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AND FRIEND OF THE SONS OF TOIL
Published for the Editor by S. W. PARTRIDGE, at the Office of the “British Workman,” JSTo. 9, Paternoster Row, London.
[Price One Penny.
THE MARRIAGE FESTIVAL
THE USAGES OF WORKSHOPS.
James Backhouse, Esq., the well-known African and Australian traveller, stated on his return to England some years ago, that during his sojourn in Van Dieman’s Land he conversed with several hundreds of convicts, and was surprised to find that a very large proportion of those poor fellows, who have been transported from their native land, referred to the “fines and footings” of English workshops as the first steps in their ruin.
This and other testimonies stimulated the untiring Scotch Philanthropist, John Dunlop, Esq., in his important investigations in the manufacturing districts, and resulted in one of the most surprising compilations we have ever read. The perusal of Mr. Dunlop’s extraordinary book on the drinking customs of various trades, the fines, the footings, and the wettings, excites the deepest surprise; not at there being so much intemperance amongst the working classes, but that any apprentice who has had to pass such a fiery ordeal has escaped being burnt.
We rejoice to state that in many parts of the country, and particularly in Yorkshire, both men and masters are heartily uniting in breaking up these injurious drinking customs; adopting in lieu thereof, new and more rational workshop usages.
We have just been informed of a manufactory in Barnsley, where for many years the new apprentices have had to furnish drink as their “footing,” (a course which has not only inflicted evils upon the workmen themselves, but has been in many cases a cruel tax upon the poor parents of the apprentices,) where now the drinking has been abolished, and the hands, by subscribing a trifle from each workroom, purchase a box of tools for the new comer. An example worthy of imitation.
At the brass and iron works of Messrs. Guest and Chrimes, Rotherham, when a workman gets married, a subscription is made through the works, to which the firm contribute, for the purchase of some useful articles of furniture, to be presented to the newly married couple. A tea meeting is held, at which the employers, the workmen and their wives, and the apprentices employee at the works are present. After the removal of tea tables, the festive occasion is enlivened by the singing of pieces of music by the singing class, performances on the pianoforte, harmonicon, accordion, &c., with recitations and occasional addresses. About the middle of the entertainment the articles of furniture are presented in due form to the young couple.
On Saturday evening, November 3rd, 1855, the sixth festival of the kind, during that year, was held in the large room of the Mechanics’ Institute, when about 200 sat down to a plentiful repast, after which, the usual course of music, &c., as set forth on a printed programme, ensued.
About nine o’clock the articles of furniture, consisting of a clock and mahogany dining table, were presented to the young married couple by Mr. Guest, who, as spokesman for the workpeople delivered the following short address. “I have once more the great satisfaction of being the mouthpiece of your fellow workmen and their wives in presenting you with the articles of furniture now before you, as a testimony of their good w’ll and kind feeling towards you at the outset of your married life. I cannot but congratulate you both, on what seems to me the favourable circumstances under which your married life commences. Under other circumstances, and in other places, you, the husband, might on your marriage being made known to your fellow workmen, have been coerced by them into parting with the greater part of your week’s wages to be spent in a drunken spree, ending perhaps in a bloody broil, which might have sent you home to your young wife an object almost of loathing, instead of fond expectant love. I congratulate your fellow workmen on the truly manly, ay, noble usage they have substituted for those selfish, bad, and brutal drinking customs, which yet degrade and disgrace the working classes in some parts of our country—with us I trust they are for ever extinct. I congratulate you, the wife of a sober husband, on the happier auspices which introduce you into the responsibilities and duties of the married state, inasmuch as the good will and kind feeling which is evinced towards you and your husband by his fellow workmen and their wives on this occasion, must be a pleasant assurance to you, that he is, in the midst of his daily toils, amongst those who are not likely to mislead or injure him; in short, that he is surrounded by safe associates, who now give a gratifying proof that they mean him good, and not harm; and it must be a solid satisfaction to you, in the midst of your household duties, with these articles of furniture before your eyes, to feel that such is the case, and that your husband is amongst those who will rather help than hinder him in the path of life. I can now only wish that you may long live happily to use these articles of furniture ‘ which in the name of your fellow workmen and their wives I have now the pleasure of presenting to you. My remarks have as yet been confined to the promotion of your welfare and happiness in this life. It remains for me, on behalf of my respected partner, Mr. Chrimes, and myself, to present you each with a Bible, and I beg earnestly to recommend to you its regular and prayerful perusal, as a safe and sure guide to that higher happiness – in eternal life, to which it is my prayer that you and all of us here may, through God’s mercy, attain.
At one of these Rotherham marriage festivals, which was celebrated only a few weeks previously, the number of visitors was greatly increased in consequence of Mr. Guest having presented tickets to between sixty and seventy workmen, (and the wives of such as were married,) who had been employed in erecting two villa residences for him, at Moorgate Grove. This excellent course, founded upon truly philanthropic principles, and worthy of imitation by all employers under the same or similar circumstances, was adopted by him in lieu of giving them what is generally called the “rearing supper.”
PRESENTATION TO THE NEWLY MARRIED COUPLE.
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
usual on the completion of new buildings. We are informed that all the workmen who were spoken to on the subject, after the festival had taken place, expressed their great satisfaction, and highly approved of the change, stating, that it was “the pleasantest evening” they had ever spent, and that they had been talking together as to whether or not such a change might not he wisely adopted by them at all such celebrations. No doubt it might.— Two important points are secured by the alteration so wisely carried out by Mr. Guest, viz., the evening’s amusement being such as will bear the morning’s reflection, and also that the wife of the working man shares in the enjoyment and this is only fair—why should not she have the few sunny, as well as the many lonely hours of a working man’s wife? Let us hope that the “good time coming” will, among its many promised blessings, doom to an early and unlamented death, the injurious drinking usages of THE WORKING CLASSES.
“LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”
LAW—though framed for the protection of society, for the individual benefit of its members, often admits of a construction adverse to the designs of its framers and, in its application frequently defeats the object which it was intended to sustain. We have, however, numerous instances wherein honest juries have given their verdicts conformably to the promptings of justice; and, happily, when such decisions have not been too widely different from the expressed rule, they have escaped from the appeal.
We take great pleasure in relating an incident, which greatly enlisted our sympathies, held us spell-bound by its interest, and finally made our heart leap with joy at its happy termination.
A few years ago, we were spending a few days, during the spring, in a beautiful inland country town in Pennsylvania. It was assize week, and, to relieve us from the somewhat monotonous incidents of a village life, we stepped into the courthouse where the assizes were being held.
Among the prisoners in the box, we saw a lad but ten years of age, whose sad and pensive countenance, his young and innocent appearance, caused him to look sadly out of place among the hardened criminals by whom he was surrounded. Close by the box, and manifesting great interest in the proceedings, sat a tearful woman, whose anxious glance from the judge to the boy, left us no room to doubt that it was his mother. We turned with sadness from the scene, to inquire of the offence of the prisoner, and learned that he was accused of stealing money.
The ease was soon opened, and, by the interest manifested by that large crowd, we found that our heart was not the only one in which sympathy for the lad existed. How we pitied him! The bright smile of youth had vanished from his face, and now it seemed more to express the cares of the aged. His young sister-—a bright eyed girl, had gained admission to his side, and cheered him with the whisperings of hope. But that sweet voice, which before caused his heart to bound with happiness, added only to the grief which his shame had brought upon him.
The progress of the case, made us acquainted with the circumstances of the loss, the amount of which was but a shilling—no more!
The lad’s employer, a wealthy, miserly, and unprincipled manufacturer, had made use of it for the purpose of what he called “testing the boys honesty.” It was placed where, from its very position, the lad would oftenest see it and least suspect the trap. A day passed, and the master to his mortification, not pleasure, found the coin untouched. Another day passed, and yet his object was not gained. He was, however, determined that the boy should take it, and so let it remain.
This continued temptation was too much for the lad’s resistance. The shilling was taken. A simple present for that little sister was purchased with it. But, while returning home to gladden her heart, his own was made heavy by his being arrested for theft, a crime, the nature of which he scarcely knew. These circumstances were substantiated by several of his employer’s workmen, who had been parties to the plot. A barrister urged upon the jury the necessity of making this “little rogue” an example to others by punishment. His address had great effect upon all who heard it. Before, I could see many tears of sympathy for the lad, his widowed mother and faithful sister. But their eyes were all dry now, and none looked as if they cared for, or expected, aught else: than a conviction.
The accuser sat in a conspicuous place, smiling as if in fiend-like exultation, over the misery he had brought upon that poor, though once happy trio.
We felt that there was but little hope for the boy, and the youthful appearance of the counsel who had volunteered his defence, gave no encouragement, as we learnt that it was the young man’s maiden plea, his first address. He appeared greatly confused, and reached to a desk near him, from which he took the Bible which had been used to solemnise the testimony. This movement was received with general laughter and taunting remarks, among which we heard a harsh fellow, close by us, cry out, “He forgets where he is, thinking to take hold of some ponderous law book, he has made a mistake and got the Bible.”
The remark made the young barrister flush with anger, and turning his flashing eye upon the audience, he convinced them it was no mistake, saying, “Justice wants no other book.” His confusion was gone, and instantly he was as calm as the judge upon the bench.
The Bible was opened, and every eye was upon him as he quietly and leisurely turned over the leaves, and amidst a breathless silence he read to the jury this sentence: “Lead us not into temptation.” A minute of unbroken silence again followed, and again he read; “Lead us not into temptation.”
We felt our heart throb at the sound of those words. The audience looked at each other without speaking, and the jurymen mutely exchanged glances, as the appropriate quotation earned its moral to their hearts. Then followed an address, which, for its pathetic eloquence, we have never heard excelled. Its influence was like magic. We saw the guilty accuser leave the room in fear of personal violence. The prisoner looked hopeful; the mother smiled again; and before its conclusion, there was not an eye in court that was not moist, the speech affecting to that degree which causes tears, holding its hearers spell-bound.
The little time that was necessary to transpire before the verdict of the jury could be learned, was a period of great anxiety and suspense. But when their whispering consultation ceased and those happy words, “not GUILTY,” came from the foreman, they passed like a thrill of electricity from lip to lip; the austere dignity of the court was forgotten, and not a voice was there that did not join the acclamations that hailed the lad’s release.
The barrister’s first plea was a successful one. He was soon a favourite, and now represents his district in the councils of the the nation. The lad has never ceased his grateful remembrances; and we, by the affecting scene herein attempted to be described, have often been led to think how very much greater is the criminality of the tempter than that of the tempted.
T. S. Arthur.
Brother working men! from a spirit of as pure regard for mere worldly advantages _ as j ever instigated you to struggle for the maintenance of your trade privileges and political I rights,—to stand by the interests of your order, and unite for their defence, be advised to watch with jealous care all encroachments upon the Sabbath-day, that, duly esteeming the value of the gift, and soliciting, in all your conflicts with the despoilers, the rich-making blessing of the Giver, you may be enabled to hold fast this great Charter of your labour-rights, and transmit it, as a glorious heritage, even to your latest posterity.—David Maxwell, Engine Fitter, Portsea.
THE SONG OF THE SPADE.
BY T. BEDFORD LENO.
Give me the spade and the man that can use it;
A fig for a man with his soft silken hand ;
Let the man who has strength never stoop to abuse it.
Give it back to the giver—the land, boys, the land.
There’s no bank like the earth to deposit your labour—
The more you deposit the more you shall have;
If there’s more than you want you can give to your neighbour,
And your name shall be dear to the true and the brave.
Give me the spade—Old England’s glory,
That fashion’d the field from the bleak barren moor;
Let us speak of its praise with ballad and story,
While ’tis brighten’d with labour, not tarnish’d with gore.
It was not the sword that won our best battle,
Created our commerce, and extended our trade,
Gave food to our wives, our children and cattle;
But the queen of all weapons—the spade, boys, the spade.
Give me the spade, there’s a magic about it
That turns the black soil into bright shining gold ;
What would our fathers have done, boys, without it,
When the lands lay all bare, and the north winds blew cold?
Where the tall forests stood, and the wild beasts were yelling,
Where our stout-hearted ancestors shrank back afraid,
The corn-stack is raised, and mankind claim a dwelling.
Then, hurrah for our true friend—the spade, boys, the spade!
THE SMUGGLER’S DEATH-BED.
BY THE LATE G. MOGRIDGE, ESQ.
(Continued from page 50.)
As he was a very good husband and father she could not tell why he was unhappy, to be sure he swore a bit, and liked a drop of drink, but all sailors did so.
True it is, that sailors used to do these things to great excess, but now, Britain may rejoice that through the influence of temperance and Christian societies, and of God’s blessing, her seamen have begun to acquire habits of sobriety, and to fear the taking of an oath. It used to be a sad reflection on our national character that British seamen were the most turbulent men that visited a foreign port, and the writer can bear witness to the distressing truth, that he never remembers to have seen a drunken sailor abroad, who was not either an Englishman or Irishman.
I found the sick man much as he was the night before, and after remaining a short time, and saying a few words in which I encouraged him to try to pray, I left him with the promise, that I would see him again during the day. Soon after this his doctor made me a friendly call, and from him I learned that, though he had received some small injury in his body, and in other respects was not quite well, yet a troubled mind was his principal complaint. In proceeding to his cottage, I was met by his wife, who said, “Sir, I think he is rather better, and he has been trying to make a prayer, but he says it is of no use. Pray, sir, don’t you think he is bewitched, and had not I batter go to the Wise Man and have him conjured.” To this question, I replied, that I did not believe in witchcraft, and as to Wise Men, those to whom God had given an ability to pray would be of most service to her husband.
I found the sick man sitting up in bed, certainly more composed than before, yet in a high state of excitement. He had the Bible before him, which he grasped with both his hands, saying, as I entered the room. “Sir, I find the devil does not show his face while I hold this book. I remember my dear mother saying, when a neighbour one day was telling her about satan tempting. “Resist the devil and he will flee from thee.” I often thought it strange stuff, but now I am trying to resist him. Oh, sir, I have seen him! I did not know people ever saw the devil! till they were in hell. I have not seen him, sir, since I made fast to this book, and I’ll not loose my moorings as long as I live. If I should live, I’ll have a hag made, and hang it round my neck, and if I die, they shall put it in my coffin, for then, perhaps, if my soul is lost, I shall save my body; what ^do you think, sir?” “ If your body is saved,” I replied, “ your soul will be saved also, and if either are lost, it will not be because there was no Saviour, but because you would not accept that Saviour. Ton know the use of a life-boat, the Lord Jesus Christ is a lifeboat. God, the Father, launched him out of heaven into earth to save to the uttermost. You may get into that life-boat, for there is room in Christ for you. Why do you stare? I speak the words contained in the book you hold in your hand; turn to where it is said, ‘Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ See also in the xi. Matthew, 28, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.’ In another place, the book says, ‘All manner of sin and of blasphemy has been forgiven, and shall be forgiven men, only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’” “What, sir,” said he, “do you think such a wicked wretch as I, can escape from hell?” “Were you overboard,” I replied, “and a boat were lowered, would you ask whether it was for you? What did Jesus Christ come into the world to do? Look at that scripture text, “He came to seek and to save that which was lost: Look at Matt. ix. 13. ‘He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ Are you repenting of your sins?” “How can I do less, sir,” said the sick man, “when I see they have made a berth for me in hell.” “Then, my friend,” I replied, “you must escape from the enemy by seeking Christ for your friend. Remember what we read yesterday, ‘a broken and a contrite heart, O Lord, thou wilt not despise.’” “What does contrite mean, sir ?” he inquired, “I understand the word broken, and I feel as if my heart was broken.” “Contrite,” said I, “means, to use a sailors’ explanation, turning pirate and then being chased until you are run down by a desperate enemy, of whom you are afraid, so that you bitterly repent of the cruise you have entered on. If you are contrite you are sick of sin, not only because its wages are death, and its deserts hell, but because it was conceived against a merciful God, and a loving Saviour.” “Then I am not contrite, sir, for all I regret is, that my sins are carrying me to hell.” “My friend, you are ignorant, and therefore say you know not what—-would you not like to escape the dreaded punishment, and also go where happy men are singing the praises of God; if you would flee from the wrath to come, you must steer for the port of heaven.” “I don’t know how to put about, sir, the wind seems foul, and I am short handed, the tack on which my soul is laid is the only one in which I can run, I can’t get out of this current of despair, I can’t set a sail for a better hope. I am a lost man.” “But Jesus came to seek and to save those that are lost, he invites you to come to him, and says, though your sins are many, they shall be all forgiven. Tell me how you were brought into this present state of mind? “I’ll tell you, sir, you preached a funeral sermon for Ann ——, you told us about her death bed, it was an awful scene. First, her singing hymns, and then her saying she was a hypocrite, and dying, declaring she was a hypocrite. You know, sir, her old mother took to her bed after the funeral, and never got up again, they say she died of a broken heart. Well, sir, I thought a great deal about your sermon, and about Ann’s death, and the end of the old woman. We set out on a trip one night when the wind was foul, we could not make — but we fetched Guernsey, where, being very much moped, I was persuaded to go to the play. While I sat there I kept thinking about the sermon, the old woman’s death, the last night’s gale, and my heap of sins, for I could not count them, when a lad we had left to let us know if the wind shifted or fell, came to us and said, ‘Master, the weather will do.’ Just then I looked up and saw a figure of the devil on what they call the stage; he had long wings, and was bearing down, I thought, for me. On this I started from my seat, leaped over the companion rail, jumped down the companion stairs, got clear off the lower deck, by one of the port holes, crowded all sail along the street and pier, nor once stopped, or looked back, until I found myself safe in my craft at her mooring. When I turned my head, I saw, as I thought clear enough, Satan flying after me with a pack of imps who had joined him in the chase. I jumped overboard, and know no more than what they have told me, except that I dreamed, for thank God it was not true, that the hell sharks run me down, and were tormenting me in the place where hope never comes.”
This strange account of the smuggler requires to be explained. Contrary winds had driven him to Guernsey, where in liquor he went to the play-house, and sat in a state pf stupor until summoned to put to sea. Just as he was about to depart, he saw on the stage a figure intended for a likeness of the devil; now, if in a play-house men laugh at sin, a play-house must be a bad place for a sinner to enter. The alarm of his conscience and his fears at the sight of what he took to be Satan, united together, so startled the hardy seaman, that he leaped over the handrail of the stairs, and jumping out of a window into the street ran until he gained his vessel. Even there, however, he was not safe, for he soon saw and heard his men running and shouting after him. Believing himself to be pursued by Satan and his Angels, he leaped into the water, from which he was dragged by an old fisherman, just going out of harbour. His men, thinking he was in liquor, laid him at the bottom if the boat until they arrived at C—— when they conveyed him ashore, put him to bed, ind sent for the doctor, who found him so violent, as to require a strait waistcoat. From this phrensy he in part recovered, so is to be conveyed home, where the writer, as before stated, was sent for to visit him.
After he, had given me his own account of the facts connected with his illness, he added, ”I am much obliged, sir, to you, for your patience in hearing me. What you have said may all be true, but I can’t find anchorage, I am very ignorant, and very wicked, and now feel so weak, that I can talk no more.
During this conversation, I had not observed any change in his countenance, for his race was so expressive that I feared to look on it, lest my mind should be drawn aside ‘rom the end I had in view, which was to point him to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world; he therefore surprised me when, at the end of his remarks he fainted. I called his wife, and went away to entreat God to give his blessing to the word sown in weakness.
(To be continued.)
SKETCHES FROM REAL LIFE.
BY MRS. C. L. BALFOUR.
The child that was rescued by Dr. Trench from the hovel where her mother died, looked, when she entered Wrencham Workhouse, as though she would not be long before she shared the pauper grave, where her mother was speedily laid. All the energy left in her wasted little frame seemed exhausted with the effort she had made in rushing to the doctor’s house and bringing him back with her to the heap of rags where her childish instinct told her the poor sufferer was in great extremity. The scene that followed of death, drunkenness, and brutality, with her own escape under the protection of the friendly doctor, passed so quickly, that Patty was stupified with fear, want, and wonder.
Passively, in a kind of stupor, she was put into a bath—-had her tangled hair cut short, for the first time in her remembrance, was wrapped in a whole, though very coarse bed gown, and was laid panting with weakness on a bed in the infirmary of the workhouse; some gruel was offered her, but her sick stomach rejected it, and she laid unable to sleep or speak, her eager restless eyes looking wistfully on all the strange faces around, and hearing most acutely all that was said.
There was nothing very pleasant either to see or hear in Wrencham workhouse. A long narrow room with whitewashed walls, a range of little beds with only room between for a wooden stool; a few small windows so high up, they touched the ceiling, along one side—letting in light certainly, but permitting no inmate to see even a glimpse of the blue sky. It was very clean, very cold, and very dreary. Most of the beds had a sick occupant; in the others the patients were recovering, and sat, or lounged, on the side. These in turn sauntered up to the bed of the new comer, and looking at her, expressed their opinion aloud of her state. “Starved!” said one, “did you ever see such a face? All eyes, and looks eighty years old,” added another. “Ah! she wont be long upon skillygalee*” said a coarse virago with a child in her arms—-“I wish this tiresome, brat of mine was as likely to hop the twig.”
“For shame, Bess Stamper, for shame!” said the distinct, yet soft voice of an old woman who was seated by the hearth knitting.
“And why for shame, Madam Dark, it’s the best wish I can wish the little cross-patch-—what’s before her-—or what’s before me, pray ?”
“There’s a God above all, trust in him and do his will and never mind what’s before you.”
“Oh indeed! fine talking—and yet here you are, Madam Dark, in the workhouse no better off, that I see, than the rest of us, with all your fine words.”
“No better off ‘that you see’—oh! that’s because you are as blind spiritually as I am bodily.’ If the eyes of your soul were open, you would see that though I am old, and blind, and deserted by all earthly friends, and nicknamed by poor thoughtless creatures like you, yet I am not left comfortless. I have a light in my darkness.”
There was a hush in the room as the faltering voice ceased, and one and another from the beds said, “ Don’t mind her, mother,” “Ah! I wish more of us were like you.” While the virago turned off their reproaches by singing a coarse song.
Among the sufferers in the beds was one who moaned continually,—-a wife so beaten by a brutal husband that she was one cramp of pain. Her mind wandered, and when any question was put to her, she stilled her wanderings for an instant, and constantly repeated, “ ’Twas the drink! I don’t accuse poor Ned—there ain’t a kinder heart a going —but he drank, and at last I drank, and so —and so—you see ’twasn’t he no more than I, ’twas all the drink.” And then she relapsed into her moans—for two weeks she had laid there with an inward bruise, and no hopes of her recovery, still repeating the words she had said to the legal gentleman who came to take her deposition when it was thought she would speedily die’ and never enough roused to consciousness to think of, or utter anything1 else. And so the crushed frame was wearing away, every keen throb bringing nearer the dark hour, when the poor shuddering soul would have to take its long lonely journey. Oh how true of the workhouse are the words:—
“Children are there, who know no parents care,
Parents who know no children’s love dwell there,
Heart broken matrons on their joyless bed,
Deserted wives, and mothers never wed;
There wretched widows shed unheeded tears,
And crippled age with more than childhood’s fears.
The lame, the blind, and happier far than they,
The moping idiot, and the madman gay.”
After two days and nights of fever and restlessness, our little sufferer fell into a deep
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sleep for many hours and woke wonderfully refreshed. She noticed that the sunbeams were coming in through the high up windows, and were playing on the walls, and floating like angels between the beds, and she put out her hand and tried to catch the ray—-laughed as her grasp went through it—-and then frightened at the strange sound of her own laugh, hid her head under the clothes and wept bitterly; for the face of her dead mother came before her thoughts, and for the first time she comprehended that she was alone in the world. Her weeping did her good, it was healthy and natural, and her young heart was stronger as she again looked out, and seeing Dr. Trench enter she spoke to him when he came to her bedside, and asked if she might get up. He seemed surprised at the improvement, and gave permission—-and shortly after with tottering steps she was making her way to a stool beside the seat of the old blind woman. As she feebly crept along it was noticed that though she was tall for eleven years old, yet she was crooked; nursing heavy children had completely twisted her shoulder out of place, and permanently deformed her. The face was pale and rigid, with bright dark eyes, that seemed too large for the pinched visage; and yet with all these great defects no one looked steadfastly in that face without feeling kinder and gentler. There was such an appealing meekness in her timid yet intelligent glance—-such a softness in her voice—-a tear in its liquid tones—that the very lips which had just pronounced her “a poor ugly creature”-—“quite a fright” became an instant after struck with a feeling that could not be defined, but which was very like sympathy.
Silently yet decidedly the child took her course amid that throng of infirmary inmates. In every promiscuous company, whether in the school, the workshop, the factory, the foundry, the market, or the hospital, there are some better, and some worse than others. To be civil to all is right, but to be intimate with none but the very best is true wisdom, and this course our little girl pursued.
“Shall I read to you, ma’am?” said she kindly on the second day of her recovery, to the blind woman.
“Can you read?”
“Yes! my mother taught me a long while ago, and I taught Tom, only he didn’t like it much.”
“What’s your name, child?”
“Patience, ma’am, Patience Grant, but they call me Patty for shortness.”
“Patience,” sighed the blind woman, “Oh poor child, I hope you’ll deserve your name, you’ll have need of it—-What can you read? ” “ I hav’n’t had a many books, indeed we had but two, and they had a deal torn out, but I liked what was left, they were The Psalter and The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
“And had you no Bible, child?”
“No! yes! that is, mother had once a very big fine Bible with pictures, that had been my father’s—-my own father ‘Grant,’ you know, mother’s last husband Benjamin Toxy (and the child looked round half frightened speaking in a whisper) wasn’t my own father.”
“Well, and what became of that big Bible, Patty?”
“Oh! mother hid it up a long, long time, but then it was found, and then she was obliged to part with it.”
“Yes, poor mother said she paid pounds interest for it, and she lost it at last:—and we had no other Bible, except once for a week, when a lady gave us one, but it was Christmas time, and father changed it away for a half-pint of Rum. But our dear Pilgrim’s Progress was so torn, nobody wouldn’t buy it, so I had that to read in, whenever I could get away by myself.”
“And did you like it?”
“Like it!” said Patty, her large eyes lighting up, and throwing a glow over her whole face, “O that I did, I quite loved it—-I never felt cold or pined, when I had that to read, it warmed me up so! ” “Well child, there’s a ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ here, and you shall read me a bit now and then, if you don’t haggle over it.”
“Oh dear! you’re very kind to let me, exclaimed the child in such a grateful tone that the old woman let her knitting fall into her lap, stretched out her withered hand until it rested on Patty’s head, and with emotion said, “Poor motherless child!— Poor stray lamb! it’s a hard world for such as thee and me, but there’s one who promised to carry the lambs in his bosom, and to lead fee weary gently; do you know who that is, Patty?”
“Yes ma’am, it is Jesus Christ our Saviour!” .
And thus it happened that amidst that motley throng of the idle, the weak, the wicked, and the unfortunate, the blind old woman who had known better days, and was now by the desertion of a drunken son left helpless, and the little destitute child, formed a tender friendship; and such is the wise arrangement of a Providence that intends all human beings to be helpful to each other, these two feeble friendless creatures were of the very greatest mutual aid.
A troublesome cough that afflicted Patty, caused the doctor to decide on her remaining for the winter in the infirmary, a plan in all respects beneficial, for the child made herself so useful among the sick, that she was a favorite with the matron, the nurses, and the patients ; while her strength was being gradually restored by regular hours, quiet rest, and food, which though very coarse, and grumblers said insufficient, was better and more ample than she had ever known in the wretched house where starvation and blows had been her daily martyrdom.
Meanwhile Patty improved in her sewing from a young dressmaker who was recovering from rheumatic fever, learned to knit of her blind friend, and read aloud for an hour every evening seated at her feet. This poor soul had been called in mock courtesy Madame Dark, until she was known by that name only, for she seemed not unwilling that her real name should be forgotten; and among a constantly shifting set of inmates none but the nurse knew, and even she in the midst of many occupations did not care to remember, the blind woman’s real name.
At first it was not easy for Patty to make her soft voice heard by her friend amid the constant hum of talk going forward, but at length one and another caught a sentence, and listened, and so it came to pass that after a little time they were silent, and the wondrous story of Christian’s struggles, and sorrows, and success, was heard at intervals by all; and who knows but many a sentence may have lingered in the ears, and some dropped into the hearts of the hearers, and brought forth fruit after many years. He who causes the birds of the air, and the winds of Heaven, to bear seed to distant climes for the support or gratification of man, has often appointed very humble and very unlikely means of bearing his truth to the waste places of the human heart.
As Patty read again and again the glowing words, their hidden meaning came fully before her. Then the book of books, the Bible was sought; and that those who have lived with a Bible or two lying near them, that they have never opened with real interest in their lives, had seen how eagerly this child read the sacred page! how its lovely narrative won her attention, its grand poetry floated like strains of music through her mind, making her long to understand it; how its simple teaching struck to her heart and melted her to tears, and she was praying almost before she knew that the words were a prayer—-“Lord, help me!” and feeble as the petitioner was, we shall see that the prayer was answered.
(To be continued.)
If there be one curse more bitter to men than another, it is to be the offspring of an irreligious home, of a home where the voice of prayer and praise ascends not to God, and ‘where the ties of human affection are not purified and elevated by the refining influence of a religious feeling. Such homes send forth their sons unchecked in evil thoughts, unhallowed in their habits, uncontrolled in their passions, and untaught in love to God and affection to their nearest and dearest connections in life.
Those who are careful to avoid offending others, are not apt to take offence themselves.
Those who are the most susceptible of sympathy for the afflictions of others are not the most apt to complain of their own.
NOTICE TO LEAVE.
A voting man who had lived in the service of late Edmumd Thompson, Esq., of Armin, near Goole, in Yorkshire, hired himself to a master, who never had family prayer. The master, who valued his new servant, was surprised at the end of the first week, by his coming to him and saying, “I am very sorry, sir, but I must leave your service.” On inquiring into the cause, he respectfully replied, that in Mr. Thompson’s family there had always been morning and evening worship, and that he found it impossible to live where there was not prayer. The master was rebuked; he had known the way of righteousness, but through prosperity in life had forsaken the ways of the Lord. The family altar was now restored and the man servant retained.—Life of B. Thompson, Esq.
A certain baronet was accustomed to make arrangements with his servants on the Sabbath, for the ensuing week’s work. Having lost his accustomed builder, he was under the necessity of employing another, a man who reverenced the Sabbath. On one occasion, he desired him to attend on the Sabbath morning to make plans for a new building. This demand tried his principles, but he determined not to sin against conscience. Accordingly he mildly told the baronet that he would wait on him as early as he chose on the Monday morning, but durst not, for fear of offending God, do any secular work on the Sabbath. The courteous way in which he declined to comply with his employer’s request, subdued the anger which would otherwise have risen; and for several years he worked for him, enjoying the respect not only of the baronet, but of many others. “A soft answer turneth away wrath,” “Them that honour me I will honour.”
All men, of whatever class, who must necessarily be occupied six days in the week, should abstain on the seventh, and, in the course of life, would assuredly gain by giving to their bodies the repose, and to their minds the change of ideas suited to the day, for which it was appointed by unerring wisdom.
Labourer, cease! thy work is done,
Best thee now at set of sun;
And upon thy homeward way.
Think, and meditate, and pray.
Think of all thy daily toil
On the hard and barren soil.
Think of thorns and briers growing
Mid the seed thou hast been sowing.
Think upon the sun and rain,
Which can fertilize the plain.
Then, O turn thine eye within,
On the hardened soil of sin;
Thorns of evil to uproot,
Ere thou bearest holy fruit,
And the Spirit’s gentle power,
Coming like a welcome shower.
God hath bid thee till the ground,
That the harvest may abound;
Bid thee work within thy soul,
Till His grace shall make thee whole.
Then, as evening shadows close,
Leading thee to calm repose,
Think upon the night of death.
When shall cease thy fleeting breath;
Think upon thy rest above.
Given by the Saviour’s love;
On an everlasting life.
Free from toil, and sin, and strife.
And as thou art drawing near To thy house and comforts here,
Pray that heaven thy home may be Through a bright eternity.
From “Flowers of Sacred Poetry.”
COLUMNS FOB WIVES AND MOTHERS.
MOTHERS THAT ARE WANTED.
It is a blessing and an advantage, utterly incalculable, to have for a mother a woman of sense, superiority, and goodness; with force of character; with talents and cleverness; of solid information; with tact, temper, patience, and skill fitted to train and mould the mind, to implant principles, and awaken a lofty and laudable ambition; and all this presided over and purified by religious faith, deep piety, and earnest devotion. These are the mothers that the church and the world alike want. The destinies of the race depend more on its future mothers than on anything else; that is to say, on the sort of women that young girls and young ladies are to be made into, or into which they will make themselves; and the sort of wives that young men will have the sense to prefer, the judgment to select, and the happiness to secure. There is nothing so little thought of by the young, and no single thing that would be in its issues of such moment, as for the one sex to remember that they are born to be the makers of future men; and for the other to feel that what they want in marriage are not merely mates for themselves, but mothers for their children. Clever women are of more importance to the world than clever men. I refer, of course, not to illustrious individuals on whom society depends for advance in the arts, in legislation, or in science; who extend the boundaries of knowledge, who receive and pass the torch of genius, perpetuate eloquence, or preserve truth. I refer to the culture and strength that may distinguish the general mind; the characteristics of the mass of men and women who constitute society, and from whom not only posterity, as a whole, will receive an impress, but among whom the individual hero, too, must be born and bred. On the two suppositions, that all men were clever, and all women weak, or that all the women were superior, and all the men fools, there would be by far the best prospect for the world on the latter alternative, both with respect to the general condition of the race, and the appearance of those who should be personally eminent for ability and genius. The mother has most to do with all that awakens the young spirit in its early freshness, and that makes that child that is to be “father to the man;” and she gives perhaps more of the impress of her whole being, physical and mental, to the original constitution and capacities of her offspring. Weak men with superior wives have had sons distinguished by very high intellectual ability; but the greatest men with fools for their portion have seldom been anything but the fathers of fools. The great Lord Bacon was the representative of one that would have been memorable and illustrious but for the gigantic and overshadowing genius of his son. His father, Sir Nicholas, was twice married: his first wife was a weak woman, and bore nothing but mean and poor intellectual offspring; his second was distinguished and superior; a woman of capacity, of strong sense, mental culture, and great energy; she was the mother of Bacon.—T. Binney.
THE LAST WORD.
The ‘last word’ is one of the most dangerous weapons. Husband and wife should no more fight for it than they would struggle to get possession of a lighted bomb-shell.
Sugar is one of the substances most generally diffused through all natural products. Let wives and husbands take a hint from this provision of nature.
The wife is the sun of the domestic or social system. Unless she attracts, there is nothing to keep heavy bodies like husbands from flying off into space.—-A wise wife will keep both herself and her house tidy and attractive.
Dr. Fuller says of marriage: “Deceive not thyself by over-expecting happiness in the married state. Look not therein for contentment greater than God can give, or a creature in this world can receive, namely, to be free from all inconveniences. Marriage is not like the hill of Olympus, wholly clear, without clouds!”
Mothers! be careful what you teach your little ones.
A striking illustration of the importance of inculcating correct sentiments in childhood, occurred some time ago, which proves that it matters much what is sung even at the cradle. A mother was reading to her little child from Mother Goose’s well-known, but foolish Melodies about the “Goosey Gander,” by which the old man was thrown down stairs.
“Naughty Julia,” exclaimed the child “naughty Julia, to throw a man down stairs.” It did not occur to the mother that she was thus giving her approval to a revengeful spirit, but the tender mind of the little child, at once detected the error of the lesson contained in the verse.
Mothers! you cannot he too careful as to what you teach your little ones!
Let no mother suppose that her child’s education does not begin before it is sent to school—-the quick perceptions of children are more active and observant than we are often aware. Mothers, speak circumspectly, tenderly, truthfully to your children. Never attempt to deceive them, but set them an example of honesty in all things. What is likely to be the effect of such a scene as the following on the mind of a child ?
Child. “Mother, I want a piece of cake.”
Mother. “I haven’t got any;—it’s all gone.”
Child. I know there’s some in the cupboard, I saw it when you opened the door.”
Mother. “Well, you don’t need any more; cake hurts children.”
Child. “No, it don’t; (whining) I do want a piece; mother, mayn’t I have a piece?”
Mother. “Be still; I can’t get up now, I’m busy.”
Child. (Crying aloud.) “I want a piece of cake;—I want a piece of cake.”
Mother. “Be still, I say; I shan’t give you a bit, if you don’t leave off crying.”
Child. (Still crying.) “I want a piece of cake;—I want a piece of cake.”
Mother. (Rising hastily, and reaching a piece.) “There, take that; and hold your tongue. Eat it up quick. There’s Ben coming. Don’t tell him you’ve had some cake, now.”
(Ben enters.) Child.—“I’ve had a piece of cake, Ben; you can’t have any.”
Ben. “Yes, I will;—mother, give me a piece.”
Mother. (Very cross.) “There, take that, it seems as if I could never keep a bit of anything in the house; (to the child) you’ll see, sir, if I give you any another time.”
(Another room.) Child.—“I’ve had a piece of cake.”
(Younger sister.) “ Oh, I want some too.”
Child. “Well, you bawl, and mother’ll give you a bit-—I did.”
Did this mother love her children? No doubt she did; she is toiling early and late for their support and comfort; and yet she is thus thoughtlessly training them up in the practice of selfishness, greediness, falsehood, and deceit. Let every mother bear constantly in mind the injunction, “ Train up a child in the way he should go,” for if she have no other motive, it will save her a world of trouble in her family, and repay her care a hundred times.
Every mother, on the birth of a child, should imagine herself addressed by the creator, in the words of Pharaoh’s daughter, to the mother of Moses,—“Take this child, an4 nurse it for me.”
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
“A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will He condemn.”—Proverbs xii. 2.
THE GOAT’S CARE OF HER YOUNG.
The devices of this animal to hide her young from the fox, are very remarkable. She discerns her enemy at a great distance, conceals her treasure in a thicket, and boldly intercepts the formidable marauder. He seldom fails to approach the place where the kid is crouching, but the dam, with her horns, receives him at all points, and never yields till spent with fatigue and agitation. If a high crag, or stone, should be near when she descries the fox, she mounts upon it, taking the young one under her body. The fox goes round and round, to catch an opportunity for making a spring at the little trembler, but the goat thrusts her horns into his flank with such force as to be often unable to withdraw them, and all three,—-goat, kid, and fox, have been frequently found dead at the bottom of the precipice. It is a singular fact that the goats know their progeny to several generations. The various tribes herd and repose on the hills in separate parties. P. A.
Those who are brought up in the utter neglect of the Sabbath and its privileges are the characters who, from time to time, fill up the gaps made by death in the ranks of the profligate, and whose names form the majority in our criminal lists.— Isaac Hughes, Shoemaker, Glasgow.
Again our weekly labours end,
And we the Sabbath call attend;
Improve, our souls, the sacred rest.
And seek to be for ever bless’d.
This day let our devotions rise
To heaven, a grateful sacrifice;
And God that peace divine bestow,
Which none but they who feel it know.
This holy calm within the breast,
Prepares for that eternal rest
Which for the sons of God remains;
The end of cares, the end of pains.
In holy duties let the day,
In holy pleasures, pass away;
How sweet the Sabbath thus to spend,
In hope of that which ne’er shall end.
Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love,
But there’s a nobler rest above;
To that our labouring souls aspire,
With ardent pangs of strong desire.
Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my Sanctuary.—Lev. xix. 30. Observe the Sabbath for a perpetual covenant.—Ex. xxxi. 16. Call the Sabbath a delight.—Isaiah lviii. 13. Every Sabbath set it in order before the Lord continually.—Lev. xxiv. 8. Keep the Sabbath-day to sanctify it.—Deut. v. 12. The seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, and holy convocation. Lev. xxiii. 3. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.—Deut. v- 14. The Land had enjoyed her Sabbaths.—2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. Keep my Sabbaths, and take hold of my covenant. Isaiah lvi. 4. The people shall worship before the Lord on the Sabbaths.—Ezek. xlvi. 3.
DOING THINGS ON A LARGE SCALE.
BY THE LATE GEO. MOGRIDGE, ESQ.
Zachary Bond and Alan Brook were neighbours. Bred and born in the village, they had climbed the same hills, drunk of the same spring, learned to read the Bible at the same school, served the same master, and worked at the same farm; but though alike in these things, they were very unlike in disposition and character.
It is often the case that two flower-seeds of the same kind, set in the same soil, come up of different forms and colours, and not easy would it be to explain the reason of this, but it was by no means difficult to explain what had occasioned the great difference between Alan Brook and Zachary Bond.
So much alike were Zachary and Alan when they were boys, both in temper and appearance, that some of the villagers used to say, one pea was not more like another, and this resemblance continued, in a degree, till they were young men, when both married and lived contentedly till, alas, Zachary, for some time, left the country for the town, and afterwards returned to his native village an altered man. He had mingled with those who had confused his head and poisoned his mind. Before he quitted the village he was simple in his manners and humble in his desires, but when he came back to it, he was far from being either humble or simple ; every thing, then, was to be carried with a high hand; every thing was to be done on a large scale.
Alan and Zachary lived near each other. Each had a cottage and a small orchard, but with Zachary’s new notions, these were not sufficient. He saw those around him with large houses and large farms, and this made him discontented. Zachary Bond wanted to do things on a large scale, and he heeded not the text, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” Prov. xv. 16.
“How is it, Zachary,” said Alan one day as he passed by the cottage of his neighbour, “How is it that your garden is in such a plight?” You used to beat me in cabbages, and cauliflowers, and now you have neither the one nor the other?
Zachary replied, that he did not care a fig for his garden, for that he was determined to do things on a larger scale. Why should one man have but a small garden, while another had a large farm?
Alan reasoned quietly with his neighbour, and though he could not exactly answer the question put to him, he told him that as it pleased God to make one man taller and stronger than another, he supposed that it was his will that one should be richer than another. “At any rate, Zachary,” said he, “you and I cannot alter it, and we had better bear in mind what is written in God’s holy word, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain.’”
This way of treating the matter by no means fell in with the humour of Zachary Bond, who, day after day, became more and more discontented with his condition, and more and more determined to do things on a large scale.
There are some things in which we can hardly go upon too large a scale, such as fearing God, reading his holy word, loving our neighbour, acting kindly to all, forgiving injuries and setting an example of humility and thankfulness; but in these things Zachary’s scale became continually less and less. He went upon a large scale, it is true, at the beer house; for there he idled and drank, and wrangled, and made speeches about one man being as good as another man, and the poor being of the same flesh and blood as the rich, but such a course only added to his poverty and discontent. When once an unthankful and repining spirit gets firm hold of a man, he is in great danger.
The poorer and more wretched Zachary became, the less disposed was he to alter his course. Though the large scale on which he went deprived him of his cottage, his garden, and his orchard, it did not bring him to a better state of mind. On he went from bad to worse, from recklessness to ruin.
The present state of these two cottages speaks loudly in favour of piety, diligence, and contentment; for Alan Brook continues to do things on a small scale in his own little cottage, where he has every comfort, while Zachary Bond is still planning things on a large scale in the PARISH WORKHOUSE. “Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” Eccles. iv. 6.
ZACHARY BOND AND ALAN BROOK.
THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE.
A Tortoise, dissatisfied with his lowly life, when he beheld so many of the birds, his neighbours, disporting themselves in the clouds, and thinking that, he could but once get up into the air, he could soar with the best of them, called one day upon an Eagle, and offered him all the treasures of the Ocean if he could only teach him to fly. The Eagle would have declined the task, assuring him that the thing was not only absurd but impossible, but being further pressed by the entreaties and promises of the Tortoise, he at length consented to do for him the best he could. So taking him up to a great height in the air and loosing his hold upon him, “Now, then!” cried the Eagle; but the Tortoise, before he could answer him a word, fell plump upon a rock, and was dashed to pieces.
Pride shall have a fall.
From James’s Fables of Aesop.
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