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THE JUVENILE COMPANION.

dited to those who, he then thought, would be able to pay. But, unfortunately and unforeseen, his principal creditor failed, and, in a single day, Charles Grant was a bankrupt. At the time of this sad reverse he was ill of a fever. It was difficult to conceal it from him ; but the news had a still more unhappy effect upon him than was anticipated ; and from that hour he continued to decline, and in a few weeks he was carried to his grave. It was a grevious blow to his wife, with whom her friends most sincerely sympathised, and to whom they tendered, for herself and two children, a son and daughter, all the kind assistance which their circumstances allowed. On an investigation of Mr. Grant's affairs, his failure proved even worse than was feared ; and, although the gentleman who had advanced the capital was quite liberal in the settlement of the concern, the widow and her children had but a few hundred pounds, and for most of that she was chiefly indebted, it was thought, to the generosity of her husband's friend. This result, following the loss of a fond and truly estimable husband, made the shock still more terrible. She felt the calamity keenly, and the more so as she had no near relatives at hand to speak to her, and she was ignorant of the Divine consolations of religion. The Spirit of God came in to heal that troubled spirit, and to sanctify those trials to her soul; and at length she was enabled to bow in humble and quiet submission to the will of God, and betake herself to the support and education of her lovely children, now her solace and delight. At the time I saw her in the bookstore she was in pursuit of a pocket Bible for her son, named Charles after his father. The purchase was soon made. A further circumstance about this Bible I knew in after years. On presenting it she turned the attention of the happy little fellow to a blank page in the beginning, on which, in a beautiful wreath, she had inscribed her own name, and under the words “ To my son,” followed the appropriate and touching lines :

A parent's blessing on her son

Goes with this holy thing ;
The love that would retain the one,
Must to the other cling:

Remember 'tis no idle toy,
A mother's gift, remember, boy!

And still a little below were printed, in small but beautiful capitals, words which a mother's faith might well appropriate :

His loving kindness changeth not. At the age of seventeen Charles Grant was a stout, strong, active youth. He was more than ordinarily ambitious, but, as his 'ambition had not full scope, he was restless, and, I sometimes thought, unhappy. Had his mother, at this critical era of his life, been able to find him some employment suitable to his active and ambitious genius, it would have been fortunate indeed, but she knew of none; and besides, she needed his aid, and, more than all, she was alone, and felt she could not dispense with his company. About this time a young sailor, by the name of Thornton, belonging to the neighbourhood, arrived at home from a voyage. Charles naturally fell in his way, and was delighted with the story of his adventures. He listened long and intently. His age and circumstances raised in his ambitious bosom the desire for similarly exciting

Without designing any special wrong, young Thornton at length proposed to Charles to accompany him on his voyage, which he should commence in few weeks. For a time he hesitated, or rather declined-his mother and Alice would never consent, and to leave them by stealth was more than he felt willing to do. Thornton did not urge him, as it afterwards appeared, but Charles was himself strongly inclined to go, while the young sailor was quite willing to have a friend and companion so bright and enterprising as Charles Grant. In an evil hour the latter decided to go, and go without the knowledge of his mother. On the night appointed for their departure, Charles rose from his bed when all was still, 'and softly feeling his way to the door, opened it and escaped. It was a beautiful night ; and as he proceeded round the corner of the house to get a small bundle of clothes which he had concealed the day before, his heart beat with unusual violence, and for a few moments a faintness came over him at the thought of leaving a mother and sister, the only persons on earth whom he had ever truly loved. He stopped for a moment, as if meditating a better resolution, and then proceeded to the gate, which he opened, and went out. "Here he again paused, turned, looked, lingered, hesitated, and even put his hand again to the latchet, half resolved to creep once more to his little bed-room ; but at that moment the low call of Thornton, at some distance, reached his ear; he had lingered longer than he was aware, and now the moment had arrived when he must go, if at all. With a sort of desperation of feeling he hastened away, the tears trickling down his cheeks, as he bade adieu to the humble cottage which contained all he loved on earth. His bundle was under his arm, and in that bundle, I'am glad to say, was “a mother's gift,” the pocket Bible. Charles felt that he could not go without that; and perhaps he felt that the discovery that he had taken it might serve somewhat to assuage a mother's sorrow. Before {morning the young sailors were a long way towards the seaport whence they expected to sail, and a couple of days brought them quite there. The ship, it so happened, was ready, and Charles having been accepted on the recommendation of Thornton, took up his line of duty before the mast. Shortly after, the ship weighed anchor, and stretched forth on a far distant voyage.

scenes.

I must leave my readers to imagine, if they are able, the surprise and consternation of Mrs. Grant and Alice the morning following Charles' departure, in not finding him in the house or about the premises. What could it mean? What errand could have called him away? At what hour did he leave? What accident could have befallen him? Search was made for him by the increasingly anxious and terrified mother and sister for an hour or more, before they ventured to make known their solicitude to their neighbours. My own residence was not far distant; and before I had finished my breakfast, a messenger in haste made known the truly distressing situation of Mrs. Grant and Alice. I hastened the house; other friends at no distant hour were there ; inquiries were instituted, messengers were despatched around the town, but not the slightest tidings could be obtained, and even conjecture was baffled. At length, however, Mrs. Grant made the discovery that his better suit was gone, and there was a transient gleam of joy on her face as she announced that his pocket Bible was also not in his chest. Some days passed-long days and long and gloomy nights-before any satisfactory intelligence was received, and then the amount of that intelligence was in a short but affectionate letter from Charles himself, just then on the eve of sailing for the Pacific Ocean. It was thus :

“ MY DEAR Mother,-Can you, will you forgive me for the step I have taken without your knowledge or consent? My heart has smote me every hour since I left you. I am at and on board the ship -, which sails in an hour for the Pacific Ocean. Fondest, best of mothers, do not grieve, I will one day return to bless and comfort you and my dear Alice. I must do something for you and her. Kiss her for me. Mother, I can write no more, only that I hope I shall have your prayers. I have got my pocket Bible, and shall keep it next my heart. Farewell.

Your affectionate Son.'

“ P.S.-I have somewhere; read, what I am, sure will prove true in my own case,

Where'er I rove- -whatever realms I see,
My heart, untravell’d, fondly turns to thee."

By some means the letter did not reach the post-office as soon as it should have do and the uncertainty bore heavily on the head of the mother and sister. The postmaster, on its arrival, kindly sent it to me, and, hoping that it contained tidings of the lost child, I ventured to break the seal. The truth, sorrowful as it was, was a great relief, and was felt to be so by Mrs. Grant and Alice. Yet for a season-and who can marvel ?-their hearts were filled with a sadness which scarcely admitted of alleviation ; it was a dark and rnysterious providence ; and, when friends called in, as they often did, to mingle their tears with the weeping, and to minister consolation, the most they could do was to weep and to say,—“ His ways are in the sea, and His judgments past finding out.” But time does something; faith does more. Prayer makes the darkest cloud withdraw.” So it did for them. They did not indeed recover their wonted cheerfulness, but they were calm and subdued. No murmur escaped the mother's lips, and even Alice seemed to have imbibed the spirit of a holy resignation : “ Father, thy will be done.” But there were days of keen and bitter sorrow; and in those nights when the storm swept in angry blasts across their humble dwelling, and rocked their bed, it was impossible for a mother's heart not to tremble for her sailor boy, far off upon the stormy ocean, and perhaps suffering the perils of the raging billows. But even at such times she was enabled to commit herself and her wandering child to the care and grace of a covenant-keeping God, uttering the language of holy confidence. His faithfulness is as the everlasting mountains : • Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Four years elapsed, and nothing was heard of Charles Grant. Some time during the second year of his absence, a rumour reached us that a ship, supposed to be the

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