OLD FARM HOUSE
ALICE MORTON'S HOME
Bnbu ofthn Stories.
BY M. M. POLLARD
AUTHOR OF THE BROTHER'S LEGACY,' ETC. ETC.
WILLIAM P. NIMMO:
LONDON: 14 KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND,
ALICE MORTON'S HOME-
I. THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW,
II. THE MOTHER'S CHARGE,
III. SUNDAY WORK,
IV. HARRY MORTON, .
V. THE DAWN OF LIGHT, .
VI. MOORFIELDS IN SUNSHINE,
AN AERIAL VOYAGE-
L 'AT HOME' IN THE MOON,
II. A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN,
IIL A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS,
IV. A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE,
GOLD: OR IVON'S QUESTION,
THE THREE SCREENS,
ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW.
K F you wish to visit Moorfields with me, you
must make up your mind to traverse at
least a mile of rugged uneven road,
ploughed into deep cart ruts in winter; but in sum-
mer, when the dust is not too thick, it is pleasant
and varied enough, for then the hedges and banks
are lit up with thousands of primroses and violets.
After this we have a steep field to cross, and we
reach a wood; but even then we cannot see Farmer
Morton's house, for the trees crowd thickly together,
and almost meet overhead.
8 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
Now we reach a gate-very rough and broken it
is-and inside there is.almost an equally rough-look-
ing pathway, but when we have traversed this last
stage of our journey, the farm buildings burst full on
The homestead is irregularly constructed, and
seems very, very old, for the persevering ivy has
crept over many parts of the house, and threatens
to shut out the light from one or two of the end
On either side are barns, stables, sheds, and yards
for cattle. There are huge stacks of corn and hay,
and had affairs been well managed, no doubt the
farm at Moorfields would have made a profitable
Behind the house there is a wide stretch of open
country, laid out in pasture or in crops, as the case
may be. There is a large fruit or vegetable garden,
and a fine old orchard, with trees in it so gnarled
and covered with grey lichen, that you might imagine
them a century old at least.
Yet they bear splendid fruit, and the juicy pears,
mellow apples, and rich plums on Farmer Morton's
trees found a ready sale in that part of the country.
THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW W 9
At the time we write of, Farmer Morton had the
name of being a hard, morose kind of man; there
was nothing bright or cheery about him-none more
ready than he was to grumble when the destructive
smut attacked his corn-when he noticed the dusty
black heads peeping up through the bright green ones
he was very apt to grow cross and dissatisfied; but
when a plentiful crop of golden wheat was gathered
into his barns, I fear no thought of gratitude to the
great Giver of the harvest ever rose in his heart. Oh !
how often this is the case. We grumble at the minor
ills and troubles that fall to our lot, while we close
our eyes to the mercies that encompass us all our
His wife, Mary Morton, had many trials, as you
may suppose, with his ungenial temper; but this was
not all; their son Harry, who was nearly twenty-one
years old, instead of being a help and comfort to
them, was growing very wild, and had begun to seek
for happiness among idle companions. Poor Mrs.
Morton grieved bitterly at this, for she had tried to
bring up her son respectably, and with the fear of
God in his heart; but hers was but a feeble know-
ledge, and though she often wept for him, and prayed
to ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
for him, she had not much power in restraining his
Alice, her eldest daughter, was fourteen years old,
and was already a great help and comfort to her
mother. Then there were two little boys, Tiny and
Bobby, who were only five and six years of age; these,
with Tom the farm servant, and two stout village
girls, made up the whole household at Moorfields.
One wet July evening, Alice Morton was sitting in
the old-fashioned best kitchen of the farm-house,
waiting for her father's return from Newtown market.
Her eldest brother Harry was gone there also, and
every minute she expected to hear the horse of one
or the other coming up the pathway to the house.
Alice was a pale, thoughtful-looking girl, with dark
brown hair neatly arranged in bands, and anxious,
earnest-looking dark eyes. Under more genial in-
fluences she might have grown pretty, for her, small
features were almost classic in their regularity, but
the cares of life were already pressing heavily on
her, poor child I
No wonder she was tired this evening; she had
been up ever since four o'clock in the morning, and
all through the day it had been work work work !
THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW. I
There was the butter to churn, the fowls to prepare
for market, rooms to put in order, meals to cook,
and the two children to attend to.
Her mother had helped her as much as she could,
but she had always been very delicate, and of late
her weakness had so increased, that she was not
able to attend to the great scrambling household as
well as usual.
For several days past the poor mother had often
been glad to creep to the arm-chair, and sit there
gasping till the faintness had passed away.
'Don't tell your father of this weakness of mine,
Alice,' she would say. 'Men don't understand this
kind of thing, and he might fancy I was only pre-
tending to be ill.'
On this July evening her ailment was worse than
usual, and she was forced to go to bed sorely against
her will, so Alice was obliged to wait up alone.
Oh! what a long evening it seemed, as she sat in
the great, half-lighted kitchen; but she was not idle.
A huge pile of stockings lay beside her, and she was
darning almost impossible holes.
An open book was spread before her also, and
she was learning her texts for the next Sunday
S2 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
Glancing at the book for a minute, she would go
on with her darning, and repeat in a soft low voice
the beautiful words that were strung together like a
chain of priceless pearls-
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not,
neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your
Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much
better than they She repeated once more, and
then she heard the sound of a horse coming up the
Alice quickly put her book aside, as she knew quite
well neither her father nor her brother would have any
sympathy with the holy book she was reading; she
was sure of a reproof from the one, or a careless jest
from the other. Alas religion was little thought of
by either of them, and the poor girl often heard
language from them that differed very much from
the teaching she delighted in at the Sunday-school.
Mrs. Morton, in her weak, quiet way, grieved
bitterly at the careless lives of her husband and son,
and more so than ever of late, for her delicate health
seemed to bring the things and thoughts of the
eternal world nearer and nearer to her.
Alice heard the horse led round to the stables, and
THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW. 13
then there came three quick taps to the door. She
jumped up and opened it very softly.
'Oh, Harry, how late you are !'
'Is father come in then F' asked he, pushing past
He was a tall, strong-looking young man, with
dark hair, and eyes like his sister's; but there was a
look on his face not pleasant to see-dissipation and
recklessness were plainly pictured there.
He seemed to be in a half-tipsy good humour, and
laughing loudly, he said, I've had a rare bit of fun
to-day, and I '1l tell you all about it. Feyther set his
heart on getting twenty pounds for the black mare,
and old Brown offered me ten shillings if I'd get it
for him for seventeen, and we managed it so well
that feyther actually gave it at the price he wanted.'
Here Harry took a fit of laughing at the joke, as he
called it, and he was forced to stop and wipe his eyes
and take breath.
',Tell me the rest to-morrow,' said Alice, in terror
lest her father should come in.
'The best of the joke was, that after the bargain
was made, Smithson came up and offered twenty
down for the mare, and wasn't feather in a rage when
14 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
he found he could have got more ? He blamed me-
he did indeed and I had to keep out of his sight all
the rest of the day.'
I'm very sorry about the mare, Harry; it ought to
have made more money.'
'I kept out of his way, and he had to stand in the
market and sell all the' sheep himself.'
Oh! Harry, how unkind that was of you; you
ought to help father, instead of cheating him and im-
posing on him-you know he is getting old now.'
Don't you begin preaching, Miss Alice; leave all
that for mother to do, she gives us a good share
sometimes-what was I saying ?-well, coming home,
I went into the "Swan and Eagle,"-I 'm always
welcome there you know, and Mrs. Brown invites me
into the back-parlour, so I was just sitting down with
Dora and her to have a bit of supper, when I saw
feyther come into the house-you know Dora Brown,
don't you 1'
'No, Harry, and I don't wish to know her; but
please go to bed, will you 9 or father will be coming
Alice was half crying by this time; she feared so
much there would be another quarrel between her
THE FARM HO USE IN SHADOW. 15
father and Harry, should they meet while the latter
was so excited.
'I had already eaten the first mouthful, when, as
I said, feyther came in, and Smithson and Brown,
and they began talking and arguing about the mare,
till I thought they were going to fight-I did
'Harry, dear, will you go to bed said Alice,
getting up and lighting a candle for him. Oh!
how she dreaded the scenes, alas! too frequent,
between father and son.
I hear a horse coming,' exclaimedc- she, a minute
after. Oh, I'm sure I do.' Harry listened also,
and as the sounds were unmistakably coming nearer,
he caught up the candle and prepared to depart.
'Please don't make any noise as you go up-stairs,
Harry, for mother is very ill to-night,' whispered
'Is she really? I'm very sorry-there's feyther
just gone round to the stables-good-night, Alice.'
And he went quickly up the stairs, laughing to him-
self, and swaying the candle to and fro, as he caught
hold of the banisters in his ascent.
Farmer Morton, a stout, heavy-looking man, with
16 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
short iron-grey hair, came in soon after, and at the
first glance, Alice saw he was in an ill temper.
He flung himself down on the first chair, apparently
tired and worn out.
'Where's your mother to-night said he, looking
round the kitchen.
She did not feel at all well, father, and was forced
to go to bed.'
I never saw the likes of her for croaking-always
something the matter with her-when a man comes
home tired, he likes to have some one to look after
him. Why are you so late at work ?-put that
rubbish away, I tell you.' Alice meekly put her
'Now, bring me my slippers,' said he, kicking his
wet boots across the kitchen. I've taken a nasty
cold to-day,' continued the farmer after a pause. That
lad Harry will be my death; he never came to help
me to sell the sheep, and kept me standing about in
the wet market-place all day; has he come in yet '
'Yes, father, and gone to bed,' replied Alice, with
great inward satisfaction that they had not met.
'It's very fortunate he has gone to bed, for I must
have some talk with him-it will keep till to-morrow
THE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW 17
though. He and Brown were scheming together
about the black mare-I saw it plain enough-and I
saw him grinning at me through the parlour window
at the "Swan and Eagle;" he shall give up going
there so often, or I '11 know the reason why.'
The farmer sat for some time half asleep on his
chair, then he roused himself:-
I feel my cold getting worse and worse, so I must
have some hot spirit and water; you may fetch it for
me, Alice.' The poor girl knew well enough that the
irres were all out, but the boiling water must be had,
so she ran to the wood-house, piled some wood in
her apron, placed it in the back-kitchen grate, and
blew it up to a flame, scorching her pale little face to
fever-heat as she did so. Then she went to her
mother's room for the key.
'Is that Alice F' said a weak voice.
Yes, mother; I want the key to get some spirits
for father-he's caught a bad cold, he says.'
Did he see Harry when he came in F'
'No, mother; he had gone to bed, so we had
peace and quietness to-night.'
Thank God for that!' exclaimed Mrs. Morton
fervently; I wish there was oftener that story to tell.
i8 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
Oh how I long for peace and quietness, and I feel
as if the Lord was bringing it very near to me now.'
'Do you feel any better, mother?' asked Alice.
'Not much better, dear; but perhaps when the
house is quite still and shut up I shall fall off to sleep,.
and then perhaps this strange, queer feeling may pass
away; but the Lord's will be done. It's very late for
you, my poor child !'
Alice hurried down-stairs, but her father had fallen
asleep in an uneasy posture in his chair,, and she
noticed how tired and worn he looked. He started
up when she came in, and mixed a strong glass of
spirits and boiling water. He drank it off quickly,
and then went moodily up-stairs.
Perhaps his wife was sleeping-for she did not
speak to him when he entered the room-but Farmer
Morton was not in the humour to trouble himself
much about that. He got into bed as speedily as pos-
sible, and was soon snoring away most melodiously.
Poor weary Alice closed up the house as soon as
possible, and went up-stairs at last.
Her room was large, and situated at the top of the
house. It had a sloped, garret-like ceiliig, very low
on one side and quite high on the other.
TIlE FARM HOUSE IN SHADOW. 19
There -was no carpet, and the chairs and tables
were all made of rough deal; but there was a neat,
trim look in the place, and the curtains and white
coverings of the beds were spotless.
Beds I say, for her young brothers Tiny and Bobby
slept there also. Tiny, the eldest, was properly
called Anthony, but by an ingenious abbreviation his
name had been changed into the present form. Bobby
was a curly-headed little fellow, a year younger; he
believed "all his brother did was perfection, and at
the present stage of his five-year-old experience was
little more than an echo of his brother's sayings and
7 'a,- T.... ........... ;.'7.". "'..
THE MOTHER'S CHARGE.
LICE began to undress very wearily, think-
ing, as she did so, of the text she ha 1 been
learning, about the 'fowls of the air,' that
sow not, nor reap, nor gather into barns. 'I sup-
pose then,' her thoughts ran on, they never get to
feel as tired as I do now; it must be very nice to
be fed, and taken care of, like our Heavenly Father
takes care of them; and yet He says we are much
better than they," although we are let to be so weary
and worn-out sometimes.'
All at once she heard a heavy footstep on the
stairs; it came on so slowly; that she felt half
frightened, and stood still to listen, with her hair all
loose about her shoulders, and her dress half off.
THE MO THERE'S CHARGE. 21
Presently the door was opened softly, and she saw
her mother standing there, looking very wan and
Oh Alice dear, I am so ill; and I was afraid of
disturbing your poor father, for he don't seem quite
well to-night, so I came here to you; do let me lie
on your bed for a little while.'
Alice ran over to her quickly, and helped her into
the bed as well as she could, smoothed the clothes
over her, and got an old bottle of smelling-salts out
of her drawer to try and revive her; but her attempts
seemed to be quite in vain, for poor Mrs. Morton
rapidly became worse.
Her breath came and went in laboured gasps,
she seemed sometimes almost suffocating, and her
eyes became glazed and dim.
Alice grew terrified, and when she found her
attempts at restoration were of no avail, she laid her
mother's head gently on the pillow, and ran to her
father's room to call him.
Then shaking him, she cried out, 'Oh father,
please get up, for mother is very ill !'
But the farmer was in a heavy slumber; his long
day's fatigue, his cold, and the restorative he had
22 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
used for it, all combined to seal his eyelids, and she
could not rouse him.
'Don't disturb me,' said he angrily; 'let me alone,
I say,' and he was snoring again in a moment as
loudly as ever.
'What shall I do V' cried Alice. She shrank from
calling her brother, and rushed up the back stairs to
a loft where old Thomas, the farm-servant, slept.
'Get up, Tom, as quickly as you can,' cried she,
'and saddle the horse, and go for Doctor Grey, for
mother is dreadfully ill.'
When she returned at last to her room she found
a still greater change had taken place in her mother,
who seemed to wrestle with her agony. The two
little children had been disturbed, and they now
stood beside her bed, with their bare feet and their
Alice raised her mother's head and bathed her
brow. 'Oh, if the doctor would only come !' she
cried. 'How long the time seems!'
'I don't think the doctor could do any good,
Alice,' said her mother softly. I must go, dear, for
death is on me, and my Saviour calls me away; there
will be no more tears and troubles in heaven.' Alice
THE MOTHER'S CHARGE.
repeated as well as she was able, 'And God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall
be no more pain nor sorrow.'
'No more pain nor sorrow,' repeated the poor
woman eagerly, 'and all through the merits of my
Saviour, for I am poor, and vile, and weary myself-
oh, how I long for the rest of heaven but I'm
sorry to leave all the worry to you, Alice; you will
have much to do, my poor child. Try, dear, and
keep peace between father and Harry, and try and
take care of the two poor little children; teach them
to go to church with you, and teach them, above all,
to love God, anJ to love and be kind to each other.'
I will, I will,' said Alice, with a great sob, as she
caught the laboured words, that came out in gasps.
'Oh, mother, mother, I will try and do my best !'
Presently Harry came creeping into the room,
half awake, with his clothes hurriedly put on; he
had heard the disturbance in the house, and looked
round the room with wonder. He bent over his
mother, but she did not see him, her eyes had a dim
far-away look, as if they were blind for ever to the
things of this world.
The dying woman's lips still moved, and Alice
24 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
heard her whisper, Oh, I believe it all; I believe in
God the Father Almighty, and I believe in the Lord
Poor little Tiny and Bobby, who were standing on
tiptoes and straining their ears to hear what their
mother said, now caught these words, and to their
minds it seemed as if she was saying the Apostles'
Creed their sister had taught them, and they lifted
up their voices, and repeated the beautiful words to-
gether, to the very end.
It was a solemn scene. Harry and Alice joined
their voices also, and the dying woman evidently
understood the words, for she listened eagerly to the
close, and then her lips repeated over and over again,
'Lord Jesus, take me to the life everlasting."'
Have you ever thought of the words of this confes-
sion of our faith,-how simple and comprehensive
they are I In ancient times it used to be a kind of
watchword among the early Christians; they re-
peated it to each other when they met; nobles used
to draw the sword when the Creed was said, and thus
showed their determination to defend it even to
death itself-and these were the last words poor Mrs.
Morton heard on earth.
THE MOTHER'S CHARGE.
After this there was no sound but the sobbing of
the children and the laboured breathing of their
mother. Harry seemed overcome with grief; he
buried his face in his hands, and wept convulsively;
his whole frame trembled with his agony.
The bitter anguish of remorse seemed to have
fallen on him, and at that moment he was ready to
renounce his reckless ungodly life, give up his giddy
companions, and try to begin a new course. Would
that his good resolutions had lasted but they passed
away again, like the 'morning cloud' or the 'early
They waited thus, nearly an hour, before the doc-
tor could be found; but alas! the whole College of
Physicians could not have done Mrs. Morton any
good, they could not have recalled the breath that
was fast ebbing away; for her wearied heart, clogged
by disease, was giving its last throes.
The farmer was roused from sleep by this time,
and he came running into the room, with his wife's
shawl thrown over his shoulders. He looked at the
weeping group with amazement. 'What is the
matter I Alice, what des all this mean ? Why is.
your mother lying here 1 Surely she is not dying
26 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
Oh Mary Mary speak to me, just one word-my
own true wife!'
But his appeal was in vain, for another change had
come over her face-an unmistakable one this time,
and as Alice bent over her she found the heaving
chest and the gasping breath were still.
Poor Alice knelt down by the bed, clasping her
mother's hand in hers. Oh, mother, why did you
go away?' cried she in her anguish. 'Why did
you leave me behind ? for I am very weary here!'
then all at once she remembered her mother's last
words to her, and drawing the children very close to
her, she said softly, 'Lord Jesus, give me more
patience, and teach me to try and do all that my
mother told me.'
Life's toil and anxiety was over now for Mrs.
Morton; but the weight of cares and strife was in-
creased for Ahce; her heart sometimes sank quite
low when she thought of all that was before her;
but, young as she was, she had already learnt the
secret of strength, and she called earnestly on God
to be near her, and help her.
LICE! Alice !' called out a sharp shrill voice
one Sunday morning, just ten days after
Mrs. Morton's death. Alice, come here;
I want you to pick a hamper of ripe pears, and some
peas for sending to Newtown to-morrow.'
The speaker was Betsy Morton, a sister of the
farmer's, whose face was as sharp as her words. He
had invited her to Moorfields to take charge of things
for a while, and she had come, vested with a good
share of curiosity and authority.
Poor Mrs. Morton had always been shy with her, and
had kept her at a great distance, for she did not like
her grasping ways, her rough manner, and her hard
unfeeling heart; but now Betsy, for the first time in
28 ALICE AfORTON'S HOME.
her life, found herself of some little importance at
Moorfields; she took on herself the position of mis-
tress in the farm-house, and had already begun to
worry Alice and scold and torment the servants.
No corer of the house escaped her scrutiny; she
went into the rooms, opened Mrs. Morton's boxes
and cupboards, and examined the house-linen and
clothes. She turned the things over with somewhat
of contempt, and found fault with the various little
Mary Morton was always a thriftless, poor, weak
creature,' was her inward comment; never the one
S to make the best of things, dawdling about over her
work, always doing, never done, and yet so stuck up
and proud, no one was good enough company for her.'
Betsy had a great idea of her own powers, and used
to boast, 'There wasn't a sharper mistress in the
countryside than herself,-she'd see the lads and
lasses did their duty.' And so she went over the
house from the dairy to the garret, tormenting and
scolding every one.
Tiny and Bobby used to fly at the sound of her
voice, and when Alice was busy they spent most of
their time about the farm-yard and fields. Betsy had
SUNDA Y WORK.
not improved things at Moorfields, but had rather
made the burden greater.
But we must return to the Sunday morning. Alice
had been occupied since an early hour with the work
that is unavoidable in a large farm-house ; for animals
must be fed, and milk, etc., attended to. She had
finished now, and was going to dress her little brothers
to go with her to the Sunday-school, when her aunt's
voice stopped her.
'I can't pick the peas now, Aunt Betsy, for I'm
going to fetch the boys, and take them to church
with me, and we're going to Sunday-school first.'
Nonsense exclaimed Aunt Betsy, her black eyes
flashing, and her face all in a glow. Nonsense !
what good will that do 'em i-only just spoil their
new mourning going down the fields; and it looks
like rain again. Just take the hamper and get me the
pears that I may count 'em out. I've got a large
baking in the oven, and I want you to see to that
presently, so you can't go down village this morning.'
'But I must,' said Alice firmly; 'I promised mother
I would take the children to church, and so I will;
and as for spoiling their mourning, why, they can
wear their old clothes.'
30 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
And a pretty disgrace that 'ud be, to see Farmer
Morton's boys out in old clothes already; no, if they
go, they must wear their best black; but you must
stay home to-day and help, there's so much fruit
spoiling, and there's fowls to be got ready.'
I '11 get up as early as you like to-morrow,' pleaded
'There's butter to be made to-morrow, and the
peas to shell, and the red currants to be picked,'
went on Aunt Betsy, growing more angry at every
'But we always get it all done in time,' persisted
Alice. 'Jane and Sarah Evans are coming to help
us at day-dawn.'
That's the way your father never makes his farm
pay, hiring people to do what his own children and
servants ought to get through well enough. I shall
give him my advice about it.'
'Don't advise him to keep us from church,' said
Alice, with a sudden gush of tears, 'for I've promised
mother always to take the children there. Oh don't
advise him to do that, Aunt Betsy.'
'You're just a poor, weak, puny thing like your
mother was, with your tears always at high-water
mark. Well, if you've set your heart so much on
going to church, I shan't hinder ye,' and she went
out into the cattle-yard, grumbling as she went.
Alice dried her tears, and then went out to hunt
for her brothers. She found them at last. Tiny the
eldest, was stretched at full length on the top of a
rabbit-hutch, and Bobby was taking the young rabbits
out of their retreats, and presenting them to him, one
by one, for his inspection.
'I like the white one best, so you may have the
brown and white long-eared fellow,' he was saying
just as Alice came to them. She had gone a long
way round by the orchard, for there was a redness
in her eyes and a swelling in her throat that she
wanted to get rid of before she reached the boys.
'Harry said we might have one each,' said Tiny,
'and I've got the white one; isn't he a beauty?'
'Very pretty indeed,' replied his sister; 'but I
want you to put them away now, and come with me
down to the village. First we '11 go to Sunday-school,
and then I'11 take you to church, and we '11 all sit in
the gallery with the Sunday scholars.'
But we can't,' said Bobby, shaking his curly head.
'Tom said he'd come and take us both down to
32 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
the river, and show us the young ducks.-Didn't he,
'Yes, that he did, and he's coming now,' replied
little six-year-old Tiny, as he fondly caressed his
'You may go down to the river with Tom to-
morrow,' said Alice, 'but I must take you to church
with me now, for I promised mother I would do
so, and it will be very sad if you refuse to come.'
Mother will never know about it,' said Tiny, 'for
she's down in a dark grave in the churchyard; I saw
them put her there.'
Yes,' chimed in Bobby, and old Bill Cheevy beat
down the earth very hard with his shovel.'
'Poor mother's body is lying there,' said Alice,
trying to keep back her tears, 'but her spirit is not
there; that-is gone to be with God; and if ever you
want to see her again, and be where she is, you must
be obedient, and do what God tells you, and what
she also said you were to do; don't you remember
what she said the night she left us,-that I was to
teach you to love God, and to love each other? You
must obey her, though she is not here to see.'
A little hand had crept softly into Alice's, and
Tiny was looking up in her face with his eyes full
I will go with you, Alice; please take me,' and
Bobby, who tried to copy everything his brother did,
and even echoed his words, held out his little hand
also, and said he would go with Tiny.
So at last the trio set out, and as it was now very
late, Alice half led, half carried the boys by turns,
through the wood, and down the long lane to the
Miss Herbert, the vicar's daughter, saw them
coming in late and hot and tired, but as she knew
only too well the circumstances of the farmer's
family, she could not blame poor Alice, so she
smiled kindly on her, made her sit on the form very
near her, and asked her many questions about the
She called a tall, healthy-looking girl towards her-
'Sarah Coles, I want you to take these little
fellows into your class; they cannot read yet, but you
can tell them about Samuel, how God called him, and
you can teach them a verse or two of some nice hymn.'
Alice took her place in Miss Herbert's class, and
heard her tell of the love of Jesus, and how those
34 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
that love Him grow to be of the same spirit, and act
among the quarrelsome people of the world as
She told them of all that kindness does, how it
smooths down an angry temper, and softens a hard
heart, and makes the work of life go on smoothly and
easily; she said all had more or less of this to do;
Jesus had preached of peace to His people, and by
doing His will all might become His children. Be-
loved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one
Alice thought this was all said to her. Oh that
I could be a peacemaker!' she thought; and if father
and Harry could only hear this, they would never,
never be hard and sharp to one another again, they
would never use such bitter, aggravating words.'
And all up through the lane, and through the
wood, she talked quietly to the listening children,
and told them 'they must always love one another,
and never grow impatient and unkind, but be gentle
and peaceful as Jesus was.'
The grave little girl, with her sad, wistful eyes,
might have been years their senior, from the sage
advice she gave them.
SUNDAY WORK. 35
They promised to do what she told them, and then
she kissed them and said, 'Jesus will watch over us
if we remember this, and then the time will come
when He will call us to be with Him for ever, in the
peaceful home where mother is gone already, and
where all who love God will one day meet.'
HE farmer grew more morose and gloomy
than ever after his wife's death; he was
cross and hard to his workmen, and stern
and sullen with his children, to Harry especially, and
many harsh words passed between them.
An unusually wet autumn set in, the corn-fields
were sodden with rain, and in many places the
beaten-down crops looked as if they never could be
gathered in. There was a ceaseless pour; it rattled
on the roof, and dripped. down the eaves of the
house, and the constant sound added to the farmer's
ill-temper. He was irritable, and angry with the
weather, and felt aggrieved at his crops being
There is a great evil in grumbling at the weather;
it is even profane and impious; for when we are im-
patient at the constant outpourings of the clouds, are
we not also impatient against the God who sends
these things I We ought never to murmur at the
pouring rain, though it nay spoil our pleasure or in-
jure our goods. God sends it to us, and His wise
dispensations are beyond our control. We should
hush our thoughtless repinings, knowing whose Hand
dispenses to us alike the rain and sunshine.
Oh how Alice missed her mild, patient mother;
her loss was felt more and more every day; for Mrs.
Morton had always been ready with her well-timed
advice to turn aside angry contentions.
Her judicious interference had often smoothed
away the rough words that were perpetually bursting '
forth between father and son.
Now, alas the quarrels became more frequent,
and louder than ever, and Aunt Betsy, instead of
mending matters, too often added her shrill voice to
the general wrangling, and, in fact, made matters
Harry shunned his home as much as possible. His
plan now was to finish his day's work at the farm, to
38 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
scramble over his meals, then he would go to his
room, and with the greatest care put on his best
clothes and hurry away to the parlour of the Swan
There was always a welcome for him; and he
would idle away his evenings, enjoying the frivolous
conversation that went on there much more than the
constant strife that greeted him in his own uncon-
Doia Willis, the landlady's niece, was considered a
belle in her way, and several other young men of the
village met in the little parlour also, and there was
some little rivalry among them; but Harry Morton
thought himself the favourite, and his position as a
well-to-do farmer's son made him rather take airs on
himself, so he was disliked by the others accordingly.
Meanwhile poor little Alice was trying to do her
best at home, and her wan face grew thinner and
wanner with the attempt.
She felt more than ever the responsibility the
charge of the little boys was, for she made them her
special care, and they were seldom out of her sight.
Two months passed away, and the harvest, such as
it was, was gathered in at last.
'We are pounds and pounds out of pocket,'
growled Farmer Morton.
'Not worse off than our neighbours,' answered
'It does not matter to you much, for you get all
you want; but you'd better mend your ways, I tell
you, or your corn won't grow much longer on my
farm,' said his father.
'Oh I I dare say I shall be able to manage if I'm
turned out,' replied Harry, provokingly.
'Then you'd best begin to manage at once,' ex-
claimed the farmer, thumping the table with his hand.
Perhaps the landlady of the "Swan and Eagle"
will adopt him for her niece Dora's sake,' said Aunt
Betsy, in her shrill voice.
If he ever marries that girl,' said the farmer, now
in a furious rage, he's no longer a son of mine; let
him marry her at his peril,' and he rose from the table
and went out, leaving his dinner half-finished.
Harry rose also, and with undutiful, angry words,
protested he would not be dictated to, but would
marry whom he pleased; then he went to his own
room, and Alice saw him riding away soon after,
dressed as usual, in his best clothes.
40 ALICE MOR TON'S HOME.
Alas these miserable scenes were far too common
at Moorfields, and the poor little children would sit
trembling, while the storm went on.
From sheer want of kindly warmth and tenderness,
they grew shy, and their faces looked pale and
pinched; they seemed like puny flowers, struggling
for life, in some dim place where the rays of the sun
could not penetrate.
Harry did not return home to tea, so Alice put the
boys to bed, and sat down as usual, to her work.
Aunt Betsy had gone to bed also.
There was a bright fire in the huge fireplace, for
the evenings were growing chilly.
By-and-bye Farmer Morton came in, and drawing
his arm-chair near the blazing wood, he sat watching
it crackle and sparkle.
He seemed in a moody frame of mind, and hardly
spoke a word, while Alice stitched away in silence,
wondering what kept her father up so long.
'It seems to be getting rather late,' said she at
Yes, I dare say it is,' said her father, putting on
another log of wood, 'but I'm going to wait up for
'Oh I'll stay up, father,' said Alice quickly, the
dread of another scene rising in her mind.
May be,' went on the farmer slowly, may be I
was a bit harsh with the lad to-day, and I've been
thinking since, that hard words often drive a man to
do what he never would else.'
Oh yes, father !' replied Alice, 'advice is so much
better for Harry-mother always said so; she used
to tell me he might be won by kindness, but never
could be driven to do anything by harshness.'
'Ah your mother was a wise woman, Alice, and
I'll try her plan for once, and see if persuasion will
make him give up that girl at the Swan and Eagle;"
a giddy, showy lass like she is, would never make a
fitting wife for Harry.'
And the farmer again relapsed into silence, and sat
moodily staring at the fire.
Thus an hour or two passed away, and father and
daughter sat anxiously watching for the truant.
A heavy storm had come on, and the wind rattled
the windows, and large splashes of rain fell down the
broad chimney into the fire.
All at once they heard a horse coming up the
wood at a furious pace; it went round the house to
A2 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
the stables, and Alice started up, and began putting,
her work away.
'That's Harry,' said she, giving a stir to the wood
Her father walked to the window and looked out.
It's a very dark night, and blowing a gale,' ob-
They both stood waiting for the expected steps,
but none came; not a sound was to be heard but the
storm howling through the wood.
'That was surely Harry's horse; where can he
be?' asked Alice at last.
Doing something or other in the stables, I dare
say,' replied her father, taking a turn or two up and
down the kitchen.
Half an hour passed away, and a kind of dread
seemed to creep over the watchers, though neither
cared to speak of it to the other.
I'd best go out to the stables and see,' said the
fatherat last, taking down his coat and hat.
He soon came back, and shook the rain off,
before he hung his things on the peg again.
'I was almost certain I heard Harry's horse,' said
he, and yet the stable door was locked, and not the
HARRY MORTON. 43
sign of a creature about the place; it's very late now,
what can have become of the lad '
I hope nothing has happened to him,' said Alice,
Perhaps he's stopped the night at the "Swan and
Eagle;" did not like coming out in the storm, maybe,
so you'd better go to bed, Alice, and I'11 let him in,
if he comes to-right; don't be uneasy, girl, I shan't
say aught to anger him, I promise you.'
Alice went away as desired, but her heart felt very
heavy and sad, and when she knelt down by the side
of her little bed she prayed to God most earnestly
for the safe return of her truant brother.
Though she was weary, and almost worn out with
the work of the day and the long watching, she could
not sleep, and every now and then she started up,
as she still thought she heard the sound of horses'
feet through the storm.
When the first glimpse of dawn appeared in the
sky, she sprang out of bed, and looked eagerly out
of the window, and could hardly believe her eyes
when she saw Harry's horse standing grazing in the
back meadow, with the saddle still on his back.
The inmates of the farm were soon roused, and
44 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
long before the daylight was bright, many of the
people from the village had joined in the search for
her lost brother.
Dora Willis was greatly terrified when the people
rushed into the Swan and Eagle,' and asked her
what had happened to Harry Morton.
She confessed he had left her in hot anger. He
had asked her to be his wife, and she had told him
she had already promised to marry young John
Bennet the miller.
Indeed I Indeed I meant no harm to him,' said
the girl. I liked him as a friend, and I told him so,
but I never encouraged him to think I would give up
John, and take him for a husband.'
All through the day the search went on, and at
last some one thought of the old coal-pit, a couple of
miles away, and there, sure enough, all that remained
of poor Hatry was found.
How he got there, or why he had wandered to
such an out-of-the-way place, must ever remain a
Perhaps he had got off his horse to try and search
out the right track, and misled by the darkness of the
night, had slipped unawares into the deep yawning pit.
HARRY MORTON. 45
The neighbours who came about the house at this
time of trouble whispered this suggestion cautiously
to Alice, and she repeated it to her little brothers, as
they all three stood trembling at the door that after-
noon, and watched a carefully covered cart, coming
very slowly through the wood, and some men with
their heads uncovered, walking silently and gravely
Harry Morton's was a sad course, and he met
with a sad, sad end. He had allowed earthly
passions to take the lead, and he had turned away
from the safe path of duty, and now he had been
suddenly called to render up an account of all his
The people of the village talked, panic-stricken,
about this terrible event, and asked each other,
'Who will be the next ?'
They shook their heads as they spoke of Harry
Morton's career, for his doings were well known in
the village. Some said 'his father's severity had
made him reckless;' others persisted that 'he was
naturally wild and thoughtless, and had been a great
trial to his poor mother.'
But whatever had been the cause of his careless
46 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
life and his fearful end, the secret was hid with
God alone, who is a just as well as a merciful.judge.
This untimely death was a salutary warning to
Harry's frivolous companions; many of them were led
by his example to pause, and see the hazard of the
lives they were leading, and they became aware they
were in danger of a pit more fearful than the old dis-
used coal-mine near Moorfields, namely, the pit of
For the first time the sense of insecurity was
impressed on them; they gave up their idle habits,
and in more than one instance the reformation was,
through God's mercy, lasting and sincere.
THE DAWN OF LIGHT.
HAT evening Alice sat crouching over the
a kitchen fire, for she was too weary and too
sad for work, so she sat there silently cry-
ing, and staring at the blazing wood fire.
After a time Farmer Morton came quietly in, and
threw himself wearily on his arm-chair, with a sound
that seemed half sigh, half sob.
Oh! how Alice longed to go to him, and throw
her arms round his neck and weep with him, or try
to comfort him. But she had never been taught to
do this, and she feared such a demonstration of her
feelings would only anger him, and make him repulse
But the old man spoke at last.
48 ALICE MORTON'S HOME.
Alice, my girl, come nearer to me; I feel as if the
hand of the Lord is very heavy on me, and as if all
that is happening is a just punishment for my sins. I
want somebody to make it clear to me, and tell me
whether it is so or not.'
Shall I send over and ask Mr. Herbert to come
and see you said Alice, jumping up. 'I 'm sure
he will come. Oh I wish you had heard him preach
on Sunday, father; he said our Lord Jesus Christ
died that our sins might be forgiven and blotted out;
he said we had only to come to him humble and
repentant, and not trusting in our own merits, and
He would never turn us away.'
I have good-need to be humbled to the very dust,'
said the farmer slowly, and I should like to talk to
parson about it, but I don't think he would come. I
ws rather short and rough to him when he came
here last, wasn't I, Alice I'
Yes, father,' replied she meekly, as she cast down
her eyes, and felt her face flush all over. 'I don't
think he would mind that now, father,' said she, a short
time after, more brightly; 'I don't think that would
keep him away; shall I send over to him 9'
Not to-night, lass, I feel as if I couldn't talk to
THE DA WN OF LIGHT. 49
him now, though I might listen to a few words from
the Bible; you and your mother used to read it often.
Can't you find something there that might tell me
what I want to know !'
Alice joyfully ran up-stairs for her book ; it was the
first time her father had ever asked her to read to
him. She thought of Mr. Herbert's text on Sunday,
and read slowly, 'Whoso confesseth, and forsaketh
his sins, shall have mercy.'
'Stop there, Alice; that's just as if the voice of
the Lord was calling upon me to confess all my sins
to Him, and to acknowledge His Hand in all my
punishment. He took away my poor wife, and I
hadn't time even to say "Good-bye" to her. Now,
he has taken away my poor lad just as suddenly.
Stop, Lord stop, for Thy mercy's sake, and forgive
me my past worldly and sinful life, for Jesus Christ's
The words came like an 'exceeding bitter cry'
from the old man's soul, and though he did not know
it himself, it was a deep and earnest prayer to God;
and a prayer also that God heard, and in His own
good time answered.
Alice and her father sat talking together for a long
50 ALICE MORETON'S HOME.
time on this memorable evening, while the shadow
of a terrible death hung over their house, making
everything seem so solemn and real.
Often, when the deep waters of trouble and de-
spondency come over us, we call on the Lord for
mercy; but when the sun shines out brightly once
more, we turn eagerly to our cherished faults, and
become careless and worldly again.
But it was not so with Farmer Morton; he really
was sincere in his repentance ; the truth had reached.
his soul at last, and a gracious God upheld him, and
strengthened him to persevere.
Mr. Herbert came often and often to Moorfields;
there was no fear now that the farmer would treat him
with rudeness; he longed for his visits and his faith-
ful teaching, and many a long talk they had together
during the winter evenings, and many a prayer
ascended from the lonely farm-house to the Throne
Before long the farmer began to read the Bible and
understand it for himself. It seemed a marvel to him
now how he could have neglected it so long. His
former life seemed a marvel to him also.
How he could ever have been so unkind, so grasp-
THE DA WN OF LIGHT. 51
ing, so worldly-groping about like a blind man, fall-
ing into all kinds of sins and dangers, and never once
seeing the 'Loving Hand' that was stretched out to
warn and guide him: this seemed the greatest marvel
But he was roused and awakened now, and from
his inmost soul he thanked God for it. The bright
beams of his new-found knowledge melted away the
hard rugged points of his character, like the warm
rays of the rising sun melts the huge ice-boulders, and
sends their genial streams abroad, to cheer and feb-
tilize the valleys below.
MOORFIELDS IN SUNSHINE.
E will take one more glance at the farm two
years after these events have passed away.
It is a fine July evening, and those who
paid the first visit to the old place with me will be
surprised to see how completely all its gloominess
has passed away, and what a beauty and lovableness
there is about the home now.
Alice is grown up into a neat, staid-looking girl,
with the same thoughtful eyes and the same kind
manner she used to have.
Just now she is feeding the hens and guinea-fowls,
who all come round her, flapping their wings and
ruffling their feathers, as they scramble to pick up the
golden grains of corn.
MOORFIELDS IN SUNSHINE. 53
There is peace and plenty on every side. The
trees in the orchard are bending with the crop of ripe
There are rows of beehives round the sunny side of
the house, and multitudes of rainbow-coloured flowers
to tempt the busy bees.
You smell the delicious perfume of roses, mingled
with the sweet scents of clove-pinks and sweet-briar,
and you hear the lazy lowing of the cattle as the boy
drives them in, and afar off comes the pleasant
tinkle of the sheep-bells.
Farmer Morton, looking far happier and stronger
than he did two years ago, has been over the grounds
with his two boys; they are coming round by the
Poor Harry's horse stands there, and they all three
stop and look at the animal. It has become a kind
of pet with them, and little Bobby tosses his golden
curls and laughs merrily, as the old animal runs after
him, and tries to snap away the ripe apple he is
tempting him with from his hand.
Alice has seen them coming, and goes into the
neat, newly-furnished parlour to wait for them. The
tea-table is laid out; there is plenty of home-made
54 ALICE MORTON'S HOMiE.
bread, and honey and fresh fruit, on the table, for,
'father and the boys will be hungry,' she says.
The bay-window is thrown wide open, and bunches
of clustering roses peep in and diffuse their perfume
through the room.
Presently the farmer and his two fine boys come
in, looking healthy, hearty, and happy.
They draw round the table, and the father stands,
with bowed head, and reverently asks God's blessing
on the meal.
Farmer Morton has borne much of the burden
and heat of the day since poor Harry's death; he
has had his share of anxieties and doubts and
haltings, in his new course of life, but he has never
turned back since his first prayer for pardon and
He loves his family now with an affection that
seems the more intense from his long neglect of it.
The one object of his heart is, that he and his house
may serve the Lord.
We will take our leave of the happy family now,
and bid adieu to Moorfields while the sunshine of
that summer's evening is resting on it.
We will retrace our steps through the wood, and
MO ORFIELDS IN SUNSHINE. 55
down the fields, and we shall have much to think of
as we-journey on.
We will muse on the change religion makes in a
household What new and holy affections it brings
out.. Oh what joy, and love, and peace there is in
It brightens youth; it sanctifies age, and grows
more and more perfect, till the everlasting gates are
lifted up and the entrance is given to Eternal life.
AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
'AT HOME' IN THE MOON.
SBLEST be thy loving light where'er it spills,
And blessed thy fair face-oh, mother mild I
Still shine-the soul of rivers as they run,
Still lend thy lonely lamp to lovers fond
And blend their plighted shadows into one '-
ANG our poet Hood, and when we watch the
soft white light of the moon flooding the
landscape, and bringing out trees and dis-
tant hills in bold relief, we are apt, like him, to
associate something of motherly love with her beams,
and our lips insensibly form themselves into the ortho-
dox Oh, Thou !'
60 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
But is there life and feeling in the moon are there
beings in her, living and loving as we do ? Is there
any sympathy hidden in her great orb of light 1 Or
is the rhapsody of poets and lovers all moonshine?
We shall see; for we will send an imaginary, aerial
express train to the moon, and the intelligent traveller
shall give us the result of his investigations.
Our train takes exactly three hundred days to
reach the moon, going at the usual express rate.
Fancy our traveller safely landed there, perhaps on
the top of Mount Dorfal, near the South Pole. It is
only 8897 yards high, and climbing it does not seem
to fatigue very much, for our traveller can leap from
crag to crag quite pleasantly; he feels six and a half
times lighter than he did on this earth.
First he gazes at the sky, and he beholds the sun,
like a great ball of fire, pouring its fierce rays upon
him. When it rose in the morning, there was no
faint ray of dawn to prelude its coming; for it burst
suddenly into sight, and it will set just as suddenly
when the moon's long day is over.
Well, our traveller gazes at the sky, and he per-
ceives the stars are all shining round the horizon, and
AT HOME' IN THE MO ON. 61
out of the region of the sun's glare. It is noon-day,
but they are still in their places, like golden balls,
on a deep black ground. How intensely black the
sky looks! It makes one tremble, the sight is so
But our traveller to the moon must not be timid, or
the solitude might have a startling power perhaps.
He picks up a mass of metallic-looking stone, and he
finds it is much lighter than it looks; he hurls it
down the side of Mount Dorfal, and he sees it moves
very, very slowly, and without the slightest sound;
why, it might be a ball of wool for all the noise it
makes. Our traveller tries to shout aloud in his sur-
prise, but finds he can raise no cry; he is in the land
of eternal silence; if Mount Dorfal itself were to be
hurled out of its place, and dashed down to the
ground, the fragments would fall noiselessly on the
Oh for a cloud to temper the fierce heat of the
sun I but there are no clouds on the moon. The nim-
bus, or storm-cloud never gathers up its angry masses
to discharge them forth in tempests.
No soft evening clouds ever reflect the golden and
AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
crimson tints of sunset, for every ray of light vanishes
with the sun. And then night comes on; but what
a night! as long as fifteen of our nights are, and the
luckless aerial traveller has to endure an icy cold-
more intense than the most northern point of the
north pole-nor can he solace himself with a lunai
fire, for no fire will burn ; there is no air there.
However, the sun appears again, as suddenly as he
went away, and then our traveller (whose physical
condition we must suppose wonderfully changed)
comes down the mountain's side, and determines to
investigate the plains.
What a strange scene! what configurations of the
surface every part broken up and rugged Beside
him there is an immense cavity like a volcanic crater
15,800 feet deep. Our traveller flings some metallic
masses down, and they flutter about for a while, and
then drop noiseless out of sight. There are volcanic
ashes strewed all about; there are dark plains and
river beds, but no water in them; sea-beds, but no
Our traveller looks about in vain for a river to
bathe in, or a spring to drink from-there is no water
'AT HOME' IN THE MOON.
in the moon. He asks himself, Where is the water
all gone i' but there is no reply.
There is The Sea of Tranquillity,' The Sea of
Vapours,' The Sea of Rains,' The Ocean of Tem-
pests,' The Sea of Clouds,' etc.; but this is a mere
mockery of words, for there are no vapours, no rain,
no tempests, no clouds there.
Has the ocean found an internal receptacle in
some cavernous structure in the interior of the moon ?
And has the surface of the planet grown too cold to
sustain a liquid ocean ? that thus there is no pleasant
wave on its arid and lifeless wilderness. ,
Our traveller has not much trouble in climbing
over the mountain ranges, for his wonderful lightness
and buoyancy enables him to bound over rocks, and
leap over chasms.
He has found out the twin craters Isidorus and
Capella; he has examined the disturbed regions
round,-the beds of lava; the various upheavals, the
volcanic vents, with their broken edges; the disloca-
tions, that in their irregular borders and openings
show some great conflicts and eruptions once took
64 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
But all activity is over now, and dull, eternal still-
Our traveller looks round for forests of trees, and
shrubs, and grass, and flowers; but there is not a
bud, a blade, or even a lichen, to reward his search
-there is no vegetation there.
The lunar landscapes have no bright colour-
ing of sunshine to enliven them; it is all one glow-
ing glare, where shadows are all of the same in-
tense blackness. No rainbow ever spans the arch of
heaven, to give the moon notice of approaching
showers, nor does any dew arise to temper the morn-
Day in the moon is a long glare; lasting more than
one of our fortnights, where the eye would look in
vain for a shelter from the vivid rays of the sun; and
night is an equally long period of death-like' cold-
ness, where even the moisture of ice or snow might
be deemed refreshing. Let us not grumble at the
earth's variable climates after this !
But our imaginary traveller has seen all the side
pf the moon visible to us from the earth, and he
longs to plunge into the unknown districts of the
'AT HOME' IN THE! MiOON 65
other half; he can get a glimpse of the eastern limb,
and there he beholds more craters and more moun-
tains, and he can at another time get a glimpse of
the western side, with the same characteristics-so
S like our own world, and yet so strange and startling !
but here his curiosity must remain unsatisfied; he
has found a limit to his powers-the other side of the
moon has never been visible to mortal eye ; it is one
of the great mysteries of a mysterious creation.
If there are any inhabitants in that unknown region
they must be very startled, when, on visiting the
brighter and barren side, they first get a glimpse of
What a gigantic orb we must appear to them just
fourteen times as large as the moon seems to us. If
they possessed telescopes with anything like the
power of our glasses, they n i behold our large
cities; they might note our for- ---might watch the
deep, vast waters of the Ai. ;)tic-observe the
changes of our cloud region, aiI: mark out the belt
caused by the trade winds.
'An undevout astronomer it Id,' writes one of
our poets, and his words co. great truth; for
66 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
the deeper one dives into the unbounded regions of
space, the more marvels are revealed to us.
God's universe is full of wonders, and we can trace
in all the hand of the one omnipotent Architect.
It is no secret to us now, of what materials the sun
is composed; or even of what the Planetary nebulae
are formed; thanks to the spectrum analysis, the
prism, and the careful examination of patient astro-
nomers, all these things are getting familiar to us, and
new discoveries are constantly being made.
The most distant, of the celestial bodies is under-
stood now; the exact motion of their composition is
revealed to us; and we understand their mineralogy.
We can detect oxygen, sulphur, potassium, sodium,
iron, tin, or copper, as the case may be; and all by
the marvellous revelations of the spectrum analysis.
Photography has also been put into action on the
moon's behalf, and a wonderful portrait of her has
been obtained, nearly thirty-eight inches large. It
gives one a glimpse of a true lunar landscape.
Maps of the moon are made now on a very exten-
sive scale; there is one nearly eight feet four inches
in diameter, which gives the huge mountain ranges,
AT HOME' IN THE MO ON 67
the rugged craters, and the barren plains, with great
accuracy. Who can tell what future discoveries may
be made, or what observation may yet arrive at for
there is no limit to the abyss of space. In the mean-
time we must not repine at our feeble knowledge, but
confess, The heavens declare the glory of God; and
the firmament sheweth his handiwork.'
"* ""w,- y )-- -'-. 1^- -'- *' i '"r ; '2 "
A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN.
SI STOOD upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the Sun's returning march.'
UR intelligent traveller having slightly re-
covered from the effects of his sojourn in
the moon, is again despatched on his
imaginary aerial journey, and this time, the object of
his investigation is the Sun.
But where is he to look for this glorious source of
light ? We once firmly believed our Solar system
was the grand central point in the universe, and that
all the rest, the planets, the stars, and the comets,
were but subordinate orbs. But alas! the discoveries
of wise men teach us our proper position among
A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN. 69
other facts, and the more we learn, the more the
knowledge of our insignificance increases, and even
the glory of our Sun is diminished, when we compare
it with other heavenly bodies.
Have you ever remarked the milky way ? that pale
light that extends across the skies, and divides the
celestial vault into two portions 1 Our traveller must
guide his aerial train so as to find the centre of this
vast body of stars. His eye vainly tries to reckon
the number of the orbs that form the milky way, for
after he has counted 18,ooo,ooo stars, he finds there
are still more and more.
In the very centre of this body of stars he finds
our Solar system; there it lies, with its Sun, its
planets, and moons, and our Sun is found to be only
one of the stars of the second or third magnitude.
Still its immensity bewilders us, for it is six hundred
times the united volume of all the planets and their
satellites put together.
The aErial train going at the speed of thirty miles
an hour will take three hundred and forty-seven years
to reach the sun, and even when it has travelled
that distance, there will be some difficulty, for there
are three atmospheres, or gaseous envelopes, to be
70 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
traversed, before the solid surface of the Sun is
The first atmosphere is transparent, and surrounds
the others; it is piled up in strata in some places, and
grows less dense when furthest away from the Sun.
The next atmosphere is a peculiarly trying one to
our traveller's nerves, for it is formed of gas, for ever
luminous, or incandescent, and its outer stratum is
called the photosphere.
The third atmosphere is opaque and cloudy, and
doubtless is a great protection to the dark spherical
body which forms the solid globe of the Sun.
How else could it bear a warmth three hundred
thousand times more intense than the fiercest glow
that ever shines on our earth 1 There are limits to our
imagination, and we can hardly conceive the intensity
of such a heat. Unless this third atmosphere is very
dense indeed, absorbing the light, and serving as a
non-conductor to the frightful temperature, our
traveller will have no chance of setting his foot on
the surface of the Sun; he would be scorched to
powder in an instant; no organized being could be
capable of living or breathing in such a climate.
On the earth, we have only a faint idea of the Sun's
A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN. 71
heat, even in the Tropics. The rays pour down on
us, affecting every object with their power, from the
rugged cliffs and high mountains, to the delicate
flower, which owes every tint to sunlight, but a
remedy is provided that prevents these rays from
being destructive. Our night comes on, and the
effect of the broad glare of day passes off; all things
are restored to their original condition. The dew
distils, watery vapour mingles with our atmosphere,
and in the coolness of night, covers every tree and
plant with a soft moisture.
There is no night in the sun-nothing to screen the
Perhaps some people will say, our traveller will not
lose much by being unable to tread the dark body of
the sun, for he would not find much there worth
having I he would not find any gold and silver there,
and some of us, alas! would see but little beauty
in any orb where these precious metals are
The spectrum analysis reveals to us that there is
sodium, iron, nickel, copper, zinc, and barium in the
Sun, but it has not been able to detect the faintest
appearance of gold or even silver, and this wonderful
72 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
spectrum is as true in its discoveries as if some of
the solid constituents of the sun's body were placed
in a chemical crucible.
Our traveller can watch the numerous sun-spots,
of which, sometimes, more than eighty are visible; he
will see they are moveable, and are found more in
the zones than the equator. He will tell us, these
spots are only rents or breaks in the luminous second
atmosphere, that there are vertical currents for ever
ascending and descending, that there are cloud-like
masses for ever changing, and passing to and fro, and
giving us, amid their perpetual surges, faint glimpses
of the dark, solid nucleus of the sun's body. What a
region of rushing and whirling it must be! What
tumult and agitation for ever disturbing and tearing
the atmosphere I We can dream of volcanic agency,
of craters pouring out their terrible eruptions on the
sun's surface, and feel awe and wonder at the wild
horror and devastation these marvellous phenomena
Our traveller can notice also the rose-coloured
clouds, the solar aurora, and the minute dark eruptive-
looking spots called pores, or rice grains, by our
astronomers, but he will be compelled to acknowledge
A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN.
there is very much mystery still shrouding up the
history of our sun, and perhaps it is well this
should be the case. It might not be good for us to
gaze too familiarly on its majesty; we cannot even
look at its natural glare with our naked eye; we
cannot endure its full light, and are forced to screen
ourselves before we can glance at its brightness.
What a wretched world this would be, had not the
Divine word gone forth,' Let there be light!' There
would be no colour, for the sun brings out the
various hues of birds and flowers; there would be no
wind, for the sun's rays cause the gentle breeze, as
well as the destructive storm; there would be no
main, for the sun draws up the vapour from sea and
river, which afterwards condenses, and falls in the
form of fertilizing showers; there would be no vege-
tation, for heat causes the seed to germinate, and
there would be no joy-nothing but gloom and dark-
Sun-light does not come with the same power from
all parts of the disc; the centre is more luminous than
the edges are; the brightness diminishes gradually
towards the limb, and tells us the atmosphere of the
sun surrounds it to a great distance, and in this
74 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
atmosphere the bright rose-coloured clouds float, that
are watched with such intense interest during an
eclipse of the sun.
Every beam of sun-light contains three kinds of
rays, the light rays, the heat rays, and the chemical
rays. The latter have been pressed into the service
of Photography, and produce marvellous pictures,
without the aid of any human brush or pencil.
These chemical rays, that decompose preparations
of silver so strangely, and depict the most minute
details of scenery, are yet more important in another
way, for with their hidden, yet potent influence, they
give health and vigour to the whole vegetable world;
without them the tallest trees would soon wither and
Thus, while we gaze into the realms of space, we
find much to excite our wonder and admiration, and
at the same time we feel our own littleness, for after
we have exhausted all our knowledge, and all our
calculations, we find there are mysteries beyond us
that we shall never fathom, mysteries that the
Infinite Maker of all has chosen to hide from our
But the more we contemplate the subject, the
A GLIMPSE AT THE SUN 75
greater our interest in it becomes, and constant, fresh
discoveries encourage us to proceed in the beautiful
study; there are many heights yet to be explored, and
results yet to be calculated on.
The influence of the sun on our earth is continued
and varied; the whole surface of the globe is affected
by it, and he even keeps us in our proper orbit. The
sun's action, combined with the moon, regulates our
tides. But we have wandered away from our
traveller, with his imaginary aerial train, and he will
now help us to get a glimpse at the Planets, that
revolve at various distances round the grand central
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS.
'THERE is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.'
HE aerial train would take more than two
hundred and fifty-nine years to reach
Mercury, which is the planet that basks
most in the glory of the sun's rays.
Very few of us have ever seen Mercury, for it is
rarely visible to the naked eye; sometimes, after the
setting of the sun, its bright twinkling light may be
discerned, but it is often lost in the brilliancy of the
At times Mercury may be observed passing over
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS. 77
the disc of the sun itself, and then it looks like a
minute black ball.
If there are any inhabitants in this planet, they
must be able to bear an immense degree of heat and
light, for they have seven times as much as we have
on our earth. They have the same length of day and
night, they have their torrid zones, but no temperate
one's, and they have lofty mountains and shady valleys
as we have. Our traveller sees it is only a third of
the diameter of the Earth ; it is a third of the Earth's
distance from the sun, and travels on in its orbit at
the rate of twenty-eight miles a second.
The beautiful planet Venus comes next; that
'shepherd's star,' with its soft brilliant light, so
intense at times, that it casts shadows as the moon
does. We all love 'Venus,' and call it sometimes
'the morning' and sometimes 'the evening star.'
Our traveller can breathe on its surface, for there is
an atmosphere of considerable height, and its climate,
though much hotter than ours, is bearable. The solid
ground is found to be uneven, and there are high
mountains, far exceeding the mountains of this world
in height. The sun looks twice as large to Venus as
it does to us, and pours down its brilliant light with
78 AN AERIAL VO YAGL.
double the power. Venus travels at the rate of twenty-
two miles a second; not as quickly as Mars, but
much faster than our earth, which only moves through
space at the rate of nineteen miles a second.
Taking his leave of the Vesper star,' our traveller
plunges into another region beyond the orbit of the
Earth, and takes a glimpse at Mars, the 'red planet.'
'Within my breast there is no light
But the cold light of stars;
I give the first watch of the night
To the red planet Mars.
'The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed.'
Mars is our nearest neighbour, so our traveller wil,
have a comparatively short distance to journey; it is
orily half the size of the Earth, but much larger than
Mercury. The round disc of the planet is spread
over with numbers of spots, some red, some blue; and
at the north and south poles of Mars there are two
extremely white spots, and with a little imagination
these appearances can be accounted for. There are
variable masses that are constantly observed passing
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS. 79
over the disc of the planet; these are the cloudy
masses in the atmosphere of Mars, which float above
the level of land and sea. The reddish and bright
spots are easily supposed to be the solid parts of vast
continents; the bluish or greyish spots readily resolve
themselves into the deep blue seas and oceans; and
the intense white spots are most probably the polar
snows. These white lights are seen to expand and
diminish alternately, according to the changes of
season. Thus we feel a kind of companionship and
sympathy with Mars, as we watch the formation of
her ice plains, and note the gradual thaw which marks
her summer season. It cannot be a very genial
climate though, for there are storms and hurricanes
there, that we in our more favoured planet can hardly
dream of, so violent and terrible is their power; and
there must be dreadful inundations there also, from
the rapid melting of such enormous masses of snow
and ice. Mars has a longer day than ours, nearly
an hour longer, but its nights must be very dark, for
there is no moon to shed its silvery light; so unless
there are some splendid aurora, there is nothing but
the fainter brightness of the stars to cheer its long
hours of darkness-
So AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
'Naught but stars so still and saint-like,
Looking downward from the skies.'
Mars is less fortunate than Venus in that respect,
for she has Mercury, by its brightness and near
vicinity, and the Earth by her magnitude, to render
their efficient services as a couple of moons.
Passing rapidly through the eighty-four telescope
planets that lie between Mars and Jupiter, our
traveller pauses before the huge mass of the latter
orb-the great, colossal Jupiter It is nearly eleven
times as large as our earth, and revolves on its own
axis with twenty-seven times greater speed, so that its
day is only about five hours long, and its night is the
same length. But what wonderful nights they must
be with four moons, instead of one, to enliven the
hours of darkness The inhabitants of Jupiter (if
there are any) must have a constant source of interest
in watching the eclipses of these moons; sometimes
Io is eclipsed, then Europa, then Ganymede, then
Callisto; it must give an ever varying subject for
study. Our sailors are in the habit of watching these
eclipses also, and thereby determining by calculation
the longitude of any place on the earth's surface.
Though Jupiter rushes through space with a rapidity
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS. 8x
eighty times faster than a cannon-ball, it takes twelve
years to journey round the sun, so that the year of
Jupiter is twelve times as long as ours. We can
fancy what a region of perpetual summer there must
be at the equator, what a never-ending spring there
must be in the temperate regions, and what a wonder-
ful climate there must be at the north and south
poles, where the sun remains visible for six years at a
time, and then never rises above the horizon for six
other years. We can hardly imagine a region so icy
Jupiter gains only a very small portion of the sun's
light and heat, infinitely less than we are favoured
with, and we can suppose the whole economy of the
planet must suffer from the lack of warmth, unless
there are physical conditions to compensate for it.
There may be an atmospheric envelope surrounding
Jupiter that is capable of allowing the entrance of the
sun's rays to the surface of the planet, and yet of such
a nature that it may prevent their escape. With such
a protection there may be a pleasant temperature, and
animal and vegetable life could flourish.
Our traveller will observe various belts or patches
on the surface of Jupiter, which encircle the planet
82 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
like minor equators; some of them are greyish, others
are brighter, even delicate rose colour; these may be
clouds floating in the atmosphere, and the rapid rate
at which the planet rushes through space may give
them this belt-like parallelism. Doubtless there are
great trade winds at the equator, or currents of air,
that in their uniform motion resemble our trade winds.
Our aerial traveller will pause in wonder when he
beholds the next planet, Saturn; for it is the most
brilliantly attended of all. No less than eight moons
circle round it, and there is a marvellous system of
rings that surrounds the planet at some distance from
I suppose we can hardly imagine anything more
gorgeous than the appearance of the heavens at mid-
night from the surface of Saturn. Imagine eight
moons for ever changing ; some at the full, some new,
some at the quarters. Imagine three brilliant rings
nearly ten thousand miles broad, glistening with
streams of golden light-formed, perhaps, of satellites
more numerous than the sands of the sea; but we
can hardly realize such a wondrous phenomenon!
and must be content with what astronomers tell us of
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS. 83
Saturn's moons have been named, Minas, Encela-
dus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion, and
Japetus; and they revolve rapidly round the planet
at various distances.
Saturn has need of something to compensate for its
long distance from the sun, for it is nine and a half
times further away from it than we are, and the
sun appears to it one hundred times less than it
does to us; its heat and light must therefore be very
The year of Saturn is nearly thirty times as long
as ours, so that each season is about seven years long,
and there are nearly fifteen years between spring and
autumn. What an effect this must have on vegeta-
tion !-flowers must take seven years to come to
perfection, and the harvest the same period to ripen.
The poles of Saturn must be frightfully dreary, for
there the sun is absent for fifteen years, and the
glorious arches are never visible to those regions.
The ice and snow is of such an extent and quantity
that its whitish glow is even visible to us, and during
the fifteen years the sun never sets it does not seem
to thaw the huge masses; no doubt the inhabitants
(if there are any) avoid these desolate places, and
84 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
live near the equator, where they can behold the
magnificent rings spanning the sky from horizon to
horizon, and holding its invariable situation among
the stars and moons.
After this glimpse of the glorious Saturn, our
traveller will have little inclination to linger near
Uranus, which, though eighty-two times larger than
our earth, is scarcely visible to the naked eye.
Its long and weary year would make eighty-four of
our years, and the light and heat it receives from the
sun is three hundred and seventy times less than
ours. One feels glad it has four moons to cheer and
enliven its nights a little, but I don't think any of us
would have any great ambition to be an inhabitant of
the planet Uranus, or Herschel.
Nor will the glimpse of Neptune from the aerial
train be much more cheerful, for it is thirty times
further away from the sun than we are, and its year
is as long as one hundred and sixty five of ours; in
fact, we have only seen it on a ninth part of its orbit
yet, for it was only discovered a few years ago.
The heat and light received from the sun by this
forlorn planet is a thousand times less than ours; we
can only hope there is some compensating power
A GLIMPSE AT THE PLANETS. 85
of warmth in the atmosphere, or the cold would be
terrible. It has only one moon, which takes nearly
six days to revolve round it. Our traveller bids fare-
well to this remote orb, and prepares for a wider
range through space.'
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE
'OH, holy night I from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before !
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of care,
And we complain no more.'
UR traveller found the sun and all his
numerous train in the centre of the Milky
Way, and then the next thought was, that
as the sun himself travels through space with his
planets and moons, he also must have a centre to
move round. Modern opinion says this centre of
gravitation is Alcyone, the brightest star of the group
called the Pleiades, that our solar system is irresist-
ibly drawn round it at the rate of 420,000 miles a
day in an orbit which will not be completed for many
thousand years. This is only a modem discovery, but
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE. 87
the truth was told to us ages ago, in the most ancient
of books. God answers Job out of the whirlwind,
and says, 'Canst thou bind the sweet influences of
Pleiades 1' It has taken us all these years to learn
that the 'sweet influences' alluded to is the tre-
mendous force that so noiselessly and harmoniously
attracts our solar system, and keeps it for ever
whirling round the Pleiades, as round a centre point.
These stars form a group of seven, visible to the
naked eye, but our traveller sees there are really nine
or ten times that number. These seven stars are
called after the seven daughters of Atlas, who were
supposed to have been turned into stars after their
death; six of them were married to gods, and there-
fore shine in full splendour; but poor Merope' only
married the king of Corinth, so her star is very dim,
and has been called the 'lost Pleiad.'
'Canst thou loose the bands of Orion is the
other question in the verse before alluded to, and for
a moment our traveller gazes at that splendid con-
stellation. There are seventeen stars visible to the
naked eye, and seventy-eight in reality, and the
Greeks believed it to resemble the outline of a human
figure, so they called it Orion' after a noted hunter.
88 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
The band, or belt, is formed by the three bright stars
we all know so well; they never change their relative
position to each other; no hand, and no power has
been found to loose them; they shine now as they
did in those distant days when Job listened to the
question. Among all the changes that have taken
place, these stars have remained unmoved.
There is a curious nebula in the constellation of
Orion, which looks to us like a misty light, but
though it seems among the 'seven sisters,' in reality
it is far off, even in the remotest point human sight
is capable of observing in the profound depths of
space. Thousands of glasses have been turned to
this nebula, and puzzling theories were formed about
it; some said it was the very germ of matter, from
which worlds were made,' for though the light was
brilliant, there were no traces of definite orbs; then
through Lord Rosse's telescope this nebula seemed
to resolve itself into shining particles as numerous
and close together as the sands on the shore. They
are worlds without number,' was the cry then, but
the spectrum-analysis again comes to the rescue, and
tells us the nebula of Orion is after all only a collec-
tion of wonderful gaseous bodies; there is nitrogen,
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE. 89
barium, and hydrogen in their composition, but they
have no solid orbs.
More than five thousand nebula have been dis-
covered. If we wish to gaze into unfathomable
numbers of stars, we must turn to the wonderful
Milky Way, for there the suns are beyond counting,
they are like luminous sands; 'there are no limits to
this star zone.'
The Magellanic clouds,' which are only seen in
southern countries, are also formed of swarms of
stars; the head grows bewildered as it pores over
the probable numbers.
Our traveller finds it difficult to trace the course of
the comets, for while the planets always move from
right to left, or from west to east, the comets traverse
the heavens in every direction. A few of them move
in closed orbits, and go round the sun; we can pre-
dict the very day and hour of their return; but other
comets move on in such infinite curves, that having
once perhaps formed part of our solar system, they
go away for ever. Some of the comets we observe
may be making their first visit to the part of the
heavens we inhabit, and may never come again, or
they may appear centuries hence, when the world
90 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
will have grown very old. The wonderful comet that
appeared in 1811 will not be seen again for thirty
centuries. In 1843 a still brighter comet astonished
the world; it could be seen even in broad daylight,
and was very near the sun. Two hundred comets
have been observed during the last three centuries,
more or less bright, but people do not regard them
with such terror now as they did in former days.
Only a hundred years ago it was thought they were
bodies which might run into our earth, or any other
planet, and cause an immense destruction, but these
fears have vanished, for the probability of such a col-
lision is very slight. The tail of the comet is only a
phosphorescent mist; we passed through one, it is
said, in 1861, and found no inconvenience from it.
Some comets have a very dense nucleus, others seem
to have a gaseous nebulosity, that is semi-transparent,
and stars can be seen through it.
The tail of the comet is always turned away from
the sun, and increases in length and volume the
nearer the nucleus approaches that orb, so that it is
supposed to be formed by some repulsive force acting
on it from the sun, which may drive particles from
the nucleus into space; these flying off in a great
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE. 91
volume, may form the long train that sometimes ac-
companies comets on their circuits.
The tail of Donati's comet in 1858 was about
50,000,000 miles in length, and the tail of the comet
of 1843 was three times as long. The latter comet
must have been able to bear a great deal of heat;
it was so near the sun that its temperature is consi-
dered to have been 2000 times greater than that
of a red-hot cannon ball.
Though we no longer dread a collision with one of
these curious celestial bodies, yet a very close con-
tact with one might be peculiarly inconvenient, for
if the nucleus should prove to be incandescent, the
temperature of our atmosphere would be raised to a
dangerous degree. We can only imagine what a
degree of heat such a contact might cause.
Although the starry heavens is a magnificent sight,
and we fancy we can see boundless numbers of
twinkling orbs, our unaided vision is very limited,
-we can only see about three thousand at once; of
course the telescope alters the range of our observa-
tions, and with a powerful instrument we can gaze into
unfathomed depths, and count such thousands of
stars, that our heads grow weary with their numbers.
AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
A great part of the heavens will never be seen
from our part of the world ; some constellations never
come within our view. We must visit southern lati-
tudes to behold the 'southern cross,' 'the ship,
'the Phenix,' the 'Magellanic clouds,' and a complete
zone of other stars.
Sirius is the brightest of all the stars, and is sup-
posed to be twelve times as large as our sun. The
Egyptians called it after their river Nile, from Siris,'
one of its names, and this star was watched for with
much interest by them, as its heliacal rising gave
warning that the annual overflow of that river was
about to commence. Sirius is sometimes called by
the less euphonious name of the dog-star.'
Leaving the stars, whose wonders fill us with
amazement and admiration, our traveller turns his
aerial train back to earth; but ere he lands on its
surface, he pauses to note the meteoric rings which
are watched for with so much interest. On star-light
nights we may often count five or six shooting stars
as we take our homeward walk, but at the periodic
visits of these strange visitants, we must give up
counting, for their number is legion.
The Ioth of August is one of these periodical
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE. 93
seasons; they have been noticed then by hundreds in
an hour. The Irish have a pretty legend about these
falling stars; they appear on the feast of St. Lawrence
eve, and the people call them the 'burning tears of
the holy martyr.' These August showers seem to
come from a radiant point in the heavens called
Gamma, in the constellation Perseus.
The November shower of gold is still more nume-
rous and brilliant; thousands of shooting stars appear
in one hour; some are small, some are as large as
Venus, and have luminous trains behind them;
they look like a magnificent display of celestial fire-
works, set off from a great height; and.few who have
observed the phenomenon in its full splendour will
ever forget the impression it caused. Solemn awful!
and grand we heard it called. Mu, in the con-
stellation of the Lion, is the radiant point of the
Astronomers believe there are rings composed of
myriads of these bodies, which circulate in orbits
round the sun; they call them meteoric rings,' and
believe there are several of them moving in regular
circles. Sometimes our earth in its journey breaks
into one of these rings, and the shooting stars gain
94 AN AERIAL VOYAGE.
heat and light from contact with our atmosphere, and
flash for a while on our sight, looking like fire-balls,
shooting stars, or meteors.
Some astronomers even believe the sudden cold-
ness often observed in the months of February and
May is caused by meteoric rings passing between us
and the sun. These bodies descend nearly to the
summits of our high mountains sometimes, and travel
at a very rapid rate, some say thirty-five miles a
second, this fearful speed causes their incandescence
when they get within the range of our atmosphere,
and most of them proceed on their journey through
space after they have given us a glimpse of their
Some of them, however, turn to vapour, and some
prove rather more troublesome visitors, for, being
acted on by the power of gravitation, they fall to the
surface of our earth, and sometimes do great damage.
Bolides are round bodies of the same nature ; they
also make a sudden appearance in our atmosphere,
sometimes lighting up the landscape with a blue light
more brilliant than Pnoonlight, sometimes they ex-
plode with a loud noise that might be mistaken for
celestial artillery. They often leave a glowing stream
A JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE. 95
of light behind them. Bolides are rather rare; not
more than a thousand have ever been recorded.
Many instances of the fall of meteorites are related;
they are always stony and metallic masses, and
seem at one time to have been in a state of fusion;
perhaps those who imagine nebula to be the 'germ
of which worlds are made,' may imagine meteoric
masses to be the burnt ruins of destroyed worlds.
But the deeper we go into the subject, the more
cause there is for admiration; every star in the
heavens, every comet, and every other celestial body
is in motion; but amid all the ceaseless whirl, the
grand, fixed laws remain, for ever pointing out the
glorious architect who has formed, and who regulates
all. Were his directing power for one moment to
cease, we may faintly imagine what would be the crash
and ruin. We return once more to the ancient book
that solves so many problems, if rightly read, and
while confessing our own insignificance, we repeat,
'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the fir-
mament sheweth 4is handy-work.'
GOLD oR IvoNsS QUESTIoN.
GOLD: OR IVON'S QUESTION
N old man called Ivon lived in a lonely
castle in Thoughtland, and he was so com-
pletely occupied with his books and papers
that he knew but little of what was going on in the
country round. One day a message came to him
from the King's palace, and he was told to find an
answer to a certain question; he was to search far
and near till a true solution could be found. The
question might not seem a difficult one, for it only
consisted of seven words : it was this :-' Does gold
cause most good, or evil '
The old man knew very little about it himself, for
gold had no particular attraction for him. The simple