SEATED UNDER THE PORCH.
THE SHABBY STRANGER.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION,
56, OLD BAILEY, E.C.
NE cold, rainy night in November, 184-
a poor boy, thinly clad, and whose pale
pinched features plainly told of in-
sufficiency of food and premature care, was
seated under the porch of a large public build-
ing, the doors of which stood invitingly open,
and whence issued a stream of light and warmth.
As the boy crouched behind the pillar and
watched the people enter, he thought how
much he should like to go in and see what
they were doing. But it is not for tho likes of
me," he said, half aloud. However, by-and-by
he saw men ii their working dress going in, so
,\". w: -
he took courage, and followed them through
the vestibule into a large brilliantly lighted
room, and seated himself on a bench close by
the door. At first, his eyes were dazzled by
the unaccustomed glare, but in a short time he
could look round; he then saw that the large
room was nearly full of people, who all ap-
peared to be intently listening to a gentleman
who stood on a platform at the further end of
the room. He wondered what he could be saying
that so interested everybody, and wished he
knew, for he could only hear the voice, not
make out the words. Seeing a vacant seat
nearer the platform, he -quietly- crept thither.
The first sentence he heard distinctly was Nil
Desperandum." "What can it mean ?" was
his mental thought, but hark! the speaker is
giving an explanation, "Never despair; you
may be poor, badly clothed, and half fed; you
may live in a mean dwelling, with scarcely the
necessaries of life, yet you have within you
the power of making your lives beautiful--
NEVER DESPAIR. 7
a power which can enable you to look beyond
the trials, disappointments, and afflictionsr of
earth to that home where every noble aspira-
tion shall find fulfilment, every longing desire
for happiness be satisfied with a plenitude of
joy such as man cannot conceive. But if you
would attain to this state of ineffable bliss you
must do your part in life's battle worthily;
sink not into the sloth of indifference because
you are poor, but strive manfully to vanquish
the difficulties that may bar your path to re-
spectability and competence-strive, depending
upon Him who gives you life, health, and
energy. His arm is omnipotent, arid the
strength of omnipotence will be yours if you
ask for it.-God will not fail you, He loves you
too well, you are His own work, He looks upon
you in infinite compassion, notes all your feeble
efforts to do well, listens to your imperfect
prayers and waits to bestow upon you all the
riches of His grace. Be, then, strong in Him,
trust not alone in your own strength but in
the might of God, do your part well and faith-
fully and God will do His. He has said and He
will perform, The way of the Lord is strength
to the upright, walk then in this more excel-
lent way, seek first the Kingdom of Heaven,
then shall all things be added unto it."
As the boy listened wonderingly he wished he
could find this way of peace and security; then
came the thought, "But I am so poor and
miserable; but, the gentleman said, Never
despair.-No, I like Nil Desperandum better,
and when I am going to give in, or feel it is no
use trying, I will say it to myself, then I shall
remember what the gentleman said about God
helping those who help themselves; but how
can I get 'God to help me, ?' why, I must ask
Absorbed in the new train of ideas that had
been aroused within him by the energy of the
speaker, the boy heard little more, for he soon
left the room, as he knew that his mother
would be expecting him; and one of the first
results of that night's resolves, was, not to make
her angry. On leaving the building, he found
that the rain had ceased, and that the moon
was shining; he looked up with a strange thrill
of new-born joy, which he could neither ana-
lyse nor define, but it seemed to -arise from the
conviction that possessed his mind, "He.who
made that beautiful moon to give light in the
darkness, sees me, knows my wants, and .is
ready to help me."
The way to his poor home did not seem long,
although he had more than a mile to go ere he
reached the narrow alley in which it was
situated, and where his mother had lived ever
since he could remember. Robert Carter was
at this time about sixteen years of age, but he
was so thin and small that he might have
passed for a child of twelve; his father had
died when he was quite a baby, so that he had
no recollection of him; his mother took in
.-ashing,-her customers being chiefly the actors
at a low theatre close by the alley where she
lived-and as she generally had fo wash, dry,
iron, and mend in one day, for the things to
be in readiness for the evening's performance,
she always seemed in a bustle, and never to
have time to clean or tidy her own dwelling-
dirt and discomfort might be said to reign
there with absolute sway. Robert had known
no other ever since he could remember, yet,
strange as it may seem, the quiet silent boy,
who never found fault, hated the discomfort of
his home; he liked cleanliness and order, was
always careful to wash himself when he went
home at night before he got his supper. Al-
though his mother would say, "What makes
the lad so particular?-he does not take after me;
I can live without so much fuss about clean-
liness, if I could not, what would become of
Ime, I wonder; who would earn the bread ?"
Robert was apprenticed to a shoemaker; he
did not like the trade, but his mother desired
him to go, because he would earn a small wage,
and if he went to learn the trade he wished,
he would have no wage for the first three years;
so, to please her, Robert gave up his own wilL
His master was a kind-hearted man, and
often gave the poor boy a dinner, and would
have done more, could he have afforded to do
so without injury to his own family. The boy
appreciated his master's kindness, and did
his best to show his gratitude by never wast-
ing his time, and by giving heed to his
master's instructions, so that in less time than
might be deemed possible he became really
useful, and could be trusted to do the coarser
work. Robert desired to be a good hand at
his trade, but he feared he should never
learn the more difficult parts, for, as he often
sorrowfully said to himself, he was not clever;
he was careful and industrious, but not really
quick to learn; but by paying great attention
he had acquired the knowledge he possessed,
and as stated was a help to his master; but he
wanted to be more than a cobbler, he would
like to earn money to help his mother, so that
she might not have to work so hard; And the
words he had heard in the public rooms en-
couraged him to persevere. "Nil Desperandum"
he repeated to himself on his way home. No,
I will not give in; I will try, and then if I fail
it will be no fault of mine." Just as he had
come to this resolution he reached his home,
and quietly opening the door, saw his mother
seated on a low chair by the fire smoking a
pipe to refresh herself after her day's work.
How the lad hated the very smell of tobacco
only he knew, for not a word did he say to
grieve his mother.
How late you are to-night, Bob I the pota-
toes for your supper are burnt to a cinder, and
there is not a crust in the cupboard."
"Never mind, mother ; I can do without, I
will go to bed and sleep instead of eating."
"As you will; if you can work without food
it is more than I can. But stay, before you go
wash some potatoes that I may cook them for
your breakfast; they will be all you will get,
for I have noting else, and no money, for I
did not get paid to-niht."
Robert washed the potatoes ma~ then went
to his room, if such it could be called; in reality
it was little better than a closet: his bed was a
bundle of straw and the covering did not keep
him from shaking with cold; but to-night cold,
hunger, and discomfort were all forgotten; one
thought occupied his mind to the exclusion of
all others, How shall I get God to help me ?"
He had not been taught to ask God in prayer
to give him his daily bread; he had not been
taught the great and holy truths of the word
of God." He knew that there was such a book
as the Bible, because there was one on a shelf
downstairs; but of its contents he was entirely
ignorant. "I must read it," he ejaculated; "the
gentleman said, 'Search the Scriptures,' and
search means seek. Why, I seek for things when
I have lost them; what am I to seek in the Bible
for ? Let me see, what was it ? let me think.
Yes, he said, we were so lost in sin and wicked-
ness, we were so far from God and holiness,
that we must perish everlastingly unless we
found our way to God through Jesus Christ
His Son. He called it the way of salvation from
death, or reconcilement to God through the
sacrifice of His Son, and that way he said we
should find plainly written in the Bible. So if
I would find it I must read the Bible. I can't
begin to-night, for I have no candle, but I will
get up an hour sooner, and see if I can find
anything about 'the way.'"
Robert lay down on his hard pallet, but he
could not sleep, thoughts new and exciting
chased each other through his mind; the past
seemed to have been a strange stagnation, and
he wondered how he could have lived so long
without feeling that he had a soul to be saved;
wondering how he could have been so in-
different to the future, when every day was
bringing it nearer; but the one point to which
his thoughts ever returned was: "I must find
the way of salvation." This was his resolve
when at last sleep closed his weary eyes; this
his first awaking thought; and true to his reso-
lution of the previous night, he got up an hour
before his usual time. It was still dark, and he
had no candle; he usually lit the fire for his
mother, he did so this morning, and when it
burnt up so that he could see to read by its
light, he took down the Bible, wiped the thick
coat of dust off its cover, and opened it. He saw
'Old and New Testament.' "Which must I read
first, I don't know either; I will read a bit of
bdth." So he read the first chapter of Genesis,
then he turned the leaves until he found the
New Testament, when he read the first chapter
of St. Matthew's Gospel. The history of the
Creation excited in him a-feeling of awe.
"What a Being that could say, Let there. be
light, and light came! and that powerful Being-
to care for such a poor ignorant boy as me!
yet the gentleman said He does." He spoke
aloud, forgetting that his mother might hear,:
and quito started when she called out,-
What are you saying, Bob ? "
"I was talking to myself, mother."
"Then I wish you would not, for you roused
me out of a sweet sleep."
"I am sorry, mother, but it is just time to
get up. I am going now, good morning."
And placing the Bible on the shelf, he put
on his tattered hat and ran off. He had been
so intent upon his reading that he had forgotten
to take his potatoes, and would have had no
dinner if his master had not kindly sent him
a plate of pudding.
I wonder if God, the great God that made
all things, told my master to send this to me ?
Perhaps He did, for the gentleman.said the very
hairs of our head are all numbered." Thus
cogitated Robert as he ate the pudding, and
perchance for the first time in his short life
Thank God for my dinner." He was not an
idle boy, but this afternoon he worked with
double energy. Once his master said, "I hope
you are taking pains, Robert, you seem to be
working very fast." Robert showed what he
was doing to his master, who was perfectly
satisfied, and in a pleased tone commended the
boy's diligence, and thinking to himself the
while, "the bit of pudding is well paid for."
Every morning Robert got up early that he
might have time for reading, much to the as-
tonishment of his mother, who could not
imagine what strange fancy possessed the lad.
On the Saturday he said to her,-
Mother, will you have time to mend my
"No, that I shan't; it must do as it is, it is
quite good enough to run in the streets night
and morning, and you are never out at any
"Then, mother, will you lend me a needle
and I will try to sew up the holes, I think I
can, it won't be very difficult ?"
What do you want it done to-day for ?"
I want to go out to-morrow, mother."
Go out! why your clothes are not fit to
be seen on Sunday, where can you want to,
The boy was shy of telling his mother and
hesitated, then said in a low voice, Mother, I
want to go to church."
What to do there, pray ? this is a new freak,
you have been strange enough all the week,
getting up at unearthly hours to read that old
book which had not been opened" since your
father last used it." This was news to the boy.
Then his father, the father he had so often
longed to know, had read "the Book;" and
may-be, he had found the way of Salvation-
the way he wanted to find; but his mother's
voice interrupted his silent thoughts.
"What do you want to go to church for ?-
Robert had always been obedient to her will,
fear might have made him in the first instance,
now it had become habit, so he replied.
"Mother, I want to hear about the way of
And pray what do you know of that way ?"
she asked, slightingly.
"Nothing yet; but I heard, that it is a way'
of happiness, and a way of safety, and I should
like to know it; for you know, mother, I am not
very strong, and I might die."
Nonsense, I am much older than you, and
1 am not dead, or likely to die."
"But, mother, you are much stronger than I
And as his mother glanced at his pale thin
face, she, too, thought it quite possible that he
might not have many years of life; for a
moment a pang shot through her heart at the
thought-that if she had bought bread with
the money she had spent in her favourite in-
dulgence, her boy would have been stronger;
but to put away the unwelcome suggestion she
"Here! give me your jacket, I will soon
stitch up the rags."
"There, it is mended, but it is not fit for a
decent lad to wear on Sunday; take my advice
and stay at home until you can get better
things to wear."
"No, mother! I will not stay at home because
my clothes are shabby, I will sit in a corner
out of sight, then I shall offend no one."
"As you will, but I cannot think what has
come to you."
Truly the jacket was old and worn, but so
were his other garments; and Robert, who
liked neatness, would have been very glad of a
new suit, but he could not wait; no, he must
go and hear what was said about the way in
which he wanted to travel. Could he find that
way, he should work more heartily, for he
would have peace within and happiness before
him; and then-there he checked himself, for
imagination brought before him so many good
things, that the realisation of them seemed im-
possible, so he softly whispered "Nil Despe-
randum." The next morning he got up even
earlier than usual that he might have more
time to read. He had read the account of the
nativity and the temptation, with even greater
wonder than that of the creation; but while-
NIL DESPERANDUM :
the latter excited his admiration, the former
elicited love and trust. He murmured to him-
self, "For how much God must have loved us
to give His Son, to become a little child and
the child of poor people, so that He had to
work," here he paused for a long time--" Yes,
work-so He knows what work means; and L
very likely he was often tired; I dare say when
I read more I shall see that Hi was. Then
He knows what hunger is, 'for He was an
hungered,' and he knows what temptation is.
Why He knows everything about me-for I
am poor, have to work hard, am very often
tired and hungry-and how often should I like
to be saucy when mother is angry! The good
gentleman said, that He knew all about us, but
I thought that was impossible; as He lives in
Heaven, and is so great and powerful, but now
I see how He knows. And as He knows, will
He help me, will He hear me when I ask Him ?
the gentleman said He would, and he repeated
something.which I wish I could find,-it was
about asking. Was it 'Ask, and ye shall
receive?' Yes, those were the words. May-be
I shall hear this morning how I am to ask, for
I must ask in His way, or I may not get what
The plan of the church favoured Robert's
idea of sitting in a corner; it had large
square pews with high sides, so that when
their occupants sat down, only their heads
could be seen; a large gallery went quite
round the church, which darkened the lower
part; at the east end were placed a few
benches for the poor, some of them at the side
of the pulpit, and some behind; at the ex-
tremity of one of these, Robert took -a seat,
and was partly hidden by a pillar.
He had no prayer-book, but he listened
attentively, and thought he had never heard
anything so beautiful as the short prayers,
that seemed to forget nothing, but pray for
everything and everybody. Then the com-
mandments: how strange it seemed that God
should have given such stringent laws yet he
had never heard of them before, and how he
had broken the Sabbath'! not once had he kept
it as a holy day, so far as he could remember.
Then the good old clergyman went into the
pulpit, and after an appropriate prayer gave
out his text, the eighth verse of the sixty-third
"My soul followeth hard after Thee: Thy
right hand upholdeth me."
Had the clergyman known Robert, and pre-
pared a discourse especially for his instruction
and encouragement, it could not have been
more appropriate. Plainly and clearly he
pointed out the way to attain the love of God
in the heart, its influence on the motives and-
actions of the possessor, with the sure promise
of divine aid to all who earnestly desired to
have it. This sermon was to Robert as seed
cast into ground prepared to receive it, which
springs up healthy and luxuriant, and in due
time bears fruit. He was waiting, longing for
light to guide him out of the darkness in
which he was; and the words he heard were
as light to him. He might not have been able
to repeat the sentences as he heard them, but
the substance remained with him throughout
his after life. Often in times of trial, diffi-
culty, or temptation, he would recall that dis-
course, and ask, "How would one who loves
God act ?" And the answer would be accord-
ing to the law and to the testimony as revealed
in God's word. But one sentence was so deeply
engraven on his mind, that even the words
were not forgotten: "The children of God ought
not to be slothful or careless in their earthly
callings, but to honour God in them, by dili-
gence, punctuality, and well-doing; following
the apostle's exhortation to be diligent in busi-
ness, fervent in spirit."
Iobert went to church again in the afternoon,
and from this time was regular in his attend-
ance on public worship. He was quick to
receive, and apply to his own wants, the great
truths he heard, but he was very shy about
speaking of them; he was afraid to say how
much he wished to be one of God's child-
ren, lest he should do something directly
opposed to His expressed desire. But he could
not hide the change that was gradually trans-
forming his character and conduct.
As before intimated, he had given his mother
little trouble, but now he gave her real help.
When he began to ask God to give him a
new heart, put a right spirit within him, and
make his life pure, he also began to make his
own little room more tidy: the dirt and dis-
order had often annoyed him, but he had made
no effort for more comfort; but now it seemed
as if he could not be pure within so long as
there was no order without, so he put the few
things there were in his room as tidy as his first
awkward essay at neatness suggested. But he
was not satisfied, the room would be all the
better for being swept. Still he was not quite
*pleased with the general effect, the boards
looked dark; so one morning he got up very
early and gave them a scrubbing. The result
pleased him, his room was clean, and clean he
would keep it. Only his mother knew that he
did girls' work, and she would not laugh at
him. Yes, truly his mother noted all he did;
since the time he told her he wanted to go to
church, that he might learn the way of salva-
tion, she had closely watched him. She saw
how first one old habit, and then another, was
given up;-saw how he employed every spare
moment either in doing useful work, or im-
proving his reading and writing. And daily
seeing him make the best of life, ohe bIgan to
be more neat and clean. So when the youth
returned home from his work, he did not, as
too often he had formerly done, find the chairs
and table littered with rubbish, and the floor
covered with pools of muddy water; ashes up
to the grate, and a hearth the reverse of white,
but was greeted by a bright fire, clean hearth,
and shining red bricks.
When this pleasant sight first greeted him
he thought he had made a mistake and opened
the wrong door, and was about to shut it again,
when his mother called out,-
What is the matter, Bob ? where are you
Ashamed to say that he could not think it
was his home, he stammered and looked round
What you don't know the room to-night,
is not that it, Bob ?"
"Are you going to have company, mother ?"
"Yes, I hope so."
"Who is coming ?"
My company has come," replied his mother,
with a short laugh. Then, as he looked round
in some bewilderment, she said, "You are my
company. As you have grown so mightily
particular upstairs, why, I thought you would
like your sitting-room to be nice as well."
"Oh, mother, how good you are!" he
"Not much of that, Bob, but I think the
place looks better for a little cleaning, and so
I mean to try to keep it tidy."
But this was not the only result of the in-
fluence exercised so unconsciously by the quiet,
patient, industrious, painstaking youth. For
some time past his mother had denied herself
her favourite indulgence, that she might buy
bread with the money thus saved; for she had
not forgotten the pang that shot through her
heart that night when he so simply talked of
dying: until then she had not realized what
life would be without her boy. She had been
careless, slatternly, irreligious, but she was a
mother, and was capable of feeling a mother's
tenderness. Hard work and dire poverty had
crusted over the softer feelings of her heart,
but not destroyed them, and her boy's example
roused them once more into life. "He was
doing his best, she would do hers;" so she
reasoned; but as yet she only understood the
word best in its limited earthly sense, she had
not penetrated to the higher and holier motives
that swayed her boy; that would be a work of
One Sunday morning in the beginning of
February, when Robert went upstairs to get
ready for church, he saw spread out on his
bed a suit of clothes, not new, but good and
warm. Scarcely waiting to think "where
they came from ?" he fell on his knees by the
bedside and covered his face with his hands.
A deep sob broke from him. In a few moments,
he arose and ran down, almost knocking down
Mrs. Carter, who was on -the last step.
"Mother, where did you get the clothes?"
"I bought them."
"But, mother, they must have cost a great
deal of money, and we are so poor."
Never you mind the cost, they are bought
*and paid for, and we are none the poorer that
'I see; so wear them, and look decent for the
first time for years."
Robert -was very undemonstrative, but he
went to his mother's side, and putting his arm
round her neck, kissed her cheek.
There, there, that will do, you have little
enough to thank me for; but now tell me why
you knelt by the bed before you came down."
NIL DESPERANDUM :
For Mrs. Carter, curious to see Robert's sur-
prise, had followed him upstairs, and was
standing at the door when he saw them.
"Because I wanted to thank God frst," re-
plTed Robert, in a low reverent voice. Mrs.
Carter said no more, but all that Sabbath she
pondered over her boy's answer. And she de-
cided in her own mind that there must be
more in his strange fancies than she had
It would be tedious to follow in detail all
his struggles to attain a respectable livelihood
for himself and his mother; how he did jobs
at home, thus increasing by a trifle their
income; nor can we describe his pleasure
when he had saved sufficient to buy his
mother a new gown and shawl: his gift to her
was as unexpected as hers had been to him;
and if she did not receive hers as he had done
his, as direct from God, she at least determined
to put it to a good use and announced to
her delighted son that she should go with him
to church. She did not add, I would have
gone long since had I had a decent dress.
She had been slowly but surely awakening
to a sense of her need of something higher and
more enduring than her daily food. She had
begun to read the word of God, and no longer
wondered that her boy loved it; for in it she
found such sweet words of comfort that she
longed to make them her own. She, too, was
seeking feebly, doubtingly, but still seeking
for that more excellent way-" the way of Sal-
vation." She had read, They that wait upon
the Lord shall renew their strength;" and she
thought, If I wait upon Him in His house, and
join my prayers to those of His people, perhaps
then He will have mercy on me, and give me
the will to believe. For she had also read
the reply to the Philippian gaoler, "Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved." But how was she to believe? what
was she to believe? she asked in perplexity.
She did not see in Christ the God-given Medi-
ator-the one yet all sufficient sacrifice, whereby
God could reconcile to Himself a guilty world.
She did not know that Christ was knocking at
the door of her heart, waiting to make Him-
self known to her as her Saviour. She only
felt that she wanted something which as yet
she did not possess. So to have this want
satisfied she went to the house of God, and
was disappointed to find that the uneasiness
of her mind, instead of being allayed by the
truths she heard, was increased, and she
thought it hard that now when she was trying
to live respectably, and do her duty by her
boy, she should not have peace. No, she was
not to find peace until she had learnt in
the valley of humiliation and deep self-abase-
ment that she could do nothing to purchase it,
that it is the free gift of God, given without
money and without price to all who are willing
to receive it.
As her convictions increased so did her efforts
to do well; she worked harder, read her Dible
frequently,and spent a longer timeinprayer; was
regular in her attendance on public worship,-
her son never went to church alone now, she
was always with him. He was happy, she
could see that; he enjoyed the services heartily,
they were to him meat and drink; but she had
no part in his joy : she had gone hoping to find
the way of salvation, and it seemed to her that
all she heard confirmed and increased her con-
demnation, until in the very bitterness of her
soul she cried aloud,-
"0 wretched woman that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?"
Like a flash of light came the thought,-
"Jesus Christ my Lord and with the know-
ledge the longed-for peace. She had found the
Physician, and He had applied the healing balm
and given health and cure. Rest had come, she
had at last taken the cup of salvation, and now
her desire was that Christ might dwell in her
heart, that she might know His love, and be
filled with all the fulness of God. Robert
noticed the change in his mother even before
she put her hand on his shoulder, and feelingly
"My boy, I understand your religion now."
Yes, they were united in the faith, they were
fellow-travellers to that country which hath
foundations, whose Builder and Maker is Gtd,
And that night, when Robert had thanked his
heavenly Father for all His mercies, especially
on behalf of his mother, he softly repeated,
Nil desperandum. No, I will never despair,
God helping me; He has given me and my
mother the greatest of all blessings, a desire to
serve Him, and He will not withhold the less;
if I am true to myself He will help me.
When Robert's term of apprenticeship had
expired, he began business on his own account,
in a very small way at first; but as he was
punctual in performing his promises, used the
best materials, and did his work well, he soon
became known, and orders increased so that he
had to take an apprentice to help him. But
before that he had taken a small cottage on
the outskirts of the town and furnished it com-
fortably, and induced his mother to give up
washing for hire, and devote her time to her
own domestic duties. She had not done this
willingly, she wanted to do her part in earning
her daily bread; but he told her, and truly, that
he would rather work for her, even if she did
nothing, than see her toiling from morning to
Some eight or nine years after commencing
business, when his position was thoroughly
assured, and he could well afford to keep a wife,
he married an amiable and affectionate young
woman, the daughter of his former master. She
was truly pious, and in all respects a suitable
helpmeet. And Mrs. Carter found that she
had not lost her son, but gained a daughter, and
it would have been hard to find a more united
family, or a household enjoying a greater de-
gree of quiet happiness.
Work was no weary task, but a privilege;
God's blessing rested on them, and made even
labour rest. The trials, cares, and anxieties
which came to them were so many bonds of love
drawing them nearer to the fountain whence
their blessings flowed. And for seventeen years
the three probably enjoyed as much real happi-
ness as is possible in this state of probation.
Then inexorable Death entered their peaceful
dwelling and carried off the first sheaf.
Mrs. Carter, whose old age had been vigorous
and healthy, was seized with mortal sickness.
From the first symptoms of disease she believed
that she should not recover; but she did not
murmur, she committed herself into God's hand
with the humble submission of a child, remark-
ing to her daughter in reference thereto, He
has dealt well with me all these years, and He
will not fail me now." Another time she said
to her son,-
"Robert, it seems as if eternity itself would
be too short to utter all my praises for the
mercy and goodness that have followed me all
my days. And you, Robert, were His instru-
ment to make me seek His love; had you not
found the way of truth, what would have
become of me ? what would have been my con-
dition when lying as now. May God's richest
blessing rest upon you; may your days be
fraught with His love, and death be swallowed
up in victory."
The death of his mother, the only parent he
had known, was a great trial to Robert Carter.
He missed her smile, her gentle loving words,
more than he cared to say; he would look at
her vacant chair, and feel that he had lost a
priceless treasure. Only now did he seem to
realize the value of a mother's love; and he
almost accused himself of indifference during
the past long years because he had not learned
to.esteem it as now that it was lost for ever.
Then his own health was failing. Although he
tried to hide the sad truth from his dear wife
as long as possible, yet she noted the increased
pallor of his complexion, his loss of appetite,
and difficult breathing; in alarm she begged
him to cease working.
"Soon, my dear, but not just yet; I must
finish the orders I have in."
And although his strength declined very
rapidly when the warm summer weather came,
he did complete them. Yes, and the last
order was finished well and carefully as ever,
although the hands were weak and the eyes
weary: it was the spirit within that sustained
the feeble frame.
The work was for one who had been his
customer for ten years, and who in all that time
had never had one fault to find; but when it
was quite done, and folded in clean white paper,
and sealed up, as of yore, by his own hand, he
looked round his little workroom with a strange
wistful, loving glance; then went down to his
wife, said very cheerfully,-
"Now, my dear, I am going to rest as you
wish; all the work is done, and the man will
make the shop tidy before he leaves. Poor
fellow, he does not like the idea of not coming
again; but you will be kind to him."
What do you mean? Can't you be kind
yourself, and not tell me?"
My dear, I can whilst I am here, but that
will be a very short time."
"Nonsense, Robert! you will gain strength
now that you can take rest."
"Not in this world; and were it not for you
I should be so glad to go where I shall see Him
who hath led me and guided me all these years,
and who hath not failed in the performance
of one promise."
"Robert, don't talk so; God will not take
you from me."
That will be as He sees best for you and for
me ; but whatever happens, He will never leave
you-never forsake you; you are His loving
child; trust Him as your loving Father, and
when you repeat' Our Father,' realize the great
truth. Then all will be well with you,-well
for time, well for eternity."
Robert, I cannot bear it; I shall never be
able to get on without you."
Yes, dear, if you abide in Christ, His strength
will be perfected in your weakness; and next
to God's own word bear in mind my favourite
motto, 'Nil desperandum.' Yes, I still like it
better than 'Never despair;' for I do not think
if I had not heard it I should have persevered
in honestly doing my duty,-life was so hard."
Yes, honestly, patiently, and perseveringly
doing his duty in that state of life in which it
had pleased God to place him; that was all
He was not talented, he was not a fashionable'
shoemaker, but he had done his duty to the
best of his ability and had lived respected, and
could leave his wife above the fear of want.
Robert Carter's premonition was correct; in
less than three weeks after the last order was
finished he fell asleep in Jesus.
On visiting his widow a few months after, I
found her. calm, but very sorrowful. She re-
* "I mourn for myself, not for him; I do not
know how to bear life without him, he was so
good and kind. While he lived I had not a
care beyond my small domestic concerns; he
attended to everything that could save me
trouble. Ah why did God take him when he
was so fit to live ?"
"And ready to die."
Yes, that must have been it; he was wait-
ing for God. His last days were spent in
prayer and praise; and I-well, I must learn
Yes, God will comfort the poor bereaved
widow. He has smitten, that He may the more
effectually heal; and she will yet praise Hi.n,
not only for joys, but for afflictions, when she
has learnt by experience that they also are
evidences of infinite love.
"A LITTLE WHILE."
"What is this that He saith, A little while JOHN xvL x8.
Os, for the peace which floweth as a river,
Making life's desert places bloom and smile!
Oh, for the faith to grasp heaven's bright "for ever,"
Amid the shadows of earth's "little while" I
"A little while for patient vigil keeping,
To face the stern, to wrestle with the strong;
"A little while" to sow the seed with weeping;
Then bind the sheaves, and sing the harvest song.
"A little while" to wear the robe of sadness;
To toil, with weary step, through miry ways,
Then to pour forth the fragrant oil of gladness,
And clasp the girdle round the robe of praise.
"A little while," 'midst shadow and illusion,
To strive, by faith, love's mysteries to spell;
Then read each dark enigma's bright solution,
Then hail sight's verdict, He doeth all things well.'
A little while," the earthen pitcher taking
To wayside brooks, from far-off fountains fed;
Then the cool lip its thirst for ever slaking
Beside the fulness of the fountain-head.
* A little while" to keep the oil from failing
A little while faith's flickering lamp to trim;
And then the Bridegroom's coming footsteps hailing,
To haste to meet Him with the bridal hymn.
And He who is Himself the gift and giver,
The future glory and the present smile,
With the bright promise of the glad "for ever
Will light the shadows of the "little while.
"I want another made like this," she said. -See Page 49.
THE SHABBY STRANGER.
OULDN'T I do something to get the
Custom of the new people at the great
Such was the mental exclamation
of Mrs. Lynn, the dressmaker in the
village of Ringsadam. She lived just
off the quiet High Street, and her gay parlour
window, with its cuts of "Paris fashions," and
tissue-paper "patterns," was well known to all the
feminine population of Ringsadam. Mrs. Lynn
herself was a neat, spruce little woman, with cork-
screw curls and elaborate flounces. She was a
native of the village, and had never left it except to
"serve her time" in a London workroom. She
was an industrious, striving woman, tasteful and
punctual in her business, and strictly honest in
every action. And yet there was in her something
THE SHABBY STRANGER.
which repelled esteem. The little dressmaker lived
wholly for herself. She was civil because it was
her interest-she was just because she had her
character to maintain. Not one good deed of hers
was done simply because it was right.
"Yes," she said, talking to herself as she snipped
at a dress she had in hand, "there are ladies in the
family; and though I s'pose they wouldn't give me
their evening dresses, still there's morning ones, and
all the maids' as well. Ah, they would be good
customers. Well, Miss Curtis, the upholsteress,
has promised to do her best in speaking a good
word for me. We'll see, we'll see. Why, here is
Miss Curtis herself"
"Yes, Mrs. Lyni," said a rosy young woman,
standing in the doorway. "I can't stop, for I'm in
a great hurry, but I've just looked in to say that
the lady at the House has promised to give you a
call. They were thinking of hiring a needlewoman
to live there; but she says if you'll suit, she won't;
so I expect it will be a good thing for you. And
"Good-bye, and thank you very much!" said
Mrs. Lynn, speaking with great energy. And then
she ran up-stairs and slipped on her best gown, and
returned to put the workroom in "apple-pie order,"
and resume her cutting out,
THE SIIABBY STRANGER.
She had scarcely taken up the scissors when the
door opened slowly, and an elderly individual
entered. The new comer was dressed in plain and
sombre garments, and her spare, bowed figure
seemed that of one who had borne a heavy weight
of care and sorrow. Her thin, pale face was half
hidden beneath the poke bonnet which supported a
huge and almost rusty veil.
"Bother the woman l" thought Mrs. Lynn;
"some shabby genteel widow or old maid, who will
want something made in some queer old fashion for
next to nothing."
"You are Mrs. Lynn ?" said the stranger.
"Yes, ma'am," returned the dressmaker; "what
can I do for you ? "
The stranger deposited a large worked bag on the
table, and leisurely took from it a worn and shabby
bodice, which she spread out before her.
"I want another one made like this," she said.
"Indeed," remarked Mrs. Lynn; "well, it's sadly
out of fashion."
"It's -my fashion, I never change it," said the
customer; "I'd leave you this for a pattern, and
here is the material," she added, diving into her
bag, and producing some stuff which, though neat
and good, was plain and inexpensive to the last
THE SHABBY BTRANGER.
"This is not enough for the skirt, ma'am," said
"No," returned the other, "I make my skirts
myself. I have very few dresses, and plenty of
Mrs. Lynn took a leisurely survey of her new
patroness, and came to the conclusion she was a
needy gentlewoman living on a pension: why
trouble herself to conform to the whims and
economies of such a person when she had the
prospect of a new and good customer ?
"You see these sort of things do us no credit
when they are made," she remarked, "but quite
the contrary, and we make most profit out of the
Well, if you do not like to do it, I will take it
away; no matter," said the stranger, folding up the
"You see I've nearly as much business as I can
undertake," said Mrs. Lynn, pompously, "and I
fear you wouldn't like the price I should set on it
to make it worth while doing. Doubtless you can
find some young person in the village who will
gladly do it at your own house for a mere trifle."
Oh, I shall easily get it done," said the old lady,
fastening up her bag, and so good morning, Mrs.
Lynn and away she went.
THE SHABBY STRANCGER.
All that day and the next the dressmaker wasted
a great deal of time in adorning her own appearance,
and peeping from her window to watch for the
coming customer; but no one came, and on the
evening of the second day Miss Curtis herself called,
to consult Mrs. Lynn about some silk for a sofa
"I've seen no one from the great house yet,"
remarked the dressmaker, rather snappishly.
"I'm so sorry," exclaimed the other, "but I
feared not, for when I was there this morning, I
found they were hiring a sempstress, as they'd
thought of doing at first. And yet they promised
so faithfully to give you a call It's very strange."
I should think it is," said Mrs. Lynn. "What
sort of family is it 1"
"Oh, very nice indeed," returned the other.
"The mistress is one of the sweetest ladies I ever
saw, and her daughters are very pleasant girls; but
the mistress herself is such an invalid, that the
whole house is really under the management of her
husband's mother, and she is a character! I hear
she has a younger son, who has been very wild, and
fallen into great trouble, and so she stints herself of
.every penny of her private income, that she may
help him, and give his little children a fitting
education. He's been a terrible curse to her, and
THE SHABBY STRANGER.
she won't let his brother help him, because she says
no one has a right to have patience with him except
the mother that bore him."
"Is she a pale thin lady, and does she really
dress shabbily 1" asked Mrs. Lynn, breathlessly.
"Ah, that she does," rejoined Miss Curtis; and
she makes the greater part of her own dress, and
always carries a great worked bag."
"Then she was here yesterday morning!"
exclaimed Mrs. Lynn, almost crying, and I told
her it was not worth my while to do the work she
brought. Oh dear, dear! "
And the poor woman fidgeted about her little
workroom, condoling with herself and remarking
that ladies should look like ladies, or not expect to
be treated as such.
"But she does look like a lady," said Miss Curtis.
Yes, some poor governess or pensioned widow,"
returned Mrs. Lynn. Oh dear, dear, if I could but
have known !"
Ah thought Miss Curtis, as she walked home
to her humble lodging, "all would have been well
if Mrs. Lynn had simply been courteous' because
it was right, without any respect of persons."
JM- -D-- E -
THE SAYINGS AND DOINGS
AMIE DEE was one of the cha.
racters of Scutterstown. He was a
cobbler, and his stall was situate
beneath the high, old-fashioned win-
dow of the village general shop'."
Jamie was a little man, with a handful of fuzzy hair
on the top of his head, and a pair of goggles astride
his nose. He was a bachelor, and as he was an
industrious, sober man, we knew he could not be
poor, though he never dreamed of choosing better
lodgings than the little loft over the blacksmith's
forge, or buying gayer clothing than the quaint
brown suit which had been his "Sunday best" from
56 THE SAYINGS AND DOINGS
Jamie's one luxury was books. He knew every
cheap stall in the county, and no pedlar ever left
Scutterstown without paying a visit to him. In
fact, he was not only a well-read man, acquainted
with many of the standard English authors, but he
had wandered into sundry studious by-ways, in which
he had picked up stores of odd stories, wise adages,
and quaint wit. Yet he was no mere book-worm.
His studies did not lie on the top of his mind, like
seeds on stony ground; they fell into it, and ripened
to quick perception and originality.
The doctor and the parson liked a talk with the
worthy cobbler, and when anything happened in
Scutterstown, every one's first thought was, "What
will Jamie Dee say 1"
I remember once standing in front of his stall with
a schoolfellow, who was priding himself overmuch
on the talents and goodness of his deceased grand-
father. In the fulness of his vanity he raised his
voice, but was brought to a sudden pause by the old
cobbler exclaiming, in a warning tone, Take care,
young gentleman, take care; don't grow like, a
potato, whose best part is in the ground !"
One of my uncles died rather suddenly, and my
aunt, who was quite a young woman, gave way to
her grief, and, shunning even her duties, shut herself
up with her sorrow. Month after month passed by,
OF JAMIE DEE.
and when any one had a glimpse of her, they saw
but a wasted face, shrouded in the gloomiest weeds.
Finding their commonplace consolations unavailing,
her friends "respected her feelings," as they said,
and kept out of her way. But as she was taking a
twilight walk in her garden, Jamie Dee went by,
and, instead of passing the gate as others did, he
paused and saluted her as usual before her bereave-
ment. She was not morose, even in her desire for
solitude, so she answered him kindly, and Jamie
remarked in his odd way, Madam, I am sorry you
find it so hard to forgive God, but He'll have
patience with you so long as you do your best."
My aunt was deeply touched by a sympathy which
did not depreciate her sorrow, even while it pointed
out the sin of its excess, and before many days were
over, the good cobbler had the satisfaction of seeing
her resume her daily walks and ordinary pursuits.
Jamie was never angry. Safe from the perils of
riches and the pangs of poverty, neither wanting
work nor overwhelmed by it, he was spared most
irritating vexations. But he spoke angrily once,
and those who heard him never forgot it. One very
snowy winter day he took a poor widow some coals
and wood. In the course of the evening, on her
way to the baker's, she passed his room above the
smithy, and noticed there was no firelight flickering
58 THE SAYINGS AND DOINGS
up the wall. While she was in the baker's, Jamie
entered, and in the warmth of her gratitude the old
woman began expressing fears lest he had robbed
himself" The cobbler turned sharply round, said
fiercely, "Well, dame, am I not free to do as I like "
and stalked from the shop.
Jamie Dee was a Scotchman, and dearly loved his
native land. A young man once said to him, "James,
if we could see their footprints on the earth, we
should find all Scotchmen's feet turned southwards."
"I dare say, sir," was the prompt rejoinder; "ye
see by the time they go home, they are mostly riding
in their carriages."
Yet there was one question which no one could
answer,--"What became of Jamie's earnings 1" They
were certainly small, yet much wider than his frugal
life. Would so wise a man hoard much, when he
seemed to have neither kith nor kin 1 One doughty
villager ventured to mention the matter to him, and
after vainly trying many hints, candidly asked the
question, Jamie, what d'ye do with your money V"
"I invest it," said James, gravely.
"Is it a good investment, sir t you're a knowing
man, but we may all be deceived in these things."
"Oh, its all right," returned James.
"Safe as the Bank of England, eh V'
"A precious deal safer !" said the cobbler.
OF JAMIE DEE.
D'ye draw the interest, James V"
"No, it's accumulating," James replied; and a
reverent look passed over his face ashe said the words
I say, James, you're a knowing man, and from
what you say, this must be a good thing. I should
like to put a little in the affair myself."
"But you can't, my friend, it's quite private."
"Can't anybody but youl"
"I believe so-I hope so-but a great many who
might so invest don't choose," said James, rather
comically; and at that moment a customer stopped
before the stall, and the neighbour walked off.
Not many weeks after this, Jamie's stall was not
opened as usual Presently we noticed that the
curtain of the loft window was not drawn. In the
course of the day the truth came out,-Jamie's work
was done. The night before, he had read his evening
chapter-the old Bible was opened at the fourteenth
of St. John-and gone to rest. When he awoke, it
Swas not in the rude and lonely chamber, but among
the "many mansions" which his Saviour had
prepared for him.
Before his funeral, a strange gentleman was seen
inquiring after him, and was directed to our kind-
hearted doctor, who had undertaken the management
of the old man's little affairs. The stranger expressed
his surpriserat the story he was told, stating that,
GO TIIE SAYINGS AND DOINGS OF JAMIE DEE.
though he had never seen him, James had been in
correspondence with himself and his father, who
were solicitors in Dunse, for more than forty years.
James' father had been a tradesman in that town,
and, owing to sickness and sundry misfortunes, had
died while his son was still a child, leaving consider-
able debts. Quite forty years before, the stranger's
father had received a letter from James, enclosing a
small remittance to be used towards the payment of
these, and ever since, at certain intervals, larger or
smaller sums had been received for the same purpose,
and very little now remained unpaid. The solicitors,
never having seen their client, had imagined from
his short, odd letters, that he was a man in good
circumstances, who, though he desired to do strict
justice to his father's memory, desired also to do it
at his ease and leisure; and the stranger was
evidently touched as he stood beside the poor coffin
in the bare, rough chamber.
"One of the creditors is a wealthy man, and
would not have received the money if he had known
how matters stood," said he.
That is just why James took care he should not
know," remarked the doctor.
But he has gotten his interest now," said the
old villager, who stood near them; "he has gotten
his interest now."
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Illustrated. It is full of Tales and Papers on every subject in
which Boys and Girls delight. The help of all interested in the
diffusion of pure hterature is solicited in the circulation of this
SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
CHILD'S OWN MAGAZINE:
A Bundle of Pictures and Stories for the Little Ones.
THE CHILD'S OWN MAGAZINE is the Paper for the
Little Ones; It is brimful of the Pictures and Stories in which
Children delight. No volume could be a more acceptable gift
for the Nursery. Fathers and Mothers, Brothers and Sisters, do
not forget the Little Ones. You have your own Magazines;
remember the Younger Ones, and give them a Monthly treat
that costs so little.
Yearly Volume, paper boards, is.; cloth gilt, 2s.
SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, 56, OLD BAILEY, LONDON, E.C.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION
LARGEST STOCK of JUNIOR LITERATURE in
the WORLD, with UNUSUAL FACILITIES for
This includes EVERY VARIETY in SUBJECT
MATTER, produced in the best style that MODERN
IMPROVEMENTS in PRINTING and BINDING
aford. Books of TRAVEL. Books of ADVENTURE.
Books of HEALTHY FICTION. Books of BIOGRAPHY.
Books of PICTURES. Books for PRIZES, PRESENTS,
GIFTS, or REWARDS, and Books for STUDY as well as
POCKET BIBLES, from 6d. to 2 2s. TEACHERS'
BIBLES, from 3s. to 60s. PRESENTATION,
FAMILY, and PULPIT BIBLES, from 12s. 6d. to 6 6s.
COMMENTARIES, CONCORDANCES, and other
WORKS ILLUSTRATIVE of SCRIPTURE. Books
for TEACHERS, for the Study, and the Class. Books for
SCHOOLS, Admission Books, Roll Books, Records, Journals,
4c., #c. ILLUMINATIONS for SchoolAdornment. MAPS
for School Walls. MUSIC for School Psalmody, and
SPECIALLY BOUND BOOKS for SCHOOL
LIBRARIES. AMERICAN ORGANSfor Cash, or on the
Three Years' System.
COMPLETE CATALOGUES ON APPLICATION.
56, OLD BAILEY, LONDON, E.C.