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ticked again over the mantlepiece, and Mrs.
THE OLD IRON CHAIN. Boyce's fretting spirit was laid at rest.
HE wealthy family of Count • I've been a wicked, murmuring thing,
G- in Styria, preserves Amy,' she confessed; but you'll forgive
an old, roughly-made iron me like Geoff, poor lad ! does. I can give
chain as a family heirhim up now; ay, and bide my time till
loom, and the tradition in I'm called to join him. I see it's wicked
the house is, that so long to try and hasten God, just because one
as this chain remains in feels a bit impatient of His world here.'
the possession of this noble * The gentleman thinks the ship per- race prosperity will never leave it. For this haps mayn't be lost,' said Amy, kissing reason the old chain is much valued by the her mother; there are strange calms and family, and is preserved in a costly casket. contrary winds in those parts which last The origin and story of this old chain for weeks and months, and it might be so had long been forgotten, but some years with the Mary Helen.'
ago a new family vault was being conBut Mrs. Boyce shook her head. “I've structed, and the coffins of the ancestors of got you left, Amy, and I must be content, the family were carried from their old she said ; 'I shall never see my boy again.' resting-place to this new vault. On this
. But Mrs. Boyce was wrong; not six occasion one of the oldest of the coffins was weeks from that day Geoffrey Boyce
so worn away that the lid fell off, and in it walked into the house, grown tall and was seen a piece of iron chain of exavely the bronzed, and full of tales of the shipwreck
same pattern as that preserved in tlie castle, of the Mary Helen, and the long and and close to it a tin box which contained weary detention of the crew on an island an old parchment manuscript. This manuout of the usual track of vessels. There script gave the following explanation conwas a great stir made over him in Fairelms, cerning the chain :this wanderer, supposed to be dead; and The buried forefather by whose side the people said his return had made a different piece of chain was found, lived 700 years woman of Mrs. Boyce, and taken twenty ago; by an evil life he had squandered his years off her age. But it was not that possessions, and was in much distress. To alone- not thankfulness alone for her re- escape the shame of poverty, he set out with covered treasure that altered her, but a the Christian soldiers who were going on conviction that fretting and murmuring the Crusades to Palestine, in order to take are as real sins as lying and thieving. part in the capture of the Holy Places.
Geoffrey went to sea again as soon as He was taken prisoner in a battle, put he could be fitted out; but the Boyce's into chains, and thrown by the Sultan into cottage is now as cheerful, if not quite so a dungeon, where he languished for years, noisy, in his absence as it was when he was suffering terrible privations, and without at home, for Mrs. Boyce is grown quite any hope of being redeemed by a ransom. chatty in her efforts to amuse Amy when But a protecting Providence used this she comes home tired with teaching trouble- suffering for his salvation. In the darkness some children. She has learned the truth of the dungeon a blessed light arose in his of the text which says that 'Godliness with soul. He thought of his former wicked contentment is great gain.' H. A. F. life, and the heavy affliction which had
befallen him, he owned to be a just punish- they were put on trial they confessed their ment and visitation of God. He became plot. quite another man; he felt deep repent- The prisoner was at once set at ance, he bore his sad fate with patience, liberty, and led before the Sultan whose and found comfort and strength in trusting life he had saved. He asked him to make to Jesus Christ.
any request, and it should be granted him. After several years two Turks among But the noble man replied, “I will take his fellow-prisoners, who had been con- no reward, for what I have done is only a demned for robbery, were set at liberty, Christian duty. You have done me much their time of imprisonment being over. evil, I have repaid it you with good. This
In the night before they were released is a Christian's revenge towards his enemies.' they talked secretly together about a plan The Sultan was deeply touched, and they meant to execute, which was nothing offered the liberated prisoner a post of less than on the third day after their libera- honour at his Court. tion to murder the Sultan out of revenge. But the Christian declined it, and only This day was a great Saracen festival, on asked to be allowed to return to his own which the sovereign went in state to the country. Not only was this granted him, mosque, in order, according to an old custom, but the Sultan rewarded him royally. to receive at an appointed place the peti- And now, after such a long absence, he tions of all who presented themselves to him. journeyed to his home, where, with the The conspirators determined to mingle with treasures he had received, he bought back the petitioners; one was to make pretence the estates of his ancestors, and lived and to hand the Sultan a petition, and at the died a good and benevolent master to his sermoment when the monarch was about to vants and tenants, and as a pious Christian. take it was to plunge his dagger into his The chain with wlich he had been fctheart. The other was to arrange that a tered he had brought back to his home, way for flight should be opened to him, so and preserved it as a remembrance not that in the confusion which the deed would only of how much he had suffered, but also cause it might be possible for him to escape. because it had been the cause of his change
The Turks thought that their Christian of heart, and of his later good fortune in fellow-prisoner was asleep and heard nothing life. of their plot. But he understood every On his death-bed he gave intructions word, and when the two criminals had been that a portion of it should be placed with released from prison he sent in a most him in his grave, and the other part be pressing request for an audience, as he had kept as a memento in his family, and he a most important communication to make connected with it the prophecy that so long which concerned the life of the sovereign. as it was preserved success and blessing
An officer from the Sultan came, to whom should never depart from his house. the prisoner told all about the conspiracy. Of course this prophecy did not come In consequence of this every possible pre- trưe through the chain, but by the family caution was taken, and the two criminals remembering the fate of bim who had worn were seized just at the moment when they it, and bearing in mind that it is God Who were about to approach the monarch. guides our way, and who teaches, punishes, Daggers were found on them, and when and protects us.
J. F. C.
TIMOTHEUS AND PHILEMON. merchants. He tenderly took leave of the (Continued from p. 195.)
two boys, and commended them to the CHAPTER II.
care of their nurse, a pious and elderly THE STOLEN CHILDREN.
person, and promised to return early in FTER the mother's death, the evening. The boys accompanied him
living in the town was to his horse. He kissed them once more,
retired. Here he hoped This was the play-ground of the two boys; to be able to devote himself fully to they jumped about in the beautiful green the education of his children. He had
grass, and played at ball or at horses in the them always with him, not only at meals gravel road. They used also to listen to and during his walks, but also when he the happy song of the birds who had buik sat working at his desk they remained in their nests in the trees. his study, learning their lessons, writing, While the two boys were this day walkor playing. Notwithstanding all his busi- ing round the flower-beds, they saw close ness he devoted at least two hours a-day to to a rose-bush, and just under a large fig. their instruction. Here in the country tree, an overturned flower-pot, from the he was their only teacher. He prayed rim of which a piece had been broken off. with them every morning and evening; The flower-pot does not belong to this every Sunday and festival he went with place,' said Timotheus; 'the gardener ought them to church; he read with them at to have cleared away such broken rubbish. home the Gospel for the day, and spoke to Philemon took up the flower-pot in order them about it. When they walked with to remove it. But how astonished both him in the garden and in the fields, he boys were when they beheld a bird's nest drew their attention to the beauty of the inside it. Five little birds were loudly works of God.
chirping and opening wide their little These two dear boys were now, after the yellow beaks. This is a robin's nest, death of their mother, his only joy. They said Timotheus ; look, there is the old
' loved him with their whole soul, and obeyed bird flying anxiously round; it thinks that the slightest sign he gave them. His we want to take away its young.' hopes for the future of these noble boys No, no,' said Philemon, we won't do soothed in some degree his sorrow for the any harm to your little birds.? loss of their never-to-be-forgotten mother. He placed the flower-pot down again But soon a new and greater trial befell this over the nest, and both boys removed to excellent man.
a little distance to see if the old robin Every week his business obliged him to would come back again to her young She go twice into the town; one day he had to soon did so, with a fly in her beak for them, make an extra journey thither, as he had and crept in through the little opening in an important affair to settle with several the rim of the flower-pot. The boys were