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tears—the tortured heart of thy martyr mother? Yes, mothermartyr ; for I have seen her in silence suffer as a martyr. I have seen her, in feverish anxiety, pace our scantily furnished room, and I have watched the silent tear roll down her påle cheek; and, on my father turning round, I have seen her furtively brush the tears away. I understood those tears ; and yet here was I, wretch, causing more agonising—more heartrending tears than she had ever shed before. Forgive, O God! Mother, I shall see you to-night!”
The night was wet and stormy, yet the warring of the elements had no influence upon me. I reached the door; paused ; then, attempting my usual whistle, I lifted the latch, and entered.”
Anything the matter, David ?” inquired my mother, with an anxious look.
“No, mother; nothing. I was detained last night in town, and I have come to-night instead.”
A deep sigh swelled my mother's breast. “Detained, were you ?” she said, with a melancholy accent. 6. Detained. Perhaps, David, I expect too much. May God protect you !"
· Forgive me, mother. You have been watching me, and have discovered that of late I am not what I used to be."
“ Watched you! What eye is so keen as a mother's ? and her instinct, David, excelleth wisdom! Watched you !”
“I have lately observed your anxious look, and how remorse seared my heart. Not too late, mother ! not too late! Dry up that tear. I have sinned, but am fully repentant. Heaven will help me. D’Orsay's school again. EXCELSIOR! There, mother, I pledge my words with a kiss.”
" Thanks,” said my mother, a tear forcing its way down her pale cheek.
" You make me so happy ; for I know you will keep your promise!"
“Depend upon that, dear mother. Joy for the tears I have caused to shed.”
"Do you know, David, when it was that my heart sank ?
It was when
broke your covenant with your God—the tie that links you with your Maker-when you broke the Sabbathday, for then I saw the setting of my once bright star, the watching of which was my pleasure and my hope."
" I felt it here! mother, here! Conscience not void of offence; but, good night, mother. I shall not forget the AllImportant Commandment of Promise. Good night !”
Dear departed mother! How much do I owe to the early impressions received from thee! Surrounded by vice, hypocrisy, and crime, to thee I owe my escape from snares and temptationssnares that ruined many of those with whom I was destined to come in contact; from pilfering from orchards to offences of a graver nature, which, in many instances, ended in transportation. Lives blasted ! And the agonising tears of the parents-hair grey, and cheeks furrowed with remorse and regret! Sisters, too, weeping over the sad fate of their only brother—torn from them—to go where, and to do what? To expiate the guilt of crime in felons' chains !
Again, to thee, my mother, I render thanks for thy good example and thy wholesome precepts. Without thee, bold as I always was in spirit, I might have been STRONG IN VICE !
Thanks! Thanks! Parents! parents ! How many a lovely blossom have I seen blasted for want of the parental pruning knife!
A MOTHER'S TEACHINGS LIVE WHEN THE REMAINS THAT SOFT, QUICKENING TIE LIE COLD IN THE GRAVE!
The Power OF CONFIDENCE!-REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST !
-THE CHANGE!—THE THATCHED-ROOF COTTAGE AND
T was five o'clock in the morning. With a
- Good bye,” she said, with a fond smile.
• Good bye, mother. I won't forget my promise."
"I know it, David. My heart tells me. Good bye.”
I kissed her cheek, and hurried away from the thatched-roof cottage, happier than I had been for nearly a year.
How beautiful is CONFIDENCE! It gives us strength to resist evil! In the pure world truth is built on faith, and faith upon confidence in one another's integrity!
On my journey, I did not hum a song, nor did I whistle; no, but I reflected upon my last twelve months' career. The snares by which I had been surrounded—the hairbreadth escapes—the upward hill of vice which I had been climbing—and my providential arrest before I had reached the summit. Then, in awe, I shuddered at the peril to which I had exposed myself !
Thus I reached the spot where I had parted with the old man, and his words came fresh and truthful to my memory.
" Smoking requires a companion !” “Energies become paralysed !" How true! For the last six months I have been dead to all that is ennobling. Fare thee well, good old man. I will not now smile at your warning voice!
I reached the office in good time; for though I had estranged
myself from many moral obligations, I had not failed in the performance of my devoir to my employer.
In the evening, Schmidt took out his cigar case. I shook my head.
66 What's the matter?” said he. 66 Take one."
“My dear Schmidt, you have been very kind to me I must grant; but the kindness is misplaced—'a love mistaken,' Schmidt. Let me try, now, to return that kindness."
66 What do you mean?”
"Our habits are becoming depraved. They grow worse and worse every day. We are getting, as the poet says, “Into a fixed, confirmed habit of sin, which will terminate in death ; death, not only as to merit, but a moral and physical annihilation !'
" Bah! you are dreaming."
" It is a dream, Schmidt, and the awakening from that dream startles me. I shall dream no more the dreams that lead to such a precipice. To D'Orsay once more, and for aye. Do join the class, Schmidt, there's a good fellow. If you knew the happiness that I experienced before I visited Mrs. Mac's and other places, you would not hesitate a moment. I was then living for something--pleasure in the progress I was makinghope in my future prospects. Lately I have been living with a soul deadened in regrets. Come, try. Mr. D'Orsay is very clever. You once tempted me. Be grateful.”
"No, to-night. "Set out early and resolutely, without procrastination, or looking back.' I'm off. Come along."
Schmidt did come; attended regularly for two weeks ; then stopped away one night; then two; then altogether. He had found another companion, suited to his taste.
A few years afterwards, when, in Glasgow, Master John, the son of my old employer, when speaking of bygone times, said, “I suppose you have heard of your friend, Schmidt ?" “ No," I replied.
" Dead !"
6. Poor Schmidt! His race was not a long-lived one. The victim of a light, foolish, and wayward heart. Dead! My mother's warning voice !"
06 Yours ever,
Months rolled on; classes in the evening, and my happy Saturday trips to the thatched cottage.
“Here's a letter," said my mother, “ that Johnny has left for you."* I broke the seal and read :
“DEAR D.,—"The praying rascal has left us. Do come back to Paisley. Mr. is always asking after you, and he is engaged to print the Paisley Independent newspaper.
Do He will be glad to have you, and then the happy days we used to enjoy. I will ask him to send for you. There !
" JOHNNY." Simple, good-hearted Johnny; how easy to speak. Granting that Mr. G · would take me again into his office, how could I leave my present employer ? No; no. I should like to live again in the thatched cottage—my little room, with window peering through the roof. Father and friends, Archy, and the Braes of Gleniffer. But, no; gratitude forbids ! However profitable, never let it be said that I was guilty of ingratitude !
I mentioned the circumstance to Master John, who spoke to his father, who, in turn, asked me my views on the matter. So satisfied was he with my reply, that he at once gave me leave to go back to my old kind-hearted employer.
Joy of joys! Happy, happy change! To live with those we love; to associate with those we esteem; to work for the good and the worthy, change toil and labour into the work of love. What a change, too, did it make in the interior of that little thatched-roof cottage!
* The lad that followed me to Glasgow.