Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The old clock in the parlour
 The first night at college
 Bank holiday amongst the hills
 This way to the bar
 A man of his word
 Little Lottie's primroses
 "To wrack and ruin"
 The broken promise and its...
 The bank clerk
 Back Cover

Group Title: The old clock in the parlor : and other stories
Title: The old clock in the parlor
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086839/00001
 Material Information
Title: The old clock in the parlor and other stories
Physical Description: 142, 18 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Peers, Absalom
Jarrold and Sons
Publisher: Jarrold & Sons
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1898
Edition: 3rd ed.
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1898   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Children's stories
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Norwich
England -- Yarmouth
Statement of Responsibility: by Absalom Peers.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086839
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002235878
notis - ALH6342
oclc - 252756311

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
    Half Title
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Title Page
        Page 7
    Table of Contents
        Page 8
    The old clock in the parlour
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    The first night at college
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Bank holiday amongst the hills
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    This way to the bar
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    A man of his word
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Little Lottie's primroses
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
    "To wrack and ruin"
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    The broken promise and its results
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
    The bank clerk
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Back Cover
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
Full Text



. It" .- -' "' -" "

. : .'_.-.
*' L- '

~ F'(* 1.





S ..-


'. .
The Baldwin Library
RmFJ(Am (B of




I 1


\.: *



~-- -- ---~-----





Cloth Elegant, Ilustrated, Price 1/-. (Postage 2d.)

story sold.
AT A GREAT PRICE; or, Oney's Mistake. By Rxv. J. J. ELLIS.
WINGFOLD MANOR; or, How Frank Sedgewick Found a Friend.
TOM MARTIN; or, Found after Many Days. By H. S. STREAT-
FROCKS; or, the Rector's Charge. By A. E.G.
TURNING THE CORNER, and other Tales. ) By

LONDON: JdRROLD AND SONS, 10 & 11 Warwtick Lane.
And of all Booksellers.

I stood before it, that I might examine and compare it. Page 10.




Author of Turning the Corner," etc.


[All Rights Resemed]













... 37

. ... 53

..... 69

... ... 87

... ... 105

... ... 121

... ... 131


T was a November night, and the rain beat
against the windows. I had travelled fifty
miles that day, and was glad of the shelter of
my friend's home after the buffeting of the
My friends had retired to rest, leaving me to
write a few letters before doing the same. I looked round
upon the well-furnished room and bright fire, and thought
how truly good living brought happy results.
And yet there was a time when the owner of that home
wasted his means in riotous living, and cared not for home
happiness, but now his home was a pattern for others to
imitate, and the house, with the surrounding land, was all
his own, paid for with hard-earned money which in the old
time had been thrown away.
The parlour was furnished with a consideration for com-
fort. The large easy-chairs took you into their embraces like

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

old friends and seemed to welcome you to rest and repose.
But in a corner of the room stood a magnificent old clock
made by cunning hands which had long ceased to labour, and
were now folded in quiet rest.
I stood before it that I might compare its time with that of
my own watch. I had now an opportunity of examining it
more closely, and observed on the dial the words-" TIME
Do what I would I could not take my eyes from the face of
that clock-how true were those two texts. How I felt the
truth of the flight of time when I turned my eyes to the
mirror which showed me my white hair which I could
remember as deep auburn I
How true it is that time changes I well knew, both from
my own experience, and from the changes I had witnessed in
the lives of many among my own friends.
I sat for some time looking at the clock, yet lost in
thought, when its face that I had looked at with so much
admiration broke out, with,
"Yes, it is true-Time does fly; and it brings many
changes to all-it has brought many to me."
I did not feel in the least surprised, for the face seemed to
assume quite a human and loving look. So I listened whilst
it continued--
I was made, or born-take it which way you like-in the
town of Derby, in the year 1740. It is a long time ago now,
and yet I remember quite well the time when the 'rebels'
were in that town, and often saw the Pretender ride past the
window, followed by crowds of people who huzza'd him as he
rode along-yet not one in those crowds is living now.

The Old Clack in the Parlour.

But I may as well tell you how I came into existence
One day a gentleman of importance came into the shop of a
noted clock-maker of that day.
"' Biddle,' he said, for that was the clockmaker's name,
'my daughter is going to be married, and I wish to make her
a present of a good clock, so set to work and let me have the
best piece of workmanship you can turn out. Remember--a
first-class article, at a fair price.' And men were soon busy
in forming my wheels, and one man was set to make my
case. You see that it is firmly made; none of your short
cases-" baby clocks," I call them, which are hung on the
wall, as you hang a picture.'
I was in my place by the wedding day, and many admired
me, and some among them read what was written on my face,
and with them time has fled for ever.
"Years and years I stood watching the young couple grow
old-and the young children grow up to men and women, and
then leave the home-nest for homes of their own-some found
homes in far-off lands. The master of the house died first,
and then I watched a grey-haired woman grow older. She
often looked from the portrait of her husband to my face, and
then there came a look in her dim eyes which seemed to say
that though time flew fast, yet it did not fly fast enough for
her, and. that her longings were for that far-away country
where so many of her friends had gone. One day the
servants found her insensible in her chair, and carried her up
to her room. I never saw her again, for when she was
brought down she was encased in a black coffin, and she was
carried away, and laid among the loved ones who had gone

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

The house was sold up, and I was knocked down' to an
overdressed man who took a fancy to me, and so I was
removed to a large house where all was glitter and splendour.
"But somehow I did not feel so happy in my new home as
I had been in my first. The company which visited the
house was of quite a different class; drinking and singing
were carried on till early in the morning. One night I heard
a man sing,
'The only way to lengthen the day
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear."

And he had the impudence to open me, and stop the
pendulum. I was still looking down upon them, but I felt
only half alive, as though there was something wrong in my
inside. Some of the party had been playing cards for large
stakes, when one man jumped up suddenly, and shouted out
something about 'cheating.' I did not fully understand his
meaning, as I never gamble, having enough to do in minding
my daily work. But high words were exchanged, and then
bottles were used by some as weapons and heads were broken.
Next morning when the servants came to clean the room,
one exclaimed, 'Why! the old clock has stopped,' and
straightway set me going again. But oh I what a sight was
there. The costly carpet was drenched with wine, and cut by
the broken glass. One bottle had been thrown across the
room, and broken the mirror over the mantel-piece.
*' The gleams of prosperity from that night seemed to have
passed away. Creditors became clamorous, and at last the
mistress's father came up from the country to endeavour to
put matters straight. The interview took place in the room
in which I stood, so I heard everything.

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

You have brought your eggs to a pretty market, young
man,' said the father. You have spent five thousand pounds
you had with my daughter. You have drawn two thousand
pounds on my account from my banker's in my name.
Fool that I was to allow you to do so-you who pretended to
be such a man of business I Why, there seems no rule you
understand so well as subtraction. But this must end-I
will try to compromise with your creditors, and you must
remove to a smaller house.'
"The new house was small as compared to the last one,
and no room could be found for me but a landing half way up
the stairs. There was not much light, except at night, and
then a gas jet opposite lit up my face. There were fewer
parties here, but sometimes I could hear loud voices and
coarse jokes from the regions below. But the master was
seldom at home. Often long dark nights passed, and he
came not, and in the early hours of the morning I often saw
a white careworn face peep out of a chamber door, and look
at the hour I recorded, and then with a heavy sigh disappear.
"The race down-hill is always a swift one, and so it was
in this case. Cash became scarce, and then credit failed too.
The tradesmen had been duped before, and therefore were
cautious. One among them-the publican at the corner-
said that he must have his money. But he did not have it-
he had me instead, and so I was taken a few doors away and
placed in the liquor shop, there to show the time-o'-day to the
I had seen some little of life before, but it was nothing to
what I saw there, and were I to tell half what I did see,
people would say that I had begun to tell stories in my old

14 The Old Clock in the Parlour.

One night a poor shabby fellow came in for only one gill
-only one, he would pay for it on the morrow, he said, but
there was no gill for him. I am dying for a drop of brandy,'
the poor wretch said, and I have spent hundreds of pounds
with you.' The landlord only bid him go and die, as the
world would be better without him. As he turned to go I
saw his face. It was the face of my old master. Poor
fellow I he had nearly reached the bottom of the hill.
"But I saw many strange sights there. One night a poor
child came in hatless and shoeless, soaked to the skin, for the
rain poured in torrents in the streets. He approached a dirty
ill-dressed man, who stood drinking at the bar, and said,
'Daddy, do give me a shilling; mammy wants to send for a
loaf, and we have had no dinner yet 1 Dinner !-why, it was
past ten o'clock, and well-to-do people had tea and supper
and were preparing for bed. The poor wee thing only got a
curse and a blow, there was no shilling for him, and he went
out through the gilded doorway whimpering sadly, for he dare
not cry aloud. Oh I the grief that comes with years I but to
the thousands of children who are born and brought up in
our back slums there is no waiting for the grief, it comes
ready made for them, and would visit them in their cradles
but that they never know that luxury of childhood.
A short time after a woman entered, and approached the
"'Ben,' she said, 'let me have a trifle to buy food for the
children-you have had your wages, and brought nothing
"But she got louder and deeper curses than had been
hurled at her child, and at last was knocked down by the

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

man who had vowed to defend her. I saw that the landlord
was alarmed at this, and heard him ask a waiter how long
the man had been there.
"' About three hours.'
"'Oh, then,' was the'reply, 'he can't have much money
left, so put him out at once.'
Then leaning over the bar he said, with an appearance of
virtuous indignation,
"'How dare you strike a woman in my house! Don't
you know that mine is a respectable house ? I will have no
quarreling here. Go home with your wife-you have had as
much as will do you good for to-night. Lead him out,
mistress, and take him home to bed.'
The poor pale-faced wife led her stumbling partner out,
assisted by the waiter, who was only obeying his master's
orders. The door closed behind them, and the carousers
went on, none the sadder for the sight they had witnessed,
while one man exclaimed, Ben has got it on pretty heavy to-
night '
"But the saddest sights were when mere children-some
flower girls, and some poor lads hardly in their teens-who
sold odd things about the streets, would come in on the early
winter mornings, for a pennyworth of gin, to warm them,
sometimes, as they said. Poor things! they could never
bloom into God-fearing men and women, but what matter so
that the retailer got their cash to pay the expenses of his
suburban home, and to pay the fees for his children, at first-
class schools. One half the world does not know how the
other half lives-nor does it care.
I grew sick at seeing so much misery. Broken-hearted

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

wives, hungry children, squalid, broken-down men were
before me from day to day; but the trade went on, and the
liquor merchant grew rich.
"I heard the men in the bar talking about the branch
railway which was to be made across the town. Some said it
would be made, others said it would not. So I did not know
what to make of it; but one day some men came in for a
glass, they had long rods in their hands, and trailed behind
them long chains, each link some inches in length. Sur-
veyors, some people said they were, and so at last the line
was to be made. It came right through where our house
stood, so the landlord got a stiff price for his house and
business, but, better than that, the railway company granted
him the lease of a corner piece of land, opposite to the rail-
way station, upon which he built a gorgeous gin palace. I
was of no service then. Everything in the new house was to
be spick and span new, and therefore the contents of the old
house were sold off by auction, myself among the rest.
"They were a rough lot who met at that sale; no one had
a chance of buying anything unless he was a broker and one
admitted to the inner circle of the trade. So everything was
knocked down for an old song, as the saying is, and I went to
a man who kept a broker's shop. He put me up in his shop,
and as his house fronted a wide street I had an extensive
view, and was the teller of time to every passer by.
There I stood for years, for being a good article a good
price was put upon me, but people said I was a good clock
but old-fashioned, as though that mattered. At last my
owner died, and his son came into possession. He was
different from his father, who had been a careful, plodding

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

man; but the son was all for spending. He bet largely upon
horse races, and sometimes won, but oftener lost. Being left
to servants, his business declined, and he was soon glad to
sell the articles in his shop at any price, for, as I once heard
him say, 'money was tight.' I don't know as to that, but I
am quite sure that he often was.
I had noticed a respectable man and woman pass the shop
several times, and each time look attentively at me. I hope
I am not vain, but somehow I always rather liked a pretty
woman to look at me, and I wished that she would take me
home, so that I might often see her sweet dimpled sunny face
turned up to mine.
One day they passed again, and gave me a still longer
and closer look. At last they both came into the shop. My
master was there, for a wonder.
What do you ask for the old clock ?' said the woman in
one of the sweetest tones I ever heard. I did not like her
calling me old, but never mind.
"' I ought to get a good price for it,' said my master, 'for
it is a good article, and made by a first-rate maker; but times
are bad, and we will deal if we can; and then they whispered
together, but the little woman shook her head.
We could not give that much, could we, my dear ?' she
said, addressing her husband.
"' Now you just look at it,' said my master, pulling the
husband closer. Brass works, all cast solid-none of your
cheap gim-cracks.'
And then there was more whispering, and my master said,
"' I suppose you must have it, though it is nothing else
but giving it away.'

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

So I was sold once again. Very anxious I was to know
what sort of people I was going to, and whether I should find
people who would be proud of me. For I had not lost all my
I found myself put in a comfortable parlour, where I am
now.-'Well,' I thought, it looks well, but who knows but I
may see that beautiful mirror smashed with a bottle, as I
once saw one, and that neat carpet flooded with liquor ?'
"But mark my surprise on the evening of the first day to
see the family assembled around a table upon which appeared
no wines or spirits.
"As the family sat around the fire laughing and chatting,
I thought that the happiest place in the world was our own
fireside.' And when Miss Lucy sat down to the piano and
they all sang together,
Lead, kindly light,
For I am far from home,' &c.
Oh what a swell of harmony seemed to fill the room. Each
seemed so happy that I felt happy myself, and almost inclined
to cry for joy.
When the children had retired to bed, then the father
and mother drew their chairs closer together, and the little
woman looking up in her husband's face, said,
"' Thomas, do you know what to-night is, and what it brings
to mind?'
I do, my love,' he replied.
"'It is seven years to-night, my dear,' she said, 'and
you have persevered in the good cause. All old things have
given place to the new."'
Yes, my love,' he said, kissing her,-' and you have been

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

the cause of this happiness. When I think of the old times,
-of the long weary nights I left you alone with the children,
while I was wasting time and money in worthless company,
of the many times you were forced to go short, so that the
children should be clothed and fed, of all the hard words I
gave you when the drink had made me a madman, I feel some-
times tempted to do something rash to myself, and yet you bore
it all without a murmur. Why, I think I must have had the
most patient woman in the world to put up with my wrong-
doing. Have you never regretted that you became my wife,
and yoked yourself to such a bad man ?'
"But the little woman's hand was placed over his mouth,
and, with fire in her tone, she exclaimed,
I would not allow any one to call you a bad man, and I
never repented of marrying you, but sometimes when I have
been lonely in the long winter nights, I have prayed for you
till I have thought prayer was of no avail, and then I have
cried till I thought my heart would break when I thought
of you wasting health and money; and when I looked upon
my sleeping children, who had scarcely clothing enough to
keep them warm. Yet still I kept praying, and the long night
passed, and the morn broke, and we passed out of that
darkness into this glorious light. Oh, Thomas, God seems to
have been too good to us. We have more blessings than we
deserve, you are now clothed and in your right mind; our
children are all we could desire. And you, why, you are
kindness itself-only think that you should have purchased
that dear clock for me. I many times looked longingly upon
it as I passed by the shop; but I hardly hoped that it

The Old Clock in the Parlour.

would ever be my lot to possess it. But there it is to teach
the value of time, to tell us that Time changes.'"
"' Yes, my love,' he replied, 'I was anxious to buy you some-
thing on this seventh anniversary. And long before you spoke
about it I had made up my mind, for I had seen how long-
ingly you looked at the clock every time we passed that way.

The hour of twelve struck with sweet sonorous sound, and
I started up, to find that I had written no letters, but that,
tired out by my ride, and soothed by the warmth of the fire
I had fallen asleep and dreamed a dream.
I looked at the clock, but no word it spake. Its dial seemed
to be looking down upon me, the fire had nearly died out and
I went to bed thinking of my dream, and wondering whether
my gentle readers would thank me if I told it to them. So
here it is, and though many might have dressed it up in a
more polished manner, or might have made it more interesting
than I have done, yet none of us will be any the worse if we
lay the lesson to our hearts that TIME FLIES," and that "TIME
CHANGES" all things.

Bernard Hartley sat in the room allotted to him, thinking. Page 23.


SHE first night away from home, far from "the
old familiar faces," among strange scenes and
new people, is always saddening. For the first
Time we find out how much we love, and how
much we are beloved. The old trees which
sheltered the old home, and the hills which
bounded the distant landscape have become dearer to us.
The old village church overgrown with ivy is a thing of beauty
in the memory, and the old voices rise up again, although they
are miles away, and may never more be listened to.
Bernard Hartley sat in the room allotted him, thinking over
these things. His father's voice, his mother's tears rose up
before him, as things present, though twenty-four hours had
passed since he listened, and was saddened by the parting.
"Well," he said, "I have chosen my path and, with God's
help I will succeed."
He had entered the college to study for the ministry, and

24 The First Night at College.

had been well received by the professor who had charge of the
"I am glad to see you here," said the doctor, and will do
all in my power to help you, but remember you can do more
than any one by helping yourself. Perseverance, diligent study,
and a careful, prayerful determination to do right, can achieve
more than all your teachers. Go to your room for a time, and
then I will introduce you to your fellow students. To-morrow
morning you will join the classes and commence your studies."
Bernard sat with his elbow resting upon the table looking
over the landscape. How different to the quiet scenes of his
home! A broad belt of cultivated country lay between the
college and the lofty hills, at the foot of which spread out a
wide expanse of sea. The tide was just beginning to flow,
and the long waves gilt by the setting sun shone like gold.
Here and there could be seen a lonely vessel on its way to
foreign lands, bearing hearts touched with home sickness, yet
full of bright hope for fhe future. "Like life," he soliloquised,
" is the voyage of those vessels. Storm succeeds calm, and
angry billows roll over our good intentions. But at last comes
the end, the vessel gains the destined port, and man, after a
stormy life, sinks into his grave, to be thought of no more
except by the few who have clung to him by the way."
Rising to put his books and things he had brought from
home ready for him when required, he pulled out a drawer half
filled with old letters, torn magazines, and other lumber left
by the late occupier of the room. Among the papers was a
parcel tied together with red tape, and directed, to the future
occupant of my room.
Surely, that must. be me," thought Bernard, as he undid

The First Night at College.

the parcel. He looked at it for a minute, then carefully re-
placed it in the drawer till some future day, when he intended
to see what the former student could have to say to him.
Descending the stairs, he found his fellow students assembled
for their evening meal, and was introduced to them by the
president. He found himself among a cheerful lot of young
fellows, who warmly welcomed him as a future companion.
They were all young, like himself, and had a full flow of animal
spirits, which kept them bright and happy, and free from
spiritual stagnation.
It was a pleasant evening, some sang, while others played
on the piano, and in one corner of the room a knot sat reading,
and commenting upon Gray's Elegy." The hours flew by,
and bedtime seemed to come too early.
Before Bernard retired to his room, the principal took him
into his own room.
"I wish to have a little talk with you, young man, before
you settle down among us. Do you smoke ?" he asked.
"Yes, sir, a little," was the reply.
"Then always be sure that itis but a little," said the presi-
dent. I could have wished that you did not smoke at all,
but I do not like a young man to smoke in secret. Be open
in all things; honest in every way. I need not ask you whether
you drink intoxicating drinks, as I saw that you did take a
glass of beer this evening. I myself do not take it, and I wish
that all my students would follow my example; but in that
case too, I would much rather that every one acted from con-
viction than from coercion, and therefore I leave it to each
man's conscience how he shall act in the matter; and yet,
Bernard, if I could only tell you of the bright young souls who

The First Night at College.

have been ensnared by the love of drink, I think you would make
an effort to do without it. The brightest and the best have
fallen because they have looked upon the cup, and drained
its contents to their own undoing. Think over what I have
said to you, and if you can give up the pipe and the glass I
shall be glad, for your own sake, and for the power it will en-
able you to have over others. Good-night, and may our
Almighty Father bless you."
Bernard in his room thought over the kind counsel given,
and remembered that tears had stood in the good man's eyes
when he spoke of some who had made shipwreck."
The drink-yes, I will do without that," he resolved. To
resolve with him was to do. Lifting up his meerschaum, he
looked lovingly at it. It is hard to part with thee, old friend;
often when in doubt or trouble I have turned to thee, and yet
if by indulgence I cause a brother to stumble, then do I sin.
The beer, that is done with. The tobacco-well-am I not
getting too fond of thee ? In the future I will indulge but
seldom, and perhaps in the near future who knows but I may
banish thee altogether, if I see that it is my duty to do so ?
Farewell, inclination."
Bernard was thorough in all his actions. He would have
scorned to have promised his tutor that which he did not per-
form. Laying down his pipe, he opened the drawer, and took
out the manuscript evidently addressed to him. At first he
read carelessly, but soon his attention was arrested, and he
read till, seeing all lights in the building were extinguished,
he too retired; but what he had read kept him awake, and he
lay thinking over the history of the unknown, and wondering
who and where he was.

Ihe First Night at College. 27

By the first dawn of morning he was up, and, spreading the
sheets before him, he read as sad a tale as has ever met mortal
There before him was the self-confession of one who had
sinned and suffered, and worse than all, could see no hope in
the future, no chance of redemption.

I know not who may read these lines," it began, "but be
he who he may, I beg that he will pray for one who hardly
dare pray for himself-for one who can see no ray of hope in
the future, and who has had no comfort for years past.
I was an only son, and in my early years was left to the
care of one of the best of mothers. My father I do not re-
member, as he died by his own hand in a fit of delirium, when
I was only two years old. My childhood was one of happiness,
as I had every want anticipated. I was sent to the best of
schools, and got on as well as any of my fellows. Oh! how
often do I look back to those happy days, days filled with love
of all that was good, and spent amidst scenes of beauty. The
morning dawned only to bring hours of happiness, the evening
came bringing peace and refreshful rest. Those were happy
times. I studied under the curate of the parish; a good man,
who did his best to make me love all things. He was no mean
botanist, and some of my pleasantest hours were spent with
him, rambling through the quiet lanes, or by the river-side,
culling rare plants. How often have we sat, when tired in our
rambles, watching the moorhens feeding their young, or listen-
ing to the cuckoo in the woods. Those happy hours will never
come again.
"As years passed, my mother was anxious for me to fix

The First Night at College.

upon a profession. I often promised, and as often deferred to
carry out the promise made, for, do what I would, I could not
decide. By day and by night I had a lingering for excitement,
for a something I had not obtained; a craving which I could
never satisfy. I drank to drown the feeling, still it stayed with
me, and the more I drank the more I seemed to need. I
knew not then what it was which was overcoming me, and
bringing me into slavery. I know now that it was an inherited
desire for drink, a desire which was part of my being; which
was born with me, and had been transmitted to me by my
"Perhaps at that time I might have been saved, had some
kind and powerful hand been extended to help me. It is too
late now, the strong feeling has become part of my being. I
must drink or die, and yet I know truly, that the drink is
killing me.
How true it is that the sins of the fathers shall be visited
upon their children.' It is so in my case.
When about seventeen years of age I went on a visit to
London, to some of my father's relations. They were wealthy,
and kept what is termed a good table;' that means, that the
meals were costly, and the liquors flowed in abundance. I
was in my element now, as there was no one to keep me in
check. I had escaped from the control of the good curate
who might have guided me wisely. My uncle would sometimes
laugh when we met in the morning, and tell me that I had
'got it on' last night. My cousins told me that I had not
got a head to stand a night's drinking, but they never knew
how much I drank in secret.
When I returned home, after a six months' stay in London,

The First Night at College. 29

I was a confirmed drunkard. I did not go down to the village
inn and tipple with the scum of the place. I was too proud
to do that, but from morning till night I was sipping brandy, so
that I was never in my right mind. My mother grieved, but
what could she do ? I was past her control, and hardened
against her tears. In my best moments I took myself to
task, and vowed reformation. But the next week found me
breaking out again, and becoming worse than ever.
The servants gave notice to leave, for in my drunken fits
I was a maniac, and knew not what I said or did. And some-
times in the morning the parlour would show a wreck of broken
glass and chairs, the result of my debauch on the previous
night. As a last resort, my mother sent me to this college,
and placed me under the care of the principal, an old friend
of her own. God bless him; he has done his best to reform
me during the year I have been with him, but it is useless his
striving to do me good. The disease is too deeply rooted ever
to be eradicated. I cannot live without drink, and though
only a short time will pass before it will kill me, as sure as a
bullet would-and I know it-yet I cannot do without it.
"No one in the college knows why I am leaving, except the
principal. Ill-health, change of air, study is too much for my
constitution, they say, but I know the true cause, and, much
as I deplore the chain which has bound me, yet I cannot un-
link it now. It is too late to do that.
To-night the good man has knelt and prayed for me, while
the tears ran down his cheeks. But of what use are his
prayers ? He might as well pray for one of those stone statues
which have lain in yonder church for centuries. They cannot
repent and turn from the evil, neither can I.

The First Night at College.

To-morrow I shall be far away from these peaceful shades,
never more to re-visit them, bearing with me a load of wretched-
ness more than man can bear. How shall I meet my dear
mother, whom I love so fondly? She knows that her son is
ruined, but she does not know the full extent of that ruin.
She thinks that when I am twenty-five I shall come into
those thousands left me by my grandmother! What if she
knew that I have mortgaged them to feed my cursed sin I God
help her I In her case, 'ignorance is bliss' indeed. I know
not why I write these lines, nor. who may read them, yet some
impulse leads me on. If I have fallen from my high estate,'
I may serve as a beacon to some one else, as a warning against
self-indulgence. So be it. Stranger, farewell."

Bernard sat like one dazed when he had finished reading.
"Was it a romance ? Would that it were," he exclaimed,
and only the vapouring of an over-heated imagination "
But no, that could not be; there was truth in the confessions,
and he felt an awe creep over him as he replaced the sheets
in the drawer.
Where was the poor fellow now ? Oh, that he could only
see him, could only stretch out his strong arm and try to rescue
him!" His regrets were vain, the wanderer had gone out
like Cain, to roam through the beautiful world, bearing with
him a conscience ever stinging, and an evil habit day by day
sinking him deeper and deeper into degradation.
All through the day the unknown wanderer haunted the
thoughts of Bernard. "Could he do anything?" he asked
himself. But he was powerless. He could not ask any of
his fellow college chums for particulars. That would be be-

The First Night at College. 81

trying confidence, nor could he mention the matter to the
principal, as it would be like trying to pry into matters in
which he had no concern.
So the day wore on. At night he went to his bed; not to
sleep, his thoughts were heavy. "What if he were to drift
into such a state ? All great evils have small beginnings."
He could now put down his glass when he willed. His pipe
was as yet his servant, not his master; but how would it be
ten years to come ? What if he should forget prudence ?
The early dawn found him resolved, "A wiser, and a better
man he woke the morrow morning. From that day Bernard
began a new life; the dead past was buried, and the future he
was resolved should bear fruit for good.
The principal noticed the change with pleasure. "I see
you do not drink beer now, Bernard," he said one day.
"No, sir, I have given that up because I think by doing
so I shall be better able to influence my fellows, yet I would
not wish the world to think that I pride myself upon being
better than others. I have a horror upon me, afraid that the
world may think me a Pharisee."
Never mind the world, my boy," said the good doctor.
"Do thy duty for duty's sake, and leave the world to form
its own conclusions. The men who make their mark in the
world's pages care little for people's opinions; they find work
to do, and do it. That is my advice to you, my boy. Never fret
yourself as to results ; choose a good path, and follow it up.
Set a good example, and then you may depend upon it, men
will follow you without a word being spoken. What have
you done with your pipe, boy ? I have not seen you smoking

The First Night at College.

"Well, sir," said Bernard, I have not exactly discarded it
as yet, but I have lessened my allowance, and have resolved
never to smoke in public, so that I may be pleaded as a bad
example, and I hope soon to wean myself from the habit
altogether. But, doctor, you do not know how dear a pipe
may become; the lonely hours it cheers, and the companion it
"Yes-yes, I do, my lad," said the doctor, laughing; "all
that I have gone through. I remember my early days. I
have walked many miles in the wilds of Ireland, over lonely
moss and bog, meeting no one, and cheered alone with my
pipe. But I found that it was likely to become my master,
so I threw it away. But for weeks I missed it as I would have
done a loved companion. But I was firm, and from that time
I never resumed the habit; and so it must be, my boy, with
every habit which is likely to impair our usefulness, or to lead
us away from right and duty. I honour any man who has
strength of mind sufficient to enable him to throw up an evil
habit, and the dearer that habit has become, the harder it is
to throw it over, and the greater is the heroism in forsaking
the evil and seeking the good."
Bernard drank in the good advice given.
When Bernard returned home for the vacation, his friends
were astonished at the change in him. He no longer indulged
in many habits which he had thought venial only a few months
before. He was of few words, but those who saw his walk
and.conduct were constrained to admire his manly conduct,
and many were led to follow his example.
He is living now, working a good work. The children are
taught by him in many ways. Men older than himself follow

The First Night at College. SS

his leading, with benefit to themselves and to their families.
And all this good is due to that lost life whose history he
read with beating heart. The true story thus told sank deep,
and did good, and the world will be all the better for its telling.
But of the writer what can we say ?
His is not a case by itself-would that it were I Through
the whole length of the land can be heard the voice of
mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she will not
be comforted." Mothers have lost daughters, and fathers mourn
the disgrace of their sons through the habits of our land, up-
held by custom.


The Drunkard's Grave.


E. P. H.

On, come, come with me to the Drunkard's Grave,
'Tis a solemn spot, where no flow'rets wave;
Far from the tombs of the good and brave,
High waves the grass o'er the Drunkard's Grave.
Oh. weep no love may mark that spot;
Sigh, for the left ones heed it not;
And the mournful waters round it lave,
And ring a dirge to the Drunkard's Grave.

It is sweet, it is sweet, when friends depart,
To soothe a sad or breaking heart;
But love may sigh or passion rave,
They bring no hope to the Drunkard's Grave;
No tears are shed on his coffin'd clay,
To a lonely mound he is borne away,
And the snow may fall, the winds may rave,
But who will heed a Drunkard's Grave ?

When a poor man lies on his bed to die,
The tear-drop falleth from many an eye;
When a sailor sinks neathh the ocean wave,
The tears of his comrades bless his grave;
But here no love embalms the spot,
Friendship and Hope, they heed it not:
Then Oh let us spread our spells to save
Our children and friends from a Drunkard's Grave.

Their hands were full of wild flowers, gathered among the hills. Page 49.


HE world is all the better for St. Lubbock's Act
of Parliament, which defines certain days when
the shops shall be closed, and the tired toilers
shall have respite, and get away for a few hours
from the stifling warehouse or shop to revel
among the fields and dells which our great
Father has created for the benefit and pleasure of His chil-
dren. But some will tell us that it is not an unmixed bless-
ing, for many still only change the closeness of the shop for
the public-house or the beer-shop.
Agreed, my friend, yet have patience, for it takes time to
work out great changes, and lifelong habits are not shaken off
in weeks or months. Every year brings us nearer to what we
hope to see. Years ago the mass of people spent their holi-
days in. the public-house-now, only the minority of the
people do so, while tens of thousands avail themselves of the
railways, and train after train filled by men, with their wives

88 Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

and children, hurrying away to where God shows His
children hills and vales with beauty glowing."
There is not a more beautiful place in the Midlands than
Malvern. The country all around is rich in memorials of
olden times. At the camp are the earthworks which were
cast up when the Britons vainly endeavoured to beat back
the cohorts of Rome. Under the shadow of the hills lies the
old place where Bonner, afterwards known as the bad and cruel
Bishop Bonner, passed some years of his early life as tutor in
a gentleman's family. Yonder, where the river Severn rolls
its silver stream along, is the ferry where the army crossed
to drive Charles II. from his crown and country. And there
still stands the tall tower of Worcester Cathedral, upon which
Charles stood to see his soldiers massacred and his kingdom
lost. Close to the Herefordshire hill, Elizabeth Barrett Brown-
ing passed some of the happiest years of her early life, and
there she drank in that love for her fellows, which afterwards
found vent in her Cry for the Children," a poem which did
more than anything else to awaken a love between class and
class, and which paved the way for the Factory Act and for
the Bank Holidays.
The botanist can there find rare plants and flowers which
will awaken the deepest feelings of reverence. And there the
geologist discovers remains of bygone ages, when a wide and
deep sea rolled over the plain, and Malvern Hill stood out,
an island amid the waste of waters.
Spending a Bank Holiday lately at Malvern, I sallied out to
see the trains bringing in the thousands of pleasure-seekers,
and not one disreputable word did I hear from that great
,mass of human beings. The Salvation Army, with band

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

playing and streamers flying, passed across the Link and up
to the hills. Many were poor nailers from the Lye Waste-
gaunt in feature, and poorly clad, but they looked happy in
the bright sunshine, and sang lustily, if not with grace, some
of the hymns which Moody and Sankey have made so well
I joined in the crowd, and watched rank after rank march
by. As one tall fellow passed with his wife and two chil-
dren, I heard the people saying to each other, That's he." I
felt an interest, and therefore enquired the history of the hero
of a hundred eyes." I learned that he had been a celebrated
pugilist, a poacher, and everything which the laws of the
country considered bad.
The Army passed on, and soon was lost in the breadth of the
wild country, which extends for miles around, and over the
hills, I had almost forgotten the man with well-knit frame
and strong determined face, when, turning into a gully which
ran under a spur of the Worcestershire Beacon, I saw a family
taking a meal alfresco. In a moment I recognized the keen
eye and stalwart frame. But could I for a moment think of
that man as connected with deeds of lawlessness ? Why, here
he was as docile as a lamb. The basket was open, and he was
busy cutting up bread, upon which he placed pieces of meat
ready for the occasion, and I noticed that the children were
served first, then the mother, and not till then did the ex-
poacher serve himself. There was something so home-like,
and so-yes, I will say it, for it is a good old English word-
so comfortable, my heart went out to the man, and I hailed
him as a brother, never mind what his past may have been.
SThere are none of us any better than we ought to be. Here

40 Dank Holiday amongst the Hills.

he was clothed and in his right mind," attending the children
which God had given him with a loving and a fatherly care.
I determined to know more of the man and his antecedents.
Well, it was the old, old, story. A man-child was born into
the world with strong passions and strong body. The Govern-
ment of the country has kindly provided for such. When the
high spirit, after the fatigues of the day, rebels against the
dull routine of life, have they not provided the public-house ?
And when the strong man is palled by the sameness of every-
day life, has he not the gin-shop in which he can recreate
himself ?
It was so with Ben. He soon learned his trade. He was
quick and strong, and could earn good wages. The iron trade
was good, and puddlers could earn much more than many
clergymen have to live upon. But it was as quickly spent as
earned. Ben early began to spend his spare time at the public,
and of course, learned no good there, but everything bad. He
had a good mother, who while she lived kept watch over him.
The time came when she could watch no more, and then
he went to the bad.
In one of the public-house brawls Ben showed such pluck
that his name at once was made as a noted bruiser,' and soon
men with money backed him against all comers. Once he stood
up against a noted man from Nottingham, punching and being
punched, while thousands of his fellow men stoodaround, ex-
ulting and huzzaing as the cruel blows were given, which
might have ended either of the lives of the men engaged.
The man or woman who begins to descend the hill of
iniquity seldom pauses. The descent is so gradual but so sure,
that few who begin the journey halt till they get to the bottom,
where is the gate of death.

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills. 41

Sometimes in sober moments, Ben would call to mind old
times, when in his childhood he went with his mother to the
church in his native village. Then he might with Burns have

"It pleased Thee to form me with passions wild and strong,
And listening to their witching voice has oft-times led me wrong."

The sports of the Black Country have always been rough
and inhuman. Dog-fighting and cock-fighting were for years
fashionable, not only among the lower orders, but even men
of position and wealth were known to find funds and to
patronise by their presence such brutal sports. Only a few
years ago the most popular sport was to be found in baiting
bulls, and the owner of a bull-dog which could pin the bull by
the nose, and which could hold on the longest without being
shaken off by the poor brute, was esteemed a lucky man, to
be envied by his fellows. Of course Ben was to the fore in all
these so-called sports.
The magistrates had for years allowed such things to go on,
only now and again waking up to make a feeble protest. At
last they were determined to put a stop to such lawlessness.
The wake came round-a feast which had begun in honour
of the opening of the church in the parish, but which had de-
generated into a carnival of human thraldom.
The bull was chained to stakes driven into the ground, and
dog after dog had been let loose with varying fortunes. The
poor beast, quivering with pain, exerted his strength till the
pin which, had held him was withdrawn from the ground.
Then arose a cry A lane! a lane! "-a signal that the bull
had broken loose, and a notice for all to clear the way. The

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

poor brute dashed through the crowd, overturning a cart loaded
with men and women, for women formed a large part of the
cruel crowd.. People were thrown to the ground to be trampled
upon, and those who could not get out of the way were gored
by the angry bull.
This was the time chosen by the police to execute the
orders given them, to apprehend the ringleaders. The fight
soon grew fast and furious. The policemen struck with their
staves, but the colliers and puddlers had got sticks, and used
them with vigour; but some of the well-disposed gave help,
and in the end most of the ringleaders were captured and placed
in prison. Among them was Ben.
When the news reached his cottage, his wife was frantic.
She clasped her child to her bosom, and wept in agony. She
had been reared in a respectable home; to her there was no
lower depth of disgrace than being locked up in a dungeon.
The shame was more than she could bear. Wrapping her
child up, she hastened to the police office. The inspector knew
her, and though he was respectful to her, yet he was firm, nor
could all her pleadings obtain an interview with one she
loved too truly, and so well. Through the long night she
rocked herself on her chair, full of fear for the morrow.
Many of the police had been wounded, and the magistrates
determined to be severe with those who had taken a prominent
part in the riot. Ben was proved to have been the leader,
and was sentenced to three months' hard labour.
Time flew on. Kind friends pitied the wife and mother who
had lost her bread-winner. When the term of imprisonment
had expired, Ben was met at the prison gate by his wife. Her
face wore the old smile, but the roses had left her cheek; she
was wan and care-worn.

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills. 48

Strange it is, yet nevertheless true, that seldom do those
who, are sent to prison for amendment come out amended.
Ben had met within those walls his masters in law-break-
ing. What he had not known before, unprincipled men had
taught him. From that day he became a changed man, and
changed for the worse.
Regular work became distasteful to him. To lounge in a
low public-house during the day, and to poach the preserves of
his richer neighbours by night, was theheight of his aspiration.
Often he and his companions came in contact with the keepers,
but Ben's strength of arm and ready wit, generally brought
them off in safety.
But how about his home ? There were two children now
who sometimes would have wanted bread but for their
brave and persevering mother. She turned her hand to any-
thing she could to keep the wolf from the door. Many a winter
night she sat shivering with cold, stitching away through the
dark and silent hours till the grey dawn, starting at every
sound, and wondering whether some one was coming to tell
her that her erring one was taken. Sometimes the policeman
would knock at the door to ask whether Ben was at home.
Then oh! how great the struggle between her love and truth.
Not one word would she utter to convict her husband of wrong-
doing, and yet she could not tell a lie, and often her face was
covered with her hands, while the tear-drops rained through
her fingers. Even the police respected and pitied her.
The bowl which often goes to the wellis sure to be broken
at last," says the proverb, and the man or woman who will
persist in evil-doing is sure some time to meet with retribu-
tion. It came at last to Ben.

44 Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

Christmas was coming, when all the shops where game was
sold made a grand display. Ben knew the market, and knew
that any amount of game could be disposed of. The park of
Haslemere had not been shot over that season. The pheas-
ants were as tame as barn-door fowls, and the hares and
rabbits were in crowds, eating up the cottagers' garden, and
paying destructive visits to the farmer's turnip fields.
On a dark night, Ben with his companions set out. For a
time they met with success, but in the middle of their foray
a body of keepers surprised them. The poachers were de-
termined not to lose their spoil, so fought with double
determination. After a desperate fight the keepers were
driven off, all but one poor fellow who lay on the ground
wounded so severely that he could neither fly nor offer further
The poachers' blood was up, and one, more savage than the
rest, proposed to throw the wounded keeper in the mere.
Then arose what was good in poor benighted Ben's mind.
Placing one foot on each side of the wounded man, he said,
"No, the poor fellow is hurt enough; he fought fairly and
bravely, and if any man dare touch him again, I'll knock his
senses out of him."
His companions stared, but they knew that their leader was
a man of his word, and able to make good his threat.
The nets were gathered up, and the game divided, and
along the dark lanes the free-booters took their way, leaving
the wounded keeper in the wood.
The next day the police apprehended six men, who were com-
mitted by the magistrates to the Worcester assizes.
Many will remember that day, bright with glorious sunshine,

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills. 45

when the six men were brought before the judges, to answer
for their misdeeds. It came out in the keeper's evidence that
one man prevented him from being thrown into the mere and
drowned, but which of the men it was who so interfered he could
not tell. Then ensued such a scene as perhaps has hardly
ever been witnessed in that court-house or any other. The
judge, addressing the prisoners, said,
There is one man among you who showed Christian feel-
ing towards the poor keeper when in sore trouble. There is
surely something good in him, and if I knew which of you so
interfered, I would do all in my power to repay that kindness.
You all know which of you it was, and if you think proper to
name him, his sentence will be lighter than that of the re-
mainder of you."
There was silence in the court, and the men in the dock looked
at each other, but no one spoke.
After a long pause, the judge said,
I do not think any the worse of you for not telling of each
other, though I am sorry to see such fine athletic men putting
at defiance the laws of the country. Your sentences will be
much lighter than they might have been, because there is one
man among you I would willingly spare, and I shrink from
being as severe as I could be, because I might be heavy upon
that man who has yet some kindness in his heart, and I do
not know which among you is that man."
The sentence was a long term of imprisonment, which Ben
took along with the rest.
The term, though long, came to an end, and when the prison
gate once more opened, the same smiling face welcomed Ben
into the outer world-the same face, but wrinkled with care.

46 Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

The once ebony locks, sprinkled over with grey. Yet there
was the same warm heart and willing hand to welcome him
as in the days gone by.
Ben returned to his native place, and for a time was steady,
but the wakes came round again, and friends (?) asked him just
to go down to the Bull and Beggar," to have only one pint.
Pint followed pint, till the man became mad. All good resolu-
tions went to the winds, and the strong man struck down in
his madness that helpmate who had borne with him and helped
him through so much.
Who can paint the feelings which filled his heart, when next
morning he saw the marks of his heavy hand on the face of
the woman he loved so truly ?
Me ? he cried. Me strike you, Mary ?"
The answer was soft, but it went home.
"No, not you, Ben, but that cursed drink which had become
your master, and which had driven you mad."
The minister of the parish called, having heard of the case.
"Now, Ben, my fine fellow," he said, "I know that there
are but few men you would not dare to strike, but I certainly
am surprised to hear of your striking a woman, and that
woman your faithful, loving wife."
Ben cried like a child.
"You must give up the drink," continued the parson; "to
that you owe all your troubles."
"Don't you drink any, sir ? said Ben.
"I do," was the reply; but if you will give it up from this
day, then so will I, and here's my hand upon the bargain."
Ben took the parson's hand in his, and with a fervent grasp,
vowed with God's help to turn over a new leaf. And it was a
turning-point, a turning to the right.

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills. 47

SIn connection with the iron works where Ben was employed,
were some coal pits at which worked a number of men, who
raised coal to supply the works. There was no apparent danger
when they went down the pit in the morning, but about mid-
day a loud noise was heard, a noise which, once heard, can
never be forgotten. Large bodies of flame and smoke were
belched from the pit's mouth, and scores of screaming women
ran towards the pit bank, screaming, "The pit's fired! "
A crowd soon collected, and when the smoke had cleared
away, volunteers were asked to step forward who would des-
cend into the pit to the help of the injured and the dying.
Then men looked at each other for a moment, but the loud
voice of one man rang out above the sobs of the women and
"Come, lads, let's go down and help the poor fellows;"
and Ben stepped to the front, where he was soon joined by
others. How often we see men among us born to command,
whose voice always leads, and whose word is never questioned.
Ben was one of those men.
There were five men who volunteered-five heroes who
went down into darkness with their lives in their hands.
It was a sad sight which met them when they had descended
into the pit. Men were there with blanched faces, and some
were half delirious with pain, for the fire-damp had swept
through the workings.
Now, lads, those who be hurt worst to go up first," was
Ben's remark.
Several were placed in the skip, but just then a serious de-
fect was observed in the chain which served to carry the skip
up and down; one of the links had become fractured, and was

43 Bank Hohluay amongst the tills.

broken half through. Would it carry the poor fellows to the
top ? There was some hesitation, but Ben got in, placing the
poor wounded men in as easy positions as possible. The
fracture looked dangerous, but Ben placing his strong hand
upon the chain, and the swollen sinews of his brawny arm told
how tight was the grip with which he held on. But when his
mates hurried to take his burden, as he and his wounded com-
rades emerged into the light of day, they observed that the
broken link had worked through the flesh, and the blood was
trickling fast from his hand. The surgeon would have kept Ben
while he attended to his hurt, but he hastened away, after
wrapping up his hand, saying it was only a scratch.
He was soon below again, sending up load after load of
wounded and trembling human beings, nor till the last man
was safely stowed did he take his place in the last skip. When
he arrived safe, a cheer arose from the assembled crowd, and
weeping women and men crowded around him to pour bless-
ings upon him. The vicar pressed his hand, saying,
I knew there was a deal of good in you, Ben."
But the strain had been too great, and the strong man
swooned away. Arms kindly carried him to his cottage, where,
laid upon his bed, he wept tears of thankfulness.
Fifty lives had been saved, and only just in time, for in half-
an-hour after the last man left the pit a fiercer flame swept
through the workings and set the pit on fire.
The proprietors of the works were loud in praise of what
he had done. His fellow-workmen looked up to him as
their deliverer, and women blessed him as the preserver of
sons and husbands dear to them.
Years have passed since that fearful morning. The works

Bank Holiday amongst the Hills, 49

are still there, and Ben is one of the most respectable and
God-fearing among the workmen. His' wife and children are
a comfort to him, and his cottage is a pattern of cleanliness.
His garden is the best kept of any, and when the early
flowers appear, he may be seen watching the bees as they
fly from one to another of his choice darlings.. Surely the
latter part of that man's life is better than the first. His
strength is used to good purpose. His example is one which
all may copy, and be the better for following.
The vicar passes many an hour by his fireside, talking over
good measures to benefit the poor of the parish. But the
"Bull and Beggar" is there still, playing at "beggar my
neighbour." Many enter those doors to find ruin at the end
of their course, and but few have the strong will like Ben to
cut the Gordian knot, and throw over the habits of evil which
get them in their toils.
And yet we know not how many have been benefited by
the example of such a life. Till that day when all things
are known," we shall not be able to say what poor stumbler
on life's journey has "taken heart again" from seeing what
Ben has been able to do, with God's help.

The shadows of evening were coming on. The sun was
gilding the top of the hill, but mists hung in the hollows.
The band of the Salvation Army struck up one of its sweetest
tunes, and the stragglers gathered on the Link ready for the
return train. In the long procession walked that man, again
proudly looking from wife to children as they passed on by
his side, laughing in the fullness of heart over some trifling
circumstance of the day. Their hands were full of wild flowers,

50 Bank Holiday amongst the Hills.

gathered among the hills, which would be carried to smoky
streets and rows, and for many a day would call back the happy
day spent amongst the beauteous scenes of nature.
The bell rang at the station, the engine snorted and the
train passed out, and away across the country. The shades
of night came on; all was quiet, and the summer wind passed
by like a zephyr. I pondered over what I had seen and heard.
Ben had passed away from my sight, perhaps for ever, but I
could not.but exclaim, "What hath God wrought I"


It was a long trial, and the lawyers did their best on both sides, Page 63.


ASSING down one of the principal streets in Bir-
mingham the other day, my attention was drawn
to some alterations going on at a public-house.
The old house had been pulled down, and in its
place was being reared a palace.
I stopped to gaze a moment.
"Ah! thought I, "this looks as though drinkdom was
The old-fashioned country-looking tavern had served our
fathers and grandfathers, but now their sons, waxing proud,
must have plate-glass and fine architecture. The windows
must be emblazoned with the insignia of the trade. Gilding
and paint must be called in to make the place gaudy. Fools'
pence will pay for it,- and broken-hearted women and half-
starved children will suffer for this enlargement of the old
The owner of the place had an eye to business, for while

54 his way to the Bar.

the alterations were going on a small corner was kept open,
and on the boards surrounding, was chalked up, "This way to
the Bar."
"That man has said more than he intended," I said to
myself. He little thought when he was using his chalk, and
writing upon those boards, what a terrible fact he was making
public, and how truly he was pointing out to niany a'poor
soul the way, not only to the bar of the Royal George,' but
the way to another bar, too, where those, once appearing,
leave behind them character, and often every hope in life."
As I went about my daily business, my thoughts flew back to
past years, and the memory of the many I had known, who, from
forming loose habits learned at one bar, had passed from bad
to worse till they stood at the bar of their country to answer
for crimes done under the excitement occasioned by the drink-
ing habits learned at such bars as I had just passed. I
thought of many, but my mind dwelt upon one case in particu-
lar-poor Rowley Rawlings. His name was Rowland, but
everybody called him Rowley. It was years ago. I was just
leaving school, and my parents were anxious that I should
get into some business, so that I might learn how to make a
living for myself in future years.
"Let the lad come to me for a bit," said a friend of my
father's. He was a money-agent, one who discounted bills
and lent money out on interest. And so I went into the
office of Mr. Peter Pardoe, to learn something of the ways of
the world.
Peter was a 'cute man, ever ready to accommodate good men,
as he termed them, with any amount, upon their signing
certain forms. But there were some men whose word he

This way to the Bar. 55

would not take at any price. For their especial service, there
was a small snug office provided, in which were strong iron
safes wherein they could leave their watches or any piece of
plate they could spare.
I remember well my first introduction to that strong room.
The window was high and secured by stout iron bars. A
counter ran along the middle of the room, which was
guarded by strong wood-work running up to the ceiling,
yet open to let the light through from the window. In the
lightest corner of the apartment was an enclosure, in which
Peter had files and acids to test the articles brought to pawn.
The door was coated with strong plates of iron, and above
the door hung what looked like an elongated iron horse-shoe.
I had seen the horse-shoes in many of the old houses, which
the old women hung up to scare witches and to bring good
luck. But this one was of another pattern.
I had been inducted into my business, and things went on
well, but I could not keep my eyes from that strong and massive
piece of iron-work. Perhaps Peter had noticed my looking
up, for, later in the day he said,
"There's one thing I have not explained; you see that
thing hanging over the door ? Well, that is my patent
fastener which converts this room into a rat-trap, out of which
no one can escape. You see this knob ? Well, pull this, and,
you see, down comes that hasp over the door, and the cleverest
or the strongest man has no chance of getting out only by
crushing through this small window and coming over the
counter. But then, you see, I am ready for him. Then, look
here over my desk at these bull dogs," and leading me
into his little sanctum, he pointed to two horse pistols hung

This way to the Bar.

on a frame. They are always loaded and ready for use," he
said. "Now see how that thing works; it is my own in-
vention." And, pulling the knob he -had pointed out, down
came the machine over the door with a bang, which made me
start. We don't often have to use it; only now and then.
I generally pull the knob myself, but should I at any time not
be able to get at it, I shall say, 'Bob I' as though I were call-
ing you. Your name of course is not Bob, and so you will
understand that when I do call you Bob, why then you have
to bob your hand down as quick as a shot and pull that knob,
and the job's done.
The machinery was put in order again, and the business
went on.
Our office was close to the Cavalry Barracks, and very often
an officer's servant would come in with some article of jewellery
to leave for a time. And sometimes one of the officers would
come in just at the close of evening when the shadows were
falling, to leave his gold watch, or diamond ring, only for a
few days." They all say that "Remittances had failed, or
they had been so unlucky." The money was advanced and
the article carefully put away till called for. In none of those
cases had the office to be converted into a rat-trap.
I was beginning to take but little interest in the matter. The
novelty was wearing off, and the horse-shoe hung there almost
unnoticed by me.
One spring morning the town woke up to learn with horror
that the house of a widow lady in the surburbs of the town
had been broken into in the night and a great deal of property
carried away.
The poor old lady was found insensible. Whether she had

This way to the Bar. 57

been ill-used, or the fright had been too much for her, no
one knew. She was old and harmless. Living in a detached
house with only her two servants, the robbers had no one to
prevent them carrying away what they thought proper to take.
Public opinion was very strong upon the matter, as the old
lady gave freely to all the charitable institutions, and was well
beloved. Had the thieves been taken red-handed, lynch-law
would have been their lot. As it was, some hours had elapsed
when a milkman, on passing the house to milk his cows in an
adjoining field, saw one of the servants with scared face,
making signs from an upstair window. He found the front door
open, and the hall strewn with articles dropped in their hurry
by the thieves, or thrown away as not valuable enough to be
troubled with. The mistress of the house was found extended
by the side of her bed insensible.
The runners," as the police of that day were called, were
soon on the spot, and a list, as far as possible, of the stolen
articles made out and sent to the printer's.
My master was full of the news, and over and over again
said to his wife, he hoped the rogues would be caught,
About the middle of the morning two of the "runners "
came into the office. Their names were Spittle and Hall.
They had brought a printed list.
Keep your eyes open," said Hall. "I'll bet a guinea we
nab some of the gentlemen before the day's out." Handing
in the list, they departed to warn similar shop-keepers.
A gold repeater and a silver tea-pot were among the things
stolen. I well remember the master reading out about the
repeater, as I had often wondered what sort of a watch it must

58 This way to the Bar.

But the day passed by, and when the people of the town
went to bed, they went sorrowing that the evil-doers had not
been discovered, and wondering whose turn it would be next
to be visited by the thieves.
About eleven the next morning, I was busy sorting out some
papers, when I heard the door of the office open. Looking up,
I saw a face I shall never forget. It was that of a young man
about twenty-two, pale, with a thoughtful, anxious look upon
it. The hat was pulled down low, but not low enough to hide
the clustering hair which hung in short curls.
The master went to the counter to attend to the customer.
"Will you lend me ten pounds on my poor old father's
watch, Mr. Pardoe ? I only want it for a few days "-the old
story-" I would not take ten times the amount for it, as I
cherish it for poor old father's sake."
The master took the watch in his hand, turned into his little
glass box, and said, Bob !"
As quick as thought, I pulled the knob. The horse-shoe
fell with a clang, and the poor fellow was in the rat-trap. He
turned and threw himself against the door. It was of no avail.
"How dare you! he cried. "I'll make you pay for this.
Give me my watch back."
"Now, take my advice, young man," said my master.
Sit down quietly. If this is your watch, you shall have it;
but I can't part with it till I have shown it to someone else."
The young fellow made as if he would come across the
counter to regain the watch.
This is loaded," said my master, pointing one of the pistols
towards him, and if you offer violence, I will pull the trigger,
let the consequence be what it may."

This way to the Bar. 59

The poor fellow sat down on the end of the seat, trembling
in every limb. How I wished he could escape; but there was
no chance of that.
In a quarter of an hour the runners had arrived. They
came the back way, and so were on our side of the counter.
How quickly and anxiously they approached the little open-
ing and stared at the poor trembling wretch !
Hall, taking the watch in his hand, compared the maker's
name and number with his list. Yes, it was the watch stolen
from Myrtle Cottage.
"Where did you get this watch from ? said Hall.
"Am I obliged to tell ? was the reply.
"Oh, no," said Hall, "you have no need to say anything;
and, remember, what you do say will be evidence against you.
I am sorry for you; because I knew your father and mother
before you were born. I knew you were going wrong, but I
never thought you would do anything like this. You must
come with us." Slipping the hand-cuffs upon him, the horse-
shoe was raised, the door opened, and the pale face passed out
into the sunlight.
In a minute, Spittle put his face in the doorway-" Have
you anyone who would run down and tell his mother, he
wants to know ?"
Oh, yes," said my master. And the runner's face was
My master was not a bad man; and he sorrowed deeply.
His wife sobbed out, Oh I Peter, if it were one of our lads."
And then she cried the harder.
Who should be the bearer of the sad news to Mrs. Rawlings ?
Neither the master nor mistress could trust themselves upon
the errand. But the woman's wit was equal to the task.

60 This way to the Bar.

Write a note, Peter," the wife said, "and send it."
The note was written, and I was sent with it.
The town of Birmingham was not so large then as it is now
In my youth it was a respectable village for size; now it has
spread out its arms, taking in field after field, till it has become
a giant.
It was a white house down in Bloomsbury.I was directed to,
and at that time it was the pleasantest part of the town. On
one side was the old Vauxhall, surrounded by a belt of trees,
from the tops of which the rooks made pleasant music all day
long. In that old house, the Holt family lived in splendour,
three centuries ago. In front were the grounds of Duddeston
Hall, where Squire Galton lived with his family. They were
wealthy and proud, and at that time no name stood higher
among the bankers and merchants of the town.
The sun was shining brightly, and the birds were singing
among the trees as I went on my errand. Boy as I was, I
could not but feel for the poor woman I was going to see.
Nor could I forget the pale face of her son. I thought of the
words, He was an only son, and his mother was a widow."
I soon found the house, and was let in by a neat servant
girl. She showed me into a nicely-furnished sitting-room.
While I was waiting for the old lady's entrance, I had time to
look around. I had never seen greater neatness displayed.
Everything seemed in its place. There, on the wall, hung the
portrait of the young man, the son of so much hope and prayer.
On a footstool, by the fire-side, were his slippers, worked in
coloured silk, and waiting for the return of one who was never
more to enter that house. On the sideboard lay his meerschaum
pipe, and above it hung his smoking-cap, placed there by a
loving mother's hands. My heart felt sad when I looked around

This way to the Bar. 61

and saw so much comfort, which had been so ruthlessly
The door opened, and the old lady stood in the doorway look-
ing at me with wonder in her eyes, as to my message for her.
To my dying day I shall never forget that minute. She stands
before me now-a short body, with hair just turning grey.
The colour had not deserted her face, and her large blue eyes
were turned full upon me. She wore a black silk dress, and
over her shoulders was a cream-coloured crape shawl. Her cap
was the neatest and prettiest I think I ever saw upon a woman's
Advancing towards me with a smile, she said,
Do you want to see me ? "
I told her that I had brought a note from Mr. Pardoe, and
held it out to her;' but my hand shook.
Mr. Pardoe of Great Brook Street ? she asked.
"Yes," I answered.
"Oh, I know him I think," she said, and took the note and
opened it.
I looked upon her face as she read it. The rosy hue faded
away, and in its place came-not a whiteness, but an ashy,
unwholesome colour. She sat down, and dropping the note
into her lap, looked at me.
Have you seen my Rowley-my son ? she asked.
This time her voice had lost the sweet note it had when she
first spoke to me, and had acquired a hard metallic ring.
I hardly knew what to say-I was but a child, and never
ought to have been sent upon such an errand. I am afraid
I told her more than I ought to have done, and yet I tried my
best not to do so; but a mother's love is ever anxious about

62 This way to the Bar.

her darling, and who knows what she had feared about him ?
She rang the bell and the servant entered the room.
The poor old lady struggled against her feelings, but they
were too strong for her to control them. She sank back in
her chair and swooned into happy unconsciousness.
The servant hastened to her help. I asked if I could be of
any assistance.
"No" she said, her mistress would soon be better; she had
these sort of fits sometimes."
So I left the house. I suppose the sun was still shining as
brightly, and the birds singing as sweetly as when an hour be-
fore I passed that way. But I could not tell. All was
dark around me, for I had just been in the presence of a deep
and solemn sorrow which had frozen up my joyousness.
I hastened back to the office and told the result of my
God help the poor soul! said Mr. Pardoe. Then, turning
to his wife, he said, "Go down, Peggy, and comfort the poor
woman. You women-folk understand each other better than
we men-folk. Tell her we will do anything and everything
we can to help her, if she will let us do so, for I know the
Rawlings have always been proud, and never let their neigh-
bours meddle with their affairs; but this is a case out of the
While he was talking, his wife was preparing for her
journey, and was soon on her way to pour some little comfort
into the broken heart.
On the following Thursday, the case came on at the Public
Office in Moor Street, before Mr. Richard Spooner.
When the prisoner was brought into the dock, I question

This way to the Bar. 63

whether his mother would have known him, so greatly was he
There was no doubt about his being in possession of the
watch, but how did it come into his hands ?
He stated that he had been playing at bagatelle with some
strange gentlemen, and had won several pounds from one of
them, who, having no money, had taken this watch out of his
pocket and asked him to pawn it, telling him he might keep
what he had won and pay over the difference.
But you said it was your father's watch, did you not ?"
asked the magistrate.
The prisoner held down his head, but answered never a
Who were the men you were playing with ? was the next
The prisoner answered that he had never seen them before.
The servants at the house which had been robbed said they
could not swear that the young man at the bar was one of the
men who broke into the house, but he was very much like one
of them.
He was committed to Warwick Assizes to stand his trial.
There were no railways at that time. All travellers from
Birmingham journeyed by old Pugh's Coach, which started
out of New Street, from near the old Grammar School, and
was drawn by four black Flemish horses with long manes and
The trial came on before Mr. Baron Parke, a cool, and most
likely, a very just judge, but there seemed but little mercy in
that set face and those calm, cold steel eyes.
It was a long trial, and the lawyers did their best on both
sides, but the apparent guilt was great. And then it was shown,

64 This way to the Bar.

that, for several years, Rowley had been under the surveil-
lance of the police. He was known to drink day after day, and
to gamble at all hours. He followed no settled occupation,
but depended upon his mother, who had a small income. He
had never been in custody before, but he had often been seen
in the company of those who were known as bad characters.
One gentleman got into the box to give him a character.
He said, that for years the young man had.been very steady,
till he began to frequent a certain public-house, where a free-
and-easy' was held, and where a great deal of gambling was
carried on. He had acquired a love for drink and low com-
pany, had lost his situation through his drinking habits, and
for the last two years had led a very unsteady life."
The judge sat there immovable, and a stranger might have
wondered whether he had heard all that had been said; but
that wonder would have been dissolved when he heard the charge
to the jury. Not a word had fallen unheeded, nor unremem-
bered. The charge was lucid, keen, and searching, but dead'
against the prisoner. The jury were only about a quarter of
an hour in consultation. You might have heard a pin drop
when the question was asked,
"How say you-guilty or not guilty ? "
"Guilty, my lord," said the foreman, in a low voice, which
sounded like a sentence given sorrowfully against the will of
the man who uttered it.
Fourteen years' transportation was the sentence, and then
poor Rowley tottered down, to be seen no more among free
men in this world.
At that time transports were sent to Botany Bay, and
among a ship load of convicts was Rowley, but not before he
had sent for his lawyer to make a confession to him.

This way to the Bar.

I was one of the men who robbed the house," he said; I
went with two more. I did not know where we were going,
nor what we were to do. I was to drunk at the time to know
anything, and next morning-I could hardly believe it-I had
the watch in my pocket, which was given to me by one of the
men who went inside the house. I kept watch by the mile-
stone, and was to cough if anyone came up or down the road.
Do what you can for my mother, don't let her know of my
disgrace, tell her I have gone away to America, and shall be
back after a bit."
He sailed away-one of that load of sin, but he never reached
the end of the voyage. On the way, he forced his head through
a port-hole, up to which the waves rose as the vessel pitched.
He was dead when the warder by main force pulled his body
His mother never knew the full particulars of his crime, nor
his fate. She sank into a dazed state, seldom speaking to
anyone. She everyday placed his slippers on the footstool,
and carefully wiped his meerschaum pipe, and then she sat
down, quietly waiting for one who never came.
And so she calmly sank away. Each month found that
cheek thinner and paler. No murmur escaped her lips. In
her brighter moments she read the story of the "Man of
sorrows, Who was acquainted with grief."
Her grief was deep and sad. No man hurt her by breathing
a hard word in her hearing, but her soul was bruised, and
"Ne'er comes spring or summer to the winter of the mind."
When she passed away, loving hands laid her to sleep in the
beautiful graveyard of Aston Church, at that time a rural
country churchyard, far away from the town's turmoil, Now

This way to the Bar.

it is surrounded by busy streets; but the sleepers sleep on and
never waken, let the noise be ever so great. Nought can dis-
turb them till that awful morning, when, at the Great trump,"
Heaven and earth shall pass away, and the sleepers awake to
sleep no more.
Years have passed away. Change and decay on all around
I see "; yet old memories will well up, and old facts will rise
to the surface. If, by telling them, one young life shall be
saved, one home made happy, or one only be prevailed upon
to retrace his steps, if he has begun the downward road, then
telling an old'story will not be in vain.
Be sure that thousands who frequent the bar of the public-
house are training for the bar in another locality.
It is strange how thought expands, and how busy the mind
is. Who would have thought when I looked on those chalk
marks, that memory would have brought back a true story, to
prove that the man wrote truth when he scribbled,

The chairman was in the middle of a speech. Page 71.


AM BEESLEY was a man of his word, and
amongst the five hundred men who were his
fellow workmen at the Cyclops Foundry not
one but had a good word for Sam." If there
was trouble in a fellow-workman's home, Sam
was the man who on pay-day would take off his
hat, and, dropping a shilling into it, go round and say, "Come
mates, let's try to help a lame dog over the stile."
But yet Sam had one fault-he would work like a slave, but
when he had got his wages he would linger at the Saracen's
Head," and drink as long as he had a companion to drink with
him, and then, as often happened, he would reel home far from
Often his wife would try to persuade him to come home,
and he as often promised to do so; at the time he fully in-

A Man of his Word.

tended to keep his word, but one or other would persuade him
to have only a pint, and that one begot a desire for another,
so the good resolution was vanquished, and Sam went on the
old old way.
There was a strange excitement one evening in the
Saracen's tap, for the teetotallers had taken the national
school, in which to give a lecture upon Temperance, and some
one had brought a bill announcing the meeting, into the very
citadel of drinkdom.
They are funny folks, these teetotallers," said Joe Griffin.
"It is only to sell his tea that John Cadbury takes the
chair," said Bob Eccles. "It helps his trade."
Well, I don't know about that," said one of the company;
" the Cadburys are good people. What friends they are to the
General Hospital! they give time and money to it, and they
never refuse any of our chaps a note when he meets with an
accident. I think they mean well, but, la I it's all a mistake,
men can't live without beer. What made us beat old Boney
and the frog-eating French-men, at Waterloo, but the beef
and the beer of old England, eh ? "
The argument seemed too strong to be gainsaid, so each
man drained his cup, and felt convinced that he was doing
his duty in drinking deep of that which was such a friend to
his country.
Well, I should like to hear what they've got to say against
the beer," said Ben Baylis. "Let's go; we are sure to have
some fun." With all my heart," said Bob Eccles, but let
us have another pint all round, and then go."
It was a large meeting that had assembled within the walls
of the old national school. A few there were whose minds

A Man of his Word.

had been awakened to the evil which the drink was working
to themselves and their fellows. But the greater part of the
audience had assembled to get some fun out of the cold-water
drinkers. And among that class were Sam and his fellows.
The chairman was in the middle of a speech, pointing
out the evils of drink, and earnestly exhorting all to flee from
it. He had got warmed by his work, and was pointing out
how great a thief to the working man's wife and children the
drink craze had been, when Bob Eccles broke out with,

The roast beef of old England,
Oh, the old English roast beef.'

His companions joined in the song, and the chairman's
address was drowned in the chorus. Some of the leaders of
the meeting became wroth, and were for ejecting the most
"Let them alone," said good John Cadbury; "I only wish
that they may all get more roast beef and less beer."
This sally put some of the rioters in good temper, so that
they were better inclined to listen to the speeches. But when
the pledge-book was opened, and the audience were invited
to come forward and enroll themselves as members, the fun
began again. All were on tip-toe to see who would enter
the cold streams. A man who could give up his beer and
begin a new and steady life was looked upon as a strange
animal,-one worth looking at.
But the surprise was greatest when Sam Beesley, far from
sober, walked up to the table, and seizing a pen, inscribed
his name, in letters large and of various form.

A Man of his Word.

His shopmates were at first surprised, and then they broke out
into a loud laugh. They had come for a lark, and this was the
funniest part of the performance. Striking up-
"Willie brewed a peck of maut,"
they staggered out of the room, and Sam went home
oblivious of what he had done. In the morning he had for-
gotten all about his writing his name, and stoutly denied it
when rallied by his companions.
"Why, you did, Sam," said Bob Eccles. "I saw you
myself; your letters were like the bars of a gridiron, only not
so straight."
"Well," said Sam, I don't remember much about it, but
if I did, I did, and that's all about it. But I will go and
ask Mr. Cadbury at dinner-time."
When the bell rang for dinner, instead of going straight
home, Sam went into Bull street, where Mr. Cadbury was busy
in his shop. "Did I sign the pledge last night, Mr. Cadbury ? "
he asked.
"Yes, friend, thee did," was the reply, "and here is thy
name, and I am proud of thee."
"Well," said Sam, "I didn't know anything about it, but
as I have signed, why, then I will keep it. I am a man of my
word, and I'll stick to it. But I almost wish I had not done
"Thou wilt never have cause to repent, friend," said the
Quaker. Thou hast seen folly enough, and now thou wilt
see the happiness which will come to thee and thine by turn-
ing over a new leaf."
When Sam had had his dinner, he returned to his work.

A Man of his Word.

"Well, Sam," asked one as soon as he entered the shop,
"did you or did you not sign last night ?"
"I did," said Sam, for I have seen the book, and what is
more, lads, I mean to stick to it."
"For how long ? asked Bob,-" for a week ?"
"For my life, lads," said Sam.
Oh! how they laughed when Sam said that. The idea
Sam to do without his beer! "Impossible," some said;
impossible, all thought.
Sam felt queer for the first week or two, the hours in the
evenings seemed so long. But then there were the cheer-
ful voices of his children prattling to him of the incidents
of their daily lives, incidents very trifling to the grown-up
man, yet full of interest to the future man and woman.
There were no more late hours, all things were ordered
with regularity in his home, and the mornings never brought
regret for the hours misspent the night before.
He will soon be back at the Saracen's Head' again," said
some, "Let him alone." But they were false prophets. He
never entered the doorway but once again, and this was how
it was.
He was passing one night when he heard a woman scream-
ing inside, and heavy blows being given by some one. In
answer to his enquiries, a woman in the crowd outside said
it was that brute, Jack Bludgell, beating his wife, because she
had followed him into the public, to ask for some money to
buy bread for their children.
And that's what she gets from her man," said another
"He deserves hanging, the wretch!-lie almost starves
them to death."

74 A Man of his Word.

The screams became fainter, but the blows were repeated.
Sam could not stand it any longer, so, running into the tap-
room where he had passed so many evenings long ago, he saw
Bludgell, who was a stoker at the works, aiming blow after
blow at his poor wife, who lay crouching in one corner of
the room, almost insensible from her husband's violence.
"Stop that, Jack!" he shouted, "your wife does not
deserve such treatment. She's a good wife to you, and a
good mother to your children."
But the man was almost mad with rage and drink, and
still aimed blow after blow at the poor woman. Sam
could not be a quiet spectator any longer, so he tried to shield
the poor defenceless being with his arm, and received the
blows intended for her. He bore the shower of buffets for
some time, but, as some writer says, there is a deal of human
nature in most of us, so Sam found that he had his share of
that commodity, and that it got so warm that he could stand
it no longer, and soon he pushed the excited fool down on
the floor.
Serve him right, Sam," said one of the men, who sat
smoking some distance away; serve him right! I never in-
terfere between man and wife myself, but if he had given me
half the knocks he has giv' you, Sam, I would have warmed
him up before now."
The landlord entered the room; he had been at the back
of the premises, and had not heard the quarrel, or, to do him
justice, he would have interfered to prevent it.
He had the poor woman carried home, and sent for a
surgeon, to see to her wounds.
You sit down here, Jack," he said, and don't go away.

A Man of his Word.

If you do, I'll send a policeman after you. You will have
no more to drink, you never ought to have any; such men
as you don't know how to carry it, and only get yourselves
into trouble, and bring disgrace upon a respectable house."
" I hope you are not hurt, Mr. Beesley," he said, turning to
"Have a drop of something just to revive you."
"Oh, no," said Sam, I want no reviving, thank you. I
have done with the things you sell long ago. And if I had
not, what I have witnessed to-night would have well-nigh con-
verted me. Here is a man wasting the money which should
buy bread for his children, and because his wife dares to ask for
a few pence, so that they may not go supperless to bed, she is
beaten and ill-used, as though she had committed some crime.
No, thank you; if that is the way your good things corrupt
a man, and make him do what he ought to shudder at, I
thank God that I have done with them."
As Sam walked home he thought of the evenings he had
spent in that room, and when he entered his cottage, and saw
the table spread for -the evening meal, the children all seated
round the fire, by which the kettle was singing, and the cat
playing on the hearth with her kitten, the contrast was too
much for him, and tears of joy ran down his cheeks, for his
heart was too full of thankfulness.
His wife was alarmed, and hastened to enquire what was
the matter.
Nothing, Mary," he said, only I was thinking how happy
we are." And then he told her of the scene he had just
That poor woman," said his wife, works hard at the wash-

76 A Man of his Word.

tub, to get bread for her children, while her husband is
spending his wages at the public. But I will go and see
whether she is hurt much, and I will take half the loaf with
me, Sam, for I warrant that the little ones have got nothing
to eat."
Take half the butter with thee, too," said her husband,
"and see that the young ones have a good meal. And,
Mary, do what you can for the poor woman. Here's half-a-
crown, take it with thee, lass, and cheer the home up.
It was a poor home that Mrs. Beesley entered on her errand
of mercy-so unlike her own. It was clean, but there was
next to no furniture.
The landlord of the public could have easy chairs, uphol-
stered in morocco, but his poor dupes made shift with three-
legged stools, or anything else, so that they only had the drink.
The surgeon was just leaving.
She is not seriously hurt," he said. She has had some
ugly blows, but there are no bones broken. A cup of tea
will do her good, and then a night's rest will do as much as
anything for her. She will be all right in your hands, Mrs.
Beesley; good-night."
When the surgeon had gone, Mrs. Beesley set the kettle
upon the few embers, and while it boiled, she called the three
frightened children around her, and gave each a thick piece
of bread and butter.
Poor things! It had been a long time since they had
enjoyed such a delicacy. Dry bread was what they usually
got, and often not sufficient of that.
A cup of tea, and some words of sympathy calmed the
poor woman for a time, and then she woke up, to the fear of
what her husband would do when he came home.

A Man of his Word. 77

He won't come home to-night," said Mrs. Beesley.
"Will they lock him up?" asked the wife with tears.
Oh! don't let them do that, for the sake of the children.
He will never do the like again, I am sure. He did not like
me going to him and asking him for money, exposing him
before his fellow-workmen. I will never do it again, however
short we may be."
Make your mind easy," said Mrs. Beesley, I will slip out
and make that all right."
And so she did, for she went and told Sam of the poor
woman's distress, who went out to seek the sot, while his wife
returned to the sorrowful home, taking with her many com-
forts for its inmates.
Sam had not far to look; he found Jack at the Saracen."
He had been sleeping, and was somewhat sobered.
"Don't go home to-night, Jack," he said; "come with me,
and have a lie down on the settle for an hour at our house."
"I'll never go home any more," said Jack. "I feel ready
to go and jump down one of the pits. I was never more
ashamed. But what would you have done, Sam, if your wife
had come here nagging before all the fellows ? You would have
been mad like, now wouldn't you ?"
I fancy that I should have felt mad, Jack, at myself, when
I knew that I was spending the money which ought to have
kept the pot boiling. I should not have been mad at the poor
wife who had tried to do her best, whilst I was doing my
worst. But come along, Jack; you'll get no more drink here,
and therefore your room will be better than your company."
Jack did not want much persuading; his conscience told
him that he had done wrong, and the dark threatening looks

A Man of his Word.

of some of his shopmates, who had been' drinking hard, showed
plainly that a storm was brewing.
On the way he was silent for a time, then stopping short he
took Sam by the shoulder, and asked in a low voice,
Say, Sam, have I hurt the old woman ? "
"Yes," replied Sam, "you have; you have left marks which
will be there for weeks, which will witness to your disgrace;
and let me tell you, lad, that I have come to look you up,
afraid the police should get hold of you. Your wife begged mine,
with tears, that you should not be sent to prison."
At this news the rough man wept.
"What would I not give," he said, if I had not struck
her ? But it is done now, and I must suffer for it."
It is always so," said Sam. "All through nature there is
cause and effect. In this case, drink has been the cause,
and you see what its effects are-poverty, hunger, and wretched-
ness. You might have been in prison now for murder, Jack.
Your wife is not able to stand against the heavy blows you gave
her. And I wonder that some of the chaps did not set upon
you; they were getting wild when I came into the tap-room.
If one of them had only given you a blow, all the lot would
have been in the fight, and then you would have found it
hard lines, Jack. But come along; I want to get home; then
you can have a wash, and a cup of tea with me. No beer,
mind you; that is stuff which would not keep in our house.
It would either go sour by being kept so long, or more likely
would find its way down the sewer."
The poor man looked round the room when he entered;
everything was so different to his own home. The fire burned
brightly, and the kettle was singing on the hob. Two lads were

A Man of his Word.

busy getting their lessons ready for the morrow's school. One
little maid, sole daughter of the house," had laid aside her
sewing for a minute, while she ran over on the piano a new
piece of music her father had bought her that day.
Well, my little woman, when you have got through that,
let us have a nice cup of tea," said Sam.
"Yes, father," replied the girl, looking up with a smile,
"I will be ready in a minute."
The tea was soon prepared, slices of bread and butter were
heaped upon a plate. On another plate were crisp cakes, not
long out of the oven.
Jack looked around, upon the clock which kept ticking
up in the corner, upon the well-polished furniture, which re-
flected the flashes of fire-light, and upon the laughing face of
the young mistress of the ceremonies, who was heaping his
plate and filling his cup.
And then he thought of another little maid in his own
home. Why could not she be as happy and as joyous as the
one before him ? His conscience told him the reason why.
Jack was awake early on the morrow. But not before Sam,
who had tidied up the hearth, and got a nice breakfast ready
for both of them, before the bell at the works should ring
them in at six o'clock.
Eat this rasher of bacon, Jack," said Sam, and take this
cup of coffee, in which I have beaten up an egg. You will want
a'pick me up,' and I don't know of anything better; and
then we will be off to work; and mind, Jack, keep your temper
all through the day, for I know that some of the men will want
to fall foul on you for last night's work. Tom Perks said that
if you would give him half a chance, you should have a

80 A Man of his Word.

man to punch at, and not a woman, in the morning, and
you know what a bruiser he is, when his blood is up. So
mind what you are at, and I will do my best for you, if you
will let me. Follow my plan, lad, and then you may have as
comfortable a home as I have got."
"I wish I could do as you do, Sam."
Could! said Sam, laughing; why, so you can if you
will only try."
Just then the bell rang, and they started to their work.
Each man they overtook had a scowling face, and looked with
evil eyes at Jack, for he had disgraced the whole lot of them.
But Jack held down his head, and quietly went on his way.
When he entered his shop he found straw laid down for him
to walk upon-a silent admonition that his fellows knew
that he was a thresher." His face became crimson, and he
would have liked to have'" threshed" those who had laid the
straw there. But he remembered Sam's advice, and wisely
kept his temper.
When the manager of the works arrived, it was soon known
that he had heard the particulars of last night. As he passed
through the shops he cast a withering look at Jack, saying,
"Bludgell, I want to see you in my office."
Jack followed him in. Closing the door, the manager
turned towards the trembling man.
"Are you not ashamed of yourself, you brute ? he asked.
"I am, sir," said Jack, "I wish my arm had dropped from
my body when I struck the first blow. It will never happen
again. I have determined to follow Beesley's advice for the
future, and I will do my best to make amends."
Oh! you have talked the matter over with Sam, have you,
after he knocked you down last night."

A Man of his Word.

No man could make a friend of a better fellow than Sam,
sir," said Jack.
I believe you," said the manager, but I will call him in."
Sam was called.
"Are you going to take Jack under your wing, Beesley ? "
"Yes, sir," said Sam, if he will let me do so, and with
God's help, we will make a man of him."
"You will have to shake a little of the devil out of him
first, I .fancy, won't you, Beesley? "
Well, sir, if with God's help we can keep the devil of drink
out of him, I think he will be all right," replied Sam.
Well," said their employer, "it will be a good thing for
you, Bludgell, if you will keep straight. I was going to
apply for a summons against you this morning, but if you will
reform, I will be your friend. You know how to work well
and quickly, and few men can earn more money; but what
good is that to you,-you waste it all at the public-house,
while your poor wife is slaving at the washtub to keep a house
over your head. But go along, I shall take Beesley as bail
for you, and if you do any more mischief I shall blame him
as much as I shall you, because he has prevented you having
a just punishment. Go to your work, and try better for the
And try he did.
When in the evening he went home and saw the marks
of his cruelty upon his wife's face, he cried like a child. Bat
she, woman like, cheered him up and tried to laugh.
"You will never do it again, Jack," she said.
"I'll die first," said her repentant husband.
Sam kept his word, and was more than a brother to Jack,

82 A Man of his Word.

often spending an hour in the evening by Jack's fireside,
until he could feel easy, for the man and his family began to
realize the prosperous results of steadiness.
From that night Jack was an altered man. He saw his folly,
and did his best to make his home and family a pattern rather
than a reproach.
To say that Sam was proud of his share in the work,
would be wronging him. He was thankful, and when he
spoke of the change, always said, What hath God wrought ? "
Sam Beesley was continually doing good. He started a Sick
Society at the works, and founded a circulating library, so that
each should have something at home, wherewith to while
away the winter evenings.
The crowning event of his life was when a neighbour's
son had fallen into temptation. The lad was but sixteen,
and had only a widowed mother to befriend him. In an
evil hour he had been tempted to make free with a small
sum of money belonging to his employer, who was a stern
At the poor widow's prayer Sam had been touched, and
waited upon the lad's master, but he was not to be moved.
The lad had broken the law, and the law must punish him.
You are a father," said Sam, and don't know what your
own children may yet have to go through. I do not plead
that the lad should not be punished, but I should be sorry to
see him stand in the dock for the first offence. Surely some
milder punishment might be found, some which would reform,
not crush him.. We have all some sin which besets us, and
which it is our duty to strive against, and remember that
the Wisest and Best said,' Blessed are the merciful, for they
shall obtain mercy.'"

A Man of his Word. 83

As he pronounced these words he sank down. When they
raised him up, all that had been bright life but a few minutes
before, had passed away, and nothing was left but the empty
tenement, which had held a pure and loving spirit.
"Died by the visitation of God I the jury said.
"Died doing good," those who knew him said.
But his last work was a good one; the boy was saved, and
never forgot his narrow escape.
Years have rolled by since the events of this true story
took place; yet there are those who cherish, in their heart of
hearts, a green memory of the good old man who "loved
God with all his heart, and his neighbour as himself."
Men and women grieved for his loss, and children blessed
his memory for happier homes, and for blessings spread
around their childhood years.

" ill Never Drink Again."


" I'LL never drink again I I've ofttimes said,
I'll be a teetotaler, and I'll now reform."
Yet still within its fatal grip I'm led,
And I am helpless as a child unborn.
And thus I've promise after promise made,
Determined each new promise to perform;
And changed my boon-mates for another grade
Who did not tope or tipple, brawl or storm.
I've paid the rent, I've had the children clothed,
With what I squandered to myself bemean;
And I have LIKED what I before had loathed,
And drank with relish of the limpid stream.
I've thrown my pay untouched in Betsy's lap-
Untouched, but what had bought a Sunday gown;
And chose my home before the Dragon's tap,
To claim my good wife's smile, and not her frown.
Yet, though I interchanged this bliss for woe,
And bless'd with comforts our low, humble cot,
I have been tempted to these joys forego,
And been again a senseless, hopeless sot.
But now I've found wherein the evil lay :
I trusted in myself, and not in God;
And now I look for help from Him, and pray
"Show me the way I and in that way I've trod.
A British Workman.

Getting some long binding weeds, she began to bunch her flowers. Page 89.


1 RAMLEY HOLTON was a pretty place in summer,
when the bright sunshine lit up fell and holt with
golden splendour. But when the winter came
with its snows, and the north wind blew over the
fells, then it was cold indeed. There were but
three cottages which formed the little hamlet, in
one of which lived Ben Burley, with his wife and two little
daughters. Ben's was a history common in all our country
shires: he was the son of a farmer who had scraped and saved
all his life, and at his death had left a sum of money for his
sons to waste.
Ben, like many more, thought that there would never be an
end to the few hundreds he came into, but his treasure had
made to itself wings and flown away."
He was now poor, and, worse than that, had lost all relish
for steady labour. Sometimes he would do a bit of poaching

Little Lottie's Primroses.

among the hares and rabbits, which were so plentiful in the
coppices around, and sometimes he would do an odd day's
work for the farmers. But they preferred to employ steady
men upon whom they could rely; so Ben only got employ-
ment at busy times when every man was needed.
He had but little work during the winter, and his wife and
children had been pinched, not only by the cold, but from
want of food.
The mother had often given what Itttle food there was to the
children, and gone without herself; such self-denial day after
day had told upon her health; she had broken down, and now
was weak and weary. Her neighbours told her that she needed
the advice of a physician. But how was she to get that ?
There was no money to pay for such services. True, there
was the county Self-Help Society, and a ticket could be pur-
chased for five shillings which would entitle her to advice and
medicine for one month, but that sum was beyond her reach.
As she sat this evening shivering over'the ashes of an almost
empty grate, with her two little daughters, her mind went back
to her early days-the old farm, and the loving father and
mother long since passed away.
If she could only get well and go out and do a day's cleaning
at one or other of the farm-houses, then the children could
have food, but-oh that hard word I-her strength was gone,
and there seemed no more hope for her in the world. She
placed her hands before her face, but the tears trickled through
her fingers. Her two children looked on with helpless sorrow.
Lottie, the eldest, sat wondering what she could do for her
mother. At last she started up-a bright thought had struck
her. She had noticed that in the sheltered parts of the woods

Little Lottie's Primroses.

spring had given evidence of a re-awakening, and the prim-
roses were budding out; could she not gather some and bunch
them into nosegays, and then sell them in the town on the
next market-day, and so gain money to purchase a ticket, and
then her mother would get well ? True the town was five
miles off, but the road was straight, and she could not lose
herself by the way. She was only seven years old by her
years, but her little body held the soul of a woman. Acting
upon her resolve, she secured a basket and went out into the
woods; she had soon gathered her basket full, and then,
getting some long binding weeds, she began to bunch her
flowers. There were twenty-three nosegays, which she placed
carefully in her basket and returned home. In bed she began
to calculate upon her fingers how much they would fetch; she
was not good at arithmetic, having never been to school; so fell
asleep over her problem, uncertain as to the fabulous amount
she was about to earn, but cheered by the thought that she
should be able to render help to the dear mother she loved so
By the first dawn of morning she was awake, and, careful
not to arouse her mother or sister, she stole out of the house,
and, with her basket of flowers, took her way toward the town.
Her father had not been home all night, but that was nothing
new, for he was often employed to do odd jobs at the "Vivian's
Arms," and as his pay was given in full quarts of ale, he
always stopped to empty them, and then to sleep off their effects
on some straw in the stables.
It was a cold morning, and the little maid shivered as she
trod the dusty road which led over Waisley Down. She had
had no breakfast; in fact, there was nothing in the house to

Little Lottie's Primroses.

eat, nor would there be till her father returned with perhaps a
stray copper, earned by holding some farmer's horse.
Oh how long the road seemed, and how heavy the basket 1
The carrier's cart passed her full of country people on their
way to market; and several farmers' carts drove by with occu-
pants full of their own concerns.
As one cart passed her, it stopped, and a rosy-faced woman
who knew her asked the child where she was going. With art-
less.guile the maiden told her story, and showed her treasures
hidin the basket. With a look of amazement upon her face, the
good woman drove on, first giving the child part of a currant
cake. No alderman ever gloated over his turtle as did little
Lottie over that sweet morsel. The keen air had given her an
appetite, and she ate with a thankful heart.
* The entrance to Ashthorpe is a broad and well-built street;
on each side are the shops of well-to-do tradesmen, and at the
end is the town-hall, a fitting finish to the view. Early as was
the hour, the street was thronged with people; women stood
with their baskets of eggs or butter, along the edge of the foot-
path, each eager for custom.
Lottie took her stand some distance from any of the others,
and displayed her wares so as to attract the eyes of the passers
by. But, poor lass! she had failed to take into account that
all the people by whom she was surrounded had primroses
growing at their own doors. She had stood for more than an
hour shivering, for her old shawl was too thin to keep out the
cold, and no customer had appeared. At last the sergeant of
police, who did duty as collector of market tolls, came up with
his book.
"I want a penny from you, my lass, for toll," he said.

Little Lottie's Primroses.

I have not got one yet, sir," she replied, "but as soon as
I have sold one posy I will pay you."
"What's your name, little one, and who sent you to sell
these flowers ? said the officer.
"I am Lottie, sir-Lottie Burley, and I live at Bramley
Holton. No one sent me, but my mother is ill, and I want
to buy her a ticket, so that the doctor can make her well again,
and when I have sold all these bunches of flowers I shall have,
oh I ever so much money, and I shall get enough to pay for
the doctor to come and cure her. Won't that be nice ? "
The man stood looking with admiration at the honest face
lit up with filial love, and the bright eyes welling over with
feeling when that mother's troubles came up in memory.
"Then you must be Ben Burley's child, I expect-eh, lass! "
he said.
"Yes, sir, they call my father Ben," was the answer.
"Look here, lass, I will take one of your bunches of prim-
roses, and pay the penny for you, and I hope you may have
Placing his flowers in his coat, he walked away, muttering,
"Poor child, so young, and yet so full of love for her mother."
The hours passed on and so did the people ; for no customer
came, and the little heart almost lost hope.
Among the people assembled was a stout man wearing a
dark blue wrap and a wide-awake hat. He was all over the
market, now looking at the pigs or cows, then watching a colt
being trotted out, to show would-be customers; his long beard,
blown about by the wind, was to be seen at every corner. He
had passed the little primrose dealer more than once, each time
stopping to look at the early flowers.
At last, addressing her, he asked the price.

Little Lottie's Primroses.

Only a penny a bunch, sir," was the reply, in sweet
childish tones.
"Here, give me one," he said, "and here's twopence for
Walking away, he left the little child almost electrified,
Oh, if I could sell all my bunches of flowers at that price,
she thought, what a lot of money I should have, and how care-
ful I should have to be not to lose it on my way home.
The man passed on, smelling his flowers, to where the
sergeant stood leaning against the pillory in front of the town-
hall. He had done his collecting, and now had a little time
to look around him.
As the stranger approached him the sergeant nodded to him.
Good morning, sergeant, your town's a quiet place; has
not been going ahead much lately, I guess! Why, that old
sign of Gosforce, the tailor, has not seen a fresh coat of paint
this last fifteen years. It's just as it used to be."
Then you have seen the sign before," said the sergeant,
"and are not'a stranger to Ashthorpe ? "
"I guess not," was the reply, "though I have been in the
'States' fifteen years. I was born at Thornhill Farm, and at
one time I knew most of the people hereabout, 'but I have seen
but few to-day that I can recollect."
"Thornhill I" said the sergeant. Why, then you must be
"Ah, lad, you are right, I am Bob Burley-at least what's
left of me," said the stranger, laughing.
"Then don't you know me ?" said the sergeant. Tom
Steadman, of the Chestnut Farm."
It was Bob's turn to be amazed now.

Little Lottie's Primroses.

You Tom! Well, my memory was never a good one, but
then your clothes, you see, make such a difference. Who'd
'a thought of finding you turned into a Peeler,' as we used to
call men of your cloth ? "
"There are great changes in all of us," said the officer,
" and in you, Bob, as much as in any of us."
Eh, well! said Bob, I must own that I have changed,
and thank God for it. I was a ne'er-do-well here, but I never
went beyond the hares and rabbits; as they ate. up all in our
gardens, I used to think there could be no harm in eating them
up. But when one night I heard the alarm-bell rung at the
hall, and a gun fired, and saw two of my companions come
over the old park wall, I thought it was time for me to
make a move, as I felt sure that though I might not do any
harm, if I kept coinpany with those who did I should get into
trouble, so I quietly shipped for New York.. They were hard
times there for the first few months; at last I got work as a
labourer in a shipbuilding yard, and rose from one thing to
another till I was a first-rate hand; I could get plenty of money,
but I had one fault, I was fond of the drink. I had been on
the spree for a week knocking down the savings of three
months. When I went back to work, the 'boss' told me
there was none for me, my place was filled up. I felt queer-
it was no use disguising the fact; I had made a fool of myself.
I was turning away, feeling very small, I can assure you, when
the boss' said, Look here, Bob, Ihave a respect for you, and
would do you good if I could.' I said, I feel sure you would
do that.' But it must be on my own terms,' he said. You
know what I am, Bob, I do not drink; now if you will give
me your word to do without it for a year, I will set you on.'

Little Lottie's Primroses.

' Done,' I said; and so I clasped his hand, and from that day
to this I have never tasted a drop. I soon found out the differ-
ence. Instead of putting my money into another man's pocket,
I kept it in my own, and so I am able to take a long holiday,
and come over to see the old country.' And then there is the
feeling of independence a man has when he does not drink;
he is no longer the bond-slave of habit, and can 'look the
whole world in the face.' I can't ask you to drink, you see,
Tom, but I can wish you well; and I am glad to see you, for
yours is the only old face left in the place."
"Don't apologise about not asking me to drink," said
Steadman, "I have not tasted anything of the sort for seven
years, and feel thankful to God that I have no such tempta-
tion, for no men see more of the evils which spring from drink
than policemen do. Not a day passes but I see men, and
women too, who might have been happy and prosperous, but
who have thrown away one shred of respectability after another
till they have nothing left but beggary and misery. But you are
mistaken about seeing no one belonging to you. Where did
you get that bunch of primroses from you have in your coat ? "
"Why, from a poor little child I saw up the street; she
stood shivering by the curb-stone waiting patiently for
customers, but I did not see one person buy from her. I
passed her a time or two, to feast my eyes with the flowers I
had known so well years ago, and at last I thought if no one
else would purchase from her I would; and to see the pleased
smile which came over her face, and the light which glowed in
her eyes, did me good. I don't think I ever made a purchase
with greater pleasure."
"And your pleasure would have been greater, Bob," said

Little Lottie's Primroses.

the sergeant, "if you had known you were helping your
brother Ben's child to earn something for her poor sick mother."
"Our Ben's child I" shouted Bob.
"Yes," said Steadman; and then he told the story which he
had heard from little Lottie.
"Come along," said Bob, dragging the sergeant with him.
"I will buy all her flowers."
They soon stood before the basket, as full as when Bob had
last seen it. The poor little maid was fast losing hope, no
one seemed to want her flowers, and how could she help her
mother if no one would purchase from her ? Opposite where
she stood was a shop to which people repaired for refreshment.
The large round of boiled beef in.the window sent out a savory
invitation to all passers by. The smell had long tantalised
the poor child, but she could not part with the two pennies
she had received from the strange gentleman. It was hard to
be so tempted, but she was firm.
You have not sold all your flowers, little one ? said the
"No, sir," she said, and hung down her head, while tears
gathered in her eyes.
The look which Bob gave her was one of intense surprise.
"Your name is Charlotte, lassie, is it not ? he said.
"I don't know, sir," she replied; "everybody calls me
Yes," said her uncle, that's your name; the same name as
my mother, and the same eyes to. I thought I had seen eyes
very much like those before."
Taking the basket from the child, he bade her follow him
into the shop opposite.

Little Lottie's Frimroses.

"Come my love, you shall have a good meal for once," he
Gently, Bob I" said the sergeant, don't over-feed the
child; remember she has had but short commons, and a full
meal might make her ill. Let her have something light for the
present, and then I will take you both to my house to have
tea, for my wife must see my old schoolfellow."
Just the thing," said Ben.
So Lottie ate but sparingly. And soon, hand in hand with
the strong, bearded man, she followed the sergeant to his neat
Bob soon made himself at home, cheering the good woman's
heart with tales of America, where she had two brothers of
whom she had not heard for years.
She was interested in the history of little Lottie, and.when
her husband told how his heart was touched by her innocent
story in the morning, and how he had not the heart to send
her away as she could not pay the market toll, which it was
his duty to have done, but took a bunch of primroses, and
paid the penny out of his own pocket, Bob grasped his hand.
Tom," he said, "it does you credit; but you always were
tender-hearted, and may God bless your children for the kind-
ness you showed to this little one."
The mother looked round on her three little ones and then
at Bob, with a thankful smile.
No, I could not send her away," said the sergeant, "though
I knew there was little chance of her selling anything. It was
like bringing coals to Newcastle,' Who would buy primroses
and then carry them home, when they were growing at their
own doors ? But the motive was good, and God will bless it."

Little Lottie's Primroses.

Bob sat thinking, looking at the child, while he held one of
her shoes in his hand.
Why, Lottie, how ever did you walk with these shoes, they
have got holes right through; did not the stones get in and
lame you ?"
Yes," said the child, some stones got in, but they did not,
hurt me much."
These shoes shall not hurt thee again," said Bob.
Then turning to the sergeant's wife, he said,
Mother, I wish you would take the lass, and buy her some
new clothes; a good warm cloak; and whatever you would buy
for your own child; you women know how to go about such
business better than we men do. And I should like a good
parcel of grocery to take with us, for I am going home with
the little one."
When the child returned, it would have been a very know-
ing person who would have recognized her. Her own mother
would hardly have known her.
Yes, there was room for them both in the carrier's cart.
The sergeant had seen to that.
So, leaving her bunches of primroses with the sergeant's
children, and kisses all round, Lottie started for home wrapped
in her new cloak, and enfolded in her uncle's strong arms, she
slept best part of the way.
The shades of evening were settling over the woods. The
birds had gone to rest, and here and there a rabbit was busy
looking out for food, but scampering into his hole at the least
unaccustomed sound.
When the cart stopped at Bramley Holton, Lottie stepped
out; even her own father stared at her, as though he had never
I U,

*Little Lottie's Primiroses.

seen her before, for he had come home because he had got no
money; credit he had not had for years.
' He started when he saw a well-dressed man coming up'to
his door, leading a child, who in her new clothes was a perfect
stranger to him. He opened his eyes even wider when the
stranger addressed him by name; but Bob could not restrain
himself, and blurted out,
Why, don't you know your own brother ?"
Ben took the hand which was offered him, and led his
brother into the cottage.
"I am sorry I have nothing to offer you, Bob," he said,
"but perhaps I can get a quart down at the Arms.' "
Bring none of your quarts before me," said Bob, both you
and I have had too many of those in the old days ; I have done
with them long ago, and so must you if you are to do any
good. Drink made a fool of me, and it don't look as though
it has brought you much luck, Ben."
He cast his eyes round the room as he spoke. The poor
mother sat in her chair the picture of want and misery; the
fire was only the remains of a few sticks which had burnt away.
There were two chairs, both broken. Bob turned away from
the sight, and hastened to open the parcel he had brought,
showing heaps of tea, sugar, and other good things; a bit of
coal was borrowed till morning, and the saucepan was put on,
for the kettle had gone long ago. A good meal was soon
spread, and then Bob, turning to his brother, said,
This won't do, Ben, you must leave off you know what;
you have tried your way a long time, and what has it brought
you ?-' Poverty, hunger, and dirt.' I have been tarred with
the same brush, but, thank God, His love has changed me

Little Lottie's Priinrose.i.

you do the same and He will help you; but if you won't try,
why then let me take this brave little woman, Lottie, with me, to
a land where she will have a chance of growing up a credit to
herself and to you. I found her trying her best to get help for
her mother, and I love her for it. To-morrow Eliza shall have
a surgeon; but I think it is not so much a surgeon she requires
as rest of mind and proper nourishment. Oh, brother, did you
never look upon the landlord's children up at the 'Arms,' and
seeing them well clothed and fed, give a thought to your own
children ? But I don't wish to be severe with you; you have
fallen, let me help you to get up again."
The morrow began a new life. Bob had slept at the Arms,"
and been the wonder of all the company there, for he drank
nothing but water, for which he paid the same price as others
for beer.
I wish I had a lot of customers like you, Bob, for I have
got a first-rate pump," said the landlord, laughing.
"No, you don't," said Bob, "men never get drunk upon
water, so it would not suit your purpose; the appetite for
alcoholic liquors grows by what it feeds upon, and there lies
the secret of the success of your trade."
"Well, I know there are great evils in our business," said
the landlord, but bless you if I did not sell the drink some-
body else would; and so I may as well have the fools' money
as anybody else."
The old argument," said Bob. I am afraid it won't stand
for much at the Great Day of Reckoning."
The next day Bob removed the family to Ashthorpe, for he
knew that if he were to do his brother any good, L e must take
him from his bad surroundings; and then h, thought how

Little Lottie's Primroses.

much easier it would be for his sister to get medical help in
the town.
Thanks to the sergeant and his kind wife, things were soon
Bob took his brother in change and kept him from drink.
It was hard for the first few days, but perseverance has its
own reward and Ben conquered.
In a month Bob returned to America, but he took his brother
and family with him.
It was hard to part with Mr. and Mrs, Steadman; but the
women vowed eternal friendship and parted with loving words.
Lottie took with her a Bible given her by the sergeant's wife.
Some distance from New York, just where the Hudson
broadens out, and flashes back the bright sunbeams, close to
large shipbuilding works, where the clang of hammers is heard
all day long, may be seen a white cottage overgrown almost by a
vine which bears luscious grapes-that is where the Burleys
Ben has a good place under his brother who lives with him.
The garden is the neatest of any thereabout; and when the
sun shines, busy hands are to be seen tending the plants, many
of which are dear because they were brought from the old
The mother has regained her old comeliness, and with her
daughters passes many hours among her plants. They all are
busy, contented, and happy, and often travellers stop to hear
a clear young voice singing out,
"Bird of the wilderness, blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet is thy matin, o'er moor and o'er lea,
Emblem: of happiness,, sweet is thy dwelling place,
Sweet to abide in tne desert with thee."

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs