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shall receive thanks : his sacrifice of himself was made amidst scorn, blasphemy, cruelty. A few hours of enjoyment, at the most, and that to a
few scores of my fellow-mortals, will result from my offering: an eternity of betono bliss to millions will flow from his."
It was decided that on Christmas-day an entertainment, liberal and substantial, should be given to as many ragged, and destitute, and uncared-for children, as could be accommodated in the largest available room in the town. How his warmheartedness triumplied when the idea stood out clearly defined! What a glorious conception! Alice was called in and consulted. How eccentrically benevolent he was becoming! It was a mere impulse—a wild whim. And yet impulsireness was not amongst the traits
he was wont to exhibit. med “It will cost a great deal,” said Alice.
“Well, now, Alice, look here. How much more will it cost than taking is a long journey, which you advised ? or entertaining a score of my old friends go a week, which I at one time thought of doing--gentlemen who can well
enongh entertain themselves ? And just think of a couple of hundreds of
poor, starved, ragged urchins, sitting down to smoking puddings and 307 Christmas pies, and what not, in a warm room! Just think of their skinny s fingers clutching oranges and nuts, and forgetting, for a merry hour, the
cold, friendless world outside! Doesn't it give you an appetite to think of it? Wouldn't it fill you with bigla exultation of soul, if you could believe
that you had the power of couferring such enjoyment on children who feel het as you felt when a child ? Little things, some of whom will, perhaps, this
very blessed Christmas morn we hope to sce, lift their wan faces from
Mr. Hunt was true to his purpose. He provided a liberal feast, and
poverty furnished him with a host of delighted guests. We shall not enter les into a detailed description of it. It was held in a long room, up which
there stretched long tables, on which smoked, in captivating perspective, long rows of Christmas beef, and pies, and puddings, which upwards of two hundred and fifty children long, long remembered. Mr. Hunt was happy ; much happier than if he had been hiccoughing “Happy New Years” in some fashionable carouse, or brooding alone on the follies of Christmas, wrapped in the chilliness of an unsocial mood.
He had courteously requested the presence of a few ministers of religion at his feast for the poor and outcast. The cause moving him thereto had been a desire that wholesome counsel should be judiciously mingled with the rich repast ; seasonable and simple instructions blended with the evening's amusements. He remembered that the children's minds had needs as pressing as those of their bodies. He differed from those who will feed the famished child occasionally, but scorn to drop into the virgin soil of its heart the seeds of healthy religious truth. Only one gentleman, however, honoured the entertainment with his presence. He was the pastor of a “Dissenting Society" in the town. We will call him Hope-the Rev. Mr. Hope, although at times he looked more like Despair. He was aceom. F panied by two fair-skinned, but, in appearance, delicate boys, clad in neat and clean, but threadbare garments. And what was that something-that faniiliar something-playing about their sweet faces ? It was strange! How drawn toward them! A warm gush of tenderness welled up in his heart. He could have embraced them-wept over them. Perhaps, reader, you have felt something like this, on meeting with modest, quiet, timid children, who seemed cared-for, but who carried in their faces a con. sciousness, and in their dress an evidence, of fading respectability. How he 13 longed to speak to them!-to place a coin in their hand! Particularly after Mr. Hope's manly, sensible, warm-hearted address, through which there ran a vein of disguised sadness, and which seemed punctuated by partially concealed sighs. These, however, were soon lost sight of in the noise and hilarity that followed.
It was a noble success, that Christmas party; a grand verification of the old assurance, “ Blessed is he that considereth the poor." So thought Mr. Hunt's friends, when the children, flushed with excitement, panting from play, and freighted with dessert, crowded around their entertainer, and gave him such vociferous votes of thanks and cheers as had never rung within the building before. And didn't Mr. Hunt feel rewarded, as he sur. veyed the boisterous scene, and cast furtive glances at the faces of the mothers walling up the doorway, and pressing against the accessible window frames from without, and shouting with wild tearful gladness?
“But those boys with Mr. Hope," he sighed to himself, as slowly-be knew no fear now-he paced the stony lane leading to Winpley Hall. “ They didn't play. How spiritless; yet how sweet and gentle! Who are they ? And why, when I think of them, do my thoughts fly at once to that mound wbich covers the mortal part of one who threw a beauty, a freshness, a charm, over life, that I now look for in vain? I must know something more about them; I must seek out Mr. Hope."
CHAPTER III. The following morning he started off to do so. It was a ditficult task; for he made a dozen wrong turns, and explored half-a-dozen dirty courts, to the consternation of their sallow occupants, and brushed through as many dark passages, right up to as many blank walls, to the astonishment and delight of the neglected urchins hiding there like rats, some of whom had been his guests the preceding evening, before he confronted what a smiling mother in rags assured him was the residence of Mr. Hope. It was not a
large house, and was wholly without pretensions to affluence; yet he met a E... slouching figure, with a cadaverous face, coming from it, who solicited of
him alms, holding a shilling out on his dirty palm, and asking him if he ??* thought that enough for a parson to give to a man with six starving children
and a dying wife. Mr. Hunt, remembering that he had seen the same man be come staggering that very morning out of a beer-shop, deigned him neither 6 word nor coin, but passed on. He was followed by a smart volley of oaths,
with which were mixed some rather plain denunciations of himself and Mr.
That gentleman answered the door, and gave Mr. Hunt a quiet, modest de welcome, poorly disguising by his smile a look of mingled surprise and perEsct plexity. In watching the departure of the man, he had necessarily observed 5, the approach of his visitor. Allusion was made to him. Mr. Hunt was
sorry his friend had given him anything: adding, as his reason, that
he didn't doubt he was an impostor. Mention was made of the beer-shop. 21 Mr. Hope sighed heavily, as he pointed to a chair and bade his visitor be Dis seated. Poor man! The shilling he had given was a fifth part of all the
| money he then had in the house, and God knew he needed fifty times as But much. This fact was not disclosed then, however, to Mr. Hunt. 0 1 "He abused you! and yet three of his children were amongst those Esta entertained by you last night.”
"Indeed!” Mr. Hunt tamely replied. “Well, I hope I did right in
giring the poor things a meal. They're to be pitied who are shut up to is owning yon wretch for a father.”
"They are. But how careful one needs to be! How possible to exercise
charity indiscreetly!" The “Exercise charity indiscreetly!” Mr. Hunt rejoined. “ They never do 07* wrong, sir, who give a child a morsel,--at any rate in that act."
"No; but they act injudiciously who give a drunkard a shilling to carry ? to the tavern's till, when their own children-but no more of that at present.
Last night was a grand success, Mr. Hunt." op More was not said about it, but much was thought during the conversation. 5. Mr. Hunt surmised that his friend Hope was about to observe that his own
children needed the shilling. This was to him a harrowing thought,--à thought so disagreeable that he fenced with it, tried hard to drive it away.
"Surely," he said to himself,“ the man isn't in want. Surely, the thread. bare appearance of the boys last night was not a necessary circumstance.
Surely, the scantness in this room"-it was clean, airy, wholesome, and tastefully tidied, considering its resources—“it isn't owing to any lack of means. It must be choice. His people would see to that. They would never expect him-insist on him-being a middle-class man, without middle-class means. The man cannot have been giving away what his family want for necessaries. He's more sense than to do 80—too much aflection for his little ones. There must, therefore, be another solution."
No other solution, Mr. Hunt, as you happened afterwards to find out to your annoyance. Mr. Hope gave what his children's shivering limbs needed. Not because he lacked affection. Lacked affection! Did thoso tears----a lot, mysterious rain, to his lisping ones--that fell so often on their open, upturned faces, spring from a frozen region ? Were those sighs, that so frequently broke the stillness of their sleeping-room, as slowly he would pace it, the leavings of an unfeeling breast ? Those anxious discussions, having reference to the family's wants, that took place periodically in presence of the quarter's meagre offerings and the wife's perplexed and careworn countenance, were they born of a heart that loved not kindred and home? Not so. Mr. Hope gave from pity, and from-shall we call it an inferior motive? shall we condemn, censure ?—à regard to his public character. He knew that lie was expected to sympathise—he couldn't but sympathiso-with distress, and also to give towards its relief. He believed that unless he did so, he should be counted inconsistent by hasty judgments, and called so by hasty tongues. Iu other words—that he should lose his character. Do ye say, then, let it be lost, rather then do what is so inconvenient; than give that which is so much wanted at home? Lost! Then would the preacher, the pastor, be well-nigh lost. Character is much to bim; ah, how much! His children's bread-his sermons' power-his prayers' unction--his pastoral welcome. To maintain it, to prevent niisrepresentation, was therefore worth a life-struggle. And it was a lifestruggle ; but it was patiently maintained, for it appeared to be forced upon bim. From the idea of removing for a more liberal stipend he recoiled. It would be a distrusting of God; a stepping right out of the path into which he believed lie had been led by the Divine hand. From the thought of asking for any augmentation of his salary, he shrunk. Those who could spare more might not respond, and the poor working man hadn't it. He Lad quite enough to do at home. Then he might be called “a lover of filthy lucre." To lop off any of his expenses inight give offence, for his people supposed that he received what would enable him to appear respect. able-a credit to them. To turn to soine handicraft, in order to supplement bis income, was out of his power ; his position, duties, and stipulation with the Church, forbade it. There was nothing for it but to struggle on - for he durst not give up the pastorate. He was sure he had been calle to it. And he did struggle on; but a double reward was in the end his. Not in vain, brethren, shall ye crucify your interests and feelings, in the redemption of your fellows. One beholds your toil, and self-denial, and sorrows, whose resources, and ability, and faithfulness, are without fail.
deze "Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears : for thy work et de shall be rewarded, saith the Lord.” Tunc During the conversation, one of the boys he had met the preceding evening 18 entered the room, evidently not expecting to find company. He was it meagrely clad. There was the same look. Why should it call to his mind 4the green sods covering that sacred mound? Mr. Hunt was curious and
ne restless. He must know something more about the rer. gentleman's Boli household. So, in order to work himself into the relation of a friendly, anal, minut if possible, familiar and confidential, acquaintance, he dashed off suche La questions as-How are the children?_Had he a wife ?— What school did
be the boys attend ?-Did his people make him comfortable ?--and so on. but The questions that were not evaded were answered with reserve. et de Mr. Hunt had just mentally pronounced it his duty to depart, when the
door was unceremoniously pushed open by a child. It was, however, instantly snatched up by a female and borne away, notwithstanding some
rather loud screaming and energetic kicking. Mr. Hope left the room-his bet visitor surmised in obedience to some signal—and followed the captive e child. Mr. Hunt was glad to be left alone with the boy, whom he drew to
* his chair. They chatted. Somehow lie loved the lad, and made him a the present of some silver coins, not forgetting his little brothers and sisters. # That look again! How it beamed out as his tiny fingers jingled the money!
But how transient! How soon it melted away! It peeped out, as you le have seen the pale face of an afternoon moon look for an instant from a
momentary break in the broad acres of drifting cloud. No sooner did it appear than it disappeared.
It was beginning to render our friend Hunt very thoughtful, when Mr. Hope re-entered the room. Of course the lad displayed his riches; he was in transports, and bounded away to communicate his wild joy to others. But no joy, no gratitude, appeared in the father's face; indeed, he didn't notice the boy's treasures. He had become abstracted, cold. His speech was stricken with hesitancy ; his manner with restlessness. The meshes of embarrassment had been thrown about him. He tumbled in his behaviour, rather than moved with his wonted self-possession and good-breeding. Mr. Hunt, therefore, rose to depart, hoping, however, that his friend would constrain him to remain. No! The way was clear; go he might, and, of course, go he must.
CHAPTER IV. He carried that morning up that stony lane a weight heavier than the carpet-bag with which he was struggling when we first introduced the reader to him, and pondered questions that moved him more than the sight of the young men with whom, in his ignorance, he expected to have desperately to wrestle. It was a deep well of mystery, but he would either sound the bottom or drown. He was in it, or about it, most of the night, withont, however, the least success