Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

nion, was about to reply, when I put an end to the controversy by starting forward, and making my appearance. " Yes,” cried I, “there is an Eye that sees you ;” but, before I bad time to finish the sentence, Bragwell had taken to his heels, got across the field, and, without looking behind, leaped over the wall, and vanished in an instant. Careless, at the impulse of the moment, fed also, but having stumbled into a deep furrow, and observing, on his getting up, that I had not proceeded to lay violent hands on his remaining companions, he returned. The other two had been too much petrified at the time to attempt to fly, and, as Careless came forward, they stood trembling, in tears, before me. As it was my object rather to reclaim than to terrify, my first attempt was to restore confidence by soothing expressions, "Come forward, my young man,” said I to Doubtful, “ you have got quit of your adversary. What fellow was that, I pray, who talked so lustily, and by his defiance of fate seemed to mouth the heavens ;' yet fled at my approach ; nor looked behind him, - though there was peither thunder nor lightning at his heels ?" Doubtful seemed lost in thought, and was too much taken up witla bis own situation to make me an answer; but Will Care did, whose free, open countenance prepossessed me in his favour froin the moment I saw him, gave me to under. stand that his name was Thomas Bragwell; that he was the son of an industrious mechanic, but one of those easy sort of creatures, who do not love to be hard upon their Tittle ones; who think the greatest punishment that should be inflicted on them, is to threaten well, but never to lay to; to sooth them with promises they never mean to realize; and if all will not do, to make them behave

peaceably

peaceably, and stay within doors on a winter's evening, to frighten them with bugbears, which, as the children grow up, they learn to despise ; and are led to conclude, that what their parents taught them was a system of deceit al. together. No wonder, then, that this hopeful plant, nurtured in such a bed, after having arrived at sixteen years of age, vexed the grey hairs of his father by refusing to settle at any employment. He had not been accustomed to put his hand to the smallest job as he grew up, and now that idle habits were formed, the old man found it was difficult to drive them from him. In his attempts to instil religious principles, and give Tom some idea of a Divine Being, he was not more successful ; for although the promise of a new bat, or something fine, would at times make him put on a serious countenance, and even go to church, yet, no sooner was his father's back turned, than he turned all into ridicule, and would say, " he used to mak' me believe in ghosts and witches, and sic things, when a bairn; but let him trick me gin he can now.” Nay, so far was this rogue gone in iniquity, that on that very evening, on his way to the beans, he had been ex. ulting in the victory he had got over the old man, by “ tricking him," as he called it, out of a new coat, on condition of bis regularly attending the church; “ and the old fellow thinks," said he, “that I've been there the day, for he's at bame no weel, but catch me there gin I can help it.” On the system of education adopted by Tom's father, I need make no comment; and as Tom's case is not singular--what a lesson to parents !

Doubtful, I found, was more fortunate with regard to his parents, rot that they were in better worldly circumstances, for if there was any difference in this respect, it

was

was in favour of Old Bragwell, but David's father was a man of principle, and did not spare the rod when he saw occasion, nor had he reason in general to bribe his son with any thing fine to do what was right, but unfortunately this evening, in opposition to his father's advice and his mother's entreaties, David would go out under some pretence, and had not proceeded far, when he was stopped on his way by Candid and Careless, who were loitering at the bead of the Western-Lane when he came up to them.

Candid, I learned, was a true object of pity. It had been his misfortune to lose both his parents at an early age ; and although now entered to an apprenticeship at thirteen, was still lodged with an old woman, at the expense of the purish ; who thought she did her duty sufficiently if she "cled and fed him," as she said, “ without troubling her sel' how he was employed on the Sabbath-day, providin' he didna stay awa' frae the kirk, for gif he did that, she was sure to hear o't frae the minister.” It was not at all surprising then, that this neglected orphan, without any friendly hand to guide lis steps, had taken his station at the place where he had just been joined by Careless before Doubtful came forward.

John Careless was the son of a poor well-meaning widow woman, but whose over-fondness for an only child, (who had lost his father, at two years of age,) was like to prove his ruin ;-for the darling boy had already thrown off all parental restraint, and being fonder of rambling about the streets, or joining the idle boys on a Sunday evening, at their place of rendezvous, the head of the WesternLane, than staying at home and learning his questions, as his mother wished him, it was natural for him to make his appearance almost the moment Candid got his back to the Wail. Vol. I, B

From

had lost his fathele darling boy had der of rambling ar

From the history of these three young men, it is easy to account for their all being assembled, when Bragwell made his appearance in an evil hour; and with “How are ye ma brave lads! we're al weet met," and other ca. joling words, soon ingratiated himself so much into their favour, as to find no difficulty in getting the better of the scruples of even Doubtful bimself, and enticed all the three away with him. So dangerous is it." to stand in the way of sinners,' that it is oft, (as here it was proved to be,) but one step to a higher degree of wickedness, the walking in the counsel of the ungodly.' • What another awful lesson to parents ! I mean such az unconcernedly suffer their children to loiter idly about the streets at any time, but especially on a Sunday even. ing. Do they not consider the obligation all Christian parents lie under, to bring up their little ones in the nur. tare and admonition of the Lord ? And what time more fit for this purpose, than the evening of that day, when the poorest labourer among us enjoys the privilege of repose, and the most humble head of a family has suffici. ent leisure to devote his patriarchal powers, to the best interests of those whom providence has intrusted to his care. Our good minister, Mr Allworthy, often observes, that 'EVERY WELL REGULATED FAMILY, SHOULD BE A SUNDAY-SCHOOL OF ITSELF:' and I cannot, for my part, conceive a more beautiful domestic scene, than a couple happy in themselves, and in the pledges of their mutual love,' surrounded by their offspring on 'a Sabbath-evening, engaged with their little tasks; and whilst with anxious solicitude they watch the progress of the juvenile mind in knowledge, occasionally assisting in bending the twig, or in training the tender plant to virtue. “What a pity, my young men," I resumed, “that you

. should

should have been found by Bragwell in such a situation at this. A situation of idleness is the niost dangerous in which a young man can be placed-you have no doubt heard the proverb, that when the devil finds a man idle, be generally sets him to work?-it was no wonder then, that your depraved associate, who seems to be too much under the influence of the evil one, found you in this sie tuation, an easy prey to his deceitful wiles." For it appears Tom had not the hardihood to propose the bean expedio tion all at once : No-it was only a walk in a fine evening;' that was the alluring bait he first held out; and it was not till after this had taken effect, and the field ap. peared in view, that his vile intentions became more appareat.-Then Doubtful began to offer some objections, but it was too late. He next attempted to work upon their fears by arguments, but they were over-ruled in a tone which left him no alternative but either to advance, and maintain the character of a brave fellow, or go back under the imputation of cowardice; and it was to these are guments Bragwell had alluded, when he said, Doubtful was “ aye startin' questions,' &c.

Having heard this account of the matter, I could not help looking upon Bragwell as a most detestable character, and therefore pointed out his cowardly conduct in running off, and leaving them in the scrape into which he had brought them, (as is usual with snch characters,) as one mean to induce them to avoid his company in future.

"But what,” addressing myself to Candid, “ did you mean by attempting to fright Tom with the thunder and Lightning ?” “O, as for that,” he w.plied, “he kens very weel what I meant himsel', although he pretended he had sair fit. It was ae Sunday, atween sermons, the last year, B2

whan

« ZurückWeiter »