Page images

AMONG LIONS. (Continued from page 319.)


T was such a strange night that first we spent on the barren shore; I had never laid on the ground wrapped in a blanket before, colonist's wife that I was, and without Matthew too. How little he knew of our doings that long day! I should think more prayers and thanks to God went up from our tents and hol. s in the sand, than our rough company had ever heard in their whole lives. One thinks of something more than this world in such times of danger. We were very thankful for life, but I think we should have shuddered a little had we known that our troubles had only just begun.

'It came on very rough weather the next day, and as we sat shivering in our tents. we watched our poor steamer stagger with each blow of the advancing waves, and finally break up and disappear. No hope of help from her. The captain, and those who knew best on such matters, advised all to remain where we landed, as the chances of another steamer soon passing were great, so signals were hoisted and an anxious look-out kept. A few adventurous spirits struck inland, hoping to find assistance sooner in that way, but we helpless ones kept together. We suffered most for want of water, none could be found on the spot, and the supplies from the steamer had to be carefully husbanded. There was much kindness shown to my children by rough men, who spared some of the small cupfull handed to each to still the cravings of the little ones, who could not understand why they should want, and yet not be satisfied. Three nights and days we remained on the shore, and at last a steamer

hove in sight, happily one belonging to the same company as our ill-fated vessel. The surf, however, was now so tremendous that no boats could approach the shore, and to our horror we saw the steamer gradually disappearing. The captain, however, had signalled to our captain that he would proceed down the coast to a sheltered bay, some twenty-five miles distant, where the people could embark in safety. Twenty-five miles of loose sand or bare rock to get over! It was a terrible business for the men, but for the helpless women and children it involved dreadful suffering, if even it could be done at all.

'And now it was I thanked God a thousand times that He had put it into my husband's heart to send Roger with us. He cheered me up, and reminded me how, notwithstanding strange food and exposure, my twin boys were already improved in health; he thought of everything that could amuse the little ones; he was seldom without one or both in his arms; he interested a sailor in Violet, and got her carried for me; he guarded us by night, and never left us by day. But still it was a fearful, time. The poor steerage women lay down under the rocks as they wearied out, and we had to leave them to die, for, as a rule, the men could only manage to drag themselves along. They had little strength left for helping the feeble. Some wandered away hoping to find an easier route, and were never seen again, and others died of sheer exhaustion. Happily, I managed to keep up with the main body of the passengers; and at length we reached the bay, and after a time were taken safely on board the "Western Queen."

'My three little ones suffered little from that terrible journey; they were such light weights, that some kind soul was always willing to help them along: and Roger,

as I said before, was their unwearying protector.

"The "Western Queen" was on its way back to San Francisco, and there, before any news of the disaster reached the place, we presented ourselves before Matthew's astonished eyes. A special steamer was despatched to the scene of our shipwreck to recover the buried treasure, which was found as we left it, and was conveyed on to its destination. You will be glad to hear that a meeting of the owners has been called, and a liberal sum voted as a reward to the four men of the crew, and to Roger Weir, as an acknowledgment of gratitude for services rendered, in placing the large sum in safety during the perils of that time. Roger's share will come to nearly 50l., so you see he is quite a rich man now. Though much shaken and wearied with all these disasters, Matthew is of opinion that the English journey should not be much longer delayed, so I am to make another attempt next week. Roger is to accompany us to England. This was my wish, and Matthew has given his consent. I feel as if, next to my husband, I could most rely on him, he was so helpful, so unmindful of himself, during those days of suffering. Matthew hopes, however, that he will return with us too, as he regards him as a valuable servant. And now, I think I have written a volume instead of a letter; but I knew, when the newspaper accounts reached you, you would be anxious to hear the exact truth of the matter. You You may look for us all not very long after you get this letter, and I trust we may have a less eventful passage. I ask you, dear Violet, to read this account to Roger Weir's father and mother, and to tell them that Matthew also is determined to show his approval of their son's conduct by doing something to advance him in life, whether he desires to remain in England, or prefers,

as we hope, to return to San Francisco. His relations may well be proud of him, for he has shown himself indeed a hero.'

[ocr errors]

'There,' said Violet pausing with glistening eyes, what do you think of that, Mrs. Weir? Didn't I always say Roger had it in him? But people are so stupid, they think if a boy can't talk glibly, or stand on his head, or do something out of the way, that he is good for nothing.'

The long letter and the wonderful news had so impressed the Weirs, that Thomas could only gasp, while Mrs. Weir took up the corner of her apron.

It was hardly the reception of the news that Violet expected.

Mr. Swayne was more considerate. "This is famous news,' he said cheerfully, but it is all so wonderful that we can hardly take it all in. Come along, Violet.

We will look in again in the morning, Thomas, and I wish you a very good night, and happy dreams of Roger.'

'Father,' said Alice, as they made their way to the Rectory, isn't it strange? last summer it was all Johnny in that house, he was so clever and was to do so much, and now he is only a poor half-witted boy, and Roger is looked to as the great comfort and support of the family!'

"Yes, Alice, it is strangé,' said Mr. Swayne, and I feel deeply for the poor Weirs as regards Johnny; all the more that they helped to wear the poor child's brain out. As to Roger, a little sunshine will do him good; will it not, Violet? He was a good deal depressed when he left home, but he too, poor lad! will be grieved to find what sad effects the fever has had on his little brother.'

It is a very strange world!' said Alice, sighing if we did not know that God is very wise, and looks to the end, which we

can't, it would be very difficult to take things quietly. But I won't think of the troubles now, it is so pleasant to feel that Roger is coming home, and all your friends, Violet; and after such adventures, too! Where is Gilbert? He must hear all about it.' (To be continued.)


HAT is the rainbow? When the sunlight falls upon a drop of dew you know the dewdrop sparkles. This is because the sunlight falls upon the dewdrops, and they reflect or 'give back' its light. They were nothing but dark water-drops before the sun rose and shone on them and made them sparkle.

But suppose you stand with your back to the sun, and look at the dewdrops on a leaf or spray as it waves gently in the breeze; you will presently see not the bright white gleam only, but flashes of colours, red, blue, green. This is because the sunlight has not only shone on the outside of the drop, and then been given back or reflected, but because the light has shone right into the inside of the drop, and then turned back again, all broken up into these different colours.

For you know that one gleam or ray of pure white sunlight is made up of many rays of different colours. So long as it has free passage and can go on its way unbroken, the ray of pure white light remains pure and white; but as soon as the to pass through anything that stops it at all, or which turns it aside at all, then in certain cases the rays become separated from each other: sometimes you see all



the colours that are in the light in regular order-one above the other, as in a perfect rainbow sometimes you will only see only one or two, just as it happens. Hence, when you stand so as to look at a dewdrop opposite the sun, and the gleam of sunlight goes into the drop, the white gleam is broken up into all the different-coloured gleams which are called the prismatic colours.'

And it is this on a vast scale that makes the rainbow. Millions on millions of rain-drops are falling. The sunlight shines on them and into them. Inside the drops the light is broken up into the different colours of which pure white light | is composed. From one circle of drops the red rays are reflected to your eye, and you see a red bow. From another circle of drops the violet rays are reflected, and you see a violet bow, and so of the other! colours that compose the rainbow.

This is a simple way of telling, so far as we understand it, what the rainbow is; but what is of much greater interest to us is the lesson of the Rainbow. It teaches us that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood. In His great love and goodness God has put the beautiful bow in the cloud, as a sign that He remembers His promise that the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh that is upon the earth. (Gen. ix.)

The poet Campbell addresses the rainbow in a poem from which we choose some

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]



RE you going to school after dinner, Donald?'

'No. It's Wednesday, Bessie -- half a holiday.'

'Oh, you'll stay with me then; won't you, Donald?'

What do you say, Bessie?' 'You'll stay with me, Donald dear? Say you'll stay with me.'

'Not all the afternoon, Bessie. I promised go out blackberrying with Bob Taylor some time to-day: he's to call for me. He says he's found a hoard of them in a nook that nobody knows of."

'Donald, let the blackberries go this once, and stay with me.'

'I can't, Bessie: I have promised to go. I am going to get the berries for you, Bessie; you like blackberries.'

'But I don't want them, I only want you. Do stay with me, Donald, this once-only this once. You look out of the window and see the sun shining so brightly, and you think me selfish. If I am selfish, Donald, forgive me; it is so lonesome to be lying here alone, while mother is gleaning and you are away. I am so thirsty, and there's no one to give me some water: I am so weary, and there's no one to kiss or to comfort me. Stay with me, Donald, this once!'

The speaker was a pale, fragile girl of about fourteen or fifteen, who was lying upon a couch in the front room of a pretty but humble little cottage. This couch, which was arranged as a bed, was drawn close up to the window, with the view of cheering the sick girl with a sight of the bright scene from without.

How ill she looked! Her countenance so pale, with a small spot of bright red marked on either cheek; her hands, which were lying outside the coverlet, so thin and weak; and her dark eyes so restless and troubled!

By her side sat a boy of about thirteen, busily employed in chiseling out a boat. A fine, handsome boy he was, as strong as she was fragile, as healthy as she was weak; and yet there was some resemblance about the features-perhaps it was the eyes-which told that they were brother and sister.

The young girl's voice was imploring, and she earnestly watched her brother as he chipped away at his boat, and then, after a minute's pause, she said again,'Stay with me, Donald!'

I can't disappoint Bob, Bessie; but I'll come home to you as soon as ever I can.

« PreviousContinue »