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courage to look up ; so unused was she to kind words that if any one did speak kindly to her, she would look with strange, startled eyes into the speaker's face, as if she could hardly believe she had heard aright. When she entered the wretched hovel she called her home, harsh words and cruel blows were the greeting she received. But Mary did not indulge in a murmuring spirit; if you could have peeped in and seen her, as she kneeled by her little bed, with an expression of intense love and gratitude in her uplifted face, you would not have pitied her so very much after all; for many a one who reclines on a couch of down, would give all they possessed if they could thereby secure to themselves such love and confidence as Mary had in her Heavenly Father. She was not afraid to look up now, for she well knew that Jesus would not send her away because she was a drunkard's child.
It was winter; the children had been anxiously watching for the pond near the school-house to be frozen over sufficiently to skate upon ; several successive half-holidays they had been disappointed, but at last a boy ran into the playground shouting, “It's froze over ! I've tried it !” and away he scampered, with an eager crowd at his heels.
Oh, what fun it would be to put old dame Jones on the ice, after she has been spending an evening at the inn ; how much I should like it !” said Annie Gordon to her companion skaters, and seeing Mary's pained look, they all laughed in chorus. Annie's mocking laugh was yet ringing in Mary's ear, when she heard a crash, followed by a shriek.
Oh, what's the matter ?" she inquired of one of the boys.
“ Annie Gordon has fallen into the water ; she would go where we told her it was not thick enough to bear her.”
Without waiting to hear any more, Mary bounded on to the cracking ice. There was a dead silence for one moment, then a deafening shout came from the lookers-on, as the heroic girl stepped safely on to the frozen ground, with the fainting form of Annie Gordon in her arms.
“ Thank God !” exclaimed Mary, “for permitting me to save her life.” In the evening of the same day Mary entered Annie's bedroom, and approaching the dainty little bed on which lay one that had been so very near the cold arms of death, she said,
“ I hope you are better now, dear Annie?
“Oh, Mary, how can I thank you for your kindness? I have been thinking of what you have saved me from ; if I had died then, I should not have gone to heaven ; can you forgive me for my past unkindness to you? I am so sorry now, and I'll never serve you so again.”
Mary kissed her penitent friend, and said, “I have nothing to forgive, Annie; ask Jesus to forgive you, it is against Him that you have sinned.”
But suppose He won't listen to what I say? He loves you, I know, Mary, and He has seen how very unkind my behaviour has been to you."
“ Jesus always listens when we pray, Annie, and if you are sorry for your sins, and ask Him to forgive you,
I know He will,” said Mary, confidently.
After a short pause, Annie said, “ But now you are to live with me, you will help me to be good. you are to be my sister ; only think how nice it will be.” “ But I have a mother, Annie, and cannot leave her.”
Child," said Mrs. Gordon," you must come and be my daughter; we will love you and take care of you, just as we do our Annie.”
“Thank you, ma'am, but who will take mother's wet things off when she comes home, and who will clean the place and keep things a little bit together? I could not leave my mother.”
“You are a good child,” said Mrs. Gordon, “ to think of your mother, when she behaves so cruelly towards you.”
Mother says “ Please don't say anything against her, ma'am; remember she is my mother.”
Mrs. Gordon tried all her powers of persuasion to make Mary consent to come and live with them ; but though it was a great sacrifice, Mary made it without one regretful thought, for she hoped some day to see her mother a Christian. People would have laughed if they had known Mary's thoughts; but though some things may be impossible for man to do, there is no such word with God.
The praying, patient Mary had her reward for the sacrifice she had made, for there came a time when an aged woman leaned on her arm and sat by her side in the sanctuary; that aged woman was her mother. None could describe the joy that the conversion of her mother gave Mary, and she blessed God and felt thankful to Him for making her the means of bringing her mother and friend to love and serve Christ. Mrs. Gordon felt disappointed when Mary decided to remain with her mother, but determined that she would do all in her power towards making the life of the hitherto friendless girl more happy. Soon Mary and her mother removed to a pretty little cottage on Farmer Gordon's land, and Mrs. Gordon took care that there should be no lack of provisions in Dame Jones's larder. Mary had not to go to bed cold and hungry now. Prosperity, however, did not make her forget the One who had been her friend in all her hours of trial and suffering, but with a thankful heart she ascribed all her blessings to Him, and consecrated herself to His service.—The Mother's Friend.
M. A. P.
T'S no use trying, I'll give it all up!” ex
claimed Neddy with a burst of sorrow, as he looked down on the torn kite which he had trampled on when in a passion, because he could not release himself from the long tail which had become entangled round his leg. “Here I've been trying every day, all this
week long, from Monday to Saturday to keep my temper for one whole day, to gain the book which papa offered to me as a prize, and every day I've broken all my good rosolutions, and gone into a pet about one thing or other! I'll give up trying altogether !"
“ And would that be a wise thing for my little boy to do ?” said his mother, Mrs. Stace, gently drawing her child towards her. “Just look at my kite !” sobbed Neddy.
Perhaps matters may be mended here,” said Mrs. Stace, gently disengaging the tangled string from the leg of the boy ; “ and as for the poor torn kite. we'll see what a little paste and paper will do to mend that big hole.”
“ They can't mend my horrible temper!” cried Neddy, who was sadly disheartened at his failure.
Now, perhaps my readers will wonder at the mother dealing so gently with such a passionate child, instead of punishing or reproving. But Mrs. Stace knew that poor Neddy had an excuse for his temper that most little children have not, for it was a sad and painful illness that had helped to make him so fretful. Besides, she knew that Neddy grieved over his temper, and was very anxious indeed become'more patient and good; so'instead of being angry with him, she sought to give him encouragement and help in his struggle with the sin that beset him.
" I'll give up trying to be patient,” sighed Neddy. “ I'm sure that I'll never be a good tempered boy.”
“Did you ever hear the story of the brave King, Robert Bruce, and the spider?" asked Mrs. Stace, opening a book which contained a beautiful print of a warrior stretched on the ground in a cave, watching a spider making its web.
Neddy was very fond of pictures, and still more fond of tales, so that the change in the conversation made him forget his trouble for a while, and he asked his mother to tell him what that man had to do with the spider.
“Robert Bruce,” said Mrs. Stace, “was, perhaps, the most famous king that ever reigned in Scotland,—but he had a hard struggle at first with difficulties and misfortunes. He had false friends and powerful foes; enemies wasted his land, and he found himself a fugitive in a dreary cave in the Isle of Arran. Bruce felt like you, my Neddy, inclined to give up a hopeless struggle. Why should he fight any more for his country? Six times he had made an effort to free her from England's hated power, and six times had found such efforts vain."
“I think that he might well give up trying, mamma.”
“ While Bruce,” continued the lady, was turning over these sad thoughts in his mind, it is said that his eye chanced to rest on a spider attempting to fix her thread on some part of the rocky wall. The insect had a difficult task to perform ; she tried again and again without success, but would not give up in despair. Bruce counted that the little spider had six times attempted to fix her thread, just as many times as he had vainly tried to give freedom to his dear land."
And just as many times as I have been days trying to fix my good resolutions, and conquer my naughty temper," said Neddy.
“ Bruce, as the story goes, thought to himself, “ I will watch whether the spider will try a seventh time, and if she