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Cales aifo Ske%s.
"I Should really like to know who that bib."
It was not the first time my wife had poken of the same thing. To-night there lis an added anxiety in her voice, that Atraeted me from my book. I call her Birdie. She has answered to that name iom infancy; and surely nothing could be nore characteristic of the cheery little 'Oman who sits beside the window in my tudj Bo silently while I am writing. For rtien employed about her household avocalons she chirrups, and sings, and flutters iDout with motions as airy as the little feathered people themselves. She is a wise little woman, too, who has helped me out of mope than one pecuniary difficulty. But that is neither here nor there. My wife's tender voice appealed to my sympathy.
I looted far down the street, in the direo
■ her finger pointed, and saw a slight 'omanly figure, moving with quick footitepi.
"Well, deal', and what is there about that gal that (o interests you?"
"I really don't know, unless I am attracted by her pure, pale face," replied my "TM. "And the manner of the girl is so ■Ouest! ger dothes are old and patched; «e shawl is of ancient pattern ; the bonnet JMied out with many a winter's wear; B with all, there is such a sweet, holy
■ «bout that young face that I can't help
"Jing to know her."
How long have you noticed her, Birdie?" ° J
'Etery day this week, just about this m, and I feel as if she needed help. I *i indeed. How ever shall I get to speak Whher?"
tThere, there, don't give yourself needuixiety," I said. "There will probably J chance yet if she needs you. I will B4e inquiries."
. But she haunts me," cried Birdie perJ*%. "For two days I haven't sat *»u to a meal without thinkir g of her; and l*a!to mo she must want lor food." w, there you are carrying sympathy *o
the extreme verge of sensitiveness. She may not, after all, be worth one of your thoughts. At any rate, don't make yourself wahappy about it, or I shall take my hat and go search the town for an unknown and nameless girl. How will that do?"
"We'll wait, I think," said my wife; and as she looked up, smiling, I saw her eyes were full of tears.
The next day was the Sabbath. How happy I was, refreshed by the night's rest, but more than all because I knew my people were united, and that I should not miss one familiar face whose absence could not be accounted for! There is nothing that so sustains a pastor, next to the grace of God, as the consciousness that the people of his charge are able and willing to hold up his hands, meeting him with cordial smiles, looking after his comforts, giving him now and then trifling tokens of their regard, in the shape of only perhaps a heartfelt commendation, but oh, how good it is! The minister, like the author, like men in the other professions, needs stimulants now and then, even of human praise. It will not hurt him to be grateful and to let him know you are. It will not hurt him if he is sometimes asked whether he has any little needs; even if he is a proud man, who will not confess to Buch weaknesses, his heart will throb at the touch and tone of kindness. It will not hurt him to add something over the stipulated sum on quarter-day ; and I know of nothing more beautiful than the custom in our parish. The children are taught to put their little offerings together and present them on payday. Thus they feel that they too have an interest in the minister, who ought to love little children, and be very, very tender towards them.
But I did not think to wander from my subject in this manner. My sermon, that lovely Sabbath morning, was a plain practical illustration of faith. At the close my wife came towards me, her cheeks blooming like two roses.
"Henry, did you see her?" she asked.
"See who, dear? "What are you thinking of?" I responded.
"I really must speak'of it, even here," she said, fearing that I meant reproof; "that poor girl was at chapel in her old faded shawl and bonnet, and I am sure, Henry, I am sure she is suffering. Besides, she must be a good girl, or she would never come to chapel in such shabby clothes, and I know I Bhall be unhappy till I find out who she is."
"Well, my dear, I am afraid you will," I returned, a little annoyed at Birdie's persistency. "But we will see this afternoon if we can detain her."
"If she is only here," said my wife;" but I so fear she will not come again. She hurried out at the close of the service as if she were afraid of being spoken to, but if she comes this afternoon I will certainly find a way to get at her." That afternoon my wife astonished the congregation by sitting some distance from her usual place, in a pew that had neither carpet, cushion, footstool, nor hymn-book; but as she is one of those thoroughly independent little people, always ready with a reason, and a good one too, it is to be presumed that the sisters thought little of the matter afterwards. Birdie gained her point. The poor girl with the faded shawl, and irresolute, timid, careworn manner, was shown again in the afternoon to the same pew. At first she started and drew back, but as she could not leave with politeness, she entered and sat down in the farthest corner. Then my wife, with a critical observation whioh was not seen by its object, took in every item of her scanty wardrobe, and came to the conclusion that here was a case not only of poverty, but of suffering, acute and helpless.
After the sermon I found my wife talking with and gently detaining her. The girl timidly shrank from notice, and her pale, quiet lips worked at times almost convulsively, as she strove to speak.
"My dear," said my wife, turning to me, "this is a young stranger, it Beems. She
has not been in long. Did you not
tell me you were bom in ?" she continued, turning to the girl. "Yes, madam," replied the other. "And you love to come where God's people are; you put your faith in that good Being?" said Birdie, so tenderly that I felt my own heart melting.
"Oh, if I didn't, madam, where should I be now? What should I do? I've been praying—I've—been—pray—" the tears and the sobs burst forth, having their unrestrained will. The congregation had quietly gone out, and only the sexton stood impatiently in the vestibule.
"I hope you'll forgive me, madam," sobbed the girl at last, wiping her tan with a very clean, but well-worn handkerchief. "I haven't had anybody speak so kind to me for a year. I'd almost given up hearing a kind word any more from « lady like you. Yes, madam," she continued, more quietly, as the excitemen^ subsided, "I know G-od cares for roej and, O sir! what you said this morain; did so strengthen me, that"—she pausei while a quick blush overspread her sensitirt features. "I'm sure, I thank you, sir, for every word; it seemed as if I could tali them all."
"Will you come and see me to-morroir, or shall I call on you ?" asked my wife.
The girl glanced down at her dress.
"Indeed, it's too poor a place to askvoa to, madam. I'm ashamed of it, but I couldn't do any better. If you please, I'll come and soe you."
"Very well," said Birdie cheerMlj. "Then I will expect you early in t»» morning."
Monday brought the poor child not long after the breakfast dishes were cleared away. She was very pale, and such i look of exhaustion crossed her face irnn she sat down that Birdie was Berioujlj frightened. J
"Are you sick, my dear?" she iM bustling up ready for her medicine chest
"Oh no, madam," replied the girl. "» you would please give me—a—a K"* water." Some good angel whispered to that little wife of mine. I should ne»* have thought of it, but she can read everything, I believe. In a moment she W gone out, and entered with a shima) little tray, on which stood a cup of ^"sl bit of steak, and rolls and butter. *J girl burst into tears as it was set on tni table. She cast towards it at first such j ravenous look—famished, starving—th8'' was frightened.
"0 madam !" she cried, "how did J°< know I was hungry? Oh, I will tell J°< I've only had a bit of bread a day for week. Oh, I'm so hungry! God w bless you. He has heard my prayers. I knew he would at last."
"Never mind about thanks," said tbt little household angel of mine, seating ■ at the table in a twinkling, the tears dropping from her own eyes while they ** filling mine. "There is not enough thef to hurt you, so eat it all;" and she untied the poor bonnet and took it off, unpin"1" the old shawl and laid it away from the dress of poverty on the chair at her side. Then with a delicacy that was most thoughtful, she beckoned me from the loom, where she laid her head on my ibonlder and wept, entirely overcome. "0 Henry, to think she was almost toning," she whispered, "and might have Bed!"
Not long after, Birdie entered again, k told me afterwards that the girl sat pore the empty dish, her hands clasped, w eyes raised, and that she never experienced such awe as then. It seemed as • she could feel the blessing of the God of fcpoor descending upon her in that silent Bom. And as she sat there the girl told let simple story. Let me give it in her Wn words :—
"I was born in . My father and
nother were both cotton-spinners, and wry poor. It would not have been so bad, tat they Vrth Tere fond 0f drink, and I am afraid they cared nothing about God. I don't bow how I grew up. I seem to remember nothing but the smell of the hot m"s and the whirr of machinery, that ■lirajB seemed as if it were eating up human stores body and soul. When I was mteen there came what we people called inters, and others, Dissenters, to our slice, and they 'preached on Sundays in *e open air. Some of the mill people >eard them, but the most made disturbance J"d hated them. Among the last were my father and mother. They would not go 3w the meetings, and forbade my going; rot I don't know, something seemed to «•» me there, and I went. My father *i so angry that he swore he would kill ^•nd! he would have beat me dreadfully, "* for one of the neighbours who had *■ influence over him. But what I "d at that meeting changed me, and "Ned to change everything about me. I **» there was something better than the radfol life I led and saw others leading. teething seemed to talk to me in my *|> and I learnt to pray and love the ■riour there all by myself when my l«r locked me in to keep me from the ■*fgi. But when he found out how I s I never saw anybody in such a dreadTMnge. He wanted to tear me in pieces. t«»oold strike me, and try by all manner 1 wielty to tear me away from my reli*• But, 0 sir, he couldn't; nobody TMl do that; it was beautiful when I got ■"m with Jesus—it made up for all my
suffering. At last my mother gave out and began to hate me too. I had nowhere to go but to God. My father determined that I should marry a young man who liked me, but he was a very wicked young man; he swore, and caroused, and drank, and I saw nothing but misery before me. I did not know what to do, but when I went to God, I felt as if I must leave that place. A cousin of mine was coming to
; she offered to pay half my fare,
so I worked secretly, beyond my strength; and the very week my father had declared that I should be married I left. My cousin Carried me to some friends of hers, but I soon saw that it was no fit place for me.
0 sir! O madam! I cannot tell you how dreadful it was—how I was beset on every side, even by my cousin, whom I thought so pretty and good. She fell into bad ways, and I could do nothing with her.
1 left the house, and for weeks could find no friends. How I lived I can't tell, only some way God sustained me. I seemed to see nothing but trouble on all sides, but if I had only a bit of dry bread, it was sweetened by his loving-kindness. I tried to get work, but never having learned to be a good needle-woman, I failed there. Then I heard of a place where there were cottonmills, and determined to go. I had no money, but God promised to be with me; so I set out, and I walked fifty miles. Sometimes I was near starving, but somebody would be raised up to help me. Once I found a shilling near a railroad, and it seemed as if God's angels put it there for me. That shilling lasted me till yesterday, for I bought only a little bread at a time with it. I was so worn down when I came here that I could not go farther. God directed me to a poor woman who has
given me my lodging till yesterday. I have een trying every day to get work, but I can't do what the people ask me, and I can't tell a lie for the sake of a place, when I know I aint capable. And I do thank you for your kind words. Oh, it seemed almost just now as if I bad got into heaven! If I could only do something to reward you for your kindness, madam!"
Birdie heard her silently, but she forbade her putting on her bonnet and shawl again. The poor child became one of our household, an apt, intelligent worker; and now that my little blue-eyed daughter has come, we would not part with Jenny Gray for her weight in gold. The influenoe of •uch a girl will be priceless, as our little one grows up into girlhood.
God does give us impressions sometimes that should not be striven against, and well it is for us if we heed them!
DOING GOOD IN A PRISON.
A Painter in Holland, having omitted to answer a summons to be enrolled in the fire-brigade, was sentenced to pay a fine of five shillings or suffer a day's imprisonment. Being poor, he chose the latter for his wife and children's sake, and proceeding to the jail gave himself up on the Saturday evening preceding the Sunday appointed by the magistrate for his incarceration.
He was placed in a room with ten or twelve others, who were there for the same cause. They were a frivolous, jovial set. Some were laughing and joking, others were playing cards, and all were trying to be as merry as possible, though their merriment was of that kind which is as the " crackling of thorns under a pot."
The painter was uneasy. His pious heart was chilled by the ungodly atmosphere of the place. He shrunk from spending a Sabbath in such an evil company. He wished he had paid his five shillings, or could pay it now and go home. But such wishes were vain. He was a prisoner, and a prisoner he must remain until the close of the next day.
While brooding over these and kindred thoughts, the words, " Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," flashed into his mind. "I am alone, and they are twelve," said he; and then, turning his thoughts into prayer, he added, "Lord, remember that I am alone, and they are many; remember, also, that they are blind and lost, and perhaps thou wilt pluck some of them out of the mouth of the lion. Help me, O Lord, to witness for thee."
Thus fortified by purpose and prayer, he drew his rude bench to the window, took out his pocket Bible, and began reading.
"Hallo 1 what have you there ?" asked one of the men, slapping him on the shoulder.
"You see it is a book," replied the paintsr: "if you have no objection I will read a few pages to you."
"Are there nice stories in it?" rejoined the man.
"Plenty of stories, and nice, too," re plied the painter.
"Well, let us hear," cried the prisoner "Hush, you men! Listen, this fellow »ii read a story."
The painter read the parable of tin Prodigal Son. To his surprise he was no disturbed until lie finished, wheu one c the men said,
"I know that story very well; it is froi the Bible."
Other remarks followed, and as it ra now too dark to read any more, the painti proposed to read more on the morrow.
"Very well," replied several of t he men "it will help to shorten the day; " ate then they alt retired to an inner room to sleep.
The next morning, when breakfast *»i ready, the painter said,
"Permit me, friends, to say a word. Wl have Blept soundly. God has graciWy protected us through the night. Mert and drink are prepared for us. It is liii gift. Ought we not to thank him for these mercies? If you have no objection, let us thank God and seek his blessing."
Hearing no objection, he proceeded to offer a simple, cordial thanksgiving to God, and an earnest prayer for his blessing.
After breakfast one of the prisoof Bmiled and said, "You might be oar minister to-day. You pray j ust lie» parson."
"Yes, be our minister!" cried several voices. "Let us have a bit of a church tbi morning."
To this several assented. Five laugb(i and going across the room, began plajra, cards. Toe painter read a passage Scripture, and then offered a eolen prayer, in which he did not fail to rerun! ber the card-players in the corner. Aft prayer he proposed singiDg, and at on began a favourite Dutch psalm; he m to a well-known tune. The effect » powerful. One by one they joined until even the card-players dropped d cards, doffed their caps, stood up, and «j with the rest. The jailer, hecrirg' unwonted sound, came to the door, seeing them so devout and orderly, pat to listen, and then helped to swell sacred chorus.
After the singing the jailer step inside, locked the door, and sitting bei the painter, remained while that faitl follower of his Lord proceeded to a remarks on the Scripture he had pitvioc read, and to exhort them to come to Christ.
The painter's words made a deep impression. No more cards appeared that day. After dinner he held another service, which was interrupted by the jailer coming in to inform the painter that he had spoken to the magistrate about him, and had received orders to release him.
With a good conscience and a joyful spirit the painter hastened home. The entire result of that day's labour the painter will not know until the clay of reword; but he did learn shortly after that
one qf his fellow-prisoners, at least, was led to embrace Christ by his faithful and timely-spoken words.
I give this fact to my Christian reader as an illustration of the manner in which they who are wise to win souls will turn even the most unpromising circumstances of life into opportunities to work for Christ. If that good painter could stand up amid twelve of bis Master's enemies in a prison, and win at least one of them over to the right, what may not the reader accomplish in his wider and more hopeful sphere, if he will but set his heart upon it?
fcs from ik Stints.
"KINGS AND PRIESTS." Wiras I was in Yorkshire, the other week, I was returning home from a walk amoDg the hills, when, as I was passing through the village, I saw a little glimmering light proceeding from a place that some persons would call a conventicle. I went towards it, and heard the voice of pinging and praying; so I opened the door and listened, and then it was so good that I thought I would go in. There were only two candles lighted in the little chapel, and I saw iust six people, and they were all in the table-pew, on their knees. There was a woman, a lad, and four men. As they prayed I went down on my knees in the little stone passage, because I did not want to disturb them; and very much was my soul lifted up with their prayers. They all prayed, one after another, and when they had done one of tbem said, "Will our ^brother that stole in say a word?" They took it for granted that one " stealing" in there had a right to be called upon to pray; and so I felt great delight in adding my petition to theirs, and I felt, indeed, that the promise had been fulfilled, "Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." What I saw there is only a specimen of what is eoinc on in the villages and hamlets of Yorkshire, and more or less throughout the country. And is not that a fulfilment of the Word that we were made kings and priests? Were not these poor men and »omen priests unto God, beseeching him M intercessors for others ?—Rev. Nenman SM.
Jesus, I am never weary,
When upon this bed of pain;
If thy presence only cheer me,
Ever near me—
Dear ones come with fruit and flowers,
In these deeply anxious hours;
All my sins were laid upon thee,
For the blood of thine atonement
Dearest Saviour! go not from me;
Let thy presence still abide;
I am sheltering at thy Bide.
Who for suffering sinners died.
Both mine arms are clasped around thee,
For my weary soul has found thee
—The late Mrs. Weiss, daughter of the late Archbishop of Dublin; composed on her death-led.