORD. | 97

“Yes, it is a very pretty story,” was the whispered
answer,

“¢Samuel,’ he said the boy’s name was, didn’t he?”
Jemmy went on, involuntarily catching the lady’s low tone. -
“Must have been kind of tired popping up so out of his
sleep. Been so sometimes myself,” he continued, confiden-
tially. “Jump right up, sure I’d heard some of the boys
callin’ me, look all around, and never a feller there.”

‘We are going to sing now,” said the teacher. “ Will
you have a book 2”

‘“ Can’t read, never learned,” said Jemmy.

But he could listen: there was no doubt about that; and
he could enjoy it without a book.

“Oh! that’s splendid,” he exclaimed, as, one hymn
having been sung, the Superintendent gave out another.
The second was a long hymn, but Jemmy did not weary of
the sweet sounds. He sat leaning forward, drinking them
in with perfect delight ; and, as the Superintendent closed
his book, sprang to his feet, crying out eagerly—

“Qh! I say, don’t stop ’em. Why, it’s better nor a
hand-organ or sojers.”

The boys near him laughed, and almost every one smiled
a little ; but the gentleman at the desk glanced toward the
seat to which Jemmy had been called, and said, kindly—

“That is a stranger, [ suppose. We will sing together by
and by, my boy ; but we cannot spare more time just now.”

After speaking a few words, he came down from the
desk, and taking Jemmy by the hand, led him away to an
empty bench, and sat down beside him. As they crossed
the room together, Jemmy looked down once or twice at the
smooth, white hand which held his, and a funny littie
amused smile parted his lips and broke all over his face.
As Mr Corning, the Superintendent, took his seat, the boy
lifted his hand, and, turning it over, looked at the grimy
palm, and said, half-shyly— |

| _ | Gq
98 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Fear I’ve smutted you some, Mister.”

, The gentleman glanced down at his hand, and found that
Jemmy’s fingers had indeed left their impress on it in four
dark streaks. But he did not seem to mind it very much,
for he only smiled and said—

‘Next Sunday you must try to have clean hands when
you come to Sunday-school.”

“May I come next Sunday?” asked Jemmy, quickly.

“Certainly you may. We shall be very glad to see you.
What is your name ?”

Jemmy gave his name; and on being asked where he
lived, made the same answer that he had given when first
asked the question.

‘Where are your father and mother?” asked Mr Corning,

“Don’t know,” said the boy.

“Are they dead? Can’t you tell me anything about
yourself 2”

‘What do you want to know for ?”

He did not mean to be impertinent; and his questioner,
looking into his upturned face, saw that he did not. But
the truth was, that he was so utterly unused to having any
interest taken in him that he did not know what to make
of it.

‘T want to know,” said Mr Corning, “because I think
that you would like to come here every Sunday as one of
our scholars; and if you are one of our children, we must
know where to find you. Suppose you should be ill, and
we did not know where you were ?”

“What would you want of meif I took ill?” asked the
boy, in surprise. “I couldn’t do nothin’ for you.”

‘But we could do something for you. When our children
are ill, or in any other trouble, we want to do all we can for
them.”

This was a way of looking at things which had never
struck Jemmy. The world that he had had to deal with in
JEMMY FORD. i 99

his young life had seldom said anything to him but “ Give,”
and so his first thought had been, while listening to Mr
Corning, that souctline was to be required of him in return
for the pleasure of coming back to that pleasant room to
hear the sweet music ech had so delighted him. He sat
silent for a few moments, looking sharply at his new friend, as
ti he did not yet quite believe in such an unheard-of doctrine..

“First place, I ain’t never been ill, and don’t mean to
neither, and I ain’t got nothin’ to pay if Iwas. But if I
knowed about my father, I’d just as lief tell you, but I don’t
know nothin’. Never saw him, I fear, leastways I don’t
remember it, if I did.”

‘ But have you had no friends at all to take care of
you ¢”

‘No; nobody but old Matty.”

“Who is old Matty ?”

“She was an apple-woman, who used to give me a bite
once in a while when I was a small, little chap. She’s give
me many a broken cake and bad apple. I dunno but I’d
a starved to death when I was a young one but for the old
woman. She’s dead or somethin’ now. I ain’t seen her

for a great while back. She was took up by the police one - e

day for drinking and making a big fuss, and I’ve never laid
eyes on her since. That was more nor two years back.”

‘‘ And she is the only person who has ever helped you ?”

“°Cept myself,” said Jemmy, with a twinkle in his dan-
cing eyes. ‘ She’s the only one who ever helped me ’less I
helped them fust. But it’s give and take, you know,
Mister. If folks get work out of me, I gets my bit and sup
out o’ them, and that’ s all right seul .

“That is the best way of looking at it, abies said
Mr Corning, with a smile. “Now, I would like to put you
in a class. I have not time to talk any longer. I will see
you again after school; but in the meantime, I must give
you a teacher.”
100 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Will he teach me to read?” asked Jemmy, eagerly.

‘“ Don’t you know how to read at all?”

“No, and I want to learn very much. I want to know
how to read and write and do up sums.”

“You ought to go into the infant class if you do not know
how to read ; but I think it would hardly do to put you
there ;” and Mr Corning looked rather doubtfully at the
small but very self-possessed little man. .

“Infants!” repeated Jemmy. ‘“ That’s babbies, ain’t it!
I don’t want to go in with no babbies, Mister. Let’s sit
right down here: these fellers is pretty ragged;” and he
sat himself down with a most at-home air in a class of half |
a dozen shabbily-dressed boys.

“What about that, Mr Harvey 1” asked the Superinten-
dent, unable to restrain a smile. “This new boy seems to
have chosen you as his teacher : will you choose him as your
scholar ?”

“T can make room for him, I think,” said Mr Harvey,
struck by the boy’s bright, intelligent face ; and Mr Corning
left him. ‘ We were just in the midst of our lesson,” said
Mr Harvey, handing Jem an open Bible. “I was speaking
of God’s calling Samuel.”

“Samuel?” questioned Jem, with a wondering look in his
face. And then his eyes suddenly kindled, as he said, Oh,
yes ! that was him as that man read about. I remember
how he jumped up, thinking ’twas the old man hollered for
him.” |

“ You recollect the story quite well,” said the teacher. “T
suppose you remember that it was God who called Samuel ;
and I was telling these boys when you came, that God has
spoken to each one of us just as He spoke to Samuel. We
cannot hear His voice, but His precious Book,” laying his
hand on Jemmy’s Bible, “tells us that Christ our Lord calls
us to love Him, and to do all we can as faithful soldiers in
His army.”
JEMMY FORD. . 101

“I don’t know what the book says,” said Jemmy, glan-
cing up rather suspiciously at Mr Harvey. “TI can’t read it
no more nor nothin’, so you may as well have it. ’Tain’t no
use for you to disoblige yourself when ’tain’t no good to me.
I don’t know what you mean by that soldiering stuff.”

“Then you have never learned anything about our Lord
Jesus Christ?” asked Mr Harvey, kindly.

“No; I don’t know much. I can hold my own on the
street along with the rest of the fellers, but I ain’t got no
book-larnin’. I never heard tell of that last one you was
talkin’ about.”

‘You knew that there was a God, did you not?” asked
Myr Harvey.

‘“‘T don’t know as I did,” said Jemmy, doubtfully. “I’ve
heard Him spoke of, but I never saw nothin’ of Him. What’s
He like?” |

“Will you wait a little after school? If you will, I can
tell you a great deal of Him.”

“Oh! [’ll wait fast enough. JI ain’t got nothin’ to do, and
there’s my supper,” and he dragged from his pocket a large
piece of stale bread, split through the centre for the accom-
modation of some scraps of salt fish, ‘I always gets this
for a Sunday, if I can,” he said, with a loving look at it.
“T’ve a leanin’ to fish.”

The bell soon struck for the closing of school, and to
Jemmy’s delight three more hymns were sung. Somehow the
sweet music seemed to still and subdue him. He scarcely
spoke after it ceased until Miss Harland, the lady who had
first noticed him, stopped to speak to him as she passed out.

“T hope that you have had a pleasant time,” she said,
pausing for an instant.

“Yes: I like it fust-rate. You’re all nice enough, but
that feller down there is my kind exact.”

“Mr Corning, you mean. But he is a gentleman, not a
fellow. So you like him best of all?”
102 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

“Yes : you’d oughter seen him when he saw I’d smutted
up his hands with my black fingers. Why, he didn’t mind
it no more nor nothin’. He’s a gent, and no mistake.”

“J am glad you like him so well. We shall expect to see
you here next Sunday.”

“Oh, yes! I'll be here, never you fear ;” and he bade her
good-bye, with a familiar little nod.

“ Jem,” said Mr Harvey, when the other boys of the class
were gone out, and they were left sitting alone together, ‘I
want to tell you a story about a Friend of mine whom I
dearly love, and whom I want you to love as well.”

‘¢ Him over yonder?” asked Jem, with a jerk of his thumb
over his shoulder in the direction of the door, where Mr
Corning stood talking with a lady.

“No: this Friend has done more for both you and me
than Mr Corning can ever do,”

“You re out there, Mister,” said the boy. “ He ain’t never
had nothin’ to do with me, [fear. Hows’ever, let’s have the
story.”

And so the story, that old, sweet story of the Cross, was
told again, simply and quietly, but so earnestly that the boy
sat listening intently to its close.

“ Well,” he said, with a long-drawn breath, as Mr Harvey
paused, “if you ain't the best hand at telling a story that
ever I heard. Why, you tell it just like it was all true.”

“Tt is all true,” said Mr Harvey,—“ so true, Jem, that
believing it or not believing it is eternal life or eternal death.”

The boy looked at him wonderingly, then said soberly,
awed by his solemnity—

“You mean to say He did all that for me? There’sa big
mistake about it somehow, Mister ; for I never saw the man in
my life. ’Tain’t likely He’d done all that for a feller He'd
never laid His eyes on.”

“ Suppose,” said Mr Harvey, “that I should tell yon that
a good man who loved children had hired this room, warmed
JEMMY FORD. 103

it, provided it with all things necessary for carrying on this
school, and had then sent out men and women to gather in
the children, to teach them, and to do all in his power to
make them happy: should you believe it ?”

“Why, yes. Why shouldn’t I?”

“ But when I told you that Christ the Lord came down
from heaven to save us from the punishment of sin, and has
sent out His servants to teach the children the way to
heaven, you did not believe me.”

‘“No: no more I didn’t. But then that was such a
mighty big thing to do for folks that you say was doin’ all
they could contrary to Him, And then He wouldn’t gain
nothin’ by it neither.”

“ Nothing but our love and willing service. If that good
man had done all that I spoke of for the children of this
school, do you suppose that any one of them would refuse to
love him or to do anything in his power to please him.”

‘He wouldn’t be worth shucks if he did,” said Jem,
emphatically. “I hate a feller what’s too mean to give as
good as he gets.” |

“Then what will Jem Ford give to the Lord Jesus for all
that he gets from Him?” asked Mr Harvey, looking straight
into the boy’s face.

“Ho!” said Jem, drawing back with a little start, “that’s
comin’ pretty close too, Mister. Why, what could a feller
like me do for Him if I was ever so willin’?”

“You could love Him for His great love to you. You
could try to be an honest, truthful, industrious boy for His
sake.” |

“He likes that kind of thing, does he 2?”

“Yes ; He loves all that is pure and good, and hates all
that is wicked and unholy.”

“But I ain’t good,” objected Jem; “and you said He
loved me.”

‘“ He does love you: He hates the sin He sees in you, but
104 CHRISTY S GRANDSON,

He loves the boy, Jemmy Ford, in spite of all those sins;
and He will help you to fight against them if you will be
earnest in trying to rid yourself of them.”

Jemmy sat silent and very thoughtful. After a while he
said quickly, as if the thought had struck him suddenly—

“Tell you what I might do, Mister. ‘Try it for a week,
and see how it turns out. I’m fairly honest as chaps go, but
I lie once in a while, and I don’t care much for work ’cept
when the notion takes me. But I’ll just do anything you
say till next Sunday ; and then Ill come and tell you how
I like it.”

“You will need very much help, Jem,” said Mr Harvey,
looking kindly at the boy who was resolving to lead a pure
and holy life, with so little idea of what he was undertaking.
‘You must depend constantly on Christ for aid, or you will
find your bad habits far too strong for you.”

“Oh! never fear,” said Jem, with a little laugh of
amusement at his teacher’s small, and, as he thought, very
inadequate opinion of his powers. “Ill just do right this
week, from now till next Sunday ; and then if it pays, I'll
keep on.”

“Very well,” said Mr Harvey. “Try with all your
strength, Jem, to do nothing wrong for aweek. If you find
that you have less strength than you think; if it should
turn out that, in spite of all your efforts, you are led into
sin, remember there is One above who will help you the
moment you ask Him. You have only to lift your face to
the sky, and cry earnestly, ‘Lord, help me,’ and He will
hear you. He says, ‘If ye shall ask anything in my name,
I will do it.’”

“Anything?” repeated Jem. “Did you really mean
that?”

“ Certainly I did, for Christ meant it. We have only to
ask for what we need, and His loving heart is even more
ready to give than we are to ask.”
JEMMY FORD. | 103

“Is that sot Well, now I wonder,” said Jem, medita-
tively, “how it would be for instance in the matter of a
donkey. I’ve always been sot on a donkey, for then I could
peddle oranges and sech, and make a handsome livin’. But
I never could do more than scrape enough together to get
me victuals, Once I did save forty cents by scrimpin’ my-
self, but just then there came a spell of three or four days
when I didn’t get a hand’s turn to do, and I had to walk
into my savin’s. I’ve got twenty cents laid by again ; but
that ain’t much towards a donkey, you know. How would
it be about that, Mister? You said anything, you know.
Will I ask Him for it?” and he looked anxiously up into Mr
Harvey’s face.

“Yes,” said the gentleman, to Jem’s infinite delight, “ ask
your Master for that, or anything else that you need. If it
will be for your good He will give it to you. To you, and
to me too, it seems as if it would be a great blessing for you
to have so good a means of earning a decent and honest
living; but our Heavenly Father, knowing much that we
cannot know, may see that the granting of your prayer would
do you greater harm than good ; and if so, He would not
grant it, but would help you in some wiser way.”

‘““T can’t see how that could harm one,” said Jem, rather
crestfallen.

“No, nor can I. But suppose that you and I had a little
child here, and that the little thing should want to play with
this knife,” and Mr Harvey opened a pretty and very sharp
penknife as he spoke, ‘‘ should I give it to her?”

“Not if you knew anything,” said Jem, quickly.

“But suppose she wanted it very much, even cried for it,
and suppose that I loved her very dearly, should I still hold
it back from her ?”

“I think your lovin’ her wouldn’t make you any more
willin’ for her to chop off her fingers, would it? Oh! hallo!”
and his face lit up suddenly ; ‘“‘I never saw what you was
106 - CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

a drivin’ at till just this minute. You mean if God saw the
donkey would chop off my fingers, or bring me to the bad
some other fashion, He wouldn’t give him to me, don’t you?”

“Yes ; I mean that exactly with regard to the donkey,
and every other good thing which we ask from our Heavenly
Father.” |

“Well,” said Jem, rising, “course I don’t want to be
knocked up no way, but I think I’d manage the critter if I
had him. Leastways I ain’t a bit afraid to try.”

“Very well,” said Mr Harvey. “Ask for any blessing
you want, my boy. You mean to make an earnest effort to
do right through all this week?”

“Yes ; and I’ll be back a Sunday to tell you how it goes.
Good-bye, Mister ;” and he was out of the room and down
the stairs In a moment.

CHAPTER II.
A NEW FRIEND.

‘“Hatio! Jem Ford, is that you?”

“ain't nobody else, I know,” said Jem. ‘Don’t that
feel like me?” and he brought down his hand with a re-
sounding blow on the shoulder of a boy who stood at the
foot of the stairs. The blow was returned with interest, but
to all appearance the little encounter was a mere matter of
exercise ; for, severe as the attack and return fire had been,
both boys looked perfectly pleasant and amiabie.

‘“‘'Where have you been ?” asked the first speaker ; “not
up to that Sunday-school?”

‘“‘ Yes, I have; why not? I wanted to see what it was like.
They ’ve got a jol’y kind of a piany up there, and they do
A NEW FRIEND, 107.

sing splendid, I tell you. What are you about, Phil?” for
his companion had linked his arm through his, and was
turning him in a direction contrary to that which he had
intended to take.

** Let’s go up to the Park, will you?”

“T don’t care if I do, seein’ it’s such a shiny afternoon.”

“A shiny afternoon” it was, if unclouded sun and deep
blue sky could make it so; but the two ragged urchins
walking rapidly up the Tenth Avenue saw nothing more in
it than the glow. They felt the bracing influence of the
fresh wind, their brisk walk told that; and they saw and
enjoyed the brilliant sunlight which touched the very squalor
and wretchedness around them with something like beauty,
but that was all. Even to Jemmy, who had heard so much
that day of a loving Father above the skies, the glory of the
day was but ‘a shiny afternoon.”

They were passing an apple-stand just before entering the
Park, when Phil caught Jem’s arm, and whispered—

“ Ain't you awful dry? I am, and just look there !”

Directly before them on the stand was a large pile of
oranges. ‘The owner’s back was turned, and no one else was
noticing the two boys. Ina twinkling an orange was hidden
safely in a pocket of each jacket, and the boys went on their
way quite unsuspected.

‘‘ Pretty nicely done that,” said Jem, with a merry laugh,
as they walked up through the Mall.

“Won't the old feller swear, though, when he counts up
his oranges ?” ,

“T fear so, but that won't hurt us. If we have many
more such streaks of good luck we won’t go to bed hungry
to-night ;” and he laughed out again so heartily, that a lady
passing him said to her companion— |

“See that happy fellow! How merry he is in his rags!
He must carry an honest heart under that tattered jacket,
or he could never laugh out so innocently and joyously.”
108 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

Poor Jem! only this afternoon he had boasted that he
was “fairly honest as chaps go,” and, according to his ex-
perience, he had spoken truly. His standard of honesty was
the same as that of those with whom he had to do.

They sauntered on through the pleasant sunshine, around
the fountains and the lake, until they reached ‘‘ The Ramble,”
and came at last to the pretty path leading under a vine-
covered archway to “The Cave.” That arch was Jem’s
perfect admiration. He had a keen delight in everything
beautiful. His taste, of course, had run wild, in utter want
of cultivation ; but he would rather have gone hungry and
cold than to have lost the view of the arch as it stood
wreathed in its garlands of young, green leaves that bright
spring day, with the sunlight gleaming through the light
branches, as the wind tossed them gently to and fro as if in
play.

“¢ Ain’t that nice, though ?” he said, pausing before it with
his hands in his pockets. “ Hallo! there!”

Phil, in a fit of rough, boyish fun, had sprung upon him ;
and Jem, staggering under the unexpected attack, stumbled
against the side of the arch, and put out his hand to steady
himself. Huis hand did not quite reach the stone, but catch-
ing the tangled vine failed to help him; and he fell forward
on the path, dragging with him a quantity of the young and
tender branches.

“Oh! look what you have done!” cried a boy who had
passed through before them. ‘‘And there’s a policeman
just around here.”

He was a forlorn, ragged boy like themselves, and looked
so terrified at their mishap, that one would have thought
him the guilty one of the party. Jem sprang to his feet,
dragged the tangled mass of vines from his arm, and the
three started off on arun. But they were not quick enough
for the watchful policemen, one of whom, happening to turn
into the path just at that moment, saw the torn and broken
A NEW FRIEND. 109

branches, and hearing the sound of running feet started in
pursuit. The boys were all swift-footed; and the man
would have been beaten in the race had it not been for one
of his comrades, who, coming suddenly upon the fugitives,
thought that they had been in mischief, and brought them
to a sudden halt.

“What have you been about?” he asked, italy:

* Nothin’,” said Jem, looking up very inaoceuey into his
face. ‘We 6 racin’, That’s all. Let’s try it again, boys.”

‘Not quite so fast, my fine fellow,” said the policeman,
who had caught a glimpse of a figure clad in gray rapidly
approaching them ;: and the next instant the first officer
appeared. |

“Ay! you’ve caught the young rascals, have you?” he
said. ‘ 'They’ve been tearing down the vines up yonder.”

“No, we haven’t neither,” said Jem, boldly. ‘We came
through that place, but them branches was down afore we
got there.”

“Yes,” said Phil, encouraged by Jem’s manner. “We
was talkin’ about ’em, and sayin’ twas a shame to spoil ’em
$0,”

‘“¢ What made you start off on your race just then?” asked
the man who had stopped them.

Jem was replying with another quickly coined falsehood,
when the other policeman’s attention was caught by the
appearance of the third boy. He stood glancing from Jem
to Phil, and back again, with a face of such bewildered
fright that the officer at once concluded he was the trans-
STessor.

“Are you all together?” he asked of Phil, laying his
hand on the strange boy’s shoulder.

“Qh! please, sir,” said the child, with a terrified look,
which only made the policeman tighten his grip.

Phil saw his opportunity in an instant, and did not
scruple to use it
110 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“T don’t know nothin’ about him afore I seen him here.
He went through the path afore us I reckon, for he was a
standin’ there when we came up.”

‘¢ And were the branches down then ?”

“Well, if you must know the truth of it, he was just
draggin’ ’em down.”

“You little rascal!” said the policeman, with an angry
shake of his captive. “ We’ll teach you to keep your hands
off after this. Come along with me.”

The boy burst into a loud frightened ery, and Jem turning
quickly caught a warning glance from Phil.

“T’ve got him, Wilson,” said the policeman to the man
who had been trying to wrest the truth from Jem, and had
been successfully misled by the boy’s air of ignorance.
‘‘ He don’t even pretend to deny it.”

Jem looked from the policeman to the boy, and from him
to Phil.

“How do you know he done it?” he asked at length.

“Oh! you needn’t try any dodges with me,” said the
officer, with a laugh at Jem’s supposed effort to lead him
astray. ‘This other fellow has told me he saw him drag-
ging down the vines. You're too late, my man.”

‘Did you tell such a mean lie as that, Phil Doyle?”
exclaimed Jem, angrily. ‘ Then take that for a low coward
as you are;” and he struck the boy a furious blow, which
sent him reeling back upon the grass.

“Here, here! None of this,’ said one of the officers,
catching his arm.

“ You’d give him as much yourself,” said Jem, in the
game fierce voice. ‘ That little chap had nothin’ to do with
it. He was a standin’ on the furder side when we come
down the path, and there wasn’t a leaf broke. I done it
myself.”

Perfect surprise at this announcement held the two police-
-Inen quiet, and Jem went on.
A NEW FRIEND. 111

“We was standin’ lookin’ at the thing and sayin’ how
nice it was, when this feller made a spring on me. He
didn’t mean no harm, he just done it for capers ; but not
seein’ what he was at, I tumbled over, and my arm catched.
in the vine some way, and tored it down.”

“Why didn’t you say so at the first, then?”

“Do you think I was goin’ to get into a scrape if I could
lie myself out of it?” asked Jem, with a look of astonish-
ment at what he evidently eonsiree great want of worldly
wisdom on the part of his questioner. “I’m not quite so
young as that, Mister. But when I see this mean chap a
layin’ of it on the little feller, I had to own up. I can’t go
no such dirty tricks as that.”

The two policemen stood and looked at one another quite
uncertain how to proceed. The small boy’s captor had
loosened his hold; but the child stood quietly beside him,
regarding Jem very attentively.

“You are sure you had nothing to do with it?” asked the
officer, bending to look into his face.

“Qh! yes, please, sir, sure as can be. I was only stand-
ing there and thinking how pretty it was, and how mother
would like to see it if she could only go out. She loves
pretty things so. Please, please don’t take me to the station-
house, sir. It would most kill mother, and she’s dreadful
ill now,” and he lifted up such a pale, sweet face, streaming
with tears, that the policeman removed his hand on the
instant. — |

“T think he’s all right, Wilson,” he said, turning to his
companion. ‘“‘ What will we do with the others?”

‘“ Let this one go for owning up, though he did lie at first
with the honestest face I ever saw. I think it was an acci-
dent too. But this fellow,” taking Phil by the shoulder,
‘ought to be sent up for a month for trying to put it off on
the wrong one. You mean, young snake! I’ve half a mind
to take you to the lock-up now. Go off about your busi-
2 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

9

ness, and don’t show your face here again in a hurry ;” and
he flung the boy from him as if he were in reality the snake
he had called him.

“T think [’ll go before I’m pitched,” said Jem, with a
twinkle in his black eyes. ‘Come on, little chap ; I doubt
Phil will try to pay you off for gettin’ him that shakin’, if
you ’re alone.”

‘And next time you come up here, don’t fall foul of the
vines, or maybe you won't get off so easily,” said Wilson.

“ Ay, ay, sir. Ill look out,” replied Jem. ‘I wouldn’t
damage that kind of a bridge or whatever it 1s, on purpose,
not for a tenpenny loaf. Come along, youngster.”

The little stranger gladly put himself under his care ; and
they were walking down the path together, when Phil
joined them with a muttered—

“ You’re a big donkey, Jem Ford.” |

“Tf I was I’d kick you out of the road, only I wouldn’t
want to dirty my hoofs with you,” said Jem, stopping sud-
denly and looking fiercely at him. “TI never did think
much of you, Phil Doyle; but I wouldn’t a took you for
such a precious sneak. You go your ways, and I’ll go
mine ;” and taking his new friend by the hand, Jem turned
off into another path.

“ Goin’ to take your baby out for an airin’, miss,” cried
Phil, in a mocking tone.

“Yes,” returned Jem. “I’m afraid he might meet
another snake if he went alone, and I want to be at hand ;”
and so they parted.

“ What’s the matter with your mother?” was Jem’s first
question of his young friend.

“She ’s got consumption. She’s been ill a long, long
while,” said the boy, with a weary sigh.

“ Got a father?” was the next query.

‘No, there ’s only us two now. Father died three years
ago, and weve been growing poorer and poorer ever since.
A NEW FRIEND. — 1413

We used to live in a nice house of our own ; but father got
into trouble before he died, and lost all his money, and so we
had to move into two little rooms, and then into only one,
and now we live in a dark, rear basement.”

‘¢Do you mean your father was a gentleman ?”

“Yes. Was yours?”

Jem broke into his rollicking, joyous laugh.

‘‘Oh, my! what a green youngster you are!” he said.
“ First place, 1 never had no father as I knows of, and you
might have known to look at me that I didn’t come of
that sort. Any one could tell to look at you now that you
come of fine folks, with your bits of thin hands and your
pale face and weakly-looking legs. How old might you be ?”

‘“ Twelve years old.”

“Oh, my! That’s just what I am myself, I believe.
You ’re an awful babby for twelve years old. Why didn’t
you stand up for your rights, and pitch into Phil when he
played off that trick on you?” .

“T know I’m babyish,” said the little fellow, humbly ;
“but I can’t help it. I can’t seem to get used to being
with rough people; and I always am frightened so easily,
I didn’t know what to do or say when that boy told such
a wicked story about me. I couldn’t think of anything
but how distressed dear mother would be. But you were
very good and kind,” he added, laying his hand on Jem’s
arm. ‘‘I don’t know how to tell you how much I thank
you.” -

“Don’t try then,” said Jem, laconically. ‘ You ain’t
got nothing to thank me for any way. I ain’t much to
boast of, I suppose ; but I do think rather too much of my-
self to get out of a scrape by pushing another feller in, and
a small chap at that. What’s your name?”

“Willie Steele.”

“You look like ’twas Willie or some such softly name as
that. I’d a knowed you wouldn’t say Bill, nor Sam, nor

#H
114 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

Pete, nor any of them. What do you do for a livin’?
You can’t work with such lookin’ hands as them.”

‘Mother sews when she is able, and has any sewing to
do, and I do any jobs that I can;” and he looked down
pitifully at his despised little hands. ‘I wish that I were
as big as you. And you have such nice hard hands. They
look as if nothing could hurt them, and mine blister and
swell every time I try to do any hard work. I wouldn’t
eare, though, if they did, if I could only get the work to do,”
and Willie sighed that long, weary sigh once more.

‘Yes, that’s the rub,” said Jem, echoing Willie’s sigh.
“ But keep up a good heart, little one; it’s pretty hard
fightin’ sometimes, but everybody seems to pull through
somehow. We live through it, if we do come out pretty
thin and scrawny-lookin’ !”

Willie did not look much cheered by this view of things,
He walked on silently for a while, then said suddenly—

“ Could you come and see my mother ?”

‘¢ What for?”

“Maybe it would brighten her up. She hasn’t seen any
one for such a long time. She ‘Il like you because you were
good to me. Will you come?”

““T don’t care if I do,” said Jem, rather pleased by the
invitation.

It was growing dark when they entered the low, damp
basement room which Wille called his home. It was twi-
light in the street ; but in that dingy room, shut in by the
high walls of the front houses, it was dark as night.

“Ts that you, Willie?” asked a voice out of the gloom.
“Wait a moment until I light a match. You may stumble
and hurt yourself.”

“T know the place well enough, mother; but I have a
friend here, and he will hardly find his way.”

If there had been any light in the room, Willie would
have seen the colour mount rapidly in his mother’s pale
A NEW FRIEND. 115

face ; for “‘a friend” was something almost dreadful in Mrs
Steele’s eyes, shrinking as she did from letting any one
know the depth of the poverty into which she had sunk.
When, by the flickering light of a tallow candle, she saw
the ragged figure standing beside her child, the colour faded
from her face; but that startled, shrinking look did not
pass away. Of all things, she dreaded for her timid, easily-
led boy close association with the wretched children who
lived in the miserable street in which she had been forced
to take up her abode; and here he was holding one of the
worst-looking boys among them by the hand, and announc-
ing him as his friend. But when Willie had drawn his
companion toward her, relating eagerly the occurrences of
the afternoon, and she had looked more closely into the
mischievous but attractive face, her heart began to warm
toward the stranger. She had spoken gently and kindly to
him even when feeling somewhat disturbed by his appear-
ance ; now she put out her hand and drew him toward her.
But Jem held back. Poor though the room was, it seemed
to him, in its spotless cleanliness and perfect order, a new
sort of world from that in which he had been used to
move ; and the shabbily dressed woman wrapped in a thin
shawl, patched and darned to the last extreme, seemed in
some way utterly different from any other woman he had
ever known.

“Ill black your white hands like I did that man’s up
at Sunday-school,” he said, drawing away from her.

“But I want to thank you for being so good to my
boy,” she said, smiling. “I wish I could do something
for you.” |

“I’m all right,” said Jem, his unusual fit of shyness be-
ginning to vanish before Mrs Steele’s friendly manner; “ but
that boy of yours wants somethin’ done for him. Why, he
don’t know how to stand up for himself no more nor a
babby. If you don’t teach him better nor that, Missis, hel]
116 CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

be knocked under in less than no time. Why he’s as old
as me, and just look at him.”

Mrs Steele could not but smile at the pitying tone of
contempt; but it was a sad, heart-sick smile, for none knew
better than she how ill fitted her delicate, shy child was to
fight his way through the difficulties and trials which lay
before him. Almost involuntarily she laid her hand on the
sturdy little fellow beside her, and said—

“You must be a friend to him,” for Jem seemed almost
a& man in comparison with Willie.

Jem looked at her fixedly for a moment. It was the first
time in his life that any trust had been reposed in him, that
any one had given anything into his care and keeping. He
felt all at once as if he were worth something to somebody ;
and a pleased, proud look broke all over his bright face,

‘Td like to fust-rate,” he said. “I’m round here mostly,
and I'll look after the little chap. Neither one of you don’t
look up to much. Now I must go, Missis, but I’ll come in
again another time ; and if anybody comes it over the little
fellow, just let him ask any of the boys about here for Jem
Ford, and I'll see to it for you. Good-bye.”



CHAPTER IIL

MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED,

It was after eight o’clock when Jemmy left Mrs Steele’s
basement, and turned his face still farther westward. The
streets were quiet, save now and then for the outcry of some
poor creature staggering along through the night on stum-
bling, unsteady feet: and the boy, feeling a new and strange
repulsion to such sights and sounds, went his way rapidly,
MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED. 117

avoiding them when he could, until he reached the wood-
yard near the river, in a dilapidated shed of which he had
slept all through the winter, with a billet of wood for hig
pillow.

A watchman stood at the gate; but he merely nodded to
Jem, and let him pass in, for he knew him. The boy went
on across the yard to the shed, and entering it, threw him-
self down, tired out with his long walk, and closed his eyes.
But for the first time in his life sleep refused to come to
him, His mind was full of all that had happened that
afternoon ; and after turning from side to side, laying his
arm beneath his head for a pillow, and making every other
possible effort to find comfort and rest, he turned upon his
back, and lay with wide open eyes, looking up through the
broken roof of the shed to the bright stars which glowed
down upon him from the clear, blue sky.

After a while he began to recall, with a happy enjoyment
of each little circumstance, his experience at the school: Miss
Harland’s kind welcome, the singing, then his talk with Mr
Corning; and, more than all, that long, pleasant chat with
Mr Harvey.

‘Oh! hallo!” Jem started up in the darkness, calling out
so loud that the watchman at the gate paused a moment in his
walk, and looked into the yard to see if anything were amiss,
but seeing nothing, muttered to himself—

“That young one hollered out in his sleep,” and began his
measured tramp again. Meantime Jem was still sitting up,
looking out into the night.

“Ain't I just the worst feller goin!” he said more
quietly, after sitting silent for a while. ‘ Didn’t I tell that
man that I wouldn’t lie, nor steal, nor nothin’ for a week,
and here 1’ve been a doin’ of everythin’. I meant it too,
sure and certain I did, but he won’t believe it. What’ll I
do?”

There was real sorrow and distress in Jem’s face, as,
118 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

throwing himself back, he turned it up to the starlight
again,

“I didn’t mean to cheat him,” he went on. “I thought
it would go as easy as mush and milk. By the way,” the |
suggestion of that luxury disturbing his reflections for the
moment, “what an awful long while it is since I had any
mush! But I never thought another word about it. ’Tain’t
so mighty easy after all, for I don’t know as I’d have missed
the chance at that orange if I had remembered, and I had to
lie to them policemen.”

He lay a long while silent, thinking more than he had ever
thought before ; and thinking, too, for the first time, humbly,
disparagingely of himself,

“Seems too bad,” he said, at length. “I don’t know as I
ever cared. before what anybody thought about me, and here,
when I did want to do as he said, I just did what he wouldn’t
like. I wish I was good, I do.” His eyes filled with angry,
impatient tears, but the next moment a change came over
his face ; that word “ good” had brought a new idea into his
volatile mind.

“She said I was good to her boy, and he said so too, the
little chap did. Was I, wonder? IwishI was. ’*Twould
be somethin’ to tell the man, if it wasn’t much, and I don’t
want him to think I went agin all hesaid. But then”—and
his face clouded again—“TI wasn’t a tryin’ to be good. I
can't tell ham no lies. It wasn’t no tryin’: it kind of came
so: I think ’tain’t worth tellin’ about.”

With a long sigh he turned his head over on his arm; and
then there came to his mind a few words which Mr Harvey
had spoken to him that afternoon: “You have only to lift
your face to the sky, and say earnestly, ‘ Lord, help me.’ ”
He looked up to the stars with a desperate sort of feeling
that he must be helped; but the sky seemed very, very far
away, and that “ Lord” whom he had been told to call upon
in his need was an utter stranger to the poor, yearning heart,
MR BARNES WOOD-SHED, 119

He lay gazing up into the blue depths for a few moments,
and then with a pitiful sob hid his face on his arm and cried
himself to sleep.

Far different from his own self-condemnation was the
judgment passed upon Jem by those with whom he had
spent some of the hours of that day.

‘“T think my impulse was right,” Mrs Steele said to her-
self, as she lay down on the wretched apology for a bed on
which she tried to rest her aching limbs through the long,
sleepless hours of the night. “ There is something true and
noble about that boy, rough and brusque as he is. There
seems no hope of my finding an able friend for Willie, and
it will be better for him to have ever so young a protector
than none when I am gone; and that must be soon.”

A hollow, racking cough, which seemed to prove her words
only too true, stopped even reflection for a while; but all
through the night her anxious heart found rest and comfort
in thinking of her little boy’s champion.

Fourteen years ago Mrs Steele had been the petted child
of a rich father; but she had married, against his wishes, a
clerk in his counting-house, and had been sent from her home
with a command never to return to it. She was a Southerner;
but had come North with her young husband in the hope
that he might obtain a higher salary, and had settled at once
in New York very simply and plainly, but very happily.
But high salaries were hard to obtain; and Mr Steele, being
rather inefficient and easily discouraged, soon lost heart.
They struggled on for seven years; and then a long, low
fever broke down the husband’s strength, and a sudden cold
taken while in this feeble state ended his life.

ilardship and grief had done their work with the wife
also. What had been mere delicacy of constitution in her
happy, untroubled girlhood developed itself into consump-
tion, She had lost all trace of her father and only brother ;
and, finding no work which she could do, had sunk down,
10 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

little by little, into absolute want and starvation. For her-
self she might have cared but little, for her heart had grown
cold and dull with all this wretchedness and misery ; but
her husband had left her a five-year old boy to care for, and
for him she struggled and toiled,—for him she tried to keep
up her fast-failing strength,—for him she fought with death,
until it almost seemed as if her mother-love would make
her proof against even that strong foe. But shé knew it
was not so. She felt that he was coming nearer and nearer
every day, and she was sure that it could not be very long
before her boy would be left utterly desolate in the great,
lonely world. No wonder that her heart sank within her
as she thought of him, nor that she clutched gladly at even
so small a prospect of help for him as was offered in the
willing protection of quick-witted, independent Jem.

And there were other minds besides Mrs Steele’s in whose
thoughts Jemmy held a prominent part that Sabbath evening.

“There is a great deal in that boy,” said Mr Harvey to
Mr Corning, as they walked to church together,—* a great
deal of good, and a great deal of evil. We must go wisely
to work, if we mean to make him a good man.”

_“ Which we mean to do,” Mr Corning said, very de-

cidedly.

“You think there is no ‘if’ in the case then?” said Mr
Harvey, smiling. |

“No, not while we work for him and pray for him as we
ought to do. Our Master brought that boy to us, my
friend, and not in the usual way. Neither you, nor I, nor
any other man, lifted a finger to lead him into our school;
Christ’s hand guided him to the door. And even in the
choice of a teacher, I had nothing to do. I had not even
thought of placing him in your class: the Master led him
there as well. I think if ever a teacher had a right to hope
for the very best of gifts for a scholar, you may hope for a
blessing on your efforts for that boy.” |


MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED, 121

“You make my responsibility very great,” said his friend,
gravely. a

“1 do,” was the answer, “ but no greater than that of
any one who deliberately undertakes to teach a child the
way to heaven. Our Master gives to every Sabbath-school
teacher a given number of young, pliable, tender hearts to
snatch from evil, and train for Him; and He will hold us
responsible for each of those little hearts. Our helps and
hindrances may be greater or less ; but we must see to it
that the mark of the graver’s tool is cut deep into the metal
every time it 1s placed beneath our hand.”

Tf any one had asked Mr Harvey as he left the church that
evening for an account of the sermon, he would have been
forced to confess that he had not thought of anything from
its beginning to its close except Jemmy Ford: how he could
reach him, how he should win him, by what influence he
should guide him.

“Tf I can only get at the boy’s heart,” he said to his
wife, as they sat together in their room after his return home,
‘for a heart he has, and not a small one either, if I am any
judge of character. ‘Tell me how to make him love me.”

‘“¢ Give him a party, father.”

“What! not asleep yet, Kitty 7” he asked, rising from his
seat, and walking across the room to the corner in which
stood a pretty little curtained bed.

Putting aside the thin muslin, he looked in upon a bright,
rosy face, not a very sleepy face, certainly.

“You should have been dreaming long ago,” he said,
bending down to put a kiss upon his little girl’s cheek.

“Oh! I’ve been asleep for a great while, and I waked
up again, Why don’t you give Jem a party, if you want to
make him love you?”

Jem’s name was not a new sound in Kitty Harvey’s ears.
Her father had come home from school that afternoon, full
of interest in this new, strange boy ; and had told his story
122 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

80 well, and drawn Jem’s picture in such bright colours,
that he seemed now almost like an old friend to Kitty. She
would have done anything she could to help this poor lonely
boy, who had no father or mother, and who knew nothing
about the dear Saviour, whom she had known and loved
ever since she could remember ; and now hearing her father
ask what he could do for him, she suggested at once that
which she should most enjoy herself. Only the week before
Kitty had had a party ; and she thought that parties were
the very height of enjoyment and delight.

‘That would hardly do for Jem, dear,” said her father,
stroking back the tangled curls from her forehead. “ He
would scarcely understand your games and plays ; and I am
afvaid that all the gay little maidens and their brothers
whom I saw here the other night would make my poor,
ragged Jem feel rather out of place.”

“But you said he was very quick to learn, father; and
we could put on our shabby old clothes if he would like that
better.”

“* Well, we will see what we can do,” said Mr Harvey.
“ But we must not talk about it now, for it is high time for
my wee Kitty to shut up her eyes. Good-night ;” and
kissing her once more, he went back to his seat.

“I don’t think that suggestion of Kitty’s at all a bad
idea,” said Mrs Harvey, when the child had fallen asleep
again, “Why could you not invite your whole class here ?
We could amuse them very nicely?”

‘‘ They are a miserable set of boys, Annie.”

“What if theyare? That is only another reason why
we should do what we can to lighten their misery. Let us
have them all here some evening next week.”

“ T should be only too glad to do so, if it were not for the
trouble it would give you.”

‘ That need not worry you in the least,” said the cheery,
little wife. ‘It will be scarcely any labour, and I am sure
MR BARNES’ WOOD-SHED. 123

their enjoyment will fully reward us for any trouble it may
put us to. You ask the boys, and I will attend to all the
rest. I want to see your black-eyed Jemmy. I think I shall
like him.”

“ Very well. It shall be as you say.”

And so when Kitty woke the next morning, and, hopping
out of her own little bed, scampered across the room, and
clambered upon her father to nestle down beside him for a
while before it was time for her to rise, she received the
very answer she wanted to her first eager question.

What about Jem’s party, father ?”

‘¢[ think he will have his party,” said Mr Harvey.
“How do you think that you will like to play with seven
very rough, dirty, ragged boys?”

‘‘ They won’t be rough with me, will they?” said Kitty,
rather appalled.

‘¢No,” said her father, laughing. ‘‘ I think they will be
quiet enough here. But, then, they are rather dirty boys.”

“Oh! I don’t care for that,” said Kitty. “ Perhaps I’d
better have a dirty dress on, so they ‘ll think I’m more lke
their little sisters. I don’t like dirty dresses, though, one
bit ;” and she looked as if her own proposition was rather
distasteful to her.

“ You need not wear a soiled dress, dear; that would
not be a good example to our boys. You can make your-
self look. as neat and nice as possible; and then perhaps
they will begin to think that they might look less forlorn
if they chose, that they could at least be clean, and could
have some of the worst rents in their clothes mended, so as
to look more like respectable children.”

** Are they pretty unrespectable now?” asked Kitty.

“ Yes, very unrespectable. But we are going to try what
we can do to make them less so. Suppose that we all take
this work in hand—mother and father and little Kitty,
Will you do your share ?”’
124 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Oh yes! Won’t that be nice?” and Kitty began to
spring up and down on the bed.

“ But I don’t want you to promise too quickly,” said her
father. “If we undertake to do a thing, we must hold to
it; and I do not think that you know yet what you are
promising, do you?”

“Yes, I do,” said Kitty, quieting down at her father’s
gtave tone. “You and mother and I are going to try to
help Jem not to be so unrespectable.”

“Yes, but that will cost us something ; and we must not
promise to do the work unless we are willing to carry it
through, no matter what it costs.”

“But I haven’t much money,” said Kitty, looking rather
distressed ; “and if I ask you for more that won't be my
cost.”

“I did not mean only money, Kitty. But suppose that
we all make up our minds that we will take J emmy Ford
as our special charge for the next year, that we will do
everything we can do to help him, to teach him, and to win
him to lead a different life, to become not only respectable
and useful, but a faithful, loving young servant of our dear
Master, Jesus Christ. What can you do to help in the
work?”

Kitty’s face was turned toward her father’s. A very
grave, perplexed little face it was, She lay pondering the
hard question a moment; then, shaking her head with a very
disappointed look in her eyes, said hesitatingly—

“I’m afraid I couldn’t do much, after all, father. Only,”
she added, tremulously, “every night when I say, ‘God
bless dear father and mother,’ I might say, ‘and God bless
father’s poor Jemmy, too, because he has nobody else to
bless him.’ Wouldn’t that help just a tiny bit?”

“It would help a great deal, my darling: it would be
the greatest aid we could have. Mother and I can do but
little more than that, You need not think that your assist-
TRYING TO DO RIGHT. 125.

ance will be so small. If we undertake this work, we can
only pray very earnestly for Jemmy that God will give him
a tender, loving heart, ready to learn, and willing to be led;
and we must be willing to do all we can to encourage him,
even when to do so we must give up some pleasure, or do
what is disagreeable to ourselves. You can do both of
those things, Kitty.”

* Yes, father, I think I could.”

“And will you? Shall mother and you and I take this
poor boy for our boy, and work together for him? What
do you say, mother ?”

“T gay yes,” said Mrs Harvey, gravely.

“ And what does Kitty say ?”

“She says yes too,” said the little girl, “ And she’ll try
just as hard as she knows how.”

“ Now it is time for Hilda to dress you,” said her mother.

‘Wait one moment,’ said Mr Harvey. ‘“ Let us make
our promise to our Saviour Just here where we have made
it to each other.”

And then in simple words which Kitty could understand,
he told the Master that they would take His poor, wander-
ing boy by the hand, and would strive by every means
within their reach to lead him to his heavenly Father’s
house.

CHAPTER IV.
TRYING TO DO RIGAT.

Jem woke from his sound sleep the next morning with a
vague sense of something unusual having occurred to him,
but for the first few moments he could not remember what
the circumstances of the past day had been. All at once it
came back to him vividly and clearly, and he raised him-
126 CHRISTY S GRANDSON,

self up with a sudden start, and leaning his head on his
hands, sat gazing out into the sweet morning light, and
thinking. He was not a boy to begin any piece of work,
and throw it aside at the first discouragement. The past
night had seen him utterly disheartened, but with the early
sunlight, cheery and bright, came new hope and vigour ;
and, as he sat there, he looked the very picture of deter-
mination. .

“What a mope I did get into last night,” he said, half
aloud. “Never felt so bad about anything yet ; but it ain’t
no use frettin’. Best way is to set about it over again, and
and try what [ can make of myself. Wish I had that feller
here, the Sunday-school one I mean, to give me a bit of a
hitch along, for it’s kind of hard to do a thing when you
haven't got the least notion how to go at it. Try to do
right—what’s the first thing, I wonder.”

“See here, youngster, do you want to earn fifteen cents 2”

“I’m your man, Mister,” said Jem, springing nimbly to
his feet, and turning his face towards a man who stood out-
side the wood-shed. “TI was just beginning to feel as if I
should part in two shares if I didn’t get somethin’ to put
inside of me pretty quick, and I ain’t got a cent. Where’s
the job?”

‘‘T want this letter taken over to Second Avenue, just as
quickly as you can carry it.”

“All right. Where’s the fifteen cents?”

‘The gentleman to whom you give the note will pay you.”

“Won't trust me, eh, Mister?” and Jem glanced up with
a quizzical look in his face. ‘“ Don’t think I am going to
walk from here to Second Avenue unless I’m sure of my
pay, do you? If you do, you and Jem Ford ain’t of the
same mind.”

“Will you surely deliver it if I pay you now?” —

“Sure and sartin,” and Jem held out his hand for the
letter, |
TRYING TO DO RIGHT, 127

The man gave it to him, and the money withit; and, with
«nother charge not to idle on the way, walked rapidly down
the street. Jem watched him for a moment, with a doubt-
ful sort of expression on his face, as if about to follow him ;
then turned on his heel, and walked as rapidly towards the
east, muttering to ine |

“Jf you ain't smart enough to take care of yourself I
think I needn’t trouble my head about you. I s’pose you’ve
got plenty more. |

When he reached the corner of the street, he entered a
hittle bakery, and asking for half a loaf of bread, threw
down a twenty-five cent stamp in payment. Receiving his
bread, he picked up the twenty-two cents which the woman
returned him with an irresolute air; and slowly leaving
the shop, paused for a moment on the corner, looking down
the street toward the river, as if more than half ced to
return to the place from wiliel he had come. But, after a
moment’s indecision, he turned —_ and went on his
his errand.

“Tt ’s his own look-out,” he said, eating his bread hun-
grily as he walked along. ‘‘If he chose to give it to me,
it’s mine. That ain’t no stealin.’? Stealin’ is takin’ what
ain't yourn; but I didn’t take it, he gave it to me.
That’s all right enough.” |

And all the way along he kept telling himself that it was
all right, seeming to find it necessary to repeat the assur-
ance very often.

His errand was quickly done, and then Jem set off to
carry out a plan which had sprung up in his mind as soon
as he found himself the possessor of the twenty-five cents
which had cost him so much thought.

“And now for the market,” he said, “and it’s a good
bit of a walk too. I’ll catch a lift somehow, I know.”

He made the most of his opportunities ; and by dint of
springing on the steps of omnibuses, coaxing a ride on the
128 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

end of a cart from a good-natured drayman, and so forth,
managed to shorten his walk very considerably.

‘“What’s them oranges a dozen?” he asked of a market-
man, pausing as he loitered slowly up through Fulton
market, and looking into a barrel of oranges, beside which
the man was standing.

‘Twenty-five cents,” was the answer.

‘“Not to the trade?” gaid Jem.

“To the trade?” repeated the man, eyeing his young
customer sharply. ‘You look like a merchant, don’t you?
Be off from here, youngster, and keep your hands in
your pockets unless you want the police to take care of
them.”

With angry response, ending with a dreadful oath, Jem
passed on to a stand some few feet beyond, and asked the
same question there.

“What’s oranges this morning, Mister ? I’m buyin’ to
sell again.”

‘‘ Highteen cents. Who are you buyin’ for?”

‘For myself. Ain’t you got none cheaper ?”

“Yes: these are fifteen. But where’s your money, boy ?
You don’t look as if you drove a very good business.”

“No, but I’ll drive a better one after a bit,” said J em,
pleasantly, for the man’s kind manner had cleared the
frown from his face. “I’m lookin’ to drive my own
donkey one of these days, but I ain’t got him yet. Give
me a dozen and a half, will you, Mister?”

“Where’s your basket?” asked the man, as he pro-
ceeded to count out the oranges. ‘* You don’t mean to
sell them out of a bag, do you?” he said, seeing the boy
was empty handed.

*¢ Ain’t got no other way,” said J em, “’less you just let
me have that ere shabby thing there,” he added, eagerly,
his quick eye having caught sight of a broken basket hang-
ing on the wall. ‘Loan it out to me for the day, Mister ;
TRYING TO DO RIGHT. 129

and I'll bring it back all safe in the mornin’, and: pay you
four cents for it.” |

“Suppose you don’t sell your oranges?” said the man,
~with an amused look. a,

“Then I'll give you back three of ’em, and that'll be all
the same.”

“Well,” said the salesman, “I don’t know but I’ll trust
you, Are you sure you’re honest ?”

“Yes,” replied Jem quickly, then paused, and looked up
at his questioner with such a hesitating, uncertain expres-
sion that the man repented of his promise.

“You don’t seem to be sure about it, after all,” he said.

““T beant sure, but I’m tryin’, anyhow,” answered Jem.
“T promised another feller that I’d try for it, and I’m a
goin’ to.” a

The words were earnestly spoken, so earnestly that the
basket came down from its nail in a trice ; and the oranges
were counted into it at once.

‘Then take the basket, boy. Ill do what I can to help,
if you’re trying to get your bread. Yow’ll be far less apt
to steal it, if you’re helped on to earnit. I’ll trust you.”

“And you won’t get took in this time, I promise you,”
said Jem, handing him his twenty-two cents. “I’Il be back
in the mornin’ ;” and he went out through the market again,
only pausing to give the barrel of the man to whom he had
first spoken a mischievous kick, as he said—

‘ Keep your old twenty-five centers, and bad luck to you.
I got better nor them for fifteen ! ”

“Oranges ! Sweet Oranges! Oranges t Sweet Oranges! ”
Over and over again those three words rang through the
streets, varied with, “ Buy an orange, sir,” and a quick
dart forward as some passer-by cast a look at his basket.
But Jem’s thoughts were not altogether, nor even princi- _
pally, engrossed with his trade. That ten cents which
he had dishonestly (he began to call it by that name
130 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

now) appropriated in the morning would not let him rest.
At first he had tried to persuade himself that it was “ all
right,” as he had said; failing in that, he had tried to
forget it altogether ; and this also proving unsuccessful, he
had grown angry,—first with Mr Harvey for making him
uneasy, secondly with his employer for having been guilty
of the mistake, and thirdly, and certainly most reasonably,
with himself. .

“Why didn’t you call him, you big goosey, and give him
back his money ?” he said angrily to himself, as he leaned
against a lamp-post with his basket in his hand. “ ’T'warn’t
no stealin’, either, but that feller’d call it so, 1 know. And
oh! pshaw! Then I went and swore at that old cur-
mudgeon down at the market ; and he didn’t want me to
swear neither, he said. What a plaguy fuss he does make
about everything,—swearin’ and lyin’ and stealin’, and all
that ; and yet—and yet”

Poor Jem! ‘That faltering “and yet” was the ery of a
blind soul, conscious of its blindness, and groping feebly for
the light.

‘‘T might find him, perhaps,” he said at length, his face
brightening a little. Let’s see what I’ve got. Fourteen
cents, 1’m thinkin’,”

He sat down on the curb-stone, and counting his oranges,
found that he had sold seven.

“Fourteen cents it ought to be, at two cents a-piece.
Yes, that’s it;” and he slipped the pennies back into
his pocket, and sat pondering the question in his mind.
The cloud began to lift a little from his face, his eyes grew
bright, his mouth took back its pleasant, cheerful expres-
sion, and finally he started up with a resolute look.

“That ’s it, Jemmy,” he said, as he stood upright once
more. ‘Just keep that ten cents till you find him, and then
hand it over, Don’t you touch it for nothin’, not even if
you re hungry as an Injin. I’d best put it by itself, I think.”


TRYING TO DO RIGHT, 131 |

Taking his money out again, he counted over ten cents,
and putting them into another pocket, thrust them down to
its farthest depths.

“There, don’t you show your faces again. till I find that
feller,” said he. ‘I’ look for him when I get: rid of the
rest of them. Maybe the man I took the letter to will
know where I can get hold of him. He’ll be likely ”»——_

Loud wild shouts, the screams of frightened women, and
the sharp clatter of horses’ hoofs striking the pavement
frantically, broke into his reverie. Turning quickly, he
found himself face to face with a terrified horse which was
rushing madly up the street, dragging behind him the front
wheels and axle of a light carriage. It was but the work
of an instant to spring at his head and seize the bridle ; of
the danger Jem did not stop to think.

“Bravo!” “Well done, lad!” “Brave boy!” said one
and another, as a crowd gathered about the horse, which
now stood quivering and trembling in every limb, while Jem
took his place beside him, pleased and proud. But all at
once he started forward and looked eagerly around him.

‘‘My basket!” he exclaimed. The horse had carried him
nearly the length of a block up Broadway before he had
succeeded in checking him altogether ; and Jem ran hastily
back to find his property, which he had of course thrown
without thought from his hand as he sprang to catch the
runaway. Yes: there it lay just where he had been sitting,
turned bottom upward in the gutter,

‘‘ Hallo!” exclaimed poor Jem: ‘the sewer opening is
right there !”

His fears were only too well founded, for the basket had
fallen directly before the opening. It was too large to pass
through the aperture ; but every orange had rolled down into
the dark depths of the sewer,

Jem stood and looked at the yawning chasm which had
swallowed up all his little fortune, and with it all his great
132 CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

hopes. What castles he had built on that old basket with
its dozen and a half of oranges! The fruit had in imagin-
ation all been sold, and had brought him in nearly double
what he had paid for it. The proceeds had bought a second
stock, which had also been sold, and he had pictured him-
self going to the market the next morning, after returning
the ten cents to his employer, and buying his supper, to pay
for the basket and lay out fifty cents in oranges. Oh! how
close to his hand that longed-for donkey had been, it had
almost seemed to him as if he could feel the touch of his
cold nose! He gazed in blank dismay at the burial-place
of all these bright hopes, with his basket hanging from his
listless hand, until the voice of a policeman roused him.

‘* Move on, boy,” he said, authoritatively. “You’re in the —
way here. Don’t stand staring in such a crowd.” Then as
Jem lifted his troubled face, and his eye caught its grief
and disappointment, he added less roughly, “ What’s the
matter? Have you lost something ?”

‘I jumped to catch that runaway horse, and dropped my
basket, and my oranges is rolled down into the sewer.”

‘ But the driver gave you something handsome, didn’t he ;
more than enough to pay for your oranges ?”

“No, I never saw him,” said Jem, his disappointment
doubled by the thought of this second loss. “I was go
scared when I remembered my basket that I never thought
of waitin’ for him: maybe he’d a done a good thing by
me,”

‘Why, of course he would. You must keep your wits
about you, young man, or you’ll never get on;” and the
policeman went his way. He did not mean to be unpi-
tiful; but what did he know of that beautiful castle over
whose ruins Jem’s heart was mourning ?

“* Keep my wits about me,’ indeed,” repeated the boy, as
he walked slowly on. “I shouldn’t think I had any to keep.
Here I am, as hungry as a bear, and night. coming on, and
TRYING TO DO RIGHT. 133

never a cent to buy a bit of supper with. I must look
out for somethin’ to do.”

But fortune did not favour Jem that afternoon. In spite
of the most industrious efforts to earn a few cents, he found
the evening closing in around him without his having ob-
tained any work. The fourteen cents still lay in his pocket; |
- but hungry as he was, he was determined not to use that
money.

‘“?Tain’t mine, not a cent of it, leastways he’d say it
wasn’t, and I’ll go without any supper afore I’ll touch it.
Well, I'll start for up-town now: ’tain’t no use waitin’ here,
and I must try to find that man. Think I’Hl go across to
where I took the letter, and ask where he puts up.”

Much as Jem needed the money for his own use, the con-
flict of the morning with regard to the rightful ownership
of it did not renew itself. He was a boy of strong will and
firm purpose ; and when once his mind was made up on any
_ point, 16 was no easy matter to change it. The money had
been thrust deep down into his pocket, with the promise to
himself that it should not come out again except to be
placed in the hands of its owner ; and the promise would
be kept. :

“Well, young man, what do you want?” asked the person
to whom he had delivered the letter in the morring, as Jem
opened the door, and thrust his head into the little office
without so much as knocking for admittance.

‘““T want to find the man what sent that letter to you.
Where ‘d I be like to catch him?”

“ He is here,” was the answer. ‘What do you want with
him ?”

“T’ve got somethin’ to say to him. Can I go where he
is, Mister ?”

As he spoke, the door of the office was opened, and the
person he was looking for came in.

‘ Look-a-here, Mister,” said Jem, “ wasn’t it fifteen cents
154 _ CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

you said you’d give me for carryin’ that letter this morn-
in’ 2”

“Yes, and I paid you,” said the man. ‘ You can’t play
that trick off upon me, my boy. You may walk out of this
office as quickly as you like.”

“Serve you right if I did walk out without givin’ you
your money. Here’s ten cents, you give me twenty-five ;”
and he held out the ten pennies in his hand. The man looked
at him in perfect amazement.

“Well,” he said, “you are the first honest loafer I ever
saw. What put it into your head to bring these back to
me, and how did you know where to find me 2?”

“ Guessed at it,” said the boy, ignoring the first question
and answering the second. |

‘And suppose you had not chanced to see me here ?”

‘‘T’d a looked you up somehow ;” and Jem was turning
to the door again, when he was stopped with another ques-
tion.

‘‘ How much money have you ?”

“ Ar'n’t got none of my own. I’ve got four cents, but it
belongs to a man what I hired this basket of. I’ve been a
sellin’ of oranges, and I hired this to carry them in.”

“ Where is the money you received for your oranges ?”

. “Why, I didn’t sell but seven, and the rest got pitched
down the sewer. I jumped after a runaway horse, and away
went my oranges. Well, ’tain’t no use a cryin’ and fussin’ !
I’ve been as bad off before, and will be again, I s’pose.
Good-bye, Mister.”

“Wait a moment. Where did you get the money to buy
your oranges? You told me this morning that you had not
a cent.”

‘‘ Neither I hadn't, but you give me twenty-five; and I
tried so hard at first to talk myself into thinking it was mine,
‘cause you give it to me, that I most thought it was. ’T any
rate I spent it for oranges. But when I’d sold seven of
TRYING TO DO RIGHT. 135

‘em, I just turned to and told Jem Ford he was a big cheat,
and hid away the ten cents for you, and the four for the man
at the market.” !

“Who is Jem Ford?”

‘That ’s me ;” and Jem looked up with a twinkle in his
bright eyes.

“Qh! itis? And then did Jem Ford make up his mind
to be an honest boy ?”

‘“‘ He’s a goin’ to try for it.”

“You may give him this to help him on;” and the
speaker placed in his hand the money he had returned, with
another twenty-five cent stamp.

‘Here, put this with it,” said another voice ; and the
man to whom he had brought the letter came forward and
added ten cents more to the sum. “ You’ve got the true
metal in you, boy ; stick to your principles, and you’ll make
a man yet.”

“Don’t know what that means, Mister; but you’re a
couple of bricks, anyhow,” said J em, his face glowing
with delight. “ Won’t I go into the oranges to-morrow,
though.”

“Fancy I’m in luck, and no mistake,” said the boy, as
he threw himself down to sleep again under the wood-shed,
after eating a supper of bread and a bit of stale pie which
the baker’s wife had given him, pitying his hungry look.
“‘T wish he knew.”

““ He,” Mr Harvey, had been uppermost in Jem’s thoughts
all day ; and now as he laid himself down in the quiet and
solitude of the wood-yard, his mind was on him still.

“I did go wrong in the beginning,” he said, thoughtfully.
‘Took the money first, and then swore at that feller down
at the market. He wouldn’t a liked that, neither. But
he’d a been as pleased as Punch to know I’d carried back
the ten cents. I’m glad I done it. I didn’t lose nothin’
by it; but I’d a been glad anyhow. It’s kind of nice to
136 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

be tryin’ to do right, and I think I’d a felt pretty good even
if I’d had to go to bed without my supper, for I’d a been
thinkin’ all the time how glad that feller ’d look when I told
him about it. And now here I am, had my full of bread,
and pie besides, lyin’ all nice and comfortable, with my
breakfast in my pocket, and forty cents for oranges in the
mornin’, and ain’t told a lie to-day. Go ahead, Jemmy
Ford : you’ll do yet;” and with a happy smile Jem turned
his head to one side, and fell peacefully asleep.

CHAPTER V.
JEM’S PARTY.

‘Miss STEELE, where do you think I’m a goin’?” asked
Jem, as, with a face flushed with excitement and delight, he
rushed into Mrs Steele’s room on the next Sabbath afternoon.
“T’m a goin’ to a party.”

His visits to the basement had been so frequent during
the week that Willie and his mother already knew his love
of fun and merriment ; and Mrs Steele, thinking that he
“was joking, said with a smile—

“To a party, eh? We must get you a new suit first,
Jemmy.”

“ Does look awful, don’t it?” said Jem, trying to turn so
as to obtain a rear view of his dilapidated garments, “I
told him I looked too shocking bad; but he said, ‘ Never
mind the clothes, but come with clean hands and face,’ ”

“Do you really mean that some one has asked you to
spend the evening with him?” asked Mrs Steele, beginning
to suspect that she had been too quick in her conclusions.
OATIUN}IE UB WIG PY OFM “ol][IAA pres ,.“4oyJour ‘sqyue0
OM} OJ IOUION oY} YB 0104S OY} UL UTOYS v 4yoS uO NOX ,,
como Ang youuvo
I pue “szus0 xIs 4ysoo Ast} ynq fseqopo anok dn pus prnoo
I ‘proryy fo Toods v yoo ATUO p[noo T JT ‘MorIOWI-0} 4Ud0e -
OLOU 91441] V OpVUL oq JouUD NOL Ji 908 [TM OM puL,, § ssoUl
-1o6v9 STY UL eLoY} prey “IreYO Jey Uo poser Yorym ‘sty uodn
puey Joy suttvy ‘pres oys tar ‘os yuTyy op J ‘peepuT,,
| | “IOMSUVB
ue YM Apvol uvyy oom sea “q1voqy sfoq oy} Jo oAcT
qsouoy puv sseut[pury oyy poaoid Apvorye pey oy ‘eTeo49
SipyY pue foeuo Aue woarz osuodser Surstyyedurks ‘Ayrv0y
@UMBIP OAVY P[NoM sory [nfedoy yok pues snorxur yeu],
« § 99 SST “FYSTU J
sdeysod yuryy nok yu0q ‘ep sutos poos oq qSstur AT[voI T
JI sv [oof olm soyvmmt off *Aoq pjo ATiof oy ‘urty 07 wy} OU
Sse. UIYJOU OW PUY ToAoU I], oy “Gey nod 793 T “Avd-19A0
oUl UIS p, oY AVY} S}U9D To} B Youq UU v UIST osnvoeq T[v
puy jAvso Ayoid yey, yusey, ‘Log ofqevanouoy “poyrvoy
-ONI} B SUM T PI’S OFF “SIG ST 4T JL ‘suvow 4t yey ysnl
MoUy T gnq “suot Aqqgord st we, Uo 9UO esnvo, YY SIL SpIOM
9} 408 T [[19, OL @ ITeAL ody B@ SVM T PIVs off ,,
FE SUM YM 4, “WMO LOY OJUL poyoo] ooVy SULMOTS oY} SB
‘g]901Q SIL pres ,,“4qnop 4,uop JT ‘pury A10a Sutyyoutog ,,
«gj OU 0}
pres oy yur, nod op yer ‘aqe019 sstpy ‘AAA «= *AOTIOVOY FRY
— Quo poos e st oy NOX [Toy T ‘“Suoye ouroo pue dn qsea ATUO
— “4eYy PUT JoAoU OT plo} oT 4nq f AqITp puv possi os svar
spnp Aw osneo, ‘owoos you 10340q p, T eqdew 4ySn0Yy [ pres |
I OG ‘osnoy sty 4v owloy jes op37I, ve pue Apey & 4os p, oY
OSNVd, “P[NOD SM SV 4JUDIP SV SOATOSINO OYVUL JSNUL OM PTS
OFL ‘o10]} OWITZ pood v savy puv 4QYSTU MOIIOUI-0f osnoy
ST, 0} O09 03 Sn pojuva oy sfoq sn ][e ploy oFT “ABpung
{St[ old potpove, yvyM ouo 94} ynq ‘oureU STY Jo YUIYY 4,ue9
I—IW— 1 ‘fooyos Avpung ye dn uvw yyy, ‘sq ,,



LET ‘ALUVd SWwar
138 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

listener to the conversation ; ‘‘and I’ve got that penny that
I found in the street this afternoon. Jem can have that.”

“No, no; I’ll buy my own thread,” said Jem. “ Thank
you all the same, Willie; but I couldn’t take that from
you, nohow. If I bring you the thread in the mornin’, Miss
Steele, could you really patch me up a bit?”

‘Certainly I could, and very glad T would be to do it,
too.”

“But what would I do the while for somethin’ to put
on?” asked Jem, his face suddenly changing to a look of
great dismay.

‘You would have to go to bed as Willie does,” said Mrs
Steele, smiling ; “but you need not mind that. Come, and
I will see what I can do with the clothes, and you can lie
there in the corner and talk to me while I sew.”

The next morning while Jem was lying on Mrs Steele’s
bed, covered over with an old, moth-eaten comfortable,
waiting for his clothes, which were undergoing a very
thorough mending under Mrs Steele’s hands, in preparation
for the party, little Kitty Harvey was running about at
home in the wildest state of delight over the prospect of this
same event. “Jem’s party” had been the theme of her
conversation for nearly a week ; and now that the very day
had come, she was running back and forward, gathering to-
gether all her toys and games for the amusement of her
guests, and making all sorts of arrangements for their com-
fort and enjoyment.

She was dancing across the floor with an immense doll in
her arms to ask her mother if she thought the boys would
like to see it, when, in passing the window, a face on the
opposite side of the street caught her eye. With a little
cry of surprise and pleasure she rushed to the window; and
the face looked up with a bow and a smile, as the owner
thereof stepped off the side-walk and crossed the street toward
Mr Harvey’s house.
JEM’S PARTY. 139

“OQ mother! here’s Ned! Ned Churchill!” cried Kitty,
springing up and down, and clapping her hands in an ecstasy:
and almost before the visitor was fairly within the door, she
was in his arms, with her rosy face pressed close to his. It
was a pleasant face, bright, open, and manly for a boy of his
age, for not more than fifteen or sixteen years could have
passed over his head.

“So you are glad to see me, if I do come without sign or
warning,” he said, returning Kitty’s caresses very warmly.

‘* Kitty is not alone there,” said Mrs Harvey, coming down
the stairs. ‘This is a great surprise, Ned, and a very
pleasant one, And you have a friend with you,” she added,
holding out her hand with ready welcome to an old white-
haired man, who stood beside the boy.

“Yes, this is Christopher Dunn. Your husband will
remember him well. All Drayton boys for three generations
pest know Christy, and Christy’s cabin.”

“Oh, yes! I have often heard Mr Harvey speak of him.
But let us go in and sit down: you must both be tired after
your journey.”

The boy stepped forward with a light, quick tread, which
gave small sign of fatigue; but the ‘old man followed with
a very weary air, and sat down near the door, taking but a
small share in the busy flow of talk which followed.

There existed between the ‘ Drayton boys”—as Ned
Churchill had called the members of the school at Drayton
Hall, of which he was now a scholar—a bond of union and
sympathy, which held in friendly relations not only those .
then in attendance, but all who had passed from time to
time through the school; and in the case of Ned and Mr
Harvey, wlio had atid at the Hall, but had graduated
from it fifteen years before, the tie had been strengthened
by the close friendship which existed between the two
families, Ned’s uncle and guardian having also been a
Drayton boy, and Mr Harvey’s most intimate friend.


140 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“ Ned,” said Kitty, who had been watching for an oppor-
tunity to gain his attention, “‘ you’ve come at the very best
time. We’re going to have a party to-night, a poor boy’s
party ; and we’re going to have the greatest fun.”

“Are you?” said Ned, laughing. “Iam glad that you
are to have a good time, but I cannot be here. Mr Dunn
and I are to be very busy. We’ve a great deal to do, and
only two days in which to accomplish our work. We must
make the most of our time.”

“But you will be here in the evening surely,” said Mrs
Harvey. “You cannot attend to business in the evening,
and your friend looks too tired for any farther effort to-day.
He must stay here and rest quietly.” |

“Thank you kindly, lady,” said the old man, lifting the
white head, which had been bowed low upon his breast.
“Thank you very kindly, but my work must be done 5 LO,
as Mr Churchill says, there’s much to do, and we’ve but
snort time for it. His sister and Dr Drayton were so good
as to spare him to me for these three days, for they knew I
couldn’t make my way alone. It would be very ill done for
me to trespass on his goodness and theirs farther nor that.
But he mustn’t let me keep him of an evening. He’ll give
his days to me, and glad enough I'll be if, after wearying
himself with my trouble through the day, he gains rest and
comfort with his own folks at night. Don’t say the lady
nay, Mr Edward, We'll go out now and see what we can
do, and you'll come back here when the darkness falls.”

“ But you must come with him,” said Mrs Harvey, inter-
rupting Ned, who was about to speak. “ No, no,” she added,
lifting her hand to stop the old man, as he would have de-
clined the cordial invitation. “ Our house is large, and our
family small, and the ‘ prophet’s chamber’ ig always ready.
There is the luncheon-bell now. We will take lunch, and
then I insist upon your resting for a while before you go out
again,”
JEM’S PARTY, 14]

Resistance was useless, and so it was finally arranged that
Ned should go down to Mr Harvey’s office, it being neces-
sary that he should hold some consultation with him before
he could do much to advance the business which had brought
them to the city, while Christopher Dunn awaited him at
home. |

Ned’s welcome at the office was no less hearty than that
Which he had received from Mrs Harvey and Kitty.

‘And who do you think I have brought with me?” he
asked, after his friend’s inquiries with regard to every mem-
ber of the family had been fully answered. “No less a
personage than old Christy.”

“ Christopher Dunn ! Dear, old Christy!” exclaimed Mr
Harvey. “Of course, you have taken him to my house ?”

‘‘Mrs Harvey has taken him there,” replied N ed, laugh-
ing. “She seized him bodily, and for all I know, has him
tucked up in bed by this time. He is tired out, poor man,
and I’m more than glad he has fallen into such good hands.
I’ve brought him down on a miserable errand, for I’m afraid
it will only end in another bitter disappointment. He has
heard of that son of his again; and the old grief has come
up more strongly than ever, it seems to me.”

“You don’t say so? Poor Christy! But what has he
heard? Is the scoundrel living here ?”

“No, it seems not. The story is this: Christy received
a letter on Friday, telling him that hig son had died in New
York, leaving a little boy ; but the letter gives no possible
clue by which to find the child, except his age, and that is
noted merely incidentally. The writer is evidently a woman,
and she says that she used to see the boy quite often ; but
that, owing to some trouble of her own, she had lost sight
of him for the last two years or more. She is, apparently,
a very ignorant woman, for the letter is a perfect scrawl,
and almost illegible. The reason she gives for writing is,
that she wronged the man in some way, and now wishes to
142 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.»

make restitution by aiding his child, who is nothing legs than
a vagrant. But the case is almost hopeless; for she refuses
to give her name or address, lest we arrest her. I hada
notice put in the papers to the effect that, if she would dis-
cover herself, we would pledge ourselves to do her no harm;
but there is no reply to it this morning; and for my part,
I can’t see the least chance of our tracing the child.”

‘And if we do find him,” said Mr Harvey, “he will pro-
bably prove a curse instead of a blessing to poor Christy.
He will doubtless have inherited his father’s vices, increased
and strengthened by a street-life.”

“Don’t say that to Christy, or you will break his heart, if
it is not broken already,” said Ned. “ Hig grief is perfectly
distressing, especially when you contrast it with the peace
and quiet which have come to him during the few past
years. You must have noticed the change in him.”

“Oh, yes! his old heart seemed to have calmed down into
a sort of composed assurance that God had answered his
prayers for his son, although the knowledge of the man’s
repentance had never been granted to him. I remember
wondering at the strength and certainty of his faith the last
time I was at Drayton. He told me then, for the first time,
the whole history of his terrible sorrow.”

“What was it?” asked Ned. “TI never knew exactly
what the fellow had done, except that he was an actual
curse to his father.”

‘““We will go up to the house, and I will give you the
story as we walk along. J must see what we can do to aid
him.”

“Jack Dunn always was a miserable sort of a fellow,”
_ said Mr Harvey, as they walked rapidly homewards: “1
never could imagine how such a man and woman ag Christy
and Jane could be the parents of such a boy. He was about
my age and your uncle’s, and served as errand boy at the
Hall, until he was dismissed for complicity in almost every
JEM’S PARTY. 143

difficulty which occurred there: any one could hire him for
a cent or two to break any rule of the establishment. Then
his father sent him to sea, and he returned home in utter
disgrace for disobedience of orders and general misconduct.
Afterward they placed him in a store, and there he proved
so dishonest that his father had to buy off the employer, or
he would have had him arrested for theft. Finally, after
the most solemn promises of amendment, Christy set him up
in a little business, which, small as it was, it took all his
little wealth to establish; keeping, as he thought, the
pecuniary part of it in his own hands. But the rascal man-
aged to outwit him in some way, and all at once Christy
found himself bankrupt.

“By dint of working early and late, and pinching and
denying themselves in every possible way, the old couple
finally succeeded in paying off every cent of their debts, and
laying up one hundred dollars for a rainy day. But the
mother’s strength gave way under the hard strain on body
and mind, and she was beginning to fail very rapidly, when
one day the son returned (for he had left Drayton after his
failure), with another demand for help. The story he told
was plausible enough, but Christy was not now so easily
deceived. No entreaties could move him, and he ended the
interview at last by leading Jack into the room where Jane
lay, and saying, as he pointed to her—

“* There’s all you’ve left of your mother, boy; and when
the time comes that I shall need to tend her night and day,
and can work no more, I have but just a hundred dollars
left to keep us both. Now go your ways, and God forgive
you, as we do!’ |

“That very night Jane grew suddenly worse. Wishing
to send for Jack, Christy went to the bureau in which he
kept his little hoard, tied up in sailor fashion in the foot
of an old stocking, for money to pay the fellow’s stage fare
from Glencoe, where he was supposed to be. The money
144 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

was all gone, and in its place there lay a hastily pencilled
note, written by Jack, saying that he was desperate, and
must have money at any cost.

‘“‘ Jane lingered on for two or three weeks, and then went
home to her rest, knowing nothing of this last cruel blow,
and buoyed up to the ing by Christy’s hearty, trustful
assurances that their heavenly Father would in His own
time bring their wayward boy back to them again. Noble
old Christy, brave and strong, and faithful! I believe that
he never yet has known what it was to doubt God’s mercy
and loving-kindness.”

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in earnest but
entirely useless efforts to trace the missing grandson. Police
reports, lists of children admitted into the various institu-
tions for the young, every available record which might give
them any clue was examined, all without result, and they
finally returned home, Mr Harvey consoling the grandfather
by a promise that the juvenile asylums in the vicinity of
the city should all be visited, and the boy regularly
advertised for in the papers before the search was given up.

A funnier-looking figure could scarcely be imagined than
that to which Mrs Harvey’s waitress opened the door at
exactly eight o’clock on Monday evening. The jacket and
trousers, which had been originally made of black cloth, were
patched in every possible direction with brown and gray,
Mrs Steele having nothing else wherewith to supply the
gaping deficiencies of the ragged garments. Even of these
coloured scraps she had but few, and as Jem’s trousers reached
scarcely below his knees, she had covered his bare limbs
with a pair of old, black silk stockings, a relic of her better
days, which, being far too large for the slight legs, hung
around them in loose, flakby folds, which sank disconsolately
over the tops of a pair of prunella gaiters, also lent him by
the same kind but poverty-stricken friend. But Jem
walked in with head erect, proud in the consciousness of
JEM’S PARTY. 145

wearing, for the first time in his life, a white collar and
black cravat. What if the collar were but a bit of white
paper, neatly pinned around the neck of his jacket, and
the cravat a worn piece of alpaca, tied up into a tiny bow.

“Who ’d know the differ?” Jem had asked, joyously, as
he surveyed himself with infinite satisfaction in a scrap of
broken glass, which served Mrs Steele as a mirror. ‘“ He
said I needn’t do nothin’ but wash up, but I bet he’ll think
I’m jolly when he sees how nice I’m fixed.”

That he had “ washed up” was a fact patent to every one
who had the opportunity of looking at his ruddy face, which
had been scrubbed over and over again through the day
with such vigour and pertinacity, that it would have been a
face to be ashamed of if it had not shone with cleanliness,
In fact, the whole day had been occupied with preparations
for this magnificent party; for Mrs Steele’s weak fingers
had been toiling incessantly over the old clothes; and, of
course, Jem had spent all his hours in bed, only varying
the tedium of the long morning and afternoon by turns of
vigorous ablutions, performed in a tin basin, which Willie
as frequently emptied, and replenished with fresh water.
On the whole, Jem had enjoyed the day hugely ; and now
that he stood within the door of Mr Harvey’s house, his.
bliss was complete.

“This is where Mr Harvey puts up, ain’t it?” he asked,
as he was admitted into the hall.

“Yes,” said the woman, smiling, in spite of herself, at the
grotesque image. “ Walk right into this room.”

Hallo! there you are, Mister. Ain’t you got a nice place,
though !” said Jem, admiringly, as Mr Harvey came forward
to meet him. “ My! how them things does shine!” and he
gazed in admiration at the lighted chandeliers above his head.

“And how your face shines!” said Mr Harvey. “You
will not be afraid of soiling any one’s hands with your fingers
to-night, Jem.”

K
146. --« OHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

“No; I think not, Mister. I’m fixed up pretty good,
ain't I?” and he looked down in supreme delight at his
ludicrous legs. ‘Them shoes is pretty big: my feet slides
round in ’em considerable, and they ’re woman’s shoes too ;
but I thought nobody ’d see, ’cause it was night, you know.”

‘You will do nicely,” said Mr Harvey; “and I’m glad
you took so much pains to please me. Now, let me take
you into the other room, where you will find the rest of the
boys.”

None of Jem’s bright dreams of the anticipated party,
gay and fanciful as they were, had pictured to him in any
degree the enjoyment of this evening. With four earnest
hearts intent on making every moment a bright spot in the
life of each of those half-starved, forlorn boys, it could
scarcely be otherwise ; and the fifth member of that little
family group, although he took no part in the general gaiety,
contributed his full share to its enjoyment by simply watch-
ing them all with those gentle eyes, and that smile of ready
sympathy and benevolence.

Game followed game, interspersed with pleasant chat and
story-telling, until after nine o’clock.; and then the happy
party were led down-stairs to supper. And such. a supper !
Beautiful cakes, all snowed over with sugar, oranges, can-
dies, nuts, and delicious ice-cream. Jem sat there eating
ravenously, as all his companions did; but suddenly he laid
down the spoon which he had been using with so much
vigour, and taking up a cake which lay beside his plate,
turned it over in his hand, looked at it this way and that,
and then catching the eye of Kitty, who was flying hither
and thither, full of business in attending to her guests,
motioned her to come to him.

“Do you want something?” she said, glad to wait on
him ; for his pleasant face and clear, merry laughter had
won her heart. ‘“ What shall I bring you ?”

“ Nothin’, oh, nothin’! I’ve got a plenty. But I just
JEM’S PARTY. | 147

wanted to ask you if it’ud be bad manners for me to put
them cakes into my pocket. I’d like to take’em to the woman
what dressed up my legs and sewed my clothes. She’s
awful ill, Why, if you’d hear her cough, you’d just think
she was a breakin’ all to bits inside of her. And then she’s
got a boy. Why, you never see such a chap. A little rat
of a feller, with just skin to cover his bones, and that’s
all there is of him. I thought I’d like to feed ’em up on
my cakes ‘cause they’re good to me, and they never got
nothin’ like this.”

‘Don’t save those, eat them yourself, Jem,” said Kitty.
“We'll give you something for your friends. I'll tell
mother about them.”

So Jem ate his cakes in peace, and Kitty kept her pro-
mise by coaxing her mother to pack a basketful of niceties
for the poor woman and her child.

“ Now, boys,” said Mr Harvey, when they had gone up-
stairs again, ‘‘I think that we will ask Mr Dunn to read a
story from the Bible to us, and then we will thank the dear
Father in heaven who has given us such a happy evening
together.”

“I'll read you a story of a poor boy,” said the old man,
as he slowly turned the pages of the Bible,—“ a poor boy
who sinned against his father, and went wandering from
him. But by and by he grew weary of his sin and folly ;
and just so soon as he turned his face in sorrow to his father,
the old man took him home to his heart again. That’s you
and me, my boys; and the good father who loved his way-
ward son is our tender Father in heaven.”

The chapter was read, and not an eye in the room wan-
dered from the old man’s face, as the tremulous voice, so
full of tenderness and pathos, told the oft-repeated story of
the prodigal son. And then they knelt around him, while
he thanked the loving Master for this ray of sunshine which
had brightened their dark lives, and besought Him, in simple
148 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

words of earnest entreaty, to lead His wandering ones home
to their Father’s house. No one of those young hearts
knew why the white-haired stranger pled so earnestly for
them ; but when they rose from their knees, Jem, who stood
nearest him, slipped his hand confidingly in his, and whis-
pered—

‘Do you really think, Mister, that Him as lives up there,
the one you’ve been a talking to, loves fellers like us?”

“Yes, I do believe it. Why, boy,” and the withered
face grew white with smothered pain as Jem watched it,
“if I didn’t believe it, I’d go mad. He does love you. If
you’re steeped to the erown of your head in sin, His hand
can lift you into the light, and wash you white in the blood
of the Lamb. Oh! boy, go home, and tell Him you want
Him, and He will fold you in His arms, and hold you safe.
Don’t wait, don’t wait. Take the Lord at His word now,
and He will keep you in the light of His love for ever.”

They were standing a little apart from the rest of the
company ; and the words were spoken in a low, thrilling
tone, which awed the boy into stillness. He stood gazing
at the excited speaker in utter surprise, until Christy, with
a sudden, long-drawn breath, seemed to regain his com-
posure.

‘““T meant all I said, my son ;” and he laid his hand upon
him as he spoke again, more quietly than before. ‘I was
a bit worked up, I believe; but it’s all true. Give that
young heart of yours to the Lord Christ, and He’ll keep
you safe and happy all your days. Just love Him—love
the dear Lord Jesus, who lived and suffered and died for
you; that’s all He wants. Good-bye, and God bless you.”

The boy was turning away, still solemnised and wonder-
ing, when the old man spoke to him again, this time in an
eager whisper.

“Wait a bit, sonny. You wouldn’t happen to know, I
suppose, a boy by the name of Jack or John Dunn 2?”
JEM’S PARTY. 149

“ Jack—Jack Dunn,” said Jem, reflectively. ‘No, I don’t
know no such feller. Think he don’t live in our parts.
But—why—I’m sorry, Mister. You want him real bad,
don’t you? I wish I did know hin, so as I could tell you.
I do so;” and he looked up with real heartfelt sympathy
into the rugged, old face, now anxious and quivering again
with eager excitement.

“Yes,” said Christy, slowly, ‘you are right, boy. I do
feel bad about 1%. But I can wait,” he went on, his eye
softening again, and his face taking back its calmness and
composure. “ ‘The Lord will bring it all right in time. I
want him,—yes, I do want him sorely; but I will wait the
Lord’s good time.”

The boy lingered for a moment beside him, then crept a
httle closer, and whispered—

“T’ll look out for him, and if ever I set eyes on him, I ’Il
run right to Mr Harvey and tell him. You see if I don’t.
Good-bye, Mister.”

“Good-bye.” A trembling hand was laid on Jemmy’s
head as the old man added, solemnly, “‘ God be gracious
unto thee, my son.”

Jem’s party was over. The boys had all gone to their
homes ; Kitty was sleeping soundly in her white bed, tired
out with her exertions; and all the other members of the
family, save one, had followed her example. That one was
old Christy. He lay wakeful and full of thought, longing
with an intensity of yearning love for that little, stray boy,
the only child of his only child. And all the while the boy
was not very far away. Christy had seen him, and spoken
with him. That very night his hand had been laid upon
his head in blessing.


150 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

CHAPTER VI.
CHRISTY’S HOME.

Tue two following days were spent by Mr Harvey, Edward
Churchill, and Christy in a search for the missing boy, which,
of course, proved entirely fruitless. Orphan Asylums, Houses
of Correction, and every institution where so young a boy
might have been placed either by friends or by the law,
were examined in vain. Once or twice a ray of hope was
caught, as the name of Dunn was read, and on inquiry found
to belong to a child of about twelve years of age; but the
hcpe was always kindled only to be crushed again by some
strong proof that the boy was not the child of Christy’s
son, At length, wearied out and disheartened, the old man
relinquished the search.

“The only way,” said Mr Harvey, as they all sat talking
the matter over on the evening of the second day of useless
toil,—“ the only way is to leave your name and address, or
mine, at all these institutions, with directions to each to
notify us if any boy answering to the little we know of your
grandson is brought there ; and then to advertise thoroughly
both for him and for the writer of the letter. We will do
that ; and then, Christy, old friend,” and he laid his hand
tenderly on the bent shoulder near him, “then we must just
wait.”

“Yes,” said Christy, lifting up his worn, tired face, and
turning it, brightened now with a quiet smile, toward the
younger man.

“Yes, I must wait. I’ve learned to do that, Master Harvey.
You will let me call you Master Harvey still, for you seem
but a boy yet to white-haired old Christy. I must mourn
for my poor boy: a father’s heart will always do that, I’m
thinking ; but I believe I know what the Master meant when
He said, ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be
CHRISTY’S HOME. | 151

comforted.’ He has come to me with many a sweet bit of
comfort born out of this very trouble already; and I think,
indeed I’m well-nigh sure, that He’ll let me hear of my son
as living or dying unto Him. Perhaps not in this world ;
butif not, then either I’ll meet him above when I win the
good port, or Ill be the joyfullest of all the glad angels that —
rejoice over one more ‘ sinner that repenteth.,’ ”

‘It’s strange,” he went on, after a pause, “it’s very strange
how I seem to see the boy in every little fellow I meet.
Partic’lar if he’s black-eyed, with brown, curly hair. There’s
that one there,—Jemmy Lord, you called him,—he seems so
like my boy. To be sure Jack was a stout, rosy chap as
ever I see, and this one is very small and pale to look at.
Yet, maybe, if this one was to live beside the sea, and run
wild all day, he'd be much the same as Jack. But no:
they ’re not like after all,—they ’re not like;” and the old
man sighed heavily. “ He did bring him back to mein some ©
way ; but my poor Jack never had that broad, open brow,
and them clear, up-looking eyes. No, no: they’re not like.”
_ But it seemed as if, in that long-drawn sigh, Christy had
breathed out all the bitterness of his grief; for from that
moment his face lost the anxious, troubled look which it had
worn ever since the night on which he had reccived the
unsatisfactory letter, and took back its expression of rest and
peace.

“Christy,” said Edward Churchill, as they sat side by
side in the railway carriage, whirling rapidly over the road
on their neue ard journey, “you are a most incomprehen-
sible man.’

‘How is that, Master Edward ?” asked the old man, ae
ing his quiet face upon the boy with a smile. “I’m but a_
sunple old sailor at the best, sir. How is it that you think
me hard to understand ?”

“What is the reason that you have been so calm and
composed last evening and to-day ?” asked Edward, replying
152 CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

by asking a question in his turn. ‘Ever since Friday even-
ing, until last night, no one who looked at you could fail to see
that you carried a heavy burden, too great for your strength ;
not only your face, but your whole manner and appearance,
showed it ; and now you seem to have laid it all aside, and just
slipped quietly back into the happy, peaceful Christy of the
old cabin on the beach. Where is that anxious, troubled man
whom I brought down from Graydon with me on Monday
morning ; and what has become of that weight of grief which
seemed to be breaking him down, body and mind ?”

‘‘You’ve answered your own question, sir,” said Christy,
gently. ‘‘ You say it seems as if I’d laid it all aside, and that’s
what I ’vedone Master Edward. When first that letter came
to me, bringing up poor Jack before my old eyes so vivid-
like, and then goin’ on to tell me that he’d left a pauper boy,
with no living soul to care for him, I was well-nigh distracted,
and I felt that I must use all the little strength and all the
scanty earnings I had in seekin’ for the child until I found him.
But now I’ve done all that can be done. I’ve sailed up and
down through the waters, looking for the poor, little stray
bark; L’ve put out every signal, and watched close for a gun
of distress ; but I never heerd it, and I never saw nothing
to guide me; and so I’ve put my helm a-port, and steered
toward home again. You would not have me carry all that
cargo of pain and worriment and grief back with me, Master
Edward. I’m but a poor, old, leaky craft, and such a weight
would sink me in the deep waters; and so I have laid it all
on Him who bids me, ‘ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and
He shall sustain thee!’ I can do no better nor that, sir.”

He waited for an answer, but the boy did not reply ; and
he went on in the same assured, confident tone— |

“ no truer word in Scriptur’ nor that, sir. And yet if one
gives up tryin’ to find them out, and sits down quiet and still,
takin’ the Lord at His word, that ‘all things work together
CHRISTY’S HOME. 153

for good to them that love God,’ there’s a wondrous deal
made clear to them. I remember when I was a young man,
and had but just found out that the Lord Jesus Christ was
the best Captain for me to sail under, I used to bother my
head a great deal trying to understand certain things in the
Scriptur’ which was quite out of my line of thinkin’, and
there was one verse in partic’lar that I never could make out,
but bein’ it was spoke by our Lord himself I knew it must
be even more true nor common, so I thought over it and
thought over it, both me and Jane did, but we couldn’t make
nothin’ out of it, and this was it,—I was speakin’ of it last
night : ‘ Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be com-
forted.’ I was a young man with as bright and chirpy a
little wife as one need wish to see, and a beautiful baby boy
that was the light of our eyes, I’d a trim little bark, good
health, and strong limbs, and as happy a heart as man was
ever blessed with ; and to me the thought of pain and grief
was very far from being blessed. But there stood that verse
in the Lord’s own words, and often and often I puzzled my
poor brains over it. But by and by I found out that that
verse, and a good many others in the Blessed Book, aren’t
meant so much for the head as for the heart, Master Edward.
In fact, the head can’t do nothin’ at all with them ; but when
a poor, weary heart, battered and crushed by some big weight
of sorrow, gets hold of them, and takes them in, it knows
just what they mean.”

He paused, and glanced out at the clear blue sky a
moment; then went on again—
— “T’ve lost my strong health ; my limbs is grown stiff and
weakly ; my little vessel went to the bottom in a fierce gale
‘years since; my cheery, rosy woman faded and withered
here, and then was lifted out of my sight to bloom again in
the Lord’s own garden above ; and my sweet, innocent baby,
my winsome boy,—well, the Lord knows where he is and
what he is ; but however it may be with him, I know nothin’
154 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

of him, and the old man stands alone. If in his young,
bright days his brain puzzled vainly over the Lord’s own
words, what would it do now? But thanks be to His dear
name, the dumb, stupid head has naught to do with it: the
tired aching heart has seized it, and holds it close. I never
knew the Lord before as I know Him now. ‘As one whom
his mother comforteth, so He comforts me!’ Ah! Master
Edward, you’ve much to learn yet. I wish you knew the
Lord as I do.”

There was no mistaking the sincerity of that wish. The
earnest tone, the touch of the trembling hand, the entreating
look in the face bent toward him, all told the same story of
strong desire.

“Thank you: I know you wish it,” said the boy; and
then a silence fell between them, unbroken for many a long
mile of their journey.

This was by no means the first time that Christy’s desire
that Edward should take orders under his Captain, as he
often expressed it, had been made known to his young friend,
between whom and himself there existed a sympathy far
stronger than that kindly feeling which drew every boy in
Drayton Hall toward the old fisherman. ‘The cabin on the
beach, which had. been Christy’s home ever since his child-
hood, was, and always had been, the resort of all Drayton
boys ; for the old man’s store of anecdote, fund of sea-stories
and “yarns,” was inexhaustible ; and he was never loath to
bring them out for the amusement of the scores of merry
boys, who, sure of their welcome, flocked in upon him at all
times and seasons in which they could escape the restraint
of school.

But well as he loved a talk with any of his young friends,
there was no one among them all whom he looked upon with
the same interest and affection as that with which he regarded
Edward Churchill. Born within a few miles of his own
simple home, and descended from a family to whom all the
CHRISTY S HOME. 155

poorer class of the inhabitants of Graydon village looked
with veneration and loyal love, the boy had grown up from
his very babyhood crowned with the blessings of those to
whom his father and grandfathers for generations back had
been advisers and benefactors. Churchill Manor House (for
the gray stone mansion still held its old-time name) was the
pride and delight of all the country round; and its present
occupants, Miss Mary Churchill and her young brother
Edward, not only inherited the love and kindliness which
had been given to those who went before them, but pos-
sessed beside a wealth of more tender love, which the cir-
cumstance of their having been left fatherless and motherless,
when the boy was a tiny infant, woke for them in the hearts
of their plainer country neighbours.

In the cabin of old Christy all this store of affection had
been strengthened and quickened by the sympathy and
friendly aid which had been ever ready for his need. Miss
Mary had always a word of encouragement and cheer for
the anxious, troubled father, and of hope for the erring son :
no one was willing to believe in his promises of amendment
but she; and little as the often disappointed man trusted
them himself, it was a comfort to know that one person in
the world at least had a little spark of hope for his wayward
boy. But when old Jane sank down beneath the weight
of her sorrows, Christy’s young friends proved a comfort
indeed. No daughter could have been more gentle and
tender toward the sick woman than Miss Mary proved
herself ; and since the hour when the brother and sister had
watched with the lonely man beside her dying bed, and the
girl's gentle hand had closed the sightless eyes, and the boy’s
voice had whispered softly, ‘Christy, I will be your boy,”
the aching heart had taken the two into its innermost
chamber, and its door had been closed upon them never to
reopen.

The promise given by tlhe five-year old boy had been well
156 CHRISTY 'S GRANDSON,

kept. In every case where his hand could minister to the
desolate man’s need, it had been ready ; and this visit to
New York, as his guide and helper, was but one case out
of very many in which Edward Churchill’s strong young
arm and quick intelligence had been placed completely at
Christy’s service, in circumstances in which the simple fisher-
man would have been at a loss. Loving the boy so fondly,
it was no marvel that Christy’s heart should grieve sadly
over the fact that he was a stranger to the Lord, whom the
old man loved and served with all his heart and all his
strength.

“What a curious old fellow he is!” said Edward Churchill
to himself, as, having reached Graydon, he sat in the car-
riage which had met them at the depdt, watching Christy’s
retreating form as it wound slowly down the rambling path,
which led from the carriage road to the beach.

“There, he is safely down, Thomas. Drive on: I only
wanted to make sure that he did not fall, for he is about
tired out.”

He leaned back in the carriage as the coachman obeyed
his orders, rather fatigued himself with the events of the
past few days ; and Christy’s words were soon driven from
his thoughts by his sister’s eager greeting, as she met him at
the gateway leading into the grounds of their lovely home.

It was a quaint, old place, that hut—for it was scarcely
more—into which Christy entered when he had waved his
last farewell to his young escort, filled from end to end of
the one long, low room with all sorts of strange things ; and
up-stairs, in the little loft with its peaked roof touching the
floor on either side, there was gathered a collection still more
motley of things from all parts of the world, and from every
clime under the sky. For Christy’s forefathers and relations
had always been sailors, and he had himself, in the early
days of his strength and vigour, sailed to many a far-away
port as captain of the brave little vessel of which he had
CHRISTY’S HOME, 157

spoken to Edward as his “trim little bark.” When things
had gone wrong with him, and he had in his old age lost
his little property, he had taken up the business of a fisher-
man, but he never lost his love for his queer old possessions;
and the cabin on the beach, as it was commonly called, had
never yet parted with any of its treasures, save when one
was bestowed from time to time, as a gift, on some friend.
A. huge coil of rope which had once been used on the Jane
lay in one corner, while a broken anchor, shells, stones, a
piece of the skull of a whale, the jaw of a sword-fish, skins
of foreign animals, and scores of other curiosities, all nearly
worthless to any one but their owner, were gathered around
it, or hung on countless nails around the walls of the room.

Well was it for Christy that the very room itself seemed
like an old friend to him, for lonely and desolate enough it
looked as he entered it ; quiet and still, the ashes lying cold
on the hearth, and no living voice to bid him welcome, nor
loving hand to prepare his simple meal. Perhaps the still-
ness and dreariness struck him more forcibly than usual, for
he paused as he entered the door, and a heavy sigh escaped
him as he glanced round the empty room.

‘Home again,” he said to himself, half aloud. “I’d
thought I ’d come home different from this. O Janie, woman,
it ’s dreadful lonesome now you’re gone.”

He stood looking over the silent room for a moment, and
then crossing the floor to the hearth began to lay a fire.

‘“T’ll make up a bit of a blaze,” he said, more cheerily,
‘‘and then it won’t be so dreary like.”

A supper of tea and ship-bread was quickly prepared ;
and then, having washed his dishes and set them all away
with careful nicety, Christy opened an old sea-chest which
occupied one corner of the apartment.

It was not often that the contents of that worm-eaten chest
saw the light, for in it the solitary man had laid away many
a memento of those whom he had loved and lost 3 and his
158 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

heart was not strong enough to bear the strain which tha
sight of those hoarded relics laid upon it. He lifted up
article after article and laid it tenderly down upon the floor,
evidently looking for something which lay beneath those
which his hand first touched. Faded dresses of dark calico,
a black silk bonnet, a pair of darned and threadbare gloves ;
then a suit of boy’s clothes of coarse, gray cloth; a broken
straw hat; a copy-book written by a careless, untaught hand;
two or three miniature boats, roughly cut out of wood; and
many another memento of the childhood and boyish days of
his unhappy son.

At last the object of his search was reached, a worn Bible,
on whose faded cover was printed, “Jane Dunn, from her
good man Christopher.” The Bible was laid upon the table,
and every article which he had taken from the chest, was
carefully replaced before Christy returned to the book.

“‘T’ll read in her Bible to-night,” he said, as he opened it
with gentle, reverent fingers. ‘It will seem to bring her
nearer, and I’m sorely lonesome without her to-night, my
bright, little Janie!” |

The old heart had travelled back to the days when she
had been a pretty young bride, and had come home with him
to his cabin by the seaside to be its sunshine and its joy.
It came a trifle nearer to these darker days, a moment later,
when, turning a page of the Bible, he came upon a ring of
golden hair laid away between the leaves. He lifted it up,
looking long and lovingly at it.

“ My little child,” he said, softly ; “my little, winsome,
laughing lad. God bless his sunny head !”

It was long before the shining curl was laid away again
in its resting-place, for the old man fell to dreaming over it;
and his dream was very sweet, too sweet to be broken, even
by the moving of a hand. But, at length, he roused himself,
and began toread. ‘The pages were turned again and again,
for he read but a few verses in any one place; and if there


** “My little child,’ Christy said, softly, as he came upon a ring of golden
hair laid away between the leaves of the Bible—‘ my little, winsome, laugh-
ing lad. God bless his sunny head !’"—Page 158.
“ JESUS ONLY.” 159 ©

had been any there to watch him, they would have seen that
the dim eyes only rested on such words as “Jesus called
a little child unto Him,” “Suffer little children to come unto
me,” or some such tender words of love for the little ones.
At length he closed the book.

‘“ He will save this child in His own way,” he said, con-
fidently ; and before another hour had passed, he was sleeping
as peacefully as if no sorrow had ever darkened his path.

CHAPTER VII.

“ JESUS ONLY.”

“Jemmy ! Jemmy! Wake up and come to mother,”

Jemmy Ford was sleeping heavily after a hard day’s
work ; and waking confused and startled by a terrified voice,
and the grasp of a shaking hand, could not, at first, recog-
nise the speaker.

‘“What is it? Who are you?” he asked, lifting up his
head. ‘Oh! is it you, Willie ?” for the light of the street-
lamp, striking on the face of the child beside him, showed
him who had disturbed his dreams.

“Yes, it’s me. Come to mother, quick. There’s some-
thing very queer the matter with her.”

Jemmy sprang up at once, and seizing Willie’s hand, the
two ran up the street together, Willie striving incoherently
to give his friend some account of his mother’s condition.

Nix weeks had passed by since the boys had first met,
and Jemmy had proved himself a true friend to the weak,
timid child. He had done well in his own little trade, and
had been most generous in sharing his scanty meals with
Wille, and most watchful and careful for him in every cir-
160 CHRISTY ’S GRANDSON.

cumstance where his greater self-possession and hardihood
gave him the opportunity of aiding him. From the first,
Jem had fancied the child, and there was growing up between
them a close friendship, a real tenderness such as seldom
exists between boys of their age. Jemmy had never had
any one to love before, and his whole heart had gone out to
this frail little fellow in a strong, protective affection ; and
Willie repaid his kindness, by a childish, clinging love, which
trusted him entirely, and depended on him without reserve.

‘What ails your mother?” asked Jem, as they ran hur-
riedly on.

“I don’t know, but she acts very strangely. You know
she has been feeling very weak lately, and sometimes she 1s
so choked for breath that it seems as if she couldn’t live.
But to-night when she laid down, I thought she looked bet-
ter, and told her I believed she was going to get well, her
cheeks were so nice and red. She didn’t say anything, she
only just smiled a little; but she kind of looked as if she
didn’t think so. But I did, and I went to sleep quite happy,
thinking how nice it would be. Once 1 woke up, and she
was lying so still that I thought she was very sound asleep ;
but a little while after she began to make a queer noise in
her throat: I jumped up and struck a light, and she was
lying with her eyes open, staring at the ceiling. I couldn’t
make her look at me, though I called her and called her, so
T got frightened, and ran for you. Oh, I’m so glad we ’re
here !”

He almost gasped the last words, for what with swift
running and eager talking, he was quite exhausted.

The candle which he had lighted was still burning dimly;
and, by its light, Jem could see the face upon the bed as
they entered the room. He had never seen death before,
but he knew that the angel stood in that room ; and he stole
across the floor as timidly as Willie himself. For a moment
the two boys stood beside the miserable bed, silently watching
“JESUS ONLY.” 161

the white face, and the slow rise and fall of the tattered quilt
which covered the labouring chest ; then Willie’s imploring
eyes turned on Jem with a mute appeal, which the boy was
powerless to answer in any way save by putting his arm
around his neck and holding him close to him. All at once
the staring eyes were closed, then opened again and lifted to
Willie’s face. It seemed to Jem as if their expression must
have been caught from his, for the look of agonised entreaty
which the boy had turned upon him rested on him again
from the mother’s eyes.

“She wants something! Oh, what does she want ?”
cried the boy, kneeling down by her side.

“* Willie, Willie!”

The name was whispered again and again, with that sup-
plicating look, but the failing voice had strength for no-
thing more.

+ “ T will take care of him,” said Jem, gently, as he knelt
beside the bed; ‘he shall be my brother.”

A faint smile of pleasure crossed the white face, but
simply crossed it, for in another moment the entreating look
returned to it, as with a gasping voice the woman faltered—

““ Me, me, help me!”

“O Jem! help her. What does she want?” pleaded
Willie, while Jem looked pitifully with a face as colourless
and shrinking as his own. The agonised face, growing every
instant more death-like, was turned from Willie now, and
fixed on him, :

‘IT wonder wouldn’t Jesus that Mr Harvey tells about

help her,” he thought, “I don’t know how to do anything
for you,” he said, tremblingly, bending closer to the dying
woman, “‘but my teacher over at school tells us that there ’s
some one up in the sky who can always do for us. His
name is Jesus,”

. There was no answer as the boy paused, save that the
woman clasped the hand which he had laid on hers.

-

da
162 CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

“The teacher says He can hear us, never mind where we
be: He’s always a listenin’ for us, he says. Ill ask Him,
can He help you.”

His hand was held still more tightly, and the hungry eyes
looked into his face more yearningly than ever. No wonder
that the young voice shook and faltered as it sought for aid
from the Friend of whom the suppliant himself knew so
little.

“O Jesus, up in the sky!” he said, and then paused
again, trembling with a sudden awe, which he had never
felt before in thinking of that Master of whom he kad so
lately learned. But they must have help, and Mr Harvey
had told him that the Lord was very tender and loving, so
hifting up his face he said again—

‘QO Jesus, in the sky! I don’t know what she wants, but
can’t you do suthin’ to comfort her? She’s awful distressed,
and we boys don’t know nothin’ what to do.”

“ He’s good and kind, the teacher says,” he went on, lay-
ing his hand on the woman’s face. ‘‘ Ask Him yourself:
you needn’t speak a word, he says, only just ask Him inside
of you. He died for us.”

The thought had come to him suddenly, and he uttered
it with a force and earnestness which gave it a strange
power.

“For me?” she whispered, with a gleam of hope in her
poor face.

“Yes, sure He did. ‘The teacher says He died for me,
and loves me now, and if He’d do it for a poor loafer like
Jem Ford, sure you needn’t be afraid. He come away from
His home up there, and was punished so we needn’t be. I
tell you it is true,” he added, earnestly, for it seemed as if he
must convince her. ‘“ The teacher telled it all to me, and
he knows. He couldn’t never tell it like he did, if it wasn’t
all true.” |

“Pray, pray again,” whispered the weak voice, and Jemmy
“ JESUS ONLY.” 163

prayed again; but not as he had done before, falteringly
and tremblingly. His own faith and confidence, weak
enough at the beginning, had gained power and strength as
he ‘endeavoured to awaken hope in that hopeless heart, and
his voice was strong and steady in its pleading.

‘“ Lord Jesus, we’re comin’ again,” he said. ‘* Won’t
you please help us. She thinks I don’t know. Tell her
Yourself that You was punished instead of her. Tell her just
to let You take care of her. The teacher said You would.”

His own experience was so small, and that of his teacher
seemed so great and so sufficient, that in his helplessness he
brought it constantly to his aid. The woman’s face had
grown more quiet ; and now as Jem looked down into it,
she almost smiled, as she said feebly—

“Again, Say it over and over: Jesus—only ”"— Her
speech failed ; and the boy, supposing that he had under-
stood all she meant to say, repeated softly, little thinking
that his words had stood for the comfort and joy of a lost
world for eighteen hundred years—

“‘ Jesus only, Jesus only.”

Over and over again their echo sounded through the room;
for every time he ceased speaking, the softened but still
pleading eyes were lifted to his face, beseechingly.

“Jesus only, Jesus only, Jesus only.”

The glimmering candle sunk in the socket, flickered feebly,
and died out ; the dawn crept slowly in through the small
window, a little brighter, and still a little brighter; and
when at length the one ray of morning sunlight which made
its way into the basement danced in through the window, it
fell across a calm, peaceful face, quiet and cold.

“Jemmy,” said Willie, lifting up his head from the bed
against which it had been hidden in the utter abandonment
of his childlike grief, and turning towards his companion a
face full of unchildlike anxiety and perplexity. “J emmy,
how will we ever get money to bury dear mother 2?”
164 CHRISTY’S. GRANDSON.

“I’ve thought of that,” said Jemmy, ‘‘ but we needn’t
worry none over it. There’s some fellers down at the City
Hall what looks after sich things. There’s only one thing
bothers me. I’m afraid they’ll take you off somewhere if
they find you here.”

“ ‘Take me off,” exclaimed Willie, in terror. ‘‘ Where,
Jem ?”

“ Well, to some of them Homes or Refuges or suthin’.
You see if you had any spunk, and could say you could earn
your livin’, it wouldn’t be so bad; but you ’re such a weakly,
girlish-lookin’ chap, they ’ll think you can’t do nothin’ for
yourself, and they ll snap you up as quick as a wink, and
clap you right into some of them places just as sure as they
set eyes on you.”

Stunned and bewildered by his terrible sorrow, Willie sat
and gazed at his friend in frightened silence. He had listened
to his roughly expressed but kindly meant words in dismay ;
but now he simply sat and looked at him, overpowered by
the thought that having lost his mother, he was to be
separated from the only other friend he had in the world.

“ Who will take me?” he whispered, at last. ‘ I don’t
belong to anybody.”

‘““ No more you don’t, but small heed they ’ll pay to that.
"Deed, an’ they ’ll only give it for a reason for taking you
away from me. ‘They ’ll just say I ain’t big enough to take
care of you, and have you off in a jiffy.”

That speech brought comfort to poor Willie’s aching heart.
The grieved, hurt tone in which it had been uttered gave
full proof that there was one at least to love him in the
world which looked so dark and dreary.

“ They shan’t take me away! I won’t go!” he sobbed out.
“O Jemmy dear! don’t let anybody have me.”

“‘ There ’s only one way I know of to help it,” said Jem,
putting his arm round the boy, who was now clinging to his
neck. “ You must get out of the way, so they won’t see
“ JESUS ONLY.” 165

what a runty little chap you are; and I’ll tell ’em when
they ask me, that you and me’s goin’ to work together in
the orange line, and that we ’re sot up in the bisness already.
Taint no lie, for I promised Miss Steele I’d take you for my
brother, and Ill just make my brother my pardner right
off. But come along. You must go over to the wood-yard,
and hang around there till [come. I’ll see to things, and
then ”—he hesitated, for the tearful eyes fixed on him in
such troubled questioning told him that he must choose
tender words.

“Poor little feller!” he said, atlength. ‘It’s awful bad,
ain't it? I must go and tellit, or the police’ll be after us ;
but I’ll bid ’em let me know when the buryin’ is, and I’1l
take you over. Go say good-bye, little chap, and then
we'll go.”

They had been standing all this while at some distance
from the bed talking in whispers. As Willie turned back
toward his mother, Jem, with a touch of innate delicacy,
moved farther away, and stood waiting with his ragged old
cap in his hand, while the last kiss was given. But the
little figure prostrate on the bed beside the dead woman
soon lost all consciousness that any one was waiting for
him; and Jem was forced at last to lift him from his
mother s side, and lead him out into the wretched yard on
which the room looked.

‘There, run along now, and hide away somewhere. I'll
be to the wood-yard in an hour, and you be at hand. You
do be awful lonesome, I know, poor feller. But keep up
brave and hearty I/’ll be after you in less than no time.”

Willie turned wearily away. Nothing but the dread of
being parted from Jem would have roused him to the
slightest exertion ; but with that fear pressing upon him,
he released his hold of his friend’s supporting arm, and
walked slowly down the street towards the river.

As soon as he was fairly out of sight, Jem set off in
166 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

search of a policeman. He had not far to go before he
saw a blue uniform ; and crossing the street to the corner
on which the man stood, he spoke to him in his quick, im-
petuous way.

“Look a here, Mister. There’s a woman died over
yonder, and there ain’t nobody to look after her.”

The man laid his hand quickly upon him, grasping his
shoulder firmly.

‘Where is it, and what do you know about it?” he asked,
sharply, scrutinising the boy’s face.

“Tt’s over at No. 411, front basement. I don’t know
much about it, cept that she’s been awful ill with a cough
and all sorts of aches this good while back ; and last night
her boy what’s in trade with me come over to get me to
come to her, ’cause sne was a dyin’. She kept along till
sunrise, and then she just died very quiet-like.. Will I show
you the plaee ?”

The man released his grasp of the boy as he turned to
follow him, but kept a watchful eye upon him until they
- entered the damp, dark room. But one glance at the face
apon the bed told him that this was simply a repetition of
the old, sad story of poverty, illness, and starvation,

‘Poor thing!” he said, lifting his cap from his head.

“Yes,” said Jem, gently; “she suffered awful, and I
couldn’t do nothin’ for her only say again and again,
‘Jesus only.’ It seemed to kind of comfort her like, and
by and by she dropped off as nice as if she was a goin’ to
sleep.”

It needed but a little while to do all that was necessary
now. A telegram to the police station; a cart bearing a
plain pine coffin. That was all. |

When the cart was driven to the place of burying, two
boys of twelve years old sat beside the driver; and when
the coffin was lowered into the grave, they stood and
watched it, one tenderly supporting the cther.
JEM’S DONKEY, 167

‘Us two fellers is both all alone now,” said Jem, as they
left the ground ; ‘ but we’ll hold on to one another with a
good, tight grip.”

“Looks as if you had the biggest grip of the two,” said
the old driver, glancing compassionately at the small figure
beside him.

“Oh! he’ll do first-rate,” said Jem, patting Willie’s
shoulder approvingly. ‘“ He ain’t much to look at, but he’s
got a heap of book-larnin’, and when bisness gets putty
brisk with us, I’m a goin’ to set him to keeping the ’counts
while I drives the donkey-cart with the oranges.”

CHAPTER VIII,
JEM’S DONKEY.

THE young orange-merchants did very well in their business.
The hearty, energetic, self-dependent manner of the one,
and the quiet, gentlemanly little ways of the other, won for
each good friends and steady customers, and those who once
bought fruit from them were apt to aid them again; for,
acting on Mr Harvey’s advice, Jem always bought the best
fruit, and was scrupulously honest in trade. No one ever
found a spotted orange among a dozen good ones, slyly
slipped in that the seller might not lose thereby. Jem was
careful in buying, and as careful in his sales; and his cus-
tomers knew it, and trusted him accordingly.

But the donkey and the donkey-cart were still in the dis-
tance. Save and hoard as Jem might, it took more to
feed two than one. Rainy days, when he sold but little,
left fruit wasting on his hands; and there was besides a
steady drain on his small purse of twelve cent’ a night paid
168 CHRISTY S GRANDSON,

for his own lodging and Willie’s—for he had found that
sleeping in a leaky old wood-shed on the hard, damp ground,
would not do for his delicate young partner. The child
had soon begun to cough, and to complain of cramp and
pains in his limbs; so Jem, with a heavy sigh for the
oe took Willie every night to the “ Boys’ Lodging
House” for shelter, and paid his twelve cents, without even
hinting to his new brother that this extra expense was borne
on ce behalf,

“T wish I could afford to buy a donkey and cart for that
boy,” said Mr Harvey, one Sabbath evening, as he sat with
his wife and little daughter talking of the two boys; for
Jem had brought Willie to Sunday aes on the very first
Sabbath after his mother’s death, and he had grown to be
almost as much of a favourite with his teacher as Jem him-
self,

“If it were not that I have already run so far beyond
my charitable fund, I would do it; but I cannot now. It
would not be right. The truth is, that he has done so nobly
in assuming the care of that little stray sheep, and bears
the additional labour, and lengthened waiting for the desire
of his heart, with such cheerfulness and content, that I am
more than ready to do anything in my power to aid him.
But so far as I see, we can do no more than we are doing
by buying his fruit whenever he comes with it.”

Mr Harvey was by no means a rich man, and being of a
very generous disposition, the sum laid aside by him every
year for charitable purposes was apt to be expended, ag in
this instance, before the year was half gone.

— “Suppose we let Hilda go home, Kitty,” said her mother,
turning powered her with a smile, : “and give father her
wages for Jem.’ :

“ OQ mother dear !”

The words were spoken with a little, frightened gasp, as
if poor Kitty expected that her beloved Hilda would be
JEM’S DONKEY. 169

be swept from her without a moment’s warning. Mr Har-
vey looked up in surprise. |

‘Tet Hilda go home!” he repeated. “I think that
would be as hard for her as for Kitty.”

Hilda was a German woman who had lived in Mr Har-
vey’s family ever since Kitty was a baby, seven years and
more ; and there was no one in the world, except her father
and mother, whom Kitty loved as much as her nurse. No
grief was unbearable as long as she had Hilda to sympa-
thise with her ; and no pleasure was complete unless Hilda
rejoiced with her in it. Hilda walked with her and talked
with her, told her stories by the hour, dressed her, played
with her, read to her, taught her her letters, in fact did
everything that a kind, good woman could do to make the
sunny little life still more bright and beautiful. Mr Har-
vey was right in thinking that a separation after all these
years of loving care would be a great trial for both nurse
and child.

‘It would be very hard for her,” said his wife, .“‘ so hard
that although her brother is going home, and has asked her
to go with him, she cannot decide which she had rather do—
go or stay—and has left the matter entirely to my decision.
She spoke to me about it just before you came in. Of
course Kitty vetoed it at once.”

‘IT should think so indeed,” said Mr Harvey. “ Why,
life would scarcely be life without Hilda; would it, little
girl? And yet I should have supposed that the old cling-
ing to the ‘fatherland’ would have taken her from us.”

“I think that it was very near doing so,” said his wife.
“It was only her love for Kitty that held her here. She
would be equally glad and sorry, I imagine, which ever way
the matter was decided.”

“What is the matter with my little woman?” asked Mr
Harvey, the next morning, noticing thas Kitty had eaten
scarcely any breakfast.
170 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

“T don’t seem to be very hungry,” said the child,

“But you aren’t going until dinner-time on a mouthfal
of steak and half a biscuit? Are you unwell?”

“No; I’m very well,” replied Kitty, making a great
elfort to speak cheerfully.

But her father noticed that as soon as breakfast was over,
she slipped away, not to return again until he called her to
come and bid him good-bye, as he was going down to his
office, She had kissed him, and he had left the house,
when she opened the door again, and called him.

‘* Father! father!” |

‘What is it? I’m in a great hurry,” he said, turning back.

‘“¢ T’ll remember that, father.”

He nodded, and kissed his hand, but half understanding
what she had said. Kitty threw him a kiss in return; but
the hand which had thrown it was wet with tears, which
fell fast on it before it dropped to its place again.

It was necessary for Mrs Harvey to be away from home
that morning, and Kitty and Hilda were left to each other’s
society for some hours. Never had the little girl been more
demonstrative in her affection, more loving and caressing
than she was this morning; and the lonely foreigner, far
away from all her own people save the one brother who
was soon to leave her, trying to stifle the longings for home,
which had been growing and strengthening in her heart
ever since her final decision to remain with her charge, re-
turned her embraces and tender words in fullest measure.
But no sooner had Mrs Harvey returned home, than Kitty
ran to her room to know when she would be ready to
‘have a talk,” as she expressed it.

‘¢T’m ready now,” said her mother. “You look full of

business. What is it all about ?”
— “Tt’s about Hilda ;” and the little face grew grave in a
moment. ‘ Don’t you remember what father read at prayers
this morning ?”
JEM’S DONKEY. 171

“Yes ; it was the story of David’s offering at the thresh-
ing-floor of Araunah,” said Mrs Harvey, looking rather
puzzled.

“And don’t you remember what David said, mother ?
I think father must have read it to make me remember what
I promised to do for Jem, ‘ Neither will I offer burnt-offer-
ings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me
nothing.’ I was afraid last night that I ought to let Hilda
go, and this morning it’s worse than ever;” and a great
round tear rolled slowly down the rosy face,

Mrs Harvey lifted her daughter up on her lap, and sat
quietly stroking her curly head, thinking over the matter,

“Would it make too much trouble for you, mother, if I
didn’t have any nurse?” Kitty asked, after a short silence.

“Not more than I would be willing to take,” said Mrs
Harvey. “ Hilda has charge of many things which I would
have to attend to if she were not here; but if you decide
to give her up for the sake of doing something for our dear
Master, I would gladly help you. But it will be a very
hard trial for you, Kitty.”

‘TI do love her dearly, dearly,” said Kitty, with a sob in
her voice. |

“I know you do, darling; and that is not the only thing
you must consider, in deciding whether you will make this
sacrifice. I want you to think very seriously about it; for
when the choice is once made, you will not beable to take it
back. It is a great gift for you to make. You will not
only need to give up your dear Hilda, but you will have to
do a great deal for yourself which you have never done be-
fore. And you will miss all her kind ways, her stories and
amusements. Besides that, there will be many times when
I shall need to leave you at home, while I go out on errands,
which would be disagreeable and tedious for you. I would
try to have you with me as constantly as possible, and to
help you in every way; but I could not quite be Hilda
Lo CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

and mother both, so you must not decide too quickly, dear.
You might be sorry for it when it was too late.”

“T have thought about it, mother, and it makes me feel
like crying a great deal; but you know when we made the
plan about Jem, father told us to stop and think what we
were going to promise. He said it might cost us a great
deal some time, and it seems as if it were wicked for me to
say | won’t do the very first hard thing that comes, for I
meant my promise, really and truly.”

“Well, my darling, this is something that mother cannot
settle for -you,” said Mrs Harvey. ‘ You must do what
you think right ; and if you send Hilda home to Germany,
you shall have her wages for the next year to use for Jem
and Willie, or for any one else who isin need. You may
be sure that I will give you all the help I can, and more
sure still that the dear Lord for whom you are giving up so
much, will send a precious blessing to His loving child.”

When the plan was proposed to Mr Harvey, on his return
home in the evening, he did not say a word to discourage it ;
but he insisted that Kitty should withhold her decision un-
til Saturday, as that gave her nearly a week in which to
alter her mind, if she found that the effort would be too
strong for her.

“But you meant me to think about it, didn’t you, father?”
asked Kitty.

“No; I did not, dear. I have not given the matter a
thought since mother laughingly suggested it last night. It
seemed almost an impossibility to me, and never entered my
mind again. let us leave it as it is for the present, and on
Saturday you shall tell me what you conclude to do.”

But when Saturday night came, Kitty was as firmly fixed
in her purpose as ever. She would give up Hilda, and
Jemmy should have his donkey. Her only fear was that
the nurse might feel hurt and distressed by her dismissal ;
but Hilda’s heart had begun to fail her as the time of hee
JEM’S DONKEY. 173

brother's return to their native land drew nearer and nearer,
and she was more than glad when Mrs Harvey told her that
she had determined to assume the care of Kitty herself.

But when, a week later, the day of parting came, it was
hard to tell whether Hilda was most glad or grieved; and
poor Kitty’s heart seemed full almost to breaking. Hilda
sobbed and cried over her charge, and Kitty clung to her as
if she could never let her go. But after the first burst of
sorrow which followed the actual departure of her nurse,
Kitty bore her trial very well. To be sure she missed her
every day and hour, for weeks and months after; but her
mother was very tender and considerate with her, striving in
every possible way to prevent the loss from falling too
heavily on her and Kitty was bravely determined not to be
miserable.

“Kitty,” said her father, coming into the dining-room,
where they had been sitting together until he was called
away by the announcement that some one wished to see him,
“come here a moment: I want to show you something.”

Kitty tripped through the hall after him, and her father,
opening the front door, led her out on the steps. Before
the door stood a small cart, loaded with fruit, and drawn by |
a gray donkey.

“Q father! that’s just what we want for Jem,” exclaimed
Kitty. “ But that’s such a nice donkey, J suppose it would
cost too much. Do you think we could possibly buy it?
Please ask the man.”

“‘There’s the man coming out at the lower door. You
ean ask him what he will sell it for.”

In her eagerness, Kitty sprang down the steps without an
instant’s hesitation ; but the next moment she stood still in
amazement as she came face to face with the owner of the
cart. It was Jem.

“Jemmy Ford!” she exclaimed. “Why, where did it
come from ?”
74 CHRISTY 'S GRANDSON.

Jemmy looked at her in bewilderment equal to her own.

“Why, your father said it was you done it yourself,”
said he. “I was just a goin’ to tell you I didn’t know
nothing what to say to you; and here—and here”

Mr Harvey came to the rescue. He had been on the
watch for such a little establishment as this, and only the
day before had heard that it could be obtained from a man
who had been in the fruit-trade, but was intending to retire
from it. Thinking it would be a pleasant surprise for Kitty,
he had bought the donkey and cart, procured a stock of
fruit, and told Jem to drive up to the house before break-
fast, in order that Kitty might see the donkey before he set
off on his day’s journeyings.

Kitty was in raptures; and as to Jem, no colours could
paint the delight which danced out of his eyes, dimvled his
cheeks, and rippled in his voice. He could find no words in
which to thank his little friend, but kept repeating over and
over again—

“T don’t see how you could. And for such a feller as
me. And your father says you loved her dreadful ”—until
Mr Harvey told him that he had better be off on his travels.

‘Did you tell the young lady what her name is?” whis-
pered Willie Steele, who had stood looking silently on,
almost as delighted in his quiet way as Jem himself.

“No, I forgot that!” and Jem sprang down from the
seat to which he had mounted, and ran up the steps again.

“We want to call her Miss Kitty,” said he: “ would you
be angry if we did? ‘There ain’t no fear of us forgettin’
what you done for us, but it seemed kind of nice to think
of sayin’ ‘ Miss Kitty’ all times a day. And then maybe it
‘ud make me kind o’ gentler to the critter too. Willie’s
always good to everythin’, but I get kind o’ riley sometimes,
and ups with a blow before I think it ; but I couldn’t never
be cross to ‘ Miss Kitty !’”

Were those tears in Jemmy’s eyes? Perhaps they were,


JEM’S DONKEY. 175

but he dashed his hand across his face with such vehemence
that the poor tears must have been annihilated in a trice.

“To be sure you may call her Kitty. I should like it
very much,” said the little girl, But I don’t believe you’ll
whip your donkey, Jem, no matter what her name is. ”

‘She ‘ll never get beat so long as her name’s Kitty,” said
Jem. “ You’re sure of that,” and the next moment he
was gone. .

A greater change than that which had come over the life
of Jemmy Ford during the past three months, could hardly
be imagined. Outwardly he was the same merry, open-
hearted ragged boy, ready to do a good turn for any one
who came in his way, and quite as ready to make a bold:
stand for his own rights, if he considered that there was any
danger of their being trespassed upon. And yet if any had
taken the trouble to watch the boy closely, they would have
seen that although he never failed to hold his own in a dis-
pute or a bargain, he no longer felt it necessary to establish
his positions with sharp and violent words, or, perhaps, even
blows and curses. It was many weeks since any one had
heard a profane expression from Jem’s lips; and never since
the day on which he had appropriated the ten cents which
had been unwittingly given him, had he touched anything
which was not rightfully his own.

It was a feature of Jem’s character never to relinquish
anything which he had fully determined to carry out; and
when he had resolved to battle with his faults, and struggle
against his deeper sins, although the conflict had been begun
far more from the desire of pleasing Mr Harvey, and of lift-
ing himself out of his wretched condition, than from any
higher motive, he had thrown his whole strength into the
work, and, in spite of discouragements and repeated failures,
had never intentionally yielded: an inch of the vantage-
ground which, little by little, he was slowly gaining.

But that night in the dreary basement, when, in his
176 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

despair and terror, he had turned to the Friend who. until
that time, had been to him nothing but the hero of a mar-
vellous tale, had been the beginning of a higher, nobler life
with poor Jem. Never until then had he felt that he could
really pray, and then for the first time he felt that his
prayer had been answered. From that night he had striven
through ignorance, through poverty, through’ snares and
temptations such as come only to the young and wretchedly
poor, to live a holy, blameless life. He had not succeeded ;
and yet he was striving cheerfully and earnestly, without a
thought of yielding the battle, or going over to the ranks of
the enemy.

“Jem,” said Willie, one evening, as they sat together on
the steps of a house near their lodging-place, “I want to
ask you something.”

Jem paused to crack a peanut, and fling the shell far out
into the street before he answered. It was not often that
the two boys indulged themselves in any such extravagance
as buying a pint of peanuts ; but on this particular evening,
Willie had been very down-hearted, having been the means
of their losing upwards of a dollar on a quantity of fruit
which Jem had bought; and Jem, to cheer him, had pro-
cured the unusual feast, which they were now enjoying most
heartily.

“Well,” said Jem, after he had disposed of his nut,
‘what is the something ?”

“ Are you a Christian?” |

“A Christian! Mea Christian! Well, Willie Stecle, I
never did think you’d die of sense; but this does beat all.
Why, Mr Harvey’s a Christian, and Mr Corning, and all
them. What ever set you to askin’ such a ridiculous ques-
tion as that?”

“T thought a Christian only meant somebody.that loved
Christ. Mr Harvey told me so one day,” said Willie, quite
abashed. ‘ Don’t you love Him, Jem?”
JEM’S DONKEY. | 177:

Jem did not answer at once The sharp snap of the
crisp nuts ceased, and he sat gazing silently forward into the
dimly lighted street for some minutes; then he said,
slowly—

“What makes you think so?”

“ Because you are so different from what you used to be, 7
said Willie. ‘‘ You’re as different to the boys on the street
as can be; and even to me you are not the same. You
were always very kind and good to me, but you are more
gentle and patient when I am dull and stupid and make
mistakes, as I so often do. You know you are, Jem.”

He did know it. Willie was not a bright boy ; and his
faults and weaknesses were exactly those which most jarred
against Jem’s quick, excitable, impatient temperament. But
he said nothing; and after a moment’s pause, Willie went on—

“ Don’t be vexed with me, Jem. I don’t know about
those things myself. Indeed mother and I never thought
much of them until the night she died; and all I know
now is what Mr Harvey tells us. But it seemed to meas
if you were doing just what Mr Harvey said we should do
if we loved Jesus.”

Jem did not answer; but the eyes, which were still look-
ing straight forward, were lifted a little now, and were
gazing, not into the dark street, but into the starry sky.
For a long, long while he sat there. At last Willie touched
him, and speaking, he knew not why, very low and gently,
sald—

“If we are going into the lodgings to-night, hadn’t we
better go now ?”

“Yes,” said Jem, rousing with a little start, but without
turning to look at his questioner. “ We’ll go.”

But i did not rise; and Willie, after waiting beside him
for a few moments, laid his hand upon his shoulder, and
was about to speak again, when Jem rose to his feet, saying
cheerily-——

he
178 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Yes, let’s go; it’s high time. Do you know, Willie,”
and he turned upon his companion a face perfectly radiant
with happiness—‘“ do you know, little chap, I feel as if I’d
got into lodgin’s for good to-night ?”

CHAPTER IX.
OLD MATTY.

“WILLIE,” said Jem, as they were walking slowly beside
their cart one morning, keeping a sharp look-out for cus-
tomers, while Miss Kitty leisurely pursued her way through
the streets, ‘I mean to try to find some other stablin’ fox
Kitty.”

“Why? Don’t Mason treat us very well?”

“Yes; but wait a minute. Bananys! Here’s nice, ripe
bananys! But I was a thinkin’ last night,’ Jem went on,
receiving no answer to his clear call, “ that if we paid our
own stablin’, we’d find some place where we didn’t have to
hand over quite so much. You see Miss Kitty Harvey she
promised to pay it till we got twenty-five dollars laid by,
case of hard times, if either one of us got ill or anythin’
like that; but that ain’t no reason why she should pay
more nor we would. I don’t mean to say Mason ain’t fair
enough, but we could get some of them fellers down by the
river to take her for less, I know. Anyhow, I’m goin’ to
see to it to-night.”

It was after nine o’clock in the evening before Jem started
off on his walk down to the river, for the long, twilight
hours of the early summer evenings were quite as profitable
for him as any time during the day; and then Miss Kitty
had to be cared for for the night, so that it was impossible
OLD MATTY. 179

for him to attend to his errand earlier. But he was a rapid
walker, and was not long in reaching his destination. He
was right in his supposition that he could obtain cheaper
stabling for his donkey, and left the house of the carman
with whom he had agreed to place her in high spirits,
having concluded an arrangement by which Miss Kitty
would be sheltered and fed for a dollar a month less than
had been paid for her during the two months in which he
had owned her.

As he stepped into the street, a woman met him, a jaded,
ragged, forlorn-looking creature, who staggered past him
into a liquor store which stood at the corner. Something
in the woman’s appearance struck Jem as familiar, and he
turned to look after her, wondering where he had seen her
before. In the moment that he stood there, an angry voice
from the store which she had entered sounded through the
quiet evening air.

“No, not a drop! Walk out this minute—walk out!
I won’t trust you for another drop !”

A feeble, pleading voice responded, only to be answered
in the same threatening tones, and the woman tottered out
again. She paused for a moment, as she reached the street,
looked up and down like a wild, hunted thing, as if she
were in terror of what might come next, then threw her
wrinkled hands above her head, with a pitiful, distressed
cry, and turned toward the river, which lay sleeping quietly
in the moonlight only a few rods from where she stood,

In an instant Jem had sprung after her. The sudden
tossing of her hands had thrown off the miserable old shawl
which covered her gray head and bent shoulders, and he
had recognised the face.

“Matty! Old Matty!” he cried, as he ran toward her.
But the cry seemed only to add to her fright. With a
sudden bound she escaped his outstretched hand, and fled
on toward the river, fear lending such wings to her feet
180 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

_ that Jem could not outstrip her. It was a race for life or
death ; for the one glance at that desperate face, with its
pinched, hungry features, and the gray hair falling all about
it, had told him where her flight would end. On and on,
It seemed to Jem as if that minute’s race was hours in
length.

“Matty! Matty! It’s only Jem!” he cried out in
terror; for she had reached the end of the pier, and he
was still some steps behind her.

For one instant she paused; but as he made a quick
spring forward, she darted from him with a cry, and
plunged heavily into the dark water.

With eager straining eyes, Jem watched to see her rise ;
another moment, and he, too, had struck the now ruffled
stream, and his strong young hand had grasped old Matty
firmly. |

Fortunately she had risen close to the pier, but it needed
ali his strength to save her even so. Again and again his
voice rang out, crying for help; but no help came. With
. one hand grasping Matty, and the other clinging to one of
the mossy, slippery piles, he managed to keep both their
heads above water until he recovered breath. The old woman
was small and slight ; but with her clothing, scanty though
it was, soaked with water, she was no light weight. Strong
and sinewy as he was, Jem had all he could do to sustain her.

‘““How will I ever get her up there?” he thought, glanc-
ing up to the pier. And then there came to him suddenly
the recollection that behind him, but a stone’s throw from
where he was, he had noticed a small boat riding on the
stream moored to a pile. Turning cautiously, he swam
slowly toward it, making but little progress with his heavy
burden, But it was very near, and, reaching it, he threw
himself over the side, and exerting all his remaining force,
dragged old Matty after him. Well was it for the poor
woman that want and hunger had wasted her to a shadow ;
OLD MATTY. 181

for Jem’s strength was utterly exhausted, and he lay now
in the bottom of the boat, almost as motionless as she.

But after a little he roused himself. There was some
thing yet to be done if Matty were to be saved ; and, rising
to his knees, he began to chafe her face and hands vigor-
ously, and to such good purpose, that soon the old woman
opened her eyes, and looked up into his face with an ex-
pression of vague surprise. Her eyes closed instantly again,
but that one glimpse of returning life gave him a new im-
pulse in his work ; and ere long Matty rewarded his untir-
ing efforts by lifting her head a little, and whispering—

“‘ Bless ye, boy.”

But it wasa long time before she became perfectly sen-
sible, or able to make the effort which was necessary in order
to reach the street again. At length, by dint of coaxing, and
no little exertion on Jem’s part, the somewhat difficult task
was accomplished ; and Matty, shivering and trembling,
with her drenched garments clinging closely around her
shaking limbs, stood safe on dry ground once more.

As yet she had not spoken a word to indicate that she
had recognised in the lad who had saved her life, the boy
to whom she had been kind when there was no one else to
care for him. But now, as they stood together in the moon-
light in the deserted street, she laid her wrinkled hand upon
his arm, and said—

‘ How fares it wid ye, Jem?” |

“Qh, brave and hearty!” said the boy, brightly. “But
we must find out how it’s to fare with you to-night, Matty.
You ’d best get into bed, if you’ve e’er a bed to get into.”

‘An’ that’s what I haven’t, or I’d not a been where ye
have found me to-night. O Jem, lad, I was hard pushed !
[’ve niver a home, nor a bed, nor nothin’ to call me own,
and these two days I’ve been fightin’ off the horrors. Niver
a drop could I get from any, and when they turned me out of
that last shop, I just went mad, and a kind of fright took
182 CHRISTY S GRANDSON.

hold upon me like I thought somethin’ was after me, and that
was what drove me into the water. I’d niver have gone
nigh itif 1’d been in my senses ; for Jem, lad, I’m not fit for
the circumstance of death, at all, at all. It’s a scorchin’ life
I lead—indade, and it is ; but it’s better nor death would be
with such black sins as is on my head. And to think that it
was Jemmy [ord what saved me.”

“Who better?” said Jem. “For who but old Matty
was good to Jem when he was a small chap. But see
here, Matty, turn into this place if you’ve no better.
They’ve been heatin’ up wheel-tires in here to-day, and the
ashes is kind of warmish yet I think. Let’s see.”

He drew her into an open lot adjoining a blacksmith’s
shop, where the owner had been at work on some large
wheels until late in the afternoon ; and, finding the ashes
still quite warm, Jem placed his forlorn charge close beside
the dead fire, and spread out her scanty skirts to dry upon
the heated embers.

“ Now I think I'll be off,” he said, when he had made
her as comfortable as circumstances would permit. ‘ Willie
will be out looking for me soon, if he ain’t now. But I’ll
see after you a bit to-morrow. Where will you be ?”

‘¢Nowheres where you’ll be bothered with me, boy.
Ould Matty’s bad enough, but she’d die afore she’d pull
yer down with her. So sure as the perlice sees yer along
o’ such as me, they ’ll keep their eyes on ye, and ye’ll never
get on.” :

‘They may keep their eyes on me, and they’ll never see
nothin’ to hurt ’em,” said Jem, lifting his head proudly.

“Ay, ay!” said the old woman, glancing up at hin,
“so that’s it. Well, well, so Jem’s turned out an honest
boy.”

“Yes, Matty ; I gave up the mean old trade of picking
‘up my livin’ a good while back.”

“Then it’ud be all the worse for ye to be seen with me,
OLD MATTY. 183 _

child. Good-bye. I wonder would God hear such a wicked
ould woman if she asked for a blessin’ on yer brave head.” _

“T think He would. They say He’s very good,” said
Jem. ‘ Good-bye.”

He had left her, and had almost reached the street, when
her voice coming faintly through the stillness called him
back,

“Was you wanting me?” he said, returning to her.

‘Tell me one thing, Jem, lad. Are ye all alone in the
world now, or have ye found any of yer kin?”

“All alone, but for a boy I took in,” said Jem. “ It
feels kind of lonesome to say it, but I don’t believe I’ll
ever see any of my own folks, whoever they be.”

“Wait a bit, boy. Suppose ye’d ever found ’em, what
then? Suppose ye had a grandfather ?”

Jem’s eyes watched her keenly. Was she wandering
again, or did she know something of his own people? A
curlous yearning and longing came suddenly upon him.
He knelt down beside her, and looked into her face with
eyes that fairly glowed with intensity of feeling.

‘Matty ! Matty !” he said, in a low, earnest tone. “ You
know somethin’, Tell me what you know. There never
was a feller so awful lonesome as I be. Everybody else has
a mother or a brother or somebody, but I never had no-
body since I was a babby. A grandfather did you say ?
O Matty! I’d like to have a grandfather. He’d put his
hand on my head mebbe, and say, ‘Vy boy!’ I always
did wish I was somebody’s boy. And I’d work for him,
and tend him, and be so good to him. Willie and me both
would. Tell me, Matty. Do tell me.”

“Listen to me, Jem, and I’ll tell you what I know. I
thought to keep it to myself; for after it once laves me
lips, the perlice may be after me any day. But ye took yer
brave young life in yer hands, boy, and held it of small

count, aud for such a poor ould sinner as me, and I'll hold
184 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON,

back yer own from yer no more. \ "Dade, and them eyes
would draw the truth out o’ me whether I would or no,
theyre so awful beseechin’ and winnin’. Ye always had
such winnin’ ways wid ye, Jem.”

‘Tell me, tell me,” said Jem, eagerly.

“T?ll tell ye, and then ould Matty’s in yer hands. Ye’ve
saved her life this night, maybe ye’ll feel like takin’ it afore
she’s done. Jem, lad, yer name’s not Ford, no-more nor
mine is.”

“What is it, then ?” asked the boy.

His face was deadly white, and his voice low and husky.

“It’s Dunn. James Dunn.” |

“James Dunn!” The truth flashed on him in an instant,
for he had kept his promise to old Christy well ; and through
all the pressure of his own busy cares in carrying on his little
trade, he had been almost steadily on the watch for a boy
named Jack Dunn.

‘James Dunn,” he repeated. “ You’re sure it’s James,
and not Jack? Say it’s Jack, Matty,—say it’s Jack? He
‘told me to look out for a boy named Jack Dunn. He said
he wanted him sore, and I promised to find him if I could,”
said Jem, forgetting in his eagerness that the woman could
not know his meaning.

“ Be quiet, and tell me what ye mean,” said old Matty.

Jem controlled himself in a moment.

“Twas an old man,” he said, more gently. “I don’t know
his name, but he spoke very kind to me when I was up at
Mr Harvey's, and he said he wanted to find a boy named
Jack Dunn. He felt so bad about it, I told him I’d see if
I couldn’t help him, and so I’ve looked out ever since. But
he couldn’t be nothin’ to me,” he added, his voice falling
into a low, sad tone. ‘“ He was a beautiful old man.”

“Jem Ford—nay, I'll call ye by yer own name—James
Dunn, I’ve been a cruel creeter to yez both, I’m thinkin’,
——to yerself and the ould man too. But hist, and I’ll tell
OLD MATTY. | 185

ye all; and then ye’ll know what ye’d best do better nor
I can tell ye, for I’m but a stupid ould woman, and ye’r a
smart, young feller as ever I see. Eight years back and
more yer father and yer mother took lodgin’s wid me. I
put a bit of a curtain across one end o’ me room, and there
yez all lived for a week, and then yer mother just died.
After a bit yer father sickened, and one night when he was
very bad, he bid me write a bit of a line to his father, and
tell him he was a dyin’ and wanted him. ‘Well, I wasn’t
quite meself that night, and thinkin’ he wasn’t so bad as he
feared, I just waited till mornin’; for I was afeard that if
the father came, he’d get a bit of money that Dunn owed
me for his boardin’, and that I knew he had nigh him, under
his pillow or somewheres. So I thought I’d wait until the
mornin’, But Jem, lad, when I riz in the mornin’ and went
to look at him, John Dunn was dead. He died in the night,
and you was a lyin’ there a-side of him, fast asleep.”

Matty paused. Jem still sat gazing into her face with
eyes which never lost their earnest, longing look ; but he
did not speak.

“When I came to look at his belongin’s,” the old woman
went on, “I found a letter writ to his father, tellin’ him that
he asked his forgiveness for all his wickedness, and askin’
him to take care of you. But, Jem, I niver sent the letter,
for in it there was fifty dollars, and I was that deep owin’
for me rint that I was nigh bein’ turned out ; and—and—
Jem, lad, I took the money, and hid the letter ; and once
when in yer child’s rattle ye pestered me about yer father,
I got angered, bein’ in liquor, and I hit ye a blow ; and ye
was that mad at me that ye stamped off down-stairs, sayin’
ye ‘d niver come back, and ye niver did, though ye was but
five years old. For three years I niver seen ye, and then one
day I found ye hungry on the street, and gave ye an apple,
and from then I see ye onct in a while, and give ye a bit if [
had it by me. Can ye remimber aught of that, Jem, lad?”
186 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

‘Only of meetin’ you once in a while—and of takin’ some-
thin’ from you.”

He shuddered as he spoke the last words, and drew away
from her slightly.

“Ay: ye’re wishin’ ye’d starved rather than take a
scrap from these hands,” said old Matty, with a sound of
pain in her voice. ‘‘ Here’s the letter: I’ve carried it wid
me ever since.”

She drew from her bosom a soiled, worn paper, and placed
it in the boy’s outstretched hand. The superscription was
so much rubbed and blurred that it could not be deciphered
by such untutored eyes as his ; but he almost snatched the
letter from her in his eagerness, and hid it away in the breast
of his old coat, as if fearful that she would regain possession
of it.

‘But let me go on wid me story. Awhile back I got
distraught wid thinkin’ of it all, and in kind of a fear like,
I writ a letter to the ould father, tellin’ him his son had left
a bit of a boy in New York. But I didn’t know where to
find ye then; and I was afeared to say much, lest they’d
find me out, and have me sent up for the rest of me days.
But when ye took such mercy on the likes of me, boy, I
couldn't hold it back from ye no longer.”

‘Who did you write to?”

The boy had grown into a man in that hour. His voice
broke the moment’s silence in a harsh, stern tone of com-
mand, The old woman looked at him trembling.

“Who did you write to? Tell me, quick.”

“ Christopher Dunn, Graydon, Wynne County.”

“Are you sure, Matty?” and he scanned her face closely
as he spoke.

“Sure is it? Why, boy, I couldn’t forget that name if I
_ live to be a hunder year old. Christopher Dunn, Graydon,
Wynne County. Ay, I am sure.”

“Christy, Christy. I heard ’em say that, didn’t I?” said
OLD MATTY. 187°

the boy, in a low, musing voice. “I knowI did. ‘ Christy,
Christy.’ That’s what they called him, the old white-haired
gentleman what spoke so kind and good to me. I wonder
is it Christopher Dunn.”

Covering his face with his hands, he sat for some time in
perfect silence ; and then rising slowly, he turned and walked
thoughtfully away, without even looking toward the woman,
She watched him wistfully as he moved across the open lot
toward the street. He had reached the sidewalk, when, ap-
parently unable longer to control herself, Matty stretched
out her hands, imploringly, crying out—

“O,Jemmy, lad, come back! Don’t lave me, spakin’
niver a word.”

He turned and looked at her.

“OQ boy! yer heart is sore, cruel sore and angered, but
just tell ould Matty ye’ll try to forgive her. O Jem, lad,
I’ve niver a soul to spake a kind word to me but just yersel’,
and ye’re turnin’ from me wid a heart as hard as stone, from
me whose life ye’re just after savin’ at the risk of yer own.”

He walked slowly toward her, very slowly, for he could
not put words of forgiveness on his lips when there was.
almost hatred in his heart. But when he reached her, and
the poor, trembling hands caught his in a tight, close grasp,
and he looked into the withered, hard old face, down which
the tears were raining fast, he began to soften toward
her. |

‘“‘ Poor old thing!” he said ; “ poor old Matty.”

‘An’ yell try to forgive me, lad ?”

““ Yes, I ‘Il try,” he answered, gently. ‘ And, Matty,”

“Yes, lad,” for he had paused, as if not knowing what to
gay next.

‘“‘T don’t know much about it yet, but they say God is
very good. You’ve been an awful wicked old woman, but
He’ll forgive everybody what asks Him real hearty, they
say. Hadn't you better ?”


188 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

The tears fell faster still, but she did not answer: she
only looked at him more earnestly than ever.

“‘ Good-bye,” he said, drawing his hand gently from her,

“‘ Good-bye, lad, and God’s blessin’ on yer head.”

And so he left her, never to see her more; for when the
morning light dawned, poor old Matty was found raving with
the terrible delirium which sometimes comes upon those who,
like her, give up everything in life to gratify oné terrible
passion ; and “‘ Crazy Matty,” as she was called, after a few
months of confinement and restraint, laid down her wretched
life in the ward of an hospital. -

CHAPTER X.
JEM’S HOME-COMING,

Drayton Hatt was not often the scene of greater interest
and excitement than that which followed the news that
Christy’s lost grandson had been discovered in one of that
class of New York street-boys whom Edward Churchill had
met at Mr Harvey’s house during his visit to the city with
the old fisherman ; and certainly no sorrowing man, whose
grief had suddenly been changed to fullest gladness, was ever
blessed with a richer tide of sympathy than that which
flowed out toward Christopher Dunn from every loving
young heart in the school. Ifthe boys had had their own
way in the matter, they would have rushed down upon him
in a body, bearing aloft, on their shoulders, the hero of the
day—Jemmy Ford, or James Dunn.

Jem’s story, told to Mr Harvey at a very early hour on
the morning after the boy’s interview with Matty, left no
doubt on the gentleman’s mind that he was the lost child of
JEM’S HOME-COMING. 189

Christy’s son; and he had left home at once for Graydon,
taking Jem with him. They had arrived at the Hall at the
mid-day recess, Mr Harvey having taken Jem there first,
feeling that Edward Churchill had earned the right of being
the betes of the good news to the old man.

When it was noised abroad that these important visitors
had arrived, and that Edward was to be released from
school for the afternoon, in order that he might take the
boy to his grandfather, his schoolfellows could scarcely be
restrained from following the little party in grand procession ;
for old Christy was dearly loved, and there was no one
among them who did not know, at least, something of his
painful life, and long to show him how glad they were that
joy had come to him at last. But the order to return to
their studies was imperative ; and Mr Harvey and Edward
set off with Jem, unaccompanied save by a crowd of heart-
felt congratulations and good wishes.

“Ned,” said Mr Harvey, as they drew near the cabin,
‘* suppose that Jem and I drive up this cross-road for a half-
mile or so, while you walk down to Christy’s, and tell him
that we are coming. It may be too much for him to see us
suddenly. He isa very old man, you know, and we must
break this thing to him very carefully. Jf he were to see
Jem with us, he would probably suspect at once who he is; and
the excitement might be more than he has strength to bear.”

Edward readily consented; and, springing from the
waggon, he walked rapidly down the road to the beach.
As he came within sight of the cabin, he saw the fisherman
sitting on the sand near the water, busily engaged in mending
a broken net. So much engrossed was he in his work, that
he did not notice the boy's se until he stood close
beside him,

“You, Master. Ned, sa at this time o’ day!” the ex-
claimed, rising ‘to his feet as quickly as his cng limbs
would permit. ‘“‘ You’ve news for me, boy ?”
190 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

“Yes, Christy, and good news ;” and Ned grasped the
two withered hands held out to him in trembling eagernegy,

“Found sir? Is he found? I know he is.”

‘Yes, he is found.”

“¢ And—is he—is he ?—What is he, Master Ned.”

‘“‘ He is such a boy as will be a blessing to you. He
knows he is your grandson, and is wild with delight at the
thought. Christy, Christy, bear up, old friend.”

He put his arm around the bent shoulders to sustain him ;
for the old man’s face had turned ashy-white, and he had
stretched out his hands as if to steady himself.

“You mustn’t give way under the joy,” added Ned, with
a smile, as he saw the colour returning to the furrowed
cheeks once more, “when you have borne all the grief and
distress so nobly. That would never do.”

“Leave me just for a bit;” and the old man laid his
hand on Ned’s shoulder with a half caress, which seemed to
apologise for his words. ‘ You’re a part of my very heart,
boy; but I must be alone just now with Him;” and he
pointed up to the blue sky which hung cloudless above
them.

Edward turned away, and stood with uncovered head at
a little distance until he heard his name spoken; then he
went back to find Christy sitting on a stone, looking out
upon the sea as calmly as if nothing had occurred to disturb
the tranquil flow of his quiet life.

“Do you remember, Christy,” said Ned, seating himself
on the sand at his feet, “a boy whom we met at Mr Harvey’s
that evening? you had quite a talk with ?”

“Yes, yes. I do remember him well. Someway he’s
been much in my thoughts ever since. But, Mr Edward,
you surely don’t mean”

He was trembling again, so much that he could scarcely
speak,


JEM’S HOME-COMING. 191

“I mean, Christy,” said the boy, speaking very quietly,
“that that lad is the son of your John.”

““ And I have spoken with him, have touched him with
these hands, have prayed God to bless him. I wondered,
yes, I wondered greatly, Master Edward, that my heart went
out to the lad so strongly ; but now I know what it was.
Where is he, sir? How soon can I get to him ?”

“He is not far away. You need not go to him, for he
will be here before very long.”

‘ How soon, Master Edward? You'll deal kindly with
my impatience, but it seems as if I could not, could not
wait. It’s been very, very long, sir;” and the earnest
voice quivered, and then broke completely.

‘‘ He is close at hand, Christy,” said Ned, tenderly. “ Mr
Harvey is driving him over. There they come now,” he
added, as he saw the waggon turning into the road above
them. “‘ Let me go and bring him to you.” |

He sprang up the path, and meeting the waggon as Mr
Harvey drew rein, led Jem down toward the beach at once.
But Christy was half-way up the declivity already.

Jem stopped short on the path when his eye fell upon the
uncovered, white head, and for an instant scanned the eager,
yearning face so rapidly approaching him ; and, as if actuated
by the same impulse, Christy also paused. For one moment
they stood facing one another, and then the old man
stretched out his arms, with a loud cry breaking up from his
very heart.

‘““My son, my son! my only son!” and with an answering
cry, none the less heartfelt that it was wordless, the boy
sprang to him and hid his face upon his breast, sobbing like
a little child.

Mr Harvey and Edward returned at once to the waggon,
and when, after an hour’s drive, they came back to the cabin,
Christy and his grandson had disappeared from the sands,
Leaving their horse in the care of a boy who was passing
192 CHRISTY ’S GRANDSON.

along the road, they went down to the fisherman’s house, feel-
ing sure that they should find them both in the cabin.

“Come in,” said Christy’s voice in answer to their knotk
upon the half-closed door. ‘Ay, I knew full well who it
must be,” he said, turning a radiant face upon them as they
entered the room. ‘Was ever any one as welcome to
Christy’s place as yourselves, save this boy?” and he laid
his hand on Jem’s head. The boy was sitting on~the floor
at his feet, holding something in a bit of worn, yellow paper,
resting on Christy’s knee,

‘““T was showin’ him his father’s hair,” he said, lifting from
the paper the ring of sunny hair which he had treasured so
carefully through all these long years. “He remembers
naught of his father, poor boy.”

The last words seemed scarcely applicable to the lad sitting
at his feet; for if ever human face pictured unalloyed, supreme
content, Jem’s was a living illustration of it at that moment.

“Well, Jem,” said Mr Harvey, “how does it feel to have
a grandfather ?”

“T don't know how to tell,” said Jem, seriously, “cept it.
feels kind of warmin’ and good, You never was nigh starved,
I suppose, Mr Harvey ! a

“No,” said his friend. ‘' I never was.”

“Well, I was once,” said Jem, “and once was enough.
I hadn’t had nothin’ to eat for two whole days, and part of
another, and I do believe I was most dyin’, when a lady
found me sittin’ on her doorstep. I think I looked pretty
bad, for she seemed awfully frightened and sorry, and she
took me into her house and gave me a big bowl of hot soup.
Havin’ a grandfather feels just like that soup.”

“God bless you! You shan’t ever hunger again, my boy,”
said Christy, quickly.

“That's it,” said Jem, catching the hand which stroked
his head, and holding it closely in his own. ‘I like to have
you say, ‘my boy.’ ”
JEM S HOME-COMING. 193

Then turning to Mr Harvey again, he added—

“Truth is, Mr Harvey, I don’t know nothin’ what to say:
I only just feel like sittin’ down here close to grandfather,
aud holdin’ tight on to him.”

“That’s right,” said Mr Harvey, laughing. “ He’s
worth holding fast by, especially to a fellow that has been
_ alone in the world as long as you have. And, Christy, no
words can tell you how glad and thankful I am for the joy
that has come to you. It is not only that God has given to
you a son to be the staff and comfort of your old age: this
boy is not only your son’s child, but the child—weak, igno-
rant, and full of failings, no doubt—but no less the true
child—of the Master whom you love and so faithfully serve.”

“T know it, sir,” said Christy, with a tender glance at
the boy. “He has told me all the way by which the Lord
has led him; and, Master Harvey, I’ve another great bles-
sin’ to tell you of. Don’t you remember my sayin’ to you
that I felt sure that the Lord would lead my boy to Him
some day? ead this, sir.”

He handed to his friend the worn, crumpled paper which
Matty had given to Jem the night before, the letter from
his son, written so many years ago. It was a wild, sad tale
of a wicked life, whose iniquity had been suddenly brought
to a pause by the death of the wife whom he had really loved.
And in that time of sorrow, his father’s God had answered
the many prayers which had gone up to His throne for the
wandering son. Remorsefuland penitent, he had been toiling
patiently for months, spendingas little as possible of his scanty
earnings, longing to go home to his father’s house, but deter-
mined not to do so until he had laid by enough to return
the sum stolen from him in the hour of his greatest need.
But his rapidly failing health made this a long and weary
task ; and fearing that he might not live to accomplish it, he
had written to his father, entreating his forgiveness, and
asking for a shelter for his little son, enclosing in his letter

N
194 CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

the money which he had laid by towards the payment of
his debt.

There seemed to be no doubt that he had died on the night
after the letter was written ; but although the unhappy man’s
often broken word was all on which they had to depend,
save the one proof of Matty’s having found the sum named
as enclosed within the letter, no one who read it could —
doubt that the writer had died humbly penitent, both toward
his father and his God.

“You see, sir,” said Christy, as Mr Harvey, after reading
the letter, grasped his hand, too much moved to speak,
“you see we have nothin’ to do but wait our Captain’s
orders, and He ’ll surely bring us safe into port. It’s along
voyage often, and there ’s storms and gales that nigh swamps
us; but if we just wait patiently for Him, we’ll come in with
canvas all spread, the very winds which frighted us bein’
them which shall ride us into the harbour of peace. Our
very mournin’ will be made the seed of our gladness;
and out of our griefs will be born such a joy—such a joy ag
this ;” and he bent and kissed the face which was looking
up into his, watching him earnestly.

‘To think how much I’ve dwelt on his face since that
night when I saw him first,’ he went on. “He’s growed
considerable in these few months, and got filled out like,
broader and manlier, but he keeps his eyes just the same.
I’m glad of that. I loved them bright, up-lookin’ eyes the
first minute they met mine.”

The “up-looking eyes” were bright enough now, as they
gazed into the old love-lit face beaming down upon them in
its full content.

“T do believe,” said the boy, ‘ grandfather, I do believe
I’m glad that I’ve been so lonesome all my life, else I
wouldn’t be so jolly glad now, would I?”

“Yes, yes,” said Christy. ‘It’s the same old story.
See here, Master Edward, this boy is only saying what you
JEM’S HOME-COMING. 195

wouldn't believe when I told it to you. He’s refoicin’ over
his past lamentin’s, and what’s that but another proof that
them that mourns is blessed with extra comfort. O! Master
Edward, dear boy, you who’ve been the very light and glad-
ness of these old eyes all these weary years, God grant one
day to give to your own heart His peace and joy.

“Do you know, Mr Harvey,” said Christy, having received
from Edward the hearty grasp of the hand and the friendly
smile which was the only response he ever made to any such
appeals from his friend, “this grandson of mine says that
he’s in trade, and it’s disappointed me a bit. I’d like to
make a good fisherman of him. I like the life so well ; and
then I’ve always thought (it’s a foolish thought mayhap,
but still, it’s what made me a fisherman when I lost my
bark, and could no longer sail as skipper), I’ve always
thought that our Lord himself had a kind of special
leanin’ toward fisherfolk.”

“ Peter was a fisherman, too,” said Jem, looking up with
a sudden lightin his face. “I always did like that man
better nor anybody Mr Harvey telled usabout. I’m mighty
fond of Peter. There’s such a big bit of comfort in thinkin’
how he misbehaved himself, and yet got took back.”

“Yes, yes,” said Christy, smiling ; “ Peter is a very com-
fortable saint to think upon, my boy. So, after all, you
wouldn't mind givin’ up the peddlin’, and turnin’ fisher-
man ?” |

“I'd like the water first-rate,” replied Jem; “but I don’t
know nothin’ about it, and can’t make nothin’ out of it yet
awhile, and I ain’t a goin’ to live on you, grandfather, not
for a day. I’m a goin’ to take care of you just as quick as
ever I can.”

He would hear of nothing else ; and so it was arranged
that, for the present, he should maintain himself and Willie
Steele, who was to share his new home, by peddling fruit,
candies, dc., in the village and its neighbourhood, until he
196 | CHRISTY’S GRANDSON.

should have learned enough of his grandfather’s business to
be able to gain a living by it. Then Mr Harvey and Edward
left the happy old man with his new-found treasure.

Late in the afternoon, a troop of Drayton boys came down
to wish Christy joy ; and to give to the young merchant a
promise of ready and liberal custom at the Hall.

That promise was well kept ; and long after Jem had left
New York, Kitty Harvey received a letter from him, then a
stalwart young fisherman, enclosing a sum of money, the
proceeds of the sale of his donkey and cart, asking her to
use the sum to aid “some other willing but helpless boy to
win his way to an honest, respectable life.”
ALLAN HAYWOOD.
ALLAN HAYWOOD.

CHAPTER L
DRAYTON BOYS.

* Come, Allan, come! How long do you mean to keep us
waiting ?” |

The words were spoken, in a very impatient tone, by a
boy who stood, croquet-mallet in hand, among a group of
his schoolmates on the lawn which fronted Drayton Hall.
The afternoon sun was throwing long shadows across the
grass, warning the croquet-players that if their game were
not soon ended, the supper-bell would summon them in-
doors before they could decide which side was to bear
away the palm of victory. It had been a hotly-contested
game, and perhaps this was the reason of Will Seaton’s
impatient call; for his broad, laughing face was not wont
- to wear that look of annoyance,

The boy addressed, a tall, slight young fellow, who had
been leaning thoughtfully against a tree, started suddenly,
almost as if wakened from sleep, at his companion’s sum-
mons.

“TI beg your pardon,” he said, hastily catching up the
mallet which lay on the grass at his feet. ‘I believe my
wits were wool-gathering,”
200. | ALLAN HAYWOOD,

“Tf you would attend to your affairs instead of dreaming
away your life, you might be able to do something,” said
the sharp voice of Arthur Bentley, who, standing beside
him, looked at him as he spoke with an expression of un-
concealed contempt. |

The rude speech was unanswered save by a good-humoured
smile, as Allan sprang toward his ball.

As he struck it into position, it touched that of Arthur
Bentley, which lay directly in front of the wicket through
which Allan’s must pass. It was a fine stroke, for his ball
had been croqueted far out of line, and a loud shout showed
his comrades’ appreciation of his skill.

‘Your dreamer has done pretty well, Arthur,” said the
merry voice of Will Seaton. “I wouldn’t wonder if he were
quite wide awake now,” he added, as Allan, with an appa-
rently light stroke, sent his opponent’s ball to the limit of
the ground.

A dark cloud gathered on Bentley’s brow at the laugh
which followed these words ; and when, a moment later, his
turn came to play, he glanced toward Allan with a look
which drew from Seaton another sally.

“ Don’t give play to private vengeance here, Arthur,” he
said, mischievously. ‘Wait till you catch him alone, and
then thrash him. You’re big enough.”

Only those who stood very near caught the words, but
they raised another laugh; for Bentley, a square-shouldered,
powerful fellow, would have been more than a match for
three or four such slender boys as Allan Haywood. Perhaps
he was not to be blamed for feeling some irritation with
his tormentor, but he revenged himself upon an innocent
victim.

Taking direct aim for Haywood’s position, by a stroke as
skilful as that of his adversary, he struck his ball. “ Bravo”
rang out from a dozen voices ; but when Arthur placed his
foot upon his own ball, and with a blow of tremendous
DRAYTON BOYS, 201

force seut Allan’s not only beyond the limits, but rolling
down to the foot of the hill upon whose summit Drayton
Hall stood sentinel, a murmur of disapprobation ended in
loud cries of “Shame!” “Unfair!” from both parties of
the combatants. .

“I'll have it up again before my turn comes,” said Hay-
wood, starting in pursuit. ‘ Don’t wait for me.”

But a hand was laid on his arm, and a low voice said,
“Stop. Don’t you see that he means to spoil your game.
He knows you can’t make a good play after running up
the hill. Il go ;” and the speaker sprang away, at a pace
which promised a speedy return of Allan’s property.

He was not one of the players, but arm-in-arm with a com-
panion, had sauntered upon the lawn, just in time to be a
witness to Arthur’s ungenerous act. Looking into that bright,
honest face, with its broad, open brow, and clear blue eyes,
you are not surprised by the flash of indignation which has
frightened away the fun and frolic which usually dance so
merrily there. It is just the face which you would expect.
to see darken in resentment at the sight of a small, mean
deed. Swiftly running up the hill again, he paused when
at some distance from the croquet-ground, and with a light
toss threw the ball just within the limits,

“Well done for Ned Churchill!” shouted one of the
lookers-on; and with a nod of response to Haywood’s thanks,
Churchill rejoined the friend with whom he had been
walking. -

“You look as black as a thunder-cloud, Ned,” said his
comrade, as Edward linked his arm in his once more, and
they recommenced their saunter. :

“I do despise that fellow Bentley!” returned Churchill,
hotly. “There isn’t a boy in the school for whom I have
such a perfect contempt. He knew as well as I did that
Haywood would be unfit for play after running up that
hill.”
202 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“Tsn’t he good for so small a climb as that?” asked the
other. “ What ails him ?”

“‘T don’t know. He says ‘ Nothing,’ and laughs at me
when I try to persuade him to see a doctor. But there must
be something wrong, for he can’t make any exertion without
growing as faint and pale as any girl, and more than once I
have seen him press his hand on his chest, and bite his lips
as if he were choking back a cry. Bentley has noticed it
too. Only yesterday I heard him chaffing Al about his
‘maidenly sensibility,’ as he called it. He got as good as
he gave, though. Al can fight his own battles when it
comes toa war of words. If he isn’t as burly as Bentley,
he has more brains in one hair of his head than that bully
has in his whole cranium.” |

“Where now?” interrupted his friend, as Churchill drew
him from the lawn into the carriage-road.

‘Down to the gate. My sister is coming over. with a
package for me this afternoon, and I promised to be at the
gate to take it, so that Thomas need not leave the horses.
She dislikes to drive in just at this time when the fellows
are all out here, and she could not come earlier. There is
the carriage now, turning the fork. Come on, Larry ; and
I will introduce you to the gayest little sister a fellow was
ever blessed with.”

It was not a girlish face which looked out of the carriage-
window as the beys approached, nor yet a pretty face; but
it was one that you could love and trust completely, The
mouth was large and not quite straight, but then it could
smile so winningly that one forgot that it would have been
more beautiful if it had been a trifle smaller ; and if her nose
were rather short, that pair of soft brown eyes looking out
over it made up for all its deficiencies, they were so bright
and so full of love and gentleness. Yet they could flash too,
those soft brown eyes. If any harm threatened the boy now
leaning against the carriage-door, those smiling lips could set
DRAYTON BOYS. | 208

themselves very firmly, and those gentle eyes darken into
sternnessin a moment. But that was for him, never toward
him. Edward Churchill had never yet seen anything but
love looking out at him from the windows of. his sister’s
heart. |

Mary Churchill had travelled on from girlhood to “ the
happiest old maidenhood that spinster ever enjoyed,” as she
wrote to her uncle only a day or two ago; yet she had not
grown old either. Her face always did wear that serious,
rather matured expression, when it was in repose ; and now,
when she bent her head courteously towards Laurence Bron-
son, aS her brother introduced his friend, the same sweet —
smile which had won so many hearts to her in her younger
days played about her mouth, chaining Laurence also to her
chariot-wheels.

‘Can you not persuade your friend to spend the coming
Saturday with you, Ned?” asked his sister. “ It will never
do,” she added, turning to Laurence, “for me to bea stranger
to such a dear friend of my brother’s. May I send up my
horse for you when the coachman brings up Ned’s pony ?”

Most certainly she might; for how could such an invita-
tion, so given, be refused? Laurence bowed and smiled his
thanks, and then the tea-bell ringing out its, for once, un-
welcome summons, Thomas was ordered to drive on, and the
boys turned back toward the Hall,

“Well, Allan, what luck?” asked Churchill, as, reaching
the door, they met the croquet-players coming in, with the
excitement of the game still strong upon them, if one were
to judge from the animated manner in which it was dis-

“Pretty good,” said Allan, “ Light’s won. ~~

“No, pretty bad ; light’s won,” burst in WilkSeaton. “It
was a good game, though, if the other side did beat ; well
matched all the way through, and ending in a glorious scrim-
mage. Bentley was our chief, and a rover, and the rest of

os

he
204 ALLAN HAYWOOD,

_ us were all coming up nicely, thinking we’d surely hava
them, for Sam Hilton, one of Als fellows, was far behind,
when Al dashed in among us, sent us all to Coventry, and
kept us there, spite of all we could do, till Sam came through.
Bentley fought Sam hard, and did him damage lots of times,
but Al kept the rest of us off, and at last sent Bentley him-
self down to the other stake, put Sam through, and then
gracefully retired, amid the huzzas of an admiring audience.”

“ We thought there must be some fine play going on,” said
Laurence. “ We heard you shouting down at the road.”

“Yes; I couldn’t help shouting as if I were a light
myself, it was so splendid. But I could have switched him
for disappointing us so. Never mind, we’ll pay you off
yet, old fellow,” he added, turning to Allan as they entered
the dining-room, and enforcing his threat with a resounding
slap on the shoulder, which called forth a sharp reprimand
from the usher, who stood at the head of the table ; but the
mischievous smile with which Will turned to Arthur, asking
him if he should yield him his seat beside Allan, did not
seem to indicate that the sternness of the reproof had in
any way affected the overflow of his wild spirits.

Perhaps there was not among the three hundred boys who
composed the school at Drayton Hall any two who offered,
in their whole character and appearance, a stronger contrast
than Arthur Bentley and William Seaton. The one loud,
boisterous, ripe for any species of mischief, yet with a heart
true and strong as oak, the boon companion of all the school
scapegraces, while he was at the same time loved and wel-
comed by all the more orderly of his companions; the other
dark, stern, and passionate, disliked by the one class for his
reticence and taciturnity, and by the other for perhaps no
better reason than that given in the old ballad :-—

** IT do not like you, Dr Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell.”

And yet these two were close friends. In spite of all
DRAYTON BOYS. 205

Will’s merciless banter and teasing, he was the only boy in
the Hall for whom Arthur showed one spark of affection ;
and, on the other hand, all Bentley’s: ill-humour, flashes of
passion, and fits of moodiness were overlooked and borne
with by Seaton in a manner totally at variance with his
general character. |

No small amount of teasing fell to Seaton’s share on
Arthur’s account, but he was quite able to sustain his part
in any such conflict; and when, as sometimes happened,
those whose opinions had more weight with him wondered
at the strange friendship, he would answer laughingly,
“Oh! Bentley does well enough if you take the trouble to
get through the top-crust. I can’t help liking him, he’s so
spicy when he’s real mad; and besides, if he is kind of
cross, what you do get out of him is the real stuff.”’

And so, in spite of remonstrances from those who dis-
liked to see their wild but noble-hearted comrade hand in
glove with one whom they did not trust, and the jeers and
tricks of those to whom the intimacy was a standing joke,
Will held fast by his unpopular chum, and laughter and
persuasion fell alike unheeded on his ear.

He had hardly had a fair chance in life, this unloving
and unloved boy. Early left to the care of ignorant
servants, he had grown from babyliood to boyhood, un-
controlled and ungoverned, his fiery temper fostered by
alternate indulgence and harsh restraint, and his tyrannical
and overbearing disposition strengthened by constant com-
panionship with those over whom he held the place of
master. But in his eighth year all this had been suddenly
changed. An unfortunate speculation ruined his father ;
and in a fit of desperation Mr Bentley sold his beautiful
home, and sent his wife and two sons to a brother living in
Boston, while he went to seek a new fortune in California,

Their welcome at the North was not a very cordial one :
and poor Mrs Bentley, a weak and feeble woman at the
206 - -ALLAN HAYWOOD.

best, soon sank beneath the weight of her griefs, and the
two boys were left alone in their strange home. Roland, the
elder brother, too proud to accept favours from a grudging
hand, left his uncle’s house shortly after his mother’s death,
and worked his way through school and college, until by
the mere force of his industry and determined will he had
completed his education, and obtained a high position in
the school of Dr Drayton, one of his former professors.

During all the years of his absence, Arthur had lived on
in his uncle’s family, knowing himself, child as he was,
barely tolerated there, and feeling most bitterly every slight
and coldness shown him. Severely punished for every out-
break of his hot temper, he had learned not to control, but
to hide it, while it only burned the deeper in his heart for
being shut up within him, making him each day more sullen
and morose, So, when his brother, able now to support
both himself and Arthur, took him under his own care, he
found him what we have already seen him, a perfect Ishmael,
“his hand against every man, and every man’s hand against
him.” And Roland Bentley was as unwise a guide for such
a character as the boy could well have had. His own dis-
position had been soured and embittered by his hard struggle
with the world; and his brother’s faults were encouraged
and fixed by finding all their types in Roland, his pattern
and paragon,



CHAPTER II.
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE,

Mary and Edward Churchill had been left orphans when
she was but fourteen years old, and he a little infant over
whose young head only five suns had risen and set. Well
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE, 207

eould the boy remember the all-absorbing story of his father’s
violent death, followed almost immediately by that of his
mother, which had been told and retold in his childish days
by his old nurse, as he sat upon her knee, listening in rapt
silence to the sad story. |

They had soon been left, these two, almost alone in the
old homestead which had been for generations known through
all the country round as the Churchill Manor House ; for
when Ned had grown to be a sturdy boy of four years old,
Mr Henry Churchill, their father’s brother, to whose guardian-
ship they had been confided, had been forced by his business
relations to leave home for China, expecting to remain there
for one year only. But the death of one of the firm having
made it necessary for him to prolong his residence in that
country, twelve years had now passed since he had seen his
brother’s children.

To be sure there was “ Aunt Milly,” who had been left
nominal matron of the establishment at his departure ; but
Miss Millicent Gray was one of those quiet old ladies who
never interfere in any way with those around them, and
whose absence from their usual haunts is felt rather as the
loss of some old familiar piece of furniture than as that of
an active, living presence. If her knitting and embroidery-
frame were unmolested, dinner on the table at the appointed
time, and a novel at hand over which she might lose herself
in an after-dinner nap, the world might in all things else
move on as it saw fit: Miss Millicent’s hand or voice would
never be lifted to change its course. Well was it for Mary
that she possessed a good share both of self-reliance and
common sense; and better still, that in the little vine-clad
parsonage, not a quarter of a mile away, she had two faithful
advisers and loving friends.

Churchill Manor House was as pleasant a place to visit
as could well be chosen. Certainly Laurence Bronson
proved it so on the Saturday following his introduction to
208 ALLAN HAYWOOD. ~

its mistress. The old house itself wasastudy. Built more
than a century ago, and added to from time to time by
different members of the family, it had grown to be a
spacious but rambling and irregular building, with wide
halls opening into large, handsome rooms, and narrow
entries leading one into all sorts of out-of-the-way nooks
and crannies, ——

A very museum of a house it was. One great room,
whose windows opened toward the sea, whose waves thun-
dered against the cliffs not half a mile away, being filled
with every kind of ocean-treasure, and curiosities from
foreign lands gathered during years of sea-life by an old-
times Churchill, who had been an admiral in the British
navy, and had gone peacefully to his rest without a sus-
picion that his descendants would live and die beneath
another flag. Another room contained the arms used by
the Churchills from time immemorial. Old-fashioned swords,
daggers, battle-axes, and cutlasses rested against the walls,
side by side with fire-arms, ranging from the old blunder-
buss and firelock, down to Colt’s revolvers and Sharp’s rifles,
On one side of the room hung suits of armour, one of them
dating back to 1415, when, on the battle-field of Agincourt,
Edward Churchill, the first of the name who had ever borne
a title, was knighted by King Henry for his bravery ; for
before that time the Churchills had been but sturdy English
yeomen, earning their bread by hardy toil.

But even these rooms, interesting as they were to all
Ned’s friends, failed to draw Laurence from the old gallery
where hung portraits of the Churchills, from those of the
present day back to the brave old soldier whose shoulders
had felt the stroke of King Henry’s trenchant blade. Mary
had been called away to see a poor woman who had applied
to her for aid ; and the two boys, after going the rounds of
the house, had, at Laurence’s suggestion, established them-
selves in the gallery to await the luncheon-bell, which Mary
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE, — 209

had promised them should ring early, in order that they
might have a long afternoon to spend on the lake, which lay
at the foot of the broad lawn stretching away before the house.

“What a grand, noble face that is!” said Laurence,
pointing to the portrait of the old yeoman, which hung at
the upper end of the hall. “ He looks as if he might spend
his life in doing battle for the right.”

“Yes; he is a brave-looking old fellow,” said Ned,
throwing himself down in a very lazy attitude beside hig
companion, who was seated on a lounge. “ But there’s my
favourite.”

Laurence turned to look at the picture to which Ned
referred. It was the portrait of a revolutionary officer. An
old man, doubtless, for the high cocked hat rested on a head
whose hair was white as snow ; but the erect, martial figure,
the piercing eye, and the firm hand grasping the heavy
sword, said plainly that the old soldier’s strength to do and
dare was as yet undiminished,

“Isn’t he a soldier?” said Ned, admiringly. “I do love
that man. There isn’t a picture in the hall that we value
as much as his—with the exception of those,” he added, his
voice falling somewhat, as he motioned towards two small
miniatures which hung against the wall directly in front of |
them.

“My father and my mother,” he said, gently, as Laurence
looked inquiringly towards him.

‘They died on the same day, did they not?” asked his
friend.

“Yes, when I was a very young baby. You should hear
my old nurse tell the story. I think she loved my mother
as well as if she had been her own child. There she is now,
that mulatto woman passing the window. Poor Lailie !
her strength is pretty much gone. She is a feeble old
‘woman now, but her love for any one who bears the name

of Churchill is as strong as ever.”
O
210 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

There wasa knock at the door; and in answer to

Ned’s ‘‘ Come in,” the turbaned head which had just passed
the window appeared.

“Thomas wants to know if you could spare a few mo-
ments to him, Mr Edward. He’s in a little trouble, and
needs your help.” |

“T can amuse myself here easily,” said Laurence, quickly,
as Ned hesitated. “I have a fancy for pictures, and shall
enjoy examining these. Don’t make company of me.”

“Very well: [ shall not be long away,” said Ned, rising.
“ By the way, Lailie,” he added, turning to the old woman,
“I knocked down that little cast this morning, and broke it
to atoms. Just take away the pieces with you.”

Directing her to the mantelpiece upon which lay the
fragments of a small plaster cast, he went out ; while Laur-
ence, glad to be able to study the miniatures at his leisure,
leaned forward to look at the lovely face before him. The
sweet mouth seemed to smile upon him as he gazed at it,
and the soft eyes to look into his with a strange tenderness.
Where had he seen that look before? Yes, he knew it now:
he had caught it in Ned’s face at times. He had seen it
only yesterday, when he had been speaking of Allan Hay-
wood. But the boy’s every other feature had been inherited
from the face which hung beside his mother’s. The broad,
high forehead, the firm mouth, the very set of the head upon
the shoulders, were all the fac-similes of the companion
miniature.

As Laurence sat looking at the two pictures, he heard a
slight sound beside him, and glancing up, saw old Lailie
standing near.

“You was looking at the mistress, young master,” she
said, dropping a curtsey.

“Yes,” said Laurence; ‘it is a beautiful face. And Mr
Churchill must have been a very handsome man. They
tell me,” he added, wishing to draw her on to tell the story
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE. 211

to which Ned had referred, “that they died within a few
hours of each other.” |

“ And so they did, sir; and a sad day it was for us all.
If I might make so bold as to tell you how it was, sir, it
might pass away the time till Mr Edward comes back.”

“I should be very glad to hear the story,” said Laurence,
‘Sit down and tell it to me.” |

With another low curtsey, the old woman obeyed. Sit-
ting close beside the pictures, her dark, wrinkled face, with
its crisp curls of snow-white hair escaping from the confines
of her gay turban, forming a strange contrast to the fair
countenance of her dead mistress, she folded her hands upon
her spotless apron, and began the story which she never
tired of relating.

‘Well, sir, it was one nice, sunshiny day, very like this.
The mistress had been a long while ill, many months indeed ;
and I’d had the care of her all the while. You see I was
born in the house, my mother having been Mr Churchill’s
nurse when he was a small little bit of a baby; and I’d
lived there ever since, doing anything I could while I was a
child, then being nurse-girl, and at last head-nurse myself,
When Miss Mary was born, I had the whole charge of her :
for it was only a short while after that that the mistress got
consumpted, and couldn’t do much herself. So you can see
how it came about that the dear lady was in my care at all
times when the master had to be away. Well, as I was
saying, it was the beautifullest day I’d seen ina long while.
I’d been sitting up-stairs with the mistress, and she’d sent
me down to the kitchen for some wine-whey. It was the
only thing we could get her to eat—-wine-whey ; and she
wouldn’t have nobody make it but just me, She had very
few notions for one who’d been so long ailing; but that one
she had, she ’d touch nobody’s whey but mine. I was coming
up the stairs with it'in my hand, when who should I meet
but the master; and it just made my heart ache to look at
212 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

him, he seemed that worn and weary. For weeks and weeks,
he’d never had a quiet night’s rest; for he’d never let any
one tend the mistress o’ nights but himself, and it wag
wearing the life out of him. They was always looking out
for each other, them two; the mistress always trying to
seem better and stronger when he was by, and the master
speaking up so gay and cheery when he spoke to her, never
mind how tired he might be. But, dear me! we all saw
through it easy enough; and I think they both saw through
it too, only they never said a word.

“Well, as I was saying, I met the master on the stairs,
I knew there’d be no use in asking him to rest for his own
sake ; but all of a sudden I thought of another plan; and,
says I, ‘Master, don’t you think Miss Mary ought to go out
fora walk? She’s looking pale and thin. ’Tain’t any use
for me to advise her; but if you’d ask her to go for com-
pany to you, she’d do it.’

‘“ His face changed all in a minute. ‘She does look very
pale: I remember noticing it this morning,’ he said. ‘I
have neglected her, poor child, in my anxiety for her mother.
A ride will do her good. Tell Henry to saddle the horses
while I call Miss Mary ;’ and he turned off with his quick
step towards her room, I laughed to myseif, as I went to give
Henry his orders; but, oh! I didn’t laugh again that day.

‘“‘T’d been in the mistress’s room a full half hour, when I
heard Mr Churchill's voice in the hall, calling out, ‘Come,
little bird, the horses are very impatient!’ Mrs Churchill
told me to go to Miss Mary, and see if I could help her;
but as I closed the door after me, Miss Mary came out of
her room all ready. She looked so pretty and bright in her
habit and cap, that I wondered at myself for thinking she
seemed pale and tired; but I’d set master off, and that was
enough. Mistress was lying very still, so I went down to
see them start, for I hadn’t had my head outside the door
for more than two weeks. I ran down the stairs after Miss
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE. | 213

Mary, to take a look at master, and see if the thought of a
ride did him as much good as it did her.

“The hall door was open, and he sat right before it on
his horse. He was a very handsome man, was master; and
sitting there, with his shoulders thrown back, and his face
all glowing with holding Hunter, who was dancing and
prancing, and trying as hard as a horse could to throw hin,
he looked just beautiful. I saw Miss Mary’s colour come as
she caught sight of him, and she called out so merry, ‘Oh,
what a gay horseman! I’m proud of my handsome cavalier !’
Master took off his hat and made a low bow, just like he was
a fine young gentleman come courting of Miss Mary. And
then—and then—I never rightly new how it happened,
whether the sweep of his hat startled Hunter, or what it
was, but the creature reared till he seemed to stand straight |
on his hind feet, and then fell over backward, with the
master under him. Oh, it was an awful sight!

“YT don’t know whether we all thought of mistress then
or not; but no one screamed or called out. I heard a strange,
choked sort of cry; and Miss Mary rushed past me, and I
saw her kneel down close to that frantic, plunging horse, and
look into her father’s face. The men, Henry and Thomas,
had Hunter up in another minute; but they never laid a
hand on master, they didn’t dare. Miss Mary sat there
staring, staring, as if she would never lift her eyes from his:
face ; and we was all afraid to go near to her, there was such
an awful look in her eyes. There was nothing dreadful to
see In poor master. His face hadn’t been touched: it was
only very, very white ; but his poor chest was all crushed
in. We could see that as he lay on the grass with his head
in Miss Mary’s lap: she had laid it there when she first
knelt down beside him. After a bit, she roused herself
quite sudden-like.

«Why do you stand here Y she said, speaking out loud
and clear. ‘Henry, take Fellie, and ride for Dr Brainerd.
214 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

Thomas, call John, and carry Mr Churchill into the house,
Lailie, go up to my mother. Tell her I will be with her in
afew minutes. Go softly, she may be asleep.’

“It seemed too strange to believe: that bit of a girl,
fourteen years old, ordering us all around so strong and
woman-like, and even thinking of keeping her sick mother
asleep if she could. But, oh! there wasn’t no sleep for the
mistress, That’s another thing we’ll never know—why she
got up, and how she ever walked to that window. But when
I went in, there she was sitting at the window, where she
could see everything ; and she had seen everything.

“T gave a scream when I saw her—such a scream that
poor Miss Mary left her father, and rushed up-stairs. But
the mistress only held out her hand, and said, with a sweet,
curious smile, ‘ Don’t be frightened, good Lailie. I shall go
to him!’ And when Miss Mary came in, and knelt down
by her without speaking a single word, mistress wrapped
her arms around her, and held her very close and tender,
whispering softly, ‘Only a little while apart; only a little
while!’ |

‘‘ After a minute, Miss Mary said, ‘ Lailie will take care
of you, mother : father may want me.’ And she only smiled
that strange little smile again, and just opened her arms,
and let her go.

“T asked her would she go back to her bed, and she said,
‘Yes.’ So I lifted her in my arms, as I’d often done before
when the master wasn’t at hand, and carried her across the
room, and laid her on the bed. Pretty soon the doctor
came: I heard him walk across the hall, and I went to the
door to hear what he would say. I could see him as he
stood by the side of the sofa where they had laid master.
He looked at him for a minute, then he turned to Miss Mary,
and all he said was, ‘ Poor little maid!’ I knew what was
coming then. I knew it was all over with master, and I
stole back softly to the mistress. She never took no notice,
CHURCHILL MANOR HOUSE. 915

but lay very still, with that lovely smile on her face,’ And
so she laid till towards evening, seeming not to see any of us.
Miss Mary, and the doctor, and Mr Henry Churchill, were
all three beside her. They didn’t need to stay with the
master more than a few minutes after Dr Brainerd came in.
He’d gone where we couldn’t reach him, nor do him no
good. He was away up above us; and so we’d all gathered
around the poor mistress that he’d left behind him.

‘¢ All at once her eyes flashed open very wide, and she
says, ‘Mary, little Mary!’ Miss Mary leaned over her, and
she says, ‘1’m going to father, my darling. I give your
baby-brother to you: you must be a mother to him.’ She
stretched out her hand towards the baby—that was poor little
Master Ned—lying at her side. His uncle, Mr Harry, lifted
him up, and laid him on her breast. She kissed his fore-
head and lips, and his tiny hands ; and then she said, ‘Take
lim, Mary. He is yours. Be a loving, patient mother to
my orphan baby.’

“Miss Mary took him in her arms, and then the mother
-motioned her to kneel down beside the bed, and she put her
hands on his head and hers, and prayed God to bless them
both. It was the beautifullest prayer I ever heard, like a
little child asking something of its father, so gentle and
pleading-like. While she was saying ‘ Amen,’ the sun, which
had been clouded that afternoon, broke out all of a sudden,
and the brightness fell right across her face. I don’t know
how the angels’ faces look, sir, but I’m sure the mistress’s
must have shone like theirs, as she lifted it up from the
pillow, saying softly, ‘Yes, Edward: the Master has come.
He has called us both home.’ Oh, so glad and so content
her look was! We laid her down again upon the bed, and
Mr Henry led Miss Mary away, with the tiny baby held
tight in her arms.”

The old nurse paused again, but Laurence, not feeling sure
that the story was ended, and unwilling to lose any part of
216 ALLAN HAYWOOD,

it, did not speak. After waiting a moment, she rose. o
interested had both hearer and speaker been in the recital,
that they had not noticed the entrance of Miss Churchill ;
and both started in surprise when her gentle voice addressed
Laurence—

“So Lailie has been telling you the old story which to us
is ever new,” she said, with an accent of sadness in her tone,
“She forgets that all are not as much interested in it as we.
You must excuse her.”

“J have to thank, rather than excuse her,” said Laurence,
warmly. “TI have been greatly interested. I am very much
obliged to you,” he added, turning to Lailie, as, with another
of her sweeping curtsies, she was leaving the room. “You
can tell a story well.”

“You're very good to say so, sir,” she answered, with a
pleased smile.

‘“Lailie is a sort of privileged character in the house,”
said Miss Churchill, apologetically, as the door closed behind
the old nurse. ‘ Her love for my mother amounted almost
to worship, and her tenderness to us in our childhood was
most deep and true. She never wearies of that sad day
which left my baby-brother to my sole love and care; but I
am afraid she has tired you.”

“Indeed, she has not. Ned had to leave me for a few
moments, and I was looking at your mother’s miniature
when Lailie spoke to me. I asked her for the story. It is
a very lovely face, Miss Churchill.” |

“And it pictures a very lovely woman,” she answered,
with a slight quiver in her voice. “ Lailie may well enjoy
speaking of her.”

“But come,” she said, more lightly, throwing off in a
moment the grieved look which had fallen upon her face.
“There is Ned’s step in the hall; and, as lunch is ready, we
may as well go out and meet him on our way to the dining:
room.”
EAGLE CRAG. O17

CHAPTER III.
EAGLE CRAG.

“ WELL, Larry, I suppose we may as well be off,” said Ned,
pushing back his chair from the lunch-table as he spoke.
© Mary, will you come with us?” |

“Tt should lke it very much, but I shall not be able to
gratify my inclinations,” said Mary. ‘ That woman who
was here this morning, came to tell me that old John Bur-
gess’s daughter is very ill, and John sent up to ask if I would
come down to see her.”

“Oh! wait until to-morrow, and go over there with Mr
Leonard after school, We want you with us this after-
noon.”

“And I would like only too well to be with you. It is
a splendid day for a sail on the lake. But suppose that the
woman should die to-night ?” |

“Well,” said Ned, slowly, “if you will go, you will. I
learned that lesson long ago. But we will walk down with
you, for I won’t let you go to that place alone when there
are so many roughs about.”

She leaned over him, and with a low, musical laugh, took
his face between her hands, as she said, ‘O you old grand-
father! what do you suppose I do when you are at school ?
Do you think that our poor people are deserted all the week?
But I shall not let your pleasure be spoiled with worrying
overme. I will stop at the Parsonage, and coax Mrs Leonard
to go to the beach with me. I will tell her that my ancient
ancestor 1s afraid to have his elderly granddaughter walk
out alone: shall I ?”

“You may tell her what you like if you only persuade
her to go with you,” he said. “It may do very well for
you to visit among your Sunday-school people, and the old -
fishermen who belong here ; but just now, while the fish are
218 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

so abundant, the village is overrun with strangers, and I
don’t like to have you walk there alone.”

He spoke so seriously that Mary checked the laughing
answer that rose to her lips.

“Very well,” she said; “then I will not visit alone.
You may set your heart at rest.”

‘And we cannot persuade you to go out on the lake with
us!” asked Laurence, wistfully.

“No, I think not. But if you care to have me do go, I
will fe with you to the Hall after dinner. It will be
bright moonlight to-night, and one of the men can ride over
with us, and bring me back.”

“That is better than nothing,” said Ned. “ But our time
is slipping away, Larry; so we had better start. If she will
not go with us, we must e’en go alone,—unless,” he added,
with a mischievous glance across the table, “unless Aunt
Milly will accompany us.”

“Q Edward, my dear!” exclaimed Miss Millicent, lifting
her hands in dismay, ‘‘ you surely do not mean it. Iam so
nervous on the water at the best, and with two young—I’m
sure | mean no want of respect to you, Mr Bronson,” and
she bowed with old-fashioned courtesy to Laurence; “ but
really, really you are both very young—and—and ”

“ But, Aunt Milly, don’t you think that you ought to be
with us to take care of us, we are both so very young, and
so reckless?” urged Ned, with such apparent earnestness
that Miss Millicent looked up at Mary in a sort of bewil-
dered despair.

‘Do you think I ought to go, my dear?” she asked,
entreatingly. “It would be terrible if anything should
happen to them. Perhaps Thomas had better accompany
them. He might be of service in case of accident.”

“Oh! he wouldn’t know what to do, auntie,” interrupted
Ned. ‘And, besides, we wouldn’t be so likely to listen to
his advice as to yours. Come, I think we’ll have to take


EAGLE CRAG. 919

you with us;” and he laid his hand on her chair as if to
draw her away from the table; but Miss Millicent’s piteous
look brought Mary to the rescue.

“ That ’s all Ned’s nonsense, auntie,” she said, consolingly.
‘They are quite able to take care of themselves. Now away
with you,” she went on, turning to her brother. “ You
shall not plague Aunt Milly any more.”

“ You don’t mind it: do you, Aunt Milly?” said the
boy, stopping on his way from the room to kiss the troubled
old face which was looking after him.

‘“‘ No, my dear, no; only it makes me a little nervous
perhaps. But are you quite sure it is not best for me to
go! Ifanything should happen, I could never forgive my-
self.” |

‘No: that was only fun, Aunt Milly. Don’t worry.
We ll be careful of ourselves. Come, Larry ;” and away
the boys went, Mary following them to the front door.

‘“ Edward, Edward, my dear !” called a soft voice, as they
sprang down the steps of the piazza.

“What now?” said Ned, a little impatiently, turning
towards the house again.

“It is Aunt Milly,” said Mary, laughing. “ You will
have to go back. Iam not a bit sorry for you either, you
saucy boy.”

‘“ Edward, my dear,” said Miss Millicent, gently, looking
out from the dining-room window with a very anxious face,
“if you-can wait one moment, I will bring you from my
room some directions which I cut out from a paper the
other day for the resuscitation of drowning persons. Perhaps
you had better take them in case of accident.”

Ned’s merry laugh broke out joyously; and Laurence and
Mary could not help joining it.

“ Thank you, auntie,” he said, looking up at her with a
look which was a most perfect contrast to her anxious ex-
pression, “ But I think we will enjoy our sail quite as well
220 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

without your paper. It would be more suggestive than
cheering. ‘Good-bye; now we are off;” and seizing Laurence’s
arm, he rushed down the carriage-road at a pace which pro-
mised a speedy escape from any further detentions on Aunt
Milly’s part. Mary stood looking after him with a troubled
look in her eyes, until reaching the turn in the road which
must hide him from her sight, he turned to wave his hat to
her, and shout a last “ good-bye;” then she went into. the
house to meet Aunt Milly’s many questions and anxieties
with regard to the boys,

‘“ He is so very, very thoughtless,” she said to herself, as,
having calmed as much as possible Aunt Milly’s distracted
nerves, she went up-stairs to prepare for her walk. “TI
wonder if I spoil him.” But after a while the shadow faded
from her face ; and by the time she reached the Parsonage,
on her way to the village, she wore her old look of happy
content. After all, thoughtless as he was, she could not
feel that she had spoiled him.

It was a most perfect afternoon for a boating excursion,
the wind just cool enough to make the exertion of rowing
pleasant, without being in the least chilly; and Laurence
enjoyed it to the utmost. The low, wooded shore, bright
how with starry anemones and sweet spring violets, brought
back to his mind thoughts of the dear old homestead where
much of his childhood had been passed; and he almost
fancied himself floating down the stream which flowed at
the foot of the garden in Glencoe. A sort of quiet had
fallen on him, and his oar rested in the rowlock as his
thoughts ran back to the old home, until Ned broke into
his reverie by saying—

“ Look there, Larry. Do you recognise that old giant?”

Looking up quickly, he saw that the scene had changed
completely. The shore had grown rocky in some places,
running up almost precipitously from the border of the lake,
while directly before them, apparently barring their farther
EAGLE CRAG. 271

progress, rose a huge rock, which seemed to have been
thrown entirely across the lake, shutting it in completely
from the world beyond.

“Do you know what that is?” asked Ned, as Laurence
rested his oar, and gazed silently up at the gigantic peak.

“No; but isn’t he a magnificent fellow? He looks go
proud and grand, and yet see the flowers lying all up his
sides. They look as if they had thrown themselves there,
trusting to his strength and protection.”

“Very poetic, I don’t deny, said Ned, with a mischievous
glance at his friend. But if they had happened to throw
themselves upon the other side of their grand protector,
they would have found that he was a little rough, even in
his tenderest moods. Give another look at him, Larry.
He is an old friend.”

“Then Iam sorry to confess that I have forgotten him,”
replied Larry, after striving in vain for some moments to
recognise one single feature in the picture, before him.

“ Tt is Eagle Crag.”

“ Nonsense!” said Laurence, looking a trifle vexed.
‘You sold me there,” he added, more good-humouredly.
“ I thought it was really some point which I ought to have
recollected.”

“I did nothing of the kind,” said Ned, positively.
“ That is certainly Eagle Crag.”

“Do you mean to say that it is the Seaward Cliff, as
Charles Grant calls it?” asked Laurence, incredulously.

“Yes: listen a moment, and we may hear the breakers
thundering against the other side.”

{t was no great marvel that Laurence found it hard to
believe that Ned was in earnest. Eagle Crag was no new
spot to him. Often and often, when bent on some adven-
turous frolic, had he climbed its rocky sides, pausing now
and then to look down into the dark blue waves which
dashed so madly against its base; for the boys of Drayton
222 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

Hall were very fond of showing their skill in climbing the
steep and dangerous footpaths which ran from the foot of
the huge precipice to its summit. But from the seaward
side, the Crag was a bold rock, rising perpendicularly from
the water, lashed furiously by the wild waves to which it
opposed itself, and exposed to the fiercest blasts. Even in
the softest days of summer, it was a wild, weird spot ; and
_ it was difficult indeed to imagine that this lovely garden-like
slope could be a part of that grim old giant whose face was
so stern and hard. Yet, listening, his ear could catch the
roll of the breakers; and Ned laughed merrily as the
astonished face was turned towards him as if asking for an
explanation.

‘“The lake takes a complete sweep,” he said, in answer
to Laurence’s look of inquiry. “We are directly opposite
Drayton ; and if we had a good glass here, we could see all
that is going on in the play-ground. You know that the
Cliff is about a mile south of the Hall, and this is its farther
side. All the rough winds are cut off, you see, from this
spot; and the gruff old monster changes into a blooming
maiden, as the sentimentals would say. The wall of rock
which forms the old fellow’s head-piece cuts off completely
all communication between the two sides, so that we have
many an opportunity to astonish those of our visitors who
have first seen him from the sea. But now I suppose
that we must turn towards home, or Aunt Milly will be
agonised by our tardiness. I wish that the Doctor was not
so set upon having us at the Hall on Sundays. Wouldn't
it be jolly to stay with Mary until Monday ?”

“Yes: that is always my cry when Saturday evening ©
comes. But I suppose we must comfort ourselves with
thinking of the many fellows who live too far away to spend
even Saturday at home.”

So the boat was headed round, and the two rowers bent
themselves to their oars with an energy which brought them
EAGLE CRAG. 223

to the Manor House in time to prevent any extra anxiety on
Miss Millicent’s part.

A very merry party it was that drew rein at the gates
of Drayton Hall about eight o’clock that Saturday evening.
It was a magnificent night. The moon riding in triumph
through a perfectly cloudless sky lit up the scene with
- almost the brightness of day, and the air was so fresh and
cool that the riders were not overheated, although the swift
pace at which they had galloped across thecountry might have
served to call all their young blood into action; for the
very horses seemed to have caught the infection of their
gay spirits and of the blithe beauty of the night, and had
needed neither whip nor spur to urge them on their
way. |
‘I wish those gray old walls were ten miles farther on,”
said Ned, as the eager horses champed their bits, and tossed
their heads, impatient to be off once more. “I don’t want
to go in any more than the horses do.”

“ Well, what must be, must, I suppose,” said Laurence ;
“and it is after eight now. The Doctor will look black if
we are late. We must say good-night, Miss Churchill.”

“ ‘Thomas can come over for the horses on Monday, Mary,”
said Edward. ‘ Thomas, take good care of Miss Mary :
don’t let any harm come to her on your way home.”

“ Ay, ay, sir, I’ll do the best I can for her,” said the
old man, shaking his head, which had grown gray in the
Churchill service, with an air which said that he considered
the caution quite superfluous.

With another good-night, and a promise of meeting at
church on the morrow, Mary rode away with her faithful
escort, and the boys galloped off to the Hall stables.

“Oh! if you fellows haven’t missed the biggest row
we ’ve had this term!” exclaimed Will Seaton, as the two
boys entered the study-Hall, which on Saturday evenings was
the scene of all the fun and jollity which a set of happy
224 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

schoolboys could possibly originate. ‘ You’ve lost the
best joke going.”

‘What ’s to pay?” asked Ned.

‘“¢ Why, in the first place we ’ve been scared nearly out of
our wits. As for Haywood, he’s trembling yet with fright.
Look at him: he’s shaking all over.”

The boys glanced towards Allan, who was sitting near,
leaning back in his chair, shaking indeed, but with repressed
laughter, which broke out in a hearty peal as they turned
their amused faces towards him.

“ Let ’s have the joke, Will,” said Laurence. “ It must be
too good to lose if 1t rouses our steady old Al to such a pitch.”

“It is good, and no mistake,” said Will. “I suppose
you know, in the first place, that our learned friend, Roland
Bentley, B.A., has a mortal terror of cats.”

“Yes: I know that.”

‘Well, we boys were all here about an hour ago, enjoying
ourselves one way and another, when all of a sudden there
rang through the hall the most awful shriek you ever heard
in your life. I was up on the table giving the fellows
Achilles and Hector before Troy, and I must have been
doing it pretty fairly too, for they were laughing fit to kill
themselves ; but I tell you that scream brought me up short,
and the rest of them grew still in a jiffy. Before we had
time to think what it was, it came again; and then we
flew, the whole crowd of us, out into the Hall, and across to
the north recitation-room. Just as we tore out, the Doctor
came rushing down the stairs like mad. He reached the
door first, but we were right after him, and in we all pelted
together, master and man, mistress and servants, teachers
and taught, in one big crowd ; for the whole house was
roused by that time. Oh,my!” and-Will threw himself back
in an uncontrollable fit of laughter, in which he was joined
by every boy in the room, Ned and Laurence heartily con-
tributing their quota, for the merriment was infectious.
EAGLE CRAG. 925

“Hurry up, Will. Let’s know what it was,” said N ed,
as soon as the noise subsided a little.

“It was Bentley, the professor,” gasped Will, “mounted
on the mantelpiece ; and on the rug stood a cat—oh, my !—a
monstrous yellow cat, with her back up half a mile high, her
tail bristling, and her eyes like two balls of fire, spitting
and snarling at him like a dragon. As we rushed in, she
made one spring for him—I do believe the creature thought
it was her last chance—but she only caught the leg of hig
trousers, and fell back without doing him any worse damage
than tearing a hole in them with her teeth. And if he didn’t
give a yell! Oh, it was too good!” And another roar of
laughter made the walls ring again.

‘Was it a cat belonging to the house?” asked Laurence,

“Yes: it seems that she has bothered him quite con-
siderably lately. He has caught her in his room once or
twice ; and a day or two ago, finding her there, he soused
her with cold water. She turned on him then, but Arthur
was at hand, and he drove her off. To-night, the first thing
he knew of her being near, was hearing her give a snarl, and
feeling her ugly claws on his neck, for she sprang square on
his back. Poor fellow! I’m sorry for him; but it’s the
tallest joke we’ve had this season. By the way, it got Al
into an awful mess, though : he’s got a hundred lines,”

“What for?” asked Edward, turning towards Allan.

“Why, for laughing at the misfortunes of his betters.
You never heard a chap roar so in your life: it seemed as
if he’d go into fits ; and, as bad luck would have it, he stood
close to the Doctor. He was as pale as any girl at first—
as white as poor Bentley himself—and then he began to
laugh, and he hasn’t stopped yet, you see. Dr Drayton
spoke to him, but he couldn’t seem to help it; and, after a
minute, the Doctor ordered us all out of the room. Where-
upon Mr Bentley remarked that Mr Haywood was only too
glad of an opportunity to annoy him ; and Al, not recover-

, P
226 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

ing himself even then, the Doctor ordered him a hundred
lines as a sedative. It doesn’t seem to work, though, ag
far as I can see;” and Will glanced mischievously at
Allan.

“Do be quiet, old fellow,” said Allan. ‘‘I believe I am
almost broken in two ;” and he leaned wearily back in his
chair. “Iam going off by myself,” he added, after a mo-
ment, “to do my lines, I shall have half an hour before
bed-time.”

He gathered up the books and papers which were strewn
around him, and was leaving the room, when Ned locked |
his arm in his, saying, “I will sit with you;” and they
went out together.

“T am sorry,” said Allan, as he laid his books upon a
desk in one of the smaller recitation-rooms, “ that I happened
to be the one whose amusement was particularly noticed.
Not that I mind the lines so much, but the Bentleys and J
were on bad enough terms before this ; and it will only make
matters worse between us. I don’t know how it was, but I
seemed to lose all control of myself. I would have given
anything to stop merely for my own sake, but I could not.
It was a most ridiculous scene.”

Ned looked anxiously at him ; for his voice was weak, and
his utterance somewhat unsteady. His face was very pale ;
but as he caught Ned’s eye, it crimsoned, and he broke out
again with another burst of laugliter.

“ Allan, you’re behaving like a donkey,” said Ned.

He spoke suddenly and sharply. Allan glanced at him,
then quieting himself with a strong effort, turned silently to
his translation. Ned sat by reading, apparently absorbed in
his book ; but from time to time he caught the sound of a
smothered laugh from Allan as he bent over his lesson. He
took no notice, however ; and by and by the bell rang for
prayers, after which service the boys all dispersed to their

dormitories.
AN UDA AS MOSS. aig

CHAPTER TV.
AS MEEK AS MOSES.

“ALLAN !” exclaimed Ned Churchill, bursting suddenly into
the room where Allan sat working diligently at his transla-
tion before school hours on Monday morning, “is all this
that I hear about you and Bentley true?”

Allan looked quietly up into Ned’s flushed and angry face.
** What have you heard ?” he asked.

“That Bentley insulted you ; told you that you were no
gentleman, called you a fool, and I don’t know what all
besides ; and that you stood there, and bore all his insolence
without a word, until he exhausted his vocabulary of epithets,
and then told him that you were sorry that you had done
anything to annoy his brother. Is it possible, Allan Hay-
wood, that you are such a mean fellow ag that 1”

“Iam not quite ready, Ned—I don’t suppose you expect
me to be—to acknowledge myself a mean fellow,” said Allan,
his cheeks reddening in their turn as he spoke. “I am
quite ready, however, to acknowledge the fact of having
apologised to Bentley for my rudeness to the professor ; but
I did so before his abuse, not after it. You know perfectly
well that I owed them an apology, and if I had not supposed
that he would dislike having the matter alluded to, I should
have spoken to the professor himself. I tried to see Bentley
on Sunday; but it seems he was away somewhere with his
brother, and I did not fall in with him until this morning.”

‘““T don’t see why you need have said anything about it,”
sald Ned, as hotly as before. “Those fellows both hate
you, and you know it. You might have been sure that you
would receive nothing but impertinence for your pains.”

“Perhaps I was sure of it,” said Allan; “but that made
no difference in my duty ; even my best friend had told me
that I was behaving like a donkey ;” and he laid hig hand
928 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

on Ned’s shoulder, and looked at him with a half smile as he
spoke. |

But Ned did not return the smile. He had just come up
from the play-ground, where a whole troop of boys were
discussing the scene which had taken place between Allan
and Bentley ; and though every one among them was in-
dignant at Arthur’s insolent reception of Allan’s apology,
they were all quite as much, if not more, vexed with Allan
for his passive endurance. Ned, who had not been present,
had heard the story from half a dozen excited witnesses; and
he was burning with shame and anger to find that they were
all inclined to think, if not to say, that the fear of Bentley’s
strong arm had much to do with Haywood’s forbearance.

‘““T know I said that,” he answered, with a strong touch
of irritation in his tone; ‘ but [ thought that you had lost
all control of yourself, and ”’———

“So I had,” interrupted Allan, “and I am much obliged
to you for putting a stop to my nonsense. I have not been
feeling well for some days ; and Saturday, if the truth must
be known, I was not at all well; and I suppose that the
fright, and then the utter absurdity of that performance,
must have upset me completely. I tell you this, Ned ; but
I would not have the other boys know it for a kingdom.
You will understand me, but the Bentleys do not ; and they
have some reason for their ill-feeling.”

“Nonsense, Allan! one would think it was a personal
matter. Do you suppose that you were the only fellow in
the school who laughed at the professor’s plight?”

“No; but I happened to be singled out as the worst of
them all; and I do not doubt that they take it as a personal
affront. Arthur’s conduct shows that plainly enough.”

‘Well, granted that it is so, and granted, too, that you
owed him an apology; that was no reason why you should
have borne Arthur’s insults so tamely. Do you know what
the fellows are saying, Al?”
AS MEEK AS MOSES. 229

6¢ No.”

Perhaps he suspected part of the truth, for his face lost
some of the colour which had glowed in it before, and he set
his lips firmly, as if he knew that there was something coming
which would be hard to bear,

“They say,” said Ned, “that Bentley’s strength has had
its weight with you.”

Allan stood for a moment looking at his friend with flash-
Ing eyes, and lips that worked strongly and passionately,
But after a little his face regained its composure, and his
voice was steady and controlled as he said—

“Do you think it influenced me, Ned ?”

“No; of course I don’t. I know it’s only that ridiculous
notion of right and wrong which you will persist in bringing
into everything. But a fellow ought to stand up for his
rights, Allan. Bentley ought to have been knocked down
on the spot ; and you could have done it too, for, if you ’re
not very strong, you're quick and dexterous, and you might
have pitched him over in no time; you would, at least, have
shown that you weren’t afraid of him. As things are now,
the fellows all lean to his side,—not because they think he’s
right, but because you’ve shown so little pluck. There’s
one chance for you, though. Bentley told Will Seaton that
he was determined to make you fight: and as it seemed that
he hadn't said enough yet, he’d try it again. Now, Al, if
he does, pitch into him. If you don’t, you’ll lose caste in
the school.”

“Then I must lose caste,” said Allan, with a quiet deter-
mination which drove Ned almost frantic.

“Do you mean to say that if Bentley attacks you again,
-you will not fight ?”

‘““T will not fight.”

‘Then the boys are right ; you must be a coward.”

He did not look it, as, drawing up his tall figure to its
full height, Allan moved slightly to one side, and laid his
230 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

hand upon the door towards which Ned, in his anger, had
turned. |

~~ “Edward Churchill,” he said, firmly, “you have gone
farther than I should have dared to go with you, far as I
would trust your love. I will not fight, save in self-defence;
but neither will I allow any one, not even you, to call mea
coward. It is ashameful name, and one which you know
that I have never deserved.”

He did know, right well, that the taunt was undeserved,
The calm, resolute voice had, in some measure, cooled his
anger ; and looking into the manly face which confronted
him so steadily, he could not but take back the cruel word,

‘““T was wrong. I am very sorry,” he said, hastily, hold-
ing out his hand, which Allan grasped warmly. “ But, Al,
there must be something done. I cannot and will not bear
to have you compared with that miserable Bentley to your
disadvantage. The boys are declaring that you’ll have to
fight him, and there will be no end to their sneers if you
refuse him again. Why, already Will has started them all
off on couplets such as,

‘Our old Al is meek as Moses,
Soft as mush, and sweet as roses!’ ”

‘ Will’s poetic fancies won’t hurt me,” said Allan, smiling.
“He has challenged me before, and had to own himself
beaten in the encounter.”

“Then you are determined not to stand up for your rights?”

“When my rights are touched, Ned, you shall see whether
I submit tamely; but as yet they have not been injured.
Only J can touch my right to the name of a gentleman. The
fact that Bentley has denied it to me does not take it from
me; and it lies with me also to prove whether I am a fool
or not. But I tell you all, that when I let a bully drive me
into a fight, against my better judgment, by the mere force
of persistent abuse and impertinence, you may call me a fool,
and I shall not dare to resent it. As for Will, his bark isa
AS MEEK AS MOSES. 231

good deal worse than his bite. I don’t think I shall prove
to be either ‘ soft as mush,’ or ‘sweet as_roses ;’ and I think
if we all understood the real meaning of that word ‘ meek,’
we should not consider it very much of a slight to be com-
pared to Moses.”

“What do you call the real meaning of the word? I
should think it was very easy to be understood.”

“And you consider a meek man or boy a fellow who will
let the world ride over him rough-shod, and then get up and
make a humble bow to the riders. Isn’t that so, Ned?”

“Yes, very much so,” said Ned.

“ Yet it is said, ‘The man Moses was very meck, above all
the men which were upon the face of the earth ;’ and surely
a braver, nobler fellow never lived. It didn’t look much
like letting the world ride over him rough-shod, when he
stood before the king, threatening him with the wrath of
God ; and sternly ordering him to let the children of Israel go
that they might serve the Lord ; nor when he stood on the
borders of the sea with his rod stretched out to call the
floods back upon the Egyptians ; and neither Amalek, nor
the Canaanites, nor Korah found him very easy to manage,
Yet he did not think it worth his while to answer the
Hebrew who taunted him with having taken vengeance on
_ the cruel task-master, nor to denounce Aaron and Miriam

_ for their sedition. And there was another, N ed, ‘who, when
He was reviled, reviled not again,’ whose brave, grand heart
was gentle and tender, and whose lips—the very lips which
boldly asserted His right to rule as a king—breathed a
special blessing on the meek,”

“Well, well,” said Ned, slowly, “I’m beaten if we are
to have a long talk about it, for you always get the best of
me in a discussion. Hark! there’s the bell. We must be
off. Hallo! there go your papers.”

As he spoke, he stooped to pick up the papers which had
slipped from Allan’s book ; but before he could touch them,
232 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

his companion sprang forward, and snatched them up,
glancing, as he did so, into Ned’s face with an anxious,
questioning look.

‘“What’s the matter?” asked Churchill, in surprise.

“ T—I—nothing,” stammered Allan. “Come, we will be
late,” and he drew him from the room ; but as they left it,
Churchill noticed that he turned, and looked carefully around
as if to make sure that nothing remained behind. ~

“What’s wrong, Allan?” he said. “You have your
translation, haven’t you ?”

“ My translation? Yes, I believe so,” he answered, hesi-
tatingly.

‘“Aren’t you sure? Open the book and look ;” and he
laid his hand on the Euripides which Allan held in his arm,
but his. friend almost snatched it from his grasp.

“No matter—no matter—it is there—yes, I am sure it is
there ;” and turning hastily away, he entered the school-
room a little in advance of him.

“What is to pay with that boy?” thought Ned; but the
next moment the bell was tapped, and his lessons soon drove
the little incident from hig mind.

The moment Allan joined his companions, he began to see
that Ned’s warning had not been superfluous. As he passed
Will Seaton’s desk, a whispered “Meek as Moses,” met his
ear ; and before he reached his own seat, the whisper had
deepened into a murmur, which was suddenly stilled by a
loud rap upon the master’s desk, The words had, of course,
not been taken up by the older and less mischievous boys
of his own class ; but even there he failed to meet his usual
welcome. Not a syllable was spoken on the subject, but
there was a nameless something in their looks and manner
that he felt, although he could hardly have told in what way
the unusual want of friendliness was manifested. Sensitive
as a girl, this coldness cut sharply into a heart which had
already that morning been deeply wounded by the one it
AS MEEK AS MOSES. 233

most loved and trusted ; but no one who looked on his calm,
composed face would have suspected the pain which lay
hidden behind that veil. The slow morning lagged wearily
away, until at length the hour for which he had been long-
ing struck, ‘Twelve o’clock! For one half hour, at least,
he could escape the hundreds of quizzical eyes, the mocking
lips, the sneers, half-laughing, half-earnest, which met him
at every turn, ‘aking up his Euripides once more (for his
translation was not quite completed), he passed through the
crowd which was rushing from the Hall for the half hour’s
recess, and made his way to a little arbour at the foot of the
lawn, where he hoped to finish his work in peace. As he
entered, he saw that it was already occupied, and drawing
yuickly back, without waiting to see who had been before-
hand with him, he was turning away when Laurence Bron-
son’s voice checked him.

“Come in, Al—come in. I am only reading.”

They were the first pleasant words which had been spoken
to him since his encounter with Bentley.

“Thank you,” he said, cordially. “Iam glad to havea
welcome at last. The whole school has sent me to Coventry
thie morning.” |

“I see they have, and it is a shame,” said Laurence,
warmly. ‘ By the way, Al, what has set the Bentleys against
you so strongly 1”

“I can’t answer the question with regard to Arthur,” said
Allan, throwing himself down on the bench beside Bronson.
““ He always did seem to dislike me from the first. But the
professor and I agreed well enough until last year, when I
took the prize for composition, Arthur had been working
for it as hard as I, and they were both very angry that he
missed it. Since then the professor has been less than civil
to me, and Arthur is still worse.”

“Let him do and say what he likes,” said Laurence, in-
differently. ‘* This little breeze will blow over directly, and
234 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

you will be all right ; but I’m sorry you didn’t thrash him
in the beginning.” |

“Tam not,” said Allan ; “and they shall not force me to
it, if they keep me in Coventry for the rest of the year,”

“What’s that?” said Laurence, as the school-bell rang
out loud and clear. “Our time isn’t half up. We’ve
had only ten minutes,” he added, glancing at his watch.
“What ’s up, I wonder?”

‘There must be something wrong,’
left the arbour together. |

A crowd of boys, all eagerly asking why their recess had
been cut so short, came swarming up the various roads to the
house ; some laughing, some scolding, all curious to learn the
cause of this unusual occurrence ; for those who had been
Drayton boys for years never remembered having had the time-
honoured midday playtime broken into inthis summary fashion.

As Laurence and Allan joined the noisy throng, Arthur
Bentley and Will Seaton came up from a side-road, and
threw themselves into the stream a little behind them. The
next moment, Will’s quick eye had noted Allan, and he
pointed him out to Arthur,

“There’s Al,” he said. “ Let’s have some fun out of
him before we get to the Hall.”

The hint was taken at once. It was the very chance
that Arthur had been seeking, an opportunity to insult him
again before the school, and to accomplish another purpose
which he never would have dared to confess to Will.

Stepping up to his side, he said insolently, “Well, Miss.
Haywood, so you are under Mr Bronson’s protection, eh?
What book have you got there ?”

Laurence turned sharply round ; but Haywood, saying
quietly, “* Don’t notice him, Laurence,” drew him on towards
the Hall.

“Stop! I want to see that book,” said Arthur, in the
same imperious tone ; and placing himself directly in Allan's

’ said Allan, as they
AS MEEK AS MOSES. 239

path, he laid his hand upon the book, and drew it from his
arm. For one instant Allan stood and looked at him, as,
with apparent carelessness, he flirted the leaves of the Euri-
pides; but the next moment he had stepped forward,
seized him by the collar and waistband, and, by a dexterous
movement, lifted him out of his path, and set him down
upon the road behind him. A wild shout of delight, mixed
with vociferous cries of ‘ Hurrah for old Al!” “I knew
he ’d come outallright !” “How are you now, Bentley?” &c.,
followed Allan’s unlooked-for exploit ; while Laurence, laugh-
ing heartily at Arthur’s overthrow, bent to pick up the fallen
book, and the scattered papers which had dropped from it.

“You seem to have plenty of manuscript here,” he said,
as he handed it to Allan. “Does all this scribbling belong
to you?” and he stretched out his hand filled with papers
written in pencil.

Allan grasped them hurriedly. “Yes, yes! they are
mine. Are you sure you picked them all up?” and he
looked about upon the road where the book had dropped as
it fell from Arthur’s hand, with a nervous, uneasy glance,

“Yes ; I gathered them together, every one of them.
What’s the matter now?” for Allan had seized his arm
with a grip which fairly pained him. “ Are you unwell?”
he asked, anxiously, seeing that the boy was deadly pale.

A spasm passed over Allan’s face ; he bent himself almost
double, as if convulsed with agony ; but the next moment
he raised his face, now flushed and burning, and loosed his
hold on Laurence’s arm.

“A sudden pain, that was all,” he said, feebly. ‘ Don’t
speak of it before those fellows. Bentley was rather too
heavy for me. Come, we must go on;” and they joined
their comrades.

The crowd was still pouring into the Hall, their interest
in the question of their recall divided now with their de.
light in Bentley’s discomfiture and Allan’s self-agsertion.
236 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

CHAPTER V.

THE PARODY.

Bur all discussion and debate were hushed, as the boys re-
entered the long schoolroom, and found that Dr Drayton
himself stood in the master’s desk—a circumstance, in itself,
as unusual as the short recess. As one after another caught
sight of the tall, gaunt form standing erect, with heavy
brows bent almost threateningly on the various groups
pressing in through the open door, the news spread that
the Doctor was there, and the boys came in more quietly ;
for the Doctor, if he were not much loved, was at least
held in great reverence by his scholars. His face was one
to win more of respect than of affection. The lines about
the large mouth were hard and stern; the dark gray eyes
were keen and piercing ; and the high, intellectual forehead
could frown terribly, if need were. And need there seemed
to be this morning, for it was drawn in lines of severity
such as the boys had not seen in many a long day.

“Young gentlemen !”—how loud and clear his voice
rang out! Evidently he intended to obtain the attention
of every one in the room, in any part of which one might
have heard a pin drop, so perfect was the stillness—“young
gentlemen, I have called you in at this early hour, because
I wish to ascertain without a moment’s unnecessary delay
who was the originator of a most mean and dastardly trick
which has been perpetrated upon Professor Bentley. One
of the actors in the farce is known; the others, if others
there be, are yet unknown ; but as soon ag they are dis-
covered, they shall be expelled from my school. Many of
you, doubtless, are ignorant of the circumstances to which I
allude. ‘They are these. Some persons, and among them
some of the best and bravest men that ever lived, are tor-
mented with an aversion—a terror, I may call it—of some


THE PARODY. +27

particular object; and you all know, from experience, that
Professor Bentley suffers from such a dread. An insulting
parody which I hold in my hand has been written by one
of your comrades, and was to-day posted up on the Pro-
fessor’s door, to the handle of which a cat was tied by a
string. Fortunately, the plot was discovered before Mr -
Bentley had occasion to go to his room. If the perpetrators
of this outrage choose to confess their guilt, they will save
me much trouble; for I am determined that they shall not
escape, and I will ferret out the whole matter, if I spend
months in the work.”

The Doctor’s speech was followed by the most perfect
silence. The boys looked from one to the other in amazed
inquiry, but not a whisper or a movement was heard. Dr
Drayton stood frowning down upon them, watching intently
for some sign of guilt ; but he saw nothing to lead him to
suspect any one. After a few moments’ angry survey of the
hundreds of young faces before him, he spoke again.

“The author of these lines will be kind enough to come
forward and relieve me of them.”

There was another silence, deeper than the first. The
Doctor’s face was turned towards the long row of desks, be-
hind which sat the senior class of the school; but every boy
there returned his scrutinising look honestly and fairly.

‘Allan Haywood, stand forward !”

Allan started, as well he might ; for the Doctor’s voice was
awfulin its wrath. He rose instantly, however ; and, passing
round the end of the seat, came out and stood in the centre
of the floor, with every eye fixed on him.

“Why did you not claim your property, sir?” asked Dr
Drayton, sternly. |

* Because I see none to claim, sir,” replied Allan, steadily.
“If you allude to that paper in your hand, I have never
seen 1t until now.” |

“Do you deny your own handwriting ?” asked the Doctor.
238 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

‘“‘ Haveacare, Haywood. I thought you far above any such
heartless trickery as this. Do not make me think you false,
as well as cruelly revengeful.”

“You shall have no cause to think me either false or”—
but there he paused.

Dr Drayton had taken a step forward, and laid before him
the paper. Jf he knew his own penmanship, which wag
somewhat peculiar in its characteristics, the lines were his,
He stood looking at them for a moment, the same unbroken
stillness reigning around him: then he raised his head, and
said—

“Ido not understand this. J own that this handwriting
is wonderfully like my own, but my ownit isnot. Mr Bent-
ley aid I have not been on the best of terms; but I am sorry
that Dr Drayton does not know me better than to think me
capable of such a malicious trick as has been played upon
him. I deny it, wholly and entirely ;” and he looked frankly
up into the face of his master.

Dr Drayton eyed him searchingly, doubtful whether to
trust the evidence of his own senses, or the honest, manly
_ face which confronted him. Apparently he chose the latter ;
for, bidding Allan return to his seat, he stepped back into the
desk, and again addressed the school.

“You have all heard,” he said, more calmly than he had
before spoken, “ Allan Haywood’s strong denial of the charge
brought against him. Circumstances seem to point him out
so undeniably as the author of these lines, that I could not
question his guilt ; but he repels the accusation go stoutly,
that I must, at least, give him the benefit of the doubt. I
am, however, as I said before, determined to sift this matter to
the bottom. Except the evidence of this handwriting, I have
no clue whatever to the perpetrators ; and I see no course
open to me, except.one which I know must be extremely dis-
tasteful to you all. Nevertheless, I shall pursue it. Every
desk and room in this establishment shall be searched, in
THE PARODY. 239

the hope that we may obtain some clue to the author of this
parody.”

A murmur of disapprobation ran through the room. Such
a thing had never been done before at Drayton Hall; and
more than one eye flashed, as the boys looked first at one
another, and then at the masters who sat in a row on either
side of the Doctor's desk. The murmur grew louder and
stronger, but Dr Drayton soon stilled it.

“Silence |”

The stentorian voice drowned for the moment every other
sound; and when its echoes died away, the room was quiet
as the grave, although the extreme unpopularity of the
measure was plainly discernible in many a dark and angry
face. “ee
‘The search will be begun here, and at once. Mr Acton
will take the senior class, Mr Moore the second, and so on.
Gentlemen, the sooner this disagreeable business is over the
better.” |

The under-masters rose to perform their unwelcome duty,
with as much apparent unwillingness as the boys could have
desired ; and Mr Acton approached the desks of the senior
class.

Arthur Bentley, Laurence Bronson, Edward Churchill, and
Allan Haywood sat side by side at the upper end of the
long row, Arthur’s desk being the one nearest the head-
master’s seat. Not a boy in the room stirred to open his
desk, or to aid in any way the hateful search ; but the
masters passed on resolutely in their task. Mr Acton had
opened the three first desks, glanced over their contents, and
closed them again, and had laid his hand upon Allan’s, when
his eye fell on a book lying upon the lid, from the leaves
of which appeared the edges of some papers which had
evidently been thrust in hurriedly.

‘‘ What papers are these?” he asked, laying his hand upon -
the book. |
240 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

Allan started, and reached quickly forward to grasp it;
but the master drew it from him.

“What papers are these?” he asked again, very sternly,
for the boy’s manner had made him suspect that something
was wrong. :

‘Tt is my translation—at least—at least—don’t read them,
Mr Acton. They have nothing to do with the parody ;”
and Allan looked entreatingly into the master’s grave face,

But Mr Acton had opened the book, and taking from it a
folded sheet of foolscap, glanced over it, his countenance
darkening more and more ; while Allan watched him closely,
his colour coming and going painfully. In a moment, Mr
Acton had raised his head, and with a look of scorn, which
Haywéd totally misunderstood, turned from him towards
Dr Drayton. But Allan stopped him.

‘““Mr Acton,” he said, earnestly, “don’t take those lines to
the Doctor : they concern no one but myself.”

‘“ Allow me to judge of that, sir,” was the severely spoken
response ; and pushing aside his detaining hand, Mr Acton
walked up to the platform.

Every eye in the immense room was upon him, for this
little interruption to the proceedings had attracted universal
attention. Without a word, he laid the paper in Dr Dray-
ton’s hand. The Doctor scanned it closely. His brow
contracted angrily, and springing to his feet, his voice rang
through the room again, more sharply than before,

“The search may cease. The culprit is found. Allan
Haywood !” |

The boy rose from his seat, wondering what those few lines
which he had so assiduously hidden from every one should
have to do with the matter in hand.

“Take your stand here, sir;” and the Doctor motioned
him to the platform, where the whole school would have a
full view of him.

_ Allan took the position assigned him, and looking up, met


THE PARODY. 24]

the many pairs of eager eyes unflinchingly. Why should
he not meet them? He had done nothing which should
make him quail before them. And so he stood there—again
suspected, he knew not why, but quite determined to stand
his ground—boldly facing his wondering comrades.

“May I ask you, Mr Haywood,” said Dr Drayton, in a
tone of utter contempt, “why you objected to Mr Acton’s
seeing this paper?”

A few moments before, Allan would have been all blushes
and confusion at the mere mention of that paper ; but now
he saw that his justification or condemnation was in some way
connected with it, and he answered, with a somewhat
heightened colour, but quite steadily— ; |

“ Because, sir, it concerns myself alone. It is an@htirely
private matter.” |

“Suppose you let the school judge of that. Read it
aloud.”

Now indeed he faltered. The Doctor placed it in his
hand, but he did not open it; he only looked imploringly
into the hard, cold face above him.

“T cannot read it aloud,” he said. “You do not know
what you ask of me,”

“1 do know what Task. Will you obey me ?”

‘TL cannot read those lines before the school.”

For a moment the Doctor looked at him as he stood
there, very pale now, but firm as a rock, evidently uncertain
how to proceed. At length he said—

“Then I shall read it myself.”

“TI beg you not to,” urged Allan, in a low voice; “at
least, not while I stand here.”

He paid no heed to the beseeching words, but spreading
the sheet out upon the desk, said—

“Young gentlemen, you heard Mr Haywood’s denial of
the authorship of the parody which was written in mockery
of Mr Bentley. Here is a rough pencil draft which he does

Q
242 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

not deny. The school shall judge whether or not the honour
of the conception belongs to him.” |

Allan had turned a little from the front of the platform,
and his head was bent slightly forward so as to hide his
face. But as the Doctor began to read in his heavy, sonor-
ous voice, he raised himself, and watched him with astonish-
ment written over every line of his countenance. For the
words he heard were not the simple but earnest longings of
his own heart, which he had treasured so secretly.

‘* To the Professor’s room a cat drew nigh,”—

read the Doctor.
Allan stood up bravely and strongly now, listening with
an intefést whose’source was wholly changed.

“ Her long black whiskers nodded from on high, ©
Her teeth shone white; her sharp, unsparing claws
Were but half hidden ’neath her furry paws ;
And from her eyes fierce, fiery splendours shone,
Like Jove’s own lightning, or the rising sun.

_ As Bentley sees, unusual terrors rise :

Struck by some god, he fears, recedes, and flies;
He leaves the door, he leaves the walls behind :
And Pussy follows like the wingéd wind.
Thus at the panting dove, the falcon flies.
The poor Professor screamed and shut his eyes,
On, on they passed, one chasing, one in flight ;
(The mighty fled, pursued by feline might),
Swift was the course ; no vulgar prize they play,
No vulgar victim must reward the day,
Such as in schoolrooms crown the unequal strife ;
The prize contended was our poor Prof.’s life,

At last, in terror wild—as if he ’d wings—
On the high mantel the Professor springs ;
And raging Pussy, balked of her rich prey,
Stands on the rug, and spitting waits her day.
Meantime Prof., yelling with tremendous might,
Calls all the school to see the jolly sight ;

_ And Pussy, thinking this her latest chance,
Before the fire begins a warlike dance.
THE PARODY. 243

Upward she makes a spring! oh, how he roars
As through his pantaloons she puts her claws!
O Pussy, shame to beat so small a foe!

How can you treat our poor Professor go ?
Unequal warfare is not brave nor wise :

Why don’t you fight a cat of your own size.”

The Doctor ceased reading, and, to his utter surprise, on
turning his eyes on Allan, found him standing erect before
him, returning his gaze fearlessly.

‘What have you to say for yourself, sir, in justification
of such unbounded impertinence as this; and of the un-
blushing falsehood with which you attempted to deceive
me, oo regret to say—dzd deceive me a few moments
since.’

“T have to say, sir, that I am guilty neither of the false.
hood nor of the impertinence,” replied Allan, firmly.

“And I have to say in my turn,” said the Doctor, goaded
almost to fury by the boy’s calm manner, * that you are
proved guilty of both, The first fault I determined to punish
by expulsion from the school ; but the second—the auda-
cious, cool falsehoods which you persist in maintaining, in
spite of the proofs given by your own acknowledged hand-
writing, by this copy of the Iliad just now taken from your
desk, by a person whom I told to search it, and by your
guilty manner when this rough draft was discovered—ig
doubly worthy of the punishment. You are hereby ex-
pelled from Drayton Hall. You will return to your
guardian this afternoon. In the meantime, you may leave
this room at once, and await me in my study.”

The boy stood as if crushed, his head sunk upon his
breast, his whole frame quivering under the load of shame
which bore him down like a resistless weight. Was this
all that his word was worth? The blow had fallen sud-
denly upon him ; for he had not, for one moment, doubted -
his ability to clear himself from the shameful charge. But
244 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

in an instant his false position thrust itself upon him in its
clearest light. Everything was against him, the hand-
writing, the rough draft, his own manner. What should he
do? Did every one doubt him ?

He glanced hastily around to see. How coldly and sus-
piciously all his old friends returned his anxious gaze }
Slowly his eye travelled around the room, meeting no
friendly glance anywhere, until it reached Ned Churchill’s
face, and rested there. Ay, rested there ; for it was met by
a smile as glad, as trustful, as entirely confiding, as ever it
_had met before. It seemed to change the whole course of
his thoughts and feelings ; a new resolution seemed to in-
spire him, and straightening himself up, he turned boldly
toward the Doctor once more. |

“T requested you to leave the room at once,” said the
Doctor, sternly. ‘* Did you not hear me ?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Allan, respectfully, yet with a deter-
mination which quite equalled the master’s; “but I must
be heard. You have doubtless the power to expel whom
you will from your school; but have you the right to expel
me unheard, undefended, upon mere circumstantial evidence
(which, I must admit, is strongly against me), when I give
you my word, which you have never had reason to doubt,
that I am guiltless in this thing ?”

“If you can clear yourself,” replied the Doctor, without
the slightest relenting in his tone, “no one will be more
ready to hear you than I; but it will be a strange thing if
you can do so, after seinen ids aa this paper as your own.’

“*T spoke of that paper as my own, totally mistaking it,
sir. I had not seen it, but supposed it to be mine, as it
was taken from a book in which I had placed some manu-
script. As to the copy of the Iliad, and the papers which
it contains, I have not seen them, either now or at any
other time. I had heard nothing of the plot, either of its
conception or its execution, until now.”
THE PARODY. ’ 245

* How do you account for this, then ?”

“Dr Drayton handed him the two pencil drafts, one of
them corrected, revised, and changed, almost line by line ;
the other written out more clearly, but lke the first, dis-
similar in the wording in some respects from that taken
from the Professor’s door, which had evidently, however,
been copied from the clearer draft. Allan studied them
carefully. Like the first, they appeared to be in his own
handwriting. He could not comprehend it.

“T cannot account for it, sir,’ he answered, meeting the
Doctor’s scrutinising gaze.

“Vou own that it is written exactly in your hand ?”

‘‘No, sir. But I do own that the differences are so slight
that not one person in five hundred would be likely to de-
tect them.”

“No one who has yet seen the papers has detected them,”
said the Doctor, pointedly. He could be fearfully caustic
when he chose. “ You have no proof of innocence to offer ?”

“No, sir, none. I can only assert and re-assert my com-
plete ignorance of the whole affair.” |

“Then I must request you to consider your relations with
Drayton Hall discontinued until such time as you can refute
the strong evidence against you. You will do well to retire
to my study at once.”

Allan felt that he woulda do well to go at once; for as he
spoke his last words, he had had a warning that if he in-
tended to-leave the room without aid, he must do so quickly.
He paused for one moment to bow coldly to Dr Drayton, and
again to the masters whom he must pass in leaving the room,
and then moved towards the door. Reaching it, he turned
to take one last look at the old room which he should never
enter again, and then with a wistful glanceat Ned, hewent out.

But in that momentary look which Ned had caught, he
had seen something that made him spring up suddenly, to
the astonishment of all around him.
246 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“The young gentlemen will please to keep their seats,”
said Dr Drayton, sharply.

‘But Allan is unwell,” said Ned, earnestly. “ Let me go
to him, please ;” and he left his desk, forgetting all disci-
pline in his eagerness and anxiety.

“Mr Churchill, return to your place,” said the Doctor,
authoritatively. ‘Mr Acton, will you see if Haywood
needs attention? It did not strike me that he looked ill.”

Mr Acton went out in obedience to a sign from the prin-
cipal; and passing through the main hall, crossed a narrow
entry, and entered the study, or “lecture-room,” as the boys
appropriately termed it. But Allan was not there. Leav-
ing the room again, he noticed that the door leading toa
small piazza, which ran along the side of the house, was
open, and looking out he saw him leaning against a column,
as if he were not able to stand. Evidently the boy had
heard his step; for, gathering up all his energy, he stood
erect, and turned his colourless face towards the teacher, as
if to ask why he had intruded upon him.

“Are you unwell, Haywood?” asked Mr Acton. “ Shall
I bring anything for you?”

“Nothing; thank you,” replied Allan, coldly. “I need
nothing.”

‘You are looking very ill.”

The words were kindly spoken, but Allan made no answer.

‘Will you come into the study, and lie down?”

‘‘T prefer to remain here. I need no help.”

Mr Acton moved slowly towards the door; but before he
had actually entered the house, Allan’s better, gentler nature
triumphed.

“Forgive my rudeness,” he said, laying his hand upon
Mr Acton’s arm. “I know you mean kindly, and there was
much to make you doubt me. I felt as if I were choking,
and came out for the air. I will stay here until the Doctor
comes ; and then—and then—I will go home.”
TRUST AND SUSPICION. 24:7

His desire to be alone was so manifest that Mr Acton left
him ; pausing first to shake hands with him, and say, “Ido
most earnestly hope that you may be able to prove your
innocence, Haywood.”

“Thank you,” he said, and that was all.

CHAPTER VI.
TRUST AND SUSPECION.

THERE was not much work done in school that day, nor
when studies were over did there seem to be much heart for
play. The boys stood about the roads and lawn in groups,
discussing the exciting occurrences of the morning, all ex-
pressing their opinions freely, both with regard to Allan and
the Doctor. Allan’s manliness and determination had won
universal admiration, and were the theme of much praise ;
while the severity of Dr Drayton was commented upon with
equal freedom. Some thought it perfectly just: others
thought no terms too hard for its condemnation ; and so the
war of words ran high in the little community.

“T tell you what it is, Will Seaton,” said Charlie Grant,
one of Allan’s sturdiest supporters, “you’d better drop
your rhymes about ‘soft as mush,’ and ‘meek as Moses’
now. ‘There isn’t a boy in the school who would have faced
the Doctor as old Al did this morning. He’s got lots of
pluck, I tell you. You couldn’t have done that yourself.”

“T’ll own up to that,” said Will, candidly. “I wouldn’t
wonder if I’d have walked the first time the Doc ordered
me out of the room in that awful voice ; and I’m very sure
I couldn't have stood the second dose. Al don’t want spirit,
after all, as he proved this morning before that row came
248 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

on, Do you know, Ned,” he asked, turning to Churchill,
who stood near, leaning against a tree, and taking little
part in the conversation, “that he caught Bentley up, and
lifted him clean out of his path this morning, when Arthur
put himself in his way ?”

“No,” said Ned, his face lighting up eagerly. “Did he
do that?”

“Ask Bentley,” laughed Will. “It was a good joke. I
haven't seen a better for a long while. Bentley went up to
him for the mere sake of chafing him; and I put him up to
it, I’m sorry to say. He began with his impudence, of
which Al took no notice, until he fairly stopped him in the
road, and took his Euripides right out of his hand. Al just
looked at him as cool as you please. Then he caught him
up by the trousers, and turned him out of the road as if
he’d been a snake. I tell you I was mad enough at myself
for all I’d said and done this morning.”

Ned did not answer. He stood glowering wrathfully at
Bentley, who had joined another group gathered under a
huge oak-tree near by. The conversation turned now to
the case of the parody, and the evidence for and against
Allan, Ned did not listen to it for long. Turning to Laur-
ence Bronson, who stood neai, he said, ‘‘ Let’s go up to the
Crag, Bronson: I’m tired of all this talk.”

For a long while they walked on in silence, for their
hearts were full. Allan was a great favourite with both, as
indeed he was with the greater part of the school; for in
spite of the sobriquet of ‘ old Al,’ which his steadiness and
sobriety had gained for him, and the fun and jokes which
were often played off at his expense, there was scarcely a
boy in the Hall who did not honour him for his adherence
to the right, and love him for his unfailing kindness and
helpfulness to all who were in need of aid.

They passed rapidly over the distance which lay between
the Hall and the giant peak to which they had set out;
TRUST AND SUSPICION. 249

and, climbing its rough side by a narrow and precipitous
path, came out upon a ledge of rock overhanging the sea,
and sat down there. A huge wall of rock rising behind
them shut out all view of the land, and before them lay a
great waste of blue water, bounded only by the far-off hori-
zon, whose waves dashed with a roar like thunder against
the opposing crag.

“Laurence,” said Ned, without raising his eyes from the
water upon which they had been fixed ever since he had taken
his seat upon the ledge, “ those fellows at the Hall are the
shabbiest set of scamps I ever knew. There aren’t half a
dozen boys there who believe in Allan. Half adozen! I
don’t believe there ’s one, besides yourself and me, unless it’s
little Charlie. You don’t mean ito say,” he added, turning
fiercely on Laurence, who had not answered, “that you don’t
trust him ?”

“No; I don’t mean to say anything of the kind,” said
Bronson, quietly ; “‘ but I must confess myself perfectly be-
wildered. Such astrange thing happened this morning, Ned.
You remember Seaton’s telling you about Bentley’s snatching
Allan’s book from him ?”

“Yes,”

‘‘ Bentley dropped the book when Al seized him, and it
fellin the road. ‘There were a lot of papers in it, and I
gathered them all up. As I handed them to Al, I said some
trifling thing about them ; and you never saw a fellow look
so startled. He caught them away from me as quick as a
flash, and hid them away in the book in no time, looking all
round to make sure that none had been left behind. And,
Ned, I’m almost certain that paper was among them. In fact,
I’m sure; for I saw ‘ Parody’ written on the outside of it.”

Ned sat thinking. He, too, remembered just such an
occurrence, and Allan’s evident anxiety lest he should see the
papers which he had placed in the book. Indeed, Allan’s
confusion when Mr Acton opened the Euripides had brought
250 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

it to.his mind before, but his friend’s manner had go con-
vineed him of his innocence, that he had put the recollection
from him, feeling certain that he would explain it all in
time.

‘‘I don’t know what it means,” he said at last, slowly and
thoughtfully ; “but I do know that no boy could possibly
have borne himself as Allan did to-day unless he were per-
fectly innocent. ‘Meek’ those fellows call him! “It would
be a glorious thing for them all if they could get hold of a
little of his style of meekness. What are we to do for
him?”

Poor Ned! if he had been a girl, he would have laid his
head down upon Laurence’s shoulder and cried the tumult of
his grief and indignation into something like calmness. But
being a tall boy, fifteen years old, he would not, perhaps
could not, give himself that blessed relief ; so he sprang to
his feet, and began to pace up and down the narrow ledge
with swift, rapid strides.

‘‘ Laurence,” he said, stopping suddenly in his walk, “ did
you say that Bentley actually had that book in his hand?”

“Yes, I said so. He held it for a full minute I should
think.”

‘And it was the same book from which the parody was
taken ?”

“Yes. But— Ned—Ned—you surely don’t suspect
Bentley of such a deed as that?” said Laurence, in a shocked
voice, as his companion’s meaning flashed on him,

“IT did not say so,” replied Ned.

“And then the handwriting,” suggested Laurence; “how
can we account for that ?” |

“T don’t pretend to account for it,” was the second un-
satisfactory answer.

Two or three more of those rapid turns up and down the
rock were taken, and then Ned said, “ Laurence, I want to
go back. Are you ready ?”
TRUST AND SUSPICION. 251

Yes; and we need to goatonce. We will not have more
than time to reach the Hall before study-hour. It is past
tea-time now.”

“ Churchill,” said Charlie Grant, running up to meet them
as they entered the gates, “‘ here is a note which a man gave
me for you just now. I think it was Mr Leonard’s man.
Is it from dear old Al?” asked the child, lingering at Ned’s
side as he tore open the envelope.

“Yes,” said Ned, slowly, as his eye ran over the few
hastily written words. |

“Does he say Mr Leonard believes him?” persisted
Charlie.

‘Of course he does,’ replied Ned, sharply, but without
looking up from the note.

“And so do I, with my whole heart,” said the child,
earnestly.

“You grand little fellow!” exclaimed Ned, his face break-
ing into the first smile it had worn that day. “ Stick to him,
Charlie, boy. We’ll clear him yet,—you and I;” and,
snatching him up in his arms, he kissed him twice,

Charlie stood looking after him in perfect amazement 5 as,
having placed him on his feet again, Ned turned away, and
walked rapidly up the road towards the Hall, without even
waiting for Laurence.

Passing in through the main entrance, he crossed over to
the long schoolroom, and walked straight to Allan Haywood’s
desk. The Euripides he had placed within it before leaving

the room that afternoon: and now taking it out, he Opened

it, and took from it Allan’s translation. That did not seem
to content him, for he looked the book over carefully again
and again. ‘Then he examined the desk, but apparently with
the same unsatisfactory result; for he was rising from it
with a very disturbed expression of face, when something
lying on the floor at his feet caught his eye. He stooped
and picked it up. It was a sheet of foolscap paper, folded


252 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

to about the size of that on which the parody was written.
Simply glancing at it, he placed it in his pocket; then he
smoothed out the crumpled note which he still held in his
hand, and re-read it. |

“ DEAR Nep,—I have only time to write a word or two ;
but if you can get hold of my Euripides, will you take from
it some papers which are there? I am afraid that you will
laugh over them as sentimental scribbling, but I must run
the risk. Don’t let any one else see them.

“The thought of your dear, faithful face, so full of trust
when every other was dark with doubt, kept me up until I
_ reached the Parsonage, where I am trusted as you trust me;
and I want no more.

“Your ever grateful friend,
“ ALLAN Haywoop.”

“Oh, Al! Al! and only this morning I called you
‘coward!’ What a miserable fool I was not to know your
- brave heart better than that!”

He laid his head down upon the book, and a great, heavy
sob broke from him: but no tears came to soften the bitter,
self-reproachful sorrow which oppressed his heart. By and
by he heard the voices of the boys as they went by the
windows. It was study-hour, and in another moment they
would be in the room. Hastily placing the Euripides in his
own desk, he took out some of his books ; and, by the time
that the door was thrown noisily open, was apparently en-
grossed in his studies, |

Meantime Allan, having been closeted for an hour with
Dr Drayton, had set out for the Parsonage, bearing with him
a letter which, the Doctor said, would be followed that
evening by a visit from himself to his guardian.

A walk of five long miles lay before Allan, a task for
which he felt scarcely equal; but nothing would have
tempted him to breathe the truth to the Doctor. And
TRUST AND SUSPICION. 253

when once he had started, the fresh, bright air seemed to
invigorate him, and he arrived at his journey’s end without
a recurrence of the strange pain which had come upon him
so often within the last day or two. But he was very tired,
—so tired that he felt he must look white and jaded ; and
he paused at a few rods from the Parsonage gate to rest
a while, for he did not want to startle them with his pallid
face.

It was a pleasant picture that met his eye as he stood
there leaning against a fence on the opposite side of the
road. The little brown Parsonage embowered in the horse-
chestnut trees, with the sunlight flashing on all its window- -
panes, looked like a gold-stone set in green and white
mosaic; while the clear sky, overarching all, formed a
second setting of blue enamel. And the prettiest bit of
colouring in all the sweet picture was the gentle-looking
woman sitting in that window, with the lace curtain falling
around her like a veil, her head bent over her sewing, and
the soft ripple of her voice, as she warbled out the music of
an old hymn, coming to him as he watched her,

“ Dear Aunt Carrie!”

There was no tie of relationship between them save that
which makes some women kin to all on whom their sweet
influence falls ; but he had always called her by the name
since that first night on which he had come, a perfect
stranger, to her home; brought by her husband, to whose
care he had been left by his dying father, an old friend of
Mr Leonard’s. &

She had been a beauty once, report said; and certainly
with those silvery bands of hair laid back from the smooth,
fair brow, with those bright, dark eyes which seemed always
looking yearningly out to see what sunlight they could shed
on a world full of shadows, and those full red lips which
were ever breaking into happy song, the mistress of Graydon
Parsonage was something more than a beauty now.


254 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

The very room in which she sat was full of sweet memorieg
to him. As he stood waiting there, he recalled it as he had
seen it on the night of his arrival; the bright wood fire
blazing on the near throwing a ‘ruddy glow over the
oictures on the walls, and flinging fantastic shadows on the
dark wainscoting ; the neat, orderly room where everything
looked easy and cosily comfortable, yet where everything
was in its proper place, for there were no darling, disarrang-
ing little hands in the old Parsonage. Nearly thirty years
ago, a sunny little head had been laid to rest in Graydon
churchyard ; yet the mother talked of her “baby” still.
What if the violets had blossomed over the tiny grave for
nearly thirty spring-times ; what if it were so many long,
long years since she folded the little snowy dresses, and laid
away the small socks which should never cover dancing feet
again ; was he not her “baby” still? There had been no
sorrow nor pain for him in all those long years ; the smooth,
fair brow had not been wrinkled with the cares of manhood ;
the soft, clear eyes had not grown serious and grave with
thought and anxiety ; she had laid him in the Master’s tender
arms, ‘a little child,” when He had called him, and

‘f They measure not by months and years,
Where he had gone to dwell.”

And then the boy thought of the greeting he had received.

How the dimly-seen figure sitting in the window, with her

work-table beside her, but with her hands folded idly in her “«
_ lap, singing softly in the gloaming, had come quickly forward
*’ to meet him. How she had taken his face between her

hands and kissed his forehead ; and then had drawn him to
the fire, and held his cold fingers in her own warm grasp,
and talked gently of his journey and other trivial matters,
until he went up to his room ; and then how she had come
to him when he had laid his tired, aching head upon the
pillow, and, kneeling beside his bed, had laid her hand
tenderly on his forehead, as she said, ‘So you have come


TRUST AND SUSPICION. 955

to Graydon to be my boy, Allan. Many, many years ago,
my only little one went up to the far-off land to which your
dear father and mother have just gone. They have gone to
my child, and their child has come to me, I will love him
very dearly for my baby’s sake, and he will love me for his
mother’s sake.” He had laid his head upon her breast
without a word; but from that night she had stood next to
his mother in his heart’s love.

For full fifteen minutes, he had been leaning against the
fence, thinking over all this, when suddenly she turned her
head and saw him. In an instant her work was thrown
aside, and although he went quickly to meet her, she ran so
swiftly that she reached the gate before him.

“Allan, my dear boy, what is it? Have you been sent
home sick?” and taking both his hands in hers, she looked
anxiously in his face.

‘““T have been sent home, Aunt Carrie, but not sick,” he
said, with an effort to speak cheerily.

“But you are sick. I see it in your face, child. And
sent home, you say. What do you mean ?”

‘IT have been sent home in disgrace; but I declare to
you, auntie, it is on a false charge. You must trust me,
whoever else doubts me. You will believe what I say,
Aunt Carrie ; no matter how much circumstances tell against
me, won't you?” |

“Certainly I will, my boy,” she said, bending to kiss the
earnest face. ‘‘ But come in, and tell me all about it, How
came ‘old Al,’” and she smiled as she quoted his school-
name,—“ how came ‘ old Al,’ sucha steady old man as he, to
have any serious charge laid at his door?”

~ “Come in, and I will tell you all I know,” he said, “ but
that is very little. There is Mr Leonard at the window.”

“Why, Allan Haywood, what brings you home at this
time?” said the minister, hurrying down the walk to meet
them.
256 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“This will tell you more than I can,” said Allan, handing
to him Dr Drayton’s letter. ‘‘ But, Mr Leonard,” and he
grasped his hand almost painfully, ‘“ don’t condemn me
unheard as he has done.”

“Don’t fear, my boy,” he answered, kindly ; and sitting
down upon the step of the piazza, he opened the Doctor’s
note, while Allan and Mrs Leonard passed on into the house,

Allan was not long in telling his story, and he was just
drawing to its close when Mr Leonard came in with the
open letter in his hand.

“ This is a strange thing, Allan,” he said ; “some one has
been using you most shamefully.”

“He has been telling me the story,” said Mrs Leonard,
“And it seems to me, Horace, that Dr Drayton might have
seen very easily that the plot has been rather against Allan,
than against Professor Bentley.”

. So it strikes me,” said her husband. “ But read that
letter, Allan, and see how well the Doctor’s version agrees
with yours.”

The boy took the letter and read it. It gave a perfectly
correct statement of all the facts as they had occurred,
although, of course, Dr Drayton’s firm conviction that
he was the guilty party threw its colouring over the whole
recital. |

‘“‘T can find no fault with that, sir,” he said, handing it —
to Mrs Leonard. “Any one can see from it that he con-
siders me guilty ; but as facts seem to prove that, I cannot
blame him. I think his injustice lies in expelling me from
the school until such time as I can prove my innocence,
_ when its proofs must, of course, be obtained in the school.
He is very much attached to Professor Bentley ; and I sup-
pose that his indignation has led him to this hasty course,
for it is very unlike him.”

‘“* Do you suspect any one, Allan?”

“Not fairly, Mr Leonard. I have a suspicion in my
TRUST AND SUSPICION. 257

own mind, but it is too entirely without foundation for me
to speak of it.”

‘“‘ Even to us?” said Mrs Leonard. :

“Yes, Aunt Carrie, even to you; for if I am not right, I
should be doing some one a terrible wrong in breathing a
suspicion of his having done such a miserably wicked deed.”

No answer was made to this, and after a moment’s
silence, Allan said—

“T want to send a note to Ned Churchill. Is Martin
going up to the village ?”

“Yes; there he comes now with the waggon. JI will call
to him to wait;” and Mr Leonard went out to stop the
man, while Allan wrote his few hurried lines.

‘Why don’t you lie down there for a little while?” said
Mrs Leonard, as he leaned wearily back upon the sofa after
giving his note to Martin. ‘ You look completely tired
out,”

“I felt so before I saw you,” said Allan; “but I am
nearly rested now. I wish I could tell you, Aunt Carrie,
how much good you and Mr Leonard have done me. I
was sure that I could convince you that it was all false :
but I did not expect such perfectly unquestioning con-
fidence.”

“You might have expected it, my boy,” she said, as she
arranged the sofa pillows more easily for him; “for you
know that we never have had cause to doubt your word.”

And as she sat beside him after he had fallen into a
heavy sleep, she wondered how any one could doubt that
honest, open face, which even in his sleep seemed to give
the lie to the unworthy accusation.

The evening brought Dr Drayton, as he had promised
He had a long talk with Mr Leonard, in which the latter
did his best to convince him of Allan’s innocence; but the
Doctor was not to be persuaded by anything short of abso-
lute proof, and as that was not in Mr Leonard’s possession,

R
258 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

he made but little impression upon him. He listened
respectfully to all that the minister had to say; but when
all was said and done, his opinion was evidently unaltered,
Of one point, however, Mr Leonard did sueceed in con-
vincing him, and that was, if Allan were not in fault, the
guilty person had done even worse than he was accused of
doing ; and that, in his absence from school, the boy could
not have the faintest hope of discovering his enemy.

“That is so,” said the Doctor, in his grave, passionless
manner, when Mr Leonard had at last forced him to allow
that he had been too hasty in his punishment of the sus-
pected boy. ‘What should you advise to be done in the
case, Mr Leonard? You would not counsel his re-admis-
sion into the school ?”

“TI should most certainly advise it, if I thought he would
return,” said Mr Leonard, warmly. “If we have been
over hasty in our condemnation, we ought not to be over
slow to acknowledge it. But it would be a very trying
thing for Allan to go back now. His position would be a
terrible one for such a sensitive boy as he. Nevertheless,
if you will consent, I shall do all I can to influence him to
return to the Hall, for I consider that his only chance of
righting himself. Have I your permission to propose it?”

“T must ask for a little time for reflection,” said the
Doctor. “I wish to be just; but I cannot, as yet, see the
slightest reason to alter my judgment. ‘You shall hear
from me to-morrow evening ;” and, with a very stiff bow,
the Doctor left the house, feeling more uncomfortable than
he would have cared to confess; for, cold and stern as he
was, he was most sincere in his desire to deal fairly and

justly by his scholars,
PATIENT WAITING. 259

CHAPTER VII.
PATIENT WAITING.

TuE question of Allan’s return to school was not left either
to his own decision or to that of Dr Drayton. He had quitted
the library quite early that evening, saying that he was
very tired, and had been but a few moments gone, when a
sharp cry startled both Mr and Mrs Leonard, and made
them run quickly into the hall. Allan was sitting on the
stairs with his handkerchief held to his mouth, bending over
as if cramped with pain. It needed but one glance to tell
them what had caused the cry which had brought them to
him ; for a dark, crimson stream was staining the white
handkerchief, and as they reached him the boy sank back
fainting on the stairs.

“T knew how it must end,” said the doctor, as an hour
later he stood beside the bed to which Allan had been car-
ried ; “but I did not think things had come to such a
serious pass as this, Has he been exerting himself beyond
his strength, or been under violent excitement ?”

“He has been much excited all day,” said Mr Leonard,
“owing to a difficulty with Dr Drayton in school; but I
don’t know that he has made any undue exertion, except
that he walked over from the hall this afternoon; and he
has often done that.”

Allan had been forbidden to speak, but the doctor saw
something in his face which made him say, “If you have
sufiered any heavy strain, lift your hand.”

The hand was lifted, and then fell slowly back upon the
bed.

“T thought as much,” said Dr Buford ; “ but we will have
him all right again soon, This is a mere temporary affair,
and with such care as Mrs Leonard will give him, he will be
_ out again in a day or two. But I would give up school for
260 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

the summer, my boy. That comes hard, does it?” he
went on, noticing the pained, distressed look which came
upon Allan’s face. ‘“ Well, we will see. If you make
haste to grow strong, I will let you go to work again.”

“Ts he fond of study?” asked the physician, as he fol-
lowed Mr Leonard into the library when he had left Allan.
‘He looked so very unhappy when I spoke of his leaving
school, that I was sorry I had made the suggestion.”

“No; heis not remarkably studious ; but he has had a
somewhat rough experience there, poor fellow!” And the
minister went on to give the story of the morning.

‘“ But how came he to be so unwilling to let them handle
the book containing the paper?” asked the doctor, on
whose impartial mind the suspicious circumstances of the
occurrence had their effect.

“ Because it contained some lines written by himself,
What they were I do not know; but he has quite a talent
for poetry, of which he is exceedingly ashamed. Even I
have seen only one or two of his pieces, and those under
protest. It seems that on Saturday, something had occurred
which suggested these lines, and he wrote them off, and laid
them in an Euripides which he was using at the time in
preparing his lessons for Monday. The extra task which
Dr Drayton imposed upon him hurried him very much;
and in that way, I suppose, he forgot to put his own com-
position in some more private place. At any rate, it was
still lying in the book when Mr Acton examined it; and
Allan supposed that it was this paper which Dr Devin
requested him to read to the school. If you had any idea
of the boy’s exceeding reticence and shyness with regard to
his poetic effusions, you would not wonder at his being com-
pletely overcome with embarrassment and annoyance at the
idea of a private paper being subjected to the criticism of
such good-hearted but somewhat unmerciful judges as any
body of schoolboys would prove. No, no; our boy is
PATIENT WAITING. 261:

innocent in this affair; and if you could hear him tell his
story, you would be as sure of it as we are.”

“T dare say,” said Dr Buford. “It seems strange indeed
to think of Allan as guilty of such an outrageous trick.”

“But as to the boy himself, doctor? Is this hemorr-
hage from his lungs ?”

‘‘T fear it is, Mr Leonard. I must let you into his secret,
now that it isof no use to keepit. He came to me on Satur-
day, and asked me to examine his chest, saying he was quite
sure his respiration was seriously impeded from some cause.
I did so, and found reason to fear that his lungs were in a very
bad state ; but as I had lent my stethoscope to a neighbour-
ing physician, I was unable to make a thorough examination ;
and be engaged to come to me next Saturday for a more in-
telligent verdict as to his condition. He bound me by a
promise not to speak of his visit, which I gave on condition
of his giving a counterpromise that he would himself tell
you what I had to say after next Saturday’s examination by
the stethoscope. He did not want to worry you, he said,
with any useless fears. But for himself, he pinned me
down closely to an answer, and I was forced to confess that
his chance for a long life was very small. With good care,
however, he will rally from this attack, You must keep him
cheerful, and try to banish this unhappy affair from his mind
as much as possible.”

“That will be a very difficult matter, doctor; for it hag
wounded him most deeply,” said Mr Leonard, sadly. “ But
we will do all we can. We have always been very anxious lest
he should have inherited this from his father ; but he never
even whispered a suspicion of his failing health or strength,
and, although he has always been a delicate-looking boy, he
seemed as well as usual.”

‘‘I know it. I was greatly surprised when he confided
to me how far the trouble had progressed, but even then I
did not anticipate such a sudden change as this. He hag
262 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

probably had some strain, perhaps a fall, or something of
the kind; and that, added to the excitement of this ac-
cusation has prostrated him. I will call early in the morn-
ing ;” and the doctor took his leave.

To Ned Churchill, that week of anxiety passed on slowly
enough. The rules of the Hall, with regard to leaving the
institution on any day but Saturday, were most stringent ;
and though Mary kept him constantly informed of Allan’s
returning strength, he longed so much to see him, and as-
sure him with his own lips of his unshaken faith and trust,
that it seemed as if he could not wait for that far-off Satur-
day. But at last it dawned ; and as soon as breakfast was
over he mounted his horse, which Thomas had brought over
for him, and rode away to the Parsonage before going home.

A low whistle greeted him, as he threw himself from his
horse at the gate. Looking up, he saw Allan at the win-
dow, and in another minute he was in his room. “TI knew
you would come to-day,” Allan said ; “but I did not hope
it would be so early. What will Mary say ?”

“Oh! I have seen Mary every day this week. But how
are you, old fellow? Pretty jolly 2”

“Very jolly since I have seen you,” said Allan, smiling,
holding both Ned’s hands tightly in his, as if he were afraid
he would escape him. “But sit right down here and tell me
all about things at the Hall. Are they any better? What
do the boys think now 2?”

“They are all delighted that you put Bentley down at
last,” said Ned, purposely misunderstanding him ; for Mrs
Leonard had stopped him, as he sprang up the stairs, to
warn him not to talk of the parody affair any more than he
could help.

“That is not what I mean,” said Allan, quietly. “Iam
very sorry that I had to do it; but when Bentley went so
far, I had to put him out of my path in some way. But as
to the other thing,—what do the boys say ?”
PATIENT WAITING. — 263

‘Tt was a hard question to answer, with those anxious eyes
watching him so intently. |

‘Oh, some of the stupids think it was your doing,” he
said, as carelessly as he could; “but you needn’t care for —
what they think. Little Charlie is strong on your side, He
fights for you like a Trojan,”

“Bentley, of course, is against 1 not Bentley !”
he asked, catching a curious expression on Ned’s face.
‘Does he think I am innocent?”

‘“‘T have not heard him say,” replied Churchill, evasively.
“But he has some Benn if he is a crabbed old stick ; so
he must believe you.”

‘¢ And Bronson, Austin, and the rest of our set?”

Against him, every one of them. What could the boy
say? He did not need to say anything, for Allan saw his
answer in his face.

‘ All doubtful, at least,” he said, with a little tremor in
his voice. ‘Don’t think me a fool, Ned. I wouldn’t
mind so much if it were only the dons who mistrusted me ;
but I can’t bear to have the fellows think me guilty. It
would be bad enough to have them suspect me of such a
mean trick as that was; but to have them think me such a
liar! Oh! why can I not go back and search the thing out ?”

“Don’t, Al! don't,’ said Ned, pleadingly, as Haywood
started up from his chair. ‘Sit down,.old boy. The
thing shall be searched out, I promise you. Well be all
right yet, Al. Only wait a while.”

“« strength,” said a soft voice just behind them; and Mrs —
Leonard, who had entered the room, came forward, and laid
her hand upon Allan’s shoulder. “I have heard only
Ned’s last words,” she said ; “ but I know what you must
have been talking of. This will not do for you, dear boy.
I thought that you had resolved to ‘commit your way unto
the Lord, trusting to Him to bring it to pass.’”
264 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“Thad made up my mind to that,” he answered, more
gently. ‘But sometimes it almost seems as if I could not
stand it. But I will try, Aunt Carrie. We won’t talk of
the doubters any more, Ned,” he went on, as Mrs Leonard
left them alone again. ‘ We will talk about little Charlie,
who, I do believe, would hold fast by me through any and
every trouble. He had been with me on Monday morning,
just before you came in, assuring me, with that earnest
little face of his pressed close to my shoulder, that there was
one boy in school who would never call me ‘meek,’ and
that was Charlie Grant.”

“They will none of them be likely to call you that again,
after your encounter with the Doctor,” said Ned.

“Tam not glad of that,” said Allan, slowly. “ As I told
Charlie, I can see no reason to be ashamed of such a
character ; and if the boys understand that term as I under-
stand it, I shall be sorry that I have done anything to make
them think me underserving of it.”

“What a strange boy you are, Allan!”

“In what way?” asked Allan, quietly.

“You are so brave. I am coming to think,” he went on,
comprehending at once Allan’s quick look, “that you have
been braver in your strong, patient resistance of the Opinion
of the whole school, than you would be in attempting
to walk up the face of Eagle Rock on a stormy night. But
I must confess I do not understand you. Your temper is
as quick as mine ; your enjoyment of the fellows’ good-will
quite as great; and yet you keep control of the one, and
set at nought the other, as if you were the tamest and most
indifferent fellow that ever lived.”

“I do love popularity, Ned ; and I knew that my efforts
to bear patiently with Bentley would not do much toward
gaining it forme. But He whom I love, and whom I want
to serve, loved those who strove to walk peaceably with all
men, and gave them a promise that they should ‘inherit the
PATIENT WAITING. 265

earth. By that promise, I understand that He will give
them that for which they long to do battle ; that if they will
bide His time, bearing all reproach and contempt, rather
than right themselves by. any unholy means, He will make
their cause clear as the noonday.”

“Then you mean to wait, and not to lift a finger in your
own defence ?”

“No: I mean to use my whole strength in my own de-
fence. Christ never meant us to sit down idly, and let the
world crush us at its pleasure. He did not intend that
Christian men should have no rights; but He did intend
that those rights should be maintained in a spirit of gentle-
ness and kindness. When Bentley took my property out of
my hands, and forcibly placed himself in the way of my
duty, I think I did exactly what I should have done in put-
ting him out of my path; but I had no right to do anything
more. If he had struck me, I hope I should have done no
more than I did. In this other matter, I shall do my all to
clear myself; but if, for that end, I must use any ungenerous
means, I shall try to leave it wholly in God’s hands, and bear
the shame as best I may. I shall be righted some day.”

‘And you are content to wait?”

‘‘T have a strong promise on which to build content,” he
answered, smiling ; ‘“‘and I must try to make my building
as strong as its foundation-stone,”

‘And have you any clue on which to work?”

“Yes; I have one clue, but it is too slight for me to
speak of, even to you. I cannot clear myself by throwing
suspicion on another, unless I know that he is guilty.”

The two boys looked at one another in silence, each know-
ing full well the thought that lay in the other’s mind. After
a while, Allan said, colouring deeply as he asked the ques.
tion, “ Did you find my papers 2?” | |

“Yes, but not in your book, They were on the floor,
underneath your desk.”
266 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

‘Dropped for the third time, eh? I shall take care how
I make a portfolio of a book again. My inveterate care-
lessness has been a sad fault for me this time. This will be
a, lesson for my life.”

Ned handed him the papers; and, after glancing hastily
over them, Allan was laying them aside, when a thought
seemed to strike him.

“Ned,” he said, “these lines were never meant for any
eyes but mine; but I think that it may happen that your
having seen them may be of use tome. Last Saturday, I
took the advice which you have been giving me for so long,
and went to see Dr Buford. Don’t be startled. He only told
me what I felt sure of before; and that was, that I was not
likely to live to be an old man.” |

Ned did not answer, simply because he dared not; but
Allan felt the arm upon which he had laid his hand tremble
beneath his touch.

“Jt 1s nothing much, Ned, only the thoughts that came
into my mind after my talk with the doctor; but when you
have read them, you will not wonder that, thinking this was
the paper which Dr Drayton had given me, I refused to read
it before the school.”

Ned took the paper, and turning a little aside from Allan,
read it.

THE MASTER’S CALL.
They tell me a solemn story, but it is not sad to me,
For in its sweet unfolding my Saviour’s love I see.

They say that at any moment, the Lord of Life may come,
To lift me up from this cloud-land, into the light of home.

They say I may have no warning, I may not even hear

The rustling of His garments as He softly draweth near,
Suddenly—in a moment—upon my ear may fall

The summons to leave our homestead, to answer the Master’s call.

Perhaps He will come in the noon-tide of some bright and sunny day,
When, with dear ones all around me, my life seems bright and gay ;
PATIENT WAITING. 267

Pleasant must be the pathway, easy the shining road,
Up from this dimmer sunlight into the light of God.

Perhaps He will come in the stillness of the mild and quiet night,

When the earth is calmly sleeping neath the moonbeam’s silvery
light,

When the stars are softly shining o’er slumbering land and sea,—

Perhaps, in that holy stillness, the Master will come for me.

I think I would rather hear it—that voice so low and sweet—
Calling me out from the shadows, my blessed Lord to meet,
Up through the glowing splendours of a starry, earthly night,
To “see the King in His beauty” in a land of purer light.

It seemed to Allan a long while before Ned turned toward
him again. When he did, it was to lay his hands upon his
shoulders, and looking full in his face to say—

‘Allan Haywood, last Monday morning I called you a
coward. I believe that is the first lie my lips have ever
spoken. To-day, I tell you, as I shall tell all who know
you, that you are the bravest fellow Edward Churchill has
ever seen.” .

“Thank you,” said Allan, earnestly, “That has done
me more good than all the medicine in the land could have
done.”

It really seemed so; for when Mrs Leonard came up to
his room, shortly after Ned had left it, she noticed at once
a change for the better in his tell-tale face.

“Ned's visit has done you good,” she said. “One can
see that at the first glance. What has he been doing to
brighten you up so much 2” | .

‘Trusting me, that is all; but it is, enough,” was Allan’s
answer. “If they all would do that until I have a chance
to defend myself, I could be patient with this weakness.”

But all did not do that; and Allan was made to feel day
by day that even his nearest friends were at least doubtful
of his innocence, Laurence Bronson, Frank Austin, and
some others, came to see him, and were kind and friendly
268 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

in their manner; but none of them made any allusion to
his trouble, and Allan, feeling sure that if they had trusted
him they would have given him the support and comfort of
their sympathy, was as silent on the subject as they.

Another circumstance had occurred which seemed to add
a link to the chain of evidence which was forging itself
against him. On his return from the Parsonage on Monday
evening, Dr Drayton had sent for Allan’s Euripides in order
to ascertain for himself whether the boy had been correct in
telling Mr Leonard that the book contained some lines of
his own. Of course, he did not find them ; and the boys of
his class were called into the study, and asked, one by one,
if they knew anything of the missing papers. Edward
Churchill promptly acknowledged their possession, hoping
thereby to silence all farther questionings ; but the Doctor
was not so easily satisfied.

“Did you find them in this book?” he asked, lifting the
Euripides from the table beside him.

“No, sir, His note told me they were lying in it, but I
found them on the floor beneath his desk. They must have
been dropped there.”

‘“Humph !” said the Doctor. ‘Young gentlemen, can
any of you throw any light on this painful subject? Bron-
son, you are much in Haywood’s company. Can you give
me any help? Can you assure me that you, for one, have
no reason to suspect him, other than the occurrences which
took place before me in the schoolroom 2?”

Laurence hesitated. Edward gave him a quick, impatient
look, which, unfortunately, the Doctor caught.

“‘T will have no collusion here,” he exclaimed, angrily.
“J must come to the truth of this matter. Bronson, answer
my question, Yes or no?”

- That paper, with the one word “ Parody ” written on it,
danced before Bronson’s troubled eyes ; but not for worlds
would he have said a word to injure Allan.
PATIENT WAITING, 269

“TI cannot answer,” he said, at length. “I am in the
dark.”

“ And the darkness in which you stand has thrown ano-
ther shadow over Haywood,” said the Doctor. ‘You would
have done as well to have answered simply, ‘No.’ The
class is dismissed.”

They passed quietly out, the conviction fixed on almost
every mind that Allan was guilty, and that Churchill and
Bronson were in some way cognisant of his misdemeanour.

So day after day passed on, and week after week. Allan’s
spirits, at first hopeful and bright, began to flag and sink
beneath the weight of suspicion against which he was power-
Jess to contend. Dr Buford saw, with disappointment, that
he did not rally as he had hoped he would do from his
attack. He regained sufficient strength to ride out, and
even to walk for a short distance ; but there he seemed to
pause,

“It is all this miserable affair at the Hall which is keep-
ing him back,” said the doctor to Mr Leonard one afternoon.
“Suppose you take him away for a few weeks?”

“No,” said Allan, who had entered the room and caught
the last words. “If you are talking of me, I cannot leave
Graydon until I have cleared myself of this charge. It
would do me no good, Don’t order me away with this rope
about my neck, doctor. It is this which is choking me,
and the knot can be untied only here.”

‘Well, perhaps you are right,” said the doctor. “ But it
seems a hard knot to unravel.”

“Yes; but it will be unravelled in time,” said Allan ;
“and I will try to wait patiently.”

And so he did wait, and wait in patience too. But it was
weary work,—work that took the brightness from his eyes,
and the colour from cheek and lip.
270 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

CHAPTER VIII.

BEN THOMPSON.

THE effect, even on Allan’s life, of the circumstances con-
nected with his expulsion from school, was scarcely less
marked than that produced upon Edward Churchill. week after week passed on, and nothing was discovered, his
bright and cheerful face grew more and more dark and
clouded, and his whole manner and disposition seemed to be
growing gloomy and morose. Even Laurence Bronson and
Frank Austin, his sworn allies, could do nothing to draw
him out of his reserve and depression. They did not believe
fully and entirely in Allan’s innocence; and so, feeling
injured, impatient, and angry on his account, he “ left them
to their folly,” to use his own words. Poor fellow ! if there
had only been something, however little, that he could have
done, it would not have been so bad ; but to sit patiently
down and wait, was something which was quite out of char-
acter in Ned’s case. very sense was perfectly on the alert
to discover some clite, however trifling, which might tend
towards the explanation of the strange mystery ; but eye and
ear, and all else, were alike baffled so far. No watchfulness
or care had brought him a single step farther than he had
been on the day of Allan’s disgrace.

Meantime, Allan was failing very fast; and the doctor's
orders that he should be taken from the scene of his trouble
were now imperative. It was the first week in June ; and
the boy, in spite of his extreme unwillingness, was to leave
home some time during the next week. He had confided hig
anxiety to Ned, saying that he knew he would only be the
worse for the journey ; and Churchill was almost in despair,
for he loved Allan as if he were his own brother. |

It was Saturday; and determining suddenly, when on his
way home, that he would go over to the Parsonage and urge
BEN THOMPSON, 271

one more plea against the journey, begging Mr Leonard to
postpone it, at least, for another week, he sent Thomas back
with his horse, saying that he preferred to walk. Turning
off from the road, he took a side-path leading through the
woods, which would shorten his walk to the Parsonage by
two miles, at least.

But he had scarcely taken more than a step or two in this
new direction, when he again altered his course ; for coming
down the narrow pathway directly towards him, walking with
slow step and bent head, he saw Arthur Bentley. In his
present mood, there was no one in the world whom he would -
less gladly meet. The path was so narrow that one must
stand aside for the other to pass, and, of course, words of
one kind or another, must be spoken between them, To
speak courteously to him was out of the question for Ned
at that moment, and he turned into the bushes, not having
been noticed by Bentley, intending to wait until he should
have passed by, and then go on his way.

Bentley came slowly on. Forsome weeks he had seemed
to avoid his companions more than ever; and Ned, who ~
watched him closely, had seen him, more than once, walking
alone in this absorbed, preoccupied manner ; and suspicions,
already aroused, were not allayed by his appearance. That
something was weighing heavily on his mind, no one who
saw him could doubt; and Ned felt morally sure that he
knew what that something was. As he stood looking at
him, completely hidden by the thick shrubbery, he heard
another step following Bentley’s, and the next moment a
rough voice, close at Arthur’s side, said, “Mr Bentley, hold
up a minute.”

“What a guilty start!” thought Ned, as Arthur, turning
quickly, faced the speaker.

But it did not need that one should of necessity be guilty
of crime because he started at being suddenly addressed by
such an ill-looking fellow as the boy whom Arthur now con:
re ALLAN HAYWOOD.

fronted, They both knew him well; for he had served as
stable-boy at the Hall, and had been dismissed for dishonesty
some weeks before. |

“What do you want of me, Ben?” asked Arthur, sharply,
*T am in a hurry.” |

‘““Didn’t seem so,” said Ben, with a low, ugly laugh,
‘Was taking things pretty slow I thought. Anything on
your mind, Mr B. ?”

Bentley’s face grew red with passion, then paled again,
perhaps with terror, but he answered, hotly, “ You wili do
well to behave yourself, Ben Thompson, or you may be
called up for theft yet.”

The fellow laughed again, more insolently than before ;
and Ned wished most heartily that he were out of his hiding-
place. : :

“Perhaps I mighé be called up, sir, and then perhaps I
mightn’t. There’s worse things done in the world, Mr Bentley,
than taking a few oats from a rich man. We all know what’s
gone on in the Hall, and some of us knows more than the
rest. There ’s a Drayton boy, sir, as lies a dyin’ with the
blame of another feller’s doin’s fixed on him. I wonder how
that other feller feels, Mr Bentley ?”

Arthur turned white under the gaze of those half-shut,
squinting eyes; and he answered, more wrathfully than
before, “ What do I care for your wonder? Let me pass
you : I will not be kept here ;” and he attempted to push
past him, but Ben threw himself still more effectually in his
path.

“Perhaps you ‘ll cate more when you see this ;’ and he
held a crumpled paper towards him. With a cry, Arthur
sprang to catchit ; but his adversary was too quick for him.

“No, no, sir. Not yet,” he said, tauntingly, holding it
behind him ; but he did not know his foe,

In a moment, Arthur had thrown himself upon him, borne
him to the ground, and wrested the paper from his grasp.
eres ee



im,
iled

ais
ac
Vv
a)
BS
Qs
a
Kena
O
2S
=
S&S
Ua
oc
Se
Co OL MN
oshk
oe.
SoG
ea 4)
wee
3%
ona
-2 Bo,
5°83
ded om
2S
3 £0
53>
Oe
58s
to 0
OU S
3 ne
r=
2
ee
>
y=)
mo)
Cc =
ge 6
25 &
ok
C5

t
BEN THOMPSON. 973 «

At the same time, Ned, unable longer to bear the position of
a spy, came out and stood on the pathway beside them ; but
neither of the two combatants saw him. | |

“Have you any other papers?” asked Arthur, in a low,
fierce whisper. Nota threat did he utter ; but the coward who
lay beneath him, terrified by his sudden overthrow, saw enough
in his face, and he quailed before him, frightened as a child.

“Yes, yes,” he gasped ; only let me up, and I will tell
you. I only wanted to make a little something out of them,
Mr Bentley. Say you'll give me a dollar, and I'll give
‘em up. I found ’em here in this very path the day the
Doctor raised all the fuss.”

Yes: he remembered it well. How he had gone out to

destroy the packet of papers, and, on coming to the water
in which he had meant to sink them, had found the packet
gone. He remembered it all. His sickening terror, his
search, and then the certainty which had gradually grown
upon him that they had been irrecoverably lost.
But Ben knew nothing of all this. He saw nothing but
' the colourless dark face above him, heard nothing but—
‘“Where are the others?” asked in a tone of concentrated
fury, which fairly made him quake with terror. _ |

“At home. OMr Bentley! let me up. I’l bring them
to you, every one.”

Bentley did not fear but that he would keep his word, for
the craven face was absolutely abject in its fear ; but he
added the one inducement which, as he knew, would have
weight with the covetous boy. —

“Go and get them at once. If you bring them to me —
untouched, I will give you two dollars, Here, on the spot.
You promise ?” Pe

“T promise.” | )

Bentley released him from the tight grasp in which he had
held him all through, and, rising to his feet, allowed him to
rise in his turn. . .

»

‘ ,
274 ALLAN HAYWOOD,

“Now go,” he said, “and I will wait until you come
back. Be quick ;” and he watched him as he slunk off,
with unutterable contempt written on every feature of his
face.

But, after all, what was there to choose between the two ?
The one, stalwart, strong, and handsome,—the other, small,
weak, and evil in look; but the same mean, pitiful spirit
dwelt j in both.

“You do well to look scornfully after that wretch, Arthur
Bentley. But how do you suppose Drayton boys will look
at you?” |

If a voice had sounded from the sky, Arthur Bentley
could not have been more utterly appalled. He had thought
himself entirely alone, and turned to find Ned Churchill
close at his side. Not another word was spoken. For a
moment, the two boys stood and gazed at one another,—
fierce determination in the one face, utter desperation in the
other. The next moment, Arthur had sprung like a tiger
upon Ned.

But he had no cowardly Ben Thompson to deal with now.
Ned’s natural strength was nearly equal to his own; and
Ned was fresh, while he was in part exhausted by his effort
to control Ben’s struggles. They went down together, but
Ned was uppermost. |

“Bentley,” he said, with great effort forcing himself to
speak quietly, “promise on your honour that those papers
shall be given by Ben to me, and I will let you up. If not,
you lie here until I can obtain help. Will you promise ? ”

‘“No!” came the answer, sharp and loud. Ned’s reply
was a long, shrill, piercing eall.

Little Charlie Grant, coming singing down the main road,
heard it, but could not tell whence it came. He tried to
imitate it, and succeeded so well that Ned heard him, and
calling again and again, guided him to the spot.

The child stood still in utter bewilderment, as, dashing
BEN THOMPSON, 275

into the pathway in wondering haste, he saw Bentley
stretched upon the ground, and Ned holding him down.

“Why, Churchill!” he exclaimed. ‘‘T'wo seniors! What
will Dr Drayton say ?” |

“Hush, Charlie. Do just as I tell you, and we’ll save
Allan yet. Don’t stop to question, but rush down to old
Jacob Thompson’s, and tell him to keep Ben a prisoner at
home until I come; and don’t let him destroy any papers.
Yell him Allan Haywood’s life depends on it. Fly now,
little fleet-foot. Mr Acton has gone to the village. If you
meet him, send him here.”

Not an instant did Charlie wait for question or parley.
Allan—his beloved Allan—might yet be saved; and he might
aid in the work. Surely those little feet, renowned in the
school for their swiftness, never flew over the ground so
rapidly as they did on that bright June morning. Only
once they paused. Meeting Mr Acton near the village, he
stopped, and directing him to the spot where he had left
Ned, told him simply that he was needed there, and rushed off
again on his errand. He was just in time. As he burst
into Jacob Thompson’s cobbler-shop, Ben was leaving it. The
little fellow put out his hand to stop him, for he was fairly
breathless,

“ My father’s in the shop. Hell attend to you,” said
Ben, gruffly, trying to pass him.

“ [—don’t—want—your—father.—Stop—a minute.”

“IT can’t wait: I’m in a hurry,” said Ben ; and he tried
to drag away his sleeve, which Charlie was holding tightly.

‘“Whiat’s the matter here?” gaid the cobbler, coming out
from his shop, attracted by the noise, “In trouble again,
Ben?” and he looked anxiously from his son to Charlie’s
crimsoned face.

_ “OMrThompson!” gasped Charlie; “don’t let him 20.
Mr Churchill says to keep him here till he comes. It’s
something about Allan Haywood. I don’t know what.
Oh, keep him, keep him!” he entreated, for Ben’s arm wag
- 276 | ALLAN HAYWOOD.

forcing itself from his grasp. “Somehow Churchill expects
to clear Allan. Don’t let him go;” and the excited,
wearied child burst into an agony of crying.

“Go into the shop, Ben; and if I find you’ve had to do
with this business of Mr Haywood’s, you'll suffer for it,”
_ said his father, sternly. ‘“ And you, Master Grant, don’t
take on, but comein too. What’s it allabout? My boy’s
a bad boy, but I can’t believe he has had any hand in this
business. Somebody ’s played Mr Haywood a mean trick,
and a wicked one too; but what could my Ben have to do
with it ?”

“Ay; Id like to know?” asked Ben, roughly ; “ what
do you mean to turn on me for 2?”

“IT don’t know,” said Charlie, “ what it all means myself.
All I know is, that Churchill and Bentley have hada quarrel
over it, and that Churchill told me to rush over here to
keep Ben from leaving until he should come. And he told
me, Mr Thompson, to tell you that Haywood’s life might
depend on it, and ‘that you was to be sure not to let Ben
destroy the papers.” :

“What papers?” asked the father.

“T don’t know; that’s all he said. He was holding
Bentley down, and couldnt say much.”

‘Ben Thompson,” said his father, “ you’ve brought evil
enough on me already, but if you’ve had any hand in this
matter, it will go hard with you. If you have papers that
Mr Churchill wants, that’s any way connected with the
thing, you had best, for your own sake, give them up at
once. ‘The folks at the Manor House are the last people in
the world for us to anger, after all their kindness to us when
we were sick and poor. What have you got, boy, that Mr
Ned wants ?”

It was always Ben’s principle to be on the winning side.
He had given his promise to Arthur Bentley to deliver the
papers into his hand, but that was when he felt himself
completely in his power. Now it seemed Arthur was on the
BEN THOMPSON, DG

losing side of the battle, and his father’s face looked very
hard and severe. He hesitated, and in his hesitation his
father saw his guilt. |

“Give me the papers instantly !” he said, seizing him by
the shoulder.

“But Mr Bentley promised me two dollars tor them,”
whimpered the boy ; “and they’re his, anyway.”

“I don’t care whose they are. They’re his for no good
if he had to buy them from you, you young good-for-
nothing! Give them up, or I’ll search you on the spot.”

And so it happened that when Edward and Mr Acton
arrived at Thompson’s shop, their work was done for them.
Thompson handed Edward the packet of papers, beseeching
him to spare his son, if Haywood could be vindicated with-
out his punishment; and Edward promised ; “for, Mr
Ned,” said the honest man, “ I’ve always done my best, and
kept my name up, poor as I am.”

Dr Drayton was walking slowly up and down the length
of his study, deep in thought, when a loud rap at the door
startled him out of his reverie.

“Come in!” he said, and Mr Acton and Edward
Churchill answered the summons.

The Doctor looked somewhat surprised, for he was quite
aware that Ned had purposely avoided, so far as possible,
all intercourse with him since Allan’s dismissal from school,

“May I have ten minutes’ conversation with you, sir?”
asked Churchill ‘It is very important.”

“Certainly,” replied the Doctor, stiffly.

There was nothing very encouraging in his tone, but
Edward went on, unheeding—

“ There is a packet of papers, sir, belonging to Bentley of
our class. I do not know what they are; but they relate in
some way to Allan Haywood.”

“How did they come into your possession #” asked the
Doctor, coolly. .
278 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

Ned told him all that he knew, from the moment of his
leaving the Hall until that in which Thompson had given
the papers into his hand. Dr Drayton stood and listened
to him in silence, and when he had ended his story, asked
quietly, “ And this is all that you know about these papers?
You have not seen them, nor heard what they contain?”

“No, sir. I know nothing. I only believe.”

“You may have reason to suspect, but you have no right
to believe until you know more,” said the Doctor, “Send
both the Bentleys to me ; and you, Churchill, remain within
call,”

But when they had left the room, the Doctor sat suddenly
down, and, leaning his head on ae hands, almost groaned
out the mor ds, “ Oh, if I had but trusted him! Poor boy!
poor boy !’

For full two hours after he had conveyed Dr Drayton’s
message to the elder and younger Bentley, Edward Churchill
sat waiting in a little room adjoining the study, without
being summoned to confront the two brothers. He could
hear, from time to time, the sound of the Docter’s voice
through the partition wall, deep and stern, but never raised
to a loud key; and once he heard the voice of Professor
Bentley speaking passionately, whether to the Doctor or his
brother he could not tell. After a while, the door of the
study opened, and closed again, and some one—Arthur, he
thought—passed slowly through the hall, and up the stairs,
A few moments after, Dr Drayton’s heavy step crossed the
floor, traversed the hall, and came to the door of the room
in which he sat waiting. It paused there for a moment,
and when at length he entered the room, Edward wondered
if he had been forced to wait to recover composure, for the
expression of the Doctor’s face was Sy changed since
he had last seen it.

“Churchill,” he said, as the boy rose to meet him, “TI
have kept you waiting here unnecessarily. I had supposed
BEN THOMPSON. 279

that your evidence might be needed in this wretched case.
But I was mistaken. Bentley has confessed everything—
not in penitence, { fear; but the papers you placed in my
hands convicted him beyond a doubt, not only of having
written that parody, but of having forged Haywood’s hand-
writing in order to accomplish his expulsion from the
Hall. The packet contained the first rough draft of the
parody in Bentley’s own hand, corrected and revised, and
various other papers in which he had imitated Haywood’s
writing. Some of them were perfect imitations, fac-similes
of the writing in an old composition of Allan’s of which he
had gained possession.”

Edward stood and listened in silence, as the Doetor said
all this in a low, sad voice, whose gentleness told the depth
of his distress. As he had sat there waiting, he had ima-
gined to himself his interview with Dr Drayton after Bent-
ley’s conviction—for convicted he knew that he must be.
He had pictured his own triumphant bearing as his master
owned himself in error, and his proud assertion that he had
always known that Allan would be proved innocent. But
as he listened to the quiet voice, and looked up into the
troubled face, he felt anything but triumphant. He stood a
moment, wondering what he ought to do, and then spoke out
his sympathy by saying simply, “I am so sorry for you, sir.”

“Yes,” said the Doctor, in the same low tone. “ You
may well be sorry for me, my boy. There is no sadder
heart to-day in this village than mine. God grant that my ©
terrible mistake may not have shortened that poor boy’s
life.”

They stood together in silence again for some moments :
and then the Doctor said, laying his hand on Edward’
shoulder—

““T owe it to you, to make you the bearer of the good

tidings to Allan. Tell Sam to saddle my horse for you, and
ride over at once,” |
280 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

Edward hesitated. He longed to be the herald of such
glorious news, but—could it be that his feeling of some-
thing near akin to hatred of his master had changed so
entirely? Yes, it was so. In his intense pity for the man
whose heart was almost broken by the news which had been
such a perfect joy to him, he said, “Go over yourself, Dr
Drayton. It will be a comfort to you. I will see Allan
later.”

‘No: I hardly know whether it would be a comfort to
see him in the fulness of his first delight,” said the master.
“It would only show me how deep his grief has been. No:
you have been true to him all through, Churchill. Go to
him now, and tell him, if you can, how bitter my sorrow is.
I will see him towards evening.”

CHAPTER IX.
REPARATION,

ALAN Haywoop was lying on the couch in the sitting-
room, idly watching Mrs Leonard’s busy fingers as they
stitched rapidly away at her sewing, and listening as idly to
the music of her sweet voice, as she sang softly over her work.
He was supremely happy that afternoon, for Dr Buford had,
in the morning, given his consent to his remaining at home,
‘Simply because he is too far gone to be helped by the
change,” the doctor had said, in answer to Mr Leonard’s in-
quiries: “and we may as well let him have his own way during
the few weeks he has to live, if it be.any comfort to him.”
Allan knew he was worse, for he had seen the look of
anxiety in the doctor’s face when he had examined his lungs
that morning ; but even if he had heard the words spoken
REPARATION, | 281

to Mr and Mrs Leonard, taking from them the last remnant
of hope, he would have been just as content. So long as
he might remain at home, he was happy.

“Who is that ?” he asked, as the clatter of a horse’s hoofs
sounded on the road. ‘“ Some one is coming on the gallop.
Why, itis Ned! See how flushed and excited he looks,” he |
added, as his friend rode past the window to the door. “ And
on Dr Drayton’s horse too! O Aunt Carrie, something
must have happened !”

“Don’t do so, Allan dear,” said Mrs Leonard, laying her
hand on him, as he started up with flushed face and trem-
bling hands: ‘you are so on the watch for some news that
the least trifle destroys all your composure. Do wait, my
boy.”

“T think I have not much longer to wait, Aunt Carrie,”
he said, excitedly. “I am sure, quite sure, that Ned has
come with good news. Oh, there he is! Well, Ned?”

Ned had intended to enter very quietly and soberly, and
to begin his story very deliberately, slowly progressing by.
degrees to its climax; but that delighted, expectant face, the
outstretched hands, the joyous voice, scattered all his rhetoric
to the winds. He hesitated, then began to speak, and
hesitated again, looking helplessly at Mrs Leonard, afraid of
exciting Allan, and not knowing how to proceed.

“Tell me,” said Allan, quietly, his composure returning
instantly at sight of Ned’s confusion. “TI think I know all
about it. - Ned, am J cleared 2” :

“Yes,” said Ned, desperately: « fully and entirely
cleared! ” |

He did not spring up nor cry out. He only turned his
face to the pillow, and lay very still. Not a-word more wag
spoken for many minutes ; then he lifted his face, and laid
his hand on Ned’s, :

‘How did you do it?” he said, with a bright, happy
smile.
982 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“How do you know I did it at all?” said Ned, smiling
back at him. “ But it is a miserable story to tell,” he went
on, gravely. ‘‘ You have been most awfully treated, Allan ;
but I do believe I am as sorry for Dr Drayton as I am for
you.” And then he told him all the story.

“T knew it must come right,” said Allan, when Edward
eeased speaking. ‘‘ Poor Dr Drayton! Jar-seeing and per-
fectly just as he generally is, this must be very hard upon
him. And Bentley too! How the fellow must feel!”

‘“‘ Bentley indeed !” exclaimed Ned, indignantly. ‘He'll
know what it is to be expelled now. And he’ll be followed
by the hatred of the whole school besides. Even Will Seaton,
his sworn ally and defender, says that he will never speak to
him again. If anything could make me sorry for Bentley,
it would be Will’s throwing him off; for I do believe that
Seaton is the only person in the world, besides his brother,
whom Arthur loves. But it isno worse than he deserves, the
miserable scamp !”

“ Hush, Ned, hush!” said Allan, gently. ‘T can’t help
but pity him.”

“7 can, and help it very easily too. Hf he were sorry, you
might pity him; but the fellow don’t care a fig about you,
Allan. He’d let you suffer this right over again if he
could.”

‘‘ Perhaps he is more sorry than the Doctor thinks. He
was always very reserved and proud, you know, and he would
hide his feelings if he could.”

‘“‘ | don’t believe they ll be so overpowering that he’ll find
much trouble in hiding them,” replied Ned, almost angrily.

Allan laughed a joyous little laugh. “ Well, never mind
Bentley. I am so happy that I’m ready to think the best
of everybody and everything. You’ll let me be sorry for
the Doctor, won’t you ?”

“Yes,” said Ned, pleasantly. ‘I can’t say a word there,
for I’m so sorry for him myself. Poor old Doc! He’ll find it
REPARATION, 283

pretty hard to come down to an apology. I'd like to hear
what he has to say to you.”

But neither Ned nor any one else, save Allan himself, heard
what Dr Drayton had to say. He came into the house shortly
after Ned had left (the boy having hurried home to tell Mary
the joyful news), with the two Bentleys; the Professor
having insisted upon Arthur going with them, and asking
Allan’s forgiveness.

Ronald Bentley’s anger, mortification, and really sincere
grief, when he found out the truth with regard to Allan, could
scarcely find words in which to express themselves ; and his
scathing scorn fell like a tempest upon Arthur’s unhappy
head. No words were too hard or cruel for his use; and the
boy was almost stunned by the storm which had so suddenly,
and, so far as his brother was concerned, so unexpectedly
broken upon him. But instead of subduing or awing him,
it seemed only to render him hard and reckless, He had
remained quietly in a lonely room, according to Dr Drayton’s
orders, ever since his interview with him, and had as obedi-
ently followed his brother, when commanded by him to
accompany them to the Parsonage. And now, when met in
the hall by Mr Leonard, he stood looking the image of dogged
resolution, plainly quite determined to brave it out to the end.

Mr Leonard looked surprised, as well he might; but Dr
Drayton, coming quickly forward, said—‘ Professor Bentley
felt that he must see Allan, if only fora moment. But—
but—would he be willing to see me alone ?”

This hesitating, embarrassed, almost timid man—could it
be Dr Drayton of Drayton Hall? If Mr Leonard had seen
him a moment later, when he entered the sitting-room where
Allan still lay upon the sofa, he would have been even lesg
able to identify him with his ward’s calm, self-poised,
immovable teacher,

Allan rose to meet him with a beaming face, but Dr
Drayton, hurrying forward, put him gently back.
284 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

“ Do not rise,” he said. “i have only come—only come—
I want to say ” And then the strong, set face broke, and
he bent over the boy with a great sob surging up from his
very heart.

‘“Q Haywood, Haywood !” was all he said.

“Don’t try to tell me what you want to say, Doctor,”
said Allan, laying his thin hand on the master’s shoulder,
“1 know what it is. JI am very, very glad and thank-
ful.”

“And I am sorry, grieved to my very heart, Haywood,
that I have been so fearfully mistaken. Can you forgive
me? Through all the years of my life as a teacher, justice
and impartiality have been the virtues which I have aimed
most earnestly to exhibit—the virtues to which I had vainly
flattered myself I had attained. And now ”—

“ And ‘now you are showing that you have not flattered
yourself, sir. This has been a terrible grief and sorrow to
me, Dr Drayton, and I confess I thought you too severe;
but I have never doubted, for a moment, that my old friend
was a noble, true-hearted man.”

‘And you can forgive him ?”

“Tecan. I have already forgiven all who have had any-
thing to do in the matter. I+ is time for me to forgive every
one who has ever done me any wrong,” he added, gently.
You know that, I suppose, Doctor.”

“Yes,” he said, very sadly. ‘“ Allan, tell me truly this
one thing. Was this trouble fixed upon you before the
time of your unjust punishment ?”

“Yes, sir, it was,” said Allan, looking frankly into his
‘face. “ Fixed beyond anything more than temporary alle-
viation. Do not distress yourself with any such mistaken
idea as that this has brought my illness upon me. Now,
Doctor, will you do me one favour ?”

ta wish I could do you a nner ” was the quick
response,




REPARATION. 285

“Thank you. One will do,” said Allan, with a smile,
*¢ Keep Bentley in the school. Don’t expel him.”

“He is already expelled,” said Dr Drayton, his face
darkening ; “at least, so far as his own knowledge of the
fact goes. He is to be publicly disgraced at the first session
of the school on Monday.”

“Where will he go? What school will take a boy who
has been expelled from Drayton ?”

“None, I presume. Bentley knew what he was doing;
now he must suffer its consequences.”

“And all his fine talents will be thrown away and wasted.
Dr Drayton, you will drive him to despair.”

‘While you stand and plead for him,” said the master,
with a husky sound in his voice, which gave Allan some
hope. “ Will you see Professor Bentley? He would like
_ to speak with you for one moment.”

‘‘ Let him come,” said Allan. “He will help me to plead
for his brother.”

Professor Bentley was a hard, unrelenting man, but he
was an honourable gentleman; and it was with a face
crimsoned with shame that he spoke his few words of
humble apology for the unwittingly cruel part he had played.
Allan’s forgiveness was as quickly spoken.

“Professor Bentley,” said Dr Drayton, as soon as Allan
had finished speaking, “ Haywood has been asking a favour
of me. He would have me recall Arthur’s expulsion from
the Hall.”

‘And I would have you hold to it. I will never give
my consent to such recall. He has proved himself a false,
low, mean fellow. Let him consort with such, and not with
gentlemen.” oe |

‘His face was terrible in its wrath, but Allan was deter-
mined to win his point.

‘Mr Bentley,” he said, “ you would not refuse a drink of
cool water to a dying man, I know. Iam dying.”
286 - ALLAN HAYWOOD,

“And thirsting for this cooling draught,” said Dr Dray-
ton, gently. ‘“ Bentley, let him have his way. I will call ©
Arthur.”

“Ts he there?” asked Allan. ‘Then please leave me
with him.” And they went away, and sent Arthur to him,

What passed between the two boys, no one ever knew.
Arthur remained in the sitting-room but a few moments;
and when he came out, he did not speak save to answer
his brother’s hastily spoken question, “ Did you ask his
forgiveness ?”

_ “T did not need to,” he said. “It was given.”



CHAPTER X.,
THE ‘‘ STARRY NIGHT.”

Two weeks had passed quickly by, and again, on one
beautiful Saturday morning, Edward Churchill was riding
rapidly over the road lying between the Hall and the Par-
sonage. But now his face told no story of eager gladness
and joy, for a messenger had come to him from Mrs Leonard,
to tell him that Allan was dying, and wanted to see him.
Those two weeks had been days of perfect happiness to
Allan. Restored, of course, to the full confidence and friend-
ship of his old companions, and treated by all with a loving
tenderness which strove to make up for past coldness and
injustice, the boy’s sick-room had grown a little paradise to
him. Mr Leonard had feared that the excitement and re-
vulsion of feeling might prove too much for hig fast-failing
strength ; but it seemed rather to nerve and invigorate him.
For the first ten days after the discovery of Bentley's plot
against him, he had steadily gained in strength and appetite,
i

THE * STARRY NIGHT.” 287

and his wan face had seemed to fill out, and to lose its look
— of pallid whiteness.

“Oh! Allan will get well, won't ie Mrs Leonard ?”
little Charlie Grant had asked only yesterday, as he leaned
on the arm of Allan’s chair. “ He does look so bright and
well.” | |

And Mrs Leonard answered hopefully, that she thought
he might, at least, grow strong enough to go up to the Hall,
and see them all some day.

Charlie had been his first visitor after Dr Drayton and
the Bentleys. Early on the Sabbath morning following, he
had asked permission to stop in before Sabbath-school with
Ned; and Dr Drayton, ready to grant any request which
might give pleasure to Allan, had given his consent. Since
then, he had been as much with Allan as his school duties
would permit; and no little ten-year-old nurse could have
been more careful and tender in his attentions, nor more
enthusiastically hopeful of his patient’s recovery.

But for the last day or two, Allan had been slowly sinking
back into the weakness and lassitude from which he had been
so suddenly roused. “You are looking very tired and ex-
hausted,” Mrs Leonard had said to him the night before, as
she gave his pillows a last touch before she lay down to rest
on the sofa in his room.

“Yes,” he had answered, wearily. “The bed feels very |
como Perhaps I had better not attempt to leave it
again.’

He had been comparatively quiet all night, and just at
dawn she lay awake, listening for any sound from him, and
hoping from his stillness that he might be sleeping ein fort
ably, when a little choking sound which she had heard once
before, and which she knew only too well, made her spring
to her feet in terror, He raised himself in the bed, and put -
his hands over his month, but the crimson tide would not
be stayed.
2988 ALLAN HAYWOOD.

The only word he spoke, when at length he opened his
eyes, was—‘ Ned ;” and Dr Buford, who was sitting beside
him, whispered hurriedly —

‘“‘Send at once if he wants him, or it will be too late.”

“So soon,” said Allan ; and then he shook his head with
a curious, incredulous little smile.

And he was right. The gentle Angel of Death paused on
the threshold through all that day. They knew that he stood
there, but he did not enter in. Hour after hour passed on,
and Ned still sat beside his friend, their hands clasped close;
and still, although Allan could only speak a word from time
to time, the angel stood waiting.

It was growing toward dusk when he moved his hand in
Ned’s clasp, and whispered, “ Will you give me this one
gift 1”

“What is it?” asked Ned, tenderly, as a woman speaks
to her dying child.

‘ Forgiveness for Arthur.”

“O Allan!” He bent his face down upon the pillow.
Allan lifted his hand, and laid it upon his forehead.

“My poor Ned! Tis a costly gift, but I want it so.”

The dusky twilight passed on into the night, a glorious
night of cloudless sky, beautiful with brilliant stars ; and
yet the face upon the pillow had given no answer. By and
by Allan spoke again—

“JT am so tired,” he said. “ Lie down beside me, Ned,
and let us sleep, as we used to sleep together at school.”

Ned rose, and lying down at his side, put his arm about
his neck and kissed him. ‘I will try my very best,” he
said; ‘but, O Allan! it is very hard.”

“Yes,” said Allan; “ but I know that you will do it, for
_* thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women.’”

He lay very still, looking out of the open window; and
Mrs Leonard stole away, thinking he might sleep if alone
with Ned. But she had scarcely left them, when he said—
THE “ STARRY NIGHT,” _ 289

“ What were the exact words of my poor old song, Ned ?
Do you remember ?”
“<] think I had rather hear it, that voice so low and

sweet ! ’—

“ *T think I would rather hear it, that voice so low and sweet,
Calling me out from the shadows, my loving Lord to meet ;
Up through the glowing splendours of a starry, earthly night,
To see the King in His beauty in a land of purer light,’ ”

repeated Ned.

“Yes, it would be very beautiful,” said Allan, his voice
sinking low again, “to step from glowing star to glowing
star, until we find ourselves standing in the glorious light of
His face. Jam so tired, Ned. Let us go to sleep.”

Turning a little, he laid his hand on Ned’s shoulder, and
seemed to fall into a quiet slumber at once. Ned listened a
few moments to his gentle breathing ; and then, wearied out
with his grief, fell asleep beside him.

Mrs Leonard, watching in the next room, came in at last
to look at the two boys. She stood beside the one for a
moment, bent and kissed the white, still face ; then leaning
over Ned, softly spoke his name. He opened his eyes, and
held up his finger, warningly.

‘He has had his wish,” she whispered, tenderly. “He
has gone from the shadows, through the glowing, eaTey
night, to see the King in His beauty.”

FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.
Co
FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

CHAPTER I.
THE PICNIC.

“ Hoxtioa, there, you lazy fellows! Get up! It’s morn-
ing!”

“Oh, do stop, Will Seaton!” droned a sleepy voice from
a corner of the long dormitory, through which the shrill call
had resounded.

But the first speaker was not to be so easily silenced. In
another moment, the bed of his slumberous companion was
stripped of coverlet, sheet, and pillows, and the occupant
thereof dragged from it with a sudden jerk which put his
dreams effectually to flight.

“Seaton, Seaton! Come to order at once, sir,” said the
voice of Mr Upton, the usher, who had been wakened from
his morning nap by the uproar. “You are forgetting all
discipline !”

“Oh, hear Uppy trying to come the Bentley dodge!”
cried the irrepressible Will. “It won’t do, Uppy; you are
laughing this minute,—you know you are. ‘You can’t talk
discipline in Professor Bentley’s style, to save yourself,
You love me too well to frown upon me, jolliest of ushers !”
and with a rush and a spring, he was on Mr Upton’s bed in
a twinkling, ‘Look out of that window and see how the
294 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

_ clouds are breaking, and then lie abed if you can. Didn't I
teil you that we’d have a bright day? Come on, all who
want to go to Mountain Lake.”

“Stop, Seaton!” said Mr Upton, as the boy would have
sprung off the bed again. ‘‘ Those clouds are simply shifting
a little ; they are not passing away. Why, my boy, this is
no fit day to set out on such an expedition. We must wait
until to-morrow, I am sorry for you all,” for the blank
faces about him betokened no little disappointment, ‘‘ but
Dr Drayton will give us a holiday to-morrow instead.”

But “to-morrow ” is nothing to an eager schoolboy who
has been promised a holiday to-day ; and these boys had
been promised not only a holiday, but a grand expedition
through the woods and over the rocks, ending in a picnic on
a lake which lay half-way up the highest mountain in all
the country round.

The very idea of to-morrow was laughed at, hooted at, or
grumbled at, by each and every boy in the dormitory, all of
whom, now fully roused, were hurriedly dressing ; for the
expedition had been ordered to start at five o'clock. The
dark morning had deceived them somewhat as to the hour
of rising ; and woe be to the Drayton boy who was behind
time in a frolic, no less than in the study-hall or class-room.
The Doctor’s watch was never slow, and the Doctor never
waited an instant for a tardy boy, after its inexorable hand
touched the hour.

As the occupants of the “long dormitory ”—as the room
in which Will Seaton and his comrades slept was called,—
reached the outer hall, they were joined by crowds of their
schoolfellows from the other apartments, all earnestly dis-
cussing, like themselves, the weather and the prospects for
the picnic. | |

The clouds hung heavily overhead, broken here and there
by little rifts just large enough to excuse the hopes of the
most sanguine, but too small and too soon hidden again to
THE PICNIC. 299

cheer the more despondent. All about the roads around
the Hall stood the great farm-waggons which had been hired
for the occasion, the waggoners eyeing the heavens askance,
somewhat discontented with the thought that, having had to
keep their teams in the village over night, in order to be in
readiness for the early start, they seemed likely to be disap-
pointed of their work, Among them and around them stood
the boys,—some hopeful, some despairing, some sulky, some
full of jokes and pranks,—all eagerly watching for the stroke
of five ; for that would bring Dr Drayton, and Dr Drayton
would say yes or no, and the matter would be decided.

“Oh, he ’ll say go. Of course he will,” said Will Seaton.
“‘He never backs down.”

‘But he’s wondrous prudent, Will,” said Ned Churchill,
who stood near him.

‘And wondrous weather-wise,” said Laurence Bronson.
“Tf the Doctor says that it will storm, I shall think we had
better wait, much as I want to go.”

“Oh, he ’ll be sure its going to storm, I know that well
enough,” said a surly voice behind the group ; and turning,
the boys saw Albert Semmons.

‘© Tt will rain, of course,” he went on in the same tone.
_ “Jt always does when we want to do anything.”

“All de world am sad and weary,” chanted Will, in such
exact imitation of Albert’s doleful voice, that the boys
broke into a shout of laughter so loue and merry that they
did not hear the sharp stroke of five from the old clock in
the hall, nor see the tall figure which at that very moment
took its stand on the piazza.

The first intimation they had of Dr Drayton’s presence
was the sound of a loud voice, saying, ‘‘ The waggons may
be made ready at once. Young gentlemen, you will do well
to take something to eat before we start on our long drive.”

A low murmur, breaking after an instant into loud cheers
for the Doctor, told whether.the decision was a welcome
296 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

one or not, and the boys flocked into the dining-room in
a body.

Ten minutes aftcr, they were all crowding into the wag-
gons, a noisy, tumultuous multitude, their wildest shouts
and most mischievous tricks all unrebuked and unrestrained ;
for the Doctor had made up his mind that the long-talked of
expedition should be a thorough and genuine frolic, and had
given orders that all liberty consistent with safety to life
and limb should be given to the merry-makers.

‘“ Holloa, Churchill! There’s Miss Mary,” cried Laur-
ence Bronson, as a carriage was driven into the grounds,
‘““ Now, it’s sure to clear,”

A little lady, with a sunny face, leaned out of the car-
riage as Ned sprang down the hill to meet it,

‘‘ All ready for your ride, eh?” she said. “Does Dr Dray:
ton think we shall have a fine day ?”

“I don’t know,” said Ned, catching her in his arms and
lifting her down as if she had been a child, holding her just
long enough to give her a quick kiss on either check. “He
says go,—so go it is. You won’t care if you do get a little
wetting, will you, Mary?”

“No, indeed, not I. Where ig Mrs Drayton ?”

“In the library, waiting for you. She asked me just
now if I thought you would be here, and I told her I was
sure you would come. There she is, coming down with the
Doctor.”

There were only three ladies in the party,—Mrs Drayton,
Mrs Leonard, the wife of the minister, and Miss Mary
Churchill ; but as these were all great favourites with the
boys, they were considered quite sufficient.

The packing of baskets, boxes, and bags,—not to speak
of boys,—was at length completed ; and the long train of
waggons started off, led by the largest of them all, an
immense affair, drawn by four horses, and painted bright
red, looking, as Mary Churchill said, very much like the
THE PICNIC, 297

advance guard of a circus caravan. This magnificent vehicle
had been claimed by each and every clique of boys in
the school; but, having at length been seized by force of
arms by a detachment of the senior class, had been yielded
to the use of the ladies, Mr Leonard, and Dr Drayton,—the
remainder of the seats being occupied by members of the
class. Ned Churchill, Frank Austin, Laurence Bronson,
Will Seaton, and a score more, sat packed like sardines in a
case; but all were too jolly and happy to complain of any
discomfort, and the flow of laughter, jokes, and fun, ran on,
spite of the drizzling rain which had begun to fall just as
they left Drayton Hall.

‘‘T do believe we are riding right into the rain,” said
Frank Austin, with a mischievous chuckle of delight.
“Look over on the mountains. Don’t you see how it is
pouring down there? I think old Prof. will find he has
made a ens this time. Never mind, we’ll have a ride,
any way.”

“And if we have to give it up, we ‘ll invite him up to
the barn to eat cold wittles,” put in Will Seaton. ‘Oh,
just look there !”

The heavy rain, that had been falling on the mountains
which raised their tall heads before them, had suddenly
ceased. The clouds had broken, and were beginning slowly
to roll back,—gray billow piled upon gray billow in heavy
swells, untouched as yet by any clearer light, but surging
and rolling, wave upon wave, like a mighty ocean. The
curious spectacle had drawn all eyes to the mountains, and
the wildest of the gay party were awed and hushed by the
grand sight. All at once the billowy masses of cloud were
touched and tinted here and there by a rosy glow, which
widened and spread until the whole dark mass was trans-
formed into a sunny sea, which surged over the mountain-
tops and broke, disclosing bits of bright blue sky beyond ;
then closed again, again to part as if in joyous frolic. Sud-

.)
298 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

denly, with one mad, last leap, the glowing waves rushed
apart, rolled heavily down the fair blue walls on either
side, and lay at their base, the pink light fading slowly out,
leaving them like snowdrifts on the far horizon.

A great stillness had fallen on the whole party. For a
moment even Will Seaton felt the influence of the beautiful
scene which they had witnessed ; but only for a moment.
Determined to break the spell, he sprang quickly to his feet,
shouting out at the top of his strong voice—

‘¢ All de world am bright and sunny,
Ebery road we take ;

O fellows, we must all be funny,
Going up to Mountain Lake.”

A shout of laughter followed the impromptu lines, and
Will’s ruse proved a decided -success ; for the happy hearts
all overflowed again, and the fun “ran fast and furious,”
only heightened by the brilliant sunshine that now bathed
mountains, streams, and valleyagen its glorious light.

** Wouldn’t it be jolly fun to take old Christy up with
us?” said Will. ‘There he is now with the two boys.
Let ’s ask the Doctor.”

“Dr Drayton, may we take Christy and the boys up to
the lake?” he’asked, as the old fisherman and the two lads
who stood with him on the beach waved their hats to the
happy party. |

‘“T have no objection, if they can come away at once,”
said Dr Drayton.

That point was quickly settled, and the three were soon
seated in the second waggon, Becnily to the delight of the
whole company ; for Christy and his boys were prime
favourites with the entire school.

A ride of fourteen miles brought them to the foot of the
mountain; when every boy in the various waggons sprang
out to relieve the horses, and to rest his own cramped limbs
by a scramble up the rough road. What with berries to
THE PICNIC. | 299

pick, rabbits to be chased, squirrels to be hunted, and so
forth, the ascent was a slow affair in one sense; but although
the toiling horses often left the pleasure-seekers far behind,
a fleet race soon brought the laggards up with the more sober
part of the company, to be again left behind, as some new
object of interest caught their attention.

‘¢ And who is this who makes his way by himself alone?”
asked Mr Grau, the German professor ; who, busy in col-
lecting specimens for a beautiful herbarium in which his
soul delighted, had walked on for full four miles up the zig- .
zag road, quite undisturbed by the shouts and capers of his
light-hearted companions, “Ah, Mr Bentley,” he added,
as the boy whom he addressed slightly turned his head. It
is much your custom, I perceive, to make solitary yourself.
Why for do you not run to squirrels and berries as your
young friends? ”

“T don’t care for that sort of thing,” replied Bentley,
without pausing in his walk>

“ But it is not well for you somuch to live alone,” said the
teacher, walking on by his side, “Look at Seaton—merry
heart—how he springs and laughs! He is too much life, but
you are too leetle. He give you leetle of his joke, that be
healthy for you ; you give him leetle of your sober, that be
very healthy for him. You say so?”

An expression of such intense pain crossed the face into
which he looked, that Mr Grau laid his hand upon the boy,
saying gently, “TI pain you? Forgive me, I say no more ;”
and trotted off on his short little legs, remorseful and self-
reproachful, to collect more specimens.

He had been but a short time in the school, or he would
have known that Will Seaton, once Arthur Bentley’s sworn
friend and defender, was now his unrelenting foe; and that
Arthur, having lost this, his only friend, by an act of
wickedness and meanness which high-minded Will could
never forgive, was left desolate and solitary in that great
300 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

school of three hundred boys. Poor fellow! He had
committed a wicked, cruel deed, and his punishment was
terrible. It was not only that he was forced to spend
his life in a community of boys who hated and despised him
for what he had done ; but his lonely heart, which had clung
so closely to this one idol, had been flung contemptuously
aside as a mean, worthless thing, unfit to be loved or
trusted. He deserved it, perhaps; but if we all- had our
deserts proportioned to our opportunities, there are many
besides poor Arthur Bentley who would go through the
world with aching hearts, and, perhaps, wrecked lives.

“ Now, young fellows, jump in!” shouted the voice of
Farmer Sanford, the driver of the first waggon and the
captain of the expedition. ‘‘ The worst 1s over now, and
and if you goon much longer at this rate you ‘ll wear the
the legs off you before we get to the lake. ‘That would be
a pity too, for you’ll need ’em bad enough when we get
there.” B

As Mr Grau took his seat in answer to the order which
all were ready to obey, his eye happened to rest on Arthur
Bentley, who was slowly approaching the waggon in which
he sat. Arthur had already passed some three or four
waggons, but no one had moved to make room for him, or
seemed to notice his presence in any way. With a face
whose dark expression seemed to gather gloom with every
step, the boy went on until Mr Graw’s voice arrested him.

“Friend Bentley, will you sit side of me? I have to
show you some rare plants I find in dese woods.”

The brisk little man moved to make room for him with
such suddenness and vigour, that Tom Morrison, one of
Bentley’s classmates, who sat beside him, was almost pushed
from his seat. |

‘Oh, pardon, pardon! a tousand times pardon. I have ,
you too much crowd. So. Now we shall be—what is dat
word--fix? Yes, now we shall be very well fix;” and
THE PICNIC. «6801

having moved nearer to Bentley, the friendly Grau turned
first to one and then to the other of his companions, beaming
upon them with a face of the utmost delight and enjoyment.

But Bentley, who had visibly brightened at the kindness
_ shown him, looked as moody as ever as his eyes rested on
Tom Morrison, and Tom seemed scarcely better pleased.
Mr Grau began to doubt the expediency of his manceuvre
for drawing Arthur into closer companionship with his

schoolmates ; but he persevered in his attempt nevertheless.
Taking out some of the beautiful specimens which he had
gathered for his herbarium, he began to exhibit and describe
them in a manner which won the interest of both boys ;
and ere long, to his great satisfaction, he had succeeded in
provoking a discussion between them in which they seemed
to forget the differences which had separated them. Both
were good botanists, and both loved the study enthusiasti-
cally; and they grew so warm in their debate, that more
than one on the seats near them caught the tones of their
earnest dispute and began to join in it, taking one side or
other of the question, irrespective of the fact that the
hated Bentley was the head of the opposition against Mor-
rison ; while the good-hearted German sat by, throwing
in a word here and there to quicken the heat of the argu-
ment, smiling complacently at the success of his scheme.
Not until they came within sight of the lake, and the wild
exclamations of delight from those in the forward waggons
distracted their attention, did the eager talkers begin to
recognise the fact that they had been holding close com-
panionship with the boy who for months past had been
ignored and set completely aside by the entire school.

But soon this ceased to be thought of, as the slow but
apparently tireless horses brought them nearer and nearer
to the lake; plodding on over its stony road, with its huge
wall of poek towering upon their right, and on the left
shelving suddenly down in a sharp precipice which fell a
302 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

hundred feet to a rocky gorge below. Before them lay the
silver lake, in a basin formed on two sides by walls of rock ;
on the other by a high green bank which rose perpendicu-
larly from the water, without the least slope or declivity,
some thirty or forty feet ; while on the side which lay to-
ward them as they toiled up the road, the water ran
gently up to the land, the tiny waves lapping softly against
the grasses and overhanging branches which drooped to meet
them. Clear as crystal, so transparent that every pebble-
stone and every little fish swimming in its waters could be
distinctly seen as you looked down into its beautiful depths,
so calm and unruffled, it seemed more like some fairy lake
than anything real or commonplace. )

‘‘Let’s go rowing, right away,” cried Will Seaton, spring-
ing from his seat. ‘Come on, fellows !” and he ran toward
the water, eagerly followed by a dozen of his companions.

“Stop, Seaton !” called Dr Drayton from the first waggon.
“We will have no boating until after dinner. You may all
wander about here, within sound of the horn, until we have
dined ; then you shall go out on the lake, or anywhere else
you may please. But dinner first, by all means.”

The order was not an unwelcome one, much as the boys
would have enjoyed an immediate trial of skill at the oars.
The next half-hour was spent in loitering about in the
vicinity of the lake; and when the horn called in the
stragglers from their various wanderings, they gave full
proof that the Doctor was not the only person in the assem-
blage who wanted his dinner.

Beef, chickens, bread, cake, crackers, sardines, eggs, ples,
tea, coffee, biscuits, potatoes, cheese, Sandwiches, ham,
tongue, apples, pears, nuts, preserves,—all melted away in
the most delightful manner before this array of hungry boys ;
until Mary Churchill—merry, sunny, little Miss Mary—
fairly wore herself out with laughing over the filling and
refilling of the rapidly emptied dishes and baskets,
MOUNTAIN LAKE. 303

CHAPTER II.
MOUNTAIN LAKE,

“ LAURENCE,” said Frank Austin, linking his arm in that
of Laurence Bronson, as various groups of boys began to
scatter in all directions in search of different objects of
interest, “what do you say to a climb up to Dragon’s
Head ?”

“ All right,” said Bronson. “I’m ready. I want to go
out on the lake for a row; but some of us must wait, and
we may as well be among the last to take our turn.”

“Anybody ready for a scramble?” shouted Frank, as
they turned toward the steep and narrow footpath which led
up to the Dragon’s Head—a sharp peak on the summit of
the rocky cliff, which was supposed to resemble in its out-
lines the features of that fabulous monster.

“Ay, ay!” came back the answering call from twenty
different directions, echoed and re-echoed by the reverberat-
ing rocks,

A. large party, with Mr Upton at its head, soon joined the
two boys ; and then began a scramble such as the hearts
of boys in all ages and climes delight in. Springing over
huge stones, creeping around obstructions, holding fast by
a bending sapling or a shaking branch, with the delightful
sense that a mis-step will end in a dangerous fall ; climbing
up sharp acclivities, to surmount which, hand and eye, as
well as practised foot, must be on the alert; creeping through
rock crevices on hands and knees; tearing their way through
tangled vines and bushes,—oh ! was there ever an exciting,
exhilarating, adventurous walk, more dear to the soul of an
enterprising boy, than the walk from Mountain Lake to
Dragon’s Head ?

“‘ Here we are!” cried Frank, the first to reach the summit,
“ Three cheers for the Dragon !”
304 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

“Three cheers for the Dragon !” cried Edward Churchill,
who was but a step behind him.

And then the whole mountain-side rang again with the
clear music, as nearly fifty young voices shouted out a
joyous huzza.

‘‘ Have you ever seen the lake in the cavern ?” asked Mr
Upton, as he stood on the extremity of the peak with Laur-
ence, Frank, and Ned.

Ned had seen it many a time, but Frank and Laurence
had never visited the spot. Mr Upton directed them to it,
saying that, as there were only three teachers beside him-
self with the party, he could not accompany them. Ned
offered to remain with him and help to preserve order, and
the favour was gratefully accepted ; for the task of keeping
such a large company of adventurous boys out of danger,
in such a spot, was no easy matter.

The cavern was soon found, it being but a stone’s throw
from the peak. Entering by a low and narrow aperture,
the boys found themselves within a cave whose massive
walls of stone rose all around them, forming a beautiful
arch, broken at its centre as if with a blow from a huge
immer wielded by some mammoth hand. Directly below
this rift lay a small sheet of water—a tiny lake, clear and
bright, rippling and shimmering in the light of a dancing
sunbeam, which, falling in through the rift, struck across it
from side to side. Close beside it was a rough seat, formed
of stones which had fallen from the roof of the cave; and
there the two boys threw themselves down to rest.

They were silent for awhile, for the quiet, solemn beauty
of the spot threw its charm around them; and nearly a
quarter of an hour had passed before Frank, who was the
first to break the stillness, said—

“Bronson, I mean to start a prayer-meeting down at
Milward’s Corner.”

He spoke suddenly, with a fixed, determined sort of
MOUNTAIN LAKE. 305

manner, which showed very plainly that he expected opposi-
tion, and intended to carry out his scheme in spite “of it.
Laurence looked at him as if he did not feel quite sure that
he was in his right mind.

‘““ At Milward’s Corner!” he said at last. ‘“‘ Why, Austin,
you ’ll be mobbed. ‘There isn’t such another black hole in
these United States.”

‘¢ All the more reason why it should be cleansed if that
were so,” replied Frank. ‘But many a place as black as
the Corner has been whitened and purified by earnest men.
The truth is, Bronson, I must go to work. For months
past I have been calling myself a soldier of Christ, I have
been enrolled in His army, I have been receiving His wages,
but I have not lifted my hand to do battle for Him.”

“You have been living for Him,” said Laurence, gently,

“and living as aa and true a Christian life, Frank, as I
have ever seen.’ |

‘‘T have tried to follow Him,” and the boy’s face bright
ened as he spoke ; “ but I must do something worth while.
I must have work, Larry. I lie awake at night, and plan,
and think, and iene: until it seems as if I never should grow
quiet oan The ought struck me, one night last week,
that I might do something at Milward’s Corner. I saiaped
at it in a moment; but i don’t want to be reckless, so I
determined to chink it over for a week before I spoke of it
to any one. I have thought it over earnestly ; and I have
resolved to go into that den, and try to work for our Master
there.”

‘Of course you will speak to the Doctor first ?”

‘Certainly I shall. Iam not afraid that he will oppose
it, if I promise to be cautious. Hark! What is that?
Are they calling us?”

“ Yes, that is Ned Churchill’s shout,” said Laurence; as a
clear, loud “ Hallo, boys :” re-echoed among the cliffs again,

“All right! We’re coming,” he answered ; and they

| G
306 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

stepped from the soft, gray twilight within the cave into the
bright sunshine without,

“Down to the lake!” came back to them in reply from
the party, who were already some distance on their way ;
and tlie two boys hurried after their comrades.

Meanwhile the lake had been the scene of an accident,
which had threatened to turn the day of pleasure into one
of sore distress.

The boating parties had been made up into three com-
panies, each of which had claimed one of the ladies; and
the two boats in which Mrs Drayton and Mrs Leonard had
taken their places had received their quota of passengers, and
were lying out a little from the shore, waiting for the third
boat which lay at the landing.

“Now, Miss Mary, steady. The water is very deep here,”
said Tom Morrison, holding by one hand to the rock which,
standing just a little above water-mark, formed an excellent
landing spot, while he held out the other to aid Miss
Churchill in stepping into the boat.

“Let me help too,” cried Cuthbert Gray, a little fellow
about ten years old, who had taken a childish fancy to Mary,
and had been her devoted slave all through the day, spring-
ing to his feet, as he spoke, with a sudden jump which
rocked the boat violently.

‘Sit down, Cuthbert!” exclaimed Morrison, and half a
dozen more ; but the mischief was done.

At the _— instant in which Mary stepped from the rock,
the boat swayed from its moorings. Tom clung for dear
life to the hand he held, and to the rock from which his
fingers were fast slipping ; but the leaded boat was too much
for him ; it swung heavily outward, and, with a little cry,
Mary Churchill went down under the cold, calm water. But
Tom held her fast with a grip of steel, ae a white, set face,
which told that all the strength of ne young frame was in
the grasp of the hand which held that small wrist beneath


“Hurrah for Jem Dunn!’ was shouted enthusiastically, as he bore her
back to the rock, and lifted her into the arms outstretched to receive her.”—

Pave 307.
MOUNTAIN LAKE. 8307

the water, as he leaned over the side of the boat, kept back .
by a pair of well-knit, sinewy arms which clasped his waist
tightly. | |

There had been a loud, wild cry, then an instant’s pause,
then the leap of a lithe, active, boyish figure into the stream.
Three or four bold, powerful strokes brought the swimmer
to the spot, and in another moment Mary Churchill’s face
was lifted into the sunlight again.

‘Bravo! bravo! Hurrah for Jem Dunn!” was shouted
enthusiastically, as he bore her back to the rock and lifted
her into the arms outstretched to receive her,

In the midst of the shouts, Mary Churchill opened her
eyes, with a little shudder and groan ; but, looking up to see”
gentle, tender faces bending over, smiled back at them, and
soon said, faintly enough at first, but still in her own sweet
voice, that she was not hurt, only a little shaken and startled.
And when Dr Drayton threw a cloak around her, and, lifting
her in his arms, told her she must be carried to the house at
once, she looked up at him with all the old twinkle in her
eyes, saying merrily—

“You had better hang me out to dry first, sir. I feel a
httle damp.”

But for all that, he saw, as he bent to lift her, that the
bright eyes were full of tears, and he did not speak to her
again ; for, as he turned from the crowd and walked swiftly
toward the house with his light burden, he noticed that the
face grew very grave, and as the eyes looked far away to the
westward, the lips moved softly, though he heard no sound .
and he knew that she was thanking the watchful Master for
the strong arm and the willing heart which had been ready
for her in her time of need. |

Down at the lake, all was for awhile eager excitement and
congratulation. Tom Morrison and Jem Dunn, old Christy’s
grandson, were overwhelmed with praise ; and even Christy
himself, standing there among the crowd of excited boys,
308 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

his weather-beaten face glowing with delight at the thought
that his boy had saved Miss Mary’s life, received a full share
of hand-shaking and congratulation.

‘Who was that fellow who held on to me from behind ?”
asked Tom Morrison, suddenly turning from the group who
had closed round him, as, having brought the boat in, he and
his companions stood upon the rock from which Mary had
fallen. Ifit hadn’t been for him I’d have been overboard,
and Miss Mary would have gone to the bottom in spite of
me. He’s got a grip, I tell you. Why! ”——

He fell back a little as his eyes met those of Arthur
Bentley, who stood just beside him; for there came to him
the recollection that Bentley had been behind him in the
boat. They stood and looked at one another for a moment,
then Tom’s better nature triumphed, and stepping quickly
forward, risking, as he knew, the jeers of the whole school,
he held out his hand, saying heartily—

‘“‘ Shake hands on it, old fellow. You had as much to do
in saving Miss Mary as I.”

“ Don’t say that anywhere but here,” cried Bentley, grasp-
ing the proffered hand. ‘I did no more for her than I would
have done for any living ns: Promise me to say nothing
_ more about it, all of you,” he added, turning towards the

little group.

The promise was easily given, and the circumstance soon
forgotten in the greater interests of the day. But it served
to give Bentley another stepping-stone towards the society
and companionship from which he had been for months
debarred.

- Never was country inn more devoid of the necessaries for
fitting out a short, plump, little lady with a wardrobe than
the house at Mountain Lake. The hostess was, so far ag her
heart was concerned, more than ready to supply Miss Mary’s
needs ; but a short stuff-petticoat and a calico shortgown,
set off by a pair of coarse leather shoes, were all that she
MOUNTAIN LAKE, 309

could offer in the shape of a suit. Fortunately, Miss Mary
was very easily pleased ; and replying to all the old woman’s
apologies by many thanks, she donned the quaint garments.
with all speed, hoping to be out again before Edward should
reach the lake and hear of her accident.

“Look!” she said gaily, turning to Mrs Leonard and
Mrs Drayton, who had been assisting her in taking off her
own water-soaked clothing. “I think even Ned would
scarcely know me now.” }

‘“Who did you say, Miss ?” asked their hostess, earnestly ;
but seeing that Miss Churchill had spoken to the ladies in-
stead of to herself, as she had at first supposed, she dropped
a funny little curtsey, and with a sigh, went back to the
task of hanging Miss Mary’s garments to dry on a line she
had put around the stove, in which she had built a fire when
the young lady was carried up to the house.

But quickly as she had turned away her face, Miss Mary
had caught its eager, questioning look ; and she had heard
the heavy sigh that whispered something of a grief to which
the worn, furrowed face had before given her a clue.

“I was speaking of my brother, Mrs Bailey,” she said.
“He is out with this party from Drayton Hall. He was
up at the Dragon’s Head when I fell into the lake, and I
have been trying to make myself comfortable before he re-
turned ; for, although he is many years younger than I, he
worries over me as if I were a child. There he is now.”

The woman crossed the room, and stood beside her, watch-
ing the boy as he came hurrying up the road towards the
house.
“Ay, but he’s a likely lad,” said Mrs Bailey. ‘ Ned—
that’s the name you called him. I’ve a lad called Ned
too, dear heart; but he’s not such a one as that. But Il]
not disturb you with him now,” she added, as Mary looked
at her with eyes in which pity for her, and gladness in her |
own Ned, struggled for the place. ‘Go out to him, dear,”
310 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

_ She threw open the window, and Mary stepped out ona
piazza. Ned was still at some distance from her, and catch-
ing sight of the little figure, in a short, blue petticoat and
dark calico jacket, with a mass of curling hair falling all
about its face, he ran forward, saying eagerly—

“¢ How is the lady ! Is she at all hurt?”

“Not at all, sir,” said the little girl, as he had thought
her, running down the steps to meet him.

“ Why—why, Mary Churchill!” and he eaught her and
held her tightly, as if he were afraid she might even yet slip
from him, and sink down into the quiet waters of the lake.

Mary grew grave as the close, loving grasp told her the
thoughts that were in his heart.

‘We must be very, very grateful, dear,” she said, clinging
to hisarm. “Ihave been rescued from awful peril to-day,
and we must not forget Him who saved me.”

“No, indeed, the good fellow! We’ll make it up to hin,
Mary. Jem’s work this day has richly repaid all we ’ve ever
done for him or his grandfather. O Mary !” and he held her
off from him and gazed at her, with a face for the moment
blanched of its rosy colour, ‘‘what would have become of
me, if they lad not saved you?”

‘We owe them all a world of love and gratitude, Ned ;
but when I spoke I was thinking of Him who gave them —
the power to save me ;” and she looked wistfully into Ned’s
eyes.

But they did not brighten now as they had done before.

“Oh !” he said, almost carelessly ; and then running his
hand through the soft curls which fell down to her waist,
he said, gaily: “Do you know you look as pretty as a pic-
ture in that queer dress, with your hair hung out to dry ?
‘Waving tresses, golden brown | !” you 'd make a lovely little
peasant girl, May. -

“Would I? Well, you shall paint my picture one of these
days. Where are you going next? Out on the lake ?”
MOUNTAIN LAKE. oi

‘“‘No, I shall stay here with you until you want to go out.
Wouldn’t a brisk walk warm you up ?”

“JT dare say it would. But I can’t walk in these shoes.
They are so large that I should fall on these stony paths,
and add to my woes by spraining my ankle. §o I will sit
here in the sun with Mrs Bailey, and you must take Mrs
Leonard and Mrs Drayton out for a row or a walk. They
are losing all their day’s pleasure, shut up here with me.”

Ned fell into the trap laid for him at once ; and Mary
went into the house to ask the ladies, who had insisted
upon staying with her, if they would not let Ned take them
out,

“He will persist in remaining with me,” she said, “ unless
he thinks he can do something for you: and then I shall
feel that I have spoiled the day, not only for you, but for all
those who want you to share the good time out of doors.
Besides, I can see that this lonely woman here is just aching
for a talk with somebody. You take Ned away, and I'll
lend the poor thing an car to pour her troubles into, in re-
turn for all her kindness to me.”

So, by dint of urging and coaxing she gained her point;
and in a few moments she was sitting on the steps of the
piazza with Mrs Bailey beside her, the soft September sun-
light falling all around them, lighting up the story-teller’s
sad, furrowed brow, and shining on the lady’s golden hair
and sweet, sympathising face, as the old woman told, and
Miss Mary listened to the tale of a mother’s love, and a son’s
waywardness and folly.

“Do you know where he is now ?” asked Miss Churchill,
as the woman ended the long, mournful story of disobedience,
cruelty, and final desertion.

“Yes, dear, Ido indeed. You’ll know Milward’s Corner,
perhaps? Well, it’s there he is, and has been these two
years. There’s never as wicked a place as it is in all the
country round; and he’s just in the thick of it all, body
312 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND,

and soul. And what can I do, ma’am—me a lone widder
woman ?”

It was a hard question to answer, and Mary did not at-
tempt at first to reply to it, save by stroking the withered
old hand, which for the past half-hour had been lying in
her lap as confidingly as if she had been the friend of a life.
time. And when she did answer it in words, they were not
her own ; but old, old words, spoken hundreds of yearg AZO
to other aching hearts by One who alone knew their bitter-
ness. But old as the words were, they had all their sweet-
ness and beauty and freshness still; and when, not long
alter, Ned came to tell Mary that the Doctor had ordered the
waggons for the drive home, the weary, anxious mother, not
only with a lightened heart, but with a quiet smile on her
pale lips, left them to go into the kouse and fold Miss Mary’s
garments to be carried away.

Miss Churchill little thought as, an hour after, she gat
carefully bundled up in the waggon, telling to her brother
and Frank Austin—who sat on either side of her—the story
she had just heard, that she was giving a young missionary
a new motive for the work which he intended to perform.

And in another voice, too, there came to Frank, uncon-
sciously to the speaker, strong, helpful words of encourage-
ment in his undertaking. On the seat before them was
Laurence Bronson, talking with old Christy ; and Austin,
as he listened to Miss Mary, suddenly caught the words
spoken in the old fisherman’s tremulous but earnest voice—

“ At Milward’s Corner? God bless his brave young heart !
Ah, no ; don’t you be afeared for him, Master Bronson. The
Lord can look after His own,”

But all serious thought was soon put to flight by the rol-
licking fun of that ride down the mountain, The shouts
and laughter of the joyous party seemed to infect the horses
with their own wild spirits; and spite of the heavy brakes
attached to the waggons, they went down the steep, stony
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. 313

road. at a speed which, to a stranger, would have seemed fear-
fully perilous. But, thoroughly trained to their work, and
sure-footed as hinds, they brought their precious loads in
safety to the end of the apparently dangerous journey.

The moon rode high in the heavens, as, making the air
ring merrily with songs and choruses, the noisy party rode
into the grounds of Drayton Hall, as tired, but as happy a
company as ever came home from a day’s rambling.

CHAPTER III.
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH.

Dr Drayton was sitting in his library on the evening of
the day following the excursion to Mountain Lake, his head
bent low over his books, and his brow knit as if in deep
study, when a quick rap upon the door changed the current
of his thoughts. He lifted his head, and the whole expres-
sion of his face was altered as, in answer to his “ Come,” the
door opened, and Frank Austin entered.

Until very lately the two had met, when circumstances
brought them into close personal contact, as Dr Drayton had
always met with his pupils—with a feeling of respectful
deference on the one hand, and of care and interest on the
other; but now they met as friend with friend; the light-
ing of the two faces, the grasp of the hands, the steady look
into each other’s eyes, would have told that truth to the most
careless observer.

But a few months ago, Frank had gone into that study
in the first flush and gladness of a new love to which his
heart had heretofore been a stranger; and Dr Drayton had
received him with a sympathy and tenderness so unexpected
314 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

and so full, that the boy’s whole heart had gone out to him
in affectionate confidence and trust. The teacher took the
precious gift of that fresh young heart with a feeling of
grateful joy which would have astonished even those who
supposed that they knew him best; for Dr Drayton had not
the talent of winning love. Reserved, quiet, stern, and ap-
parently cold, his boys, and almost every one with whom he
had to do, looked up to him, honoured hin, and trusted
him; but he knew—and knew it to his grief, too—that
there were very few who loved him; among his scholars
scarcely one.

And so it was little wonder that when this bright, glow-
ing face showed itself at his door, and his hand was held
fast in a close, loving grasp, that he should have laid his
other hand upon the boy’s head and stroked it fondly, as,
having risen from his seat to meet him, he stood looking
down into Austin’s face. If those usually cold gray eyes
had oftener rested on his scholars with that tender, yearning
look, Dr Drayton would not have had so great cause to mourn
that he eould not gain the love and confidence of the young
hearts committed to his care.

“ Have you a few minutes to spare to me, or will E inter-
rupt you if I come in?” asked Frank, with an ease and free-
dom which showed that the Doctor’s study was no new place
of resort for him.

“As many minutes as you need,” was the reply. “Come
to the sofa, and we will talk it over; for I see that there is
some subject coming up for discussion. What plan is afoot
now? Another advance into the enemy’s country ?” and he
shook his head very decidedly.

“Yes, sir; an advance into the enemy’s country ; but not
in the way you mean. We would hardly have the coolness
to ask for another holiday yet awhile. But I want to attack
a real enemy, and Ineed your advice as to how I had best
move against him. You know, Doctor,” and he laid his hand
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. 315

on Dr Drayton’s knee, “ you know that I have done nothing
yet for my Captain, and I want to work for Him.”

“ Well, my boy, what more? You have gone further than
that.”

“Veg, sir,” said Austin, looking up, with a smile; “I
have gone a little further ; I have determined to set up the
standard at Milward’s Corner; and see if I can do anything
there ;” and he watched the master’s face anxiously as he
spoke.

He could gain nothing from it at first, for it was simply
looking back at him with an unmoved, set expression, which
Frank would once have taken as a sign of utter lack of
interest and appreciation. But he knew better than that
now. So he sat and waited patiently for the moment when
the calm, absorbed face should turn towards him, and the
deep eyes should be lifted to his again. The moment came
before long; and the first words that Dr Drayton spoke
proved that his apparent abstraction was only the result of
the close thought he had given to Austin’s new scheme.

“Tt might be done,” he said, at length, in his slow,
measured tones. ‘Yes, I think it might be done. But,
Austin, that would be a very hard field, and you are young
and quite new to the work. How do you propose to begin ?”

‘‘T have been down there reconnoitering a little,” said
Frank, ‘and I find that there is a shanty next to Milward’s
liquor-shop, where I can hire a room for a few shillings a
month. My idea is to hold a meeting there on Sabbath
afternoons—a sort of prayer-meeting.”

“Who would assist you? Any one among the boys?”

“T think Bronson would help me regularly ; and some
of the older fellows beside would drop in once in a while,
I dare say. But for constant assistance, help which could
be depended on, I doubt if I would have any aid but
Bronson’s.” |

‘‘ And you two are ready to undertake it alone?”
316 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

_ “Thave not spoken to him yet about sharing in the plan ;
I simply told him that I intended to try to do something

there. There is very little doubt he will help me; but if i

does not see his way clear to do so, I will try it alone ”

“This is a very grave work, Austin, and one which, once
undertaken, must be carried out, in spite of all discourage.
ments or hardships or annoyances. You cannot let it drop
after it is once started.”

“T have thought of all that, sir. I do not mean to let it
drop, whatever the trials connected’ with it may be. But it
won’t be all hard labour, Doctor,” added the boy, his face
lighting up as he spoke. ‘There ’ll be a great deal of joy
and pleasure init. There ’ll be such a deal of happiness in .
the very work itself, you know, that the trouble will be paid
for as we go along.”

‘‘ You must not expect too much, my son,” said the Doctor,
smiling rather sadly at the boy’s sai oem “Tam afraid
that you will not be very well ‘paid,’ as you say. That

corner 1s a terrible place. I think that you will not make
-much headway there. You will be disappointed if you
count on a large reward.”

“Oh, I meant that the task would pay for itself,” said
a eagerly. ‘I don’t know,” he added, more quietly,

“whether our Lord will let us see even one soul brought
back to Him as the reward of our own personal labour; but
I should think perhaps He might: Even if He does no we
will still be working for Him. It does seem to me, Doctor,
that if I could only: feel that I was doing some real, earnest
work for Christ, I should be perfectly content. It seems as
if I were just hungry for it.”

“Then you will be satisfied, my son,” said Dr Drayton,
gently. ‘There was One who said, ‘ My meat is to do the
will of Him that sent me;’ and those ‘that hunger and
thirst after righteousness shall be filled.’ If you are hunger-
ing for a holy life, and to ‘ work the works’ of God, you shall
6)

THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. ole

‘have meat to eat that others know not of.’ I will not dis-
courage you, Austin. Only be very cautious and wise. If
I were in your place I would have a talk with old Christy
about this thing before attempting to start it. He knows
more of those people than we do, and will be better able to
advise you as to the best method of commencing operations
than I. Good-night, my boy.”

“ Good-night, sir, and thank you for all the time you have
given me.”

Dr Drayton did not answer; but as Frank looked up at
him, noticing his silence, he laid both his hands upon his
head. The boy bent forward, and with a tremble in his
voice, the master said tenderly, “The Lord bless thee and
keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and
be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance
upon thee and give thee peace.”

Christopher Dunn’s old clock had just rung out six loud,
honest strokes, as Frank Austin gave a rap on the cabin-door
the next morning. |

“This is an early visit, isn’t it, Christy?” he asked, as
the old man came to meet him, with a look of some surprise
on his face. ‘I wanted to have a talk with you, and I did
not know of any time in the day but this when we could be
sure that none of the other fellows would come in upon us.
So I stole out of bed without waking any one, and ran down
here. Where are the boys?”

“Gone a-fishin’, sir. They goes out for a bit every
mornin’, to get their hands in like, afore they starts off on
the peddlin’ with the waggon. But isn’t Jem a proud fellow,
Mr Austin? He’s been on the watch ever since he came to
me to do a good turn for Miss Mary or Mr Edward ; not to
say to pay them back for all they ’ve done for him, but just
to show his heart like. And he’s that glad that he wag
chose as the one to save her, that he scarce knows how to
explain himself. He’s a strong and active swimmer, is Jem
318 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

"Twas only a short while back that he saved another woman
from drownin’.”

“ He is a great blessing to you, isn’t he, Christy?” said
Frank, as the old face glowed and sparkled with infinite
delight.

“That he is, sir: that he is. And I thank the Lord for
sending him tome. But what was it you came to say, Mr
Austin? I mustn’t keep you yarnin’ about my boy, when
you ve taken all this trouble to have a talk with me. What
is it, sir? Nothing bad, I know by the look of you.”

“No, nothing bad, Christy; but I want to ask your
advice. Suppose I wanted to do something for our Master,
could I find a better field to work in than Milward’s
Corner ?”

‘There ’s no place where there’s more to do, Mr Austin;
but then again there ’s no place where the doin’ of it would
be more hard. It’s a terrible bad spot, sir.”

“I know it. But isn’t that only another reason why I
should try to make a little change in it? We mustn’t pass
by the dark spots, Christy, and work only in the sunshine.”

“No, Mr Frank, that we must not; and if it’s your will
to try what you can do for the Lord in the very midst of
Satan’s camp, it ’s not old Christy as will go agin’ you. But
you will need to be wise as a sarpent, sir, and harmless as a
dove.”

“That is Just why I came to talk to you about it. I want
you to tell me how to begin there. I thought of hiring a
room, and holding a sociable little prayer-meeting on Sunday
afternoons. Not a stiff, poky affair, you know ; but a real,
live, friendly meeting. Don’t you think we could get it up?”

“Yes, sir; you could get it up; but another pint is,
whether you could keep it up. You’d not have much help,
I’m thinkin’.”

“I'd keep it up if no one helped me but my Master,”
said the boy, stoutly.
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. — 819

“Then here’s my hand upon it, sir; and all the aid
Christy can give, you shall surely have,” said the old man,
heartily. ‘ We’ll do our best, Mr Frank, and if that fails,
at least our own hearts will be the warmer and the stronger
for it ;” and he caught Frank’s hand and heldit fast. “ As
toa place for the meetin’, you might get the Widow Tracy’s
room, only she’s very nigh hand the tavern.”

“That ’s the very place I thought of, Christy. The fact
of its being so close to the tavern is only another reason for
choosing it, for some of the loungers there may stroll in once
in a while,” |

“And you don’t think they ll make you trouble, sir ?”

“T should not wonder if they did try to disturb us; but
our Master is stronger than theirs, and perhaps those who
come in to annoy us may be won over to our side. Don’t
you think so?”

‘“T think the Lord is with you, boy, in this thing,” said
the old man, solemnly ; “and not another word will Christy
say agin’ it. There comes Jem, now. He'll be ready with a
helpin’ hand for you.”

Jem sat listening with a very attentive, interested face,
while Frank unfolded his new plan to him ; and when the
earnest voice asked, in conclusion, ‘‘ Do you believe I can
make it work, Jem?” he sat for some moments, with hig
chin resting on his hands, thoughtfully studying a knot-
hole in a plank in the flooring, before he answered the
question.

“Tf we only could get hold of that Ed Bailey,” he said at
length, ‘‘ we might do something. He’s the leader of that
garg, and I never saw so young a chap so good at making
folks do accordin’ to his likin’. If we got him over, we’d
have no trouble at all, for he ’d make the other fellows behave
themselves. But he’s such a regular rowdy that I’m afraid
he'll do all he can agin’ us; and if he does, the rest will
follow in‘his track.”
320 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

“Ed Bailey, did you say?” asked Frank. “Is that the
son of the landlady at Mountain Lake ?”

“Yes, sir. He left his home entirely a year ago, because,
as he said, he couldn’t do as he pleased with the old woman
around. He’s done as he pleased since, and no mistake : for
he’s gone to the bad as fast as his feet could carry him.
There isn’t a worse fellow at the Corner (and that’ 8 sayin’ a
good deal) than Ed Bailey.”

‘‘ Perhaps he isn’t as bad as he’s painted,” said Frank.

“He's pretty bad, sir, accordin’ to my own knowledge of
him,” replied Jem. ‘I’ve only been here for a few months,
and of course it’s only for that time I’ve known him ; but
I can see he’s run a long ways down hill even in this time
He was quite a decent-lookin’ young fellow when I first
seen him, but now he looks worse nor any fellow of his age
that I ever see. There don’t seem to be a good spot in
him,”

“Oh yes, there is,’ said Frank, cheerily. ‘There is a
good spot in every one somewhere, and Ed Bailey must have
his. Perhaps no one has tried to find it out.”

“ Perhaps not, Mr Austin. Certain sure, no one ever speaks
a good word for him now ; and if he did take a turn for the
better, I suppose he’s ah none to help him. Everybody is
down on him.”

‘‘ Then suppose you and I take him in hand, Jem, and see
if we can do anything with him. Don’t say a word yet of
our intentions, but just make friends with him if you can.
I will speak to him if I see him. Perhaps I can make him
like me. Shall we try for it?”

“Yes, sir, for sure we will,” said Jem, quickly. “Ill be
proud to be workin’ with you, and Ill do my part right
hearty and willin’.”

“‘ Perhaps we shall find him a diamond in the rough,” and
Frank laughed a musical, happy laugh.

“T don’t know about the diamond, sir ; but as to the
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGE. 39]

rough, you'll find plenty of that. But we’ll see if we can’t

~ rub him down a bit.”

“All right. Now I must be off, or E shall not be at the
Hall in time for prayers. I’ll see you again, Christy, before
I do anything very definite. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, and God bless you, laddie! for if ever there
was a brave young soul bent on doin’ His work, tis yourself,
Mr Austin. Go on, boy, go on, and the dear Lord himself
go with you.”

Circumstances seemed to favour Frank’s plans; for before
he had walked a quarter of a mile toward the Hall, he caught
sight of the figure of a man sauntering slowly up the road
before him, and as he came nearer, he recognised Ed Bailey.
There was certainly nothing very prepossessing in the ap-
pearance of the young man. A short, thick-set figure, with
broad shoulders, surmounted by a head covered with a thick
crop of dark hair, which clustered in close curls over the
low forehead, beneath whose heavy brows a pair of small,
keen, black eyes looked sharply out upon what—to judge
by the sullen, dogged expression of his face—must have been
a very disagreeable world.

‘A pleasant day for a walk,” said Frank, as he passed
him, with a friendly nod.

The man looked up, and fixed his eyes on the speaker in
along, rude stare. This was by no means the first time he
had been spoken to by a Hall boy, for the wilder spirits of
the school had been often led into serious mischief by Ed
Bailey and his comrades ; but this was one of the “ Snobs”
—as the loungers at Milward’s Corner had nicknamed those
of the schoolboys who held themselves above such low com-
panionship—and the “Snobs” never deigned even a look
to him and his friends.

“T feel as if I could almost walk up to your beautiful home
at Mountain Lake, Bailey,’ Frank went on, returning his
stare with a smile. ‘ This cool, fresh air braces one up so,”

XxX.
322 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND,

The man gave him a quick, sharp look, as if to ask whether
there were any motive for those words other than appeared
on the surface; but Austin met his glance frankly, and
forced as it seemed: in spite of himself, to make some reply,
Bailey answered, gruffly—

“It’s good enough, I suppose.”

“We were up there a day or two since,” said Frank, un-
abashed by his disagreeable manner. “The country was
looking splendidly, and the lake was as clear as crystal. We
were fortunate in finding it so perfectly clear, for I believe
the water is sometimes a little muddied, isn’t it?”

‘“‘Summat so,” was all the answer he received.

But no matter; Frank had something to do, and he meant
to do it.

“One of our ladies fell into the lake. She wasn’t hurt
at all ; and your mother gave her dry clothes, and made her
as comfortable as possible. If Mrs Bailey had been her own
mother, she couldn’t have been more kind and attentive to
her. She’s a very nice old lady. We all liked her go
much.”

The keen, black eyes had fixed themselves on Frank’s face
at the first mention of the mother. Frank knew that very
well, but he had not lifted his to meet them. Now, looking
up suddenly, he caught their expression—a softened look,
which Edward Bailey would never willingly have permitted -
him to see. It changed in an instant to the old sullen,
moody expression ; but the boy had seen it, and it was all
he needed to confirm him in his purpose.

Wisely thinking that his first effort had been carried far
enough, he turned into a footpath which led across the fields
up to the Hall, saying, as he left his strange companion—

‘“‘T must hurry, or I shall be late, Geet morning.”

“ Mornin’,” was the roughly spoken response.

But the next moment, with a quick spring, the man had
gained Frank’s side once more.
THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. ' 323

“I say,” he said, without looking toward Austin, but
keeping close beside him, “the old woman didn’t happen to
say nothin’ to you about me, did she, now ?”

“No, not to me,” replied Frank ; “but she told one of
the ladies that she had a son in Graydon who had not visited
her for a long while, and that she wanted very much indeed
to see him.”

The words were scarcely spoken before his listener was
gone, and Frank walked rapidly on toward the Hall.

Had he found the soft spot in that hard heart? Had he
seen the glow of a diamond hidden deep, deep down beneath
a crushing weight of sin, and folly, and ignorance ?

It was a morning in the middle of September, and the
mellow autumn light was beginning to fall softly over hill
and valley, tinting the already rich landscape with even
brighter hues, The varied bits of colour caught Austin’s
eye, and he stood for a moment watching the changes in the
beautiful picture with keen delight.

In the valley at his feet lay a’smooth meadow of bright
green, stretching away toward the hills, until it was met by
a field of red buckwheat lying cosily nestled between two
fields of corn that stood proudly tossing its long tassels in
the sunlight, even while it bent beneath the weight of its
golden ears. Here and there over the meadows the maples
waved their branches in the breeze, some tipped with yellow
or crimson leaves, or touched in the very heart with scarlet
hues, while the outer branches still wore their early dress of
green. Away up on the mountain side there shone a gleam
of purest white—a late field, which the sun, lingering in
the valley, coquetting with waving corn and sweet blossoms
there, had neglected to care for. It would scarcely ripen
now, yet it added another shade to the picture. Farther
down the hillside a broad, brown expanse, bringing out the
brighter colours in stronger relief, told that the ploughman
had been busy there. Barren enough it looked as his eya


324 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

first fell on it ; but the next moment, the sunlight touching
it from behind a passing cloud, clothed it with a new beauty,
bringing into view a faint shade of softest green, the first
tender up-springing of the winter grain which needed that
one burst of sunshine to tell that it was there.

So it is oftentimes with poor human souls. We pass
them by, for they seem to us utterly barren, rough, and
dark. But let the sunshine of a gentle word, a generous
act, or even a kindly smile but fall upon them, and we shall
catch in a moment the answering gleam, the quick up-
springing of a new life. It may be but a germ, so slight
and faint that we shall lose it as the shadow falls again ;
yet, if it is tended and cared for, it will, in God’s good time,
bear fruit which we shall gather into His treasure-house,
singing our Harvest-Home with glad thanksgiving,

CHAPTER IV.
MILWARD’S CORNER,

Tue Sabbath morning rose bright and fair after two days
of heavy rain ; and .as Frank Austin sat in the little Gray-
don church, by a window which looked out upon a brook
whose waters had been swollen into quite a sturdy stream
by the storm, the glorious sunlight which bathed the whole
scene in gold seemed to him a promise of success in the
work which he intended to begin that afternoon. The sun-
lit water came gurgling and splashing over the stones which
lay in its path until, striking a sharp ledge of rock, it
dashed over its edge in a miniature waterfall, which fell
foaming into a deep pool that lay dark and silent heneath
the rock.
MILWARD’S CORNER, 395

Watching the glistening water as it fell, the boy’s thoughts
wandered far out of the reach of Mr Leonard’s voice. The
dark, deep pool was Milward’s Corner ; the sparkling, flash-
ing stream which threw itself into it, fearless of stain from
contact with its blackness, was the feeble band who had
undertaken to labour for the Master there.

But what was this lying just beyond the spot where the
bright water struck the dark ?

A. tiny leaf, lifted by some playful breeze from an autumn-
tinted maple-bough, lay burning on the black water ; now
floating out toward a broad band of sunlight which lay
warmly across the brook not half a dozen feet from it ; now
drawn back by the current of the pool; now thrown for-
ward again by the onward force of the little cataract. That
tiny leaf grew to a sign to the boy; it took upon it a
strange importance, an individuality, it became his “ rough
diamond.” Would the deep pool draw it down, down to its
dark depths, or would the pure, sweet stream move it on
little by little to the bright sunlight beyond ?

He sat and watched and watched it with a curious,
almost painful earnestness. To and fro, to and fro, first
subject to one force, then to the other; but with all its
turnings and waverings, Frank could see that it was slowly
floating toward the light. A trifle nearer, another trifle,
and then a slight breeze ruffled the stream, and wafted the
glowing leaf, the bearer of so many hopes and longings,
into the glorious, shining band of gold which spanned the
stream.

Frank lifted his head with a great sigh of relief. A
half-smile crossed his face as he became conscious of the
depth and intensity of feeling with which he had followed
the fate of a little maple-leaf; and, looking up with the
smile yet on his lips, he caught Mr Leonard’s eyes fixed full
upon his face, with something so like an answering gleam
in their quiet depths, that the boy asked himself if it could
826 — FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

be that he too had seen the pretty, trifling thing, and had
invested it with any like importance as that which he had
attached to it. But that could not be; for, from his posi-
tion, Mr Leonard could by no possibility have looked out upon
the little picture. For a moment, Frank wondered what
that glance had meant; then something in the sermon
caught his wandering thoughts, and the circumstance passed
from his mind.

He was standing in the vestibule of the church after ser-
vice, talking with Christy, who had stopped him on his way
out, to ask him some question with reference to the meet-
ing at the Corner, when Mr Leonard came down the aisle,
and pausing beside them, said—

“Well, Frank, are you ready to open the battle this
afternoon?” |

“Yes, sir, I believe so. Christy and I were just discuss-
ing the matter a little. I’ve one good helper, at any rate.”

“Yes; and you would have more if [ did not think if
wisest—at least for the present—to leave the field entirely
in your hands. All my own efforts have been so resolutely
and bitterly withstood, that I have been almost in despair
of any good being done at the Corner while Milward kept
up his tavern there; the very word ‘minister’ or ‘church’
seems to be sufficient to excite the opposition of those poor
creatures ; but since you boys have undertaken the work, I
have some hope in it. There wiil be the novelty of the
thing, in the first place, to attract them, and the more
hardened of them will not think it worth their while to in-
terfere with what they will probably consider mere child’s
play. They will laugh at you, mock you, and annoy you,
doubtless, in every way possible to their ingenuity; but they
will scarcely oppose you with anything like violence ; and
they will soon tire of their system of annoyance, I think, and
leave you to go on your way unmolested. You have under-
taken a noble work, my son. God bless you in it!”
MILWARD’S CORNER. 327

Christy left them at the church-door, promising to: be in
his place at the appointed time; and Mr Leonard and
Frank were slowly walking homeward, when the minister
asked suddenly —

‘What was your text this morning, Frank ?”

“‘ The text, sir?” and Frank coloured slightly, for, for
the moment, it had escaped him. ‘Oh! I have it now.
‘IT am the good shepherd and know my sheep, and am
known of mine.’”

“That was my text: I asked you for yours. You heard
but little of my sermon this morning; but if I am not
much mistaken you heard a greater preacher than I. Was
not that so?”

The boy looked up, with a quick, comprehending glance.

“T know what you mean,” he said, “and I know, too,
why it was that you looked as if you saw the picture which
had drawn my attention from your sermon. Did you sea
it, Mr Leonard ?”

“TL sawa face in which watchfulness and anxiety, hope,
uncertainty, and strong desire were strangely mixed and
blended ; then I saw the watchful anxiety subside into
almost certain hope, then into fulfilled desire, and I knew
that my young soldier had been armed anew, and that his
Captain had strengthened him for the battle. You need not
have blushed to find that you were not at once able to give
me my text when you supposed that I had asked for it, for
I think you have been listening to Him who preached to the
fishermen of Galilee. Can you tell me His text ?”

“A little maple-leaf, tossed to and fro, but lifted at last
into the sunny, quiet water,” said Frank, smiling, “That —
was the text, and the sermon has made me strong for my
work. But I had not thought of it so before. You always
have such a nice way of putting things, Mr Leonard ;” and
he drew closer to the minister’s side, and looked lovingly up
in his face.
328 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

“Have I, my boy?” he answered, gravely. ‘I am glad
if I have helped you in any degree. Since Allan Haywood,
your friend and my son (as dear to me as my very own,
though he called another man father) went home, the young
friends he left behind him, especially those who love and
serve the Master whom he so delighted to honour, stand
next to him in my love; and I would fain do for them
what, if God had spared his life, I might have done for him.
Remember, Frank, that if at any time you want my aid, I
am always more than ready, both with hand and heart.”

‘I know that, sir, and I shall never forget it,” said Frank ;
and their paths diverging here, they parted with a hearty
grasp of each other’s hands, and another wish from Mr
Leonard that the boy might prosper in his new enterprise.

Mrs Tracy’s apartment was a small corner room, on the
second floor of a dilapidated wooden building which stood
close beside the tavern, where, for years, Joe Milward had
doled out disease and death, at three cents a glass, to scores
and hundreds of poor souls who flocked day by day to his
den of misery. Young men and old, women, and even
children, might be seen at any hour of the day, idlin g about
the ill-kept, tumble-down tavern, hanging around the door
in groups, or issuing from the bar, staggering stupidly under
the influence of the poison they had taken ; or, maddened by
its heat, raving like lunatics, until, worn out by their own
violence, they fell down, a helpless heap of rags and wretched.
ness, into heavy, senseless sleep.

A few benches had been placed in rows along one side of
the room, fronting an old school-desk which Dr Drayton
had given to be used asa rostrum; the broken boards of
the bare floor had been covered here and there by patches of
bright carpet obtained from Mrs Morton, the housekeeper ;
and the two small windows had been neatly curtained with
coarse white muslin, Altogether it was by no means an
uninviting-looking spot ; and as Frank, with half a dozen of
MILWARD’S CORNER. 329

his schoolfellows, entered it that sunny September after-
noon, he thought it, in his glad, hopeful enthusiasm, the
very place for a prayer-meeting such as he designed to hold.

“Surely they will come in,” he said to himself, as he
elanced around the room ; “it looks so neat and cosy they
will like it.”

And they did come in. First of all—save Christy and
his two boys, who were waiting at the door when Frank
reached the corner—came two or three children; then a
croup of boys about his own age; ten or twelve of these
rough, ill-looking young fellows ; then an old woman ; then
a girl, with a baby in her arms; and then, sauntering slowly
in, as if half undecided whether to enter the room or not—
Ed Bailey.

Frank had just risen to open the service, when the last
comer loitered lazily through the open door. Austin paused
a moment, with the eyes of all the little crowd upon him,
until Bailey was fairly in the room ; then said, quietly—

“Will you please to close that door, and we will begin
our service.”

The young man stood still for a moment, eyeing him
sharply ; then, as if suddenly changing his mind, turned
and shut the door, seating himself close beside it.

It was a moment of intense interest to every one within
the walls of that poor room. Whatever motive had brought
them there, however carelessly or with whatever evil intent
they had come, every faculty of every soul there was now
engrossed by that young face behind the desk. Idle
curiosity had drawn the two women—the rumour of some
kind of a meeting to be held in the Widow Tracy’s room.
At the tavern it had been talked of, too; in the bar-room
some one had said that the ‘Snobs were goin’ to get upa
meetin’.” The announcement had been simply laughed at,
save by Milward, who had declared, with a curse, that ‘if
the young rascals” interfered with him they would make
330 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

trouble for themselves. The love of something new, and
the hope of making some fun, had drawn a number of the
frequenters of the bar from their usual Sunday afternoon
recreations to the little room ; but there was not one stranger
there who had come to oot God. Nevertheless, the
room was solemnly still, and every eye was fixed on Frank,
as he faced the small company who sat before him, wondering
how much he had courage to do and say.

They had not long to wait. He was very pale, but his
voice came full, and clear, and strong, when, after a
moment’s pause, it broke the silence—

“We are very glad, more glad than we can tell you, to
see so many here, especially so many young fellows of about
our own age. We boys thought it would be a good idea, as
Jong as there was no church in this part of the village, to
hold a meeting here—a sociable, friendly kind of an affair.
Sunday is such a long, dull day when we have nothing at
all to do, and don’t go to church, that anything that breaks
into it, and gives us something to think of and talk about,
is a very good thing for us. So we thought we would start:
this meeting, and those that liked it could come, and those
that did not, need not be at all annoyed by it, as we are
quite out of the way. It isa real satisfaction to us to see
so many here. We scarcely expected it, and it is a great
encouragement. We will begin by singing the hymn cn
the sixth page of those little books which you will see on
the benches.” |

T'wo or three hands were stretched out for the books, and
three voices, one that of the girl with the baby on her knees,
joined in, as Will Seaton, who had come down “to see the
fun,” as he expressed it, but in reality to help Frank out of
his difficulty with regard to a chorister, struck up the old
familiar tune of “ America” to the hymn—

‘**Come, thou Almighty King.”
Frank had but little ear for music, and sould not have
MILWARD’S CORNER, ool

raised a tune if his life depended on it; but he listened
with infinite delight to the hymn, nor did it disturb his
happiness when he noticed that one of the two strangers,
who lent their voices to the chorus, was singing the words
as well as the tune of “ America.” The man had not
opened a book, but sat with his hands in his pocket, and his
head thrown back, singing away most lustily, in a voice by
no means unmelodious—bringing his feet down with a
smart rap upon the floor at the close of every line, not
apparently with any idea of making a disturbance,. but
simply in his full content and enjoyment.

Little by little others began to sing, until at last there
was scarcely one in the room who sat silent and seemingly
uninterested except Edward Bailey. Since he had seated
himself beside the door, he had not raised his head, nor
taken any notice of any one around him, except to push
aside with a gruff refusal a hymn-book which Laurence
Bronson had offered him.

The notes of the hymn died down into silence ; there was
a moment's pause, and then Frank rose in his place again.

“We have asked God to help us to sing,” he said, looking
round as he spoke on the group about him, with a face
that showed he felt some doubt as to the spirit in which his
words would be received, but speaking in a firm, decided
tone; “let us ask Him to bless us with His love.”

“No! no! none of that, youngster,” said a voice from the
farther side of the room. “Sing as much as you like ; but
we ain’t a goin’ to have no prayin’ here.”

“No, not a bit of it!” shouted another voice; and cries.
of “No! no!” “No prayin’ here!” “ No preachin’ in these
parts |” and so forth, were shouted in a tumultuous chorus,
which effectually prevented any efforts on Frank’s part to
make himself heard.

He did not attempt to speak, but stood in his place, very
pale ; looking from one to another of the more violent of his
332 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

opposers, until his very stillness silenced them. The uproar
died into a murmur of discontent—then ceased entirely,
every one watching to see what the next move would be,
No sooner had the room become quite still than Austin
spoke.

“T should be sorry,” he said, quietly, ‘to do any-
thing which would annoy any one here; but all who have
come into this room, eame probably with the full knowledge
that the meeting in which they intended to take part was to
be held for the service of God. It must be remembered that
this room is, for the time being, my house. Jam very glad
to welcome you all to it, but those of us who are here to »
serve our Lord and Master must not be disturbed. If any
wish to leave before prayer is offered, they may do so at
once.”

There was a moment’s pause, but no one moved.

‘Look a here, Snobby !” said the man who had first inter-
rupted the service, a rough, burly fellow, who had come in
for the express purpose of defeating the abject of the meet-
ing, “if you think you ’re a goin’ to settle down in this place
and play missionary, you’re just mistaken, and the sooner
you stop this the better for you ;” and rising from his seat,
he stood with his hands in his pockets, eyeing Frank with an
impudent stare.

“Go it, Bill!” “Two to one on big Bill!” “No, I'll
bet on Snobby; he’s got the real grit!” and so forth, were
some of the cries which rang through the room; while the
smaller boys clapped their hands, whistled, and shouted their
approval of the turn affairs were taking.

Frank did not speak, but his steady eye never moved from
the face of the man who defied him, until the din and noise
subsided again; then he said—

“T must have quiet here. Noone has a right to interfere

with us in our own room.”
“No more they haven't,” exclaimed the man who had
MILWARD’S CORNER, 300

sung so heartily, starting suddenly to his feet.“ Sit down,
Bill Simpson, and give the young ’un fair play. He’s on
his own floor; and if he’s a likin’ for prayin’, ’tain’t none
of our consarns. Them’s as don’t like it here can go where
they ’re better suited. Come now, fellers, sit down, and let
him go ahead. The sooner he gets through, the sooner we’ll
get to singin’ agin, and I’m just full of sing. Go ahead,
young Snobby! Ill see you get fair play.”

But the opposition was not to be so soon silenced ; and
the tumult, especially among the smaller boys, was fast rising
again, when from the door-way there eame another voice to
the rescue—a voice by no means as persuasive as that of
Frank’s first friend, but far more potent in its effect,

“Sit down, and stay down, every mother’s son of you, or
I'll know the reason why!” it said, fiercely ; and the boys
sat down with a celerity that astonished the speaker himself,

The burly man in the corner still maintained his ground,
looking round defiantly, but said nothing further. Frank
glanced round to see who his new champion might be, and
great was his surprise to find that it was Edward Bailey.

The room was as still now as if there were no living
soul within it but himself; all were watching to see whether
he would dare to begin his prayer. There was an instant’s
silence ; then a low, quiet voice broke it so gently, that
all had to listen intently if they wished to know for what
it pled. |

And it did plead. It asked for very little ; only for the
light of God’s love to cheer and comfort each heart there ; for
daily health and strength to win what the daily needs of each
required ; for peace and joy and rest to be given to each ;
for very little, counting by words and by the minutes during
which the low, earnest voice held the rough crowd silent ;
but for good which was beyond all measure if one judged by
those tones of longing entreaty,

Not one head was bent save those of his own friends ; but
334 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND,

when Austin lifted his face again and turned to his little
audience, he found every eye fixed upon him, not in malice
or mischief, but in interest and admiration. Not that his
prayer, simple and earnest though it was, had reached those
poor, hardened souls ; but boys, even the worst of them,
have always a spot in their hearts which any exhibition of
true courage will touch ; and they had seen in this boy, no
older than many of themselves, a moral fortitude and bravery
which had kindled into light every spark of honour which yet
smouldered in their breasts. Not a disturbing sound was
heard as Frank again spoke.

“I see some one with us,” he said, looking over toward
the corner from which Christy and his two sons had been
anxiously watching the progress of affairs, “from whom we
would all be glad to hear ; for he is the friend, I suppose, of
every man, woman, and child, here. We will sing another
hymn, and then we will ask Mr Dunn to talk to us a little.”

The hymn was sung; and then the old man left his seat,
and coming forward stepped behind the desk, Frank having
motioned to him to take his place.

“I’ve just a bit of a story to tell you,” he said, as he
leaned forward on the desk, “of a poor young fellow that
got into sore mishaps. His father was a rich man and a good
man too ; and he ’d a great love for this boy and for another
son he had, an older one. The older one was a good lad, .
but this younger boy was of a restless, rovin’ mind, and he
got into evil ways, and fell from bad to worse, till at last he
wouldn’t even live in the house with his father and the rest
of the family ; for he felt uneasy in his conscience, and, I
suppose, couldn’t bear to see the odds betwixt himself and
them, they being good and honest folks, and he bein’ of a
very different turn of mind. So he takes his share of what
fortune the old man had to give, and off he goes to furrin’
parts. Just think of the meanness of it, boys, to take the
money that the poor old man had been layin’ up for years,
MILWARD’S CORNER. 335

and instead of helpin’ along in the family, to go off with it
as if he ’d earned it all himself. |

“Well, for years they didn’t see him, only heard of him
from time to time, and every time a worse tale. The old
father’s heart was a’most broke with shame and grief ; for his
honest name was dragged in the dirt, his money squandered,
and his boy lost to him.

‘‘ By and by, one day, as his weary eyes was a lookin’ out
upon the road, he sees a figure, all rags and misery, bent and
broken-like, a comin’ up the road. He looks at it, and as
he looks he gets all of a tremble. He thinks he knows it.
Poor and ragged and forlorn as it is; he thinks it is his son.
He looks again, his breath comes thick and fast, and he
moves—not to the door to enter in and lock it fast against
his wicked son. No, my boys, no: it is to run ahd meet
him, to take him in his old arms, to kiss his poor wan face,
old before its time; and as the son, penitent and heart
broken, sobs out so humble-like, ‘ Father, I have sinned!’
the father but holds him closer, and cries out so joyful that
all ran to see what has cheered his sad heart so greatly. Never
a word of anger falls from his lips ; the son had but to say
he was sorry, and the father forgave it all and took him to
his home and his heart again. So God, our Father‘will take
us in tender, loving forgiveness, so soon as we turn back from
our sinful ways, and do but whisper—‘ Father I have
sinned !’” _

‘Please dismiss them, Christy,” whispered Frank, as the
old man left the desk. |

He did not return to his place; but from where he stood,
lifting his wrinkled hands, he said simply—

‘Dear Father! win us back to Thee from all otir wan-
derings and sin. Lead us now from this place, guiding us to
our homes with the light of Thy blessing.”

The little assemblage broke up quietly; and so ended
Frank’s first effort at Milward’s Corner.
336 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND,

CHAPTER V.

MARY ALLEN,

“Wet, Austin, what do you think of that?” asked Will
Seaton, as the schoolboys set off together toward the Hall
after the meeting had broken up.

“T think that was pretty well for a beginning,” replied
Frank ; “did you imagine they would let us go to work go
peaceably ? I fully expected a disturbance.”

“A disturbance! Well, I’d like to know what you call
that small interruption by the gentleman in the red shirt, if
it wasn’t a disturbanee. What did you expect? A can-
nonade of doubtful eggs and fish-tails ?”

“T shouldn’t have been a bit surprised if we had
been saluted in some such way,” said Frank, seriously.
“You don’t suppose, Will, that those people are going to
let us do all we can to spoil their trade without trying to
stop us, do you? I’m very thankful that we’ve had such a
quiet time to-day ; but I don’t believe we’ve seen the worst
of our experience yet, even if we did have to fight pretty
hard for a hearing. ‘They won’t let us draw away their
custom without a battle.”

“Then you still have some hopes on the rotten eggs and
so forth question, have you?” and Seaton laughed merrily.
“Wouldn’t you have looked jolly if one had struck you
square on the forehead, or in the mouth, just ag you began
to speak! Wouldn't I have roared !”

“No, you wouldn't,” said Frank, smiling. “ You would
have looked as grave and serious as you did all through the
service this afternoon. I must thank all you fellows for
standing by me as you did ; you were just splendid to keep
your seats and hold your tongues all through that uproar.
As for you, Will, I surely expected you would pitch in. I
didn’t think you could sit so still in a scrimmage.”
MARY ALLEN, 337

“I didn't know it myself. In fact, I thought every
minute I’d be out of my seat when that big fellow was’
blowing away so, and those little rascals were larking it on
the back seats. Didn’t I want to jump over the benches
and settle those youngsters, though? But you looked so
well able to look after your own pie, that I thought I’d
better not put my fingers in it. Besides, had a small dose
of caution before I left the Hall. Prof. called me into the
lecture-room after we came home from church, and told me
he’d heard you depended on me to attend to the musical
part of the affair ; that, in fact, I was to be the star of the
occasion, and he hoped I’d shine.”

“O Will, what a whopper !”

“*Tisn’t a whopper, either. He said just that—not in
those very words, of course; you know Prof. and I never
do express ourselves in exactly the same terms. For in-
stance, if I were describing you, I’d say you were up to
snuff and pretty spicy ; rather high in the instep, perhaps,
but, after all, just as jolly a good fellow as I know, and
pretty good-looking to boot. But if Prof. had you in hand,
he ’d introduce you as—‘ Mr Francis Austin, gentleman: a
young person who is entirely conversant with the leading
events of the times, of keen perceptions and decided action ;
rather inclined to a proud and dignified bearing, perhaps ;
but, after all, a young gentleman of pleasant social qualities,
and of the highest culture ; adding to these mental endow-
ments the attractions of a well-proportioned and manly forn,
and a face of refined and intellectual beauty.’ How’s that?”
and he glanced mischievously round at his companions,

“First rate! Prof. to a T!” said Laurence Bronson, as
the whole group burst into a hearty laugh at the close of
Will’s description.

“Take care, boys,” said Frank, ‘We ought not to make
such a noise in the road. That wasn’t bad, Will; but we
mustn’t forget it’s Sunday.”

Y
338 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

“But what did he really say to you, Seaton?” asked
timid little Charlie Grant, who always stood in such awe of
Dr Drayton that he scarcely dared to laugh at fun made at
his expense, even when at the distance of nearly two miles
from the Hall, “I shouldn’t have thought he’d let you
come at all,” he added, innocently.

‘“ Holloat small boy, what do you mean by that? Do
you want a shaking?” and, seizing the child as if he meant
to make good his threat, Seaton tossed him up on his
shoulder, and pursued his way up the hill asif the extra
sixty-five or seventy pounds’ weight he carried were rather
a help than otherwise in his upward journey.

‘““What did he say?” he repeated, when the child was
safely perched on his throne. “ Really, I can’t tell you. Ask
him yourself when we get to the Hall. He’s always ready
to inform the inquiring mind on any subject. Shall I tell
him that you ’d like to see him ?”

“No, I thank you,” said Charlie, laughing, and giving
Will’s tawny locks a sly pull. ‘“I’ll wait a while before I
ask the Doctor, I think.”

Will’s answer, “I can’t tell you,” needed to be taken in
the sense rather of “I will not” than “I cannot,” for not
one word of the Doctor’s caution had he forgotten. To tell
the truth, Dr Drayton had been very much inclined to say at
once, when Austin told him he had accepted Seaton’s good-
humoured offer to lead the singing for him, that he could not
consent to any such arrangement. But when he said as much
to Frank, he had seemed so confident that Seaton’s goodness
of heart would control his love of fun, and that he would be
hurt and mortified by a refusal of his services, that the Doctor
had contented himself with giving him a warning, not only
to be quiet and decorous, but also with regard to interfering
impetuously in any difficulty which might arise between
Austin and the Milward’s Corner division of the company.

“Bronson will be there,” he had said, ‘‘and old Christy,
MARY ALLEN, 309

to lend Austin whatever aid he may require. They can
conduct an argument with calmness ; but if trouble arises,
and you attempt to interfere, it will be simply impossible
for you to do so with coolness and moderation. You will
only harm him ; and that, I am sure, you would be very
sorry to do.”

‘‘T would so,” said Seaton, bluntly. “TI wouldn’t do that
for the world ; for I tell you, Dr Drayton, it takes a pretty
plucky chap to undertake such a business as this, I’d be
as sorry as anybody if things should go against him.”

“IT know that, Seaton,” said the Doctor. ‘I am glad
and thankful that you feel inclined to lend Austin your
countenance and encouragement in this matter; it will do
him good ; it has done him good already ; but I sincerely
hope that you will content yourself with simply giving him
the aid of your voice. Let that be raised in all its sweet-
ness and beauty when he asks for it, for God has blessed
you with a noble gift which He has denied to Frank; but
let it be raised only when he asks for Hu. It is the sweetest,
clearest voice I know,” he added, looking kindly at the
boy, ‘‘ when it is used in song; but it is too strong and im-
petuous, too hot and fiery in discussion, to be a safe voice
to plead Austin’s cause ; as I know that it will long to do
if there is any difficulty with those people. Promise me
Seaton, that you will not allow yourself to be led into argu-
ment.” ?

“Very well, sir,’ said Will, looking half-pleased and half-
amused. “ Butif they do get into a muss, I’ll have to walk
out. I couldn’t stand by and see those fellows pitching
into Frank without giving them the benefit of my views ;
so I’ll just have to come away. But I think we’ll eet
along all right.”

‘“‘T hope so,” said the Doctor, with his queer, grim smile.
Then Seaton had left him, saying to himself as he closed ©
the study door, “I declare! the old Prof. would be quite a
340 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

brick if one could only get a little of the starch out of him,
I do believe he really loves Austin. And that wasn’t bad
he said about my voice, either. Well, well; it’s a good
thing, Will, my boy, that he sees one thing in you that’s
sweet, for he thinks that on most points you ‘re sour enough
to make a fellow’s eyes jump out of his head.”

But in spite of all his folly, the boy had been touched and
pleased by the master’s kindly words and look, although he
would not have confessed it for a kingdom,

Meanwhile, at the Corner, the little prayer-meeting was
discussed with no less animation and interest. As the
loungers sauntered into the bar-room, or hung about the
door of the tavern, each had some mocking, sneering ques-
tion to ask of those who had spent the last hour in Mrs
Tracy’s room.

“There wasn’t half as much fun as we thought there’d
be,” said one of the boys, who had attempted to bear Simp
son out in his opposition. ‘‘ The fellers let Snobby brow-
beat’m. And then Ed Bailey, he went over to their side
when we tried to make a muss. Are you a goin’ to bea
Methody, Ed?” he added, turning toward Bailey, who was
leaning against the door.

“No; I ain’t goin’ to do nothin’ of the sort,” answered
Bailey, gruffly ; “but I like fair play, and I’ll see it, too,
even on the side of the Snobs. We ain’t got no business to go
into his room and get uparow. If we don’t like his doin’s,
we can stay out. He’s got a right to his own premises.”

‘““T guess he thinks so,” said another young fellow, who
stood near. ‘ He looked like he did when he stood behind
that ’ere desk, eyein’ of us all when we was hallooin’ and
whistlin’. He’s a pretty lively kind of a chap, too; he ain’t
none of your snivellin’, cantin’ sort, but he ’ll do what he sets
out to, if it costs him all he’s got. You’d better look out
for him, Milward.”

“He’d better look out for himself,” returned the bar-—
MARY ALLEN, oA}

keeper, whose temper had been exceedingly disturbed by
the fact of Bailey’s having taken part with the new-comers
against his friends and supporters. “If he meddles with
me or my business, it’ll be the worse for him. He’d
better try it.” |

‘And you’d better let him alone, if you know what’s
good for yourself,” replied Bailey, sullenly. ‘The place is
his own; and if he’s meddled with, his people are ready to
look after him, I guess; and it’ll be about as good for us
not to have ’em peerin’ too close into our affairs, Milward.
Give me a glass o’ Jamaica.”

He tossed some money down on the counter as he spoke,
and Milward bustled about to prepare what he had asked
for. Bailey was too influential a person among his cus-
tomers for him to offend him lightly; and it was in quite
an altered tone that he answered, as he set the glass down
before him— |

‘No offence, Ed; but a feller don’t like to be interfered
with. JI don’t mean no harm to the chap, ’specially if you’ve
taken a likin’ to him.”

“T ain’t taken no likin’ to him,” returned Bailey, fiercely,
quite unmollified by his friend’s suavity. ‘ What’s he to
me, I’d like to know? But I won’t see nobody nor nothin’,
not even a dog, run down unfair, What’s the Snobs to us,
anyhow? Let them go their gait, and well go our own.
Come on, boys, I'll treat all round.”

Whatever ailed Bailey that afternoon, it did not seem to
be any leaning toward the change of feeling with which one
of his companions had charged him. Nota man of all the
company was more loud and boisterous than he ; none aa
deeper, nor played more desperately.

“Took a here, Milward,” said one of his customers, as
the tavern-keeper, late in the evening, returned to the bar
from which he had been absent a short time; “ Ed don’t
look very Methody just now.”
£49 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

“Oh! I know he’s all right,” answered the man, with a
coarse laugh, as he glanced at Bailey’s prostrate form,
stretched upon the floor in a heavy stupor. ‘TI ain’t much
afraid they ’ll catch him. He always had ridikerlous kind
of notions about stickin’ up for the weak side of a fight,
that’s all. Them pious folks’ll never come it over him.
He’s safe to lie here this way every night that he’s got
money in his pocket.”

As the man spoke, a figure rose from a chair at the farther
side of the room, and came slowly forward. It was the girl
with the baby. She held it still; it lay asleep in her arms
as she walked slowly across the floor, passing among the
miserable forms which lay upon the dirty boards, or sat
sunk in a heap upon the chairs around the table in the
centre of the room, with a look of aversion and repugnance
on her thin faee.

“Why, Mollie, is that you?” said Milward, as she came
near him. ‘ } didn’t know you was back there.”

‘I was chill, and came in to get warm—me and baby.”

The words were spoken in a dull, heavy tone; but the
listless voice took an accent of tenderness as those two little
syllables left her lips, and the weary eyes looked lovingly
down at the small bundle in her arms.

“ What's the matter, girl? You’re down to-night,”

“Not down so far as that,” she said, touching Bailey’s

motionless figure with her foot.
_ “No,” answered the man, with a laugh. “But you’re
pale and cold, Mollie. Come along, and I’ll give you a glass
to warm you up. What makes you look so? Youw’re enough
to frighten the little chap, if he wakes and looks at you.”

“It’s just him as makes me look go,” returned the girl,
fixing her eyes on Milward’s face. “I’m thinking that
that’s the way he'll lie maybe, one of these days, if you
live long enough to tempt him. That is, if he has money
in his pocket,” she added, with a sneer,
MARY ALLEN, 343

The man looked at her in silent amazement for a moment ;
then he said, almost timidly, “ Why, Mollie, girl, what’s
come to you?”

“T don’t know,” she answered—“I don’t know at all
what’s come to me; but I know I hate this place, and I
hate you, Joe Milward, and I hate this low, wicked life
worse than either, And I know one thing more; and that
is, that my little child (and that sweet thrill rang through
her voice again), my little child shall be saved from it if his
mother can save him. You took away my husband and his
father from me, but you shall not take his mother from him
too, for I will never set my foot in this wretched den again;”
and passing him with a quick step, she went out into the
night, leaving Milward standing looking after her, too much
astonished to answer. |

“Well,” he said at last, “if it don’t beat all. She’s
taken a pretty sudden turn.”

It was not to be wondered at that the man could scarcely
believe his own senses. Three years before, Mary Allen’s
parents, both in Milward’s employ, and both the victims of
his miserable traffic, had died, leaving her in his house
friendless and alone; and he had allowed her to remain
there in return for such services as she could render.

Two years ago this Sabbath night, she had married a
- young man whom Milward had just engaged as bar-tender.
Scarcely a month had passed, when she found that. her young
husband was falling under the influence of the landlord and
hisfriends ; andeighteen months afterwards, he was killed in a
drunken quarrel inthe tavern. Onlyeighteen years ofage, with
a little babya few weeks old to be cared for, the poor girl knew
no other home to which to turn; and she had lived on in the
wretched place ever since, a miserable, hopeless life, but a life
from which she seemed to have no energy nor even a desire to
escape. It was no marvel that Milward, accustomed to seeing
her pass listlessly to and fro, apparently unmoved by any of the
344 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

scenes which were daily enacted before her, should be utterly
surprised and confounded by her sudden attack upon him.

Mollie had walked rapidly up the main street of the vil-
lage for some distance, and then turning sharply from it into
a narrower road, had begun to ascend the long hill toward
Drayton Hall. She had gone on for part of the way, when,
suddenly pausing, she began to look about her as if not quite
_ certain where aie was going.

“Why, what am I about?” she said, at length, putting
her hand to her head, as if she were dazed. ‘“‘ I’m on the
Hall road ;” and turning, she began slowly to retrace her
steps.

“Where shall I go?” she said to herself, when she had
walked back some distance toward the village again. ‘‘ He
mustn’t be out here much longer. It’s growing so cold and
sharp ;” and taking off the thin shawl which covered her
shoulders, she wrapped it about the child who still slept
peacefully in her arms,

By and by she passed a deserted barn. She paused a
moment, as if half inclined to enter; but changing her mind,
went on again, walking very fast to keep herself warm, for
she was only half-clad, and the night was damp and chilly.

But after a while her steps began to lag ; she was growing
very weary, and there was no place of shelter anywhere
within sight. .

“IT must have come round by some wrong path,” she said
~ to herself. “Wheream I, I wonder? Oh,dearyme! I’m
on the mountain road, and there ’s never a house nor a barn
anywhere near this. Ill have to go back.”

With a sigh she turned again on her steps. The baby
stirred with a fretful cry. She rocked him gently to and
fro, whispering softly—

“Don’t cry, sweet, don’t. Mother can’t bear it just now.
We ’ll find a roof to cover us soon. But I can’t go back to
that hole. Never, never!”
IN THE OLD BARN. 345

When he was quiet again she went on, and after a’ while
reached the old barn which she had passed before. She did
not hesitate now, but going directly in, was about to seat
herself on a dark object near the shattered door-way, when
the thing moved ; and starting up with a cry, she found that
what she had taken in the darkness for the trunk of a tree,
was a cow. The animal rose, and walked slowly out.

‘She must have left a warm spot there, baby dear,”
ye peree the young mother. ‘We'll lie down where
she lay.”

It was a hard bed, with not even a billet of wood ae a
pillow ; but the girl was exhausted with her long walk, and
scarcely had her head touched the floor before she fell
asleep. A troubled sleep at first, broken by dreams of Mil-
ward, who seemed to be dragging her baby from her ; then
of Austin and old Christy; but by and by she lay quiet
and still, the baby clasped close to her breast.

CHAPTER VI.
IN THE OLD BARN.

Ir was long after sunrise on the morning of the next day,
when Mary Allen, disturbed by the fretful wailing of her
baby, woke from the heavy sleep into which she had fallen.
An indistinct consciousness that the child had been crying
for a long while was floating dimly through her. mind, but
she did not seem able to exert herself to tend it. She lay,
with her eyes half-closed, listening to its moans with a vague
idea that it needed something, and that she ought to rouse
herself ; yet with such an utter lack of energy both of body
and mind, that the mere effort to turn her head to look at
her child was greater than she seemed able to make.

But after a while the fretful wail changed to a sharper
946 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND,

ery; and, with a startled, frightened sort of feeling, the girl
tried to raise herself. Tried in vain at first, sinking weakly
back upon the floor when she had scarcely more than lifted
her head from the hard boards.

“Given out at last,” she said. “I yore how soon it
would come. I suppose I’ll never get up.”

The words were spoken in a dull, listless tone, as if it
mattered nothing to her whether she ever rose or not; and
she lay quiet once more until the baby’s sharp cry nonce
her again. She opened her eyes, and looked at him for a
moment, almost stupidly ; and then, suddenly, as if the
conviction had just flashed upon her, she said—

“Can he be hungry? Oh, yes; it’s morning; he must
be hungry.”

‘She tried again to rise; but failing, and finding the baby,
in her weakness, too great a burden for her, laid him down
upon the floor ; and then, struggling up upon her hands and
knees, crept across the bonne to an old hay-rick, and holding
fast to it, at length managed to stand upon her feet. Her
head swam dizzily with the effort, and she staggered back
feebly against the uncertain support. Her mouth was dry,
and burning with fever; and feeling as if she must have water,
she picked up a rusty tin cup which lay on the floor near her,
and clinging to the wall crept to the door-way. She looked
out, hoping to see some little spring of water, or even a puddle
by the roadside, where she might cool her parched lips; but
it was all as dry as the boards beneath her feet. She was
turning back, when the cow which she had disturbed the night
before came slowly round from the other side of the barn.

“YT wonder if I could milk her,” said the girl. ‘ Only
I’m feared to let go the door, lest I fall. So, bossy, so!”
and she looked entreatingly at the creature as she drew
nearer, as if she could comprehend her words, and help her
in her great need. ‘You’ve been milked already, poor
thing ; but baby is starving, and I’ll die of thirst.”
IN THE OLD BARN. 347

The animal stood still as if she had understood every word
she said. Perhaps she was won by the low, pitiful voice.
At any rate, she paused close beside the door-way ; and
sinking down upon the sill, Mary tried to fill the old cup.
At first her weak fingers refused to aid her, but after a little
they seemed to gain some strength, and by and by the cup
was filled with rich, foaming milk. She put it to her lips ;
and refreshed and strengthened, at least for the moment,
crept back to the spot where her baby lay, still wailing
feebly, for his louder cry had been but momentary.

She took him in her lap ; he was not much to hold, poor
little thing. He had always looked as if a fresh breeze
might waft him away some sunny morning; now, as he lay
with closed eyes upon her knees, quieted for a moment by
the touch of her tender hands, the tiny, colourless face was
absolutely lifeless in its expression. And, after all, he would
take but little of the hardly-earned breakfast. What he did
take, however, served to still his cries, and he fell asleep on
his mother’s lap. Mary sat looking down at him for a
while ; and then her own eyelids began to droop, and resting
her child on her arm, she lay back upon the floor.

But she did not sleep. Her mind wandered back to the
past day ; not to its last miserable occurrences in Milward’s
bar-room, but to that little service in Mrs Tracy’s room. All
its scenes passed before her as if they were actually enacted
again. She heard the rich, sweet voice lifting the words.
of the gladsome hymn, joined, after the first moment, by
others, voices which she had never known to speak a holy
word before. She heard the pleasant words of welcome ;
then she saw a pale, resolute face, glowing with earnest
desire, as, the short conflict over, the young leader sought
help and comfort and strength for the needy hearts around
him ; and then that other face, with its crown of silver hair,
looking so tenderly round upon them all, while the old,
faded lips told the story of the sorrowful, penitent child’s
348 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

loving reception at his father’s home. She smiled as it came
up before her, and the smile deepened and brightened as
that picture floated by, to give place to another—the face of
the boy behind the desk, who had seemed to know so well
what she wanted ; and how tried and troubled she had been,
and to be so ready and so anxious to ask God to help her,
And then the words of the second hymn came softly through
the air :—
“ Just as I am—without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bids’t me come to Thee—
O Lamb of God ! I come.
* Just as T am—and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot—
O Lamb of God! I come.”

Slips of paper, with that hymn printed on them, had been
scattered on the benches. She had taken one with her when
she left the room, and had read and re-read it so often, that
the night before she could have repeated it all word for
word. But this morning her head was in a whirl. LEven
the few first lines bewildered and confused her; and when
at last she had succeeded in recalling two verses, the rest
seemed like a medley in her mind; and when she attempted
to speak them, passed away from her like a mist. She felt
blinded and lost, and put out her hand with a faint, troubled
cry. Then there came to her the last words spoken in the
old room. She wanted to repeat them, but they floated
from her too.

“Dear Father—lead us—with light.— Dear Father—win
us—from sin,” she faltered ; not in prayer, but in a vain
effort to recollect Christy’s petitions. But the repetition of
the words served to calm her ; and when she had so far re-
called them as to say connectedly—* Dear Father, lead us
with the light of Thy blessing,” her face grew calm and
composed, and her lips ceased their constant restless motion.
IN THE OLD BARN. 349

For hours she lay there, not sleeping, but in a’ heavy
stupor-—so heavy that she did not waken even when the
child upon her arm began to move his hands and limbs with |
a strange twitching of the muscles which would have
agonised the heart of any mother whose loving eyes had
watched him; nor even when the tiny form writhed itself
out of her grasp in a terrible convulsion. The little figure
grew still: the blue eyes stared up through the broken roof,
looking, perhaps, for a Home where it might rest, and for
the Elder Brother who had said—‘ Suffer the little children |
to come unto me ;” and the long-drawn breath laboured up
painfully through the small chest; but the mother knew
nothing of it all.

About three o’clock that afternoon, when the sun was
beginning to cast long, slant shadows through the trees along
the mountain road, Edward Bailey came sauntering up the
road, with his hands thrust deep down into his pockets, and
his head dropped forward on his breast, as if his whole
mind were engaged in studying the stones and earth beneath
his feet. If any one had asked him if he were going up the
mountain to visit his mother, he wonld have said “ No,” in.
as decided a tone as it was possible for a man to use; never-
theless, this was third time that day that he had found
himself (almost in spite of himself) taking the way towards
his home. But whatever his first desires and inclinations
had been, it was now too late to undertake the journey. Yet
he went on in an uncertain, objectless manner, farther and
farther, until he had passed quite beyond the turning-point
of his two earlier walks. |

He had paused to look up at the sun and see how far on
in the day it might be, when a sound like a moan of pain
struck his ear. He glanced about him, and, seeing no living
creature near but a few head of cattle grazing not far away,
supposed that some noise which they had made had misled
him ; and was about to turn back toward the village when
350 ‘FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

the sound came again. There was no mistaking it. It was
the groan of some one—a woman, he thought—in great dis-
tress. The tumble-down barn, which for years had stood
as a sort.of landmark in the road, was just before him ; and
he hurried toward it, wondering if some starving tramp had
crept in there to die.

There was in this hard, coarse, wicked man one purer
vein. Deep down in his heart there lay a little well of
sympathy for anything that was weak or helpless. The waters
of that well had been tossing and swelling ever since Frank
Austin had spoken to him of the lonely old mother who
longed so sorely to see her only child ; the sight of the brave
young fellow standing up firmly against so many strong and
unscrupulous opposers had troubled its waters again ; and
now the picture which met his eyes, as he stepped into the
old barn, touched its very depths.

“Mollie! Why, Mollie Allen! is this you?” he said,
hastening to the side of the girl, who, her face flushed with
fever, was rolling her head painfully from side to side on the
hard floor. ‘‘ How came you here, Mollie?”

She opened her eyes and looked at him, wildly at first,
failing to recognise him, although his face had been familiar
to her from her earliest childhood. Then a gleam of intelli-
gence awoke in her eyes, and catching at his hand, she cried
eagerly—

“OQ Ed! you'll bring him, won't you? You was always
good to me, never mind how bad you was to other folks, ’cause
I was so lonesome. O Ed, bring him, bring him, quick!”

“Bring who? the doctor? ’Course I will;” and he
sprang to his feet, for he had knelt down beside her.

“No! no! Not the doctor, I’m dying, Ed, and no
doctor can stop me. I’m dying with my sins all on my
head; and there’s nobody to help me! I want him. O
Ed, go, go!” and she pushed him from her with trembling,
burning hands,
IN THE OLD BARN. 351

“T’ll go,” he said, soothingly, putting back the hair from
her hot face with his big, coarse fingers. ‘Ill go, if you
can tell me who you want. Who is it, Mollie?”

“The boy, the Hall boy ; him with the holy face ;’ and
the great eyes looked beseechingly up into those of the man
who bent over her.

‘You mean him as was the boss of the meetin’ yester-
day ?”

“Yes, yes. O dear Ed, good Ed! go and fetch him,”
she cried imploringly.

“Yes, I’ll go. Be quiet, girl; do, or you’ll kill your-
-self. And I’ll just stop and fetch the doctor too, for you ’re
awful bad, Mollie.” |

‘Awful bad! Ay, I am awful bad; but it ain’t the
doctor as can help me. But maybe the boy can. Bring
him right away. If you wait to go round by the village, it |
will be too late. Promise me you'll go straight to the
Hall.”

_ She was sitting up now, stretching out her hands in the
agony of her entreaty. Bailey laid her back gently, having
taken off his coat and folded it for a pillow for her head.

“Lie down,” he said, ‘‘and I’ll be right off. I won’t go
_ to the doctor’s till I find the other feller and fetch him over.
Will you lie still while I’m gone?”

“Yes,” she said, more calmly, ‘only go.”

He was leaving her, when his eye fell on the baby, lying
at some little distance from her. He paused an instant,
attracted by the strange, unnatural look on the tiny face.

‘“‘Fle’s fast asleep, poor little man,” said Mary, feebly.
“Lay him close to me.”

He lifted the child, bending his ear cautiously to its lips,
to see if it were breathing,—for the waxen face looked more
like death than lhfe,—but he could hear the workings of its
labouring chest, and its little limbs hung limp, not stiff and
cold; and so he laid it down beside the mother, saying
a0 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

nothing, but wondering in his mind, as he went away,
whether either woman or child would be living when he re-
turned,

“ Austin,” said Charlie Grant, running up to Frank, as he
stood in the play-ground, bat in hand, arranging some of the
preliminaries of a game of base ball, “ there ’s a man here
that wants to see you. Ed Bailey, he says his name is,”

“Oh, yes,” said Austin, “I know:” and the colour rose
in his face somewhat.

“T knew him, too, as soon as I saw him. He’s that
fellow that made the boys sit down and behave themselves,
when they were making such a noise yesterday. I wonder
if he’s come to apologise for them ?” |

“Not much, I guess, Charlie,” replied Austin, laughing.
“ Here, Tom, I’m wanted; take my place, will you?” and
he tossed his bat to Tom Morrison, who stood near him.
‘Go on without me.”

Batley was waiting at some distance from the players;
and as Frank walked rapidly toward him, wondering what
his errand might be, he came quickly forward to meet
him.

“Can you go along with me, right off?” he said abruptly,
as soon as Austin was within hearing. ‘“ There’s a woman
very sick down here, and she wants yer.”

“You have made some mistake,” said Austin, looking
much perplexed. ‘It cannot be me you want.”

“Yes, it is, too,” replied the man, roughly. “She said
as *twas the one what was boss of that ’ere meetin’ down at
the Widder Tracy's. Come on, now,” he added anxiously.
“Tf you wait to stand fussin’ about it, she ’ll die afore you
get there. She ’s awful sick. I know it’s you she wants,
for she said so,” he went on, seeing that Frank looked very
doubtful. ‘‘ She was at the meetin’ yesterday, and she seen
you there. Maybe you seen her there ; she had a bit of a
baby with her.”
IN THE OLD BARN. | 3093

“Oh, yes,” said Frank, “I remember her. I noticed she
looked very badly yesterday.”

“She ’s been kind of ailin’ this long while back, but she
must have been took pretty sudden at the last. But come
along, I'll tell you as we go on; there ain’t no time to lose,
I’m afeared.” .

‘““Qne moment, Bailey,” said Austin, anxiously. “Iam
more than ready to do anything for the poor woman ; but
I’m nothing but a boy. If she is so ill, she ought to have
a doctor and a minister, not a young fellow like me I
wouldn’t know what to do for her.”

“ Yes, you would too,” replied Bailey, speaking even more
roughly than usual in his intense eagerness. “It’s just a
boy she wants. She called you ‘ boy,’ all the while she was
a screechin’ and beggin’ for you. Come, come! I tell you,
you shall come!” and he advanced a step nearer and
grasped Frank’s arm angrily, as he saw that he still hesi-
tated.

‘Why, Austin, what is all this about?”

Never had Frank been more glad to hear Dr Drayton’s
voice. His perplexity and bewilderment were set at rest
almost immediately ; for no sooner had the Doctor heard
the story, than, at once comprehending the situation, he
advised him by all means to go with Bailey.

‘‘Mrs Morton can go with you with such things as the
woman needs,” he said, ‘and I will drive to the Parsonage
and let Mr Leonard know the state of affairs. I was going
down to Graydon this afternoon, at anyrate. Perhaps Dr
Buford could drive over to the barn, if I stop there and tell
him of this sad case. I will go to the house at once, and
let Mrs Morton prepare whatever is necessary. She will not
detain you more than fifteen minutes.”

“Tifteen minutes!” said Bailey, harshly. “Do. you
suppose that woman will care what you bring her, if she’s
got to pay for it by waitin’ fifteen minutes? Didn’t you

Zz
S04. FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

hear me tell yer she was dyin’; and do yer think Death’s a
goin’ to stand waitin’ for fifteen minutes, while you stuff a
basket with goodies, as she’s too far gone to touch? Come,
boy,” and he turned from the Doctor to Austin, “if you’ve
got a spark of that mercy you was a talkin’ about yesterday,
come to the poor creetur, for I bet she’s screamin’ for yer
like mad long afore this.”

“Go, Austin,” said the Doctor, as Frank looked at him
for an answer to this appeal. “Mrs Morton and I will fol-
low you as soon as practicable.”

The words had scarcely left his lips when Bailey, catching
Austin by the sleeve, hurried him away; and in another
moment the two were out of sight. On their way to Mary’s
place of shelter, Bailey told Frank all he knew; but that
was but little, except so far as the girl’s every-day life was
concerned ; and it was with the sensation of accepting and
undertaking a work for which he was totally unprepared and
incompetent, and to which he was entirely new, that the
boy entered the dilapidated old barn.

They had heard her voice talking wildly and despairingly
as they neared the spot, and when they entered, she lay
with her face covered with her hands. She did not remove
her hands, nor notice them in any way, until Bailey, going
close to her, said, in a tone more gentle than Frank had
supposed him capable of using—

‘Mollie, here ’s the chap you wanted to see,”

She opened her eyes and looked at him; then stretched
out both her hands, crying imploringly—

‘Come and tell me! Oh, come and tell me! The old
man said God would take us back ; but you keep saying,
‘Just as I am—just as I am!’ You ring it in my ears all
the while, and I can’t go back just asIam. I’ve sinned
and sinned, more than such as you know ; and how can I
go justasITam? Tellme. You’re brave and good. I saw
it in your face yesterday, and I see it now, though you look
IN THE OLD BARN. 355

so pitiful at me. I’m dying, boy! remember that, and tell
me what I’m to do. Oh, hear how they sing it over and
over again—‘ Just as I am’—

‘Poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find—
O Lamb of God! I come.’”

She ceased her tossing to and fro, and the fierce pushing
aside of the imaginary enemies who seemed to be repeating
the refrain for her torment, to look into Frank’s face, as
his calm, steady voice spoke the sweet words clearly and
distinctly —

“* Just as I am—Thou wilt receive,
Wilt pardon, comfort, cleanse, relieve:

Because Thy promise I believe—
O Lamb of God! I come.’”

Her face was growing less and less wild. She lay looking

up at him for a few moments, without speaking ; then she
said, feebly— :

“Sins, sins as black as night. My soul is covered with

them.” :

“Yes, I know,” said Frank, gently; ‘ but if you are sorry
for them, Jesus will wash them all away. Ask Him to make
your soul white and pure. Go to Him now, and ask Him.
This very moment. You need not even move; ask Him as
you lie here.”

“Just as lam?’” she asked, finding the words suited
to her need ; and Frank answered—

“¢ Just as IT am—and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot—
~ To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God! I come,’ ”

Again she lay and looked at him, at first with a little
306 FRANK AUSTIN'S DIAMOND.

brightness in her face ; but soon it clouded again, her lips
trembled and quivered, and she said, with a despairing sob
in her voice—

“T would, I want to; but I’m afraid.”

“I dare say you are afraid,” said Frank, tenderly, taking
one of the hot hands, and stroking it with his cool fingers.
‘‘ Jesus’ love is so great that we cannot understand it, and
are almost afraid at first to believe in it. But it is all true-
He died to save us. He died that He might wash us in His
blood, and cleanse us from our sins. There are two verses
more in our hymn. Let us say them to Jesus, like a little
prayer :— |

‘ Just as I am—though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within and fears without—

O Lamb of God! I come.

‘ Just as I am—Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down ;
Now, to be Thine, yea Thine alone~

O Lamb of God! I come.’ ”

Her eyes were closed when the last words left his lips :
and thinking that she might be sinking into a doze, he did
not move, Some one—Bailey, he supposed—made a shght
noise at the doorway, and he raised his hand to silence him :
but did not turn for fear that he might disturb her. After
a while she stirred a little, her lips moved, and bending his
head, he heard the one word, “Wonderful!” whispered, as if
to herself’ Just then, Dr Buford came softly in, looked at
her, and went out. She moved again,

‘Where ’s baby?” she asked, quietly.

Glancing downward, she saw the little face resting against
her arm. She watched it for a moment, then she looked at
Frank. |

“ Did you know?” she whispered,


JOE MILWARD’S VISIT. 357

He did not answer at once, for he was uncertain mount
her mind was wandering or not.

“ He has gone before his mother,” she said, quietly, with-
out even a tremor in her voice. “Dear little bahy. Mother’s
little blessing.”

The dark lashes fell again on the sunken cheeks. Dr
Buford stole in, hearing her voice, and Frank motioned him
toward the baby. He leaned down and looked into the
small face, shook his head, and as the mother stirred, moved
back out of sight. It might trouble her to see him, and his
skill was useless here.

But she did not open her eyes. Her baby’s face was the
last she saw on earth ; for when, an hour after, the blue-
veined lids were slowly raised, the dark eyes were looking up
toward the sky, which shone down upon her through the
broken roofing, A moment she lay gazing upward, a bright
smile playing softly on her lips, her hand still clasping
Austin’s fingers—

“ «Just as I am’—‘ Love unknown’—‘ Thine alone.’”

The sweet smile faded, the hand loosened its clasp ; and
Frank rose very quietly, and went out to the little group in
the doorway. |



CHAPTER VII.
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT.

For a week or two, it seemed as if the prayer-meetings in
Mrs Tracey’s room were likely to prove a great success. The
schoolboys were interested in it ; partly because it was some-
thing new, and partly because they had all been much touched
by the story of Mary Allen. With the people at the Corner,
© So,

358 FRANK AUSTIN § DIAMOND.

the interest was very much of the same order; and for three
or four Sabbaths, the room was so well filled that Frank was
delighted with the result of his effort.

But little by little the number decreased. The bons began
to tire of it. After all, it was very like other prayer-meet-
ings ; and the morning and evening services in the church
were about enough, they thought, without a third meeting
in the afternoon. Will Seaton persevered for about a month
in his attendance, and then came to Frank one afternoon
with the announcement that he didn’t feel very “ full of
sing,” and he thought he wouldn’t go down to Milward’s
that day.

That defection was one of some importance, for there was
not a voice in the school to equal Will’s; but Frank made
no objection, and managed as best he could with regard to a
chorister, asking assistance from one and another from Sab-
bath to Sabbath, for Will did not volunteer his services
again. The little company dwindled and dwindled, until
at last there were at times none present except Frank, Laur-
ence Bronson, Christy and his boys, and the old woman
who had come in on that first Sabbath, and had been a
recular attendant ever since.

Edward Bailey had never made his appearance there since
Mary Allen’s death. Frank had hoped much from the feel-
ing he had manifested for her ; but apparently his hopes
were groundless, for the report of his misdoings rather grew
than lessened, and he avoided all intercourse with Austin
with studied pertinacity. More than once Frank had at-
tempted, on meeting him, to draw him into conversation ;
but all his efforts were repelled with contemptuous indiffe-
rence. Perhaps, if the boy had known that Bailey invari-
ably took up his position on Sabbath afternoons outside the
tavern, where he could hear every word of the hymns as they
floated out through the open windows, and could often catch
whole sentences of the short addresses and the Scripture
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT. 359

which was read, he would have felt less disheartened with
regard to him. Somehow, he had taken a special interest
in this young man. He was not a little disappointed when
he found him so utterly unapproachable ; and there was so
little to encourage him, that the disappointment affected him
more seriously than it might otherwise have done.

‘“Vou’re not losing heart, are. you, Frank?” asked Laur-
ence, a8 they walked down toward the Corner one beautiful
afternoon. |

Frank had scarcely spoken since they left the Hall; and
was tramping silently along the road, with a face whose
gravity betokened very serious thought.

“No, scarcely that,” he answered. “ Things don’t look
very hopeful just now, we must confess ; but they must look
a good deal worse than this before I give up the ship. I
was thinking, when you spoke, what a grand help Allan
Haywood would have been if he had been with us. Dear
old boy ! He was such a quiet fellow, and yet such a regular
go-ahead in anything like this.” |
_ “Yes, and it isn’t only in this sort of thing that we miss
him,” replied Laurence, gravely. ‘‘The Hall misses him,
Frank. He gave our set a tone which made it felt all through
the school. We are not what we used to be when Allan
Haywood influenced—with his will or against it—every boy
in our class. That fellow’s high standard of right and wrong,
and steadfast adherence to that standard, did more for us
than he knew, or than we knew, either.”

They walked on in silence for some time, thinking of the
boy of whom they had been speaking. He had been the
close friend of both six months ago ; but he was called home
to his Father’s house above, when, as it seemed, his work
on earth was but just begun.

There was a tender feeling pervading the whole school
with regard to Allan since he had been the victim of the
cruel fraud of Arthur Bentley, who, from that time, had
360 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

been looked upon asa kind of Pariah in the Hall. Neither
he nor his brother, Professor: Bentley, had ever been
favourites among the boys; but since the day on which
Arthur’s crime had been made known, his companions, in
their utter contempt for his sin, and fierce anger at having
been deceived by him to the injury of Haywood, had almost
ignored his existence among them. Will Seaton, once his
best friend, had never spoken to him since the oceurrence ;
and the boy walked among his fellows as entirely alone, per-
haps more so, than if he had been upon a desert island in
the midst of an unknown sea. Mr Grau’s efforts, on the day
of the picnic, and the aid he had given Tom Morrison in
saving Miss Churchill from her great peril on the same day, °
had done something towards giving him a less trying posi-
tion in the school; but even now the place he held was far
from being an enviable post. |

When the boys entered their room that. afternoon, they
saw at once that affairs had taken a new turn, either for the
better or the worse. At the first glance, they noticed among
the unusually large number collected within the old walls
an air of expectancy and interest; and, looking round to
discover if possible the cause of the suppressed excitement,
Austin saw, seated in a corner, a wiry little man, between
whom and himself the attention of the company seemed
to be divided. He knew the man at once; he was Joe
Milward, the proprietor of the tavern next door. What was
he here for? Certainly for no good, if one were to judge
from the expression of his small eyes, and thick, heavy
lips.

The truth was, that Milward had determined by some
means or other to put a stop to these meetings. If Frank
were dismayed by Bailey’s conduct, he was no less so. For
the past two weeks, Edward had absented himself very fre-
quently from the evening carousals at the tavern, and on this
Sabbath and the preceding one had not entered its doors at
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT, — | 361

all. Going out to seek him, Milward had found him on the
afternoon of each Sabbath beneath the windows of Mrs
Tracy’s room ; and although a knot of young fellows were
standing around him, making all manner of fun of the ser- -
vices going an shove them, the tavern-keeper was sharp
enough to see that Bailey joined with but little spirit in the
mockery.

Besides this, he had refused more than once, on some fri-
volous pretext, within the last few days, to lend his aid in
the petty robberies of hen-roosts and the like, by which the
loungers about Milward’s were in the habit of supplying
their wants; and all these “ notions, ” as he termed them,
of Bailey's, were ascribed by the wily tavern-keeper to
Austin’s influence. To be sure, Edward laughed at the
efforts of the Hall boys quite as sneeringly as any of his
companions ; but that did not blind Milward to the fact that
the young man had been restless and uneasy in his mind.
ever since the day of the first meeting. He could not well
afford to lose Bailey’s influence, nor his presence from his
bar-room ; and he had fully determined to make an end of
these troublesome gatherings in Mrs Tracy’s room, if oppo-
sition and threats could accomplish his purpose.

Looking at him as he sat in his corner, his dark face
sharply outlined against the white-washed wall, Frank felt
sure that he had come with some evil intention, and fully
expected that the meeting would be rudely interrupted, per-
haps noisily broken up. But he was mistaken. The ser-
vices went on as usual, disturbed from time to time by
laughing and talking among the boys, but entirely unmolested
by Milward and the three or four coarse-looking men who
sat near him. The tavern-keeper wanted to know what it
was that had spoiled Edward Bailey’s thorough enjoyment
of wickedness for wickedness’ sake, and so he sat quietly
attentive until the meeting was drawing to its close. Then
he rose, in the moment’s pause between the last hymn and
362 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

the dismission of the little company by Christy, and, turn-
ing towards Austin, said in a manner as impertinent as
contemptuous tone, sneering lip, and defiant brow could
make it— _

“You said, young man, a while back, that this meetin’,
or whatever you call it, was open for any remarks. I’ve got
one remark to make. If you know when you’re well off
you ’ll attend to that, and then I’ll have no more to say ; but
if you don’t take heed to it, you’ll hear a few words more
from Joe Milward that you may like still less. My remark
is just this: You’ve got to put a stop to all this cant and
fuss. I won’t put up with it.”

If Frank Austin’s natural pride and haughtiness had not
been already brought under strong control, he must then and
there have forfeited what little influence he had gained in
his unfruitful field by a sudden outburst of angry retort ;
for the man’s insulting look, words, and manner, were insuf-
ferable. Even calm, composed old Christy turned sharply
toward him, his wrinkled face flushing and trembling with
indignant feeling.

But the very manner of his being led into the kingdom of
his Lord had struck a heavy blow at Austin’s self-reliance
and self-esteem, and for months past he had been fighting
with this proud spirit; and, though often worsted for the
time, had gained upon it slowly but surely. Not one word
of anger passed his firmly set lips, as he stood for a moment
looking at Milward. When at length he did speak, it was
in a constrained, unnatural voice, and his words were very
few.

“Vou must allow me my right,” he said, “to worship God
as I see fit under my own roof. The meeting will now be
dismissed,” |

His calmness infuriated Milward; but he saw plainly
enough that it was forced ; and hoping to destroy it, and
thereby create a disturbance which would for ever end all
JOE MILWARD’S VISIT. 863

Austin’s efforts in the neighbourhood, he motioned Christy,
who had already stepped forward, to one side, and speaking,
if possible, more insolently than before, said—

“Your right! I’d like to know who has any rights at
this corner but Joe Milward! Ain’t it been called ‘ Mil-
ward’s Corner’ these five years? Now look-a-here, youngster!
you may stand up there, and defy me with that proud face
of yourn all day; but I tell you, if you show it here next
Sunday, you’ll get it washed in mud, and then ducked in
yonder mill-pond, so sure as my name’s Joe Milward. That’s
the other remark I spoke of. Now look out for yourself !”
and, with a snap of his fingers almost in Frank’s face, the
man walked out of the room.

He had seen that he could not urge him to a quarrel, and
keen enough to know that in a war of words he would be
worsted before his own allies, he left the field. He was in-
stantly followed by his friends, and Frank and Laurence,
with Christy, were left in undisturbed possession for the
present at least.

“Will he do what he says, Christy?” asked Laurence,
anxiously, as Frank, turning his face from them, stood
looking out of the window.

“ He will, sir, unless force is used to prevent him. I think,
sir, that we ’ve done all we can here. One soul has been
brought into light and joy through these little gatherin’s.
Let us thank the Lord for that. He may open the way
for us some time to bring the blessin’ of His gospel to’more.
But, Mr Austin, dear lad,” and he laid his hand tenderly on
Frank’s shoulder, “I’m thinkin’ He isn’t ready just yet.
It has been dangersome from the first; and now we’ll
need to give it up, and just wait a bit. Milward will keep
his word, but so keep it as the law can’t touch him, he’s
that ‘cute and knowin’. He’s a terrible, dangerous man,
sir, 1s Milward. It’s really not safe for you to try it

again, I thanked the Lord—indeed, I thanked Him
364 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

hearty—when I saw Joe safe out of the room this afternoon,
_ and you unhurt, Mr Frank.”

‘““T thanked Him, too,” said Austin, turning toward him
with a smile. }

“And you will run no risks, sir?” pleaded the old man.
“Or at least you will tell the Doctor all about this?” he
added, feeling very sure that Dr Drayton would keep the
boy fom venturing too far in his enthusiasm,

“Certainly I shall. He always asks me the result of
each service here, and he shall know everything. I think
with you, Christy, that we’ll need to pause and consider
a little ; but I don’t believe God is closing this door against
us. We had better go down now, and consult as to our
future plans at some other time.”

No one spoke to or molested them as they left the house,
although there was quite a company gathered on the piazza
of the tavern, who watched them curiously as they walked
up the road.

CHAPTER VIII.
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND.

Dr Drayton had listened very gravely to the account of
the events of the afternoon ; and when it was concluded, he
sat for some moments without speaking, drumming with
one hand upon the table beside which he happened to be
‘sitting, with a look on his face which Austin felt boded no
good to the continuance of his enterprise.

“This is eauner aserious business,” he said at length.

** Yes, sir,” replied Frank, eagerly, “it does look a little
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND. 365

‘serious ; but you don’t think that we ll have to give it up,
do you? I don’t feel as if I possibly could.” |

The Doctor smiled that little, grave half-smile of his that
Frank had learned to love, as he said— |

“Tt will be a great disappointment to you, I know,
Austin ; but I am afraid that it will have to be so. I
would confide in Christopher Dunn’s judgment far more
than in my own, as regards the feeling and the probable
action of these people ; and according to your own testi-
mony it is his opinion that Milward will execute his
threats. Noone would be more glad than I to see a refor-
mation effected in that lawless place, but your father would
never pardon me if any evil should befall you there.”

Yes,—Austin knew that, perhaps even better than Dr
Drayton. His father, a bitter seoffer at all that was holy
and good, had so far, since his son had avowed himself a
soldier in Christ’s army, contented himself with light jest-
ings and banter on the subject, thinking this new idea a
mere boyish fancy, out of which he might with ease be
ridiculed. But the boy knew that he would look upon
his new purpose in life with very different eyes if it
brought him into any difficulty or danger, and would hold
‘Dr Drayton sharply responsible if any trouble arose at
the Corner. He had not concealed his plan from his
parents, but Mr and Mrs Austin knew little of “ Milward’s,”
save that it was a poorly kept and shabby tavern; and
when Frank had written that he intended to establish a
Sabbath-afternoon service there, the announcement had
been received by his father with shouts of laughter, and by ©
his mother with a protest against his association with such
a class of people. |

“He will be sure to catch some horrid fever, or something
of that sort,” she had exclaimed, when her husband, telling
her that he had a grand joke for her, read the letter aloud.

“Not at all,” said Mr Austin; “there is no danger of
360 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

that. For my part, I am delighted. Like all young con-
verts, as they call them, he is running the thing into the
ground, and he ’ll sicken of the whole business in a month’s
time.” |

The mocking letter he had received in reply had shown
Frank that his intention, as it then stood, was a matter of
perfect indifference, or at the most only one of amusement,
to his father ; but he knew very well that if Mr Austin sus-
pected the present state of affairs, he would at once forbid
the further continuance of the meetings, and would, more-
over, severely blame Dr Drayton if he. permitted his son to
carry them on.

‘“T am sorry,” said the Doctor, as the boy sat, with
drooping head, and anxious, discouraged face before him,
attempting no answer to his last remark. “I am more
sorry than I can tell you that this mission has failed so
soon. And yet, Austin, you have realised a rich reward.
That poor girl’s tossed and troubled soul might have been
lost in the dark waters, if it had not been for those little
gatherings. You told me, my son,” and he laid his hand
kindly on Austin’s bowed head, ‘“‘ when you first thought
of establishing these meetings, that you were ‘just hungry’?
to do something for Christ. Your Master knew the long-
ing, the hunger of your soul; and I think that He has fed
you with the finest of the wheat. it seems as if He were
for the present taking the work out of your hands; let Him
see that while you are ready, and more than ready, to give
your strength to Him, you are also prepared, if it be His
will, to watt on the Lord. Now it is time for us to go
down to church. I heard the procession filing through the
hall a few moments since, and I presume they are waiting
for us.”

They left the room together, Frank taking his place
among the boys in the lower hall, as they fell into line
ready to march down to the Graydon church; and the
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND. : 367

Doctor saw no more of him until, happening to turn his
head during the sermon, he caught a glimpse of the boy’s
lace as he sat in the pew adjoining his own.

Evidently he was thinking but little of the sermon, if one
were to judge from his anxious, troubled expression. From
the bottom of his heart Dr Drayton pitied him; for he
knew well with what an enthusiasm of devotion, and
of enjoyment too, the boy had undertaken his work, the
whole fabric of which now seemed to be lying in ruin at his
feet. He felt sorry that he had been forced to dissuade
him from persevering in it ; sorry also that their interview
had closed so abruptly and unsatisfactorily. The longer he
watched his flurried, flushed face, the more he wanted to do
something to console and cheer him.

The service was concluded, and Frank was turning to
leave the seat, when Mrs Drayton, who sat at the head of the
master’s pew, touched his arm, and whispered—

‘The Doctor wants you to wait for him at the gate.”

“I have to see Dr Buford to-night,” said Dr Drayton, as
he reached the entrance to the church-grounds, where
Frank was waiting for him, “and I thought that we might
walk down there together, and finish the conversation which
the church-bell interrupted. You look as if the air might
rect and invigorate you.”

“I should like it very much, sir,” said Frank, gratefully.

Turning away from the gate, they walked slowly down to
the road towards Dr Buford’s house, which stood on the
outskirts of the village, talking earnestly as they went; the
boy, in his ardour and enthusiasm, using every argument
he could employ to urge his plea ; the man, kindly, but re-
sistlessly, putting them all down one by one; trying to
throw in little crumbs of comfort and encouragement by
the way, but steadily discountenancing the pursuance of his
desire. Poor Frank! He was in no mood, when they
reached the end of their journey, to go in and sit down for
368 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

a long conversation with chatty Mrs Buford. He opened
the gate for Dr Drayton, but did not pass through himself.

‘““ Would there be any objection to my waiting for you
out here, sir?” he asked, as the Doctor looked inquiringly at
him. ‘TI had rather not go in.”

“Certainly not. Meet me at the cross-road below, at
half-past nine. It is now nine,” he added, as he pulled out
his watch and held it toward Frank, in order that he might
compare it with his own.

“Twill be at hand, sir;” and the boy strolled away to-
ward a piece of woods which lay on the opposite side of the
road.

The moon was shining brightly, and the woods were al-
most as light as if it were day. It looked calm, and peace-
ful, and quiet beneath the trees, and Frank turned in among
their leafy branches, with the hope that his own restlessness
and anxiety would be calmed bya walk through the cool,
soft shadows,

But scarcely had he stepped off the main road, when he
was suddenly seized from behind, while two rough, coarse
hands crossed his face, one blinding his eyes, the other clos-
ing his mouth. For an instant he struggled to free him-
self ; but the next he was borne heavily down to the ground,
with those hard hands still pressing close upon his lips and
eyes.

” Evidently there were at least three in the party which
had attacked him; powerful fellows too, if he judged from
their handling. He was not hurt, and he lay quite still,
trying to think what was best for him to do—whether to
lie quiet, or to attempt to throw them from him, and make
his escape ; wondering, too, how it was that they had stolen
upon him so unobserved, for they had come from the road,
not from the woodland. Then he remembered that as he
had stood with Dr Drayton at the gate of Dr Buford’s
place, five men had passed them, rough-looking fellows,
A FLASH OF THE DIAMOND. 369

hound, as he had supposed, for the tavern at the other ex-
tremity of the village. If he had recollected that they were
so near, he might not have thought it safe to leave the
road; but he had quite forgotten the fact of their having
passed him ; and besides, the woods were not thick, but
light, well cleared of under-brush, and used constantly as a
road from Graydon to Milton—a little settlement four miles
farther up the turnpike.

While Frank and the Doctor were talking earnestly of
the occurrences of the afternoon in the library at Drayton
Hall, the affair had been discussed with no less animation in ~
the bar-room of the tavern, The result of his attack upon
_ the young leader of the new enterprise had been a great dis-
appointment to Joseph Milward ; and the more he thought
of it, the more plainly he saw that he had been worsted in
the encounter, and the hotter grew his wrath against this
interference with his so-called “rights.” Besides all this,
Edward Bailey was again absent from the bar, and had led
away with him two or three of Milward’s most constant cus-
tomers. Altogether the list of Austin’s offences was grow-
ing longer and longer every moment. No words were too
fierce and rough to be applied to him, no curses too deep to
be muttered against him, until finally the man had worked
himself up to a perfect fury of hatred and anger against the —
‘usurper,” as he chose to call him.

His abuse and invectives had excited the half-tipsy crowd
of men and boys who filled the room to almost as great a
pitch of passion as that to which he had brought himself ;
and when he declared that Edward Bailey was fast going
over to the enemy, and that in a short time, he, the quickest-
witted and most successful rogue among them, would be
lost to them, the room fairly rang again with loud threats
and denunciations. Angry declarations that the thing
should be stopped at once; that they would not even wait

until the next Sabbath, to see whether the interlopers had
2 A
379 FRANK AUSTIN’S DIAMOND.

been daunted by the