â€˜There is nothing finer on earth than a Lancashire man or a Lanca-
shire woman. I have known these people now for a great number of
years....They are a people kind and open-hearted ; a people ready to
receive instruction in religion; orderly, and loyal....I really do not be-
lieve there is such another race of people to be found on the face of
the earth.â€â€”Lord Shaftesburyâ€™s Diary in 1862.
THE STORM'S GIFT.
â€œits @ child, and a young wn too....Lend a kutfe to cut the tackle with.â€
THE STORM S GLP?
â€œHell kneel on the floor with his maps and charts, and held neither
see nor hear wite comes or goes.â€
Tl. NeELson anv Sons
London, Edinburgh, and New York
STORMS GLE T
A Dancashire Story.
By the Author of
â€œTHE GOOD OLD SAYING, â€œKIND WORDS,
â€œTHE ROLLING STONE,â€
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinburgh, and New York
â€œTs it true?â€ is the frequent inquiry the child puts
to the story-teller.
- Jt is not untrue, would be the conscientious
answer of the teller of the story in this case. . In
explanation it might be added: It is the true depic-
tion in many instances of real scenes, incidents, and
characteristics in a frame-work of fiction; for though
the characters themselves may be somewhat travestied
or blended, the characteristics are genuine, as memory
has preserved them. It is indeed altogether more
from memory than imagination that the writer has
The honourable testimony borne to the fine and
sterling qualities of the Lancashire people by one so
honoured in his wide knowledge and experience as
the late Lord Shaftesburyâ€”and, in his case, apart
from all ties of birth or association â€”may perhaps
aceredit the assurance here given that what is strong
and. tender and true in piety, attachment, gratitude,
and in the affectionate relations between the owners
and the workers of the soil (having regard to the
date of the story), is simply the genuine record of
experience, and not due only to the partiality of the
writer, as one by origin deeply rooted in the sand-soil,
and â€œto the manner born.â€
Barton Hatt, LANCASHIRE,
I. THE GIFT,
Il, THE RECTOR, a 3e
Iv. ATTAINMENT, tee ane
I, THE DISCOVERY,
â€œAy! and lve brought thee suminat,
THE STORMâ€™S GIFT.
T was a fearful night. The wind swept past in
howling gusts. Sudden drifts of hail and sleet
dashed against the small latticed window of a thatched
_ fishing cottage with a force that threatened to burst
_ â€œGod be merciful to them at sea!â€ exclaimed Ally
â€œThou mayâ€™st say that for a true prayer; thereâ€™s
need enough on it,â€ answered her husband. â€œThere'll
be many a life lost this night!â€
â€œ Kh, itâ€™s fearful enough for them on land too. God
be merciful to us all!â€ ejaculated Ally, as a whirling
gust, fiercer than all before, shook the little tenement
to its foundations, and strained the door and window
12 THE GIFT.
fastenings to the last limit of their strength, dashing
against them some fragments of broken boughs with
a rattling sound.
Jack Mateson was well nated to every variety and
degree of rough weather, fisherman and boatman as
he had been from his boyhood, and high in the life-
boatâ€™s crew now to boot. But even he was awed by
the fury of the gale.
â€œ Ay, itâ€™s a wild night,â€ said he ; â€œ thereâ€™s no ship â€˜ull
weather through it on this coast. Pray God thereâ€™s
none near the Sandholme Bank this night. But take
heart, Ally my woman; itâ€™s none so far from dawn
now, and the wind â€™ull lull as the tide drops.â€
â€œThereâ€™s no sign on it yet,â€ said Ally, rocking her-
self to and fro as she sat up in bed straining her eyes
to catch a streak of blessed dawn.
â€œ Well, I must be off all the same,â€ said Jack. â€œI
promised Bill and Dickison to meet them at the Dead
Slack between five and six to help them to haul down
their boat to near water-mark; and thereâ€™s no time
â€œWhy, thouâ€™ll never turn out now. Itâ€™s pitch dark
yet; thow'll never find thy way,â€ pleaded Ally.
â€œBless thee, woman, couldnâ€™t I find my way if I
were blind?â€ answered Jack.
â€œAy; but its no common bad night,â€ urged Ally.
â€œThere hasnâ€™t been such a one since the big storm
THE GIFT. 13
when the Bonnie Inzzve went down this very month
of February five years back.â€
Jack pondered a little as his memory was called
back by Allyâ€™s remark to that terrible time when he
and all his comrades had vainly striven to reach the
doomed ship, and every soul on board her had per-
â€œTtâ€™s well-nigh as bad,â€ said he musingly. â€œBut
for all that I'll be off; Bill and Dickison â€˜ull keep their
time, and we'll not be drowned on the dry land any-
And, so saying, he got up, groped about for all his
gear, pulled his long-flapped fishing-cap well over his
ears, and after waiting for a momentary lull of the
wind, that he might be able to open the door, he went
out fearlessly into the dark storm.
The fishing cottage was a low mud and rubble
building, whitewashed and thatched. It owed its
safety to its thick walls and its little height. It lay
ensconced in a green hollow of the sand-hills, sheltered
by them and by a belt of stunted, weather-beaten
sycamores behind. Just in front was a patch of very
green short grass and mossâ€”in summer a little garden-
plot of Natureâ€™s own making, wherein she seemed to
have â€˜seattered all varieties of wild sand-flowers, and
flanked them in sport by a little forest of dwarf
willow wands, â€œhiding the silver underneath each
14 THE GIFT.
leaf ;â€ but a desert waste nowâ€”a wild wilderness in
its solitude, as the dun morning dawned slowly that
dark day, the wild clouds breaking up the leaden can-
opy of darkness, the wind soughing and sobbing as it
lulled, and the surging of the waves sounding like the
- boom, of distant cannon.
Desolate and dreary indeed it looked, with broken
boughs and twigs strewed around, and an uprooted
tree lying aslant to leewardâ€”not unlike a deserted
ship on the heaving ocean, lying as it did among the
upheaved waves of sand-hillocks crested by their
gray-green growth of star-grass or sea-reed. Who
would have thought on that lowering February morn-
ing that when next the white clouds of June would
float across a sky of deepest liquid blue, sun-gleam
and shadow would play over a little paradise of calm
below themâ€”a spot where a botanist might forget
the hours, where, in the silence of that â€œ companion-
ship where none intrude,â€ a poet might be inspired,
or philosopher or moralist muse, and feel with the
Psalmist that â€œthe little hills bring righteousness unto
the peopleâ€ ?
Over those sand-waves, and through the tangled
hollows, in the darkness, and against the fury of the
wind, Jack Mateson piloted himself with a fishermanâ€™s
true guiding instinct; and presently answered the hail
of his companions, who, as he had foreseen, were true
THE GIFT. 15
to their agreement, and were already before him at
the place of meetingâ€”one of those same larger hol-
lows, in the summer an oasis of flowery green, but-
now a small lake filled by the rains of the winter.
Very few words were exchanged between the
friends; the deafening roar of the wind and waves
overwhelmed their voices. The boat lay on the shore
edge. Bending their heads forward, the strong,
weather-used men turned away from the partial
shelter of the hills, and steadily fronted the living
strength of the gale on the wide unsheltered shoreâ€”
a vast level of sand and shell, broken, alas! with
many a heap of wreck and ruin left by the ebbing
tide after any such storm as this.
The three men made but slow advance; the faint
dull dawn, now beginning to break through the dark-
ness, guided them on their way.
â€œHollo!â€ exclaimed the two companions, as Jack
Mateson, stumbling over some obstruction in the way,
fell at last fairly over itâ€”â€œhollo! Hold out-a hand
to haul thee up again.â€
â€œStand off, stand off a bit!â€ shouted out Jack,
â€œor yell make bad worse. Hereâ€™s something wrong.
Bide a while yet,â€™ he went on, feeling cautiously
about; â€œthereâ€™s more than ropes and wreck hereâ€”
thereâ€™s the body of some one; and by the clothing itâ€™s
& woman too.â€
16 THE GIFT.
The other two men knelt down, and carefully feel-
ing all around, helped to disengage the tackling and
sail-cloth from what was seemingly the-corpse of some
poor creature just then left on shore by the receding
â€œTtâ€™s not a woman either,â€ said Jack. â€œBy its
size itâ€™s a child, and a young un too; and itâ€™s fastened
tight to the raft with the rigging. Lend a knife to
cut the tackle with. Lord! if it were but light
enough to let one see which were rope and which
were flesh and bone !â€
â€œThouâ€™st better leave it a bit may be,â€ suggested
Dickison, â€œ till it comes lighter.â€
â€œNay; it wonâ€™t do to let the babby die outright
for fear oâ€™ hurting it; though like enough itâ€™s dead
already,â€ said Jack. â€œBut we're bound to give it a
And with a strong knife that one of the men
handed to him he cut through the rope that crossed
over the shoulders, and gently liberating limb after
limb, succeeded, with the help of the two men, in free-
ing the little body from the sail-cloth it was wound
in, and from the ropes that had bound it so securely.
â€œItâ€™s a light weight,â€ said Jack, lifting up the
drenched bundle in his arms with the gentleness of a
woman. â€œWho knows but there may be life in it yet,
seeing itâ€™s been well floated up all along. Il be off
THE GIFT. 17
with it to Ally, anyhow; and you two stay and find
out if thereâ€™s any others to look to. Thereâ€™s light
enough to see now.â€
The men assented, and Jack, turning round, opened
his heavy fishing-coat, and laying the small body close.
to him, folded his arms round it to give it what
warmth he could; and, with the wind at his back, the
strong man, for all his inconvenient burden, was at
his cottage door again in much less than half the time
it had taken him to make his way from it. e
Ally had already kindled the turf-fire, and dias
was a pleasant warm glow in the kitchen that lighted
up the nets, and cork-floats, and fish-creels, and dried
flukes that hung from the rafters.
â€œThowâ€™rt soon back again,â€ said Ally, only glancing
slightly round from the fire-place as she knelt there
cleaning up the hearth for the day.
â€œAy; and Iâ€™ve brought thee summat,â€ answered
Jack, and he offered to Allyâ€™s unexpectant arms the
bundle of drenched, twisted clothes in which the child
lay seemingly lifeless.
â€œTs it dead?â€ faltered Ally.
â€œTt looks like it, and it would be aâ€™most a miracle
if it werenâ€™t,â€™ returned Jack, shaking the dropping
water from himself. â€œBut weâ€™d happen as well try
what we can do for a bit.â€
It was not the first time that the drowned had
18 THE GIFT.
been brought to the fishing cottage for restoration,
and both the worthy couple knew well enough what
to do in this case.
â€œHe'll come. round, thouâ€™ll see he will,â€ broke out
Ally half crying, after they had despairingly tried
again and again all the means their experience had
taught them. â€œHe'll come round; and a sweet face â€”
it is, now that we have got all the sand and tang
away. Eh, but what long hair for a boy! he'll not
be likely from these parts.â€
Jack had been hitherto as active as his wife in
their joint efforts at restorationâ€”blowing up the fire
for hot water, heating Allyâ€™s old flannels, rubbing the
icy little limbs as the child lay across his knees.
Now he stood by the settle where they had laid
him on the doubled-up bolster from their own bed,
wrapped in Allyâ€™s best flannel petticoat, and covered
over with her well-warmed gray duffel cloak. He
stood still, watching intently the pale face ; while Ally,
kneeling by the settle, chafed the little hands that
dropped so listlessly from her hold. Discerning a
faint quiver in the features, he again renewed his
efforts; and, becoming prÃ©sently assured that the
child would revive, he lapsed into some pretence of
â€œAy, ay; like enough he'll be wanting all that
long hair curling for him. He'll be some little foreign
THE GIFT. 19
shaver,â€ added heâ€”â€œsome Frenchmanâ€™s little brat,
â€œNay, nay,â€ pleaded Ally; â€œJ dunnot think it.
Heâ€™d never have such a sweet face, nor such a clean,
fair skin, if he were French, nor such beautiful soft
light hair, though it be over-long for a boy. And
he'll have blue eyes when he opens them. Poor little
lamb, so he has!â€ she exclaimed as the child, with a
quiver in his limbs and an effort to move, opened his
eyes and heaved a sigh. He closed them again in- â€”
stantly ; but they were blue eyes without doubt, as
Ally had foretold.
The kindly heart of the good woman was deeply
stirred at the success of their prolonged endeavours.
She raised the now breathing bundle of warm flannels
in her motherly arms, kissed the closed eyes and the
little helpless hands, her own tears wetting the pale â€”
cheeks, lavishing all the while every loving epithet of
her copious vocabulary on the still unconscious -obIee
of her solicitude and tender care.
â€œAnd what art thou going to do with the boy,
Ally ?â€ asked her husband.
â€œDo- with him?â€ said Ally, turning round half-
inquiringly ; â€œwhy, what should I do with him but
tend him, to be sure?â€
â€œTend him, ay; but how long ?â€ said Jack.
. â€œHow long?â€ repeated Ally, still rocking the child ;
20 THE GIFT.
â€œwhat makes thee ask that? Why, as long as he
â€œ And how long will that be?â€ persisted Jack.
â€œWell, to hear him now!â€ exclaimed Ally, growing
vexed; â€œwell, till some one or other fetches him some
way. Thou wouldnâ€™t turn the child God has sent to
us on such a day as this out of doors belike ?â€
â€œNay, nay, Ally; I dunnot mean that, thou knows
well enouâ€™. But thereâ€™s more to think on than just
tending him now, poor little chap.â€ .
Ally had been wetting the childâ€™s lips with warm
milk; and as he seemed to sleep quietly, she laid him -
down again on the warm bolster, and leaving his side,
took up his clothes, which lay in a heap as she had
let them fall in first undressing him, and shook them
out one by one before hanging by the fire such as
could not be washed.
â€œPretty little broidered trousers, and linen shirt, -
and fine soft petticoats, and a bonny little plaid coat,
wi buttons and braid, like Iâ€™ve seen .childer wear in
the town,â€ said Ally, shaking out each small article.
â€œHeâ€™s not of poor folksâ€™ kin, thatâ€™s sure, anyhow;
but whoever they are, they'll be sore and sad for him
if theyâ€™re alive to know anything.â€
â€œThere'll not be any left either to sorrow or think
about him,â€ said Jack slowly, as he thought over the
probable consequences of the morningâ€™s adventure
DHE GIFT. 21
with some natural uneasiness; â€œthey'd never turn the
little chap adrift as long as there were any chance
left. They'll have braced him to the spars thinking . ~
he might float, so light as he was. And so he has;
but they themselves â€˜ull all have gone down to the
bottom, sure enough. Doesnâ€™t thou see that?â€
â€œAy, ay;'I fear me thouâ€™'rt likely right,â€ said
Ally sorrowfully. â€œPoor little left lamb! But there'll
be some one or other belonging to him somewhere.
There's no need that every one kin to him should
have gone on board, all on â€™em together all at once.â€
While the couple thus pondered and talked together,
and the child lay seemingly sleeping, the storm had
much quieted. The sun now broke through the wild
clouds, and darted a bright gleam through the lattice
window, lighting up all the disorder that the childâ€™s -
advent had brought into the living-room of the fishing
cottage. Presently the two men who had remained
on the shore came up to tell of a capsized boat floating
out at sea, and of another vessel feared to be in danger;
but, so far, no more bodies cast up.
The noise made by their coming disturbed the child.
He moved, opened his eyes, uttered some plaintive
murmur, and, gazing bewildered on the unfamiliar
scene and faces around him, began to cry.
â€œPoor little lamb! Poor little motherless, lost
lamb!â€ cried Ally, choking with her own compassion-
22 THE GIFT.
ate emotion at the sight of the childâ€™s distress. And
again taking him in her arms, hushing him, and kiss-
ing the tears from his soft cheeks, she soothed him
into quiet; for indeed he was too weak to contend.
He quietly swallowed the spoonful of warm milk that
Ally kept supplying, and sank again into slumber or
The men looked on with no lack of silent sym-
pathy. All felt the gravity as well as the interest of
the unwonted occurrence.
â€œWhat's to be done with him?â€ asked Jem
â€œWe must wait a bit and see,â€ answered Jack.
â€œTtâ€™s hard upon ye both to have all the burden,â€
ge We munnot make a burden oâ€™ what God sends,â€
â€˜said Ally; â€œmore fit take it as a gift.â€
ff Ally would rather have him than not,â€ said her
husband good-naturedly. â€œShe was begging our Mar-
get tother day to let her have their little Dick; and
this one â€™ull do instead, mebbe, if we're like to keep
â€œA stranger isnâ€™t the same as oneâ€™s own, though;
and quality folk isnâ€™t the sort to turn to use in a
hard life. I fear me the storm has brought ye but a
costly gift, if gift he turns out to be.â€ So said Dicki- -
son as he scanned the fair face and delicate limbs of
THE GIFT. 4 23
the child as he lay languid and but half-conscious
in Allyâ€™s arms. |
â€œBut take heart though,â€ he added, with a desire
to console; â€œye, happen, maynâ€™t have the keeping of
him over-long. Itâ€™s like enough heâ€™ll be claimed by
some of his own one day or other; and it'll be theirâ€™
business then to make up some way for all the trouble
heâ€™ll have been to ye.â€
Dickisonâ€™s remarks were reasonable, but somata
in Allyâ€™s heart resented them. It was a very simple,
kindly, feeling heart, and the sweet face of the child,
his utter helplessness, and this unlooked-for coming to
life, as it seemed, from the dead, all through their per-
severing, fostering efforts, had drawn out its tenderest
emotions. Possibly even the very delicacy and gentle
semblance which Dickison contemned added a share to
her interest; and the idea of his being taken away*
from her jarred already-â€”for the moment at least.
â€œTtâ€™s not the poor little lambâ€™s fault if he has come
of gentle blood,â€ said she almost sharply. â€œAnd as to
his being a stranger, itâ€™s harder for him than us, lost
and left as he is among us rough folk, poor little
fatherless and motherless babby! We should care for
him the more for that. Doesnâ€™t the Bible say some-
where that we should love the stranger ?â€
Jack Mateson was a fine specimen of the sailor and:
fisher natureâ€”strong and daring, and tender to the
94 THE GIFT.
weak, as the brave and strong so often are. He, too,
had been drawn to the child who owed the preserva-
tion of his little spark of life to him.- The hearts of
both of them had sorrowed and softened under the ~
loss by drowning of two fine lads of their own. And
at all times Jack was kindly to his wife.
â€œYou see,â€ said he, in answer to the two menâ€™s
further offers to help in any way they could, â€œthat
Allyâ€™s willmg; and we can manage with the little
chap for a bit well enowâ€™, if only he can speak plain
But the child could not speak English at all. To-
wards evening, after he had long lain quiet, he became
restless, and, rousing up from his semi-slumber, re-
peated again and again some plaintive questioning
words of want and inquiry all unintelligible to Ally.
And it was too clear to her that he understood her
answers as little as she did his sorrowful inquiries ;
and it keenly distressed her to see the tears on the
pallid cheeks, and note the look of alarm in the wan-
dering eyes,-as still he repeated the same strange words
of seeming entreaty.
But there is no misunderstanding altogether, even
in an unknown tongue, the tone and manner of ten-
der kindness; and the child was soothed presently by
Allyâ€™s endearing assurances, though he understood not .
a word of them, and with shut eyes, and his arms
THE GIFT. 25
round her neck, he clung convulsively to her, sobbing
out again and again, in broken syllables, what sounded
to Ally like, â€œMam-ma, mam-ma.â€
â€œAy; mammieâ€™s here, my lamb; my poor little
lost lamb, â€™m-mammie to thee now. I'll be mammie â€”
to thee so long as ever thou wants thy mammieâ€™s care.
Thouâ€™st come a- good gift to us mebbe, and we'll take
good care on thee sure enough.â€ And Ally went
crooning on and on a lulling welcome to the poor
little ocean waif so strangely cast upon her care.
And her care indeed he sorely needed, and for long.
The shock and the chill had been too severe to be
easily rallied from. For days the child lay between
life and deathâ€”â€”delirious at times and terrified, then
sweetly docile and languid.
Ally nursed him untiringly, with an affection which
only grew the more with his need of it, drawn the
more closely to him by his suffering and danger, and
touched in her heartâ€™s core by the winning abandon-
ment with which the child clung to her as to his only
stay in the new strange life to which he had awakened
from one he could explain and confide to none about
What a. proof it is of the loving providence of our
heavenly Father that he has implanted in the true
womanâ€™s. nature such compassion and tenderness as
ever give ready answer to the call for help and sym-
26 THE GIFT.
pathy; and has also made child helplessness so especi-
ally eloquent in its pleading as to draw forth all her
tenderness, and so winning in its trust as to repay
all the care and trouble its helplessness demands.
So it was with Ally: the close care and watchful-
ness that the child required only endeared him the
more to her. Her heart grew bound up in the inter-
est of his returning life. And Jack, too, after his
more rugged fashion, felt strongly and warmly for
the little sufferer, as fever and inflammation increased
and ebbed, and life flickered, and sank even to seem-
ing extinction, and the struggle left him at last weak
and helpless as an infant new born. And he daily
watched with growing satisfaction each little sign of -
returning power as the tide of life less fitfully set in
from ebb to flow.
It was indeed just as if the child had been, in fact,
new born. The time of delirium and unconsciousness,
and the succeeding long prostration, obliterated from
his childish memory all vivid sense of his preceding
life and surroundings. He awoke gradually to his
new being, and learned gradually to speak the new
tongue. If his nature had ever been other than
tractable and docile, his severe baptism had washed
away the rebel element. He was docile and tract-
able now to a fault, Jack said, for a lad.
But Ally ever jealously defended her foundling.
THE GIFT. Â° 97
â€œItâ€™s his sweet temper,â€ she would say; â€œitâ€™s just
his loving heart. Thou wouldnâ€™t have him peevish
and naught, wouldst thou ?â€
It must not be supposed, however, that Jack and ae
Ally had borne. all the care and burden of the childâ€™s
severe illness and slow recovery unsympathized with
and unaided. -The story of his finding had, as a
matter of course, spread around, and it had excited
in full the natural interest and sympathy of the
neighbourhood. The doctor of a small town some
miles distant had given his services gratuitously, and
| spared neither skill nor trouble in the case. Food,
more delicate and nourishing than Ally knew how to
concoct, was supplied from the rectory. Jem Dicki-
sonâ€™s wife and others had been ready to help with
the watching, and to lend or give a change of little
under-garments from their own store.
Altogether, there had been no lack of human sym-
pathies or of active help while the need and the
novelty held together, But every one has his or her
home claims and interests to mind; and it is with
the constitution of the human framework as with
that of the marvellous compass of the marinerâ€”when
the excitements that cause the deviations are past,
the needle returns to its polar rest.
The childâ€™s restoration was very slow. It needed
a prolonged time to recover from the prostration that
28 A THE GIFT.
followed such a succession of shocks as this frail
young life had sustained.
For many weeks it was feared that the limbs had
for ever lost their power. As the genial early summer
sunshine warmed the air, Jack would carry the boy
to some sheltered sand-hill hollow, and lay him on his
thick fishing-coat on the warm sand; while Ally |
would sit by him, mending or making the household
garments, telling him simple tales, and coaxing him
to crawl about on hands and knees after one or other
childish lure, and so woo back the power to use his â€”
One day Jack carried him to the shore. It was
high tide, and the waves fell on the sandy level with
a joyous plash. The child clapped his hands with
delight, which he had not, as yet, acquired language
to express in its fulness. The start towards strength
was made from that day. Joy returned by degrees,
and boyish ambition budded forth and found an ob-
ject and an aim; for he would make any exertion to
get to the shore.
At first he would sit content, gazing over the wide
waters with a far-away look into the horizon, as Â°
though watching and. waiting for something beyond,
and want no companion. But active interests chased
away this dreaminess. The sea breezes brought
strength to the languid limbs, and coloured and
THE GIFT. : 29
bronzed the once-pale cheeks, With health came
energy; and to help his foster-father, after his child
fashion, and to be with him in his boat, grew to be
the boyâ€™s pride and his highest delight.
And so the summer and the winter passed, and no
one claimed the child. The rector of the parish, Mr.
Manley, had not ceased to interest himself in his
cause, and had done what he could to make the cir-
cumstances known through the local papers. Some
temporary interest had been excited; but this had
died away, and the busy public of the distant town
concerned itself little, and the simple dwellers in theâ€™
sand-lands were quietly content that the ocean waif
should find home and parentage in the fishing cottage
of Jack and Ally Mateson.
The boy went by the name of Jonah. He had
called himself by some lisping word too foreign and
indistinct to be clearly made out. Jack adjudged
that it meant John; but Ally would have it to be
â€˜more like Jonah. â€œAnd fitter so,â€ said she; â€œfor
didnâ€™t he come to us from the storm and out of the
sea, like Jonah the prophet did ?â€
From two to three years after the great storm had
brought its unexpected gift, Mr. Manley paid an un-
wonted Sunday call at the fishing cottage after the
â€œSit still, Ally,â€ said he, as in response to her call
SOc THE GIFT.
ne in he lifted the latch and entered the roomâ€”
still, and go on with your lesson. I want-a, little
talk with you on that very subject. - Are you teach-
ing Jonah to read ?â€
Jonah was sitting on Allyâ€™s knee, with one arm round
her neck and the other hand on a good-sized open
Bible, brown-tinted in the pages with age, enriched
with old illuminated capital letters, and with some
quaint pictures, one of which was of the whale vomit-
ing forth the prophet Jonah on the shoreâ€”a volume
a book collector would have gloried in. Allyâ€™s arm
encircled the boy, and fielped to steady the upraised
â€œbook, as she pointed out with the other hand the sub-
ject of her lesson. It was a pretty picture, that an
artist might not have disdained to preserve. Allyâ€™s
cap of Sunday whiteness, with its band of black rib-
bon, shaded a face with that expression of sober
sweetness which an honest heart and healthful labour
often give to the cottage housewife under the favour
of the peaceful country life.
The boyâ€™s head with its soft cheeks, no longer pale
but ruddied and bronzed by sun and healthful breeze,
and with the golden hair, now short but abundant in
wave and curl, met and leant on the kindly, furrowed
face that bent over him, the sunny curls garnishing
the softening gray of the dark hair, which was becom-
ingly turned over in a roll under the snow-white cap.
THE GIFT. mao
â€œSit still, sit still,â€ repeated the rector, uny â€œing
to break up the grouping; â€œI can get myself a cht.â€
But the boy, abashed, slid off to his isev; â€˜and Ally
rose, intent on doing henour to her visitor.
â€œYou were giving Jonah his Sunday lesson,â€ said
â€œT am a poor scholar myself,â€™ quoth Ally apolo-
getically. â€œFather gives him the teaching mostly ;
but heâ€™s not back to-day. They'll have missed the
tide last night. He wouldn't take Jonah with him
yester morning, for he said it.were a chanceâ€”My
man,â€ said she, turning to the boy, â€œgo to the look-
out, and if thou sees aught of father, tell him as
Mester Manleyâ€™s come â€˜to see him.â€
â€œT daresay you can tell Jack as well as I can
myself about my business, if I donâ€™t see him,â€ said
Mr. Manley. â€œHow old do you reckon Jonah now?
â€”Ay, I know you cannot tell to a nicety. Well,
you guess about seven or eight; and thatâ€™s time for
some schooling. We'll give him the schooling at the
rectory, if Jack and you are willing.â€
Ally overflowed with grateful thanks. â€œHow
could we be aught else but willing, and thankfully
willing? But how can you put up with the trouble,
sir, and so many boys as you've got now?â€ said she
with a divided tone of hope and doubt.
â€œ'Thatâ€™s just one reason why it will be less trouble
32 THE GIFT.
to us: and more good to the boy, Ally,â€ said My.
Manley. â€œBut, in any case, I have always meant to
do something for the ladâ€™s schooling as soon as he
got strength in his legs and a good colour in his face.â€
â€œThank God! he has got both now,â€ said Ally.
â€œHeâ€™s as fine a lad now as any anywhere, and a
power better than most. Eh, sir,â€ continued she, the
tears rising as she summed up her foundlingâ€™s merits,
â€œheâ€™s as dosome as a lamb. He'll do anythingâ€”come,
or go, or stayâ€”at half a word. He'd lay his little
life down for Jack any day, or for me either, I dare-
say; but fatherâ€™s the king to him, poor little father-
less laddie! Heâ€™s never so happy as with father
about the boat or the nets. And for all heâ€™s so good
at bidding, heâ€™s a hot spirit. You see, sir, the boys
about here tease him at times, and call him a forrener; Â©
and heâ€™s for fighting them and showing heâ€™s as good
English as any on them. TI tell him he shouldn't
show it that way; but Jack- says there are worse
things than a good stand-up fight, and that the Bible
tells us that. What do you think, sir, for you know
â€œJack is not wrong in saying that the Bible tells
us to â€˜fight a good fight,â€ said the rector, rather evad-
ing the direct bearing of the question, and perhaps
not altogether sorry to learn that the boy, so gentle
in look and ways, had the elements of fight within
THE GIFT. 33
him; â€œonly we must take care it is a good fight, and
certainly we must not pick a quarrel. But, Ally, I
came to you on an errand of peace, not of war; we
will leave the fighting question to another time.
Jonah must learn to read before he learns to fight.â€
Mr. Manley was a bachelor. He owned most of the
small parish, of which he was rector and squire at once ;
and he ruled alike over the consciences and hearts of
the simple folk, to whom he was attached both by
the ties of birth and duty. :
He and a brother younger than himself had been
latterly left the only survivors of all their family.
This brother had recently died, leaving a widow and
several young children, mostly boys. Mr. Manley
had given them all a home with him, and, as well to
meet the greater expenses caused by so large an addi-
â€˜tion to his household, as also to provide companions
to his nephews and stimulate their learning, had
taken three or four other boys to educate with
The offer he now made to Ally and Jack Mateson
was to take the boy Jonah for an hour or two of
schooling each morning till he was advanced enough
to enter on full school work. â€œMy sister,â€ said he,
â€œwill take the little fellow at first with the little girl
and the two younger boys that she is preparing for
me for the next half-year. The ladies manage the
34 THE GIFT.
very young ones best. We will try what we can do
between us to make Jonah a scholar.â€
Allyâ€™s thanks had been warm. As to her husband's
mind she had no doubt. â€œJack has said to me many
atime as we must try soon to get the boy some better
learning nor he could put into him; but you see, sir,
we neither of us just knew how it were to come
about. And now you've opened the door to us. In-
deed, sir, you wre good and kind; and Jack â€™ull be
as thankful as me.-â€”My man,â€ added she, as Jonah
made his appearance from his fruitless errand to look
for his foster-father, â€œgo and thank Mester Manley.
Heâ€™s going to make thee a better scholar than father
The boy stood still and coloured. He raised his
hand to his forehead, as he had been taught, and bent â€”
his head, but said nothing; his countenance was not
indicative of joy.
â€œMy boy,â€ said Mr. Manley kindly, â€œitâ€™s not so
pleasant to come to school just at first, but, like every-
thine else we put our heart into, it soon grows easy
enough ;â€ and, turning to Ally: â€œWe had better begin
at once. Send him up to-morrow at nine oâ€™clock, and
hell be back to his dinner. We'll find him what
books he may need ;â€
he left the cottage.
â€œMammie,â€ said the boy, the tears rising, â€œam I
and patting Jonah on the head,
THE GIFT. 5 35
to leave father and you, and go to the rectory to
learn lessons ?â€ :
Ally kissed the tears away. â€œThou'll do what
father and me wishes for thee, I know, my jewel.
Thowll not leave us, never fear for that; but thou
must be a better scholar than either of us, and Mester
Manley says so too, and itâ€™s as good to thee as a
fortune to give thee such a chance. Thou'll go and
do thy best, and thowâ€™ll try and do credit to his good-
ness, won't thou?â€ And Ally stroked the curly head
fondly as it was raised towards her, watching and
listening to its doomâ€”-not rebellious, but sorrowful.
Ally had not calculated upon the boyâ€™s unreadiness,
but she did not swerve from the plan for a moment;
she had his good too much at heart to hesitate.
Her affection for her charge was deep and touching.
There was in it that element of half-proud, half-
respectful devotion that we have seen in the old days
of domestic loyalty in the faithful nurse towards the
children she has tended with a love as self-sacrificing
as a motherâ€™s, and perhaps even more admiringly
blind. The sentiment of loyal allegiance, the pride
in a nature and culture above her own, supply an
element of homage to her devotion peculiar to itself.
Those who have known the dear, blind, unreasonable
pride and fealty of a faithful old nurse of the type
we term â€œold-fashionedâ€ now, will endorse this remark,
36 THE GIFT.
Allyâ€™s love for the child was natural enough in the
circumstances. As we have already said, the desola-
tion of the little being cast up by the fierce elements
in the dark night; the days and nights of suffering
after, while the frail life hung trembling in the
balance; the weeks, nay, months, of gentle languor
that followed; and throughout, the close clinging of
utterly helpless dependence to her alone, had drawn
forth all the tenderest feelings of a tender womanâ€™s
heart. As time went on, the pretty child-thought-
fulness for her, and the little outbursts of love and
gratitude as he strengthened into boyish happinessâ€”
above all, his unbounded admiration for his foster-.
father, had endeared the foundling to her inner soul.
And it was pretty to note the touch of respect that
mingled in her affectionateness in speaking either to
or of the boy.
â€œHe's not of our rough sort, you see,â€ she would
say, â€œand he doesnâ€™t need rough words.â€
â€œGo to Mester Manley? Ay, to be sure thou mun
go; and thou'll never be able to thank him enough
for his goodness in giving thee such a fine chance for
making a man of thee, Jonah, my lad.â€
This hearty conjoining of Jack Mateson in the
rectorâ€™s proposition took away any hope of escape, if
any had lurked in Jonahâ€™s heart.
So on the following morning, in his Sunday clothes,
THE GIFT. 37
the boy presented himself at the rectory door, parting
at the entrance gate from the motherly hand that had
led him there on this first occasion to give him more
courage, and with the parting injunction dwelling on
his ear: â€œNow, my darling, go thy way; stand up |
boldly, and speak up like a man, and do thy duty, and
God bless thee.â€
Counsel goes mostly in contrariety to our natural
leanings. Had Jonah been forward and self-asserting,
Allyâ€™s guiding cue would doubtless have been some-
thing more like the reverse of these last injunctions ;
which, however, served their purpose, and nerved the
shrinking spirit to its first encounter in actual pres-
ence with those hidden powers which, in their indis-
tinctness, had loomed as objects of terror to the
childish fancyâ€”a terror greatly exaggerated, as it
confessed to itself even on the first introduction, and
soon dispersed by closer approach to the gentlest of
Mrs. Bertram Manleyâ€”â€˜â€œ Mrs. Bertram,â€™ as the
neighbourhood called her more familiarlyâ€”was a
gentle, indulgent woman, whom the sorrows of be-
reavement had made yet more gentle. She lacked
indeed the strength of character which would have
fitted a mother to bring up a family of sons unsup-
ported by the paternal authority; a strength which
her brother-in-law supplied to her generously in her
38 THE GIFT.
need, and which she had the sense to value at its
A power so benignant could not longâ€™ inspire dread,
even to a sensitive child. Mrs. Bertram Manley would
have been kind to any one placed in her charge; but
her maternal heart went forth with especially kindly
interest to the pretty boy, the orphan of the sea, who
thus on his first approach, with timid grace and tear-
ful reverence, seemed to appeal to her for toleration.
HE Rev. Roger Manley had not been rector very
many years. For two or three he had been
squire only of the quiet seaboard district of Sand-
holme, living with his widowed mother after his
fatherâ€™s death. Two older brothers had died within
a short period of each other, one from an accident ;
and it was the grief of that shock which had hastened
his fatherâ€™s end.
It thus transpired that Roger Manley found himself
unexpectedly the inheritor of the home of his fore-
fathers, and this change in his position led him to
make a change in his life. He left the army and took
holy orders, that he might live amongst his people with
a vightful claim to aid and care for their moral and
spiritual welfare as well as their temporal. He repaired
and enlarged the old rectory-house; and, after his
motherâ€™s death, removed there himself, to be near to the Â©
church and more in the heart of his parish. Sandholme
40 THE RECTOR.
was his birth-place, the home of his happy boyhood,
and was dear to him as no other place, he felt, could .
ever be. And now that it had been appointed to him
to own it as his heritage, he had made it his prayer
and his aim that he might view it and its simple
population as the home and family which God had
allotted to him, and deal in his stewardship faithfully,
as in Godâ€™s sight, and under the guidance of that
Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding whose
influence he ever recognized all through the common
course of â€œthe day of small things,â€™ which is to most
of us the ordinary every-day of our lives.
â€œLet us have God in mind,â€ he would say, â€œ ee
Monday till Saturday, as well as on Sundayâ€”as we
draw up the fishing-net or house the hay, as well as |
when we are on our knees in church ; God is about
our path and about our bed as much as about us in
our church pew.
â€œHonest industry is only another kind of service
which God commanded us to render when He said:
â€˜Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast
to doâ€™ Therefore, my friend, do it with thy might,
and with the knowledge that Godâ€™s eye is upon thee.
And what I say to thee I say to myself; for woe to
me if I forbear to proclaim to you all plainly the true
and the right way, whether it be for Sunday or
THE RECTOR. ah
Peter Wright, the lame school-master, was fond of
reading out these and other like extracts from the
rectorâ€™s sermons, at a kind of night-school, or class,
which he opened on winter evenings, and at which
many a grown and even old man attended at times ;
for Peter was good company, and varied his teaching
with anecdote and tale, and sometimes with a spice of
â€œYou see,â€ said Peter, on one of these occasions,
â€œour rector tells us in the pulpit the like of what he
does when he talks to us, only more solemn like.â€
â€œAy,â€ responded the old clerk, â€œhe puts on his
Masterâ€™s livery on Sundays, and doesnâ€™t take it off all
Mr. Manley had declared his intention of rebuilding
the church on an enlarged and handsomer plan. The
old building was in poor repair, and a gallery had to
be raised to find accommodation for the increasing
church-goers. He was only waiting, he had said, to
put by sufficient funds to begin and finish without debt.
â€œ Ay, the church will be his wife, and his people
will be his family,â€ Mrs. Margery was wont to say.
Mrs. Margery had been nurse to all the generation.
' She was living out an honoured old age now, as Mr.
Manleyâ€™s housekeeper. And who could know, if not
she, why he was not to be expected to look out for a
wife and family himself, like most other folk.
49 THE RECTOR.
She had hinted to "Lisbeth of the Hall Farm that
this would not be, by reason of a great trouble that
had clouded his younger life. What.was the exact
true story of it, even Mrs. Margery herself either
could not or would not tell. But good folks said it
was that, anyway, that had made him so wise and
â€œAy,â€ â€™Lisbeth would say, and who should know
better than herself, widowed, and with a family m
her charge of almost all ages ?â€”â€œay, and made him
so able to understand other folksâ€™ troubles, and to say
the right thing to them, and just at the right
_ â€œAy, ay, thereâ€™s no one, sick or sorry, but they
may go to Mester Manley and get help or comfort. It
and told pretty strong too, if he thinks fit to leb â€™em
hear it,â€™ quoth the old clerk one Sunday.
â€œYou may say that,â€ remarked â€™Ziah Jobson, who
was known to be too good a customer at the Manley
Arms; â€œthereâ€™s a rough edge to his tongue as well as
a smooth un. He doesnâ€™t soften a hard crust to
everybody â€™same. Thereâ€™s them as he favvers, and
them as he doesnâ€™t.â€
â€œTl tell thee what, â€™Ziah,â€ said old Peggy, the
rabbiterâ€™s mother; â€œjust thou be at thy work every
day in the week, and take thy wage straight home,
THE RECTOR. 43
and thou'll get â€˜same favver as any other as does
â€œ Anyhow,â€ remarked "Lisbeth, â€œhe has a family of
his own, so to say, now, large enough, and his
sister-in-law so sweet and nice. Eh, Iâ€™m fain to
think he has such a lot about him to make his home
lively, just at the time he needed something to stir
him up after his good motherâ€™s death. Thereâ€™s been
trouble enough these last: years. Troubles and mis-
_ fortunes is like swallowsâ€”they mostly comes iâ€™ com-
This conversation took place after Sunday afternoon
service, the various speakers having unintentionally
gathered together over a new tombstone of a pre-
tentious order which had just been erected by far-
distant relatives over one whose body had heen
washed to shore in a state of so great decomposition
that it had necessitated burial on the spot.
â€œHow could they make sure that he were either
son or brother to them as never saw him before he
was buried?â€ observed a fresh looker on.
â€œTtâ€™s strange they should claim the dead so ready
above the living,â€ said "Lisbeth. â€œThereâ€™s that boy
oâ€™ Matesonâ€™s, and never a soul come forward to ask a
word about him; and a bonnie fine lad too as he is.â€
â€œ Well, Mr. Manleyâ€™s taken him up now. I suppose
heâ€™s going to make a gentleman on him, because heâ€™s
44 THE RECTOR.
a soft face,â€ said Josiah Jobson, with a touch of sneer
in his tone.
â€œT donâ€™t know about a gentleman,â€ said the old
clerk in sharp response, â€œbut he'll make a man on .
him. You may set that down for certain. Our Mester
Roger â€˜ull never make a soft on any one, gentle or
simple. Look. at them nevvies of hisâ€”theyâ€™re twice
the lads they were when they first came, nigh a year
The old clerk, who had once worked at the hall,
and had known the family in their boyhood, fell often |
into the old familiar titles, and there seemed to him a
closer bond binding him to â€œ Mester Rogerâ€ than to
the newer style of â€œMr. Manley the rector.â€
Not many days after this conversation had taken
place over the new tombstone, the subject of it reined
up his white cob at the door of the fishing cottage.
â€œWell, Ally,â€ said Myr. Manley, as a touch on the
door with the knob of his riding-whip brought the
good soul to the horseâ€™s neck, in her comfortable
country dress of dark print jacket and bright-striped
linsey skirtâ€”â€œ well, Ally, how is Jonah getting on
at home with his new scholarship? Is he as fond of
the boat as ever? Is he as good a lad with you and
Jack as he used to be?â€
â€œEh, sir! heâ€™s over-fond of the boat, if anything.
Iâ€™m feared heâ€™s not as good with you, sir, as he is
THE RECTOR. 45
here. Heâ€™s none as fond of his books as we could
wish. He like grudges aught as takes him off from
going with father. But then you see heâ€™s easy bidden.
Do or donâ€™tâ€”thatâ€™s enough from father, or me either.
I hope, sir, you and Mrs. Bertram finds it â€™same too,â€
and Ally looked up inquiringly.
â€œOh yes, he. does as heâ€™s told,â€ said the rector
in reply. â€œIf his heart were more in his lessons he
would get on faster, I daresay; but he brings his
tasks fairly well done, and that is as much as we
can bargain for just yet. If, please God, we all see
to the start of a fresh year or two, we shall require
more. Now I see the boy coming up from shore
with his good foster-father. Call him here to hold
the pony, and I'll have a little talk with you both
about him inside the house.â€
So the rector went in with the good couple.
â€œNow,â€ said he to Jack Mateson, â€œitâ€™s time to come
to some plan about this lad. Thereâ€™s poor chance of
anybody claiming him now. I have little doubt that
the ship foundered out at sea, or might be the very
one we read of that was burned and seen floating a
black hulk by a Jamaica-bound vessel. The time
would fit if some on board got off in boats and were
lost afterwards in the great storm. But whichever
way it might be, here we have the boy, and itâ€™s time now
to turn our minds to what may be best to do with him.â€
46 THE RECTOR.
Jack was silent. He looked to Ally to be spokes-
woman for him. Ally was not backward.
â€œWe're willing, ay, with all our. hearts, we're
willing to make the boy our own,â€ said she. â€œThem
as is our own is scattered, and, thank God! is doing
well for aught we know. And God has sent us a |
child in our old age to care forâ€”ay, and to help us.
He is a help to Jack alreadyâ€”Jack â€™ull tell you so;â€
and Ally looked appealingly to the fine weather-beaten
figure who had modestly got to the far corner, and
was leaning over a chair back, not choosing to sit
down at his ease before the rector.
â€œ Ay,â€ said Jack, â€œheâ€™s a handy little fellow; and he
doesnâ€™t know what fear is. -Thereâ€™s some odds and
ends as he'll do for me as well as a grown man. Heâ€™s
right welcome to home and fathering as long as I live;
and I donâ€™t think as Ally â€™ull desert him if sheâ€™s the one
of us to be left alone.â€
The rector saved Ally a half-sobbing reply of
assurance by a nod, and turning to Jack in the back-
geroundâ€”* You have been very kind and generous to
the boy, Jack, my good friend,â€ said he, â€œand perhaps
for the next year or two things might well enough
go on as they are now. I donâ€™t want to press the boy
too hard with his learning; he had best grow and
strenethen in out-door life, and there is nothing
better for him than the sea breezes. Thereâ€™s a. trifle
THE RECTOR. ae
of delicacy left in him yetâ€”yes, in spite of his rosy
cheeks, Ally, which do you such good credit. Go on
as you are doing for a while; make him a hardy and
honest lad, an industrious lad, as you are doing, and
a truthful lad. Now, mark that both of you, my
good friends,â€”if he were to say he was four feet six
inches, when he was only four feet five and three
quarter inches, call him back for it. Make him
truthful and accurate. And if you ever catch him
bragging because he can leayn this, or knows that
better than another, or bragging for anything what-
ever, knock it out of him. If you will look to such
things ag these, we will look to his books and his
clothing. And when he can write a bit better, and
has strengthened a bit more still, I will take him in
hand myself, and see what we ought to make of him ;
for he has good abilities, and should get beyond the
fishing-boat some day.â€
â€œ Ah, sir,â€ said Ally, with a sigh, â€œyou are right,
no doubt, and we must give in to what you think
-best. He warnâ€™t born just to help Jack and me; but
Iâ€™m fain to think we may have him yet a while as he
is. And indeed, sir, both Jack and me, we'll mind
what you say. We'll bring him up honest and true.
But as to bragging, thereâ€™s little enough of that in him;
he hangs back too much, as if he were not as good as
other lads that have kith and kin as every one knows on.â€
48 THE RECTOR.
â€œWell, well, Ally,â€ said the rector, rising to go,
â€œwe neednâ€™t go far for some one to speak a good
word for him as long as you are near. And as to
kith and kin, you and Jack have been as good to him
as father and mother and twenty of kin besides. And
be sure of this, I shall do nothing or plan nothing for
him seriously without consulting Jack and you, with
the same respect to your wishes as if he were indeed
your own boy.â€”Now, Jonah, my lad,â€ continued Mr.
Manley as he came out of the cottage, â€œcan I trust
you to take Druid to the rectory, and give him safe Â»
into Johnâ€™s hands at the stable-door ?â€
Jonah coloured up with pride and pleasure, and
looked to his foster-father, who. had followed Mr,
Manley. oa tee
â€œWell, my man, speak for thyself,â€™ said Jack.
â€œThow'll lead him steady, wonâ€™t thou?â€ ..,
â€œ Yes, sir,â€ said Jonah to the rector, half hesitating,
and putting his hand to his forehead.
Mr. Manley put his hand kindly on the boyâ€™s
shoulder. â€œYou shall get on his back, Jonah, and
ride him home, if you will promise you will not go
beyond a quiet trot at most, and play no tricks on the
way. I have seen you ride Farmer Fordâ€™s horses in
hay-time ; and if I canâ€™t trust you to follow directions
faithfully for half-an-hour, why, my boy, youâ€™re not
worth as much as I supposed.â€
THE RECTOR. 49
And so saying, Mr. Manley gave him a lift into
the saddle, put the rein into his hand, added a kindly
nod, and bade him start. â€œWithout the whip,â€ said
he; â€œhe needs no whip. I only take it to beat off
loose colts as I ride through the fields. Just touch
his shoulder with the bridle end if you want him to
trot, and do it -gentlyâ€”The pony is as quiet as a
sheep,â€ said he to Ally; â€œand itâ€™s well to let a-lad
feel that he is thought fit to be trusted. And Iâ€™m
glad to be free of the pony, for I have some visits
to pay where he would be more trouble than use.â€
le it possible that it is three years since? How
time flies !
We have heard and said the like ourselvesâ€”how
often! Perhaps we might more correctly say, How
quickly it has flown! â€” :
â€œ We take no note of time
But from its loss.â€
It is rather more than three years since the con-
versation at the close of the last chapter. Jonah was
then hardly more than a child; but three years have
made a marked change. Three years under the close
influences of kindness, in hand with culture and good
breeding, had made their mark on. the susceptible
nature of the growing boy.
That his heart was not wholly in his books might
still have been said of him; but he worked con-
scientiously, and had made very fair progress in his
studies. He had long before this been promoted from
the gentle teaching of Mrs. Bertram Manley to the
longer hours and fuller discipline of the school-room
proper; and in this change there was considerable
tightening of the working traces. Mr. Manley had
taken a distant relation of his as curate, and tutor to
the older boys under his supervision. He was young,
and a little inclined to domineer, He was especially
severe with Jonah in pressing forward his studies.
The boyâ€™s good abilities interested him, and he was
impatient at his preference for active life over book
work. He presently represented to Mr. Manley the
great disadvantage of his losing the hours from twelve
to two by returning home for dinner, and often losing
entire afternoons by going with his father in the boat.
â€œHe will never master Euclid by halves,â€ was his
The idea did not come quite freshly upon Mr.
Manley, He had been turning it over in his own
mind, and now the zeal of his coadjutor decided him.
â€œThe boy shall dine here,â€ he said. â€œTI will speak
to his parents about it.â€
â€œNow, Ally,â€ said Mr. Manley on the following
day, meeting her on the road with a creel of herrings
at her back, â€œthe time has come for giving Jonah
harder head-work, and keeping him to it. Will you
and Jack spare him all day, and every day but
â€œAy, sir,â€ said Ally sorrowfully; â€œIve been ex-
pecting summat oâ€™ that sort. Ay, it must be when
and how just as you think proper; and I can easy
send his dinner with him.â€ 6
â€œNay, nay, his dinner is soon managed,â€ returned
Mr. Manley. â€œHe will dine with the boys at one;
and then go in at once to afternoon school, and home
to you in time to put his hand to something. But
will Jack spare him? Heâ€™s got old and strong enough
to be of some real use to him now. What will Jack say?â€
â€œJack â€˜ud never let himself stand in the boyâ€™s
light. It was tâ€™other day only he were saying as he
saw more and moreâ€™ clear that he were meant for
finer craft than tâ€™fishing-smack. He says the gentle-
man in him shows at many an odd turn. With your |
pardon, sir, heâ€™s summat like you. Itâ€™s like enough
he catches it easy, if it fits natâ€™ral to him.â€
â€œI wish,â€ said the rector, very gravely, â€œthat he
may make as thorough a gentleman as Jack would
have made, if it had been his lot to deal with thou-
sands instead of odd pounds now and then. But itâ€™s
not money, and itâ€™s not birth always; no, nor learning
either, nor all three together, that makes the true
gentleman, for certain. Jonah has had a very good
home, Ally; and we must try to make him worthy
of all you and Jack have done for him. And itâ€™s
time now to set to work in earnest.â€
Ally had slackened her creel-strap, and rested her
burden upon the copse. The tears were in her eyes,
and her voice choked over the first words,â€”
_ â€œIts to you we owe all our bestâ€”to you and
yours, sir, except as we owes everything thatâ€™s good
foremost to Almighty God. Eh, I mind when Jack .
and I were boy and girl, what good teaching we had
from the good ladies who are gone; and it doesnâ€™t: go
for noughtâ€”eh no! it doesnâ€™t go for nought. I
mind it just as how I were there again;â€ and the
spirit of re-vision gave suddenly a dramatic effect to
her words as she continued: â€œI mind how they used
to call a little class on us to them in the room they
built agin the garden wall, and teach us Scripturâ€™ and
Catechism, and tell us about being â€˜true and just in all
our dealings, and â€˜kindly affectioned one to another,
and honouring father and mother. And they hon-
oured theirs; they were patterns to us as well as
teachers. And older than me will tell how they sat
by the old and the sick and comforted them, and
talked to them, as if they'd been sisters or mother to
them. Itâ€™s what folk does as makes what they say
take hold and stick; and they didnâ€™t talk one way
and do another. And Iâ€™ve heerd Jack tell over and
over how the old squireâ€”your fatherâ€™s father, sirâ€”
in his top-boots, with his beautiful powdered head,
would pat him on the shoulder and say to him as he
â€˜were to stand in the place of his drowned father, and
be his motherâ€™s prop and stay and her strong right
arm. Ay, â€˜honest and true to God and-to his motherâ€™ ~
â€”that were his talk, and it took hold. Jack were a
good son, and itâ€™s thatâ€™s med him a good man. Eh,
Mester Manley, thereâ€™s a gret power in looking up to
them as is good.â€ .
The rector had stood quietly listening to Ally,
touched and impressed by the warmth with which
she spoke. â€œYes,â€ said he, â€œit was good teaching.
To honour our father and mother is a good step
towards honouring God. Our Saviour himself re-â€”
peated that commandment more than once to us;â€
and the rector raised his hat reverently. â€œAnd now,
Ally, you want to go on your way with your fish,
and I must go on mine. Let me help you with your
load.â€ And the rector raised up the creel and laid it
over Allyâ€™s shoulders with the same respectful courtesy
with which he might have laid an ermine-cloak over
those of a duchess, and turned back on his way home.
That evening Ally called Jonah to her knee, great
boy as he was getting to be,
â€œSit down here,â€ said she. â€œMammieâ€™s something
to say to thee.â€ And she proceeded to unfold, rather
nervously, the new plan that had been resolved on as
to the future school-life.
The boy started to his feet when he heard of the |
CHANGE. z 55
dinner arrangement. â€œMother,â€ he said, â€œI canâ€™t
Ally was startled. This was the nearest approach
to rebellion that she had ever encountered from the
boy. 5 .
â€œJonah, my man, thou mustnâ€™t speak like that.
Thou doesnâ€™t mean what thou says.â€
â€œMotherâ€ persisted Jonah, â€œI'll do the lessons, if
father and you and Mr. Manley wish it; but I canâ€™t
stand the dinner. They wonâ€™t like it, and I wonâ€™t do
it. Tl go without dinner.â€
The boys face was flushed crimson. â€œThey wonâ€™t
like it!â€ expostulated Ally. â€œWhy, Mr. Manley
himself said it, and as kind and pleasant as if thou
wert his own boy.â€ :
â€œAy, but the others wonâ€™t like it. They donâ€™t
- like me, I know. They look down upon me; they
donâ€™t like it if I ever by good chance bring a better
exercise than theirs. They donâ€™t like meâ€”at least
. none but Corey; and theyâ€™ll not like me to seem just
one of them. And, mother, I canâ€™t stand pushing
myself among them that look down upon me.â€
There was bitterness in the boyâ€™s voice as he spoke,
and Ally noted a tight clenching of the hand. She
was taken aback and was silent, pondering over what
she would say. Jonah stood silent too, perhaps won-
dering at what he had said.
Ally spoke first. Very seriously and sadly she
uttered the few words: â€œWhatâ€™ll father think on thee,
Jonah, setting thyself against all thy. best friends ?
Eh, I never looked for this from thee, my man.â€
Jonah still stood silent. Ally raised her eyes to
his. Jonah saw the tears there, and knew that he
had brought them. A great tumult worked within
him. Love and gratitude conquered. He threw
himself on Allyâ€™s knee with his arms round her neck
and sobbed out, as from the child-heart that he was
overgrowing, â€œO mammie! mammie! I will do any-
thingâ€”anything father and thou want me; I'll do it
Ally kissed and stroked the head from which the
child-curls had been long shorn. â€œThank God ie she
sobbed out tooâ€”thank God, my darling, my own-
man! Go to thy bed, my darling, and I'll tell father
when he comes in; Pll tell him thoull do just what
he wills, and master thyself. Thouâ€™ll do thy duty,
and bide what comes on it.â€
â€œAy,â€ said Jack next morning as Jonah started,
â€œthatâ€™s like a man. Go thy way;â€ and Jack himself
went off to his boat somewhat sadly alone.
And that was all that passed on the subject for
When Jonah came back in the evening he said
nothing, and the old people asked no questions.
CHANGE. : 57
â€œHave thy supper later, my man,â€ said Jack. â€œI
' waited for thee. -Come and help me with the nets
Weeks ran into long months. Jonah buckled to
his school work, and advanced even to the curateâ€™s
satisfaction, who continued to press him hard, looking
for credit from him. ~
One summer afternoon all the boys had been play-
ing at cricket after class-time. Bertram, the eldest of
_ Mr. Manleyâ€™s nephews, came in late with his shirt
stained with blood in front. His mother asked with
alarm what had happened.
â€œ Nothing,â€ he answered with an assumed careless-
ness, â€œonly my nose bled a little.â€
fe Why, your trousers and even your shoes are
marked with blood,â€ said the anxious mother.
â€œ Oh, itâ€™s nothing,â€ persisted the boy; â€œyou see Iâ€™m
no worseâ€”no oneâ€™s the worse for a bit of nose-
â€™ bleeding. We are all late. I must get to my lessons,
or I shall get into trouble to-morrow;â€ and_ his
mother, content to see that he was seemingly not
materially the worse, forbore more questioning at the
The next morning Jonah made his appearance with
the signs of a coming black eye. |
â€œHow is this?â€ asked the curate; â€œhave you hurt
â€œNo, sir,â€™ said Jonah. â€œItâ€™s nothing; itâ€™s of no
consequence ;â€ and he bent over his exercise-
Presently Mr. Manley came in. He had heard
from his sister-in-law of Bertramâ€™s nose-bleeding, and
noticing J onahâ€™s discoloured face, he put the two
things together and suspected something amiss.
He let the class hours pass on, but summoned
the two boys to his study before the dinner-hour.
â€œ Jonah, you have a black eye-â€”And, Bertram, your
nose had been bleeding badly before you came in last
evening. Have these two things anything to do with
each other ?â€
The boys were both silent.
â€œBertram, what made your nose bleed? I have
never known of that happening before.â€
â€œTf you please, sir, I struck him,â€ said Jonah, coming
a step forward, â€œand I am very sorry for it.â€
â€œOh, indeed!â€ said Mr. Manley; â€œand how did
you get your black eye?â€
Jonah was silent.
â€œT gave it him, sir,â€ said Bertram.
â€œOh!â€ said Mr. Manley again. â€œI conclude you
fought together.â€ He spoke very slowly.
The boys assented by a murmured â€œ Yes.â€
â€œAnd what did you fight for?â€ He paused.
â€œCan neither of you tell me the cause of quarrel ?
CHANGE, TA 5g
Come, answer me. Who began the fight ? who struck
the first blow ?â€
â€œJ did, sir,â€ answered Jonah in a very low
voice. 5 ,
â€œThen,â€ said Mr. Manley, â€œyou can tell me the
reason of the fight. Why did you strike Bertram?â€ â€”
Jonah hesitated. â€œWe fell out at cricket, sir. We
had some rough words.â€ Se!
â€œWhat words?â€ asked Mr. Manley.
â€œMaster Bertram called me a Frenchman,â€ said
Jonah hardly audibly.
â€œCalled you what?â€ asked Mr. Manley. â€œSpeak
out, Jonah; and both of you answer me openly. If
you have anything to be ashamed of, bear the blame,
but speak out clearly. Did I understand right that
Bertram called you a Frenchman ?â€
â€œWell, that is not such a very bad name: it is
hardly enough to justify a bleeding nose. Anything
Here Bertram answered: â€œYes, sir, a good many
other things. We were both very angry, and the
rest said we had best fight it out.â€
â€œ Well, considering that you are probably about two
. years older, and certainly stronger, than Jonah, I think
the fighting it out does not do you so much credit,
â€œJT said that I would not fight him, sir; but he
rushed at me, and I was obliged to.â€
Jonah.coloured up high at this. His face worked ;
he was about to speak, then checked himself. He
gulped down a rising in his throat. He was agi-
tated all over, and turned round to hide his face.
Mr. Manley was closely observing both boys. He
saw there was something much deeper to probe than
they had yet disclosed. â€œJonah,â€ said he, â€œspeak out,
It will be the worse for you both if you donâ€™t tell me
plainly the cause of this fight. I canâ€™t have my boys
blustering in this way for mere nonsensical fancies.
Jonah, say at once, why did you rush upon Bertram
when he did not wish to fight you?â€
â€œSir,â€ said Jonah, every muscle in his face working,
â€œbecauseâ€”he saidâ€”he said he would not fight a
charity boy. And what made me wish to fight him
was his laughing ane sneering at the way my father
and mother speak.
Again Mr. Manley spoke very â€œdiet and slowly :
â€œAnd so, Bertram, you called Jonah a â€˜charity boy.â€™.
Will you tell me what you are yourself?â€
â€œ Well,â€ said Bertram surprised, â€œI am nota charity
â€œHow do you live?â€ asked Mr. Manley. â€œDo you
earn your own bread ?â€ .
Bertram was silent at this question.
CHANGE. - et
â€œT should say,â€ continued Mr. Manley, â€œthat you
are more a charity boy than Jonah; for, to speak
plainly, I donâ€™t know of a single thing you do to help
either your mother or myself. You live entirely upon
our charity, or love. Jonah does something to help
his foster-father. He does an honest half-dayâ€™s work â€”
now and then; while you eat my bread and wear out
your motherâ€™s clothes, and give absolutely nothing of
service in return. Pray, what is that but living on
charityâ€”or love, if you like the word better ?â€
Bertram was staggered. Jonah cast his eyes to the
ground. There was a pause.
â€œNow, boys,â€ said Myr. Manley presently, â€œyou are
both to blame. Jonah, you have been very angry
and passionate, and where angry passions are there is
always cause for blame.â€”But, Bertram, you are most
to blame, and you have not been very candid in your
explanation. You are but a boy yet. When you are
more of a man, you will look back upon all this in-
sulting hectoring with pain, Now, make up for it as
well as you can, and frankly. Shake hands with
Jonah, and treat him in future as a gentleman should
do, and not like a bully. And both of you boys be
the better friends for having fought and. forgivenâ€”
better friends, as generous boys mostly are.â€
Bertram had not a bad heart, and he had consider-
able love and honour for his uncle. He advanced,
held out his hand, and murmured, â€œI am sorry, Jonah,
for what I said yesterday. Will you shake hands?â€
It was an effort, but it was accomplished.
Jonah turned pale. â€œOh, Mr. Manley, sir,â€ ex-
claimed he tremblingly, â€œI am so sorry.â€â€™ He held:
out a limp hand to Bertram: his humiliation distressed
him. It was all a new experienceâ€”an astonishment
to him. He would have prevented it if he could. He
did not know what to say. â€œDonâ€™t mindâ€”I donâ€™t
care,â€ was all that came into his head at the moment
in his confusion.
â€œWas any one on your side in this quarrel, Jonah?â€
asked Mr. Manley.
â€œJames Corey, sir.â€
â€œ Any one else?â€
â€œNo, sir; the rest were against.â€
â€œNow,â€ said Mr. Manley, rising, â€œwe will say no
more on this unpleasant matter. We will wipe it out
altogether, if you will each give me your word to let
bygones be bygones and start fresh as friends.â€
Both boys answered frankly enough to satisfy Mr.
Manley; and, to make the first start easier, he took them
both with him to look at the new colt before dinner.
Towards evening, as Mr. Manley was strolling about
looking over home work in grounds and plantations,
he came across James Corey, whose name has already
been once or twice mentioned.
CHANGE. ~ 63
James Corey was lame, and a very delicate boy.
He was the only son of a leading merchant and large
shipowner in the not very distant great seaport town.
At his fatherâ€™s special desire, Mr. Manley had taken
him as one of the small number he was bringing up
with his nephews.
â€˜The kind care of Mrs. Bertram Manley, the sea air,
and the freedom of country life were invaluable in
Mr. Coreyâ€™s estimation for his motherless boy. The.
rector himself had been an early school-fellow of his ;
and the request that his boy should be received into
- the home life at the rectory had been so urgent, that
Mr. Manley had yielded to it, though not without
hesitation at undertaking so anxious a charge.
Young Corey was not strong enough to join in the
boysâ€™ more active games, and he found amusement in
little ingenuities of hand-craft. He was now busied
in carving the stock of a cross-bow from the thick
branch of a cherry tree lately pruned off.
â€œJames, that wood will warp,â€ said Mr, Manley.
â€œDonâ€™t you know that it is quite green? Ask Smith-
son to give you some of the seasoned beech out of the
joinerâ€™s shed, if you want to make a good job of your
cross-bow. And stay a moment. They tell me you
were at that fight between Jonah and Bertram yester-
day. How did it come about?â€
â€œWell, sir, they all badgered Jonah till he could
stand it no longer. They jeered at his fishing-parents,
and put him in a passion. So we said he had better
fight it out; and then Bertram said he was not going
to fight with a charity boy, and that made Jonah more
determined to force him to do it in his own defence.â€
â€œWhat has set them all so much against Jonah ?â€
asked Mr. Manley.
â€œOh, theyâ€™re not all so much against him always;
theyâ€™re only a bit jealous now and then. Mr. Repton
tells us that he'll be at the top of us all, and they
donâ€™t like that dinned into them always. And Ber-
tramâ€™s a bit more jealous than the rest, because he
thinks, sir, that Jonah stands between you and him.â€
â€œAre you jealous of him too, James?â€ asked Mr.
â€œNo, sir; not a bit. Ilike Jonah. He is my best
friend. He helps me to everything I canâ€™t do myself.
He is the best fellow in the world; but you see, sir,
he hangs back from some of them. . He thinks he
doesnâ€™t stand even with them, and that makes them
Feeling now pretty sure that he had got to the
bottom of this business, which had a good deal an-
noyed him, Mr. Manley contrived to put himself in
Jonahâ€™s way as he was returning home.
â€œJonah,â€ he said, â€œI want a word with you; turn
back for a bit with me.â€
â€œThank you, sir,â€ said Jonah; â€œI wanted so much
to see you. May I speak to you now, sir?â€
Mr. Manley nodded assent, and stood still for Jonah
to say his say. But Jonah, confused and silent, cast
his eyes down to the ground. He fixed them upon
a patch of yellow sand-flowers at his feet, marking
with an unconscious intentness their colour and shape,
all unable for the moment to collect his thoughts and
fix them on the various bearings of the subject his
heart had been full of before this unexpected coming
in contact with the rector, the suddenness of which
seemed to have driven away all his power to take
advantage of it, leaving the patch of sand-flowers in
sole possession of his mind.
â€œWell?â€ said or asked Mr. Manley with an in-
flection of impatience in his, tone.
Jonah roused himself. His feeling was that he
was touching upon a crisis in his life. â€œI wanted to
ask you, sir,â€ said he. And again he cast his eyes
upon. the foot of
â€œ Short turf, gay with tormentil
And birdâ€™s-foot trefoil,â€
and hesitated. â€œI wanted to ask you toâ€”toâ€”let
me give up schoolingâ€”that isâ€”to stay at home and
go with father altogether.â€
â€œWhy, Jonah, what is all this for? Is it just a
66 . CHANGE.
freak of temper because of a foolish boy-quar-
rel?â€ There was displeasure in Mr. Manleyâ€™s
â€œOh no, sir, no. But what they said has made it
plainer to me.â€ Difficulty and fear vanished; the
boyâ€™s tongue was unloosed. â€œTve known it always,
ever since I knew anything, but itâ€™s plaimer to me
since yesterday. I owe everything in the world to
my foster-father and motherâ€”my father and mother,
sir. Theyâ€™re all the father and mother I shall ever
have ; and I want to be a help to themâ€”what help I
~ can beâ€”to repay them what I can for all I owe
themâ€”-what little I can, all I can, poor as it will
be. Oh, sir,â€ he went on, losing all shyness, and
looking up to Mr. Manley with earnest eyes, â€œI would
do anything in the world if I could but repay themâ€”
if I could but make them any sort of half-return.
No one but myself knows how much I owe them,
how good they have been to me!â€
Mr. Manley had listened calmly, but had watched
with close attention the boyâ€™s eyes kindling and light-
ing up to enthusiasm as his sense of gratitude towards
his benefactors found its full expression. He was
not wont to give way to emotion; but he was moved
by the unmistakable proofs of the young heartâ€™s de-
votion. He paused a few moments, then kindly lay-
ing a hand on each shoulder, said, using the familiar â€”
epithet of the foster-parents, with something of their
own tender feeling towards the boy,â€”
â€œMy man, if you will be guided by one who can
see further on in this matter than you canâ€”if you
will be guided by meâ€”TI will help you to repay your
excellent foster-parents better than by hauling up
fishing-nets. - You have a good head, Jonah, and head-
work pays better than hand-work. You will do
something creditable some day. You must study
navigation. You may make the sea your province,
but it must not be in the fishing-boat. Take my
counsel. I will think it well over, and make a plan
for you if you will follow it out. Say nothing about
all this anywhere just now. Go home, and come to
the rectory as usual. Get rid of your black eye, and.
have no more fights, and in a few more days I will
see you again. Before long you shall make a fresh
start in life.â€ ,
â€œSir,â€ faltered out Jonah, â€œI cannot thank you; I
donâ€™t know how. You are very good to meâ€”you
have been very good to me. You have been next to
my father and mother to me. I will do whatever
you tell me.â€ And brushing his sleeve over his face,
he turned off homewards, and the rector ee
retraced his steps.
- As soon as he reached home he went at once into
his study and wrote to Mr. Corey, asking him what
information he could give on the subject of preparing
a boy for the study of navigation and for the higher
lines of sea-faring life. The answer came after some
delay, owing to Mr. Coreyâ€™s absence from home. He
had information in plenty to give. If his friend
â€œcould put him up for a night, he would come and
have a look at Jemmie and talk the matter over.â€
After a few more days the proposed visit was paid,
and the subject was very fully gone into between the
merchant and the rector.
Mr. Corey was essentially a man of commerce.
His whole mind was given to his business in all its
branches, and consequently he was successful in it.
But success and wealth did not induce him to relax
in his watchfulness. He fully realized that if the
road was stony and uphill to the making of a fortune,
it was very smooth and easy to the losing of it. The
one soft and tender corner in the heart of the worldly-
wise and business-engrossed man of wealth and credit -
was for his delicate boy and anything and all things
that concerned him.
â€œTs this lad that you are inquiring for the Jonah
that Jemmie talks of so oftenâ€”the one who saved
him once out of a bad fall into a pond or. ditchâ€”I
forget whichâ€”and got a wetting himself?â€ asked
~ â€œJT donâ€™t know about the fall and the wetting,â€
CHANGE. ; 69
said Mr. Manley, â€œbut I find James likes the lad very
â€˜much, and thinks he has helped him through different
troubles of one kind or other.â€
â€œTs there not some story about him? Wasnâ€™t he
saved from a wreck or something of the sort? If
heâ€™s been a friend to Jemmie, I should like to have a
little talk with him. I could better tell what sort of
a sea captain he is likely to make.â€
â€œT shall be very glad if you will see him, Sitey? ;
said the rector, â€œand turn him inside out, and give
me your judgment. The lad is friendless, and has to
carve out his own fortuneâ€”a cast-up from the sea,
poor fellow! and not a clue to parentage or kin
beyond the clothes he was washed up in, which his
foster-mother has kept as proofs, if any should ever
be asked for hereafter. I see the lad out there,â€ con-
tinued Mr. Manley, interrupting himself, â€œtalking to
your boy. I will call him in at once and leave him
with you; you will get more out of him by yourself.
Make him speak up and speak outâ€”he is shy.â€
And the rector opened the window, called to Jonah,
bade him come up, and left the room.
In half an hour Mr. Corey rejoined the rector.
_ â€œThat's a very intelligent, sensible lad, Manley,â€
said he. â€œHeâ€™s just suited for the sort of thing.
Heâ€™s a sailor ready made, with a good practical know-
ledge of the working part of the business to start
with; and with the good education you have given
him, his course is clear and easy enough. He ought
to rise, and quickly too.â€
â€œTs he willing, on his part, to fall in with what you
may suggest?â€ asked Mr. Manley.
â€œOh, willing enough, no doubt of that. When he
understood fully that I would make an opening for
him, his countenance showed his mind. He didnâ€™t
profess much certainly, but he said he would stick at
nothing if he could only win his way to earn any-.
thing. And he said it as if he meant it. Thereâ€™s a
look of resolve in the boyâ€™s face that I like. Itâ€™s
worth while helping those that are eager to help
themselves, and I will give him a hand towards get-
ting the knowledge he needs.â€
â€œThank you, Corey,â€ said the rector.- â€œI for one
am very much indebted to you for your goodwill
towards the boy.â€ ;
â€œNot at all, not at all,â€ said Mr. Corey. â€œT shall
be glad to do what I can; and Jemmie will be pleased
that his friend should get a push forward.â€ He
looked at his watch. â€œ My time is up,â€ said he. â€œI
will just go and thank your sister-in-law for all her
good care of Jemmie before I say good-bye to you.â€
He closed the door after him; but in another moment
he returned. â€œA thought has occurred to me,
Manley,â€ said he; â€œI want a companion for Jemmie
in the holidays. Let the boy come to us for Christ-â€”
mas. He can see a deal and learn a deal that will
be useful to him. It will serve two purposes: it
will give the lad a start, and please Jemmie.â€
â€œYou are very good indeed,â€ said the rector, â€œvery.
good. But the fact is, 1 am not so sure that Jonah
. will be as willing as Iam. It will be like going to.
court to him; and he is very timid and sensitive
about putting himself too forward.â€
â€œNonsense! it will be our putting him forward,
not his. He promised that he would stick at nothing,
and he mustnâ€™t stick at this. And as to shyness,
â€˜going â€˜to court, and all that, the boy knows well
enough how to behave himself. I shall make the
arrangements for it all; and meanwhile I will send
â€˜you books and charts for him. He may do a good
deal at home during the next month or six weeks till
he comes to me; and you can shape his studies a
_ little for him. Put him more to French than Latin.
He told me the boys were learning French.â€
â€œYes; our curate is a very good French scholar,â€
said Mr. Manley. â€œI shall join you at the stables
after you have seen my sister.â€
What a total change in any life a single day may
make! Who of us all can venture to forecast what
a day may bring forth ?
The rector was very thoughtful all that afternoon.
He walked up and down the shrubbery-walk by
himself, and then went to the drawing-room, sent the
younger children away, and had a talk with his
â€œHe must make a start some time,â€ said Mrs. Ber-
tram Manley after hearing all the rector had to tell,
â€œand better at once, while he is young enough to
take fresh impressions easily and fall in with the new
life. You have always said, dear Roger, that he
must strike out in some line very different from the
present; and is it not well to follow this excellent â€”
opening, and with all thankfulness too ?â€
â€œMy dear Mary, you are wiser than Iam. You
have strengthened me and convinced me,â€ said the
rector. â€œ But I wonder what Jack and Ally will think, -
and I wonder how the boy will take it. I must find
out these important points to-morrow.â€ _
â€œOh ay, sir, ay. I know itâ€™s a fine thing, a very fine
thing for him. And itâ€™s good of the gentleman, itâ€™s
more than common good. We could never have asked or
thought oâ€™ such a thing; and what can we do now but
give in to it, and thank him, sir, and you. But eh!
first hearing on it comes sharp and sudden. Mayhap
no one would reckon how we shall miss him. It'll
never be the same house again without him, and his
bonnie face, and his willing hand, and his learning,
and all his wise talk. Itâ€™s only God as knows how
we shall miss him, and how good he is!â€ and Ally
buried her face in her apron. â€œJack? ay, Jack â€˜ull
only blame me for making a trouble on it. Thereâ€™s
no need to hold back half a minute to ask what
Jack â€˜ull say.â€
â€œ What will Jonah himself say ?â€ asked Mr. Manley.
Ally dried her eyes. In the first surprise at the
strange news she had not thought of anything but
the shock to herself. She pondered a little.
â€œFather must tell it to him; J dasnâ€™t,â€ said she.
â€œ Now, hereâ€™s Jack himself,â€ said the rector, opening
â€˜the door.â€”â€˜ Jack, Ill leave your wife to tell you
what I have been here to say, and you must use your
authority to clear any difficulty away with Jonah.â€
â€œThe lad â€™ull make no difficulty to aught as you
wish, sir, or Iâ€™m very much out of reckoning. Sum-
. matâ€™s made a man on him out of a lad these late weeks
back,â€ said Jack.
An hour afterwards Jonah entered the open door very
slowly, twisting a piece of string round and round his
forefinger with a far-away look in his eyes. He had
two large books under his left arm, which he proceeded
to lay carefully down on the table, without uttering
a word of the usual cheerful greeting on his return.
Allyâ€™s heart misgave her. â€œJonah,â€ she said, â€œ what
- ailsthee? Has aught gone badly? What dost thou
look that fashion for ?â€
â€œWhat fashion, mother?â€ asked Jonah, rousing
himself as if from a dream. â€œI wasnâ€™t looking at any-
thing. Nothingâ€™s gone badlyâ€”at least I suppose not.
Mother,â€ he added, going up to Ally with the slow
thoughtful step with which he had entered, â€œ Iâ€™m going
for the Christmas holidays to Mr. Coreyâ€™s in Liverpool.â€
â€œWho told thee that, Jonah ?â€
â€œ James Corey,â€ said Jonah; â€œand I saw Mr. Man-
ley as I came home.â€
â€œAnd art thou going with this own mind?â€ asked
â€œYes; that is, if father and you donâ€™t say no to it.â€
â€œSay no to it! Nay, nay, we shall never stand in
thy light, thou mayâ€™st be safe of that. Itâ€™s very kind
on â€™em all. It may lead to something more than
â€œT shall learn navigation there,â€ said Jonah. â€œI
shall get a step towards earning my own living; you
and father shanâ€™t be burdened much longer, nor Mr.
Manley either, with an idle fellow learning Latin and
Greek. Mammie dear,â€™ he added, on seeing the look
of distress which told him the kind heart was hurt at
his words or the tone of themâ€”â€˜â€œmammie, Iâ€™ll come
back some day to be a help, please God, and not a
â€œA burden!â€ exclaimed Ally half-crying ; â€œ thouâ€™st
never been a burden to either of usâ€”never for one
moment. Thouâ€™st paid thy way over and over again,
if thatâ€™s what thouâ€™rt thinking of. And eh, my man,
but we shall miss thee come Christmas time !â€
The boyâ€™s heart was touched and comforted by
Allyâ€™s loving assurances more than she could guess;
for it had been heavy and almost soured of late by
the fuller sense that had grown upon him of all the
depth of his obligations, and the seeming small chances
of his doing anything to repay them.
â€œ Mother, mother,â€ said he, â€œ itâ€™s your goodness says
that. Nothing that I can do can ever pay my debt
to father and you, nor to Mr. Manley either; I know
that well enough, though I may not be saying it day
by day. Mother, may I sit up after you go to bed,
and get on with this navigation reading? I want to
make the best of these weeks before I go.â€
Days glided on, insensibly working transformation.
â€œAy, hell kneel on the floor with his maps and
charts about him, and he'll neither see nor hear who
comes or goes. Ay, itâ€™s change to all on us, and Pm
like to ery over it any minute, while Iâ€™m glad all the
same, and thankful to all them as has brought it about.
But heâ€™s been all our own all these years, and itâ€™s
aye hard to think he'll not be our own much longer.â€
â€œT think he'll be your own as long as he lives, in
his own heart,â€ said Mrs. Bertram Manley, to whom
Allyâ€™s lament had been addressed.
The change was subtle, but it was unmistakable.
Jonahâ€™s manner to his foster-parents was even more
tender and respectful as theirs to him grew insensibly
more deferential; but his thoughts were away. A
definite aim and purpose were fixed in his mindâ€”the
vague desire of his heart had taken form and sub-
stance; the goal, however distant, was in sight. The
change might have been explained by a student in
science as â€œconcentration of forces.â€
The day has come. Jonah has on his new suit and
his manâ€™s coat. He is leaving the cottage to join
Jemmie at the rectory, and start with him in Mr.
Jack laid a hand on Jonahâ€™s shoulder. â€œGood-bye,
my man,â€ said he; â€œthouâ€™rt a man now, and thou'll
be a fine man some dayâ€”thou'll outher do or dee.â€
And Ally? Ally had little to say. For once her
tongue found no expression for the tumult of feeling
within. Her heart yearned towards her foster-child ;
but the new deference which had grown upon her
made her hesitate. Trembling, she held out both
hands to him in silence.
â€œMother!â€ said he, distressed, â€œmother!â€ Then
in a firm, grave voice he added, â€œ Mother, give me a
kiss, and say, God bless thee !â€
Ally threw her arms round her foster-son. He
bent on one knee. â€œGod bless thee, my darling!â€
she said, choking with emotion. She could say no.
more. Something whispered to her heart that he was
going from her motherâ€™s care for always.
Jonah knew that the dear old home would never
be his daily home again.
It was a long farewell, but it was only a change of
placeâ€”not of heart, not of aim. He carried his single
purpose into his new life. His one care was to learn,
and this won interest from his elders; and there was a
modest manliness in him, mingled with a boyish defer-
ence, which gained him favour, and disarmed jealous
feelings even in the officials with whom, for the sake
of practical advantage, Mr. Corey threw him a good
There was in the firm a leading manager and clerk
of the name of Salter; a man as diligent and capable
as he was honest, and consequently well valued by
Mr. Corey, who never either undervalued good service
or overlooked it. Salter had a son preparing for
sailing service of the highest class, and Mr. Corey
proposed to him to let Jonah go hand in hand with
the young man in his studies. After a short trial
Salter expressed a wish to retain Jonah in the service
of the firm.
â€œVery good,â€ returned Mr. Corey; â€œI shall be glad
to keep him for Jemmieâ€™s sake, and I like the young
fellow myself. Can you find him lodging and work
till the right place turns up for him ?â€
â€œVes, easily, sir,â€ answered Salter readily ; â€œheâ€™s a
help to me in many ways. He'll either help with
book-keeping, or he'll unlade a shipâ€”heâ€™s as good
with his head as his hands; heâ€™s a power of strength
in his arms.â€
â€œThatâ€™s his fishing-smack training. What wage is
he worth ?â€ asked Mr. Corey.
Salter considered a little.
â€œWell, never mind at this moment,â€ continued Mr.
Corey; â€œhe must serve his apprenticeship. He can
have his keep and his learning, and what further he
may prove himself worth; only put him to work at
once, regular work ; let him force his way up. Donâ€™t
spoil him, for there is a trick about his look or his
way that gets hold of people, and turns the soft edge
of most that he comes across. Donâ€™t make a favourite
of him, thatâ€™s all; for favouritism only makes fools,
and finds them enemies.â€
N a luxurious drawing-room of a pleasant marine
residence on the south-east coast of England,
and by the cheerful glow of a winter's fire, sat an
elderly gentleman, chatting with his daughter in the
gloaming, before the bringing in of the evening lights,
which he had begged to be delayed, that they might
watch the weather, which was threatening, and, as he
Judged, blowing up for a heavy storm.
A gun-â€”a signal-gun! Was it a gun, or only a
stronger gust in the chimney, or the falling of a brick
or a chimney-pot? In another minute another; and
then another. ee
â€œYes; there is a vessel in distress,â€ and Mr. Brookes
got up from his arm-chair and went to the window.
â€œJT can see nothing,â€ he said. â€œThe wind is rising
still. What a night it will be !â€”what scuds of snow !
I can see neither water nor landâ€”only snow above
and snow in front.â€
â€œTs the firmg from the Ramitlies,â€ asked his
daughter, â€œor from a sailing vessel ?â€
The Ramilies was a fine old seventy-four gun ship
moored out as a guard-ship two or three miles from
the coast. ,
â€œIt is impossible to say at once,â€ answered her
father. â€œIf the firing goes on we shall have the
coastguardsman here before long for orders.â€
Mr. Brookes was a magistrate, and had an additional
office under government of supervision over the coast-
guardianship. And, in fact, a servant shortly after
came in to say his master was wanted by the coast-
guard and.one or two other men.
At this summons he went down at once. His
daughter remained at the window anxiously watching, Â©
though nothing could be seen in the dusk and the
driving snow. oe
It was a dreary look-out. What a contrast to
what it had been on the previous day, when the sun
rose in a sky of pearly opal, green, and blue, suf-
fused with streaks and flushes of orange and red, col-
ouring with their reflections a wan gray sea of glassy
calm, and a beach of fresh green dotted over here and
there with small garden plots still enlivened with
_ lingering autumn flowersâ€”chrysanthemums and China
roses hanging their heads languidly, yet giving colour
to the grassy beach which stretched out along the
steep shingly sea-boardâ€”a calm level of green then,
but now one white sheet dimly seen through the snow-
mist, and swept over by the howling winds.
Yes; the wind was rising to a gale, and the roar
of the sea blended with its howl in fearful accompani- .
ment to an outlook dreary in the extreme. Presently
darkness closed over it as the evening advancedâ€”
darkness so thick that even the white sheet of snow
below the windows could not be discerned. And still
the wind rose.
Now broke out a lurid light to the left. It flared
up and sank down, gleaming for a moment over a
circling crowd of dark figures. They were making a
bonfire on the beach at the waterâ€™s edge.
Lights sent up from the sea at no great distance
had revealed a vessel in distress, or more than one.
It was hard to say whether the â€˜lights which shot up
fitfully were from the same quarter alwaysâ€”whether
from one vessel, or from two in near companion- .
Fascinated by the dreadful interest, Mr. Brookesâ€™s
daughter, now joined by her sister, sat by the window
watching the party by the bonfire. It was not much
above two stoneâ€™s-throws from the house. Mr. Brookes
himself had gone out and joined the bonfire circle.
The light seemed to dim more and more, almost to die
out. How was it? and why? The reason showed
itself presently : the driving snow had blocked up the
The ladies went upstairs. Even there the snow
had almost blocked up the panes. A candle held close
thawed one sufficiently to reveal a terrible scene which
a huge volume of flame brought within sight, a barrel
of tar having been thrown on the burning heap of
now carried high on the crest of one, now hid in the
chasm behind another; ropes and strips of sail torn
and shattered streamed from her masts. She was
dangerously near the beach, drawing on towards the
breaking waves which dashed against the shingle,
throwing their spray in splashes even as far as the
houses which dotted the roadway along the skirt of
the grassy beach, and now and then washing down a
mass of the coating snow from the window-panes.
The tar consumed, the flame sank lower, and shone
luridly through the broken groups of men around, re-
vealing a sight.so sad that the ladies turned from it
for a while for relief.
On the white snow sheet lay stretched out here
and there black objects. Some few had two or three
men about them; others lay stretched, half-covered
with snow. Were they indeed drowned men washed
After a while loud shouts arose, and drew the ;
ladies to the window again. The men on the beach
were cheering and encouraging the poor fellows cling-
ing to the masts and yard-arms of the large ship, which
was still closer nearing the beach.
â€œShe is dragging her anchor,â€ said their father,
hastily entering the. room; â€œnothing can save her
from coming on shore. Get a bed or two made warm,
my. dears, in case there should be women or children
on board,â€ and turning hastily round, his coat drop-
ping large drops from the thawing snow, he rejoined
the crowd of helpers on the beach.
Along with the drowned and half-drowned men had
been washed ashore small kegs, which lay also as
smaller black objects on the snow. The crowd found
out quickly that they were kegs of spirit, and they
began to tap them and drink. Already some of the
supposed helpers were reeling about or lying drunk
among the dead on the snow.
â€œThis wonâ€™t do,â€ exclaimed Mr. Brookes. â€œTâ€™ll have
every man that touches a mouthful-more before the
Bench. Now, men,â€ he called out in a voice of authority,
â€œtake up that keg you have just broached, and throw
it on the fire. It is good stuff,â€ said he coolly, as the
flame broke out in such a volume as to drive the sur-
rounding circle hastily to a distance.
The light for a few moments made all around as
clear as day, revealing all the peril of the now stranded
vessel close opposite, and also, a few hundred yards to
windward, another smaller one, already cast up high
on the shingleâ€”a complete wreck. This proved the
next day to be a smugglersâ€™ craft, and from it had been
washed up the spirit-kegs and the few drowned men
who lay now unnoticed on the beach, all the interest
being concentrated on the fine bark which had just
struck her bow on the shingle, and was being swayed
on and off by the terrific waves.
â€œThe wreck is beyond help. All hands to the relief of
the poor fellows before us here!â€ shouted Mr. Brookes,
â€œ Let them throw out a rope,â€ cried an old fisherman
from the crowd.
â€œRope ahoy!â€ shouted out first one and then an-
other; but the roar of the winds and the waves carried
away the shout like a feather.
â€œOne voice will do nothing,â€ cried out Mr. Brookes,
â€œnor two or three either; but a hundred at once might
have a chance. Now, my men, draw together and try,
softly first a time or two, â€˜ Throwâ€”ropeâ€”ashore ;â€™
and when I hold up both hands, slowly and clear, all
well together, shout your loudest.â€
The crowd fell in at once with this suggestion: a
trial or two in undertones, to get them together; then
one stentorian shout arose that seemed to break through
the wind. It was heard. Following Mr. Brookesâ€™s
directions, two or three of the men kept up a steady
blaze by feeding the fire from a fresh barrel of tar, and
the strong illumination enabled them all to see they
One of the shipmen stood out from the rest, rope in
hand. It was spliced to a block and thrown out. It
was carried away by wind and waves. Again and
again it was hauled up and thrown. No; it was be-
yond hope. Meanwhile the landsmen cheered - and
cheered and clapped their hands to keep up the faint-
ing spirits of the crew.
â€œThey'll never weather it, 1 fear me,â€ said the old
fisherman ; â€œthey'll lose hold through numbness, and
fall over, if we donâ€™t get a rope between them and here
one way or another, and soon.â€
â€œHoldâ€”a signal! More light; throw on tar !â€ The
stronger blaze revealed a man folded round with a
cork-jacket, round which a thick rope was knotted.
He held up a flag for an instant to secure notice, took
_ a strong, bold leap into the seething waves, and sank.
The excitement of the watchers was intense.
â€œ He floats! he floats!â€ shouted they, and their cheers
shook the winds.
â€œNo; heâ€™s sunk again!â€ and a dead silence followed.
â€œHe'll never weather it,â€ said the old fisherman.
â€œTf he does, heâ€™ll be dashed to death on the shingle.â€
â€œHeâ€™s up again!â€ shouted all, and cheered vocifer-
All rushed forward as they saw the swimmerâ€™s head
and shoulders above the heading of a breaker just about
to dash on shore.
The boldest ran down the steep slant of the shingle,
a few steps after the receding wave, at their peril.
Joy! they laid hold of the cork-jacket. With desperate
effort their united strength enabled them to drag up
the poor fellow in time to save him and themselves
from more than the upward swish of the succeeding
wave, which in its full fall would have carried all to
â€œ Alive, or dead?â€ asked Mr. Brookes with the
â€œDead, I fear,â€ said one of the dripping few who
had drawn him up.
â€œNo; stunned and half-drowned. Turn him over
on his face, and lift him near the fire.â€
â€œLoose the rope off first,â€ muttered the reviving
â€œ Ay, the rope, the rope!â€ shouted all; and while
a few rendered what help they could to the gallant
fellow who had brought it to land, the mass of the
crowd, under the old fishermanâ€™s guidance, made it fast .
to the iron ring sunk in stone which held the signal-
lines of the flagstaff of the coast. :
â€œ Now is the time to make the whisky useful,â€ said
Mr. Brookes. â€œBreak into a keg, and I will give this
fine fellow two or three mouthfuls. Now leave the
rest open for the others we hope to save.â€
â€œLet me go back to the ship. I must go back to
the ship,â€ said the rope-bearer. â€œIâ€™m as strong as ever
I was in my life now, thanks to you all,â€ and he broke
from those who held him back. â€œTl pass across the
rope first, and try it,â€ said he; and with the agility of
an acrobat he twisted himself by feet and hands along
the rope, which was now firmly fastened between the
bow of the ship and the shore, and in an incredibly
short time was on board again, the landsmen cheering
and the crew answering, for this unexpected chance of
safety acted like a cordial to all.
What passed on the ship could be only partly dis-
cerned by the landsmen through the dashing breakers
and the thick spray, spite of the glowing light in-
dustriously kept up by tar and spirits on the fierce
fire. But there was life and stir. Many who had
been clinging to the masts and yard-arms joined now
in the little knot who could find footing on the prow,
tilted up above the rest of the ship more out of the
wash of the breakers.
' A cheer was raised as two or three men were dis-
cerned making their way across the rope, and a shout
of welcome greeted them as they were safely hauled
by helping hands on to the snowy beach.
Inquiries were poured upon the landed men. They
explained that they had been sent by the captain to
take the first danger and the first chance in testing
fully the firmness of the rope. One of their fellows
was to follow with two children, whose mother and
nurse were to be next got over. All were terribly
â€œmashed up,â€ said the men; but the chance that the
rope brought them had put new life into them.
All interest was centred now on one figure slowly
progressing along the rope, heavily burdened as it
proved with a young child bound to him in front, and
an older one of two years firmly strapped on his back.
Anxiously and fearfully he was watched slowly mak-
ing his way, grasp after grasp, weighted and hampered
by his double burden, solely by strength of arm.
Will the museles bear the strain? Will this almost
superhuman strength last out? Will he resist for so
long the choking spray of the breakers? He nears
the point of safety. They recognize the swimmer of
the rope. The enthusiasm redoubles. Hush! A
trembling instinct keeps them silent. Donâ€™t distract
his attention; let him work out his own salvation.
No one can help him; but a breath may precipitate
the catastrophe. Hark! what is that which is heard
in the breathlessness through all the tumult of the
wind and waves? The wail of an infant! More
light. Heap up the fire.â€”â€œHere, a dozen of the
strongest of you bind yourselves together and join me.â€
It is Mr. Brookesâ€™s voice. The old fisherman starts
forward. The band is formed at the instant. It
forms into a circle. It is strong enough to resist the
breaker as it rolls its surf up the shingle. It is in
time! The exhausted bearer lets go his hold, and
falls at the last footâ€”a fatal fall but for the encircling
band, who break it, and bear him and his burdensome
impediments -away from the fierce sweep of the suc-
â€œSafe, safe!â€ is the ringing ery at last, after the
voiceless excitement which had kept the whole crowd
as one man silently intent wpon every nearing inch of
advance through the fearfully perilous course.
A good fellow out of the crowd took off his warm
coat for â€œthe babiesâ€ to be wrapped in, and they were
soon under the fostering charge of Mr. Brookesâ€™s house-
hold; and their gallant deliverer was the care of all the
sympathizers, who were only likely to kill him out-
right with their overflow of ministering zeal.
By degrees he recovered; for youth, health, and har-
dihood are fine materials to work upon. But the
restoration took time; and meanwhile the rest of the
crew, the captain excepted, had, one by one, got across
the rope to shore, two or three of them in so maimed
and exhausted a.condition that but for the lessened
distance given by the ebb-tide and subsiding waves
they must have been lost in the attempt.
While the attention of the diminishing crowd was
divided by the last arrivals from the ship, Mr. Brookes
remained by the delivererâ€™s side, deeply touched as he
was by the self-devotion he had shown. â€œThe mate
of the vessel, I am told,â€ observed a recent comer among
the lookers-on. â€œAh, poor fellow !â€ returned a second,
â€œOne of the crew told me their mate had been seriously
Mr. Brookesâ€™s well-tried knowledge and experience
had done much to secure and hasten the recovery.
When consciousness had fully returned, the young
manâ€™s first. inquiry was for the children. Assured of
their safety, his next was for the womenâ€”their mother
and nurse. Alas! no reasonable hope could be in-
dulged. Men of the crew had said they were in a
pitiable state from exposure to the wet and cold on
deck, the cabins being full of water.
_ â€œAnd the captain?â€ The captain had not chosen
to leave them. He had bidden all others save them-
selves, but he had refused to desert the vessel.
The young man struggled to his feet. â€œI must go
over again,â€ cried he.
â€œImpossible!â€ shouted several voices, and strong
hands were laid on him for detention.
â€œYam able now,â€ said he. â€œI am strong again,â€
and he shook off his friendly opponents with over-
mastering resolution. â€œWhat! the men all safe, and
the women left to die! And the captain!â€ This
last thought half-maddened him. He dashed to the
Yes: youth, strength, and hardihood are strong
powers in themselves ; but when conjoined to a gen-â€”
erous heart and to the highest of all principles, might
we not say, strong even to the moving of mountains.
â€œ At least take these thick gloves,â€ said Mr. Brookes,
taking off his. â€œYour hands are raw.â€ He felt he
could not, he dared not, obstruct the noble resolve.
Gone! They watched the progress back by hands
and feet, less rapid than before, but firm. They look
for the return; they wait.
His last words had been, â€œIf there is any chance
left, I will return, or put up a signal.â€
How depressingly dreary is the dull gray dawn
after the subsidence of a great storm !â€”the first dilut-
ing of the thick darkness, the creeping on of the dun
light over the gray canopy of misty cloud, revealing,
little by little, more and more of the havoc the winds
What a scene was that to look upon in the first
light of that late November morning! the half-thawed
snow patches, the seared circle where the bonfire had
burnt itself out, leaving a mass of smouldering ashes:
the skeleton ribs of the smuggling craft carried on to
the very beach itself; the two or three carts there to
carry off the remains, human and other, of its cargo ;
and, conspicuous above all, the black mountain-like
prow of the noble bark rising high upward on the
steep of the shingly sea-barrier, while the stern lay
sunk deep in the sand below low-water mark ; masts
broken and dismantled, rigging hanging like sea~-weed
from split yard-arms; the waves no longer dashing,
but heaving up its sides with the defeated power of
exhausted tumult and wearied force.
And on board? What sad sight shall meet the eye
that first seans the scene of all the terror and solici-
tude of the past long night ?
All the living freight of the fine ship landed and
cared forâ€”all but her captain, the two women, and
the saver of all the saved.
The hulk could now be approached by a small boat,
though still the swell of the waves created difficulty.
Mr. Brookes, whose interest had been strongly excited,
declared his purpose, in his official capacity, to accom-
pany the coastguard and some of the crew in the
first effort to board her.
The prow stood so high in air that nothing of the
deck could be seen from the beach. The boatmen
sealed the side of the ship, and by their help Mr.
Brookes found himself on his feet on the deck with
them in a scene of desolation such as might make a
stout heart sink. Amid splinters of mast and yard-
arms, oars, blown across or half-slanted upwards,
matted in ropes and shreds of sail-cloth, boxes broken
and their contents dispersed, the eye wandered in vain
at first to discover any object betokening human life
A streak of colour lying under the shelter of the
gunwale insensibly guided the step to where a Union
Jack shrouded a still form beneath it. Mr. Brookes
raised a corner of the flag and reverently replaced it
over a white, sad face, proceeding anxiously to look
onward. At a little distance further another too
similar object met his gaze. A larger form lay under
a sail-cloth ; and by it the seemingly lifeless body of
the young man who had aroused in him so strong an
interest. Grasping a strong box broadly clamped
with iron, he lay with his head on his arm, and the
strong and agile limbs carelessly doubled up, as it
seemed to Mr. Brookesâ€™s intense disappointment, in the
unconsciousness of death. No; he sleptâ€”he slept
the sound, tired sleep of youthâ€”the sleep of over-
tasked powers commanding restoration.
â€œ For pityâ€™s sake let him sleep on,â€ said Mr. Brookes,
and he spoke with authority ; â€œit will be the saving
of his life or reason. There is plenty of work,â€ added
he, â€œfor us elsewhere at present.â€
The newspapers were full of the accounts of the
wrecks and the damage of that eventful night all
along the southern coast.
â€œThe chief interest,â€ said the Boater Courier,
â€œcentres in the coming ashore of the Princess Char-
lotte, a fine bark belonging to the well-known firm
of Corey, Carlton, and Co., bound to Liverpool, but
charged first to the London port to disembark a valu-
able consignment of ivory and tiger-skins, and spec-
ially of jewelsâ€”chiefly diamonds. The heroism of
the ship's mate, whose name we could not learn,
saved the crew and two young grand-children of Mr.
Carlton, one of the senior partners, at the repeated
risk of his. own life.
â€œTt is, however, our painful duty to record the
death of the childrenâ€™s mother, the wife of Mr. Edward
Carlton, junior partner in India. She succumbed to
the severity of the weather, too weak to attempt the
mode of escape which saved the men... The nurse, in
a vain effort to follow it, lost hold of the rope at the
first onset and sank at once. The captain, we deeply
regret to add, gallantly refusing to desert Mrs. Carlton
and the ship, fell a sacrifice to honour and duty. A
severe blow, we understand from the failing of some
block or spar, accelerated his death.â€
This newspaper account was the first intimation
Mr. Corey received of the events so important to him
ATTAINMENT. ; 95
â€”telegrams and railways being non-existent at that
â€œ Jemmie,â€ was his remark to his son, now a youth
in his fatherâ€™s office, as he laid down the newspaper,
â€œif it had been Jonah that had behaved in this gallant
way, I should not have wondered so much; but the
paperâ€™ says authoritatively â€˜the mateâ€™ I did not
think it had been in- Roper to have distinguished him-
self so notably in this particular way. At any rate,
besides acting nobly, he has rendered us great service,
and we must see to it.â€
We cannot follow all the details of the measures
that science and labour pursued for the saving of the
ship. The weather favoured the result. The storm
did not repeat itself, as so often is the case; and when
a fortnight brought the next high tides, a land wind
and a fairly calm sea aided all the appliances brought
to bear on. the stranded ship, and in the middle of
December she sailed for the Liverpool docks, where
she arrived in dilapidated trim, but without irreparable
damage to her seaworthiness, and with the most valu-
able part of her cargo very slightly injured.
Shortly after the vesselâ€™s arrival in port, the mem-
bers of the firm conferred. together, and fixed at an
early time to meet at Mr. Coreyâ€™s house and carry out
the decision they had arrived at.
On the appointed day, a number of the chief
officials and friends of the firm were assembled in Mr.
Coreyâ€™s dining-room, and among the number the rector
â€œManley,â€ said Mr. Corey, greeting his friend
warmly, â€œyour unusual absence prevented my com-
municating in the first instance the facts of this case ;
but now on your welcome return we can easily make
the matter straight if any error remains uncorrected.â€
Then turning roundâ€”â€œ Salter, will you call in the
_ young man to whom so many of us owe so much ?â€
In a few moments a tall, fine, but somewhat slen-
derly-formed figure entered the room, the handsome
expressive face bronzed by sun and sea, and a wounded
hand still plastered with surgical strips. With a look
of surprise he cast his eyes round the assembled
gathering, then with rising colour turned them to the
â€œJonah!â€ involuntarily exclaimed Mr. Manley.
â€œYes, Jonah Mateson,â€ repeated Mr. Corey.â€” Be
good enough to come forward, sir, a little more.â€
â€œTt is my pleasing duty,â€ he continued, speaking
in a slow and measured voice, with some suppressed
emotionâ€”â€œ my pleasing duty to offer to you the thanks,
the warm thanks of the firm, and in a double degree,
of one leading member of it, Mr. Carlton. His joy at
the safety of the children is too sadly blighted by their
motherâ€™s loss, and he deputes me to speak for him.
We congratulate you, sir, very warmly upon the high
place you have won in the esteem of all ranks of men,
and we beg you to accept, from the firm at large, this
bag of a hundred guineas merely as a present hasty
proof of our sense of the great service you have ren-
dered us;â€ and rising, Mr. Corey presented the sealed
bag of coins, and shook the young man very cordially
by the hand.
Wholly unprepared for such a result, and thus taken
by surprise, Jonah hesitated. The old shyness came
over him ; but making a strong effort to overcome it,
he bowed and speaking deliberately, said,-â€”
â€œGentlemen, you must forgive me if I say little.
I cannot thank you fitly now. I hope to do it better -
hereafter. I cannot take this money as a reward for
simply doing my duty to those who have honoured me
with their confidence, and to whom, and to you, sir, in
chiefâ€ (he bowed to Mr. Corey), â€œI owe all my pro-
fessional advancement. But I accept it, gentlemen, as
a most generous gift, which will help me to acknow-
ledge an earlier debt that nothing will ever enable me
to repay. May I ask,â€ added he, â€œfor the favour of
the early part of to-morrow off duty? I know the
work presses, but I can make up for it,â€
A full assent was given. Jonah was about to retire.
â€œOne word,â€ said Mr. Manley, looking about from
one to another. â€œHow is all this? I thought we
were called together here to witness the paying of a
tribute to the mate of the Princess Charlotte. Jonah
is not the mate; and besides, I thought Jonah was in
India, and in quite a different line there from seaman-
ship for the time being.â€
Mr. Corey smiled.
â€œVery likely,â€ said he : â€œ the matter requires putting
in a more clear light. It is true that Jonah was
occupying a responsible office in India; but, at the
last moment, it was judged well that he should come
over in the Princess Charlotte in charge of an especi-
ally valuable consignment of diamonds and other
very costly jewels, for delivery.in London. We had
only ourselves the knowledge of this changed plan
through another source a few days before our vesselâ€™s
mischance. And your absence, and afterwards my
own on the scene of the disaster, accounts for some
things left short,but also, in the latter case, for our
much fuller knowledge of the heroism of our young
friend.â€ And Mr. Corey went on to say how he had
been at first in communication with Mr. Brookes, and
afterwards his guest during the few days preceding
the full floating off of the stranded vessel.
â€œAs to the mistake in the newspaper reports,â€ he
added, â€œI believe that simply arose from some confu-
sion caused by the similarity of the name, and from
ATTAINMENT. : 99
the fact of the mate himself having suffered serious
injuries, putting it out of his power to rectify the
error, if indeed he knew of it. You will forgive
me, Manley,â€ he concluded, â€œif, during the few
minutesâ€™ opportunity just past, I forbore to cheat
myself of the pleasure of giving you what I felt
would be an agreeable surprise as regarded the real
Early the next morning, by the gaslight of the
town and suburbs, and by the crescent moon and faint
dawn on the country roadway, Jonah started, with
the heavy bag in hand, for the fishing cottage among
Under his long strides distance melted away.
Three hours brought him to the cottage door. His
heart had yearned towards the scene in silent mo-
ments of heart communing in strange distant lands,
and on wide seasâ€”had yearned towards it with the
longing of the desolate and the homeless. What
long years seemed to him to have passed, and what a
change seemed to have come over him in those same
long years of apprenticeship to lifeâ€™s dignityâ€”on
stormy seas, under torrid suns, and in freezing blasts
alikeâ€”a change in all but his deep love for this one
scene of his child-life, for these sandy hillocks and
_dells which had stood apart from all other scenes in
his heart-love for them and for this sand-land level
â€œThis land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land.â€
Noiselessly he raised the latch of the cottage door
and entered without speaking.
Ally was sitting with her back to the door, by the
turf-fire, paring the potatoes for the mid-day meal.
Turning her head at the sound of a footstep, she
was about to gather up her apron to rise at the pres-
ence of the stranger.
She had not time. The stranger was by her side,
was on one knee, and his strong arm about her
The heart of his childhood had come back to him
with a rush of yearning love. Ah! the old home, the
only home he knew of, the dear, dear home, and the
more than motherâ€™s dear loving face. Ah! the old
walls, the same old walls, and the sun.glinting in on
themâ€”the nets, the cork floats, the willow fish-
creelsâ€”all that his childhood had gloried in, all the
same, nothing changed; only that dear motherly face
more aged and yet more sweet in its ripe age, with
the hair that was grizzled now silvery white under the
thick white cap with its band of black ribbon, the very
ribbon that he had last seen, it seemed to him, at his
last parting. :
With a heart swelling with a deep thankful joy,
he dropped the bag of gold coins among the potato-
parings on the thick blue apron, and kissing the dear
face with a long-pressed, almost passionate kiss, in
which the long pent-up feelings found a ventâ€”
â€œMammie!â€ he said, reverting to the old endearing
title of his tender child daysâ€”â€”â€˜mammie, itâ€™s
the Stormâ€™s Gaft !â€
â€œJonah!â€ ejaculated Ally, and stopped, gazing
with a dazed look at his face. â€œEh, my darling, my
darling !â€ she sobbed as she retraced the boy features ;
â€œeh, Jonah, my man, eh, my darling, itâ€™s like to kill
me with joy!â€ And she rose up, that she might lay
her hands on his shoulders and measure the height of
The bag of gold fell from her knee, and some of
the bright coins rolled out on the sanded floor among
â€œWhat is it? Whose are they? What's the
meaning on it?â€ she asked with a troubled, perplexed |
look. | ee
It needed a gentle, quiet telling to make her half
understand it all.
â€œTake â€™em from thee, my darling! No; neither
father nor me would touch a gold piece on â€™em to rob
â€œMammie,â€ said Jonah, â€œPve been your son all
these years; you will never be so cruel as to disown
me now.â€”Hush !â€ he added, laying his hand gently
on her lips to forbid the further protest. â€œTell
father 'm coming to see him on Christmas-day. I
must be back now. No; I cannot hear, I cannot
He threw his arms once more round Allyâ€™s neck ;
then closing her hands with gentle force round the
heavy bag, shot out of the old home room.
** The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.â€
BACK TO THE OLD HOME.
â€œItâ€™s the Storm's Gift,
said he to Ally.
NCE more we note the onward flow of time,
working its irresistible changes
â€œWith ruthless stroke, or gentle transformation.â€
It has carried us over for the moment from the
familiar scenes of our own country to a far-distant
land, where the tropical sun ripens the guava fruit
and matures the sweet cane that gives us our sugar.
On a hillside in Jamaica, overlooking a rich fore-
ground of beautiful tropical growths, losing themselves
in wooded rock and hill, stood a dwelling-house of
much beauty, built in the style common in the island,
to afford most shelter from the sunâ€™s rays, and give
most access to the cooler breezes from beneath the
thick foliage overshadowing it.
Under its veranda two figures were apparently
enjoying the relief of the eveningâ€™s approach. One
was almost to be called an aged man, but was consider-
106 THE DISCOVERY.
ably more hale and active than the younger, who,
partly reclining on a light bamboo couch, bore the
look of delicacy of one only very recently recovering
from severe illness.
His older companion, who sat beside him, laid down
the book he had been reading, and said in a voice
of kindly interest,â€”
Â« Are you rested now, Captain Mateson ? I think
you have been sleeping a little. The walk, short as
it was, was too long for a first trial. This cooler
breeze should refresh you.â€
â€œJT am much refreshed,â€ was the reply, â€œ and quite
rested, and ready and anxious for the conversation
you promised. But I have not been asleep; I have
been only dreaming.â€
â€œ How is that?â€ asked his companion.
â€œT think,â€ returned the invalid, â€œI have been in
nothing but a dream ever since your kind hospitality
brought me into this paradise.â€ He raised himself
to a half-erect posture and gazed on the prospect
beneath him. Some half-dozen negroes, in light, pic-
turesque clothing, were binding up bundles of cane
at no great distance.
â€œTt is strange,â€™ he continued, â€œ unaccountably
strange, that this scene, these sights, should seem to
me so natural, so little unusual, I might have been
here before. I might have known this life in a
THE DISCOVERY. / 107
prior state of existence; and yet this is the first time
I have been on these shoresâ€”indeed in this hemi-
â€œWhere, may I ask, have your other voyages been
made?â€ inquired the elder.
â€œMostly to India,â€ was the answer; â€œbut the |
scenes there never awoke the singular impressions
of pre-existence that puzzle and almost confound me
here, and make me wonder if this fever has left
me quite the same man I was before;â€ and the
speaker raised both his hands to his face, gazing
dreamily through the shaded chink of NEE: from
A silence of some moments followed, during which
we may do well to introduce the older and more
venerable of the two men to our readers.
Mr. Malcolm was a man well worth the knowing.
Of cultivated mind, of a most liberal nature, with a
large experience and a kind and feeling heart, he
â€˜was a most useful influence in the land of his adop-
tion, as one of the chief sugar-planters and the largest
owner of property in it, and with the best-ordered
colony of slavesâ€”in those old slave-working days of
â€œ Captain Mateson,â€ said he, â€œto begin the conver-
sation I threatened you with, is this name by which
T call you in truth your own name ?â€
108 THE DISCOVERY.
A deep flush overspread the otherâ€™s face; but his
voice was calm as he answered,â€”
â€œTt is all the name I can claim; and to me it is a
very honoured name. It is that of my foster-parents ;
for I never knew my own.â€ After a moment he
added, â€œI was cast up as a child from a wreckâ€”a
mere waif of the sea.â€
There was emotion in his voice. A pause ensued.
Mr. Malcolm got up â€˜and walked to the verandaâ€™s
front. He stood gazing vacantly into the distance,
turned suddenly round, and retraced a few steps;
then as suddenly seeming to change his purpose,
turned shortly off and struck into the shady grove
in which the end of the veranda lost itself, leaving
â€˜his companion somewhat disturbed by a painful sus-
picion that this revelation had raised regret in his
kind friendâ€™s mind for his generous hospitality to an
unknown foundling. :
The impression that thus distressed him was quickly
removed by his friendâ€™s return.
There was restlessness and agitation in Mr. Mal-
colmâ€™s manner, but it was not such as might proceed
from any shade of suspicion or unkindness.
â€œT cannot bear to delay longer. I must have it
set to rest at once,â€ said he, drawing his chair close
to the couch on which the invalid was now sitting
erect, and placing himself opposite to him. â€œCap-
THE DISCOVERY. = 109
tain Mateson, my young friend, as I must be allowed
to call you, tell â€˜me, if you please, what was the date
of the wreck, and on what coast you were cast
â€œOn the north-west coast of England, on the Lanca-
shire shore,â€ replied the young captain. â€œI remember,â€ .
he continued, â€œ absolutely nothing of it myself; but I
have heard from my foster-mother that it was on the
morning of the 9th of February 1813, during a most
â€œCan you tell me anything further?â€ asked Mr.
Malcolm. â€œWere there any accompaniments of any
kindâ€”were there any initials or marks on the clothes
that could give some clue to identity ?â€
â€œThe initials on the linen,â€ answered his guest,
â€œwere J. M. M.; I have.seen them myself.â€
With a quick start Mr. Malcolm bent forward ; but
he restrained himself, and paused. â€œThe date, the
initials,â€ said he, pondering, and as though speaking to
himself,â€”â€œ all would tally but the locality. The vessel
was bound to Glasgow ;â€ then, in a half whisper, and
fixing a scrutinizing eye on the young manâ€™s hand as
it rested, thin and white from the effects of illness, on
the bamboo table before them, â€œ Were there any per-
sonal marks which could be noted as distinguishing
the child in any way?â€ he asked.
â€œThere were two marks on the left hand,â€ replied
110 - THE DISCOVERY.
his guest in answer: â€œone hardly distinguishable
since childhood, but plainer just now, perhapsâ€”a
small round scar on the surface of the hand; and a
seam, apparently from a deep cut, disfiguring the nail
and the shape of. the little finger, as though it had
been half cut off.â€
â€œIndeed, it was half cut off; ay, indeedâ€”a fright-
ful cut and crush in the hinge of a door;â€ and Mr.
Malcolm, throwing off all further restraint, tenderly
took the thin hand in both his own, and examined
the finger closely through his spectacles. â€œAy, a
slanting cut; and here, too, in the exact place on the
back of the hand, the little round scar from the burning
drop of melted sugar. I felt it, I half knew it from
the first,â€ continued he, deeply stirredâ€”â€˜ that strange
recall in the voice, the eye, bringing the bygone ever
before me. I felÃ© it before I recognized it even in
thought. John Malcolm Moreton! my dear friendâ€™s
son, my godson, my own son almostâ€”the â€˜Nino
Juanitoâ€™ of the Spanish nurse and householdâ€”our
own little whimsically-styled Don Juan!â€
Myr. Malcolm, in his own absorbing interest, had not
noticed the change from pallor to flushed excitement
in the invalidâ€™s face. He felt now with alarm the
trembling of the hand he held in his. â€œOh, forgive
me, forgive me, my dear boy!â€ he exclaimed, startled
and distressed ; â€œthis has been too much for you. I
THE DISCOVERY. Saat
have been carried away by my selfish joyâ€”Barker !â€
he called out loudly to his old confidential servant,
â€œhelp me to carry your young master to his room; I
have over-tired him. We must get him a cordialâ€”
What will the doctor say to this afternoonâ€™s work ?â€
â€œHe will say it is better than any cordial,â€ faintly
murmured Jonah, as with an effort he rose, and, half
borne up by his two strong props, reached his sleeping-
room, there to regain quietude as best he mightâ€”
Barker, astonished, yet not altogether without clue
to the mystery, redoubling his careful. attentions in
It was only after the several days of weakening
relapse that followed the agitation of a climax so
momentous and unforeseen, that the doctor could pro-
nounce his patient really convalescent and able to bear
further excitement without undue risk.
When assured that such was the case, Mr. Malcolm
caused coffee and refreshments to be laid out under
the veranda after the sun had sunk low, and estab-
lished, with all solicitude for his comfort, his now
- doubly-cared-for guest in a reposeful easy-chair.
The evening was very calm, and the air, cooled by
a thunder-storm in the morning, was deliciously soft,
balmy, and reviving. The rocky hills, with their
broken, foliaged outlines in the blue distance, threw
out bold headlands, caught by the slanting sunbeams
112 THE DISCOVERY.
here, and melted into shadowy, dreamy uncertainty
there, as sun-gleam and shade alternated. The scene
and the hour seemed to woo and respond to solemn
and tender themes. The weakened convalescent felt
their influence suffuse his whole being. He desired
to express his sense of thankfulness and solace to his
benefactor and generous host, but he dared not at
once trust himself to speak. He looked up to his
friend silently. His expressive countenance told that
good friend enough, and he hasted to check all excit-
â€œNow, my dear godson,â€ said he, â€œyou are under
my charge. You shall sit quiescent while I unfold
the preliminaries, and afterwards we will sign the
contract for our future relations. Foremost, you will
desire to learn all that relates to your real parents;
but first you shall listen to me while I go back to the
long past of my own boyhood.â€ Mr. Malcolm spoke
in very quiet tones, watching for any sign of over-
excitement or fatigue. Satisfied by the calmness and
composure of his silent listener, and stimulated by his
evident deep interest, he entered without further
hesitation into the full history of those antecedents
which so closely concerned them both.
Â« Your father,â€ he proceeded, â€œwas my closest friend
from. my earliest recollection. We were friends at
school and homeâ€”such friends as some boys are as
THE DISCOVERY. PER
boys, and often cease to be as men. But that was not
our case. We were each only sons at first, but I was
an orphan, and the ward of my boy-friendâ€™s father ;
and we were as brothers together. Many brothers
are far less to each other than we were. After having
been some years a widower, my friendâ€™s father married |
a second wifeâ€”an heiress. This made a great change.
It was a condition that he should take her name. He
left Moreton, his old home and the home of his fore-
fathers, and afterwards sold it, and gave himself up
wholly to his new estate and to the excitements of
political life. Another young family sprang up.
Your father was of age, and his tastes did not adapt
themselves to the new order of things, nor to the
metropolitan life. His heart clung to the Border-land,
and to the old inheritance on its confines, and especi-
ally to one sweet young girl there, the daughter of
the nearest Scotch minister, who had been an early
play-fellow to us both. His marriage to her displeased
â€˜his father, and completed the growing estrangement
between himself and the second family home. His
motherâ€™s family had been landowners here to some
extent, as also were my own parents. The result was
that he and his bride came out to settle in this island.
I had been established in it on my fatherâ€™s estate a
year or so before, and we joined partnership.â€
Here Mr. Malcolm would have paused, but a word
114 THE DISCOVERY,
and gesture of entreaty from his auditor caused him
to resume his history.
â€œThe times were prosperous,â€ he continued, â€œand
we were in our â€˜prime, sailing, as ib were, on a rising
tide with favouring winds. Success and growing
wealth and warm hearts make a happy home. Three
children added to the joyous life of the house.
â€œ As I look back upon those earlier years, I marvel
at what seems, at least to me now, the unbroken flow
of their prosperity in such strong contrast to the vicis-
situdes of all after-life. But the change came; and
when it did come it was complete indeed. I will not,â€
he continued, â€œ dwell too closely upon its details. Fever
visited the house. It carried off the two oldest chil-
dren in succession ; and, alas! the loving mother, worn
out with the prolonged nursing, and heart-broken at
her losses, took the infection herself, and spite of
partial recovery, sank from weakness and died.
â€œT will go into no more particulars of this fatal
period; it is too painful even in this distant remem-
brance. Enough that the little John Malcolm, the
youngest of the three children, was all that was left
to us of the bright circle that had made the home so
â€œAn attached Spanish nurse endeavoured to fill the
motherâ€™s place with only ignorant fondness, which
brought disorder and double anxiety. Accident after
THE DISCOVERY. (as
accident happened, the one to the finger amongst
â€˜them; and your father at last was driven to the
determination to take the child home to his wifeâ€™s
relations. He sailed in a vessel bound to Glasgow.
Probably stress of weather forced them to alter their
course. Many vessels were lost in that fatal month,
andâ€”â€ Here Mr. Malcolm paused. â€œI know no
more,â€ he added ; â€œthe rest is but surmise.
â€œThe long, painful uncertainty gradually gave way
to hopelessness. All inquiries directed to the Scottish
coast failed. It was concluded that the vessel had
foundered at sea. Surmises of burning, from a distant
glare declared to have been noticed on the horizon by
the crew of a trading-vessel in mid-ocean, only added
to distressful imaginings. No rift in that dark cloud
has ever broken till now.
â€œLife has had its solaces and its joys and its great
sorrows since then,â€ added he; â€œbut marriage and
death and age have never obliterated the tender and
sorrowful memories of that earlier life that you, in
this strange restoration, have so powerfully revived.â€
With some emotion he laid his hand affectionately on
Jonahâ€™s shoulder, turned, and entered the house.
With motionless attention Jonah had listened to
that history, to him of such momentous and absorbing
interest. He remained for a short time as though
spell-bound, lost in thought, till, bewildered with the
116 | THE DISCOVERY.
growing tumult of contending emotions, he too rose
and sought refuge in the secure solitude of his own .
So long weighted with the pressure of doubt and
mystery as a burden all too sensitively felt, and now
suddenly released from it, lifted at once to an honour-
able recognition, welcomed by more than an ordinary
friend, the future of his life emblazoned, whence this
demur? In the full flow of his thankfulness why
was he not happier? Whence this resistful current of
opposing emotion, agitating and almost choking him ?
In the first flow of joyful agitation, in the quickly
succeeding conflict of contending feelings, to whom
did his labouring heart send forth a mute ery for
sympathy ? Whose was the image it recalled as with
a flash of life-presence? Ah! hers whose loving care
had been the all-in-all of all. his conscious childhood,
the refuge and stay of all his early years. The home-
teaching of her simple piety had never lost possession
of him. Obeying his heartâ€™s impulse, he threw him-
self on his knees. He buried his face in his hands,
and invoked a blessing on her his heartâ€™s motherâ€”the
only mother he felt inclined, in the first jealous sense
of a rival, to own and claim; and, weakened from the
effects of the exhausting fever, over-wrought by strong
emotion, overcome by tender remembrance, his excited
fancy saw as in a vision the fostering arms held out
THE DISCOVERS. " 117
to him, and the sweet face looking upon him with the
old tender smile of love and pride; and as the ring of
his own old familiar foster-name sounded in his ear,
seeming to call him back from the new to the old, he
leant his throbbing head on the couch and sobbed aloud.
Ay, the strong and the brave, the most unflinching
and the sternest in action at dutyâ€™s call, the noblest in
nature, are the surest to own the claims of gratitude,
the likeliest to respond to tenderness, and to cherish
to the latest the sacred remembrance of it. Yes, in
the contending claims this the first known was justly
the prior. The debt, not of life alone, but of all, also,
that made life worthâ€”the loving nurture, the good
and the true and the high in teaching and example,
and now the after-fruit of suecessâ€”all sanctioned the
vow that the heart dictated.
As the undivided devotion of his foundling child-
hood gushed back to the tried and well-proved heart of
the man, he solemnly vowed to himself that no change,
no profit or wealth, should interfere to sever the tie
which bound him to the shore that had rescued his in-
fancy from the swoop of the merciless oceanâ€”no rival
claim should ever divide him from her whose loving de-
votion had so tenderly and untiringly fostered his young
life in its weakness and its desolation, so unchangingly
followed him with the same motherly love through boy-
hood, and through youth and manhood, till now.
118 THE DISCOVERY.
The two friends met the next day in greater calm,
and again and again with never-wearying interest
they conversed on their mutual affairs, their prospects
and wishes, with all the candour and freedom of close
relationship rather than of friendship onlyâ€”going
over all the chief points of their different lives up to
the day when recent ordinary business transactions
had brought them together at Kingston, and laid
the foundation of such momentous results, through
the first awakened interest in Mr. Malecolmâ€™s mind,
which, as we have seen, developed by further observa-
tion, till at last the concern he felt for the young
captain when stricken by malignant fever had stim-
ulated his natural kindness to the point of insisting
that he should be brought to higher ground for better
recovery under his own roof.
That recovery was now sufficiently advanced to
allow of resuming in full the responsibilities of
On the last evening before finally rejoining his ship
for sailing, Jonah once more reiterated his warm sense
of all that he owed to his godfatherâ€™s generous kind-
But it is now Jonah Mateson no longer. We must
call him by his rightful name, â€œJohn Malcolm More-
ton,â€ or â€œ Malcolm,â€ as he chose to be designated, since
that associated him most with his god-father.
THE DISCOVERY. â€˜ 119
â€œNever was any man so deeply laden with debt
for benefits,â€ said Malcolm on this parting evening,
â€œand never has any man done less either to deserve
or to repay what has been given him than myself. I
know not how to reconcile it to myself,â€™ he added,
â€œthat while to repay in some poor degree has been
the one desire of my life, I am yet going contrary, in
the chief opening towards doing so hitherto within my
reach. Iam going against your expressed wish that
I should settle here and give you such poor assistance
as I might acquire the power to do.â€
â€œThat wish,â€ returned Mr. Malcolm, â€œ was. genuine
when first expressed. Your restoration here seemed
to point naturally to the plan. As regards hard cash,
a fair share of my gains has come from your fatherâ€™s
capital, and I felt it only just to you to make you the
offer of joining in the whole here, on this spot, and
even pressing it somewhat upon you. But since your
preference is for the old country,.and your choice now
- deliberately made, I will not profess to be sorry
beyond consolation. This contrary decision of yours
sets me free to revert to a wish and half-formed plan
which will perhaps enable us to meet again not very
long hence, only on the old ground in the place of the
new. I read it in your face,â€ continued Mr. Malcolm,
â€œthat this notion meets your approval.â€
â€œTt does indeed,â€ replied his companion; â€œit re-
120 THE DISCOVERY.
moves the one drop of bitter from an overflowing cup
â€œWell,â€ resumed My. Malcolm, â€œage reverts to
childhood. We return, say the French, to our first
loves; and I should like my last resting-place to be
in the land of my birth. I should in any case have
shortly paid a visit to the old country. My daughter's |
school-days are drawing to a close. I wish to judge
of her character and tastes; and if she wishes it, I
shall gladly sell or transfer this estate, remit your
fatherâ€™s share of its gains to you, settle on the old
ground, and,â€ added he, with a kindly smile and
friendly hand extended, â€œwelcome my godson warmly
there, whenever he will pay me a visit.â€
HE intelligence of all the events of the former
chapter had duly reached Mr. Corey and the
firm at largeâ€”first the captainâ€™s dangerous illness, the
delay, the gradual recovery ; and lastly, the unlooked-
for strange revelations which would change the fortunes
of a valued official, and establish his parentage and
prospects so as to call him to a different sphere.
Mr. Corey had not failed to transmit these various
' points of intelligence to his friend the rector; and on
his part Mr. Manley had made it public in the Sand-
holme world, and foremost to the two most closely
Ally had heard of the discovery of parentage, and
the fortunes it involved, with the mingled pride and
delight of the mother for her nursling and of the
vassal for her lord; a delight not wholly unmixed
with a dash of that jealous grudgefulness with which
the human side of love, even the best and purest,.
resigns its precedence in the object of its devotion.
â€œ Ay, he'll not forsake his old nurse, I know that ;
but we'll never be father and mother to him no more.
And, sure enough,â€ would Ally add, â€œwhat call has
an old body like me to look for motherâ€™s love from
the like of him, so clever and brave, and a gentleman
born like Mr. Manley hisself, as any one as has eyes
to see might â€™a known long since ?â€
Jack did not wholly take Allyâ€™s view of the matter,
but he did not commit himself to too positive an
opinion, waiting to see the end of it all.
â€œThat's what thou thinks,â€ was his only comment,
â€œand mebbe thouâ€™rt right; and mebbe the lad â€™ull think
different, for heâ€™s a fine fellow.â€
â€œWill Fortune never come with both hands full?â€
Much anticipation and interest had gathered round
the young captainâ€™s expected return from this first
and last voyage of his captainship. Much gratulation
awaited him from friends. General curiosity was
awake. The subject of it all had himself his full
share of pleasurable anticipation. Alas! how com-
mon our experience that
* Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises !â€
For sadder far, in fact, than any sorrow that had
hitherto been his portion was the shock that awaited
the Jonah of old, on his first landing in his new char-
acter on the kindly shore which had ever given him
A storm which had passed over his ship more than
half-way on her course had broken on the Lancashire
coast with no violence of especial mark, but from a_
bad westerly point, and with results beyond former
experience grievous to the Sandholme district. . Its
life-boat had been called out. From some ill-explained
cause it had capsized. With the exception of the
three strongest swimmers, all its gallant crew had per-
ished. Jack Mateson had volunteered to go in aid of
the youngish band who manned it. It was his last
venture. The powers of well over fourscore years
were no match to the overmastering waves.
The body of the fine old man was found under the
boat where it lay washed ashore, entangled in the
gear. His face was serene, and there were no signs
of struggle as in some of the bodies of the younger
men. With him the flame of life had burnt low,
and it had been gently quenched. None could have
looked on the tranquil countenance in the grandeur
of death, and doubted that he had willingly yielded
up his life in his heavenly Masterâ€™s service.
Ally took the grievous news with great outward
â€œTtâ€™s Godâ€™s good will,â€ said she, â€œand itâ€™s his serv-
antâ€™s too as well. Ay, he has said to me, time and
times, as heâ€™d liefer far as the Lord â€™ud call him from
his work nor he be like to drop it hisself.â€
â€œTtâ€™s a terrible sudden end though,â€ observed a
â€œAy, happen, for them as seems far off from it;
but itâ€™s not like to â€™stonish them as are well-nigh
looking it 7? the face. Thank God! Jack has lived
many a good year; and itâ€™s a blessed thing at last to
do the Sceripturâ€™s bidding, and â€˜lay down our lives for
the brethren,â€ argued Ally.
But the stroke told on the weakened vital powers.
â€œThe silver cord was loosed ;â€ strength failed rapidly,
life seemed ebbing.
â€œTill be following him aâ€™most before Pâ€™ve come to
feel heâ€™s gone,â€ said she cheerfully.
â€œShe'll never get to the burial,â€ said her friends.
But Ally had made up her mind otherwise, and
went, the calmest of the many mourners on that sad.
day. She came back greatly exhausted.
â€œAy, now,â€ she said to her grand-daughter, who
had been much of late with the old peopleâ€”* now
thou maâ€™ have thy way. Ill do what thou says:
Tl lay me down, and thou maâ€™ do the work for me,
thou and Alice, and I'll thwart neither on ye no
more. Tve nought to do now but lay still and list
for the Lordâ€™s call.â€
Within few days after the burial of the life-boat
men the vessel from Jamaica, bringing its captain
home a recovered man, sailed into the Liverpool port.
Tt was, in fact, the very day week after the funeral
that Mr. Manley knocked at the door of the fishing
cottage, and asked if he could go upstairs with aâ€™
friend. ; .
The room was sweet and bright. It was the upper
story of the pretty, thatched, and whitewashed wing
which it had been Jonahâ€™s care to add to the old low
building, under Mr. Manleyâ€™s overwatching eye, that
its picturesqueness should receive no shock.
There was prettiness and interest in its simple fur-
niture, which bore something of a seafaring character ;
and it did not lack some costliness in certain curiosi-
ties of Indian workmanship.
The low open bedstead, of dark and solid carved
wood, was made from old oak dug from the neigh-
bouring mosses. On it Ally rested, shaded by a white
- dimity curtain from the open lattice window which let
in the sunshine and the distant dirge of the sea. The
venerable face lay motionless on the pillow, beautiful
in the calm of heaven's peace.
â€œ As the clear light is upon the holy candlestick,â€
says the wise son of Sirach, â€œso is the beauty of the
face in ripe age.â€
By the bedside stood a young girl in a short buff
loose jacket, bound by the apron-string over a scarlet-
striped dark linsey petticoat, the country garb of the
district. It was the sweet face of health and youth
bending over the calm beauty of dying pees
â€œTt is very near, mother thinks, sir,â€ said she to
Mr. Manley, dropping a courtesy. â€œShe has lain that
way amost hours. Mother told me to watch, and call
her if there was the least bit oâ€™ change.â€
Mr. Manley went to the bedside, and, speaking in
the low but audible tone of tender sympathy, said,â€”
â€œ Ally, Jonah is come; can you see him ?â€
A faint hue of life fleeted into the face.
â€œThe Lord has heard my prayer,â€™ she said, as one
Mr. Manley drew back, and led John Malcolm More-
ton into his place. Malcolm knelt down by the bed,
and took the hand that lay on the coverlet in his.
Ally opened her eyes.
â€œTt's â€˜Mester Moretonâ€™ now,â€ she murmured, and
fixed her gaze on the face that bore the new name.
The moisture in the eye and the quiver of the lip .
showed all to her. With a quick impulse she raised
her head from the pillow.
â€œEh, Jonah, my man, my own man! the Lord
bless thee!â€ she exclaimed in something of the old
CONCLUSION. ; 127
The effort was too great: the head fell back on the
pillow ; there was just a gasp.
â€œ Call your mother, Alice,â€ said Mr. Manley. â€œ Jonahâ€ |
the name escaped himâ€”â€”â€œ we had better leave them.â€
The Jonah of old pressed his lips on his loved
foster-motherâ€™s brow with one long last filial kiss,
and reverentially both the men left the room,
** And now,
The future cannot contradict the past.â€
Ally was laid at Jackâ€™s side. When the numbers
who had followed in the funeral crowd were all dis-
persed, Malcolm stood at the open grave, and keenly
felt there was a hole in his world now which could
never be filled up.
Mr. Manley shortly came out of the vestry. There
was a fatherly touch in the laying of his hand on
Malcolmâ€™s arm, and a great sweetness in. his voice as
_ he said,â€” .
â€œTt is better so, Malcolm. She has been spared all
the sadnesses of old age and the griefs of loneliness.
Ah! and they are griefs which cannot be measured.
She has served her Lord happily to the last, and we
may now, I hope, without presumption believe that -
He has prepared a place for her.â€
HE Jack and Ally has done good service in
later years as the well-ordered Sandholme
The painted east window in the churchâ€™s new chan-
cel is in â€œMemory of John and Alice Mateson.â€
The new hospital to be built for seamen, with its
home for their orphan children, is to be â€œ The Mateson
Hospital and Home;â€ and these, and many a lesser
boon besides, are the free gifts of John Malcolm More-
ton, now of Moreton, to the sand-land that received
and. adopted him in his childhood, boyhood, and youth,
when cast upon Allyâ€™s care as â€œthe Stormâ€™s Gift.â€
And those who second all his liberal gifts, and share
in all the gratification they bring, are his devoted wife,
and his loved and honoured god-father and father-in-
law, John Malcolm.