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away; certain it is that she was ready in ten minutes, and that she even
CHAPTER II. heard without remonstrance the order The room was almost destitute of gifen to Robert to occupy the seat furniture, and the pale light of u beside the driver, and see that they solitary candle fell upon two womeu were taken by the shortest route to a at work beside a bed in which a chill court in H---- Road, six miles dis slept heavily. A stillness like that of tant.
death was in the place, and for a Evangeline said little as they drove moment Rebecca almost feared that through the busy streets, and watched they had come too late. the groups collected at shop win
"He takes no food, ma'am," exdows decked with evergreens, or plained the mother after a while ; marked how humble families came for I have nothing fit to give him, all together to make purchases for
and half the time he lies in a sort of to-morrow. She liked to think that stupor." thousands were rejoicing in the glad They stood at a little distance until Christmas festival, and she asked God he woke, and then Evangeline, going to bless them every one. Rebecca near, said was silent, too, for she held the large “Willie !” market basket which the cook, by The boy looked up and smiled, but Miss Herbert's orders, had filled with
did not speak. strengthening food; and quiet tears “I have come a long way to see of joy fell on it all the way. Mrs. Bond you, Willie,” said Evangeline, “and I talked sometimes, not pleasantly. have brought some jelly to strengthen The blankets and bed-linen which
you.” lay piled in the opposite corner of
The little face flushed and paled, the vehicle, had been drawn with the and the large eyes brightened. “I utmost reluctance from her store, and think you love me, then,” said Willie, she was harassed by doubts in regard
“ but I don't know you." to the propriety of suggesting that
“ You will when I have nursed you before her aunt's return Miss Herbert
a little,” said the lady. should replace them.
He glanced at her rich attire, and They reached their destination, and shook his head. “The rich don't found it even a poorer place than nurse the poor now-do they, mothey had expected. As Rebecca led ther?” the way through an ill-lighted passage There was no verbal answer, for at to a court in which a group of half
that moment Miss Herbert produced intoxicated men disputed noisily, 1 a jelly in the shape of a castle, of Evangeline almost unconsciously drew which a dozen teaspoonsful sufficed nearer to Mrs. Bond. It was a strange
to put what Rebecca called “new contrast, that court, to the room in
life” into little Willie, and made him which she had imagined, an hour be
strong enough to notice how not only fore, that she possessed few temporal tea and sugar, but biscuits, milkcomforts. At every step she took upon bread, chickens, and even a plumthe broken stair which led to Re pudding for his mother, came out of becca's home, the voice of conscience the wonderful basket. By Robert's spoke reprovingly of past content assistance, fuel was procured, and a ment with some ten or twelve sub fire lighted in the broken grate, while scriptions to benevolent societies, and
Miss Herbert showed Rebecca and her Christmas gifts to the servants of her sister how to change bed linen withuncle's household, while thousands out wearying the patient, and with of the deserving poor around were her own hands smoothed the old "destitute of daily food.” She entered patchwork counterpane above the the sick boy's room with earnest
blankets which the housekeeper had prayer that God would help her in been so ill-pleased to spare. future to live more nobly, “to go A neighbouring clock struck nine as about doing good.”
these arrangements were completed, but Evangeline could not leave the sick child without reading to him of Jesus. Poor Willie knew very little of the Saviour. The only person who
had ever come to tell him about reli. The clocks were striking ten as, in
As she rose up, a visitor came in. | dear; be assured of that."
him.” paid an annual subscription.
They knelt, as was their wont, to “I have not seen your brother for pray for their beloved one; and as many days,” she heard him say to they did so, heard his step upon the Rebecca, at the door; “for my house, stair. nay, all I have, has been destroyed “Papa !” cried Florence, rising, by fire, and our lodging is five miles " Papa, and a lady with him!” hence : but hearing that he was The child was right. Mr. Vernon worse, I came to-night in spite of --for it was he-had accepted Miss difficulties, to read and pray with Herbert's offer of a seat in her him.”
vehicle, and she had begged an introAs he said this Evangeline rose and duction to his wifc. bowed. “I have been trying to bring Christmas here,” she said, in answer Eleven ; and Evangeline sat onre to the look of pleased surprise with more in her aunt's drawing-room, but which her salutation was returned. this time not alone. The table, laid “Rebecca is my maid, and I have for supper, had been drawn towards come to see her brother.”
the fire, and beside it sat the home“Yes, Mr. Vernon," said Willie, less minister, his wife, and their little eagerly, “and I have had castle and child. They were to spend the next chicken, and what they call milk- | three days beneath that roof, and bread, and blankets, and sheets, and gladden their hostess by a refined pillow-cases, and an air-cushion and dignified but ever-grateful en. brought to me; and mother is to joyment of her hospitality; and in have beef and Christmas pudding to ali London, on that Christmas Eve, morrow, and I am to go into the there was not a happier heart than country in the spring, if God will that of Evangeline Herbert, for she please to make me better; and see had begun to walk more closely green fields-only think!"
in the steps of him who came, “not The shadow passed from Mr. Ver to be ministered unto, but to non's face. In presence of such joy, minister"; and she had discovered and with such proof of God's rich that while, God helping us, we live love and care, he could not be un to cheer hearts yet more tried and happy.
tempted, it is impossible, even in regard to earth, to be alone.
A STORY ABOUT JOHN LAKE.
the circumstances and character of
this humble disciple. With one voice AYY the church had chosen him to fill the y e års office of deacon; and many who hear: a go, a him pray felt that only the Spirit of consi. God could have schooled the heart derable and the tongue of that eloquent
time be pleader in the village sanctuary. Sfore the The winter of 18 - was one of railway most unusual severity. Through many
tunnel successive weeks the frost bound the was cut through the earth in its icy fetters. Almost all hill on which it is kinds of outiloor work had eptirely built, the village of 1 ceased ; and most severe and proLangton was justly longed were the sufferings of the regarded as one of the agricultural class at Langton. John most beautiful spots and his wife found it hard indeed to ) in not the least fertile “ provide things honest in the sight
of the midland coun: | of all men.” Through all that dark ties of England. And so it was, as season, however, he was helped to od is it lay there bathed in the soft light pray, “Give us day by day our daily
of a clear morning in early summer bread;" and the prayer was ever antime. The thatched cottages peeping swered. Many a time had help como out from amongst the trees; the blue from the Smiths at Cotwar Farm, smoke seen in strong relief against kindly sent “to assist the children the sky; the rich fragrance of the through the winter.” newly-mown fields and cottage flow It was on one of the darkest ers; the tall, richly ornamented spire mornings of that trying winter that of the village church that was seen Mr. Chambers, the village pastor, en. first and parted with last; it was in tered John Lake's cottage. The condeed worthy of all the praise which versation which took place will at
was bestowed upon it by the loqua once explain his errand. “I have de cious coachman of past days as he called, John, about your eldest boy,
reined in his horses, “That's what I George. You recollect you told me call one of the prettiest villages in | you would like him to be doing some. the kingdom.”
thing soon, and you said you thought At the foot of the hill, not far he would rather leave home. I re. from where the railway-station now ceived a note yesterday from the Mr. stands, John Lake's cottage stood. Franklin I told you about; he is With the exception of “The Bell,” quite willing to give George a trial, it was the first house in the village as and would be glad to receive him by you entered it on the eastern side. the beginping of the year.” John Lake's position in life was a The hearts of John Lake and his very humble one, that of a farm wife were too full to speak. Mr. labourer. Yet from his dress, speech, Chambers knew their thoughts quite and especially his manly hearing, he as well as if they had expressed might have been supposed a member them ; so it was that, uttering a few of a much higher class in society. In words of sympathy, he took his his case it had been strikingly seen leave. So the hour had come at that “Godliness hath the promise of last! The hour when this humble this life.” Feeling very early in life but loving couple must part with the power of the Gospel as it was their firstborn son! If George had simply and earnestly proclaimed from been going to Australia, greater exthe pulpit of the Baptist village citement could scarcely have prevailed meeting-house, all who knew him in the little world of Langton. It were struck with the changes which was long before the railway had made the religion of Jesus had produced in the journey to London so easy; and
not many of the villagers had ever you must not take on. I'se see many
him from the country. His counte.
said Mr. Franklin as soon as he saw
him ; and most men would have said Perhaps, reader, you never travelled the same. Religious, in the sense of in a wagon. Indeed, it is quite possible haviog felt his sinfulness, and of you may never have seen one of trusting in the atonement of Jesus, those humble, primitive conveyances. he was not; religious, to the extent First, second, or third class, you of feeling very powerfully the motives have been hurried all over England : of Christianity, he certainly was. but you have never travelled in a John Lake and Mr. Chambers agreed wagon. No; you must have been that their only hope was in God; for in somewhat humble circumstances, only decided piety can be trusted and have lived many years ago, in amid the rude encounters of worldly order to have known the advantages life. or disadvantages of this kind of con At last the waggon reached its des. veyance. Eight thick-hoofed horses, tination. The inn at which it stopped bells jingling on their harness; a was some distance from Mr. Frankgreat, heavy, lumbering cart, care. | lin's house ; but just as George was fully covered from the wet or cold ; | beginning to wonder how he should the luggage in front and the passen get there, he was relieved from all gers behind ; moving along at the anxiety by a youth about his own safe speed of four miles an hour, with | age who appeared at his side. a stoppage every ten : such was the “Your name is George Lake, isn't conveyance in which George Lake it? I thought so. How late you went to London from the village of are! This is your box. It don't Langton many years ago. But a very seem very heavy. Come along, keep scanty breakfast was eaten; all the close behind, and I will show you the provision that it would contain had way.” been pressed into a small basket; a I'he large house was soon reached, mother's warm kiss had been felt on | and the welcome, such as is usual a tear-wetted face, when the music of under such circumstances, soon given, the horses' bells was heard along the and George began to play his humble road. “Good bye, George ; never | part on the busy stage of London. · forget that God sees you. Look up It seemed for awhile that the hopes to him, my lad. Don't forget to write of home would be fully and speedily a line soon, and say how you get realised. For, though three years
had passed swiftly away, and each Get right in at the back, my lad, Christmas George had been a wel. there's plenty of straw ; it's terrible come guest at his cottage home, cold, and maybe you'll go to sleep. eyes, that looked deeply, failed to Sending boy away to London? Well, discover any departure from "the
right he from the pe
As the ti
old paths." He had the full confi- , been taken, and aided by one deeper dence of his employer, and though the in transgression than himself, he change had not transpired for which soon became like the many around fond friends ardently prayed, re. him. Prayer ceased, the Sabbathligion still seemed to exert a power day became worse than other days, ful influence upon him. A state of his letters home became fewer and spiritual indecision is, however, a state colder, till at last there was a great of spiritual danger,
gulf between the praying, holy ones at Langton and their first-born son.
There were only three letters in the
bag which the guard of the coach CHAPTER III.
threw down at “The Bell,” not
many days before the time that The fog was very dense. So dense George was expected home on his that you could scarcely see the many fourth visit. John Lake was there, oil lamps that pointed out the en: | waiting, as he had been some days trance of a London theatre. If it | before, for of late his heart had grown had not been for the torches light somewhat anxious ; but there was no ing the occupants of the old hack- | letter for him. One of the three ney-coaches which every now and 1 letters was for Mr. Chambers. It then arrived, the spot would scarcely was from Mr. Franklin ; and had you have been recognised as the scene of seen the tears roll down the old any unusual attraction, much less man's cheeks, you would have known could any have seen the forms of those that it had brought the saddest news who were passing rapidly into the to Langton. Poor John Lake's heart building. Near the door were two was broken, as he found himself youths engaged in earnest conversa obliged to believe that the boy of tion.
so many bright hopes and earnest “Come along, George, I know you prayers had robbed his employer, will like it well enough when you and, with his companion in the disget inside. It is so foolish to come honesty, had fled, baffling all attempts to the door and then go back.”
to discover them. The journey of “Well you know, Fred., I never the village pastor to London served cared much about it; it was only to but to fully confirm the sad contents please you that I ever said that I of the letter; and now there was no would come.”
hope but in God. Heavy affliction "Then come on, if it be only to had been to the cottage before, and please me. Come on, or we shall once death' had entered it; but no not get a seat."
such tears had ever been shed as Was it a voice borne on the night those which were occasioned by this air ? or was it merely the voice of dark calamity. Not often now was conscience? It seemed to George as John Lake's voice ever heard in the though some one by his side uttered village sanctuary, but it was heard aloud the well-known words, “My oftener than ever by Him whose son, if sinners entice thee, consent “ears are ever open,” praving for the thou not.” He turned as though he one who had journeyed into the far expected to see some one at his side country, and was spending his suh. who knew his thoughts.
stance with riotous living. “What's the matter, George? come, make haste, or I shall go on without you, and call you a foolish fellow into the bargain. Why, you know you
CHAPTER I . need not go again if you don't like it. Come on,"
It was on June 3rd, 18--, that Mr. And so George Lake went. To say Harris, the agent of a famous English that he enjoyed his first night at the firm of the time at Lisbon, having theatre, would be incorrect ; he was
been busy all day with the ware. glad when the performance was over. housing of a large cargo of goods And he went to bed, prayerless and which had just arrived, was on his miserable. But the sadness soon way homewards. . As he passed wore off, the first step in sin had lalong, he was attracted by a crowd