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· And your exercise—that is finished, I morning, I will indeed, if you'll only let hope?' said Mrs. Harley when the meal
You will, won't you ?—there's a was nearly over.
dear mother;' and his arms were round Mrs. Oh, dear! I forgot all about it,' an- Harley's neck and his rosy cheek pressed swered the young idler in dismay. Then close to hers. more cheerfully, ‘But there's plenty of The lad's coaxing ways overcame her time—there's all the evening.'
better judgment, and she yielded a relucBut there are your other lessons.' tant consent. So Harry and Clement set And you know we fixed to go and speak off and made their arrangements with their to James Barlow after tea,' said Harry. friend, and when they came back their fa
So we did; that was why I set to my ther was at home and kept them with him work directly I got in. And I'll go ; I can till their bedtime. manage all I've to do very well afterwards, • Remember to ask Ann to call you early or in the morning.'
to-morrow,' said Mrs. Harley, as Clement I thought your exercise was so difficult, bid her good-night. said Mrs. Harley.
So Ann received strict injunctions in the "Oh! I've looked well at the rule, and matter, which she punctually carried out. it won't be so bad, I think.'
Half-past six, Master Clement,' she * And you are all ready for to-morrow, called out the next morning, rapping sharply Harry?'
at the door of the boys' room. Repeated Yes, mother; I worked up in my bed- knocks bringing no answer, she went in and room because'-he stopped, not liking to shook the little sleeper, till the lazy eyes give the reason that if he had come down opened, and the drowsy brain took in the into the breakfast-room, usually given up unpleasant fact that it was time to get to the boys of an evening for the prepa- up. ration of their lessons, he knew he should * Don't go to sleep again,' advised Ann, have been perpetually interrupted by with a parting shake. “You'd better jump Clement, who, like any other idle per- out of bed at once.' son, not only loitered himself, but was a That at once was an expression so often great hindrance to those about him. used to Clement, that perhaps he had grown
* Then I think you had better go alone callous to its force; at any rate it had no and see James,' said Mrs. Harley to Harry. effect in the present case: he turned round 'Clement must stay in and write his ex- on his pillow for one more little nap, and ercise.
of course he did not wake again until "Oh, mother! cried Clement, please Clement, Clement ! you'd better be quick; let me go; we want to fix about Saturday, here's Ann calling us, and you were to have whether we shall go fishing, or bird-nesting, got up long before: but make haste, and or what. I particularly want to see James, you'll have time now for your lessons. ' and he goes to his aunt's to-morrow.'
Harry was already up and beginning to *You should have thought of that before. dress. Clement yawned and grumbled : Dr. Green complains that you make no How provoking! You see I fell asleep progress at all, that you never know your again; I wish I hadn't
again; I wish I hadn't gone with you to see lessons.
James last night. How tiresome of Ann not • I'll get up early and learn them in the to make me get up! but it's no use now, I
Martin Black by Welland's Bedside. must just write my exercise anyhow, and MARTIN BLACK'S CHILDREN. one's lessons are easily skimmed :'-and he
(Concluded from p. 107.) lay still, watching Harry brush his hair.
One fault leads to another. Already, as Mrs. Harley said, Clement's idleness was morning in July, fell off one of his making him negligent of his dress and own hay-waggons, and seriously injured person, it was to lead him into a worse
himself. Martin was passing by and helped fault this day. “The way of the slothful carry
fellow to the side of the is' verily as an hedge of thorns. ' The road; he was insensible at first, but soon thorns and briers had long hindered his
came round, and said he felt no pain, though progress, and made each forward step hard
he was unable to move or stand. The kind and painful. Were they now to entangle landlady of “The Oak,' close to which the him in the snares of deceit, and drag him accident happened, came out with offers of down into the miry ways of actual wrong- help, and sheltered the poor man from the doing ?
hot sun, while Martin arranged with a (To be continued.)
crusty flyman who was taking a little boy
to school to delay a quarter of an hour, and but a shake he had had, and a few days' help in conveying Farmer Welland home. more rest would restore him; but now that
• You'll look in a bit, till I get over the hay was all in, and the corn began to ihis,' said the Farmer to Martin. “I'm a look red, he began to wonder why the lone man, you know, and have only old strength did not return to his limbs. Betty to talk to.'
A few days later and the village doctor And Martin promised. The farmer was called in, and told him that he would had lost his wife very soon after they never rise from his bed again. were married, and since then, now ten Martin Black was now more than ever years ago, he had turned melancholy, the by John Welland's bedside, and it seemed villagers said, and cared little to converse to him that he did well in this case to let with his fellow-men.
Mrs. Fortescue have the care of his little A pity, folks said, for he was young yet, household while he tended the dying man. barely forty, and might have married Weak as he was, John Welland liked again. But this was not John Welland's to lie by the open window whence he could way. He wanted no one to fill the place see the old church with Mary's grave in of his lost Mary. Martin himself was balf the shadow; it did not disturb him either surprised at the invitation to visit the when the children's voices at play on the farmer, but he gladly availed himself of it. green would be heard in their shrill young
Welland was a rich man for his position gladness. For Welland had them much in in life, and there was a good deal of real his thoughts, that little flock of Martin's business to be done in the way of over- whom Mary might bave held dear. looking and account-keeping on his farm At his request Martin had one day which would have suffered from neglect, opened his Prayer Book at the Burial Serso it became a regular custom for Martin vice and read the opening sentences. Then to go up to the Red Farm when the Welland stopped him. children were. in bed, and do what he Nay, but that's true,' he said, we can could for the sick man. Often the busi- carry nothing out of the world. I've often ness talk would shade off into something wanted to say a word to you, Martin, about less hard and worldly, and by-and-by it my bit of money. I don't think I've done came to pass that Martin had the story that good with it I might while I was of the farmer's early sorrow, and was able about in the world. I was too down-hearted, to say the word of comfort that the sorely and God forgive me for that; but I should stricken heart needed.
like it to be of use, and I've willed it where 'I never could speak of it to any but I think it will do good. Remember that you,' said the farmer, with a sigh of relief; when you hear where it's gone.
Mr. but somehow it came across me that you Fortescue has
will. And now go on, and Mary would have made friends over please, it'll not be long before they'll be readthose orphans if she had lived, she was ing that chapter when I can't listen to it.' always one for children. I must do some- Welland was right. Before the air what for them when I get round.'
chill and keen with the early frosts he was But days went by, and Farmer Welland
And the Red Farm, as well did not seem to get round, he had never as all the worldly goods which once were had the doctor, always declaring that it was John Welland's, were left to Martin Black.
in his grave.
"SWIFT TO HEAR.'
* Haring none near of kin left to me,' ran the words of the will, I leave all my possessions to Martin Black, only wishing on my death-bed that I had lived like him, caring for the poor.'
Martin was completely taken aback; such an event had never occurred to him as possible, even when he recalled Welland's mention of his will.
Here was wealth indeed, not to be refused.
But first he was almost alarmed at the bequest. Not for some time could he see that here was the answer to his
his prayer for guidance. God had willed that he should work in a wide sphere.
The orphans were moved to the Red Farm; their numbers were greatly enlarged, but still Martin kept his name of father, and still the little lads and lasses, as they grew up, laboured with their hands for daily bread.
Once again Martin Black's household excited attention, and he was advised to try new plans for its management, but he shook his head.
I'm too old for fine ways,' he would say; they may be best, but they would not suit me.'
And Martin Black's children as a rule turned out well, loving him first, the kind father who rescued them from misery and want, and afterwards the good Father in Heaven of whom he daily spoke to them.
My story is ended now, the story of a poor man doing what he could for his brethren. Martin Black is rich now, but we may be sure that he who put his one talent to such good account will not be found wanting when God asks him as to those other talents given into his charge.
You who read, I pray you may learn somewhat from the tale of this poor deformed shoemaker.
H. A. F.
T. JAMES tells us that every one
ought to be 'swift to bear, slow to speak' (i. 19); but this does not mean that we should do as the girl is doing in the picture,
for she is being swift to hear' things that were not intended for her.
It is wrong to listen at cracks or keyholes. Such conduct is no better than thieving: for it is as dishonest to steal people's words as to steal their pockethandkerchief. We should all be above such meanness, and never let our ear be where we should not wish our ear to be
A common proverb says, 'Listeners never hear any good of themselves.' And even if this be not always true, at least listeners never ought to hear any good of themselves; for they are doing what is mean and wrong by listening to what is not intended for them.
But there are many times when we ought to be “swift to hear.' We should be swift to hear' in church, when God's word is read and preached. Children ought to be swift to hear ' in school, when their teachers are taking pains to teach them. They ought to be 'swift to hear' when their father or mother speaks to them: and they ought to be swift to do what they are told, even if it stops them in their play. They ought specially to be “swift to hear when the still small voice' in their own breast speaks to them; for that voice is conscience, which is really God's Spirit telling them what is right and what is wrong. For all that we hear, even in right ways, without any 'eaves-dropping' (as dishonest listening is sometimes called), will not do us good : for alas! the devil has his preachers in the world as well as God. So when you have been swift to