Stories Worth Re-Reading

Read and Listen

34: Why the Mite Boxes Were Full

Rosella had a blue mite box, and so had her brother Drew. The mite boxes had been given out in Sunday-school, and were to be kept two months. All the money saved in the mite boxes was to go toward sending the news about Jesus to the heathen girls and boys across the ocean. The Sunday-school superintendent said so, and so did the sweet old blind missionary woman, who had talked to the scholars.

Rosella and Drew carried their mite boxes across the fields toward their tent. They and their mother and aunt and cousins had come several miles from their farm to tent, with a number of other folks, near the Farmers' Cooperative Fruit Drying buildings, during the fruit season, to cut fruit for drying.

Another girl was going across the fields with a blue mite box. She was the Chinese girl, Louie Ming, whose father and mother had come from the city to cook for some of the owners here.

"Louie Ming's got a mite box!" said Rosella.

Drew laughed. "Do you suppose she'll save anything in it?"

"I don't believe she will," said Rosella.

Rosella and Drew carried their mite boxes into their mother's tent.

"We're going to cut apricots and peaches to help the heathen!" announced Rosella.

Mother nodded.

"We'll have a whole lot of money in our mite boxes when we carry them back," said Rosella.

"We'll see," said mother.

For two or three mornings Rosella and Drew rose early, and after breakfast hurried to the cutting-sheds to work. But, after a while, Rosella and Drew grew tired. It was more fun to run over the fields, and mother never said Rosella and Drew must cut fruit, anyhow, though she looked sober.

"The heathen children won't know," said Rosella to herself. "Suppose the heathen children were me, I wonder if they'd cut apricots every day to send me Bibles and missionaries? I don't believe they would."

The first month melted away. When it was over, Rosella had two nickels in her mite box, and Drew had three in his.

"The heathen children won't know," said Rosella.

But one Saturday night Rosella and Drew were going by the tent where Louie Ming lived. Inside the tent sat Louie Ming, with her week's pay in her lap. In the Chinese girl's hand was her blue mite box. Louie Ming was putting her money into her mite box, and did not notice Rosella and Drew.

"Why-ee!" whispered Rosella. "See there! Why, Drew! I do believe Louie Ming's putting every bit of her pay into her mite box! Do you suppose she knows what she's doing?"

Rosella and Drew stood watching.

"Do you suppose Louie Ming understands?" whispered Rosella again. "Why, she's giving it all! Drew, she's been working in the cutting-sheds every time I've been there. She didn't cut fruit till she got her mite box. There, she's given every cent!"

When Louie Ming looked up, and suddenly discovered Rosella and Drew, she looked half scared. Rosella stepped toward the tent, and said:—

"What made you give all your money? Why didn't you save some? You've worked hard for it. The heathen children wouldn't know if you kept some for candy and things."

Louie Ming looked shy.

"You say wha' fo' I give money?" she asked softly.

"Yes," said Rosella. "Why do you give so much?"

Louie Ming looked down at the blue mite box. Somehow it seemed hard for her to answer, at first. Then she spoke softly: "One time I have baby brudder. He die. Mudder cry, cry, cry. I cry, cry all time. I say, 'Never see poor little baby brudder again, never again!' An' I love little brudder. Then I go mission school. Teacher say, 'Louie Ming, love Jesus, an' some day you see your baby brudder again.' O, teacher make me so happy! See little brudder again! I go home and tell my mudder. She not believe, but I get teacher to come and tell. She tell about Jesus to my fadder and mudder. They learn love him.

Some day we all go heaven and see little brudder! Now I save money to put in mite box. Way over in China many little girls don't know about Jesus. Their little brudders die. They cry, cry, all the same me did. Maybe some my money send teacher tell those poor Chinese girls how go to heaven, see their baby brudders again. So I work very hard to put money in my box, because Jesus come into my heart."

Rosella did not answer, but stood looking at Louie Ming. Then she suddenly turned and caught Drew's hand, and pulled him along till they were running toward their own tent. Rosella rushed in. The baby was sitting on the straw floor, and Rosella caught him up, crying:—

"O baby, baby brother, don't you ever die! I couldn't spare you!"

"Goo!" said baby brother, holding out his arms to Drew.

Drew did not say anything, but he took baby brother.

"Drew," said Rosella, "I'm going straight to work. Aren't you? I'm ashamed of myself. To think that a Chinese girl who once did not know about Jesus, would work so hard now for her mite box, and you and I haven't! Why, Drew Hopkins, I haven't acted as though I cared whether the heathen boys and girls knew about Jesus or not! I'm going to work to fill my mite box. Why, Drew, Louie Ming's box is most full, and she used to be a heathen!"

Drew nodded, and hugged baby brother tighter.

The next Monday Rosella and Drew began working hard cutting fruit. How they cut fruit the remaining month! How they saved! And how glad they were that their mite boxes were heavy when the day came to carry them back!

The blind missionary woman was at Sunday-school again. After the school closed, the superintendent, who knew Rosella and Drew, introduced them to the missionary. And the blind missionary said, "Bless the dear girl and boy who have cut peaches for two whole months to help send the gospel to heathen children!"

Then Rosella, being honest, could not bear to have the missionary think it had been two months instead of one, and she suddenly burst out, half-crying, and said, "O, I wasn't so good as that! I didn't work two months, and I—I'm afraid if Louie Ming hadn't loved Jesus better than I did, Drew and I wouldn't have had hardly any money in our mite boxes."

The blind missionary wanted to know about Louie Ming, and Rosella told the missionary all about her. Then the blind missionary kissed Louie Ming's cheek, and said, "Many that are last shall be first."

But Rosella was glad that she and Drew had worked to send the news about Jesus to heathen children.—Mary E. Bamford, in "Over Sea and Land."

35: Ti-To And The Boxers

A True Story of a Young Christian:

It was late in May when we last saw Ti-to's father. He was attending the annual meeting of the North China Mission at Tung-chou, near Peking when word came that the Boxers were tearing up the railway between Peking and Pao-ting-fu. For twelve years he had been the pastor of the Congregational Church in Pao-ting-fu, having been the first Chinese pastor ordained in north China. Without waiting for the end of the meeting, he hastened to the assistance of the little band of missionaries.

During the month of June dangers thickened about the devoted band of missionaries and Christian Chinese who lived in the mission compound not far from the wall of Pao-ting-fu. There was no mother in Pastor Meng's home to comfort the hearts of five children living face to face with death. But thirteen-year-old Ti-to, the hero of our story, was as brave a lad as ever cheered the hearts of little brothers and sisters. Straight as an arrow, his fine-cut, delicate face flushed with pink, with firm, manly mouth and eyes that showed both strength and gentleness, Ti-to was a boy to win all hearts at sight.

By the twenty-seventh of June it was plain that all who remained in that compound were doomed to fall victims to Boxer hate. Pastor Meng called his oldest boy to his side, and said: "Ti-to, I have asked my friend, Mr. Tien to take you with him and try to find some place of refuge from the Boxers. I cannot forsake my missionary friends and the Christians, who have no one else to depend upon, but I want you to try to escape."

"Father," said the boy, "I want to stay here with you. I am not afraid to die."

"No," the father replied. "If we are all killed, who will preach Jesus to these poor people?"

So, before the next day dawned, Ti-to said good-by, and started with Mr. Tien on his wanderings. That same afternoon Pastor Meng was in the chapel when a company of Boxers suddenly burst into the room and seized him. A Christian Chinese who was with him escaped over the back wall, and took the sad tidings to his friends. The Boxers dragged Pastor Meng to a temple, and there, having learned that his eldest son had fled, tortured him to make him tell Ti-to's hiding-place. But the secret was not revealed. In the early morning scores of Boxer knives slowly stabbed him to death. But the face of the Master smiled upon this brave soul, "faithful unto death."

Three days later, four of his children, his only sister and her two children, and the three missionary friends for whom he had laid down his life, were killed.

But what of the little one who had left home four days before? Determined that not one member of the family should be left, the Boxers searched for him in all directions. But Mr. Tien had taken Ti-to to the home of a relative only a few miles from Pao-ting-fu, and they escaped detection. This relative feared to harbor them more than two or three days, so they turned their faces northward, where a low range of sierra-like mountains was outlined against the blue sky.

Seventeen miles from Pao-ting-fu, and not far from the home of an uncle of Mr. Tien's, they found a little cave in the mountainside, not high enough to allow them to stand upright. Here they crouched for twenty days. The uncle took them a little food, but to get water they were obliged to go three miles to a mountain village, stealing up to a well under cover of darkness. In that dark cave, hunger and thirst were their constant companions, and the howling of wolves at night made their mountain solitude fearsome.

Ti-to had lived for five days in this retreat when word was brought to him that father, brothers, sisters, aunt, cousins, and all the missionaries belonging to the three missions in Pao-ting-fu, had been cruelly massacred, and that churches, schools, homes, were all masses of charred ruins.

After twenty days of cave life, Mr. Tien's uncle sent them warning that Boxers were on their track, and that they must leave their mountain refuge immediately. Then began long, weary wanderings toward the southwest, over mountain roads, their plan being to go to Shansi. One day in their wanderings they had just passed the village of Chang-ma, about sixteen miles south of Pao-ting-fu, when a band of Boxers, some armed with rifles, some brandishing great swords, rushed after them, shouting, "Kill! kill! kill the secondary foreign devils!"

Escape was impossible. Before this howling horde had overtaken them, a man who was standing near them asked Ti-to, "Are you a Christian?"

"Yes," the boy replied. "My father and mother were Christians, and from a little child I have believed in Jesus."

"Do not be afraid," the stranger said; "I will protect you."

Then the Boxers closed about them. Mr. Tien was securely bound, hand and foot. Ti-to was led by his queue, and soon they were back by the Boxer altar in the village. When the knives were first waved in his face, and the bloodthirsty shouts first rang in his ears, a thrill of fear chilled Ti-to's heart; but it passed as quickly as it came, and as he was dragged toward the altar, it seemed as if some soft, low voice kept singing in his ear the hymn, "I'm not ashamed to own my Lord." All fear vanished.

When they began to bind Mr. Tien to the altar, he spoke no word for himself, but pleaded most earnestly for the little charge committed to his care, telling how all his relatives had been murdered, and begging them to spare his life. Perhaps it was those earnest, unselfish words, perhaps it was the boy's gracious mien and winsome face, that moved the crowd; for one of the village Boxers stepped forward, saying: "I adopt this boy as my son. Let no one touch him. I stand security for his good behavior."

Ti-to's deliverer was one of the three bachelor brothers, the terror of the region. But it was evident that Mr. Chang's heart was completely won by the boy. For three months he kept him in his home, tenderly providing for every want. Let Ti-to tell the story of those days in his own words:—

"Of course I could not pray openly. But sometimes when my adopted father was away with the Boxers on their raids, I would shut the door tight and kneel in prayer. Then every evening when the sun went down, I would turn my face to the west, and in my heart repeat the hymn:—

"'Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens: Lord, with me abide.'

"Mr. Chang was in Pao-ting-fu when my father was killed, and told me how they stabbed and tortured him. I supposed that my uncle and his wife, who had gone to Tung-chow, had been killed, too, and all the missionaries in China. But I knew that the people in America would send out some more missionaries, and I thought how happy I would be sometime in the future when I could go into a chapel again and hear them preach."

But Ti-to had not long to wait for this day of joy In October expeditions of British, German, French, and Italian soldiers from Peking and Tientsin arrived at Pao-ting-fu, and the Boxer hordes scattered at their coming. Soon to the brave boy in the Boxer's home came the glad tidings that his uncle was still living, and had sent for him to come to Pao-ting-fu.

Mr. Chang loved the boy so deeply that he could not but rejoice with him, sad though he felt at the thought of parting with him. Fearful of some treachery or of harm coming to Ti-to, he went with him to Pao-ting-fu, then returned to the village home from which the sunshine had departed.

Later Ti-to studied in the Congregational Academy in Peking, and then in Japan. He is now an earnest teacher of Christianity, for which he so bravely faced death.—Selected.

What the Flowers Say to Me

  Our Father made us beautiful,
  And breathed on us his love,
  And gave us of the spirit that
  Prevails in heaven above.

  We stand here meekly blooming for
  The stranger passing by;
  And if unnoticed we are left,
  We never stop to sigh,

  But shed our fragrance all abroad,
  And smile in shine or rain
  And thus we do the will of God
  Till he restores again

  A realm of peace on earth, to last
  The countless ages through;
  Where flowers bloom and never fade;
  And there is room for you. Ida Reese Kurz.

36: How Nyangandi Swam To Church

Nyangandi lived in West Africa, near the Ogowe River. She was going away from the missionary's house one afternoon, where she had been to sell bunches of plantains to the missionary, when his wife said:—

"Now, you must not forget that you have promised to come tomorrow to church."

"Yes," the girl replied, "I will surely come if I am alive."

The next morning she found that somebody had stolen her canoe, and no one would lend her one to go to church in. But she had promised to go, and she felt that she must. She swam all the way! The current was swift, the water deep, and the river fully a third of a mile wide, but by swimming diagonally she succeeded in crossing the river.

Remember this little heathen girl in West Africa when you feel tempted to stay away from the house of God for some trivial reason.—Selected.

To Those Who Fail

  "All honor to him who shall win the prize!"
  The world has cried for a thousand years;
  But to him who tries, and who fails and dies,
  I give honor and glory and tears.

  O, great is the hero who wins a name!
  But greater many and many a time
  Some pale-faced fellow who dies in shame,
  And lets God finish the thought sublime.

  And great is the man with the sword undrawn,
  And good is the man who refrains from wine,
  But the man who fails and who still fights on,
  Lo! he is the twin brother of mine. —Selected.

37: The Little Printer Missionary

A ragged printer's boy, who lived in Constantinople, was in the habit of carrying the proof-sheets to the English editor during the noon lunch-time. The editor was a busy man, and exchanged no words, except such as were necessary, with him. The boy was faithful, doing all that he was bidden, promptly and to the best of his ability, but he was ragged, and so dirty as to be positively repulsive. This annoyed the editor; but, as he was no worse in this respect than most of the boys of his class, the busy man did not urge him to improve his personal appearance, much as he would have enjoyed the change. But one morning the boy came in with clean face, hands, and garments. Not a trace of the old filth was to be seen about his person; and so great was the change that his master did not recognize him.

"Why, you are a new boy entirely!" he said when convinced of the lad's identity.

"I am going away, back to my own home." said the boy, quickly, "and I came to ask a favor of you. Will you pray for me after I am gone?"

"Pray for you!" exclaimed the editor.

"Yes," returned the boy. "You think I am a heathen, but I am not. I have been attending chapel and Sunday-school in the Bible house. I have learned to read and to write, and, best of all, I have learned to love Jesus, and am trying to be his boy. But I cannot stay here while my father, mother, brothers, and sisters do not know about him. So I go back to my own village to tell friends and neighbors about him. I don't know much yet, and I want you to pray that I may be helped when I try to tell my people what he is to me."

"And it is because you are going away that you have washed and fixed yourself up so well?" asked the editor, thinking what a fine boy clothes and cleanliness had made of him.

"It is because I am Christ's boy now," was the answer. "I want to be clean and to have my clothes whole in honor of the Master I am trying to serve."

"I hope your friends will receive as much from Christ's love as you have," said the man.

"And you will pray for them and for me?" urged the boy.

The man promised; and, full of hope, the lad started on his long walk homeward, to tell the story of the cross to the dear ones there, in his own wretched home first, and afterward to the neighbors among whom he had spent his childhood days.—Selected.

Consecration

  Ready to go, ready to wait,
  Ready a gap to fill;
  Ready for service, small or great,
  Ready to do His will.

Phillips Brooks

38: The Missionary's Defense

The following occurrence was related by Missionary von Asselt, a Rhenish missionary in Sumatra from 1856-76, when on a visit to Lubeck:—

"When I first went to Sumatra, in the year 1856 I was the first European missionary to go among the wild Battas, although twenty years prior, two American missionaries had come to them with the gospel; but they had been killed and eaten. Since then no effort had been made to bring the gospel to these people, and naturally they had remained the same cruel savages.

"What it means for one to stand alone among a savage people, unable to make himself understood, not understanding a single sound of their language, but whose suspicious, hostile looks and gestures speak only a too-well-understood language,—yes, it is hard for one to realize that. The first two years that I spent among the Battas, at first all alone and afterward with my wife, were so hard that it makes me shudder even now when I think of them. Often it seemed as if we were not only encompassed by hostile men, but also by hostile powers of darkness; for often an inexplicable, unutterable fear would come over us, so that we had to get up at night, and go on our knees to pray or read the Word of God, in order to find relief.

"After we had lived in this place for two years, we moved several hours' journey inland, among a tribe somewhat civilized, who received us more kindly. There we built a small house with three rooms,—a living-room, a bedroom, and a small reception-room,—and life for us became a little more easy and cheerful.

"When we had been in this new place for some months, a man came to me from the district where we had been, and whom I had known there. I was sitting on the bench in front of our house, and he sat down beside me, and for a while talked of this, that, and the other. Finally he began, 'Now tuan [teacher], I have yet one request.'

"'And what is that?'

"'I should like to have a look at your watchmen close at hand.'

"'What watchmen do you mean? I do not have any.'

"'I mean the watchmen whom you station around your house at night, to protect you.'

"'But I have no watchmen,' I said again; 'I have only a little herdsboy and a little cook, and they would make poor watchmen.'

"Then the man looked at me incredulously, as if he wished to say, 'O, do not try to make me believe otherwise, for I know better!'

"Then he asked, 'May I look through your house, to see if they are hid there?'

"'Yes, certainly,' I said, laughing; 'look through it; you will not find anybody.' So he went in and searched in every corner, even through the beds, but came to me very much disappointed.

"Then I began a little probing myself, and requested him to tell me the circumstances about those watchmen of whom he spoke. And this is what he related to me: 'When you first came to us, tuan, we were very angry at you. We did not want you to live among us; we did not trust you, and believed you had some design against us. Therefore we came together, and resolved to kill you and your wife. Accordingly, we went to your house night after night; but when we came near, there stood always, close around the house, a double row of watchmen with glittering weapons, and we did not venture to attack them to get into your house. But we were not willing to abandon our plan, so we went to a professional assassin [there still was among the savage Battas at that time a special gild of assassins, who killed for hire any one whom it was desired to get out of the way], and asked him if he would undertake to kill you and your wife. He laughed at us because of our cowardice, and said: "I fear no God, and no devil. I will get through those watchmen easily." So we came all together in the evening, and the assassin, swinging his weapon about his head, went courageously on before us. As we neared your house, we remained behind, and let him go on alone. But in a short time he came running back hastily, and said. "No, I dare not risk it to go through alone; two rows of big, strong men stand there, very close together, shoulder to shoulder, and their weapons shine like fire."

"Then we gave it up to kill you. But now, tell me, tuan, who are these watchmen? Have you never seen them?"

"'No, I have never seen them.'

"'And your wife did not see them also?'

"'No, my wife did not see them.'

"'But yet we have all seen them; how is that?'

"Then I went in, and brought a Bible from our house, and holding it open before him, said: 'See here; this book is the Word of our great God, in which he promises to guard and defend us, and we firmly believe that Word; therefore we need not to see the watchmen; but you do not believe, therefore the great God has to show you the watchmen, in order that you may learn to believe.'"—Selected.

39: Light at Last

Dr. Kirkpatrick, with the Baptist Mission in the Shan States of Burma, tells in the Missionary Review of an aged woman whom he met on a tour in a mountain district, where no missionary had ever before set foot:—

"This old woman listened attentively, and apparently believed. She had never seen a white man, although, according to her birth certificate, she was one hundred and twenty-three years old. As she sat huddled together by the fire, she said: 'Teacher, is it true that the Lord can and will save me, a woman? Do not deceive me; I am very old, and must soon fall into hell, unless this new religion is true. I have made many offerings, and made many long pilgrimages to the most sacred shrines, and still find no relief from the burden of sin. Please teach me to pray to this Jesus that can save.'

"I explained the plan of salvation, and God's love for her, and taught her a simple prayer of a few words. She seemed very grateful. As I was about to leave her, she said:—

"'Teacher, you come from the great American country, do you not?'

"'Yes,' I answered.

"'Is your country greater than the Shan country?'

"I assured her that it was.

"'Are the people there all Christians?'

"I had to confess that they were not, but that there were many Christians.

"'Were your parents Christians?'

"'Yes, and my grandparents, and ancestors for several generations.'

"'My parents,' she said, 'died when I was young My brothers and sisters all are dead. I have been married three times, and my husbands are all dead. I had nine children, and they are all dead. I had many grandchildren, and they are all dead except this one with whom I am living. I have seen three generations fall into hell. Now I believe in Jesus, and hope to go to the heavenly country when I die. If there are so many Christians in your country, and you have known about this Lord that can save for so long, why did you not come and tell us before, so that many of my people could have been saved?' With the tears running down her cheeks, she said: 'I am so glad to hear this good news before it it too late; but all of my loved ones have fallen into hell. Why did you not come before?'

"That question still haunts me. I wish every Christian in America could hear it as I did.

"A few weeks later I saw some of the men from this village, in the bazaar at Namkhamm, and asked them about the 'old grandmother of the village.' They told me that she died the day before, and that they had come to buy things for the funeral. After much questioning, they said they were ashamed to tell me that she was crazy. As she grew weaker, she told everybody that she was going to die in a few days, and she was very happy about it. She was going to the heavenly country, and other such foolish things. When she was too weak to speak aloud, she kept whispering, 'Yasu hock sung; Yasu hock sung' (Jesus loves me; Jesus loves me), with her last breath. The first and only time this woman ever heard the gospel, she accepted it. It is an exceptional case, but there are others like it."

40: The Brown Towel

"One who has nothing can give nothing," said Mrs. Sayers, the sexton's wife, as the ladies of the sewing society were busily engaged in packing the contents of a large box, destined for a Western missionary.

"A person who has nothing to give must be poor, indeed," said Mrs. Bell, as she deposited a pair of warm blankets in the already well-filled box.

Mrs. Sayers looked at the last-named speaker with a glance which seemed to say, "You who have never known self-denial cannot feel for me," and remarked, "You surely think one can be too poor to give?"

"I once thought so, but have learned from experience that no better investment can be made, even from the depths of poverty, than lending to the Lord."

Seeing the ladies listening attentively to the conversation, Mrs. Bell continued: "Perhaps, as our work is finished, I can do no better than to give you my experience on the subject. It may be the means of showing you that God will reward the cheerful giver.

"During the first twenty-eight years of my life, I was surrounded with wealth; and not until I had been married nine years did I know a want which money could satisfy, or feel the necessity of exertion. Reverses came with fearful suddenness, and before I had recovered from the blow, I found myself the wife of a poor man, with five little children dependent upon our exertions.

"From that hour I lost all thought of anything but care of my family. Late hours and hard work were my portion, and to my unskilled hands it seemed first a bitter lot. My husband strove anxiously to gain a subsistence, and barely succeeded. We changed our place of residence several times, hoping to do better, but without improvement.

"Everything seemed against us. Our well-stocked wardrobe had become so exhausted that I felt justified in absenting myself from the house of God, with my children, for want of suitable apparel. While in this low condition, I went to church one evening, when my poverty-stricken appearance would escape notice, and took my seat near the door. An agent from the West preached, and begged contributions to the home missionary cause. His appeal brought tears to my eyes, and painfully reminded me of my past days of prosperity, when I could give of my abundance to all who called upon me. It never entered my mind that the appeal for assistance in any way concerned me, with my poor children banished from the house of God by poverty, while I could only venture out under the friendly protection of darkness.

"I left the church more submissive to my lot, with a prayer in my heart that those whose consciences had been addressed might respond. I tried in vain to sleep that night. The words of the text, 'Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom,' seemed continually sounding in my ears. The eloquent entreaty of the speaker to all, however poor, to give a mite to the Lord, and receive the promised blessing, seemed addressed to me. I rose early the next morning, and looked over all my worldly goods in search of something worth bestowing, but in vain; the promised blessing seemed beyond my reach.

"Hearing that the ladies of the church had filled a box for the missionary's family, I made one more effort to spare something. All was poor and thread-bare. What should I do? At last I thought of my towels. I had six, of coarse brown linen, but little worn. They seemed a scanty supply for a family of seven; and yet I took one from the number, and, putting it into my pocket, hastened to the house where the box was kept, and quietly slipped it in. I returned home with a light heart, feeling that my Saviour's eye had seen my sacrifice, and would bless my effort.

"From that day success attended all my husband's efforts in business. In a few months our means increased so that we were able to attend church and send our children to Sabbath-school, and before ten years had passed, our former prosperity had returned fourfold. 'Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over,' had been given us.

"It may seem superstitious to you, my dear friends, but we date all our success in life to God's blessing, following that humble gift out of deep poverty. He may not always think best to reward so signally those who give to him, but he is never unmindful of the humblest gift or giver. Wonder not that from that day I deem few too poor to give, and that I am a firm believer in God's promise that he will repay with interest, even in this life, all we lend to him."

Glances of deep interest, unmixed with envy, were cast from the windows at Mrs. Bell, as, after bidding the ladies adieu, she stepped into her carriage. Her consistent benevolence had proved to all that in her prosperity she retained the same Christian spirit which, in her days of poverty, had led to the bestowal of the brown towel.

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Sayers, "if we all had such a self-denying spirit, we might fill another box at once. I will never again think that I am too poor to give."—Our Young Folks.

Only a Boy

More than half a century ago a faithful minister coming early to the kirk, met one of his deacons, whose face wore a very resolute expression.

"I came early to meet you," he said. "I have something on my conscience to say to you. Pastor, there must be something radically wrong in your preaching and work; there has been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he is only a boy."

The old minister listened. His eyes moistened, and his thin hand trembled on his broad-headed cane.

"I feel it all," he said; "I feel it, but God knows that I have tried to do my duty, and I can trust him for the results."

"Yes, yes," said the deacon, "but 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' and one new member, and he, too, only a boy, seems to me rather a slight evidence of true faith and zeal. I don't want to be hard, but I have this matter on my conscience, and I have done but my duty in speaking plainly."

"True," said the old man; "but 'charity suffereth long and is kind; beareth all things, hopeth all things.' Ay, there you have it; 'hopeth all things'! I have great hopes of that one boy, Robert. Some seed that we sow bears fruit late, but that fruit is generally the most precious of all."

The old minister went to the pulpit that day with a grieved and heavy heart. He closed his discourse with dim and tearful eyes. He wished that his work was done forever, and that he was at rest among the graves under the blossoming trees in the old kirkyard. He lingered in the dear old kirk after the rest were gone. He wished to be alone. The place was sacred and inexpressibly dear to him. It had been his spiritual home from his youth. Before this altar he had prayed over the dead forms of a bygone generation, and had welcomed the children of a new generation; and here, yes, here, he had been told at last that his work was no longer owned and blessed!

No one remained—no one?—"Only a boy."

The boy was Robert Moffat. He watched the trembling old man. His soul was filled with loving sympathy. He went to him, and laid his hand on his black gown.

"Well, Robert?" said the minister.

"Do you think if I were willing to work hard for an education, I could ever become a preacher?"

"A preacher?"

"Perhaps a missionary."

There was a long pause. Tears filled the eyes of the old minister. At length he said: "This heals the ache in my heart, Robert. I see the divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher."

Some few years ago there returned to London from Africa an aged missionary. His name was spoken with reverence. When he went into an assembly, the people rose. When he spoke in public, there was a deep silence. Priests stood uncovered before him; nobles invited him to their homes.

He had added a province to the church of Christ on earth; had brought under the gospel influence the most savage of African chiefs; had given the translated Bible to strange tribes; had enriched with valuable knowledge the Royal Geographical Society; and had honored the humble place of his birth, the Scottish kirk, the United Kingdom, and the universal missionary cause.

It is hard to trust when no evidence of fruit appears. But the harvests of right intentions are sure. The old minister sleeps beneath the trees in the humble place of his labors, but men remember his work because of what he was to one boy, and what that one boy was to the world.

  "Do thou thy work: it shall succeed
    In thine or in another's day;
  And if denied the victor's meed,
    Thou shalt not miss the toiler's pay."

—Youth's Companion.

When Some-One's Late

    Some one is late,
    And so I wait
  A minute, two, or ten;
    To me the cost
    Is good time lost
  That never comes again.

    He does not care
    How I shall fare,
  Or what my loss shall be;
    His tardiness
    Is selfishness
  And basely rude to me.

    My boys, be spry,
    The moments fly;
  Meet every date you make.
    Be weather fair
    Or foul, be there
  In time your place to take.

    And girls, take heed,
    And work with speed;
  Each task on time begin;
    On time begun,
    And work well done,
  The highest praise will win.

Max Hill.

The Little Protector

He was such a little fellow, but he was desperately in earnest when he marched into the store that snowy morning. Straight up to the first clerk he went. "I want to see the 'prietor," he said.

The clerk wanted to smile, but the little face before her was so grave that she answered solemnly, "He is sitting at his desk."

The little fellow walked up to the man at the desk. Mr. Martin, the proprietor, turned around. "Good morning, little man. Did you want to see me?" he asked.

"Yes, sir. I want a wrap for my mama. I can make fires and pay for it."

"What is your name, my boy?"

"Paul May."

"Is your father living?"

"No, sir; he died when we lived in Louisville."

"How long have you lived here?"

"We haven't been here long. Mama was sick in Louisville, and the doctor told her to go away, and she would get well."

"Is she better?"

"Yes, sir. Last Sunday she wanted to go to church, but she didn't have any wrap, and she cried. She didn't think I saw her, but I did. She says I'm her little p'tector since papa died. I can make fires and pay for a wrap."

"But, little man, the store is steam-heated. I wonder if you could clean the snow off the walk."

"Yes, sir," Paul answered, quickly.

"Very well. I'll write your mama a note and explain our bargain."

When the note was written, Mr. Martin arose.

"Come, Paul, I will get the wrap," he said. At the counter he paused. "How large is your mother Paul?" he asked.

Paul glanced about him. "'Bout as large as her." he said, pointing toward a lady clerk.

"Miss Smith, please see if this fits you," requested Mr. Martin. Paul's eyes were shining.

Miss Smith put on the wrap and turned about for Paul to see it. "Do you like it?" she asked him.

"Yes, I do," he answered very emphatically.

The wrap was marked twelve dollars, but kind-hearted Mr. Martin said: "You may have it for five dollars, Paul. Take it to Pauline and have her take the price tag off," he added to Miss Smith. When she brought the bundle back to him, he put it in Paul's arms. "Take it to your mama, Paul. When the snow stops falling, come and sweep off the walk. I will pay you a dollar each time you clean it. We shall soon have enough to pay for the wrap."

"Yes, sir," answered Paul, gravely. He took the bundle and trudged out into the snow.

When he reached home, his mother looked in surprise at his bundle. "Where have you been, dear?"

"I went to town, mama," Paul answered. He put the note into her hand. She opened it and read:—

"MRS. MAY: This little man has bought a wrap for you. He says he is your protector. For his sake keep the wrap and let him work to pay for it. It will be a great pleasure to him. He has the making of a fine man in him. WILLIAM MARTIN."

Paul was astonished to see tears in his mothers eyes; he had thought she would be so happy, and she was crying. She put her arm about him and kissed him. Then she put on the wrap and told how pretty she thought it.

When the snow stopped falling, Paul went down to the store and cleaned the snow from the front walk. He did not know that Mr. Martin's hired man swept it again, for the little arms were not strong enough to sweep it quite clean.

The days passed, and one morning Paul had a very sore throat.

"You mustn't get up today, dear," his mother said. When she brought his breakfast, she found him crying. "What is making you cry? Is your throat hurting much?"

"No, mama. Don't you see it is snowing, and I can't go and clean the walk?" cried Paul.

"Shall I write a note to Mr. Martin and explain why you are not there?"

"Yes, please, mama. Who will take it?"

"I'll ask Bennie to leave it as he goes to school."

The note was written, and Bennie, a neighbor boy, promised to deliver it.

While Paul was eating his dinner, there was a knock at the door. Mrs. May answered it, and ushered in Mr. Martin.

"How is the sick boy?" he asked. He crossed the room and sat by Paul. He patted the boy's cheek, and then turned to the mother. "Mrs. May," he said, "my wife's mother is very old, but will not give up her home and live with us. She says she wants a home for her children to visit. She has recently lost a good housekeeper, and needs another. Since I met Paul the other day, I have been wondering if you would take the housekeeper's place. Mother would be glad to have you and Paul with her, and would make things easy for you, and pay you liberally."

"I shall be very glad to accept your offer, Mr. Martin. I am sorely in need of work. I taught in the public school in Louisville until my health failed. Since then I have had a hard struggle to get along," answered Mrs. May.

"I will give you mother's address. You can go out and arrange matters. Make haste and get well little protector," said Mr. Martin, as he rose to go.

When he had gone, the mother put her arms about her boy. "You are my protector," she said. "You brought me a wrap, and now you have helped me to get work to do."—Mrs. P. Binford, in the Visitor.

If I Ought To:

  There's a voice that's ever sounding.
  With an echo oft rebounding,
  In my heart a word propounding,
    Loudly speaking, never still;
  Till at last, my duty viewing,
  Heart replies to charge renewing,
  Let my willing change to doing,—
    If I ought to, then I will.
Max Hill

Moffat and Africaner

Robert Moffat, the poor Scotch lad, who, by living on beggar's fare, managed to get an education in theology and medicine, must evermore stand as one of the great pioneers of Central African exploration. When on the last day of October, 1816, that memorable year in missions, he set sail for the Cape of Good Hope, he was only twenty years of age. But in all the qualities that assure both maturity and heroism, he was a full-grown man.

As not infrequently occurs, his greatest obstacles were found, not in the hopeless paganism of the degraded tribes of the Dark Continent, but in the apathy, if not antipathy, of the representatives of Christian governments. The British governor would have penned him up within the bounds of Cape Colony, lest he should complicate the relations of the settlers with the tribes of the interior. While fighting out this battle, he studied Dutch with a pious Hollander, that he might preach to the Boers and their servants.

Afterward, when permission was obtained, while traveling to the country of the Bechuanas, at the close of his first day's journey he stopped at a farmhouse and offered to preach to the people that evening. In the large kitchen, where the service was to be held, stood a long table, at the head of which sat the Boer, with his wife and six grown children. A large Bible lay on the table, and underneath the table half a dozen dogs. The Boer pointed to the Bible as the signal for Mr. Moffat to begin. But, after vainly waiting for others to come in, he asked how soon the working people were to be called.

"Working people?" impatiently cried the farmer.

"You don't mean the Hottentots,—the blacks! You are not waiting for them surely, or expecting to preach to them? You might as well preach to those dogs under that table!" A second time, and more angrily he spoke, repeating the offensive comparison.

Young as Mr. Moffat was, he was disconcerted only for a moment. Lifting his heart to God for guidance, the thought came into his mind to take a text suggested by the rude remarks of the Boer. So he opened the Bible to the fifteenth chapter of Matthew and read the twenty-seventh verse: "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Pausing a moment, he slowly repeated these words, with his eyes steadily fixed on the face of the Boer. Again pausing, a third time he quoted these appropriate words. Angrily the Boer cried out, "Well, well, bring them in." A crowd of blacks then thronged the kitchen, and Moffat preached to them all.

Ten years passed, and the missionary was passing that way again. Those work-people, who held him in the most grateful remembrance, seeing him, ran after him to thank him for telling them the way to Christ in that sermon.

His whole life in Africa was a witness to miracles of transformation. He had no scorn nor contempt for the sable sons of Africa. He found the most degraded of them open to the impressions of the gospel, and even the worst and unimpressionable among them were compelled to confess the power of that gospel to renew. One savage, cruel chief, who hated the missionaries, had a dog that chewed and swallowed a copy of the book of Psalms for the sake of the soft sheepskin in which it was bound. The enraged chief declared his dog to be henceforth worthless: "He would no more bite or tear, now that he had swallowed a Christian book."

This godly, devoted missionary preached and taught the warlike Bechuanas till they put away their clubs and knives, and farming utensils took the place of bows and arrows and spears. This strange change in African savages came to be talked over among the people. It was so wonderful that the other tribes could account for it only as an instance of supernatural magic. There was nothing they knew of that would lead men like the Bechuanas to bring war to an end, and no longer rob and kill.

Mr. Moffat was especially warned against the notorious Africaner, a chief whose name was the terror of the whole country. Some prophesied that he would be eaten by this monster; others were sure that he would be killed, and his skull turned into a drinking-cup, and his skin into the head of a drum. Nevertheless, the heroic young missionary went straight for the kraal of the cruel marauder and murderer. He was accompanied by Ebner, the missionary, who was not in favor in Africaner's court, and who soon had to flee, leaving Mr. Moffat alone with a bloodthirsty monarch and a people as treacherous as their chief.

But God had armed his servant with the spirit, not of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. He was a man of singular grace and tact. He quietly but firmly planted his foot in Africaner's realms, and began his work. He opened a school, began stated services of worship, and went about among the people, living simply, self-denyingly, and prayerfully.

Africaner himself was his first convert. The wild Namoqua warrior was turned into a gentle child. The change in this chief was a moral miracle. Wolfish rapacity, leonine ferocity, leopardish treachery, gave way before the meekness and mildness of the calf or kid. His sole aim and ambition had been to rob and to slay, to lead his people on expeditions for plunder and violence, but he now seemed absorbed by one passion, zeal for God and his missionary. He set his subjects to building a house for Mr. Moffat, made him a present of cows, became a regular and devout worshiper, mourned heartily over his past life, and habitually studied the Word of God. He could not do enough for the man who had led him to Jesus.

When the missionary's life hung in the balance with African fever, he nursed him through the crisis of delirium. When he had to visit Cape Town, Africaner went with him, knowing that a price had been set for years upon his own head as an outlaw and a public enemy. No marvel that when he made his appearance in Cape Colony, the people were astonished at the transformation! It was even more wonderful than when Saul, the arch-persecutor, was suddenly transformed into Paul, the apostle.

Mr. Moffat once said that during his entire residence among this people, he remembered no occasion on which he had been grieved with Africaner or found reason for complaint; and even his very faults leaned to the side of virtue. On his way to Cape Town with Mr. Moffat, a distance of six hundred miles, the whole road lay through a country which had been laid waste by this robber and his retainers. The Dutch farmers could not believe that this converted man was actually Africaner; and one of them, when he saw him, lifted his hands and exclaimed: "This is the eighth wonder of the world! Great God, what a miracle of thy power and grace!"

He who had long shed blood without cause would now with as little hesitation shed his own for Christ's sake. When he found his own death approaching, he gathered his people around him, and charged them, as Moses and Joshua did Israel: "We are not now what we once were, savages, but men professing to be taught according to the gospel. Let us, then, do accordingly." Then, with unspeakable tenderness and gentleness, he counseled them to live peaceably with all men, to engage in no undertaking without the advice of Christian guides, to remain together as one people, and to receive and welcome all missionaries as sent from God. Then he gave them his parting blessing.

His dying confession would have graced the lips of the apostle of the Gentiles: "I feel that I love God, and that he has done much for me, of which I am totally unworthy. My former life is stained with blood: but Jesus Christ has bought my pardon, and I shall live with him through an eternity. Beware of falling back into the same evils into which I have so often led you, but seek God, and he will be found of you, and direct you."

Having said this, Africaner fell asleep, himself having furnished one of the most unanswerable proofs that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.—Arthur T. Pierson, in "The Miracles of Missions," second series, copyright by Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York.

Two Trifles

"Isn't Aunt Sue the dearest person you ever saw!" exclaimed Helen Fairmont as she and her visitor sank into a garden seat in the beautiful grounds surrounding Mrs. Armour's lovely home. "Nothing ever seems to be too much trouble for her, if she can make others happy."

"Yes," answered Mary Sutton, "I just felt like giving her a good hug when she told you her plan. It is really just for me that she is going to let you give the picnic here."

"Just for that very reason. It will be simply fine. O, she is so sweet! You see, two weeks ago, when you wrote that finally you could arrange to visit me for the summer, I was so full of the good news that I couldn't get to Aunt Sue's quickly enough to tell her about it,—somehow one always wants to tell Aunt Sue about things,—and she said she used to go to school with your mother, and was very fond of her, and she was all ready to like you, too, and that just the very minute you reached here, we were both to come over—I mean you and I were."

"O, dear," laughed Mary, "I think you'd better stop and take a good long breath, and get the we's and you's straightened."

"I don't care," Helen went chattering on. "You know what I mean, just what we've done. We, you and I,—is that right?—were to come to her house and choose what kind of entertainment we wanted her to give, so you might meet my friends."

"Who thought of the garden picnic?" inquired Mary, her face all animation. Then, not waiting for Helen's answer, she said, enthusiastically, "Isn't this a beautiful spot in which to have a picnic?"

The girls stopped talking long enough to look about at the pride of Mrs. Armour's heart, the lovely grounds round her home. They surrounded a fine old house of colonial type, for which they made a pretty setting. A double row of dignified and ancient elms flanked a pathway leading from the gate. The lawn on each side of the walk made one think of the answer the English gardener gave to the inquiry as to the cause of the velvety beauty of England's lawns. "Why, sir," said he, "we sows 'em, and we mows 'em, and we mows 'em, and we sows 'em." Mrs. Armour's lawn had the appearance of having undergone a like experience. At the back and sides of the house was a variety of shrubs and bushes whose blossoms in the spring made the place indescribably sweet. Mrs. Armour boasted that there were forty kinds of bushes, but her husband laughingly said that he had never been able to count more than thirty-nine and a half; "for you certainly couldn't call that Japanese dwarf a whole one!"

June roses ran riot in season. Later, more cultivated varieties, blooming regularly through the summer, took their part in providing fragrance. Sweet, old-fashioned garden plants and more valuable products, procured at much trouble and expense, helped to make a bower that might have satisfied even more fastidious eyes than those which reveled in them now.

Mrs. Armour's great delight was in using her garden, and she had given Helen the privilege of inviting all her young friends to picnic there the following Thursday evening.

"And, O Mary, you just can't imagine how pretty it is here with the Chinese lanterns swung from tree to tree, and the dainty tables scattered round!" Helen scarcely contain herself.

Mary laughed merrily. She was equally delighted but naturally she took everything in a more quiet manner. Smiling at Helen's exuberance of spirit, she asked, "What was it your aunt said about the sandwiches?"

"She wants to help us make them, and she was telling me she'd like me to cut them a little more carefully than I did the last time I helped her. You'd never think Aunt Sue has a hobby, would you?"

"No, I don't think I should."

"Well, she has. She's the most particular old darling about little things that you ever saw. Now those sandwiches I made I will admit were not cut very evenly, but, dear me! they tasted good enough. Tom Canton ate six. I told her so, but she said they should have looked good, too."

"Well, what's her hobby?"

"I just told you. It's trifles. She says life is made of them, and trifles with the rough edges polished off make beautiful lives. And she loves to quote such things as, 'Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.' She says trifles decide almost everything for us, and shape our characters. She says it is interesting to study how most big things grow from little ones.

"Helen, I think she's right." Mary's dark, thoughtful eyes looked into her friend's.

"O, I don't! It isn't trifles, trifles, that decide things and make the real difference. It is the big things. For instance, it is brother Tom's education in the school of technology that placed him in the responsible position we are all so proud of him for obtaining."

"Yes, but I heard him say himself that he just happened, by mistake, to leave one of his scribbled figures on your uncle's desk, and your uncle, picking it up by mistake, too, said that a boy who could do that should have a chance at the right training."

"Why, that's a fact, Mary mine," said Helen, in surprise. "I never thought of it in that way. Well, I won't agree that it happens so often. For example,"—glancing about for an idea, she caught sight of a young man, a former schoolmate, passing just in front of the Armour home,—"for example, I don't suppose it was a trifle that made Alson Jarvis turn out the kind of individual he has become lately. He used to be a fine boy, but I am afraid he is getting dissipated. He doesn't go with our crowd much now. I guess he is not invited the way he used to be before he began going with those South Town boys."

"I wish I could prove to you my side of the argument. Let's try your Aunt Sue's idea of studying how the big things come from little ones. Wouldn't it be interesting to find the cause of this one case? I would not be one bit surprised if it were just some little thing which was the pivot that turned him."

"All right," agreed Helen. "I don't believe your theory, but it would be fun, as you say, to try it. Will"—Will was her brother—"insists Al's not so black as he has been painted lately. We will get Will to find out for us if he can."

Then the talk drifted to the more absorbing subject of sandwiches and cakes.

At dinner-time the two girls confided to the accommodating Will their desire to find what had changed Al.

"Trying to pry into private closets, regardless of the kind of welcome their enclosed skeletons may accord you, are you?" said Will, banteringly.

Mary, not accustomed to his teasing, blushed, wondering if she had really been guilty of an indelicate presumption, but Helen spoke up quickly in their defense:—

"Now, Will you know perfectly well it is not any such thing. As a pledge of our good faith—does that sound nice and lawyer-like?" Will was studying law, and Helen, too, liked to tease occasionally—"I do affirm that if you will do that for us, I will do something nice for him, on your account."

"Then I certainly will. It is what I have been trying to convince you for a month that you ought to do."

The girls told him why it was they were so anxious to know more of Alson's private affairs.

"I would like to prove that your Aunt Sue and I are right, you know," said
Mary.

"Well," said Will, turning to his sister's guest, "don't let them prejudice you against Al. He is off the track just now, I know. The girls are not having much to do with him, but I have seen worse than he is." Will went off whistling. The next day he was ready with his report.

"Girls," he began, "Mary wins in the argument about trifles, and as a result I am feeling pretty mean about the business. I guess I am the trifle in the case."

Both girls laughed as they glanced at his six feet of length, and his great, broad shoulders.

"O, it is no laughing matter," he said, good-naturedly. "This is the way it happened: Washington's birthday, you know, everything in town was closed, and I thought, as Al was living in a boarding-house, I would better ask mother if I might bring him home the night before, and have him spend the day here with us; we were going to have a kind of celebration anyway, you know. So about seven o'clock that evening, just before I started for the travel lecture, I ran up to mother's room. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask her if she would not include Al in the number of her guests, when I noticed that she looked pretty blue. I know she whisked away a tear so I should not get sight of it. I pretended I didn't see it but I said, 'Got some troubles, little mother?'"

Helen knew in just what a hearty, cheerful way he said it.

"'Not very many, dear,' she said; but I didn't feel like bothering her about anything then, and decided it would do just as well to bring Al home the following Saturday night and keep him over Sunday."

Will looked dubious.

"But it didn't do," he continued. "Having nothing to keep him busy that holiday, Al went off with a crowd he had always before refused to join—a pretty gay set, I am afraid. The man who had half promised him the position he had been slaving for during the past year happened to see him with those people, and the very next day he informed Al very curtly that, after due consideration, he found he had no place for him. Alson guessed why, and now he feels reckless, and says he might as well have the game as the name, might as well be really bad since he has to suffer anyway. He talked in a desperate sort of way this morning when he told me about it. Somehow I feel responsible for the whole thing, because I hesitated about asking mother."

Will looked thoughtfully across at the girls, whose faces expressed real sympathy. Suddenly Helen exclaimed:—

"The night before Washington's birthday, you say?"

"Yes."

"Mother was nearly crying alone in her room?"

"Yes."

"About seven o'clock?"

"Yes. Is this a cross-examination?"

"Then," said Helen, sitting upright and paying no attention to her brother's question, "it's all my fault."

"How?"

"Bridget was out that evening, and I had to stay home from the lecture to put away the dinner things and I said I did not see why I always had to do such disagreeable things. I did not see why all our relations were rich, and why we had to be always scrimping and missing everything. Of course I repented in a little while and apologized. It made mother feel pretty bad, I knew, but I did not think she minded it as much as that, though."

"It was a pretty serious mix-up all around, wasn't it, sister?" Will spoke consolingly, but he looked worried.

"Well," came Mary's soothing tones, "you must not take all the blame, for probably there were a great many more 'little nothings' that had something to do with it. Al must take his share, too."

"Yes, perhaps," said Will; "but we have to take the blame that belongs to us."

Helen was aghast at the enormous result of her few minutes' irritability. Such outbursts were not common with her. There was a catch in her voice as she said, "Poor Al!"

Mary went directly to the heart of the matter. "It is done," she said. "It is somebody's fault, of course, but what is to be done first to rectify it?"

"I don't know, I am sure," Helen answered, musingly. "I have not had a thought of anything but the garden picnic for the last two days, and I don't seem to have any idea but picnic in my head."

"O, good!" ejaculated Mary. The joy of the discoverer shone in her eyes.
"The picnic! That is just the thing. Ask him, of course."

Alson Jarvis had hidden the hurts of his schoolmates' recent slights under a nonchalant manner. Each one, while it cut deeply, seemed to aggravate him to greater wilfulness. Well bred as he was, took no real pleasure in the sports of the company of which he had made a part since the loss of the position he so desired, and for which he had worked so faithfully. He felt himself disgraced and barred from the old associates; so, from pure discouragement, he continued with the new.

Helen Fairmont's note of invitation came as a surprise. It ran:—

"DEAR ALSON: I am inviting, for Aunt Sue, a number of my friends to meet Miss Mary Sutton, my guest from Amosville. We are to have a garden picnic Thursday evening. I think you will enjoy meeting Miss Sutton, as she has the same love for golf you have, and I have already told her of the scores you made last summer. Yours sincerely, "Helen Fairmont."

He read it with pleasure. Then the accumulated unkindnesses of his old friends came before him. A spirit of resentment took hold of him. No, they had shown how little they cared for him. Why should he go among them again? There was plenty of other company he could enter. But why had she asked him if she did not want him? O, well, they were all alike anyway! Even if she had not already done so, Helen would pass him by sooner or later, like so many of the others. But Will Fairmont had stuck to him. Maybe he had got his sister to pity him. Al winced at the thought. "I am getting contemptible. Will Fairmont would not do that. O, well, I might as well be done with them all right now!" His eyes flashed defiantly. Then he caught sight of the little note.

"Friendly enough," he said. "Sounds as honest and sincere as her brother."
Then he added: "I might give her the benefit of the doubt, I suppose. Yes,
I will go, if for no other reason than that she is Will's sister."

He went. And he enjoyed himself thoroughly thanks partially to Mrs. Armour's knowledge of human nature. Where others saw only weakness, she found smarting hurts. She felt that he was on dangerous ground, that he was ashamed of himself, and that his self-pride and self-respect needed propping, and she immediately proceeded to prop them.

Helen's grief over her own unsuspected part in his career resulted in an especial effort to make the picnic a pleasure and success for him. With that kindly compliance which is more common in those about us than we sometimes think, the other young people accepted the idea of Alson's being one of them again, and he found himself, before the termination of the evening, on almost his old footing with them.

"Wasn't it a success all round?" said Mary that night. "I congratulate you,
Helen, on your ability to extend real hospitality. It was just lovely."

"They did seem to have a good time, didn't they? Al Jarvis was on my conscience all the evening. Do you think he enjoyed himself?"

"Yes, I do, Helen."

"After what I did it was such a little return to make."

Simultaneously the girls laughed.

"Trifles again! They keep bobbing up, don't they? I suppose this is one of those of little consequence."

"'Time will tell,'" sententiously quoted Mary.

Time did tell. Years afterward two successful lawyers sat in an office, one congratulating the other on his brilliant speech of the day.

"It might never have been, Will," said Alson Jarvis, "if your aunt hadn't somehow, without a single definite word on the subject, shown me the broken road down which I had about decided to travel through It was at a party she had in her grounds one night long ago for your sister and Mary Sutton. Do you remember it?"

Did he? Will's heart glowed with pleasure and gratitude as he thought of the great result of Mary's little suggestion about inviting Al. How unlike this was the outcome of that miserable trifle which had played so important a part in the lawyer's experience.—Elisabeth Golden, in the Wellspring.

Finish Thy Work

  No other hand thy special task can do,
  Though trivial it may seem to thee.
  Thou canst not shirk
  God-given work
  And still be blest of Heaven, from sin be free.
  O idler in life's ripened harvest-field,
  Perform thy task, that rich thy work may yield!

  Ah, sweet the thought that comes at set of sun,
  If finished is the work of that one day.
  But O the joy
  Without alloy,
  Awaiting him who at life's close can say,
  "I'm ready, Father, to go home to thee;
  The work is finished which thou gavest me."

Mrs. M A Loper.

A Second Trial

A College Scene

It was commencement day at college. The people were pouring into the church as I entered. Finding the choice seats already taken, I pressed onward, looking to the right and the left for a vacancy, and on the very front row I found one. Here a little girl moved along to make room for me, looking into my face with large gray eyes, whose brightness was softened by very long lashes. Her face was open and fresh as a newly blown rose. Again and again I found my eyes turning to the rose-like face, and each time the gray eyes moved, half-smiling, to meet mine. Evidently the child was ready to make friends with me. And when, with a bright smile, she returned my dropped handkerchief, we seemed fairly introduced.

"There is going to be a great crowd," she said to me.

"Yes," I replied; "people always like to see how schoolboys are made into men."

Her face beamed with pleasure and pride as she said: "My brother is going to graduate; he's going to speak. I have brought these flowers to throw at him."

They were not greenhouse favorites, but just old-fashioned domestic flowers, such as we associate with the dear grandmothers. "But," I thought, "they will seem sweet and beautiful to him, for his little sister's sake."

"That is my brother," she went on, pointing with her nosegay.

"The one with the light hair?" I asked.

"O, no;" she said, smiling and shaking her head in innocent reproof; "not that homely one with red hair; that handsome one with brown, wavy hair. His eyes look brown, too; but they are not, they are dark blue. There! he's got his hand up to his head now. You see him, don't you?"

In an eager way she looked from him to me, as if some important fate depended on my identifying her brother.

"I see him," I said. "He is a very good-looking brother."

"Yes, he is beautiful," she said, with artless delight, "and he's good, and he studies so hard. He has taken care of me ever since mama died. Here is his name on the program. He is not the valedictorian, but he has an honor for all that."

I saw in the little creature's familiarity with these technical college terms that she had closely identified herself with her brother's studies, hopes, and successes.

"He thought at first," she continued, "that he would write on 'The Romance of Monastic Life.'"

What a strange sound these long words had, whispered from her childish lips! Her interest in her brother's work had stamped them on the child's memory, and to her they were ordinary things.

"But then," she went on, "he decided that he would write on 'Historical Parallels,' and he has a real good oration, and says it beautifully. He has said it to me a great many times. I almost know it by heart. O, it begins so pretty and so grand! This is the way it begins," she added, encouraged by the interest she must have seen in my face: "'Amid the combinations of actors and forces that make up the great kaleidoscope of history, we often find a turn of Destiny's hand.'"

"Why, bless the baby!" I thought, looking down into her proud face. I cannot describe how very odd and elfish it did seem to have those sonorous words rolling out of the smiling mouth. The band striking up put an end to the quotation and to the confidences. As the exercises progressed and approached nearer and nearer the effort on which all her interest was concentrated, my little friend became excited and restless. Her eyes grew larger and brighter; two deep red spots glowed on her cheek. She touched up the flowers, manifestly making the offering ready for the shrine.

"Now it's his turn," she said, turning to me a face in which pride and delight and anxiety seemed equally mingled. But when the overture was played through, and his name was called, the child seemed, in her eagerness, to forget me and all the earth except him. She rose to her feet and leaned forward for a better view of her beloved as he mounted to the speaker's stand. I knew by her deep breathing that her heart was throbbing in her throat. I knew, too, by the way her brother came to the front, that he was trembling. The hands hung limp: his face was pallid, and the lips blue, as with cold. I felt anxious. The child, too, seemed to discern that things were not well with him. Something like fear showed in her face.

He made an automatic bow. Then a bewildered, struggling look came into his face, then a helpless look, and he stood staring vacantly, like a somnambulist, at the waiting audience. The moments of painful suspense went by, and he still stood as if struck down. I saw how it was; he had been seized with stage fright.

Alas, little sister! She turned her large, dismayed eves on me. "He's forgotten it," she said. Then a swift change came over her face, a strong, determined look; and on the funeral-like silence of the room broke the sweet child voice:—

"'Amid the combinations of actors and forces that make up the great kaleidoscope of history, we often find that a turn of Destiny's hand—'"

Everybody about us turned and looked. The breathless silence, the sweet, childish voice, the childish face, the long, unchildlike words, produced a weird effect.

But the help had come too late; the unhappy brother was already staggering in humiliation from the stage. The band quickly struck up, and waves of lively music were rolled out to cover the defeat.

I gave the sister a glance in which I meant to show the intense sympathy which I felt, but she did not see. Her eyes, swimming with tears, were on her brother's face. I put my arm around her. She was too absorbed to feel the caress, and before I could appreciate her purpose she was on her way to the shame-stricken young man, sitting with a face like a statue's. When he saw her by his side, the set face relaxed, and a quick mist came into his eyes. The young men got closer together to make room for her. She sat down beside him, laid her flowers upon his knee, and slipped her hand into his. I could not keep my eyes from her sweet, pitying face. I saw her whisper to him, he bending a little to catch her word. Later, I found out that she was asking him if he knew his "piece" now, and that he answered yes.

When the young man next on the list had spoken, and the band was playing, the child, to the brother's great surprise, made her way up the platform steps, and pressed through the throng of professors, trustees, and distinguished visitors, to the president.

"If you please, sir," she said, with a little courtesy, "will you and the trustees let my brother try again? He knows his 'piece' now."

For a moment, the president stared at her through his gold-bowed spectacles, and then, appreciating the child's petition, he smiled on her, and went down and spoke to the young man who had failed.

So it happened that when the band had again ceased playing, it was briefly announced that Mr. Duane would now deliver his oration, "Historic Parallels."

"'Amid the combinations of actors and forces that——'" This the little sister whispered to him as he arose to answer the summons.

A ripple of heightened and expectant interest passed over the audience, and then all sat stone-still as if fearing to breathe lest the speaker might again take fright. No danger. The hero in the youth was aroused. He went at his "piece" with a set purpose to conquer, to redeem himself, and to bring back the smile into the child's tear-stained face. I watched the face during the speaking. The wide eyes, the parted lips, the whole rapt being, said the breathless audience was forgotten, that her spirit was moving with his.

And when the address was ended, with the ardent abandon of one who catches enthusiasm, in the realization that he is fighting down a wrong judgment and conquering a sympathy, the effect was really thrilling. That dignified audience broke into rapturous applause; bouquets intended for the valedictorian rained like a tempest. And the child who had helped save the day, that one beaming little face, in its pride and gladness, is something to be forever remembered.—Our Dumb Animals.

The Sin Of Extravagance

"It may be a folly, but you would not think of calling extravagance a sin?" asked a young man of his minister.

"I do not care to offend you by harsh terms, but if we agree that it is a folly, that is reason enough for wishing to be wiser."

"But it is very easy to spend money when one is with others, and one does not like to be called 'tight.'"

"John," said the minister, "I do not propose to argue with you, but I want to tell you two stories, both of them true, recent, and out of my own experience. They will illustrate the reason why, knowing you as well as I do, having baptized you and received you into the church, I cannot view without concern your growing extravagance, and the company into which it leads you, and the interests from which it tends to separate you.

"A few months ago a young man came to this city, and spent his first days here under my own roof. I have known his father for many years, an earnest, faithful man, who has denied himself for that boy, and prayed for him, and done everything that a father ought.

"I chance to remember a word which his father spoke to me a number of years ago, when the boy was a young lad, and was recovering from a sickness that made it seem possible he would need a change of climate. I happen to remember meeting his father, who told me of this, and how he was arranging in his own mind to change his business, to make any sacrifice, to move to the ends of the earth, if necessary, for that boy's sake.

"The boy is not a bad boy. But he had not been in my home an hour before he asked me for the address of a tailor, and when his new suit came,—a suit which I thought he might very well have waited to earn,—it was silk-lined throughout. I do not believe the suit which his father wears as he passes the plate in church every Sunday is silk-lined.

"I knew what the boy was to earn, and could estimate what he could afford, and I knew that he could not buy that suit out of his own earnings.

"I had a letter from his father a few days ago. Shall I read it to you? It is very short. It reads as follows:—

"'MY DEAR FRIEND: I hope you will never know how hard it is for me to write to you to say that you must not under any circumstances lend money to my dear boy.'

"And those last three words make it the more pathetic.

"The second story, too, is recent. Another boy, from another State, came to this city, and for the first few Sundays attended our church. We tried to interest him in good things; we liked him, and did our best for him. I saw little in him to disturb me, except that he was spending more money than I could think he earned. Recently I received a letter from his father. It is longer, and I will not read it, but will tell you the substance of it. He wrote saying that his son was employed in a business where, with economy, he ought to be able to make a living from the start, and with hope for advancement, but that from the first week he had written home for money. Not only so, but the father had all too good reason to believe that the boy was still leaving bills unpaid. The father wrote to ask me whether he could not arrange with some one connected with the church to receive the boy's money from home week by week, and see that it was applied to the uses for which it was sent. He added that he would be glad to consider himself a contributor to the church during the period of this arrangement.

"I had little hope that any arrangement of this kind would help matters, but I took it as indicating that the boy needed looking after, and I sent at once to look him up. Where do you think we found him?—In jail.

"These are not imaginary stories, nor are they of a remote past. And I see other young men for whom I am anxious. Wear the coat a little longer, but pay for it out of your own money. Be considered 'tight' if necessary, but live within your means. It is good sense; more than that, it is good religion.

"And now I will answer your question, or rather, you may answer it: Is extravagance merely a folly, or is it also a sin? What do you think?"—Youth's Companion.

A Little Child's Work

Near one of the tiny schoolhouses of the West is a carefully tended mound, the object of the tenderest interest on the part of a man known far and wide as "Preacher Jim," a rough, unministerial-looking person, who yet has reached the hearts and lives of many of the men and women in that region, and has led them to know the Master whom he serves in his humble fashion.

Twenty years ago Preacher Jim was a different man. Rough and untaught, his only skill was shown by the dexterity with which he manipulated the cards that secured to him his livelihood. Then, as now, he was widely known, but in those days his title was "Gambler Jim."

It was during a long, tiresome trip across the Rockies that a clergyman and his wife, having undressed their little boy and tucked him snugly into his berth, repaired to the observation-car in order to watch the November heavens.

An hour passed swiftly; then suddenly a rough-looking fellow made his way toward the group of which the clergyman was one.

"Anybody here got a kid what's dressed in a red nightgown and sings like a bird?" he demanded, awkwardly.

The father and mother sprang excitedly to their feet, gasping in fear. The man nodded reassuringly.

"The' ain't nothing the matter of him," he said, with yet deeper embarrassment. "The matter's with—us. You're a parson, ain't you? The kid, he's been singin' to us—an' talkin'. If you don't mind, we'd take it mighty good of you to come with me. Not you, ma'am. The kid's all safe, an' the parson'll bring him back in a little while."

With a word to his wife, the minister followed his guide toward the front of the train, and on through car after car until thirteen of them had been traversed. As the two men opened the door of the smoking compartment, they stopped to look and listen.

Up on one of the tables stood the tiny boy, his face flushed, his voice shrill and sweet.

"Is you ready?" he cried, insistently. "My papa says the Bridegroom is Jesus, an' he wants everybody to be ready when he comes, just 'cause he loves you." Then, with a childish sweetness, came the song which had evidently made the deepest impression upon the child's mind: "Are you ready for the Bridegroom when he comes?"

"He's sung it over 'n' over," whispered the clergyman's companion, "'nd I couldn't stan' no more. He said you'd pray, parson."

As the two approached, the boy lifted his sweet, serious eyes to his father's.

"They want to get ready," he said, simply. And, his boy snuggled childishly in his arms, the minister prayed, as he never had prayed before, for the men gathered about the child.

It was only a few moments before the clergyman bore the child back to the sleeping-car, where the mother anxiously awaited his coming. Then he returned to talk with the men, four of whom that night decided to "get ready," and among them was, of course, the man who sought out the father of the child, Gambler Jim.

To this day it remains a mystery how the child succeeded in reaching the smoking-car unnoticed and unhindered.

As for the little fellow himself, his work was early done, for a few weeks later, upon the return trip through the mountains, he was suddenly stricken with a swift and terrible disease, and the parents tenderly laid the little form under the sod near the schoolhouse where Preacher Jim now tells so often the story, which never grows old.—Youth's Companion.

 

 

Christ Is Coming

  Little children, Christ is coming,
    Coming through the flaming sky,
  To convey his trusting children
    To their glorious home on high

  Do you love the Lord's appearing?
    Are you waiting for the day
  When with all his shining angels
    He will come in grand array?

  All who keep the ten commandments
    Will rejoice his face to see;
  But the wicked, filled with anguish,
    From his presence then will flee

  Now while yet probation lingers,
    Now while mercy's voice is heard,
  Haste to give your heart to Jesus,
    Seek to understand his Word

  Quickly help to spread the message,
    You to Christ some soul may turn.
  Though the multitudes his goodness
    And his tender love may spurn.

  Little children, Christ is coming,
    Even God's beloved Son;
  When in glory he descendeth,
    Will he say to you, "Well done"?

Dora Brorsen.

The Handy Box

"Grandmother, do you know where I can find a little bit of wire?" asked Marjorie, running from the shed, where an amateur circus was in preparation.

Grandmother went to a little closet in the room and disappeared a moment, coming out presently with the wire.

"O, yes! and Fred wanted me to ask if you had a large safety-pin." Marjorie looked a little wistful, as if she did not quite like to bother grandmother.

There was another trip made to the closet, and the safety-pin was in
Marjorie's hand.

"You are a pretty nice grandma," she said, over her shoulder, as she ran out.

Not very long after, Marjorie came into the kitchen again. This time she stood beside the sink, where grandmother was washing dishes, and twisted her little toes in her sandals, but seemed afraid to speak.

"Fred wants to know"—began grandmother, laughing.

"Yes'm," said Marjorie, blushing.

"If I can't find him a piece of strong string?" finished grandmother.

"O, no—it's a little brass tack!" declared Marjorie, soberly.

She was a patient, loving grandmother, and she went to the little closet again. Marjorie could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the tacks, for there were three!

"He—said—" she began slowly, and stopped.

"You ought to tell him to come and say it himself," and grandmother laughed; "but we will forgive him this time. Was it 'Thank you,' he said?"

"He feels 'Thank you' awfully, I'm sure," said Marjorie, politely, "but what he said was that if wasn't too much bother—well, he could use a kind of hook thing."

Her grandmother produced a long iron hook, and Marjorie looked at her wonderingly. "Are you a fairy?" she asked, timidly. "You must have a wand and just make things."

Grandmother laughed. "Come here," she said. And she opened the little dark closet, and from the shelf took a long wooden box. This she brought to the table, and when she opened it, Marjorie gave a little cry of delight. It seemed to her that there was a little of everything in it. There were bits of string, pins, colored paper, bobbins, balls, pieces of felt, and every sort of useful thing generally thrown away.

"When I knew my grandchildren were coming here to spend the summer," she said, "I began on this box, and whenever I find anything astray that would naturally be thrown out I just put it in."

"Do you want me to help save, too?" asked Marjorie, who thought the story should have a moral.

"You must start a handy box of your own when you go back, and keep it in the nursery. You don't know how many times a day you will be able to help the others out. A little darning yarn, an odd thimble, a bit of soft linen, and all the things that clutter and would be thrown away, go to fill up a handy box. You can be the good fairy of the nursery."

"It is just wonderful!" said Marjorie. "If I had a little—just a little wooden box, I would begin today, and when I go home I can have a larger one."

Grandmother smiled, and brought out a smaller wooden box, just the right size. From that moment Marjorie was a collector, and her usefulness began.—Mira Jenks Stafford, in Youth's Companion.

The Result of Disobedience

My parents and their six children, including myself, lived in Flintville, Wisconsin, near the Suamico River and Pond, where a great number of logs had been floated in for lumber. On the opposite side from us were woods, where wintergreen berries were plentiful. One pleasant Sunday morning in October, 1857, one of our playmates came to ask mother if we, my older sister, a younger brother, and I, might go with her to pick some of these berries.

Mother said we might go if we would go down the river and cross the bridge. She knew that we had crossed the pond several times on the logs, but the water was unusually high for that time of the year, and there was danger in crossing that way. We promised to cross by the bridge, really intending when we left home to do so. Mother let my two younger sisters, one four and the other six years old, go with us.

We left the house as happy as could be. My mother smiled as she stood in the door and watched us go. She had always trusted us, and we seldom disobeyed her. But this time we had our playmate with us, and the had been in the habit of having her own way. As she was a little older than we were, we thought that what she said or did was all right.

We had gone but a short distance when this girl, whose name was Louise, suggested that we run across the logs, and get to the berries so much the sooner. We reminded her of what our mother had told us; but she said, "Your mother does not know how snug the logs are piled in, and that it would be such fun, and no danger, to cross on them."

We began to look at the matter in the same way, and after playing a few minutes, we started across. I took one of my little sisters, and Louise was going to take the younger one; but, as she was about to start, her brother, whom she had not seen for some time, drove up and took her home with him. My brother, thinking he could take our little sister across, started with her, but I called to him to go back and wait for me to do it; for I was then about half-way over. The stream was not wide, and he thought he could take her over as well as I.

Just as I started back, O, what a sight met my eyes! I saw my little sister slip off the log into the water. I ran to catch her, but was not quick enough. As I reached for her, my brother and I both rolled from the log into the water with her. Then my sister, who had been standing on the bank to see if we got over safely, came to our rescue; but we were so frightened that we caught hold of her, and, instead of her pulling us out, we pulled her in with us.

By that time our screams had reached our mother's ears, and she came running to see what the trouble was. She saw only one of us, as the others were under water, or nearly so, and, supposing there was only one in the water, she came on the logs to help. By the time she got to us, the logs were under motion, so that she could not stand on them; and she, too, fell into the water.

The six-year-old sister, whom I had taken across, saw it all and made an attempt to come to us. Mother called to her to go back. She turned back, and reached the shore all right. Just as mother spoke, she felt something come against her feet. She raised her foot with the weight, and caught the dress of little Emeline, who was sinking for the last time. Mother managed to hold her till help came.

It being Sunday, nearly every man that lived near was away from home. Fortunately, a Mr. Flint, who had company visiting him, was at home. The men were eating their dinner when a woman who had seen us in the water rushed into the dining-room and told them that Mr. Tripp's family were in the mill-pond drowning. They rushed from the table, tipping it over and breaking some dishes.

When they reached us, the logs and water were so disturbed that nothing could be done for us until boards were brought to lay on the logs. During this time I had caught hold of a log that was crowded between others, so I could pull myself up without rolling, but could get no farther. My sister Sarah and brother Willard were helped ashore. Emeline, whom mother had been trying hard to hold up, was taken out, but showed no signs of life. She was laid on a log while they helped mother out.

As soon as mother saw Emeline, she told the men to turn her on her stomach. They then saw that there was life. She was quickly taken to the house, and cared for by an old lady we called Aunt Betsey, who had come to help.

While taking mother to shore, the nine men who had come to our rescue fell into the water. They all had to walk on the same long board to get to shore. The boards having been placed so very quickly, it was not noticed, until too late, that one was unsafe. The men were near enough to shore where they fell in, so that they could touch bottom, and were not long in getting out.

Mother had to be taken home, where she was cared for by the best help we could procure. It was impossible to get a doctor where we lived in those days. Little Emeline and mother were watched over all night, and at sunrise the next morning they were pronounced out of danger.

The men who fell in got off with only an unpleasant wetting. The water was quite cold; the pond froze over the following night. They did not start for home that day, as they were intending to do, but spent the rest of the day drying their clothing.

About noon our father, who had been away for three days, came home. When he heard the story of our disaster, he wept, and thanked God for sparing our lives.

All this happened because we did not obey our mother; and we children never forgot the lesson.

Mrs. M. J. Lawrence.

Likes and Dislikes

  I had a little talk today—
    An argument with Dan and Ike:
  First Dan, he said 'twas not his way
    To do the things he didn't like.

  And Ike, he said that Dan was wrong;
    That only cowards dodged and hid.
  Because it made him brave and strong,
    The things he didn't like, he did!

  But then I showed to Ike and Dan
    An easy way between the two:
  I always try, as best I can,
To like the things I have to do.
—Arthur Guiterman, in Youth's Companion.

Livingstone's Body-Guard

The work of David Livingstone in Africa was so far that of a missionary-explorer and general that the field of his labor is too broad to permit us to trace individual harvests. No one man can quickly scatter seed over so wide an area. But there is one marvelous story connected with his death, the like of which has never been written on the scroll of human history. All the ages may safely be challenged to furnish its parallel.

On the night of his death he called for Susi, his faithful servant, and, after some tender ministries had been rendered to the dying man, Livingstone said: "All right; you may go out now," and Susi reluctantly left him alone. At four o'clock the next morning, May 1, Susi and Chuma, with four other devoted attendants, anxiously entered that grass hut at Ilala. The candle was still burning, but the greater light of life had gone out. Their great master, as they called him, was on his knees, his body stretched forward, his head buried in his hands upon the pillow. With silent awe, they stood apart and watched him, lest they should invade the privacy of prayer. But he did not stir; there was not even the motion of breathing, but a suspicious rigidity of inaction. Then one of them, Matthew, softly came near and gently laid his hands upon Livingstone's cheeks. It was enough; the chill of death was there. The great father of Africa's dark children was dead, and they were orphans. The most refined and cultured Englishmen would have been perplexed as to what course to take. They were surrounded by superstitious and unsympathetic savages, to whom the unburied remains of the dead man would be an object of dread. His native land was six thousand miles away, and even the coast was fifteen hundred. A grave responsibility rested upon these simple-minded sons of the Dark Continent, to which few of the wisest would have been equal. Those remains, with his valuable journals, instruments, and personal effects, must be carried to Zanzibar. But the body must first be preserved from decay, and they had no skill nor facilities for embalming; and if preserved, there were no means of transportation—no roads nor carts. No beasts of burden being available, the body must be borne on the shoulders of human beings; and, as no strangers could be trusted, they must themselves undertake the journey and the sacred charge.

These humble children of the forest were grandly equal to the occasion, and they resolved among themselves to carry the body to the seashore, and not give it into other hands until they could surrender it to his countrymen. Moreover, to insure safety to the remains and security to the bearers, it must be done with secrecy. They would gladly have kept secret even their master's death, but the fact could not be concealed. God, however, disposed Chitambo and his subjects to permit these servants of the great missionary to prepare his emaciated body for its last journey, in a hut built for the purpose, on the outskirts of the village.

Now watch these black men as they rudely embalm the body of him who had been to them a savior. They tenderly open the chest and take out the heart and viscera. These they, with a poetic and pathetic sense of fitness, reserve for his beloved Africa. The heart that for thirty-three years had beat for her welfare must be buried in her bosom. And so one of the Nassik boys, Jacob Wainright, read the simple service of burial, and under the moula-tree at Ilala that heart was deposited, and that tree, carved with a simple inscription, became his monument. Then the body was prepared for its long journey; the cavity was filled with salt, brandy poured into the mouth, and the corpse laid out in the sun for fourteen days, and so was reduced to the condition of a mummy, Afterward it was thrust into a hollow cylinder of bark. Over this was sewed a covering of canvas. The whole package was securely lashed to a pole, and so at last was ready to be borne between two men upon their shoulders.

As yet the enterprise was scarcely begun, and the most difficult part of their task was before them. The sea was far away, and the path lay through a territory where nearly every fifty miles would bring them to a new tribe, to face new difficulties.

Nevertheless, Susi and Chuma took up their precious burden, and, looking to Livingstone's God for help, began the most remarkable funeral march on record. They followed the track their master had marked with his footsteps when he penetrated to Lake Bangweolo, passing to the south of Lake Lumbi, which is a continuation of Tanganyika, then crossing to Unyanyembe, where it was found out that they were carrying a dead body. Shelter was hard to get, or even food; and at Kasekera they could get nothing for which they asked, except on condition that they would bury the remains they were carrying.

Now indeed their love and generalship were put to a new test. But again they were equal to the emergency. They made up another package like the precious burden, only it contained branches instead of human bones; and this, with mock solemnity, they bore on their shoulders to a safe distance, scattered the contents far and wide in the brushwood, and came back without the bundle. Meanwhile others of their party had repacked the remains, doubling them up into the semblance of a bale of cotton cloth, and so they once more managed to procure what they needed and go on with their charge.

The true story of that nine months' march has never been written, and it never will be, for the full data cannot be supplied. But here is material waiting for some coming English Homer or Milton to crystallize into one of the world's noblest epics; and it deserves the master hand of a great poet artist to do it justice.

See these black men, whom some scientific philosophers would place at one remove from the gorilla, run all manner of risks, by day and night, for forty weeks; now going around by circuitous route to resort to strategem to get their precious burden through the country; sometimes forced to fight their foes in order to carry out their holy mission. Follow them as they ford the rivers and travel trackless deserts; facing torrid heat and drenching tropical storms; daring perils from wild beasts and relentless wild men; exposing themselves to the fatal fever, and burying several of their little band on the way. Yet on they went, patient and persevering, never fainting nor halting, until love and gratitude had done all that could be done, and they laid down at the feet of the British consul, on the twelfth of March, 1874, all that was left of Scotland's great hero.

When, a little more than a month later, the coffin of Livingstone was landed in England, April 15, it was felt that no less a shrine than Britain's greatest burial-place could fitly hold such precious dust. But so improbable and incredible did it seem that a few rude Africans could actually have done this splendid deed, at such a cost of time and such risk, that not until the fractured bones of the arm, which the lion crushed at Jabotsa thirty years before, identified the body, was certain that this was Livingstone's corpse. And then, on the eighteenth of April, 1874, such a funeral cortege entered the great abbey of Britain's illustrious dead as few warriors or heroes or princes ever drew to that mausoleum.

The faithful body-servants who had religiously brought home every relic of the person or property of the great missionary explorer were accorded places of honor. And well they might be. No triumphal procession of earth's mightiest conqueror ever equaled for sublimity that lonely journey through Africa's forests. An example of tenderness, gratitude, devotion, heroism, equal to this, the world had never seen. The exquisite inventiveness of a love that lavished tears as water on the feet of Jesus, and made tresses of hair a towel, and broke the alabaster flask for his anointing; the feminine tenderness that lifted his mangled body from the cross and wrapped it in new linen, with costly spices, and laid it in a virgin tomb, have at length been surpassed by the ingenious devotion of the cursed sons of Canaan.

The grandeur and pathos of that burial scene, amid the stately columns and arches of England's famous Abbey, pale in luster when contrasted with that simpler scene near Ilala, when, in God's greater cathedral of nature, whose columns and arches are the trees, whose surpliced choir are the singing birds, whose organ is the moaning wind, the grassy carpet was lifted, and dark hands laid Livingstone's heart to rest, In that great cortege that moved up the nave no truer nobleman was found than that black man, Susi, who in illness had nursed the Blantyre hero, had laid his heart in Africa's bosom, and whose hand was now upon his pall.

Let those who doubt and deride Christian missions to the degraded children of Africa, who tell us that it is not worth while to sacrifice precious lives for the sake of these doubly lost millions of the Dark Continent,—let such tell us whether it is not worth while, at any cost, to seek out and save men with whom such Christian heroism is possible.

  Burn on, thou humble candle, burn within thy hut of grass,
  Though few may be the pilgrim feet that through Ilala pass;
  God's hand hath lit thee, long to shine, and shed thy holy light
  Till the new day-dawn pour its beams o'er Afric's long midnight.

Arthur T. Pierson, in "The Miracles of Missions," second series.

Spare Moments

A lean, awkward boy came to the door of the principal of a celebrated school one morning, and asked to see him. The servant eyed his mean clothes, and thinking he looked more like a beggar than anything else, told him to go around to the kitchen. The boy did as he was bidden, and soon appeared at the back door.

"I should like to see Mr. Slade," said he.

"You want a breakfast, more like," said the servant girl, "and I can give you that without troubling him."

"Thank you," said the boy; "I should like to see Mr. Slade, if he can see me."

"Some old clothes maybe you want," remarked the servant again, eying the boy's patched clothes. "I guess he has none to spare; he gives away a sight." And, without minding the boy's request, she went about her work.

"May I see Mr. Slade?" again asked the boy, after finishing his bread and butter.

"Well, he is in the library; if he must be disturbed, he must. He does like to be alone sometimes," said the girl in a peevish tone.

She seemed to think it very foolish to admit such a fellow into her master's presence. However, she wiped her hands, and bade him follow. Opening the library door, she said:—

"Here's somebody, sir, who is dreadful anxious to see you, and so I let him in."

I do not know how the boy introduced himself, or now he opened the business, but I know that, after talking awhile, the principal put aside the volume that he was studying, and took up some Greek books, and began to examine the boy. The examination lasted for some time. Every question the principal asked was answered promptly.

"Upon my word," exclaimed the principal, "you do well!" looking at the boy from head to foot over his spectacles. "Why, my boy, where did you pick up so much?"

"In my spare moments," answered the boy.

Here was a poor, hard-working boy, with few opportunities for schooling, yet almost fitted for college by simply improving his spare moments.

Truly are spare moments the "gold-dust of time"! How precious they should be regarded! What account can you give for your spare moments? What can you show for them? Look and see. This boy can tell you how very much can be laid up by improving them; and there are many, very many other boys, I am afraid, in jail and in the house of correction, in the forecastle of a whaleship, in the gambling-house, in the tippling-shop, who, if you should ask them when they began their sinful course, might answer, "In my spare moments." "In my spare moments I gambled for marbles." "In my spare moments I began to swear and drink." "It was in my spare moments that I began to steal chestnuts from the old woman's stand." "It was in my spare moments that I gathered with wicked associates."

Then be very careful how you spend your spare moments. The tempter always hunts you out in small seasons like these; when you are not busy, he gets into your hearts, if he possibly can, in just such gaps. There he hides himself, planning all sorts of mischief Take care of your spare moments.—Selected.

A Gold Medal

[Right and generous deeds are not always rewarded nor always recognized; but the doing of them is our duty, even though they pass unnoticed. Sometimes, however, a noble, unselfish, manly act is met by a reward that betrays, on the part of the giver, the same praiseworthy spirit as that which prompted the act. Do right, be courteous, be noble, though man may never express his appreciation. The God of right will, in his own good time, give the reward.]

I shall never forget a lesson I once received. We saw a boy named Watson driving a cow to pasture. In the evening he drove her back again, we did not know where. This was continued several weeks.

The boys attending the school were nearly all sons of wealthy parents, and some of them were dunces enough to look with disdain on a student who had to drive a cow. With admirable good nature Watson bore all their attempts to annoy him.

"I suppose, Watson," said Jackson, another boy, one day, "I suppose your father intends to make a milkman of you?"

"Why not?" asked Watson.

"O, nothing! Only don't leave much water in the cans after you rinse them, that's all."

The boys laughed, and Watson, not in the least mortified, replied:—

"Never fear. If ever I am a milkman, I'll give good measure and good milk."

The day after this conversation, there was a public examination, at which ladies and gentlemen from the neighboring towns were present, and prizes were awarded by the principal of our school. Both Watson and Jackson received a creditable number; for, in respect to scholarship, they were about equal. After the ceremony of distribution, the principal remarked that there was one prize, consisting of a gold medal, which was rarely awarded, not so much on account of its great cost, as because the instances were rare which rendered its bestowal proper. It was the prize of heroism. The last medal was awarded about three years ago to a boy in the first class, who rescued a poor girl from drowning.

The principal then said that, with the permission of the company, he would relate a short anecdote:—

"Not long ago some boys were flying a kite in the street, just as a poor lad on horseback rode by on his way to the mill. The horse took fright and threw the boy, injuring him so badly that he was carried home, and confined some weeks to his bed. Of the boys who had unintentionally caused the disaster, none followed to learn the fate of the wounded lad. There was one boy, however, who witnessed the accident from a distance, who not only went to make inquiries, but stayed to render service.

"This boy soon learned that the wounded boy was the grandson of a poor widow, whose sole support consisted in selling the milk of a cow, of which she was the owner. She was old and lame, and her grandson, on whom she depended to drive her cow to the pasture, was now helpless with his bruises. 'Never mind,' said the friendly boy, 'I will drive the cow.'

"But his kindness did not stop there. Money was wanted to get articles from the apothecary. 'I have money that my mother sent me to buy boots with,' said he, 'but I can do without them for a while.' 'O, no,' said the old woman, 'I can't consent to that; but here is a pair of heavy boots that I bought for Thomas, who can't wear them. If you would only buy these, we should get on nicely.' The boy bought the boots, clumsy as they were, and has worn them up to this time.

"Well, when it was discovered by the other boys at the school that our student was in the habit of driving a cow, he was assailed every day with laughter and ridicule. His cowhide boots in particular were made matter of mirth. But he kept on cheerfully and bravely, day after day, never shunning observation, driving the widow's cow and wearing his thick boots. He never explained why he drove the cow; for he was not inclined to make a boast of his charitable motives. It was by mere accident that his kindness and self-denial were discovered by his teacher.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you, Was there not true heroism in this boy's conduct? Nay, Master Watson, do not get out of sight behind the blackboard. You were not afraid of ridicule; you must not be afraid of praise."

As Watson, with blushing cheeks, came forward, a round of applause spoke the general approbation, and the medal was presented to him amid the cheers of the audience.—The Children's Own.

A Girl's Railway Acquaintance

Most young people do not adequately realize what consummate address and fair seeming can be assumed by a deceiving stranger until experience enlightens them, and they suffer for their credulity. The danger, especially to young girls traveling alone, is understood by their parents; and no daughter is safe who disregards their injunction to permit no advances by a new and self-introduced acquaintance, either man or woman.

A lady gave, some years ago, in one of the religious papers, an experience of her own when she was a girl, which shows one of the artful ways by which designing men win the confidence of the innocent.

Traveling from Boston to New York, she had the company of a girl friend as far as Springfield. For the rest of the way she was to ride alone, and, as she supposed, unnoticed, save by the watchful conductor, to whose care her father had entrusted her.

She was beginning to feel lonely when a gentlemanly looking man of about forty-five approached her seat with an apology, and, by way of question, spoke her name. Surprised, but on her guard, for she remembered her home warnings, she made no reply; but the pleasant stranger went on to say that he was a schoolmate of her mother, whom he called by her girl name. This had its effect; and when he mentioned the names of other persons whom she knew, and begged to hear something of these old friends with whom he once went to school, she made no objection to his seating himself by her side.

The man made himself very agreeable; and the young girl of sixteen thought how delighted her mother would be to know she had met one of her old playmates, who said so many complimentary things about her. He talked very tenderly about the loss of his wife, and once went back to his own seat to get a picture of his motherless little girl, and a box of bonbons.

The conductor passed just then, and asked the young lady if she ever saw that gentleman before. She told him No; but, though the question was put very kindly and quietly, it made her quite indignant.

As they approached the end of the journey, the man penciled a brief note to her mother on a card, signed what purported to be his name, and gave it to her. Then he asked if he might get her a carriage provided her uncle, whom she expected, did not meet her, and she assented at once.

When the train arrived in New York, and the conductor came and took her traveling-bag, she was vexed, and protested that the gentleman had promised to look after her. The official told her kindly, but firmly, that her father had put her in his care, and he should not leave her until he had seen her under her uncle's protection or put her in a carriage himself. She turned for appeal to her new acquaintance, but he had vanished.

When she reached home after her visit, and told her experience, and presented the card, her mother said she had never known nor heard of such a man. The stranger had evidently sat within hearing distance of the girl and her schoolmate, and listening to their merry chatter all the way from Boston to Springfield, had given him the clue to names and localities that enabled him to play his sinister game. Only the faithfulness of the wise conductor saved her from possibilities too painful to be recorded here.—Youth's Companion.

Harold's Footman

"Bob," called Harold to his little brother, who was playing on the back door-step, "trot out to the barn and bring me my saw, will you?"

Bobby left his two pet cats, Topsy and Tiger, on the steps, and ran obediently for the tool. Harold was very busy constructing a hen-coop, and he needed a great deal of assistance.

"Thanks," he said, shortly, as the little boy returned. "Now, where did I put those nails? O, they're on the kitchen table! Hand them out." Bobby produced the nails, and sat down again to watch the work.

"Are you going to finish it today, Hal?" he asked.

"No; haven't time. I am going to the commons in about ten minutes. There is a lacrosse match on; but I want to drive these nails first. O, say, Bob, my lacrosse stick is up in my room! You go and bring it down, I am so awfully busy."

Bobby ran eagerly up the stairs. He always went on errands for his big brother very willingly, but this time he made special haste; for a hope was entering his heart that perhaps Hal would take him to see the match.

"Mother!" he cried, poking his head out to the shady front veranda where his mother and aunt sat sewing, "Hal's going to the commons; may I go too?"

His mother looked up from her sewing rather doubtfully.

"O, I really don't know, dearie!" she began.

"O, let the poor wee man go!" pleaded Aunt Kate, when she saw the look of disappointment on Bobby's round face. "Hal will take care of him."

"Well, keep near Hal, Bobby. I don't like your crossing the railroad track."

Bobby bounded out to the back yard in high glee, waving the lacrosse stick.

"Mother says I can go, too," he shouted, jumping down the steps in a manner that made Tiger and Topsy rise up indignantly and move to one side.

"O pshaw!" cried his brother, hammering a nail rather viciously. "What do you always want to follow me round for?"

"O, can't I go?" cried the little fellow, in distress. "Aw, Hal, do let me!"

"I can't have a kid like you forever tagging after me. Why can't you play with boys of your own age? You can't come today, that's all about it."

"O Hal! you—you might let me! I won't be a bother!" Bobby's eyes were beginning to brim over with tears. His face wore a look of despair.

"O, cry-baby; of course you must howl! You can stay at home and play with the cats."

And the big brother, whom Bobby had served so willingly all day, shouldered his lacrosse stick and went off whistling.

Harold met his Aunt Kate in the hall.

"Where's your little footman?" she asked gaily. "Isn't he going?"

"Who? Bob? O Aunt Kate, he's too small to go everyvhere with me!"

"Ah!" Aunt Kate looked surprised. "I thought he was quite big enough to be with you when there was work to be done, but I see, a footman is wanted to run errands and do such things."

Harold was not very well acquainted with his aunt, and he was never quite sure whether she was in fun or not. The idea of her saying Bob was his footman! He felt quite indignant.

He had just reached the street when he remembered that he had left his ball where he had been working. He half wished Bobby were with him, so he could send him back for it. And then he felt ashamed when he remembered his aunt's words. Was she right, after all, and did he make use of his little brother, and then thrust him aside when he did not need him?

He did not like the idea of facing Aunt Kate again, so he slipped in through the back gate, and walked quietly around the house. As he approached the house, he heard a voice, and paused a moment, hidden by a lilac bush. Poor, lonely Bobby was sitting on the steps, one hand on Tiger's neck, while the other stroked Topsy. He was pouring out to his two friends all his troubles.

"He doesn't like me, Tops, not one little bit. He never wants me round, only to run and get things for him. You don't be bad to Tops just 'cause she's littler than you, do you, Tiger? But I guess you like Topsy, and Hal don't like me. He don't like me one little teenty bit." Here a sob choked him, and through the green branches Harold could see a big tear-drop upon Topsy's velvet coat.

"I wish I had a brother that liked me." went on the pitiful little voice. "Tom Benson likes Charlie. He likes him an awful lot. And Charlie doesn't do nearly so many things as I do. I guess I oughtn't to tell, Tiger, but you and Tops wouldn't tell tales, so 'tisn't the same as tellin' father, or mother, or Auntie Kate, is it, Tige? But I think he might like me a little wee bit, don't you, Tiger?" And Harold could see the blue blouse sleeve raised to brush away the hot tears.

Harold drew back quietly, and tiptoed down the walk to the street. He had forgotten all about the ball. His eyes were so misty that he did not notice Charlie Benson, waiting for him at the gate, until Tom called:—

"Hello there! I thought you were never coming, What kept you?"

"Say, is Charlie going?" asked Harold, suddenly.

"Of course I am!" cried the little fellow, cutting a caper on the sidewalk.
"Tom said I could. Didn't you, Tom?"

Tom laughed good-naturedly. "He was bound to come," he said. "He won't bother us."

"Well—I—think Bob wants to come, too," said Harold, hesitatingly, "and if
Charlie is going—"

"O, goody!" cried Charlie, who was Bobby's special chum. "Where is he?"

Harold put his fingers to his lips, and uttered two sharp whistles. Bobby understood the signal, and came around the side of the house. He had carefully wiped away his tears, but his voice was rather shaky.

"What d'ye want?" he called. He felt sure Hal had an errand for him.

"Charlie's going to the commons with us," shouted his brother, "so I guess you can come, if you want to."

Bobby came down the path in leaps and bounds.

"I'm going, mother!" he shouted, waving his cap. And away he and Charlie tore down the street ahead of their brothers.

"Hold on, there!" cried Harold, with a laugh. "Don't get crazy! And mind you two keep near us at the track!"

It was about a week later that Aunt Kate laid her hand on Harold's shoulder, and said: "I am afraid I made a mistake the other day, Hal. I believe Bobby's been promoted from the rank of footman to be a brother."—Martha Graham, in the King's Own.

Elnathan's Gold

One morning Christopher Lightenhome, aged sixty-eight, received an unexpected legacy of six hundred dollars. His good old face betokened no surprise, but it shone with a great joy. "I am never surprised at the Lord's mercies," he said, reverently. Then, with a step to which vigor had suddenly returned, he sought out Elnathan Owsley, aged twelve.

"Elnathan," he said, "I guess I am the oldest man in the poorhouse, but I feel just about your age. Suppose you and I get out of here."

The boy smiled. He was very old for twelve, even as Christopher Lightenhome was very young for sixty-eight.

"For a poorhouse this is a good place," continued Christopher, still with that jubilant tone in his voice. "It is well conducted, just as the county reports say. Still there are other places that suit me better. You come and live with me, Elnathan. What do you say to it, boy?"

"Where are you going to live?" asked Elnathan, cautiously.

The old man regarded him approvingly. "You'll never be one to get out of the frying-pan into the fire, will you?" he said. "But I know a room. I have had my eye on it. It is big enough to have a bed, a table, a cook-stove, and three chairs in it, and we could live there like lords. Like lords, boy! Just think of it! I can get it for two dollars a month."

"With all these things in it?"

"No, with nothing in it. But I can buy the things, Elnathan, get them cheap at the second-hand store. And I can cook to beat—well to beat some women anyway—" He paused to think a moment of Adelizy, one of the pauper cooks. "Yes," he thought, "Adelizy has her days. She's systematic. Some days things are all but pickled in brine, and other days she doesn't put in any salt at all. Some days they're overcooked, and other days it seems as if Adelizy jerked them off the stove before they were heated through." Then he looked eagerly into the unresponsive young face before him. "What's the matter with my plan, Elnathan?" he asked, gravely. "Why don't you fall in with it? I never knew you to hang off like this before."

"I haven't any money," was the slow answer. "I can't do my share toward it. And I'm not going to live off of you. Your money will last you twice as long as if you don't have to keep me. Adelizy says six hundred dollars isn't much, if you do think it is a fortune, and you'll soon run through with it, and be back here again."

For a moment the old man was stung. "I sha'n't spend the most of it for salt to put in my victuals anyway," he said. Then his face cleared, and he laughed. "So you haven't any money, and you won't let me keep you," he continued. "Well, those are pretty honorable objections. I expect to do away with them though, immediately." He drew himself up, and said, impressively: "'That is gold which is worth gold.' You've got the gold all right, Elnathan, or the money, whichever you choose to call it."

Elnathan stared.

"Why, boy, look here!" Mr. Lightenhome exclaimed, as he seized the hard young arm, where much enforced toil had developed good muscle. "There's your gold, in that right arm of yours. What you want to do is to get it out of your arm and into your pocket. I don't need to keep you. You can live with me and keep yourself. What do you say now?"

The boy's face was alight. "Let's go today," he said.

"Not today—tomorrow," decided Mr. Lightenhome, gravely. "When I was young, before misfortune met me and I was cheated out of all I had, I was used to giving spreads. We'll give one tonight to those we used to be fellow paupers with no longer ago than yesterday, and tomorrow we will go. We began this year in the poorhouse; we will end it in our own home. That is one of the bad beginnings that made a good ending, boy. There is more than one of them. Mind that."

The morrow came, and the little home was started. Another morrow followed, and Elnathan began in earnest to try getting the gold out of his arm and into his pocket. He was a dreamy boy, with whom very few had had patience; for nobody, not even himself, knew the resistless energy and dogged perseverance that lay dormant within him. Mr. Lightenhome, however, suspected it. "I believe," he said to himself, "that Elnathan, when he once gets awakened, will be a hustler. But the poorhouse isn't exactly the place to rouse up the ambition of Napoleon Bonaparte in any boy. Having a chance to scold somebody is what Adelizy calls one of the comforts of a home. And she certainly took out her comforts on Elnathan, and all the rest helped her—sort of deadening to him, though. Living here with me and doing for himself is a little more like what's needed in his case."

Slowly Elnathan wakened, and Mr. Lightenhome had patience with him. He earned all he could, and he kept himself from being a burden on his only friend, but he disliked work, and so he lagged over it. He did all that he did well, however, and he was thoroughly trustworthy.

Three years went by. Elnathan was fifteen years old, and Christopher Lightenhome was seventy-one.

The little room had always been clean. There had been each day enough nourishing food to eat, though the old man, remembering Adelizy's prediction, had set his face like flint against even the slightest indulgence in table luxuries. And, although there had been days when Elnathan had recklessly brought home a ten-cent pie and half a dozen doughnuts from the baker's as his share of provision for their common dinner, Mr. Lightenhome felt that he had managed well. And yet there were only fifty dollars of the original six hundred left, and the poorhouse was looming once more on the old man's sight. He sighed. An expression of patience grew on the kind old face. He felt it to be a great pity that six hundred dollars could not be made to go farther. And there was a wistfulness in the glance he cast upon the boy. Elnathan was, as yet, only half awake. The little room and the taste of honest independence had done their best. Were they to fail?

The old man began to economize. His mittens wore out. He did not buy more. He needed new flannels, but he did not buy them. Instead he tried to patch the old ones, and Elnathan, coming in suddenly, caught him doing it.

"Why, Uncle Chris!" he exclaimed. "What are you patching those old things for? Why don't you pitch 'em out and get new ones?"

The old man kept silent till he had his needle threaded. Then he said, softly, with a half-apology in his tone, "The money's 'most gone, Elnathan."

The boy started. He knew as well as Mr. Lightenhome that when the last coin was spent, the doors of the poorhouse would open once more to receive his only friend. A thrill of gladness went through Elnathan as he recognized that no such fate awaited him.

He could provide for himself. He need never return. And by that thrill in his own bosom he guessed the feeling of his friend. He could not put what he guessed into words. Nevertheless, he felt sure that the old man would not falter nor complain.

"How much have you?" he asked.

Mr. Lightenhome told him.

Then, without a word, Elnathan got up and went out. His head sunk in thought, and his hands in his trousers' pockets, he sauntered on in the wintry air while he mentally calculated how long Mr. Lightenhome's funds would last. "Not any later than next Christmas he will be in the poorhouse again." He walked only a few steps. Then he stopped. "Will he?" he cried. "Not if I know it."

This was a big resolve for a boy of fifteen, and the next morning Elnathan himself thought so. He thought so even to the extent of considering a retreat from the high task which he had the previous day laid before himself. Then he looked at Mr. Lightenhome, who had aged perceptibly in the last hours. Evidently he had lain awake in the night calculating how long his money would last. The sight of him nerved the boy afresh. "I am not going back on it," he told himself, vigorously. "I am just going to dig out all the gold there is in me. Keeping Uncle Chris out of the poorhouse is worth it."

But he did not confide in the old man. "He would say it was too big a job for me, and talk about how I ought to get some schooling," concluded the boy.

Now it came about that the room, which, while it had not been the habitation of lords, had been the abode of kingly kindness, became a silent place. The anxious old man had no heart to joke. He had been to the poorhouse, and had escaped from it into freedom. His whole nature rebelled at the thought of returning. And yet he tried to school himself to look forward to it bravely. "If it is the Lord's will," he told himself, "I will have to bow to it."

Meanwhile those who employed Elnathan were finding him a very different boy from the slow, lagging Elnathan they had known. If he was sent on an errand, he made speed. "Here! get the gold out of your legs," he would say to himself. If he sprouted potatoes for a grocer in his cellar, "There's gold in your fingers, El," he would say. "Get it out as quick as you can."

He now worked more hours in a day than he had ever worked before, so that he was too tired to talk much at meals, and too sleepy in the evening. But there was a light in his eyes when they rested on Mr. Lightenhome that made the old man's heart thrill.

"Elnathan would stand by me if he could," he would say to himself. "He's a good boy. I must not worry him."

A month after Elnathan had begun his great labor of love, an astonishing thing happened to him. He had a choice of two places offered him as general utility boy in a grocery. Once he would have told Mr. Lightenhome, and asked his advice as to which offer he should take, but he was now carrying his own burdens. He considered carefully, and then he went to Mr. Benson.

"Mr. Benson," he said, "Mr. Dale wants me, too, and both offer the same wages. Now which one of you will give me my groceries reduced as you do your other clerks?"

"I will not," replied Mr. Benson, firmly. "Your demand is ridiculous. You are not a clerk."

The irate Mr. Benson turned on his heel, and Elnathan felt himself dismissed. He then went to Mr. Dale, to whom he honestly related the whole. Mr. Dale laughed. "But you are not a clerk," he said, kindly.

"I know it, but I mean to be, and I mean to do all I can for you, too."

Mr. Dale looked at him, and he liked the bearing of the lad. "Go ahead," he said. "You may have your groceries at the same rate I make clerks."

"Thank you," responded Elnathan, while the gratitude he felt crept into his tones. "For myself," he thought, "I would not have asked for a reduction, but for Uncle Chris I will. I have a big job on hand."

That day he told Mr. Lightenhome that he had secured a place at Mr. Dale's, and that he was to have a reduction on groceries. "Which means, Uncle Chris, that I pay for the groceries for us both, while you do the cooking and pay the rent."

Silently and swiftly Mr. Lightenhome calculated. He saw that if he were saved the buying of the groceries for himself, he could eke out his small hoard till after Christmas. The poorhouse receded a little from the foreground of his vision as he gazed into the eyes of the boy opposite him at the table. He did not know that his own eyes spoke eloquently of his deliverance, but Elnathan choked as he went on eating.

"Now hustle, El!" he commanded one day on his way back to the store. "There's gold in your eyes if you keep them open, and in your tongue if you keep it civil, and in your back and in your wits if they are nimble. All I have to say is, Get it out."

"Get it out," he repeated when he had reached the rear of the store. And he began busily to fill and label kerosene cans, gasoline cans, and molasses jugs. From there he went to the cellar to measure up potatoes.

"Never saw such a fellow!" grumbled his companion utility boy. "You'd think he run the store by the way he steps round with his head up and them sharp eyes of his into everything. 'Hi there!' he said to me. 'Fill that measure of gasoline full before you pour it into the can. Mr. Dale doesn't want the name of giving short measure because you are careless.' Let's do some reporting on him, and get him out of the store," he said. "But there's nothing to report, and there never will be."

But the boy persisted, and very shortly he found himself out of a position.

"You needn't get another boy if you don't want to, Mr. Dale," observed Elnathan, cheerily. "I am so used to the place now that I can do all he did, as well as my own work. And, anyway, I would rather do the extra work than go on watching somebody to keep him from measuring up short or wrong grade on everything he touches." And Elnathan smiled. He had lately discovered that he had ceased to hate work.

Mr. Dale smiled in return. "Very well," he said. "Go ahead and do it all if you want to."

A week he went ahead, and at the end of that time he found, to his delight, that Mr. Dale had increased his wages. "Did you think I would take the work of two boys and pay for the work of one?" asked Mr. Dale.

"I didn't think at all, sir," replied Elnathan, joyously; "but I am the gladdest boy in Kingston to get a raise."

"Uncle Chris," he said that night, "I got a raise today."

Mr. Lightenhome expressed his pleasure, and his sense that the honor was well merited, but Elnathan did not hear a word he said, because he had something more to say himself.

"Uncle Chris," he went on, his face very red, "I have been saving up for some time, and tomorrow's your birthday. Here is a present for you." And he thrust out a ten-dollar piece, with the words, "I never made a present before."

Slowly the old man took the money, and again his eyes outdid his tongue in speaking his gratitude. And there was a great glow in the heart of the boy.

"That's some of the gold I dug out of myself, Uncle Chris," he laughed. "You are the one who first told me it was in me. I do not know whether it came out of my arms or my legs or my head."

"I know where the very best gold there is in you is located, Elnathan," smiled the old man. "It is your heart that is gold, my boy."

Two months later Elnathan was a clerk at twenty-five dollars a month. "Now we're fixed, Uncle Chris!" he cried, when he told the news. "You and I can live forever on twenty-five dollars a month."

"Do you mean it?" asked the old man, tremblingly. "Do you wish to be cumbered with me?"

"No, I do not, Uncle Chris," answered the boy, with a beaming look. "I do not want to be cumbered with you. I just want to go on living here with you."

Then to the old man the poorhouse forever receded from sight. He remembered Adelizy no more, as he looked with pride and tenderness on the boy who stood erect and alert before him, looked again and yet again, for he saw in him the Lord's deliverer, though he knew not that he had been raised up by his own kind hand.—Gulielma Zollinger, in the Wellspring.

Only A Jack-Knife

When the lamented James A. Garfield was struggling to obtain an education, he supported himself for several years by teaching. His first school was in Muskingum County, Ohio, and the little frame house where he began his work as a teacher, is still standing, while some of the boys and girls who received instruction from him that term are yet alive to testify to his faithfulness as a common-school teacher. He was quite a young man at that time, in fact, he was still in his teens, and it must have been rather embarrassing for him to attempt to teach young men and women, some of them older than himself; but he was honest in his efforts to try to do his best, and, as is always the case under such circumstances, he succeeded admirably.

One day, after repeatedly cautioning a little chap not to hack his desk with the new Barlow in his possession, the young teacher transferred the offending knife to his own pocket, quietly informing the culprit that it should be returned at the close of the afternoon session.

During the afternoon two of the committeemen called to examine the school, and young Garfield was so interested in the special recitations conducted that he let the boy go home in the evening without even mentioning the knife. The subject did not recur to him again until after supper, and perhaps would not have been recalled to him then had not he chanced to put his hand into his pocket for a pencil.

"Look there!" he exclaimed, holding up the knife. "I took it from Sandy Williams, with the promise that it should be returned in the evening, and I have let him go home without it. I must carry it to him at once."

"Never mind, man! Let it stand till morning," urged Mrs. Ross, the motherly woman with whom he boarded.

"I cannot do that," replied Garfield; "the little fellow will think I am a thief."

"No danger of that, James," insisted the well-meaning woman. "He will know that you forgot it, and all will be well in the morning."

"But, you see, I promised, Mrs. Ross, and a promise is always binding. I must go tonight, and carry it to him," urged the young man, drawing on his coat.

"It is all of two miles to his father's, and just look how dark it is, and raining, too," said the woman, opening the door to convince her boarder that things were as bad as she had represented them.

"I am young and strong, and can make my way quite easily," insisted Garfield. "It is always better to right a wrong as soon as you discover it, and I would rather walk the four miles in the mud and rain than disappoint one of my scholars. Sometimes example is more powerful than precept, and if I am not careful to live an honest life before my pupils, they will not give much heed to what I say on such subjects. There is no rule like the golden rule, but he who teaches it must also live it, if he expects others to follow his teaching."

Mrs. Ross said no more, and James went on, as he had proposed; and before the little boy went to sleep, he was happy again in the possession of his treasure, over which he had been lamenting all the evening. The young teacher declined the hospitality of the family for the night, and walked back in the darkness to his boarding-house, and, as he afterward said, felt all the better for standing up to his principles.—Selected.

A Spelling-Bee

"I am going to have a spelling-bee tonight," said Uncle John, "and I will give a pair of skates to the boy who can spell man best."

The children turned and stared into one another's eyes.

"Spell 'man' best, Uncle John? Why, there is only one way!" they cried.

"There are all sorts of ways," replied Uncle John. "I will leave you to think of it awhile," and he buttoned up his coat and went away.

"What does he mean?" asked Bob.

"I think it is a joke," said Harry, thoughtfully; "and when Uncle John asks me, I am going to say, 'Why, m-a-n, of course.'"

"It is a conundrum, I know," said Joe; and he leaned his head on his hand and settled down to think.

Time went slowly to the puzzled boys, for all their fun that day. It seemed as if "after supper-time" would never come; but it came at last, and Uncle John came, too, with a shiny skate runner peeping out of his coat pocket.

Uncle John did not delay; he sat down and looked straight into Harry's eyes.

"Been a good boy today, Hal?"

"Yes—n-o," said Harry, flushing. "I did something Aunt May told me not to do, because Ned Barnes dared me to. I cannot bear a boy to dare me. What's that got to do with spelling 'man'?" he added, half to himself.

But Uncle John had turned to Bob.

"Had a good day, my boy?"

"Haven't had fun enough," answered Bob, stoutly. "It is all Joe's fault, too. We boys wanted the pond to ourselves for one day, and we made up our minds that when the girls came, we would clear them off But Joe, he——"

"I think this is Joe's to tell," interrupted Uncle John. "How was it, boy?"

"Why," said Joe, "I thought the girls had as much right on the pond as the boys, so I spoke to one or two of the bigger boys, and they thought so, too, and we stopped it all. I thought it was mean to treat the girls that way."

There came a flash from Uncle John's pocket; the next minute the skates were on Joe's knees.

"The spelling-match is over," said Uncle John, "and Joe has won the prize."

Three bewildered faces mutely questioned him.

"Boys," he answered, gravely, "we've been spelling 'man,' not in letters, but in acts. I told you there were different ways, and we have proved it here tonight. Think it over, boys, and see."—Sunday School Evangelist.

Jack's Queer Ways

Everybody liked Jack. He was a pleasant, manly boy, about fourteen years old, a boy who was on friendly terms with the whole world. His father was a physician, and his family lived in a small country town.

Of course Jack went to school. In the afternoon, when school was over, he always ran up to his mother's room to tell her, in his bright, boyish way, how the day had passed, and to see if she had any errands for him to do, always glad to help in any way he could. After this little chat with his mother, he would dash off into the yard to play, or to busy himself in some other way. But he was never far away, ready to be called any moment, and generally where he could be seen from some of the many windows of the big, old-fashioned house.

This had always been his custom until the winter of which I am speaking. This winter Jack seemed to have fallen into queer ways. He came home, to be sure, at the usual time, but, after the little visit with his mother, seemed to disappear entirely. For an hour and a half he positively could not be found. They could not see him, no matter which way they looked, and they could not even make him hear when they called.

This all seemed very strange, but he had always been a trusty boy, and his mother thought little of it at first. Still, as Jack continued to disappear, day after day, at the same hour, for weeks, she thought it best to speak to his father about it.

"How long does he stay out?" asked the doctor.

"Very often till the lamps are lighted," was the answer.

"Have you asked him where he goes?"

"Why, yes," the mother replied; "and that's the strangest part of it all! He seems so confused, and doesn't answer directly, but tries to talk about something else. I cannot understand it, but some way I do not believe he is doing wrong, for he looks right into my eyes, and does not act as if he had anything to be ashamed of."

"It is quite strange," said the doctor. Then he sat quiet for a long time. At last he said, "Well, little mother, I think we will trust the lad awhile longer, and say nothing more to him about it; though it is strange!"

Time passed on, and the mother looked anxious many an evening as she lighted the lamps and her boy was not home yet. And when at last he did come in, flushed and tired, and said not a word as to how he had spent his afternoon, she wondered more than ever.

This kept up all winter. Toward spring the doctor was slowly driving home one day just at twilight, when, as he passed a poor, forlorn cottage, he heard a rap on the window. He stopped his horse at once, got out of his gig, and walked to the door. He knocked, but no one opened, only a voice called, "Come in!"

He entered the shabby room, and found a poor old woman, lying on a miserable bed. The room was bare and cheerless except for the bright fire burning in the small stove, beside which lay a neat pile of wood. The doctor did what he could to ease the poor woman s sufferings, and then asked who lived with her to take care of her.

"Not a soul," she said. "I am all alone. I haven't a chick nor child in all the wide world!"

The doctor looked at the wood near the stove, and wondered to himself how the sick old woman could chop and pile it so nicely; but he said nothing, and she went on sadly:—

"I have had a hard time of it this winter, and I would have died sure if it hadn't been for that blessed boy."

"Why, I thought you lived alone, and had no children!" exclaimed the doctor.

"No more I haven't," she said. "I am all alone by me lone self, as I told ye, but the good Lord has been a-takin' care of me; for a bit of a boy, bless his heart! has been a-comin' here every day this winter for to help me. He chopped the wood the minister sent me, and brought some in here every night, and piled it up like that" (pointing to the sticks in the corner): "and the harder it stormed, the surer he seemed to come. He'd never so much as tell me where he lived, and I only know his name is——"

"Jack?" asked the doctor, with unsteady voice.

"Yes, sir; that's it. Do ye be knowing him, doctor?"

"I think perhaps I do," was the husky answer.

"Well, may the Lord bless him, and may he never be cold himself, the good lad!"

The doctor did not speak for a few moments; then he left, promising to send some one to care for the sick woman that night. He drove home very fast, and a strange dimness came into his eyes every now and then, as he thought it all over.

He went to his wife's room, and began, as usual, to tell her all that had happened during the day. When, at last, he came to his visit at the cottage, he watched his wife's face, as he told of the lonely, sick old woman, the warm fire, and the young chopper.

When he had finished, tears were in her eyes, but she only said, "Dear
Jack!"

Jack's queer ways were explained at last. And "Jack's old woman," as they called her, never wanted from this time for any comfort as long as she lived. So, after all, Jack could not feel so very sorry that his kindness, done in secret, had at last "found him out."—The Round Table.

My Missionary Garden

  Some money I desired to earn
    To send to foreign lands,
  So mother took some garden seeds
    And placed them in my hands.

  Then earnestly I went to work
    With spade and rake and hoe;
  I planted every seed I had,
    And wondered if they'd grow.

  It wasn't long before I saw
    Some little leaves of green;
  I thought they looked more beautiful
    Than any I had seen.

  Each day when I came home from school,
    I to my garden went;
  In hoeing and in pulling weeds,
    My leisure time I spent.

  My mother said to me, "My child,
    You've worked so very well
  I'll buy of you, if you desire,
    Whate'er you have to sell."

  I never tasted anything
    So tender and so sweet;
  I thanked the Lord most heartily
    For all I had to eat.

  My mother is so good to me,
    But God is better still;
  Whatever I can do for him,
    With all my heart I will.

Dora Brorsen.

What One Boy Did

"Don't tell me that boys have no influence," said the dark-eyed lady, with emphasis. "Why, I myself know a boy of twelve whose influence changed the manners of an entire hotel. Tell you about it?—Certainly. It was a family hotel on the seacoast in southern California, and almost all the guests in the house were there for the winter. We had become well acquainted, and—well, lazy I guess is the best word for it. So we decided that it was too much trouble to dress for meals, and dropped into the habit of coming in just as we chanced to be, from lounging in the hammock, or fishing off the pier, or bicycle riding down the beach. Our manners, too, had become about as careless as our dress; we were there for a rest, a good time, and these little things didn't matter, we said.

"One day there was a new arrival. Mrs. Blinn, a young widow, with her little son, Robert, as sturdy, bright-faced a lad of twelve as one often sees. The first time he came into the dining-room, erect, manly, with his tie and collar and dress in perfect order, escorting his mother as if she had been a princess, and standing till not only she, but every lady at the table was seated, we all felt that a breath of new air had come among us, and every one there, I think, straightened up a little. However we looked at one another and nodded our heads, as much as to say, 'He won't keep this up long.' We were strangers, and in the familiarity of every-day life we did not doubt that it would soon wear away.

"But it did not. Rob was full of life, and active and busy as a boy could well be. At the same time, when, twenty minutes before meals, his mother blew a little silver whistle, no matter where he was or what he was doing, everything was dropped, and he ran in to make himself ready. And every time he came to the table, with his clean face and smooth hair and clothes carefully arranged or changed, he was in himself a sermon on neatness and self-respect, which, though none of us said much about it, we felt all the same. Then by and by one and another began to respond to the little silver whistle, as well as Rob. One laid aside a bicycle dress, another a half-invalid negligee, till you could hardly have believed it was the same company of a few weeks before.

"It was the same with manners. Rob's politeness, simple, unaffected, and unfailing, at the table, on the veranda, upon the beach, wherever you met him; his readiness to be helpful; his deference to those older; his thoughtfulness for all, was the best lesson,—that of example. As a consequence, the thoughtless began to remember, and the selfish to feel ashamed, and the careless to keep themselves more in hand.

"And so, as I said in the beginning, in less than a month the whole atmosphere of that hotel had been changed by the influence of one boy; and the only one utterly unconscious of this was Rob himself."

This is truly a pleasing incident. We like to think of this boy who, because he was at heart a true little gentleman, drew what was kindly and courteous and gracious in those about him to the surface as by a magnet. In like manner it is possible for every boy to be so true and kindly and tender, so unselfish of action, so obedient to duty, so responsive to conscience, that, wherever he goes, he shall carry an inspiring atmosphere and influence with him; and whoever he meets shall, because of him, be drawn to better thoughts and nobler living.—Adele E. Thompson.

How Nick Learned Manners

"Hallo, Doc! Where'd you get that horse?" called Nick Hammond as he approached his father and Dr. Morris, as they were talking at the gate one evening.

"Why, halloo, little man! I got this horse over the river. Ever see him before?" answered the old doctor, genially, little thinking that he was somewhat to blame for Nick's lack of good manners in thus accosting an older person.

When the doctor had gone, Mr. Hammond called Nick to him and said, "Nick, did not your mother tell you last evening not to say, 'Halloo,' when you meet people?"

Nick's eyes fell, for he remembered, and he said, "Yes, sir."

"Then why did you say it to Dr. Morris this evening?"

"O, I don't think he cares what I say to him!"

"No, I do not suppose he does care; but I do, and I think if your mother had heard you address the doctor as Doc, she would have been very much ashamed; for she has tried very hard to teach you good manners."

"Well, everybody says 'Halloo,' papa, and I can't help it, and I'm sure Mr.
Evans said 'Doc' when he was talking out there this evening."

"It is true that a great many people do use both those words, but that is no reason why you should use them, when you have been told not to do so. There is also some difference, I think, between the age of Mr. Evans and yourself. Men can say things to one another that would be quite improper for a boy to say to a man. Now I want you to be more careful, and speak respectfully to every one you meet."

Nick went to his play, but he took up a string of reasoning like this: "Because I am the only boy mama has set out to make me as good as Mabel, and she doesn't allow me to use slang nor anything of the kind. I know if there were half a dozen boys here, it would be different. I suppose it is all right for girls and women, but, bah! I can't be a goody-goody. I am only a boy. I guess it won't pay to bother about good manners, like a girl. I am too busy these days, when there is no school, to learn manners or anything else, anyway," and he went off with his goat, to forget everything else.

Time after time Nick failed to heed what he had been told, and each time he had to suffer a just penalty; but it seemed as if he never could learn manners. The real reason was that he had no desire to have good manners.

One morning Mrs. Hammond said: "Now, Nick, I am expecting your Aunt Ella and Uncle Alfred today, and I want you to be on your guard while they are here, and not act as if you were a backwoods boy who does not know anything. I especially want you to be gentlemanly; for Uncle Alfred is such a stranger to us yet that he will not understand you, and will think less of your papa and myself for seeing you rude and ill-mannered. You see, you owe it to yourself to make every one like you as much as possible. They live so far away that it may be a long time before they will see you again."

"Well, I should like to see my new Uncle Alf. I hope they won't stay long; for I do hate to be afraid to halloo and do things."

"Now, don't say Uncle Alf, Nick. You know better than that. Say Uncle Alfred, but don't say it too often. As for making a noise, you can relieve yourself when away from the house, but I do not want you to talk when others are talking, and, above all, do not contradict them, no matter what they say."

"All right, mama, I'll try," promised Nick.

But, alas for his promise! It belonged to the large family of promises that Nick had been making for many months. It was as easily broken as a broom straw. Aunt Ella and her husband, who was president of a great Western college, were not long in seeing the worst side of little Nick. He repeatedly did the very things his mama had urged him not to do, and was recklessly disobedient in general.

The last day of the visit was to be spent with some distinguished friends of Uncle Alfred's at the Lake House, nine miles away. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond were going with them, and Nick was determined to go, too. When his mama went to her room to get ready, Nick followed her and begged her to take him. "No, Nick," she said, in a positive way, "I shall not take you anywhere until you learn to behave as a boy of your age should. Go to the dining-room and wait there until we are ready to start, and then you can come down to Grandma Hammond's and stay until four o'clock."

He knew that it was no use to tease, so he went to the couch in the dining-room. He felt very sullen and bitter, and threw himself down on the friendly pillows to indulge in a few tears. In a few moments he heard subdued voices on the veranda just outside the window. Aunt Ella was saying, "I know they would both enjoy the drive this lovely day." "Of course they would," said Uncle Alfred, "and I would like to have them with us, but what would Dr. and Mrs. Watson think of Nick? He surely is the rudest child I have ever known. I am sorry to cheat Mabel out of pleasure, for she is a dear little girl, but really Ella, I should be ashamed of Nick's behavior, shouldn't you?"

Nick waited to hear no more. He slipped out quickly, and said to the cook in the kitchen, "Please tell mama I didn't wait; I've gone to grandma's."

He was so quiet and gentle all day that Grandma Hammond worried a great deal, saying: "I never saw the like of it. The boy is either sick or something is going to happen to him."

That something had already happened to him, but grandma was not aware of it. For the first time in his life, Nick felt ashamed of himself. During that long, long day he made a strong resolution, which he never purposely broke, never to do anything to make himself or anybody else ashamed.—Atwood Miller, in Youth's Evangelist.

* * * * *

  "O! There are many actors who can play
  Greatly great parts, but rare indeed the soul
  Who can be great when cast for some small role;
  Yet that is what the world most needs,—big hearts
  That will shine forth and glorify poor parts
  In this strange drama, Life."

Without Ballast

Not many years ago the "Escambia," a British iron steamer, loaded with wheat, weighed anchor and started down the bay of San Francisco. The pilot left her about five miles outside the Golden Gate. Looking back from his pilot-boat a short time after, he saw the vessel stop, drift into the trough of the sea, careen to port, both bulwarks going under water, then suddenly capsize and sink. What was the cause of this sad catastrophe?—A want of ballast.

She came into port from China, a few weeks previous, with a thousand emigrants on board. But she had in her hold immense tanks for what is called water ballast. The captain, wishing to carry all the wheat he could between decks, neglected to fill those tanks. He thought the cargo would steady the ship. But it made it top-heavy, and the first rough sea capsized it.

Here, then, was a vessel, tight and strong, with powerful engines, with a cargo worth one hundred thousand dollars, floundering as soon as she left the harbor, taken down with her crew of forty-five men, because the captain failed to have her properly ballasted. The moment she began to lurch, all the wheat tumbled over to the lower side, and down into the sea she went.

How this wreck of the "Escambia" repeats the trite lesson that so many have tried to teach, and that they who need it most are so slow to learn! Young men starting out in life want to carry as little ballast as possible. They are enterprising, ambitious. They are anxious to go fast, and take as much cargo as they can. Old-fashioned principles are regarded as dead weight. It does not pay to heed them, and they thrown overboard. Good home habits are abandoned in order to be popular with the gay and worldly. The Bible is not read, the Sabbath is not kept holy, prayer is neglected, and lo! some day, when all the sails are spread, a sudden temptation comes that wrecks the character and life.

We cannot urge too strongly upon the young, in these days of intense activity, the vital importance of ballast. A conscience seems to be an encumbrance—an obstacle to prosperity. But it is a safe thing to have on board. It steadies the soul. It keeps it from careening when the winds drive it into the trough of the sea. If the "Escambia" had taken less wheat and more ballast, it might be afloat today. And this is true of many a man now in prison or in the gutter. The haste to be rich, the impatience of restraint, alas! how their wrecks lie just outside the world's golden gates.—Selected.

Reflex Influence

  The artist Hoffmann, it is said, became
  In features like the features that he strove
  To paint,—those of his Lord. Unconsciously
  His thoughts developed in his face that which
  He sought upon the canvas to portray;
  And with the walls about him covered o'er
  With pictures he had made, he toiled and thought
  And gave the world his ideal of the Christ,
  Becoming more and more like him.

And thus, May we by thinking o'er and o'er again
  Christ's thoughts, and dwelling on his love, become
  In heart as he, all undefiled and pure,—
  Perfect within. The beauty sweet and joy
  Of holiness, communion with our God,
  The prayer of faith, the song of praise, and all
  The peace and uplift grand that Jesus knew
  May be our own, our very own, to give
  Unto a world made sick and sad by sin.

Eliza H. Morton.

 

 

Influence of a Good Book

I lost my Christian mother when I was a youth, but not before the instruction I had received from her beloved lips had made a deep impression upon my mind, an impression which I carried with me into a college (Hampden, Sidney), where there was not then one pious student. There I often reflected, when surrounded by young men who scoffed at religion, upon the instruction of my mother, and my conscience was frequently sore distressed. I had no Bible, and dreaded getting one, lest it should be found in my possession.

At last I could stand it no longer, and requested a particular friend, a youth whose parents lived near, and who often went home, to ask his excellent mother to send me some religious books. She sent me "Alleine's Alarm," an old black book, which looked as if it might have been handled by successive generations for a hundred years.

When I received it, I locked my door and sat down to read it, when a student knocked at the door. I gave him no answer, dreading to be found reading such a book, but he continued to knock and beat the door until I had to open it. He came in, and seeing the book lying on the bed, seized it, and examined its title. Then he said, "Why, Hill, do you read such books?"

I hesitated, but God enabled me to be decided, and to tell him boldly, but with much emotion, "Yes, I do."

The young man replied with much agitation: "O Hill, you may obtain religion, but I never can! I came here a professor of religion; but through fear I dissembled it, and have been carried along with the wicked, until I fear there is no hope for me."

He told me that there were two others who he believed were somewhat serious. We agreed to take up the subject of religion in earnest, and seek it together. We invited the other two, and held a prayer-meeting in my room on the next Saturday afternoon. And, O, what a prayer-meeting! We knew not how to pray, but tried to do it. We sang in a suppressed manner, for we feared the other students. But they found us out, and gathered round the door, and made such a noise that the officers had to disperse them.

So serious was the disturbance that the president, the late excellent Rev. Dr. John B. Smith, investigated the matter at prayers that evening in the chapel hall. When he demanded the reason of the riot, a ringleader in wickedness rose up and stated that it was occasioned by three or four of the boys holding prayer-meetings, and they were determined to have no such doings there. The good president heard the statement with deep emotion, and, looking at the youths charged with the sin of praying, said, with tears in his eyes, "O, is there such a state of things in this college? Then God has come near to us. My dear young friends, you shall hold your next meeting in my parlor." We did hold our next meeting in his parlor, and half the college was there. And there began a glorious revival of religion, which pervaded the college, and spread into the country around.

Many of those students became ministers of the gospel. The youth who brought me "Alleine's Alarm" from his mother was my friend, Pastor C. Stitt, who is preaching in Virginia. And he who interrupted me in reading the work, my venerable and worthy friend, Pastor Dr. H., is now president of a college in the West.—Selected.

"Straightening Out the Furrows"

"Boys," he said, "I have been trying every day of my life for the last two years to straighten out furrows, and I cannot do it."

One boy turned his head in surprise toward the captain's neatly kept place.

"O, I do not mean that kind, lad! I do not mean land furrows," continued the captain, so soberly that the attention of the boys became breathless as he went on: "When I was a lad about the age of you boys, I was what they call a 'hard case,' not exactly bad or vicious, but wayward and wild. Well, my dear old mother used to coax, pray, and punish. My father was dead, making it all the harder for her, but she never got impatient. How in the world she bore all my stubborn, vexing ways so patiently will always be to me one of the mysteries of life. I knew it was troubling her, knew it was changing her pretty face, making it look anxious and old. After a while, tired of all restraint, I ran away, went off to sea; and a rough time I had of it at first. Still I liked the water, and I liked journeying around from place to place.

"Then I settled down to business in a foreign land, and soon became prosperous. Now I began sending her something besides empty letters. And such beautiful letters as she always wrote me during those years of absence. At length I noticed how long they grew, longing for the son who used to try her so, and it awoke a corresponding longing in my heart to go back to the clear waiting soul. So when I could stand it no longer, I came back, and such a welcome, and such a surprise!

"My mother is not a very old lady, boys, but the first thing I noticed was the whiteness of her hair and the deep furrows on her brow; and I knew I had helped to blanch that hair to its snowy whiteness and had drawn those lines in that smooth forehead. And those are the furrows I have been trying to straighten out.

"But last night, while mother was asleep in her armchair, I was thinking it all over, and looked to see what progress I had made. Her face was very peaceful, and the expression as contented as possible, but the furrows are still there. I have not succeeded in straightening them out—and—I—never—shall,—never.

"When they lay my mother, my fair old sweetheart, in her casket, there will be furrows on her brow; and I think it a wholesome lesson to teach you, that the neglect you offer your parents' counsel now, and the trouble you cause them, will abide, my lads, it will abide!"

"But," broke in Freddie Hollis, with great, troubled eyes, "I should think if you are so kind and good now, it need not matter so much!"

"Ah, Freddie," said the quavery voice of the strong man, "you cannot undo the past. You may do much to atone for it, do much to make the rough path smooth, but you cannot straighten out the old furrows; remember that."

"Guess I'll go and chop some wood mother spoke of. I had most forgotten," said lively Jimmy Hollis, in a strangely quiet tone for him.

"Yes, and I have some errands to do," suddenly remembered Billy Bowles.

"Touched and taken!" said the kindly captain to himself, as the boys tramped off, keeping step in a soldier-like way.

Mrs. Bowles declared a fortnight afterward that Billy was "really getting to be a comfort!" And Mrs. Hollis, meeting the captain about that time, remarked that Jimmy always meant to be a good boy, but now he was actually being one.

"Guess your stories they like so much have good morals in them now and then," added the gratified mother, with a smile.

As Mrs. Hollis passed, Captain Sam, with folded arms and head bent down, said softly to himself, "Well, I shall be thankful if a word of mine will help the dear boys to keep furrows from their mothers' brows; for, once there, it is a difficult task to straighten them out."—Selected.

* * * * *

  "If you were busy being good,
  And doing just the best you could,
  You'd not have time to blame some man
  Who's doing just the best he can.

  "If you were busy being true
  To what you know you ought to do,
  You'd be so busy you'd forget
  The blunders of the folks you've met.

  "If you were busy being right,
  You'd find yourself too busy quite
  To criticize your neighbor long
  Because he's busy being wrong."

A Boy Who Was Wanted

"Well, I have found out one thing," said Jack as, hot, tired, and dusty, he came to his mother.

"What is that?" she asked.

"That there are a great many boys in the world."

"Didn't you know that before?"

"Partly; but I didn't know there were so many more boys than are wanted."

"Why do you think there are more than are wanted?"

"Because I have been 'round and 'round till I am worn out, trying to find a place to work. Wherever I go, there are more boys than places. Doesn't that show that there are too many boys?"

"Not exactly," said his mother, with a smile. "It depends entirely on the kind of boy. A good boy is always wanted somewhere."

"Well, if I am a good boy, I wish that I knew that I was wanted."

"Patience, patience, my boy. In such a great world as this is, with so many places and so many boys, it is no wonder some of them do not find their places at once. But be sure, dear," as she laid a very caressing hand on his arm, "that every boy who wants a chance to do fair, honest work will find it."

"That's the kind of work I want to do," said Jack. "I don't want anybody's money for nothing. Let me see, what have I to offer?—All the schooling and all the wits I have been able to get up in thirteen years; good, stout hands; and a civil tongue."

"And a mind and heart set on doing faithful duty, suggested his mother.

"I hope so," said Jack. "I remember father used to say: Just as soon as you undertake to work for any one, you must bear in mind that you have sold yourself for the given time. Your time, your strength, your energy, are his, and your best efforts to seek his interests in every way are his due.'"

The earnest tone in which the boy spoke seemed to give assurance that he would pay good heed to the words of the father whose counsel could no more reach him.

For two or three days longer Jack had reason to hold his opinion that there were more boys than the world wanted, at the end of which time he met a business man who, questioning him closely, said: "There are a great many applications for the place, but a large number of the boys come and stay a short time, and then leave if they think they can do a little better. When a boy gets used to our route and customers, we want him to stay. If you will agree to stay at least three years, we will agree to pay you three dollars a week as errand boy."

"That is just what I wanted to do, sir," said Jack, eagerly. So he was installed, and proud enough he was to bring his wages home every week, and realize that, small as they were, the regular help was of great value to his mother.

It is not to be wondered at that the faithful carrying out of his father's admonition after a while attracted the attention not only of his employers, but of others with whom he was brought in contact in the pursuit of his duties. One day he was asked into the office of Mr. Lang, a gentleman to whom he frequently carried parcels of value.

"Have you ever thought of changing your situation?" asked Mr. Lang.

"No, sir," said Jack.

"Perhaps you could do better," said the other. "I want a boy who is quick and intelligent, and who can be relied on; and, from what I see of you, I think you are that sort of boy. I want you to drive a delivery wagon, and will pay you five dollars a week."

Jack's eyes opened wide.

"It is wonderfully good pay for a boy like me, I am sure. But I promised to keep on with Mr. Hill for three years, and the second year is only just begun."

"Well, have you signed a regular agreement with Mr. Hill?"

"No, sir; I told him I would stay."

"You have a mother to assist, you told me. Could not you tell Mr. Hill that you feel obliged to do better, when you have a chance?"

"I don't believe I could," said Jack, looking with his straight, frank gaze into the gentleman's face. "You see, sir, if I broke my word with him, I should not be the kind of boy to be relied on that you want."

"I guess you are about right," said Mr. Lang, with a sigh. "Come and see me when your time is out; I dare say I shall want you then."

Jack went home very much stirred by what had been said to him.

After all, could it be wrong to go where he would do so much better? Was it not really his duty to accept the position? He could then drive the wagon instead of trudging wearily along the streets. They had never felt so hot and dusty as they did just now, when he might escape from the tiresome routine. Might, but how?—By the sacrifice of his pledged word; by selling his truth and his honor. So strongly did the reflection force itself upon him that when he told his mother of the offer he had received, he merely added, "It would be a grand good thing if I could take it, wouldn't it, mother?"

"Yes, it would."

"Some boys would change without thinking of letting a promise stand in their way."

"Yes, but that is the kind of boy who, sooner or later, is not wanted. It is because you have not been that sort of boy that you are wanted now."

Jack worked away, doing such good work, as he became more and more accustomed to the situation, that his mother sometimes wondered that Mr. Hill, who seemed always kindly interested in him, never appeared to think of raising his pay. This, however, was not Mr. Hill's way of doing things, even though he showed an increasing disposition to trust Jack with important business.

So the boy trudged through the three years, at the end of them having been trusted far more than is usually the case with errand boys. He had never forgotten the offer made by Mr. Lang, and one day, meeting that gentleman on the street, ventured to remind him that his present engagement was nearly out, adding, "You spoke to me about driving the wagon, sir."

"Ah, so I did; but you are older now and worth more. Call around and see me."

One evening, soon after, Jack lingered in Mr. Hill's office after the other errand boys had been paid and had gone away.

"My three years are up tonight, sir," he said.

"Yes, they are," said Mr. Hill, looking at him as if he had remembered it.

"Will you give me a recommendation to some one else, sir?"

"Well, I will, if you are sure that you want to leave me."

"I did not know that you wanted me to stay, but"—he hesitated, and then went on—"my mother is a widow, and I feel as if I ought to do the best I can for her, and Mr. Lang told me to call on him."

"Has Mr. Lang ever made you an offer?"

Jack told him what Mr. Lang had said nearly two years before.

"Why didn't you go then?" asked Mr. Hill.

"Because I had promised to stay with you; but you wouldn't blame me for trying to better myself now?"

"Not a bit of it. Are you tired of running errands?"

"I'd rather ride than walk," said Jack with a smile.

"I think it is about time you were doing better than either. Perhaps you think that you have been doing this faithful work for me through these years for next to nothing; but if so, you are mistaken. You have been doing better work than merely running errands. You have been serving an apprenticeship to trust and honesty. I know you now to be a straight-forward, reliable boy, and it takes time to learn that. It is your capital, and you ought to begin to realize it. You may talk to Mr. Lang if you wish, but I will give you a place in the office, with a salary of six hundred dollars for the first year, with the prospect of a raise after that."

Jack did not go to see Mr. Lang, but straight to his mother, with a shout and a bound.

"You're right, you're right, mother!" he cried. "No more hard work for you, mother. I'm wanted, you see, wanted enough to get good pay! All the hardest part is over."—Congregationalist.

Wanted: An Employer

There was a north-bound car temporarily disabled on Broadway, near Fourth Street, and, in consequence, as far south as the eye could reach stood a row of motionless cars. Also, in consequence, along the curb was ranged a fretting, impatient, helpless crowd, among whom the most anxious was probably Edward Billings Henry.

In stature Edward Billings Henry was briefer than his name would indicate, but to a certain two-room dwelling on Jackson Street he made up in importance what he lacked in height; and it was his overwhelming sense of this importance which made every thin muscle taut and strained every nerve as he stood in the forefront of the crowd, his bare feet planted on the cold asphalt, one hand gripping his remaining stock of papers, the other clutching a nickel.

"I never was in a tearing hurry in my life but that this thing happened!" exploded a man just behind the boy.

Edward Billings Henry turned and looked up. The man was jingling a lot of loose coins in his pocket. The boy looked at his one nickel, and said, with conviction, "You can't need to have 'em go like I do."

The big man stared down at the little man, in surprise, with a gruff "Huh?" but Edward Billings Henry had no time to repeat. His hope had revived. The two men who lay on their backs under the injured car began to crawl out, and the boy rushed forward.

"Will it go now?" he inquired of one of the numerous conductors clustered around.

"Maybe so—in half an hour," replied the conductor, carelessly.

"O," cried the boy, in dismay, "I just can't wait that long!"

"Walk, then!" said the conductor, crossly.

"It's too far," replied the boy, "when you've got a stone toe."

"A what?" ejaculated the conductor; but his voice was lost in the honk! honk! of a big white touring car which pushed slowly through the crowd.

In front of the car Edward Billings Henry raced limpingly on his stone toe back to the curb and to the man jingling the coins in his pocket.

"Just what time is it, please?" he asked.

The man pulled out a watch and showed it to him. Edward Billings Henry heaved a great sigh.

"Half past ten! It'll likely be filled up before I can get there."

"What will be?"

"The place I'm after."

Skilfully he raised the limping foot, laid it across the other leg, and nursed the stone-bruised big toe, his eyes on the automobile, which had halted almost in front of him.

"Halloo, Junius!" a voice in the crowd sang out. "Lucky man you, not to have to depend on street-cars!"

The driver of the car was a young man. That is, Edward Billings Henry judged him to be young by the only feature visible, a flexible, wide mouth, with clean-shaven lips. His eyes were behind goggles, and a cap covered his forehead and ears, meeting the tip of a high collar, which effectually concealed his chin. But the mouth smiled as the goggles turned toward the pavement, the owner answering lightly:—

"Halloo yourself, Dick! Jump in and try my luck."

"Where are you going?"

"Up to Congress Square."

"Well, get along then!" returned the other. "That's no good to me."

Congress Square! What luck! Exactly where Edward Billings Henry wished to go! And here was a rapid-transit vehicle, with room enough for ten such diminutive persons as he! Without loss of time, he limped up on his aching stone toe and jogged the arm of the driver.

Junius looked down at the boy. Edward Billings Henry removed a man's derby from his head and looked out of eyes kindling with hope, as he asked eagerly:—

"Do you suppose you could get me up there inside of twenty-five minutes, mister?"

"What do you mean?" Junius stared hard through his goggles.

"To Congress Square," said Edward Billings Henry, impatiently. "It's business, and if I don't get there I'm out of a job, that's all." The boy mounted the step and clung to the seat, proffering his nickel. "I'll pay just what I'd pay on the car," he argued, "so you'd be making some money as well as giving me a lift."

The goggled eyes looked at the nickel in the dirty hand, and then traveled up and down the small figure back of the hand. The eyes noticed that while those parts of the boy's anatomy which had been exposed all the morning to the city dirt had collected grime, the rims, as it were, of the exposed parts revealed hidden cleanliness.

"Congress Square is an awful way up," urged Edward Billings Henry, "and we mustn't waste much time; for I would like to get that job." The small hand extended the nickel enticingly toward the glove. "You'll be earning as much as the street-car by giving a lift," the boy repeated.

The driver's lips twisted a bit. "That's so," he said. "Huh!" he chuckled, and gracelessly extended his hand for the nickel. "Get in, my man, and I'll give you the lift."

Edward Billings Henry drew a deep sigh of relief dropped the coin into the other's palm, and engulfed himself in the soft front seat.

"Whom have I the honor of giving a lift?" asked Junius, formally, dropping the nickel into a pocket, where it lay alone. After it he sent a curious, lingering smile.

"Edward Billings Henry, Junior," replied the boy.

The lips beneath the goggles smiled. "And where am I lifting you to, may I also ask, Edward Billings?"

"To Mr. Florins's office, where they're going to select an office boy this morning 'tween ten and eleven."

The driver busied himself a moment with the steering-gear as the car passed the crowded mail-wagons behind the post-office building. Then he turned and shot a curious glance at his small companion, asking abruptly:—

"And you think you'll get the job, do you?"

Edward Billings Henry leaned forward as if he could push the machine into a yet faster pace. "I can try for it," he replied. "Father says you never know what you can do unless you try. He's always wanting me to try."

"Yes," muttered Junius, still more interested. "Fathers seem much alike, whether they live up-town or down-town."

"Can't we go faster?" asked Edward Billings Henry, sitting on the edge of the seat.

Junius shook his head. "Too many blue-coats around. But about that job, now—you'll not be the only boy after it. There will probably be dozens older——"

"I'm eleven, if I am small," interrupted the boy.

"And stronger——"

The boy stretched out a thin arm defiantly, and closed his fist. "Just feel!" he cried. "I've got a good muscle, and on my legs it's better yet. Just now I've got a stone-bruise on my big toe, but I tell you I can get round pretty fast just the same. I don't believe Mr. Florins would ever be sorry he took me."

"Yes, I'm inclined to believe that myself," mused the man. "But how are you going to make him believe that in the beginning?"

The boy raised his lame foot and gently rubbed the swollen big toe. "Well," he began, "I'm going to talk up big. Father says you have to sometimes when nobody's round to do it for you, and he says it's all right if you do afterward just as big as you talk."

The driver wagged his head wisely. "That's sound business sense," he agreed, gravely. "You intend to deliver the same goods that you sell. Let's hear what you have to say."

"Well, if you get me there in time to say anything, I'm going to tell Mr. Florins that father went to school a lot when he was young. He went through high school and got all ready to go through college."

Edward Billings emphasized his verbs as if "going through" was solely a physical exercise on the flying-wedge order; and Junius chuckled.

"Then I'll tell him that father stood almost at the head of his class in high school, and he almost took a lot of honors."

"Well," assented Junius, "that 'almost' is a step farther than some of the rest of us got."

"Yes," exulted the boy, "I guess Mr. Florins will say so, too. Then I'll tell him that father taught a lot when he couldn't go through college."

"What next?" inquired Junius.

They were approaching Twelfth Street now, and the car was hardly moving in the press of vehicles.

Edward Billings curled his bare toes under, and unconsciously pushed forward with all his slender might. "Then I'll tell him that father used to read a lot, law books and things, same as he does——"

"But see here!" interrupted Junius. "All this talk will be about your father. What are you going to say about yourself?"

A cloud overspread Edward Billings's face. He raised a pair of troubled eyes to his questioner. "Why, I never stopped to think of that," he began, slowly, all the brightness fading out of his tone. "There's nothing much to say about me. I sell papers and help father——"

"What does your father do?" asked Junius.

The boy hesitated. His face flushed, and he looked up uncertainly at the goggles. "He used to teach, I told you," was the evasive answer, "until his eyes gave out."

"And now?"

Edward Billings Henry wriggled about on the padded leather. "He's always had bad legs,"—the evasion continued,—"but his arms and back are strong, and his legs all right to stand on."

"Yes?" insisted Junius, and waited.

"So he's doing something he ain't going to do if I can get this job. Then I could sell papers after and before office hours, and earn a lot of money." Edward Billings Henry talked rapidly, but the young man beside him was not to be turned from his purpose.

"Then what is it he's not going to do?"

The boy hesitated again. "Father takes in washing," he finally burst out, proudly defiant, "and I help him, and we do it good, I tell you! No one ever complains. Father says if you can't do what you want to, you can try something else, and that was all he could do, so he tried, and found out he could wash and iron good, and a lot of it!"

Junius considerately looked straight ahead of him, not wishing to add to the embarrassment of Edward Billings Henry, Junior, but he could not resist asking, "Are you going to tell this to Mr. Florins?"

"No-sir-ee!" responded the boy, proudly. "Father ain't going to do—washings—any longer if I can get the job."

The car entered Congress Square, drew up in front of an imposing stone building, and stopped. The driver removed his goggles and turned a pair of pleasant gray eyes on the boy.

"Well, Edward Billings, here we are, and you've got the job all right. Can you come in the morning?"

Edward Billings Henry nearly fell off the seat.

"W-hat?" he stammered.

"The job is yours," smiled the young man. "I happen to be that same Mr. Florins who, you have assured me, will never regret employing you. My office is on the second floor here. I did advertise for a boy, but had totally forgotten it." He gave a short laugh. "Report in the morning, please, and we'll see about a suit and some shoes and that stone-bruised toe."

Out of the automobile Edward Billings Henry tumbled in a dazed condition, and stood beside his new employer, looking up speechlessly.

"I'll advance you a car fare on your salary," the young man continued. He carefully avoided the pocket where lay the nickel previously owned by his passenger, and produced the change. "And, Edward Billings, just tell your father from me that his maxims work out so well that I'm thinking of adopting them myself."—Alice Louise Lee, in Youth's Companion, used by permission.

How to Stop Swearing

When I was out West thirty years ago I was preaching one day in the open air when a man drove up in a fine turnout. After listening for a while he put his whip to his fine-looking steed, and away he went. I did not expect to see him again, but the next night he came back; and he kept on coming regularly night after night.

I said to a gentleman: "Who is that man who drives up here every night? Is he interested?"

"Interested! I should think not. You should have heard the way he talked about you today."

"Well," I said, "that is a sign he is interested."

I asked where he lived, but my friend told me not to go to see him; for he would only curse me. I said, "It takes God to curse a man: man can only bring curses on his own head."

I found out where he lived, and went to see him. He was the wealthiest man within a hundred miles of that place, and had a wife and seven beautiful children. Just as I reached his gate, I saw him coming out of the front door. I stepped up to him, and said:—

"You are Mr. Davis, I believe?"

He said, "Yes, sir, that is my name." Then he asked, "What do you want?"

"Well," I said, "I should like to ask you a question, if you won't be angry."

"Well, what is it?"

"I am told that God has blessed you above all men in this part of the country; that he has given you wealth, a beautiful Christian wife, and seven lovely children. I do not know whether it is true, but I hear that all he gets in return is cursing and blasphemy."

He said, "Come in, come in." I went in. "Now," he said, "what you said out there is true. If any man has a fine wife, I am the man, and I have a lovely family of children, and God has been good to me. But, do you know, we had company here the other night, and I cursed my wife at the table, and did not know it till after the company was gone. I never felt so mean and contemptible in my life as when my wife told me of it. She said she wanted the floor to open and let her down out of her seat. If I have tried once, I have tried a hundred times to stop swearing. You preachers don't know anything about it."

"Yes," I said, "I know all about it; I have been a traveler."

"But," he said, "you don't know anything about a business man's troubles.
When he is harassed and tormented the whole time, he can't help swearing."

"O, yes," I said, "he can. I know something about it. I myself used to swear."

"What! you used to swear?" he asked. "How did you stop?"

"I never stopped."

"Why, you don't swear now, do you?"

"No, I have not sworn for years."

"How did you stop?"

"I never stopped. It stopped itself."

He said, "I don't understand this."

"No," I said, "I know you don't. But I came to talk to you so that you will never want to swear again as long as you live."

I began to tell him about Christ in the heart; how he would take the temptation to swear out of a man.

"Well," he said, "how am I to get Christ?"

"Get right down here and tell him what you want."

"But," he said, "I was never on my knees in my life. I have been cursing all the day, and I don't know how to pray, or what to pray for."

"Well," I said, "it is mortifying to call on God for mercy when you have never used his name except in oaths, but he will not turn you away. Ask God to forgive you, if you want to be forgiven."

He knelt down and prayed, only a few sentences. After he prayed, he rose and said, "What shall I do now?"

I said, "Go down to the church, and tell the people there that you want to be an out-and-out Christian."

"I cannot do that," he said; "I never go to church except to some funeral."

"Then it is high time for you to go for something else," I said.

At the next church meeting the man was there, and I sat right in front of him. He stood up and put his hands on the seat, and he trembled so much that I could feel the seat shake. He said:—

"My friends, you know all about me; if God can save a wretch like me, I want to have you pray for my salvation."

That was thirty years ago. Some time since I was back in that town, but did not see him. But when I was in California, a man asked me to have dinner with him. I told him I could not do so. Then he asked me if I remembered him, and told me his name.

"O!" I exclaimed. "Tell me, have you ever sworn since that night you knelt in your drawing-room, and asked God to help you?"

"No," he replied, "I have never had a desire to swear since then."—D.L.
Moody, in "Weighed in the Balances," Published by Morgan & Scott.

 

The Carols of Bethlehem Center

There might have been no church had not Pastor James McKenzie come just when it seemed tottering to a fall. There might have been no Sunday-school had not Harold Thornton tended it as carefully as he tended his own orchard. There might have been no class number four had it not been for Gertrude Windsor. But there would have been no glad tidings in one wintry heart save for the voices with which Eddie and the two Willies and Charlie and little Phil sang the carols that morning in the snow; and they came straight from Him who gave the angels the songs of, "On earth peace, good will to men."

At the end of the winter term in Gertrude's junior year the doctor had prescribed a year of rest for her, and she had come to find it with Aunt Mehitable, in the quiet of Bethlehem Center.

On her first Sunday she attended the little Sunday-school, and at the close of service there was an official conference.

"She would be just the one if she would," said the pastor.

"It can't go on as it is," answered the superintendent. "The deacon means well, but he doesn't know boys. There wasn't one here today, and only Eddie last Sunday. I wish she'd be chorister, too," he added. "Did you hear her sing?"

"I doubt if she would do that. I am told she nearly broke down in college, and is here to rest."

"Yes, so Mr. Thompson told me. But we do need her."

"Well, I will call on her, and let you know what I learn."

Gertrude hesitated; for had not the doctor said "It is not so much college,
Miss Windsor; it is church and Sunday-school and Christian Endeavor and
Student Volunteer, and all the rest on top of college work that is breaking
you down, and you must stop it"?

But the wistful face of Harry, who brought their milk, decided her; and the second Sunday saw her instructing Eddie and little Phil in the quarterly temperance lesson. It was not until school was over that she learned the reason of little Phil's conscious silence; and next day, when she met him with his father on the street, she tried to atone for her former ignorance.

"Are you Phil's father?" she asked, stepping toward them.

Tim Shartow, who was believed by some to regard neither God, man, nor the devil, grew strangely embarrassed as he took her hand, after a hurried inspection of his own.

"Yes'm," he answered.

"I am to be his Sunday-school teacher," she went on; "and of course I want to know the fathers and mothers of my boys. I hope Phil can come regularly. We are going to have some very interesting lessons."

"I guess he can come," answered his father. "It's a better place for him than on the street, anyway."

This was faint praise, but well meant. Gertrude smiled her appreciation, and in that brief meeting won not only Phil's lifelong regard, but, had she known it, that of his father as well; for thenceforth Tim Shartow felt that he had two friends in Bethlehem Center of whom he need not be ashamed.

His other friend was Pastor James McKenzie. The mutual though qualified respect which they felt for each other dated from their first meeting, when Mr. McKenzie had walked into the saloon and asked permission to tack up some bills advertising his revival services.

"I guess you can," the proprietor had answered, standing alertly on his guard.

The bills had been posted, and the unwonted visitor turned to the man behind the bar. They were alone together.

"We should be very glad, Mr. Shartow," he said, "if you would attend some of the meetings."

"It'll be a cold day when I do," answered the saloon-keeper.

Mr. McKenzie did not reply.

"The worst enemies I've got are in that church," added Tim, by way of explanation.

A smile lighted up the pastor's earnest face. "No, Mr. Shartow," he said, "you're wrong. They don't like your business,—I don't like your business,—but you haven't an enemy in our church. And I want to tell you now"—his foot was upon the bar rail, and he was looking straight into the eyes of the man to whom he spoke—"that every night, as I pray that God will remove this saloon, I shall pray that he will bring you to know my Saviour. And if ever you need help that I can give, I want you to feel free to come to me. We are traveling different roads, Mr. Shartow, but we are not enemies; we are friends."

And the pastor departed, leaving Tim, the saloonkeeper, "that shook up," to use his own phrase, that it is doubtful whether he ever entirely regained his former attitude toward "them church folks."

By Gertrude's second Sunday as teacher, the two Willies had come to test the truth of rumors that had reached them. Charlie and Harry came next, and, after Gertrude announced the mid-week class-meetings as a reward for full attendance, not one absence occurred for thirteen weeks.

To Harold Thornton it had the look of a miracle that the class for whom no teacher could be found was as clay in the hands of the potter. There was nothing Gertrude could not do with them. They listened spellbound while she talked, took part in the responsive readings, answered questions, studied their lessons, sat wherever the superintendent wished; they even pocketed their papers without a glance at them until the session was over. And they sang with a wild abandon that was exhilarating to hear. Even Harry, who held throughout the note on which his voice first fastened, never failed to sing; and, though it added little to the harmony, it spoke volumes for the spirit of the school and the devotion to the chorister.

But if Gertrude was doing much for the boys, they were doing much for Gertrude; and in obeying her orders to rest, exercise, and grow strong, she could not have had better helpers. From the time when the first pale blossoms of the bloodroot showed beside the snow, through the seasons of violets and wild strawberries and goldenrod, to the time when the frost had spread the ground with the split shucks of the hickory-nuts, the spoil of all the woodland was brought to her.

Their class-meetings became long tramps, during which Gertrude told them interesting things about insects, birds, and flowers, and they told as much that was strange to her. Every one of them had become a conspirator in the plot to keep her out of doors, away from her books; hardly a day passed that she did not go somewhere with one or more of them. And as the healthy color began to show beneath the tan, as strength came back, and every pulse beat brought the returning joy of life, she often felt that all her work for class number four had been repaid a hundredfold.

It was one mid-August afternoon, when the tasseled corn stood high, and the thistles had begun to take wing and fly away to join the dandelions, that there came the first thoughts of the carols. Harry had to drive cows that day; but the others were with her, and as they came out through Mr. Giertz's woods, and looked down upon the pasture where the sheep were feeding, little Phil began the quaint old version of the shepherd psalm that she had taught them,—

  "The Lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want;
  He maketh me down to lie,"— and, the other boys joining, they sang through to the end.

It was beautiful. She had never realized that they could sing so well, and, suddenly, as she listened, the plan came full-grown into her mind, and she proposed it then and there. The boys were jubilant; for a half-hour they discussed details; and then, "all seated on the ground," like those of whom they sang, she taught them the beginning of, "While shepherds watched their flocks by night."

That was the first of many open-air rehearsals, transferred, when the weather grew colder, to Willie Giertz's, where there were no near neighbors to whom the portentous secret might leak out. There was not one defective voice in the class save Harry's, and he was at first a puzzle; but that difficulty vanished when it was learned that his fondest ambition was satisfied by striking the tuning-fork. Thereafter all went smoothly, with much enthusiasm and a world of mystery.

When the program was complete, they had by heart six songs: "While shepherds watched their flocks by night," "Away in a manger," "We three kings of Orient are," "Hark! the herald angels sing," "There came three kings ere break of day," and last, but best, because it seemed especially made for them, the song that began:—

  "O little town of Bethlehem,
    How still we see thee lie!
  Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
    The silent stars go by."

And so at length came Christmas eve. Little eyes were closing tight in determined efforts to force the sleep that would make the time till morning so much shorter. But in Bethlehem Center were six boys who, it is safe to say, were thinking less of the morrow's gifts than of the morning's plan; for preparations for early rising had been as elaborate as if it were fourth of July, and there was a solemn agreement that not one present should be looked at until after their return.

Gertrude had fallen asleep thinking of the letter beneath her pillow, promising her return to college at the beginning of next term; but at the first tinkle of her alarm-clock she was up, and, dressing by candlelight, went softly down the stairs and out into the keen air of the morning. The stars were still bright overhead, and there was no light in the east; but Gertrude Windsor was not the first abroad; for at the gate Eddie, the two Willies, and little Phil stood waiting, and already Harry and Charlie were seen coming at top speed.

"Are we all here?" asked Eddie in a stage whisper; and the other boys huddled close together, and wriggled with suppressed excitement.

"Yes," answered Gertrude. "Which place is first?"

"Mr. McKenzie's," announced Charlie, whose part it was to lay out the route; and, crossing the road, they passed through the parsonage gate. Beneath the study windows, Harry, at a given signal, struck the tuning-fork against his boot heel, Gertrude gave the key, and then, like one, there rose to greet the dawning of another Christmas day those clear young voices:—

  "Hark! the herald angels sing,
  'Glory to the new-born King;
  Peace on earth and mercy mild,
  God and sinners reconciled.'"

There were sounds from within before they had finished the first stanza; but when, after the "Amen," the pastor started to open a window, the boys were too quick for him. There was a volley of "Merry Christmas," and his answer reached only the rearguard tumbling over the picket fence.

Beneath the bare apple-tree boughs in Harold Thornton's yard, Charlie, Eddie, and little Phil sang, "We three kings of Orient are," while the others joined in the chorus. At the song's close, the superintendent, swifter of foot than the pastor, overtook them with a great box of candy.

Tears came into the eyes of Mrs. Martin as, watching beside her sick child, she heard again the story of the Babe "away in a manger, no crib for his bed." Old Uncle King forgot for a moment his vexing troubles as he listened to the admonition to "rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing." Mrs. Fenny cried, as sick people will, when she heard the boys reiterate the sweet, triumphant notes.

So from house to house the singers went, pausing at one because of sickness, at another because those within were lonely, at some for love, as they had serenaded the pastor and the superintendent, and bringing to each some new joy.

The stars were fading out, and they had started to return. On their side of the street was the post-office, and opposite them was the saloon, with its gaudy gilt sign, "Tim's Place." Little Phil was behind Gertrude; and as they passed that building,—it was home to him—his hand just touched her sleeve.

"Do you think," he whispered, and she could see the pitiful quiver of his chin as he spoke—"do you suppose—we could sing one for m' father?"

Tears filled Gertrude's eyes; and had she not known boys so well, she would have stooped and caught him in her arms.

"Why, surely," she answered. "Which one do you think he would like best?"

Phil had shrunk behind her, and beneath the gaze of the other boys his eyes were those of a little hunted animal at bay. "Bethlehem," he said, huskily.

And when Harry had struck the tuning-fork, they began to sing together,—

  "O little town of Bethlehem,
    How still we see thee lie!
  Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
    The silent stars go by."

The twenty-fourth had been a good day for business in Tim Shartow's place. He had had venison for free lunch; two mandolin and guitar players had been there all the evening; and there was more than two hundred dollars in the till. But now, in the quiet of the early morning, as he sat alone, the reaction had come. He remembered how Rob MacFlynn had had too much, and gone home maudlin to the wife who had toiled all day at the wash-tub. He thought of the fight Joe Frier and Tom Stacey had had. And—he did not drink much himself; he despised a drunkard—and these things disgusted him. There was little Phil, too,—"the saloon-keeper's boy,"—and that cut deep. Wouldn't it pay better, in the long run—and then the music floated softly in.

He did not hear the words at first, but he had a good ear,—it was the singing that had brought him, as a boy, into the beer-gardens,—and, stepping to the window, he listened, all unseen by those without. There the words reached him:—

  "How silently, how silently,
    The wondrous gift is given!
  So God imparts to human hearts
    The blessings of his heaven.

  No ear may hear his coming,
    But in this world of sin
  Where meek souls will receive him"— and until they sang the "Amen," Tim Shartow never stirred from the window.

* * * * *

The storm that had been threatening all day had descended. Without, a blizzard was raging; but within, beside his study fire, the little ones tucked away in bed up-stairs, and a book in his hand, Pastor McKenzie could laugh at weather. A knock at that hour surprised him; but when he saw who stood upon the threshold, he knew how the saloon-keeper felt when he posted his bills so many months before.

"Good evening, Mr. Shartow," he said. "Won't you come in?"

The face of his visitor was tense and haggard; for the struggle had lasted the day long.

"I've come for help," he answered, shortly. "I guess it's the kind you can give, all right."

For a moment the pastor searched his face. "God bless you!" he exclaimed.
"Come in, come in."

And so was wrought again, before the close of the day that had been ushered in by the singing of the carols, the ever new miracle of Christmas; for God's gift to men had been again accepted, and into another heart made meek and ready to receive him the dear Christ had entered.—Frederick Hall, in Christian Endeavor World.

Standing Bear's Speech

The first time an Indian was permitted to appear in court in this country and have his rights tried, was in the year 1897. Previous to this every Indian in the United States was subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Interior. If he happened to be a man of a tyrannical nature, the Indians fared hard. One Secretary of the Interior at the point of the bayonet had caused all the Poncas Indians to be driven from northern Nebraska down to Indian Territory, depriving them of lands to which they held government deeds. They were left in the new country for months without rations, and more than one third of them died. Among these was the son of Standing Bear. The old chief refused to have the boy buried in the strange country, and, gathering about thirty members of his tribe together, he started for their ancient hunting-grounds, intending to bury his boy where generations of the Poncas chiefs lay.

The Secretary of the Interior heard of the runaways, and through the War Department telegraphed to General Crook, of Omaha, to arrest the Indians, and return them to Indian Territory. So General Crook arrested Standing Bear and his followers, and took them all, with the old wagon that contained the body of the dead boy, down to Omaha.

Standing Bear told his story to the general, who was already familiar with many wrongs that had been committed against the Indians, and who was indignant at their treatment. He detained the Indians at Omaha until he consulted with a Mr. Tibbies, an editor of a newspaper. They agreed to espouse the cause of the Indians, securing to Standing Bear a trial in the United States court. It was the most notable trial ever brought in the West, and, in fact, the scope was as wide as any ever tried in this country; for upon its decision one hundred thousand persons were made citizens.

Mr. Tibbles, who attended every session of the court, describes what took place, in the following words:—

"The court-room was crowded with fashionably dressed women; and the clergy, which had been greatly stirred by the incident, were there in force. Lawyers, every one in Nebraska, and many from the big Eastern cities; business men; General Crook and his staff in their dress uniforms (this was one of the few times in his life that Crook wore full dress in public); and the Indians themselves, in their gaudy colors. The court-room was a galaxy of brilliancy.

"On one side stood the army officers, the brilliantly dressed women, and the white people; on the other was standing Bear, in his official robes as chief of the Poncas, and with him were his leading men. Far back in the audience, shrinking from observation, was an Indian girl, who afterward became famous as a lecturer in England and America. She was later known on both continents by a translation of her Indian name, In-sta-the-am-ba, Bright Eyes.

"Attorney Poppleton's argument was carefully prepared, and consumed sixteen hours in the delivering, occupying the attention of the court for two days. On the third day Mr. Webster spoke for six hours. And during all the proceedings, the court-room was packed with the beauty and culture of the city.

"Toward the close of the trial, the situation became tense. As the wrongs inflicted on the Indians were described by the attorneys, indignation was often at white heat, and the judge made no attempt to suppress the applause which broke out from time to time. For the department, Mr. Lambertson made a short address, but was listened to in complete silence.

"It was late in the afternoon when the trial drew to a close. The excitement had been increasing, but it reached a height not before attained when Judge Dundy announced that Chief Standing Bear would be allowed to make a speech in his own behalf. Not one in the audience besides the army officers and Mr. Tibbies had ever heard an oration by an Indian. All of them had read of the eloquence of Red Jacket and Logan, and they sat there wondering if the mild-looking old man, with the lines of suffering and sorrow on his brow and cheek, dressed in the full robes of an Indian chief, could make a speech at all. It happened that there was a good interpreter present—one who was used to 'chief talk.'

"Standing Bear arose. Half facing the audience, he held out his right hand, and stood motionless so long that the stillness of death which had settled down on the audience, became almost unbearable. At last, looking up at the judge, he said:—

"'That hand is not the color of yours, but if I prick it, the blood will flow, and I shall feel pain. The blood is of the same color as yours. God made me, and I am a man. I never committed any crime. If I had, I would not stand here to make a defense. I would suffer the punishment and make no complaint.'

"Still standing half facing the audience, he looked past the judge, out of the window, as if gazing upon something far in the distance, and continued:—

"'I seem to be standing on a high bank of a great river, with my wife and little girl at my side. I cannot cross the river, and impassable cliffs arise behind me. I hear the noise of great waters; I look, and see a flood coming. The waters rise to our feet, and then to our knees. My little girl stretches her hands toward me and says, "Save me." I stand where no member of my race ever stood before. There is no tradition to guide me. The chiefs who preceded me knew nothing of the circumstances that surround me. I hear only my little girl say, "Save me." In despair I look toward the cliffs behind me, and I seem to see a dim trail that may lead to a way of life. But no Indian ever passed over that trail. It looks to be impassable. I make the attempt.'

"'I take my child by the hand, and my wife follows after me. Our hands and our feet are torn by the sharp rocks, and our trail is marked by our blood. At last I see a rift in the rocks. A little way beyond there are green prairies. The swift-running water, the Niobrara, pours down between the green hills. There are the graves of my fathers. There again we will pitch our teepee and build our fires. I see the light of the world and of liberty just ahead.'

"The old chief became silent again, and, after an appreciable pause, he turned toward the judge with such a look of pathos and suffering on his face that none who saw it will forget it, and said:—

"'But in the center of the path there stands a man. Behind him I see soldiers in number like the leaves of the trees. If that man gives me the permission, I may pass on to life and liberty. If he refuses, I must go back and sink beneath the flood.'

"Then, in a lower tone, 'You are that man.'

"There was silence in the court as the old chief sat down. Tears ran down over the judge's face. General Crook leaned forward and covered his face with his hands. Some of the ladies sobbed.

"All at once that audience, by one common impulse, rose to its feet, and such a shout went up as was never heard in a Nebraska court-room. No one heard Judge Dundy say, 'Court is dismissed.' There was a rush for Standing Bear. The first to reach him was General Crook. I was second. The ladies flocked around him, and for an hour Standing Bear had a reception."

A few days afterward Judge Dundy handed down his famous decision, in which he announced that an Indian was a "person," and was entitled to the protection of the law. Standing Bear and his followers were set free; and, with his old wagon and the body of the dead child, he went back to the hunting-grounds of his fathers, and buried the body with tribal honors. —Indian Journal.

Some Things We Need

  The courage born of God, not man,
    The truth to speak, cost what it may;
  The patience to endure the trials
    That form a part of every day;
  The purpose firm, the will to do
    The right, wherever we may be;
  The wisdom to reprove the faults
    That in our loved ones we may see,—
  Reprove in tone and spirit sweet,
    And ne'er in temper's eloquence;
  The heart to love the ones in wrong,
    While wrong we hate in every sense;
  The strength to do our daily task
    As unto God,—for we're his own,—
  To seek his approbation sweet,
    And not men's praise, fame, or renown,—
  These, these, and more, are things we need
    If Christ we'd represent indeed.

C. C. Roberts

Mabel Ashton's Dream

As the guests came together in the brilliantly lighted parlors at the home of Mabel Ashton that crisp winter evening, there was nothing unusual in the appearance of the rooms to indicate that the party to which they had been invited was to be in any respect different from the round of gaiety to which they had been devoting themselves for the greater part of the winter. Some of the guests, as they greeted their young hostess, noticed an unusual degree of nervousness in her manner, but, attributing it to the excitement of preparation and anticipation, thought no more of it, and all were soon engaged in conversation.

The musicians were in their places, and the young people were beginning to wonder why the signal was not given for the orchestra to strike up, when Mabel Ashton, her sweet face flushed and pale by turns, took her stand near the musicians. After closing her eyes for a moment, during which the room became perfectly still, in a voice at first trembling, but clear and steady, she said:—

"Friends, I know you will think me very queer; but before we do anything else, I must tell you a little story.

"I had a dream last night, which has made such an impression on my mind and heart that I must tell it to you. I dreamed that tonight had arrived, and you had all assembled in these rooms, when there came to the door, and was ushered in, a guest who seemed strangely familiar, and yet whom I could not recognize. He had a rare face, peaceful, yet a little sad in its expression, and his eyes were more penetrating than any that I had ever before seen. He was dressed in neat yet very plain clothing, but there was something in his appearance which marked him as no ordinary man.

"While I was trying to think where I had seen him, he advanced to me, took my hand, and said, gently, 'You do not recognize me, Mabel?' Surprised at such a form of salutation from a stranger, I could only say, 'Your face, sir, seems familiar, yet I cannot recall your name.'

"'Yet I am one whom you have invited here this evening, or, I should rather say, one to whom both you and your parents have extended many invitations to be present here whenever I am able to come. You have even invited me to make my home here; and I have come tonight to join your little company.'

"'I beg a thousand pardons,' I replied, 'but you mystify me all the more, and I beg you will relieve me by telling me whom I have the pleasure of greeting.'

"Then he offered to my view the palms of his hands, in which were scars as of nail wounds, and looked me through and through with those piercing yet tender eyes; and I did not need that he should say to me, 'I am Jesus Christ, your Lord.'

"To say that I was startled would be to express only a very small part of my feelings. For a moment I stood still, not knowing what to do or say. Why could I not fall at his feet and say with all my heart, 'I am filled with joy at seeing you here, Lord Jesus'?

"With those eyes looking into mine, I could not say it; for it was not true. For some reason, on the instant only half comprehended by myself, I was sorry he had come. It was an awful thought, to be glad to have all the rest of you here, yet sorry to see my Saviour! Could it be that I was ashamed of him, or was I ashamed of something in myself?

"At length I recovered myself in a degree, and said, 'You wish to speak to my parents, I am sure.'

"'Yes, Mabel,' as he accompanied me to where my mother and father sat gazing in surprise at my evident confusion in greeting an unexpected guest; 'but I came this evening chiefly to be with you and your young friends; for I have often heard you speak enthusiastically in your young people's meetings about how delightful it would be if you could have me visibly present with you.'

"Again the blush came to my cheeks as the thought flashed through my mind, Tomorrow night is prayer-meeting night; I should have been delighted to see him then. But why not tonight, on this pleasant occasion? I led him to my parents, and, in a somewhat shamefaced fashion, introduced him.

"They both gave a start of amazed surprise, but, convinced by his appearance that there was no mistake, my father recovered a degree of self-possession, and bade him welcome, as he offered him a seat, remarking that this was an unexpected pleasure. After a somewhat lengthy pause, he explained to Jesus that his daughter Mabel, being very closely occupied with her studies, and having little variety in life, had been allowed to invite a few friends in for a social evening, with a little quiet dancing by way of healthful exercise. Her friends were all of the very choicest, and he felt that this was a harmless amusement, which the church had come to look upon in a somewhat different light from that in which it was viewed forty years ago. Removing the objectionable feature of bad company, had made this pleasant pastime a safe indulgence.

"As my father stammered out, in the presence of Jesus, these words of apology, which had fallen from my own lips, I felt myself flush crimson with shame both for my dear father and for myself. Why should he apologize at all for what he considered unquestionably right? How hollow it all sounded there in the presence of the Lord! Did not Jesus know that my studies were not so pressing but that I could keep late hours, sometimes several nights in the week, at parties?

"Then father, anxious to relieve my evident embarrassment, said, 'I am sure we can leave these young people safely to themselves, and nothing would please me so well as to take you, my Lord Jesus, off into my study for a talk.'

"'No,' said Jesus, 'Mabel has often invited me, and I came tonight especially to be with her. Will you introduce me to your friends, Mabel? Some of them I know, but some I do not know.'

"Of course, all this time you, friends, were looking much in our direction, wondering at our embarrassment, and perhaps guessing that we had been made uncomfortable by the arrival of a not altogether welcome guest. I led him first to some of the church-members among you, and there was not one of you who looked so comfortable after the introduction as before.

"As it became known who the guest was, faces changed color, and some of you looked very much as if you would like to leave the room. It really seemed as if the church-members were quite as unwilling to meet Jesus as those who were not Christians.

"One of you came up quietly and whispered to me, 'Shall I tell the musicians not to play the dance music, but to look up some sacred pieces?' Jesus caught the question, and, looking us both squarely in the face, he simply asked, 'Why should you?' and we could not answer. Some one else suggested that we could have a very pleasant and profitable evening if we should change our original plans, and invite Jesus to talk to us. And he also was met with that searching question, 'Why should my presence change your plans?'

"After I had introduced the Lord Jesus to you all, and no one knew what to do next, Jesus turned to me and said: 'You were planning for dancing, were you not? It is high time you began, or you cannot complete your program before daylight. Will you not give the word to the musicians, Mabel?'

"I was much embarrassed. If my original plan was all right, his presence ought only to add joy to the occasion; yet here were all my guests, as well as myself, made wretchedly uncomfortable by the presence of him whom most of us called our best Friend. Determined to throw off this feeling and be myself, at his word I ordered the musicians to play for the first dance.

"The young man with whom I was engaged for that dance did not come to claim me, and no one went upon the floor. This was still worse embarrassment. The orchestra played once more, and two or three couples, more to relieve me than for any other reason, began to dance in a rather formal fashion. I was almost beside myself with shame and confusion, when the Lord Jesus turned to me and said: 'Mabel, your guests do not seem at ease. Why do you not, as their hostess, relieve their embarrassment by dancing, yourself? Would it help you any if I should offer to dance with you?'

"My confusion gave way to an expression almost of horror, as I looked into those tenderly sad eyes and cried, 'You dance! You cannot mean it!'

"'Why not, Mabel? If my disciples may dance, may not I? Did you think all this winter, when you and others of my disciples have gathered for the dance, or the card-party, or at the theater, that you left me at home or in the church? You prayed for my presence in the prayer-meeting; you did not quite want it here; but why not, my dear child? Why have you not welcomed me tonight, Mabel? Why has my presence spoiled your pleasure? Though I am "a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," yet I delight to share and increase all the pure joys of my disciples. Is it possible that you leave me out of any of your pleasures, Mabel? If so, is it not because you feel that they do not help you to become like me and to glorify me; that they take your time and strength and thought to such an extent that you have less delight in my Word and in communion with me? You have been asking, "What's the harm?" Have you asked, "What is the gain?" Have you done these things for the glory of God?'

"It was plain to me now. Overcome with self-reproach and profound sorrow, I threw myself on the floor at his feet, and sobbed out my repentance.

"With a, 'Daughter, go in peace; thy sins be forgiven thee,' he was gone. I awoke and found that it was all a dream. And now I want to ask you, my friends, shall we go on with the program tonight, or shall we take these lists which we have prepared, and discuss for a time with our partners the question, 'What can young people do to make the world better for their having lived in it'?"

As the vote was unanimous in favor of the latter plan, which was followed by other wholesome recreations, and as the social evening was declared the most delightful of the winter, it is safe to say that the Lord Jesus had sent that dream for others besides Mabel Ashton.—Presbyterian Journal.

A Sad But True Story

It was in the large parlors of a mansion in Missouri, where, on a pleasant October evening, ten or twelve young people were gathered from the wealthiest homes of the elite of the city. Among them was a young woman who, though always genial and social with the young, was ever clad in mourning garb, and bore the name of Mara, chosen by herself to express the grief and bitterness of her life, since the time when she, seven or eight years before, had been bereft of all her family.

The pleasant hours flew fast till about half past ten in the evening, when one of the company pulled out a pack of cards and flung it on the table where Mara Moor was sitting. The effect was startling. Her face took on a deathly pallor; she trembled, arose from her seat, staggered across the room, and took a chair in the remotest corner. So great was her agitation that every one saw it, but none was aware of the cause.

One of the party, who had been reading law for some time, not imagining the seriousness of her anguish, went to her, and in a bantering way threatened her with a legal prosecution before an impaneled jury in case she refused to return to her place at the table, and submit to the regulations of the evening. While the lawyer was urging her to this, a thoughtless young man of the company stepped up to them and placed a few cards in her hand. She jerked her hand away, and gave it a sling as if to rid it of the contaminating filth of the cards; and, with an agonizing scream, she began weeping and sobbing as if her heart would break.

Surprised at this new outburst, the lawyer sought to soothe the wounded spirit; and when she had become somewhat quiet, he, with the rest, entreated her to give them the reason for her terrible agitation. This she at first refused to do, but being urged very strongly by all the company, she at length consented. At the first word a shudder passed over her whole frame; but pausing to regain her self-control, she began:—

"When I was nineteen years old, I was living in an Eastern city, in one of the happiest homes within its limits. A rich and tender father, with a loving and gentle mother, and as bright and true a brother as ever a sister could want, were my companions in the delightful home of my childhood. Wealth and comfort smiled upon us, and prophesied of future happiness, until, with my own hand, I plucked down upon us all the greatest curse imaginable.

"Two of our cousins, a brother and sister, came to visit us, and we spent the evening in pleasant conversation, as we did this evening; and just as those cards were thrown upon the table, and at about the same hour, my parents having retired, our cousin threw a deck upon our table. They two and I sat down to play, while my dear and tenderly loved brother, not liking the idea of playing cards, turned to his music, which he was composing as a graduating exercise for examination day, and went to work at that. We three needed a fourth one to make the game go properly, and we began trying to persuade my brother to come and take part with us; but he declared he thought it was not right to spend time in card-playing—that it was an amusement of the lowest character, and he did not want to get into it.

"After using all our arguments to induce him to assist us, but to no purpose, I went to him, put my arm around his neck, and told him that I was a Christian, and was trying to get to heaven, and thought it no harm to play cards just for amusement; that I thought he ought to lay aside his scruples, and come and help us, as we could have no fun without his nelp; that he was too fastidious, anyway. With this he arose from his seat very reluctantly, and came, protesting that he knew nothing about it. We told him he could soon learn, and he did, only too quickly; for, in a little time, he was enough for any of us; and when we three had become tired of the sport, he was so delighted with it that he sat for an hour studying the cards and shuffling them.

"We laughed heartily at him for his interest in the matter, and finally retired for the night, leaving him with the cards. Next morning he took them up again, and tried to induce us to play with him; but our cousins had to go home, and soon left us, taking the deck with them. But the fatal act had been done. That night my brother was in the city until a late hour, which was a thing that had never occurred before. When he came home, he seemed morose; and to our inquiries for the cause, his replies were evasive.

"The next night he was out again; and this continued for some nights, until his money—two hundred dollars—was all gone. He then went to father for more, and, as he had unbounded confidence in my brother, father very readily gave him quite a little sum, without asking what he was going to do with it. This was soon gone. When he asked for more, father desired him to tell what he was doing with so much money. Not receiving a direct answer, father gave him a small sum, and told him he could get no more unless he would give a clear report of the use he made of his money. This money was soon spent, and when he went for more, but was unwilling to account for what he had received, father refused to give him more. With this refusal he became angry, and told father he would make him willing to let him have the money. My brother then went into the city again, and, as usual, into a gambling-den, where he managed to get money for gaming, or sat and looked on. He was absent for nearly a week.

"During this time my mother neither ate nor slept, as I might say; and when my brother was brought home drunk, she took her bed, and never got up again, but died of a broken heart, within a few days.

"We hoped this would stop my brother's course, but it did so only for a short time. He soon began gambling and drinking again; and, being young and rather delicate, it was not long until he was brought home in delirium tremens. Upon this father took his bed, languished, sank, and died, leaving myself and my brother alone in the world. O, how I wished I could die, too! But it seemed that God determined that I should see the end of my work in wrecking our family, and I was compelled to still remain, and reap the harvest of my own doings.

"Every influence that could be brought to bear on my poor brother I made use of, but to no avail; and, O, how I prayed for him! But it was of no use! He went even more rapidly down the way of ruin, now that father was dead and out of his way. Only a few weeks after I had followed my father to his resting-place in the silent grave, my brother was brought home with delirium tremens again, and, after suffering for a short time the most terrible agony, the poor boy died, and was laid in a drunkard's grave. O my God! why was I ever born? Why cannot I die, too? But what will my eternity be for having thus ruined my own brother, the bright and beautiful boy? This is why I spell my name Mara."

Soon after the lady commenced her sad story, the ladies in the company began weeping; and when it was finished, they were all sobbing as if their hearts would break; and the eyes of the men also were moist. The cards had disappeared, and vows were solemnly expressed by the entire company that never again would one of them be guilty of engaging in that sport, but that they would ever do their best to endeavor to put the practice out of society.—Selected.

Sowing to the Flesh

    Are you sowing to the flesh, O youth?
  Have you turned your back upon the truth?
    Are you scattering seeds of evil
    From the garner of the devil?
    Are you thinking of the harvest
By and by?
    Soon will spring and summer pass,
    Brown and sere will grow the grass;
    No time then for good seed-sowing:
You and I
  Must gather what we've sown, forsooth.
  Are you sowing to the flesh, O youth?

  Are you sowing to the flesh, O maid?
  Can you think of the harvest unafraid?
    Is this world your only treasure?
    This life all your joy and pleasure?
    Are you laying up no portion
In the sky?
    He that soweth to the wind
    Shall a whirlwind's harvest find,
    And he'll see himself a pauper
By and by.
  We must reap of what we sow, it is said:
  Are you sowing to the flesh, O maid? Elizabeth Rosser.

"The Man That Died For Me"

For many years I wanted to go as a foreign missionary, but my way seemed hedged about. At last I went to live in California. Life was rough in the mining country where I lived, with my husband and little boys.

While there I heard of a man who lived over the hills and was dying of consumption. The men said: "He is so vile that no one can stay with him; so we place some food near him, and leave him for twenty-four hours. We will find him dead sometime, and the sooner the better. Never had a relative, I guess."

This pitiful story haunted me as I went about my work. For three days I tried to get some one to go to see him and find out if he was in need of better care. As I turned from the last man, vexed with his indifference, the thought came to me: "Why not go yourself? Here is missionary work, if you want it."

I will not tell how I weighed the probable uselessness of my going, nor how
I shrank from one so vile as he. It was not the kind of work I wanted.

But at last one day I went over the hills to the little abode. It was a mud cabin, containing but one room. The door stood open. In one corner, on some straw and colored blankets, I found the dying man. Sin had left awful marks on his face, and if I had not heard that he could not move, I should have retreated. As my shadow fell over the floor, he looked up and greeted me with an oath. I stepped forward a little, and again he swore.

"Don't speak so, my friend," I said.

"I ain't your friend. I ain't got any friends," he said.

"Well, I am your friend, and—"

But the oaths came quickly, and he said: "You ain't my friend. I never had any friends, and I don't want any now."

I reached out, at arm's length, the fruit I had brought for him, and stepping back to the doorway, asked if he remembered his mother, hoping to find a tender place in his heart; but he cursed her. I spoke of God, and he cursed him. I tried to speak of Jesus and his death for us, but he stopped me with his oaths, and said: "That's all a lie. Nobody ever died for others."

I went away discouraged, saying to myself that I knew it was of no use. But the next day I went again, and every day for two weeks. He did not show the gratitude of a dog, and at the end of that time I said that I was not going any more. That night as I was putting my little boy to bed, I did not pray for the miner. My little boy noticed it and said:—

"Mama, you did not pray for the bad man."

"No," I answered, with a sigh.

"Have you given him up, mama?"

"Yes, I guess so."

"Has God given him up, mama? Ought you to give him up till God does?"

I could not sleep that night. I thought of the dying man, so vile, and with no one to care! I rose and went away by myself to pray; but the moment that I knelt, I was overpowered by the sense of how little meaning there had been to my prayers. I had had no faith, and I had not really cared, beyond a kind of half-hearted sentiment. I had not claimed his soul for God. O, the shame of such missionary zeal! I fell on my face literally, as I cried, "O Christ, give me a little glimpse of the worth of a human soul!" Did you, Christian, ever ask that and mean it? Do not do it unless you are willing to give up ease and selfish pleasure; for life will be a different thing to you after this revelation.

I remained on my knees until Calvary became a reality to me. I cannot describe those hours. They came and went unheeded; but I learned that night what I had never known before, what it was to travail for a human soul. I saw my Lord as I had never seen him before. I knelt there till the answer came.

As I went back to my room, my husband said:—

"How about your miner?"

"He is going to be saved."

"How are you going to do it? he asked.

"The Lord is going to save him; and I do not know that I shall do anything about it," I replied.

The next morning brought a lesson in Christian work which I had never learned before. I had waited on other days until afternoon, when, my work being over, I could change my dress, put on my gloves, and take a walk while the shadows were on the hillsides. That day, the moment my little boys went to school, I left my work, and, without waiting for gloves or shadows, hurried over the hills, not to see "that vile wretch," but to win a soul. I thought the man might die.

As I passed on, a neighbor came out of her cabin, and said, "I will go over the hills with you."

I did not want her to go, but it was another lesson for me. God could plan better than I could. She had her little girl with her, and as we reached the cabin, she said, "I will wait out here."

I do not know what I expected, but the man greeted me with an awful oath. Still it did not hurt; for I was behind Christ, and I stayed there; and I could bear what struck him first.

While I was changing the basin of water and towel for him, things which I had done every day, but which he had never thanked me for, the clear laugh of the little girl rang out upon the air.

"What's that?" said the man eagerly.

"It's a little girl outside waiting for me."

"Would you mind letting her come in?" said he, in a different tone from any
I had heard before.

Stepping to the door, I beckoned to her; then, taking her hand, said, "Come in and see the sick man, Mamie." She shrank back as she saw his face, but I assured her with, "Poor sick man! He can't get up; he wants to see you."

She looked like an angel, her bright face framed in golden curls and her eyes tender and pitiful. In her hands she held the flowers that she had picked from the purple sage, and, bending toward him, she said: "I'm sorry for 'ou, sick man. Will 'ou have a posy?"

He laid his great, bony hand beyond the flowers, on the plump hand of the child, and tears came to his eyes, as he said: "I had a little girl once. Her name was Mamie. She cared for me. Nobody else did. Guess I'd been different if she'd lived. I've hated everybody since she died."

I knew at once that I had the key to the man's heart. The thought came quickly, born of that midnight prayer service, and I said, "When I spoke of your mother and your wife, you cursed them; I know now that they were not good women, or you could not have done it."

"Good women! O, you don't know nothin' 'bout that kind of woman! You can't think what they was!"

"Well, if your little girl had lived and grown up with them, wouldn't she have been like them? Would you have liked to have her live for that?"

He evidently had never thought of that, and his great eyes looked off for a full minute. As they came back to mine, he cried: "O God, no! I'd killed her first. I'm glad she died."

Reaching out and taking the poor hand, I said, "The dear Lord didn't want her to be like them. He loved her even better than you did, so he took her away. He is keeping her for you. Don't you want to see her again?"

"O, I'd be willing to be burned alive a thousand times over if I could just see my little girl once more, my little Mamie!"

O friends, you know what a blessed story I had to tell that hour, and I had been so close to Calvary that night that I could tell it in earnest! The poor face grew ashy pale as I talked, and the man threw up his arms as if his agony was mastering him. Two or three times he gasped, as if losing his breath. Then, clutching me, he said, "What's that you said t'other day 'bout talkin' to some one out o' sight?"

"It is praying. I tell Him what I want."

"Pray now, quick. Tell him I want my little girl again. Tell him anything you want to."

I took the hands of the child, and placed them on the trembling hands of the man. Then, dropping on my knees, with the child in front of me, I bade her pray for the man who had lost his little Mamie, and wanted to see her again. As nearly as I remember, this was Mamie's prayer:—

"Dear Jesus, this man is sick. He has lost his little girl, and he feels bad about it. I'm so sorry for him, and he's sorry, too. Won't you help him, and show him how to find his little girl? Do, please. Amen."

Heaven seemed to open before us, and there stood One with the prints of the nails in his hands and the wound in his side.

Mamie slipped away soon, and the man kept saying: "Tell him more about it. Tell him everything. But, O, you don't know!" Then he poured out such a torrent of confession that I could not have borne it but for One who was close to us at that hour.

By and by the poor man grasped the strong hand. It was the third day when the poor, tired soul turned from everything to him, the Mighty to save, "the Man that died for me." He lived on for weeks, as if God would show how real was the change. I had been telling him one day about a meeting, when he said, "I'd like to go to a meetin' once."

So we planned a meeting, and the men from the mills and the mines came and filled the room.

"Now, boys," said he, "get down on your knees, while she tells about that
Man that died for me."

I had been brought up to believe that a woman should not speak in meeting, but I found myself talking, and I tried to tell the simple story of the cross. After a while he said:—

"Boys, you don't half believe it, or you'd cry; you couldn't help it. Raise me up. I'd like to tell it once."

So they raised him up, and, between his short breathing and coughing, he told the story. He had to use the language he knew.

"Boys," he said, "you know how the water runs down the sluice-boxes and carries off the dirt and leaves the gold behind. Well, the blood of that Man she tells about went right over me just like that. It carried off about everything; but it left enough for me to see Mamie, and to see the Man that died for me. O boys, can't you love him?"

Some days after, there came a look into his face which told that the end had come. I had to leave him, and I said, "What shall I say tonight, Jack?"

"Just good night," he said.

"What will you say to me when we meet again?"

"I'll say, 'Good morning,' over there."

The next morning the door was closed, and I found two men sitting silently by a board stretched across two stools. They turned back the sheet from the dead, and I looked on the face, which seemed to have come back nearer to the image of God.

"I wish you could have seen him when he went," they said.

"Tell me about it."

"Well, all at once he brightened up, 'bout midnight, an' smilin', said: 'I'm goin', boys. Tell her I'm going to see the Man that died for me;' an' he was gone."

Kneeling there with my hands over those poor, cold ones, which had been stained with human blood, I asked that I might understand more and more the worth of a human soul, and be drawn into a deeper sympathy with Christ's yearning compassion, "not willing that any should perish."—Mrs. J. K. Barney.

How Wonderful!

    He answered all my prayer abundantly,
  And crowned the work that to his feet I brought,
  With blessing more than I had asked or thought,—
  A blessing undisguised, and fair, and free.
  I stood amazed, and whispered, "Can it be
  That he hath granted all the boon I sought?
  How wonderful that he for me hath wrought!
  How wonderful that he hath answered me!"
  O faithless heart! He said that he would hear
  And answer thy poor prayer, and he hath heard
  And proved his promise. Wherefore didst thou fear?
  Why marvel that thy Lord hath kept his word?
  More wonderful if he should fail to bless
  Expectant faith and prayer with good success! —F. R. Havergal.

Our Grass Rug and—Other Things

Our house isn't so very nice. We own it, of course, and that is a great deal, as mother has often reminded us when we grumbled. But we girls always thought there were some drawbacks even to that, because we couldn't ask a landlord for new paper or fresh paint, and as for us—we never had money to spare for such superfluities.

There are only four of us,—mother and Jack, Rose and me. We children have been busy all our lives trying to get educated, so we could keep mother in luxury after a while. In the meantime, she had done with bare necessities, for the life-insurance father left wasn't large enough to take any liberty with. Mother has things spick and span. No palace could be more beautifully kept than our home, but the furnishing is nothing whatever to boast of.

Our room was almost the worst of all, with its odds and ends of things. "Other girls have silver-backed hair-brushes!" wailed Rose one night, regarding her old one with a scornful glance.

"Yes, and chairs that don't tip one over," I added, as I managed to save myself from a fall.

"Isn't it horrid to be poor, Meta?" said Rose.

"It's no joke." I was very grim because I had bruised my hand on the rickety chair, and tomorrow was music-lesson day, as I remembered.

It was then and there we rebelled. Not so mother could hear us—we weren't mean enough for that! She'd have been only too glad to help matters if she could. So we had our indignation meeting by our two selves. We said we'd had enough of old furniture and cheap sash curtains, and we decided it was time to act.

Having reached this decision, we proceeded to carry it out, and we surprised ourselves with the speed of our achievements. My hope lay in music, Rose's in arithmetic. I trailed around the neighborhood, next day, looking for scholars, and Rose betook herself straight down to the Cowans, who had been hunting for a "coach" for their twins. We had discussed the Cowan possibility some time before, but Rose declared then that she couldn't spare a minute from the demands of her studies, while I knew it would keep me busy to be graduated on schedule time without doing anything outside.

It makes a difference when you get interested in something for yourself. As soon as ever we girls viewed these occupations in the light of furnishings for our room, we felt sure we could squeeze them in—and we did. I got six beginners, and Rose captured the Cowans, root and branch—four instead of two; for it seemed they were not proficient in mathematical pursuits, and their mother was delighted to get them off her distracted hands. All our friends know that Rose adores sums and problems, and she didn't need any other recommendation.

Well, we did it! It wasn't easy, either. If my half-dozen aspirants for fame escaped shaking till their teeth chattered, it wasn't because I didn't ache to administer it. And Rose feared her hair would be white before the end of the term. You see, when there's a certain amount of housework you feel obliged to do, and when your studies fairly clamor for attention the rest of the time, it sets your nerves all awry to keep the tempo for clumsy fingers that go just half as fast as they should; or to teach over and over again that four times five are always twenty.

But I suppose all these trials helped us to appreciate our possessions when we did get them. They were just as sweet and dainty as we had hoped. We got two single beds—white enamel with brass trimmings—and a pretty mirror in a neat frame. Our old dressing-table looked like new with fresh drapery, and there were full-length curtains to match. Two cunning white rockers, two other chairs, and a little round stand made us feel simply blissful. We painted our book-shelves with white enamel paint, and did our woodwork ourselves. Jack painted the floor a soft gray that would blend with anything, and after it was dry we laid on it one of our chief treasures. It was a grass rug, in two shades of green, with a stenciled border and a general air of elegance that almost overpowered us. It was large enough almost to cover the floor, and we stenciled green borders on our curtains and drapery in the same Grecian pattern.

It seemed too good to be true as we stood in the door and viewed the landscape o'er after we had it done. "It isn't often that our dreams come true!" sighed Rose.

"But this one has," I assured her.

She nodded happily. "Yes, and it's just as nice as we thought it would be!"

"Won't it do our hearts good to 'give notice,' as the cooks say?"

"I can hardly wait to tell those awful Cowans that they may get along as best they can. I'm so tired of them, Meta!"

"I know you are. I wouldn't mind the music so much if I had time. But it's dreadful when your own studies drag like millstones about your neck. I'm not clever at learning as you are, Rose. I have to work for what I get. So I shall tell them, next Tuesday, that I've decided not to teach any more till school's out."

Jack stopped on his way down the hall to look over our shoulders. "Huh!" he said, if you know what that means.

"Doesn't it look lovely?" asked Rose, her face all full of dimples. Rose is as pretty as a picture, anyway, and when she smiles, you can't help smiling back. Jack patted her cheek, and said, "It certainly does," and then he passed on abruptly.

"Something doesn't suit him!" I declared as he shut his room door behind him. "I can't imagine what it is, and it's of no earthly use to ask him." It wouldn't have been. You can't worm a thing out of that boy till he gets ready to tell.

Mother came up the stairs just then waving a note in her hand. "It's from Helen Hunt!" she announced joyfully. "She is going to spend a day and a night with us next week on her way to Grovesport. I shall be so glad to see her." Mrs. Hunt and mother have been friends more years than Rose and I have lived, and they very seldom meet any more. So we girls were almost as glad as mother was, because that dear woman doesn't have as many pleasures, as she deserves.

After we went to bed that night, we planned the surprise. The visitor should have our lovely new nest, and we'd go and camp in the shabby old guest-room. We knew it would please mother, for she hadn't had so pretty a place to entertain Mrs. Hunt in for many years. It did please her, too, so much that she almost cried, and she hugged us and thanked us till we felt very happy and self-satisfied. Jack was standing by, and he said "Huh!" again, in that same queer tone. Then mother turned and hugged him, and Rose and I said to each other how strange it was that Jack should be jealous of his own sisters.

It shone the day she came—the room, I mean, though the sun was on duty. too. Mother went to the station to meet her, and, as she started out, she called back, "Children, if any of you have occasion to go into my room while I'm gone, be sure to shut the door when you come out!"

We answered "All right!" all three at once, and then Rose said, "How funny!
What do you suppose made her tell us to do that?"

"I can't imagine," I replied, and then Jack smiled. If it had been anybody but our jolly old Jack, I'd have said his smile was sarcastic; but no one ever accused that boy of anything so ill-natured. Then he said in a quiet, even voice: "It doesn't take a Solon to see through that. She wants to make sure that Mrs. Hunt doesn't see the contrast between her room and the one across the hall. She might not understand—or approve."

And with that he took his cap and went out.

Stunned? I guess we were! Rose and I stared at each other as if we'd seen a ghost. Then we put our arms around each other and went up-stairs without a word. It was mother's door we opened, and we stood there and gazed as if we'd never seen that room before. She had been darning her carpet again. We could see the careful stitches and the frayed edges her art couldn't quite conceal. "She has polished her furniture, too! See how it shines, Meta. She tried to make it look its best." Rose's voice was mournful, so I tried to speak up cheerfully.

"To be sure she did, and succeeded!" Then we turned, and both of us choked back a sob at what we saw. She had taken our discarded dressing-table drapery, cut out the best portions, ruffled it daintily, pressed it neatly, and put it on her own bureau. Our worn-out sash curtains, nicely laundered, veiled her book-rack.

"Meta, our mother—our precious jewel of a mother! We've taken everything for ourselves and left her the rags!"

Rose had her head on my shoulder, and by that time I was crying as hard as she was.

"No wonder Jack was dissatisfied!" I sobbed. "Rose, why didn't he tell us?"

"O Meta, why did we need telling? That's what breaks my heart. Even our rickety chair fixed up and set back in the shadow! O, I can't stand it!"

"We've got to!" I stiffened up grimly. "We've got to stand it, and it serves us right. But we'll make it up to her as soon as Mrs. Hunt is gone!"

"Yes, if we can live till then!"

"I think we'll manage to. Mortification won't kill us in twenty-four hours. We'll make her sleep in there tonight, and they can have one cozy visit in suitable quarters. Monsters!"

Rose didn't resent the epithet. She knew it was appropriate.

We did some thinking that night. I never felt so utterly insignificant in my life. We realized at last that there are other ways to show love than letting its object do all the sacrificing, all the giving and enduring, while the one who bestows it revels in selfishness. We didn't say anything then, but mother wasn't allowed to touch that supper, only the portion of it that filled her own plate, and she didn't wash a dish after it, either! If Rose and I sat over our books an hour after our usual bedtime, in consequence, it hurt no one but ourselves, and we deserved it.

They had a lovely time together. We could hear their soft voices rise and fall, with once in a while a ripple of laughter, till we dropped off to sleep. The next night, mother went back to her own room. We didn't say a word to prevent it, though it hurt us to think of our old duds in there for mother to use.

Next day the early morning post brought a note from Mrs. Hall, an old neighbor, urging mother to meet her down-town at ten o'clock. There was some important shopping on hand, and mother's advice was indispensable. The dear thing didn't suspect that her daughters had frantically besought Mrs. Hall the day before to concoct some scheme that would clear the coast at home. "All day, Mrs. Hall!" we pleaded. "We've planned a surprise for her, and it will take a good while to arrange it."

Mother didn't see how she could be spared to go, but we assured her that since we'd be at home, she wasn't needed at all. If this struck her as a most unusual state of affairs, she was too polite to say so, and, true to her habit of helpfulness, she dressed and went to Mrs. Hall's rescue.

We didn't waste any time, I assure you. We couldn't paint her floor then, but Jack stained it around the edges where it wouldn't have to be walked on, and the grass rug covered the rest. We burned the made-over rags. It did our hearts good to see them crisp and turn to ashes.

Into the attic went the ugly old things, and across the hall came the pretty new ones,—curtains, dressing-table, chairs, every single dainty belonging, even the drapery from our book-shelves. Teddy Ward came in and helped carry things, and Jack worked like a beaver. He didn't need any urging, either. If ever a boy's face shone like a full moon, Jack's did that happy day, though he stopped at least a dozen times to hug his sisters. "What a beast I was to think you could be as selfish as all that!" he exclaimed once, "I ought to have known better!"

"But we were just that selfish, Jacky," we told him. We didn't mean to sail under false colors. "We'd never have thought, if it hadn't been for you."

"Yes, you would. The first jolt would have waked you up. Lend a hand here,
Meta!"

It was done at last, all cozy and fresh. Rose stopped in the door. "It looks like mother," she said, and her voice was husky. "It's pure and sweet like her!"

"The other one looks pretty forlorn, girls. What are you going to do about it?" Jack had a hand on our shoulders as he spoke, and we felt his sympathy.

"Do?" we chirped up as brisk as millionaires. "Why, furnish it, of course."

"We have one bed to start on," Rose reminded him. "That's a big help, and the floor and woodwork are still painted. How are we to do it? Lessons, to be sure. Cowans and scales!"

"Thought you wanted to quit." Our brother looked troubled, for all his satisfaction.

"My son, we have changed our minds. Our most ardent desire now is to keep on," I told him. Rose smiled drolly. "I am seriously considering refurnishing the entire domicile," she remarked. "The Cowans are good for the next twenty years, judging from their present attainments, and it's fine practice for me!"

We didn't give mother a hint till after supper. It was hard to wait, but we made ourselves do it so everything would come about quite naturally. She took her bonnet and wrap up to put them away, and we three tagged, as softly as if we had pads on our feet, like cats. She opened her door and gave one bewildered glance, then she turned and saw us. "It's yours, Lovey, every bit!" we told her.

"Darlings, I couldn't!" she said. "Your hard work—your dear new treasures! I couldn't permit such a sacrifice, my darlings!" We just would not cry, though the lumps in our throats made our voices sound as if they belonged to some other family.

"They aren't our new treasures, they're yours."

"Who has been making sacrifices all our lives?"

"We love you so—you couldn't hurt us by refusing, Lovey!"

"There is no question of refusing." Rose spoke with great emphasis. "This room is hers, once for all, and there is no more to be said about it."

We tucked her into her pretty white bed that night, and we kissed the dear face on the ruffled pillow. Jack came in for his good night, too, and we all stood looking down at her, so happy we couldn't talk. She lifted her arms—those arms that had worked so hard for us—and gathered the three of us to her at once. "My darlings!" was all she said, and we crept out softly, knowing we had received her benediction.

Yes, we are getting our second collection of furniture into shape slowly but surely. But we have learned that there are more precious things to be had in homes than beds and chairs, or even green grass rugs. We have them—the precious things—so, now that mother's room is accomplished, we can wait very happily for the beds and chairs—Rose, and Jack, and I.—Elisabeth Price, in St. Nicholas,

* * * * *

  "The tender words unspoken,
    The letters never sent,
  The long-forgotten messages,
    The wealth of love unspent,—
  For these some hearts are breaking,
    For these some loved ones wait;
  Show them that you care for them
    Before it is too late."

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