Infomotions, Inc.Tip Lewis and His Lamp / Pansy, 1841-1930



Author: Pansy, 1841-1930
Title: Tip Lewis and His Lamp
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): tip; kitty; holbrook; minturn; ellis; howard; lewis; ellis holbrook; tip lewis; edward; howard minturn; bob; bob turner; sabbath school
Contributor(s): Dickson, William P. (William Purdie), 1823-1901 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 51,601 words (really short) Grade range: 7-9 (grade school) Readability score: 76 (easy)
Identifier: etext9648
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Title: Tip Lewis and His Lamp

Author: Pansy (aka Isabella Alden)

Release Date: January, 2006 [EBook #9648]
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TIP LEWIS AND HIS LAMP

BY PANSY


AUTHOR OF "ESTER RIED," "ESTER RIED YET SPEAKING," "MRS. SOLOMON SMITH
LOOKING ON," "AN ENDLESS CHAIN," "FOUR GIRLS AT CHAUTAUQUA," ETC. ETC.




TIP LEWIS AND HIS LAMP.




CHAPTER I.

"Cast thy bread upon the waters."


The room was very full. Children, large and small, boys and girls, and
some looking almost old enough to be called men and women, filled the
seats. The scholars had just finished singing their best-loved hymn,
"Happy Land;" and the superintendent was walking up and down the room,
spying out classes here and there which were without teachers, and
supplying them from the visitors' seat, which was up by the desk.

The long seat near the door was filled this morning by half a dozen
dirty, ragged, barefooted boys; their teacher's seat was vacant, and
those boys looked, every one, as though they had come thither just to
have a grand frolic.

Oh, such bright, cunning, wicked faces as they had!

Their torn pants and jackets, their matted hair, even the very twinkle in
their eyes, showed that they were the "Mission Class."

That is, the class which somebody had gathered from the little black,
comfortless-looking houses which thronged a narrow back street of that
village, and coaxed to come to the Sabbath school,--to this large, light,
pleasant room, where the sun shone in upon little girls in white dresses,
with blue and pink ribbons fluttering from their shoulders; and upon
little boys, whose snowy linen collars and dainty knots of black ribbon
had evidently been arranged by careful hands that very morning.

But those boys in the corner kicked their bare heels together, pulled
each other's hair, or laughed in each other's faces in the greatest
good humour.

The superintendent stopped before them.

"Well, boys, good morning; glad to see you all here. Where's your
teacher?"

"Hain't got none!" answered one,

"Gone to Guinea!" said another.

"She was afraid of us," explained a third. "Tip, here, put his foot
through one of her lace flounces last Sunday. Tip's the worst boy we've
got, anyhow."

The boys all seemed to think this was very funny, for they laughed so
loudly that the little girls at their right looked over to see what was
the matter.

Tip ran his fingers through his uncombed hair, and laughed with the rest.

"Well," said the superintendent, "I'm going to get you a teacher,--one
you will like, I guess. I shall expect you to treat her well."

There was just one person left on the visitors' seat,--a young lady who
looked shy and quiet.

"Oh, Mr. Parker," she said, when the superintendent told her what he
wanted, "I can't take that class; I've watched those boys ever since
they came in,--they look mischievous enough for anything, and act as
they look."

"Then shall we leave them with nothing but mischief to take up their
attention?"

"No, but--they really ought to have a better teacher than I,--some one
who knows how to interest them."

"But, Miss Perry, the choice lies between you and no one."

And, while she still hesitated and looked distressed, Mr. Parker bent
forward a little, and said softly,--

"'Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these My brethren, ye
did it not to Me.'"

The lady rose quickly, and gathered her mantle about her.

"I will go, Mr. Parker," she said, speaking quickly, as if afraid her
courage would fail her. "Since there is no one else, I will do the best I
can; but oh, I am afraid!"

Down the long room, past the rows of neatly-dressed, attentive children,
Mr. Parker led her to the seat near the door.

"Now, boys," said he, "this is Miss Perry. Suppose you see if you can't
all be gentlemen, and treat her well."

Miss Perry sat down in the teacher's chair, her heart all in a flutter.
She taught a class in her own Sabbath school hundreds of miles
away,--five rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed little girls gathered around her
every Sabbath; but they were little girls whose mothers had taught them
to love their lessons, to listen respectfully to what their teacher
said, to bow their heads reverently in prayer; and more than that, they
loved her, and she loved them. But these boys! Still she must say
something: six pairs of bright, roguish eyes, brimful of fire and fun,
were bent on her.

"Boys," she said gently, "have you any lessons for me?"

"Not much," answered Bob Turner, who always spoke first.

"We don't get lessons mostly. Don't come unless it's too hot to go
fishing or berrying."

"Tip comes 'cause he's too lazy to go past the door,"

"I don't!" drawled out the boy they called Tip; "I come to get out of the
sun; it's hotter than sixty down home."

"Never mind, boys," said their frightened teacher; for they were all
laughing now, as though the funniest thing in the world had happened.
"See here, since you have no lessons, shall I tell you a story?"

Oh yes, they were willing enough to hear a story, if it wasn't stupid.

"I'll tell you something that happened to a boy when he was about
thirteen years old. His name is Robert; he told me this story himself, so
you may be sure it's true.

"He said one evening he was walking slowly down the main street of the
village where he lived"--

"Where was that?" asked Bob Turner.

"Oh, it was away out west. He said he felt cross and unhappy; he had
nowhere in particular to go, and nothing to do. As he walked, he came to
a turn where two roads met. 'Now,' thought he, 'shall I turn to the left
and go home, and hang around until bed-time, or shall I turn to the right
and go down to the river awhile?'

"You see, Robert hadn't a happy home,--his mother was dead, and his
father was a drunkard.

"While he stood thinking, a boy came around the other corner, and
called out,--

"Going home, Rob?'

"'Don't know,' said Robert; 'I can't make up my mind.'

"'Suppose you come on down to our house, and we'll have a game of ball?'

"Still Robert waited. He was fond of playing ball,--that was
certain,--and he liked company better than to walk alone; why he should
think of wandering off down to the river by himself he was sure he didn't
know. Still something seemed to keep saying to him, 'Go this way--turn to
the right; come, go to the river, 'until he said at last,--

"'No; I guess I'll take a walk this way first.'

"And he turned the corner, then he was but a few steps from the river."

"What came of the other fellow?" asked Bob.

"Why, some more boys came up just then, and he walked along with them.

"There was a large elm-tree on the river bank, and there was one
particular spot under it that Robert called his seat; but he found a
gentleman seated there this time; he had a book in his hand, partly
closed, and he was leaning back against a tree, watching the sunset.

"He looked around as he heard Robert's step, and said, 'Good evening;
will you have a seat?'

"He moved along, and Robert sat down on the grass near him; then
he said,--

"'I heard a boy call out to another just now, "Going home, Robert?" Are
you the boy?'

"'No,' said Robert; 'Hal Carter screamed that out to me just as he came
round the corner.'

"'Oh, you are the one he was talking to. Well, I'll ask you the same
question. _Are_ you going home?'

"'No,' said Robert again; 'I have just walked straight away from home.'

"'Yes; but are you going up _there_?' And the gentleman pointed up to the
blue sky. 'That's the home I mean; I've just been reading about it; this
river made me think of it. Where it says, you know, "And he showed me a
pure river of water, clear as crystal." Then it goes on to describe the
city with its "gates of pearl" and "streets of gold," the robes and
crowns that the people wear, the harps on which they play, and, after
this warm day, I couldn't help thinking that one of the pleasantest
things about this home was the promise, "Neither shall the sun light on
them, nor any heat." Aren't you going to that home, my boy?'"

"'I don't know,' Robert said, feeling very much astonished."

At this point the superintendent's bell rang, and Miss Perry had to
hasten her story.

"I haven't time, boys, to tell you all the gentleman said, but, after
that talk, Robert began to think about these things a great deal, and
pretty soon he learned to read the Bible and to pray. That was more than
fifty years ago. He is an old minister now; I have heard him preach a
great many times; and he told me once he should always believe God put it
into his heart to turn to the right that evening, instead of the left."

"Oh!" exclaimed Tip, just here; and Miss Perry stopped.

"Joe pinched me," said Tip, to explain his part of the noise.

But their teacher felt very badly; they had not listened to her story as
though they cared to hear it; they had slid up and down the seat, pulled
and pinched and pricked each other, and done a great many mischievous
things since she commenced; and yet now and then they seemed to hear a
few words; so she kept on, because she did not know what else to do.

"Oh, Mr. Parker," she said, when the school was dismissed, and her noisy
class had scrambled, some through the window and some through the door,
"some man who understands boys ought to have had that class; I haven't
done them any good, but I tried;" and there were tears in her eyes as
she spoke.

"You did what you could," said the superintendent kindly; "none of us
can do more."

Some loving voice ought to have whispered in that teacher's ear, "He that
goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come
again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."




CHAPTER II.

"But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit."


Tip Lewis yawned and stretched, and finally opened his eyes rather late
on Monday morning.

"Oh, bother!" he said, with another yawn, when he saw how the sun was
pouring into the room; "I suppose a fellow has got to get up. I wish
getting up wasn't such hard work,--spoils all the fun of going to bed;
but then the old cat will be to pay, if I don't get around soon."

And with this he rolled out; and when he was dressed, which was in a very
few minutes after he tumbled out of his ragged bed, he was the self-same
Tip who had been at the bottom of most of the mischief in Miss Perry's
class the day before,--the very same, from the curly hair, not yet
combed nor likely to be, down to the bare, soiled feet.

The bed which he had just left, so far as neatness was concerned, looked
very much like Tip, and the room looked like the bed; and they all looked
about as badly as dust and rags and poverty could make them look.

After running his fingers through his hair, by way of finishing his
toilet, Tip made his way down the rickety stairs to the kitchen.

It seemed as though that kitchen was just calculated to make a boy feel
cross. The table stood against the wall on its three legs, the
tablecloth was daubed with molasses and stained with gravy; a plate,
with something in it which looked like melted lard, but which Tip's
mother called butter, and a half loaf of bread, were the only eatable
articles as yet on the table; and around these the flies had gathered in
such numbers, that it almost seemed as though they might carry the loaf
away entirely, if too many of them didn't drown themselves in the
butter. Over all the July sun poured in its rays from the eastern
window, the only one in the room.

Tip stumbled over his father's boots, and made his way to the stove,
where his mother was bending over a spider of sizzling pork.

"Well," she said, as he came near, "did you get up for all day? I'd be
ashamed--great boy like you--to lie in bed till this time of day, and let
your mother split wood and bring water to cook your breakfast with."

"You cooked, a little for you, too, didn't you?" asked Tip, in a saucy,
good-natured tone. "Where's father?"

"Just where you have been all day so far,--in bed and asleep. Such folks
as I've got! I'm sick of living."

And Mrs. Lewis stepped back from the steaming tea-kettle, and wiped great
beads of perspiration from her forehead; then fanned herself with her big
apron, looking meantime very tired and cross.

Yet Tip's mother was not so cross after all as she seemed; had Tip only
known it, her heart was very heavy that morning. She did not blame his
father for his morning nap, not a bit of it; she was only glad that the
weary frame could rest a little after a night of pain. She had been up
since the first grey dawn of morning, bathing his head, straightening the
tangled bedclothes, walking the floor with the restless baby, in order
that her husband might have quiet. Oh no; there were worse women in the
world than Mrs. Lewis; but this morning her life looked very wretched to
her. She thought of her idle, mischievous boy; of her naughty,
high-tempered little girl; of her fat, healthy baby, who took so much of
her time; of her husband, who, though she never said it to him, or even
to herself, yet she knew and felt was every day growing weaker; and with
these came the remembrance that her own tired hands were all that lay
between them and want; and it is hardly a wonder that her voice was sharp
and her words ill chosen. For this mother tried to bear all her trials
alone; she never went for help to the Redeemer, who said,--

"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden."

"Wah!" said Johnny, from his cradle in the bit of a bedroom near the
kitchen,--which kitchen was all the room they had, save two tiny bedrooms
and Tip's little den up-stairs.

Mrs. Lewis glanced quickly towards the door of her husband's room; it was
closed. Then she called,--

"Kitty, make that baby go to sleep!"

"Oh yes!" muttered Kitty, who sat on the floor lacing her old shoe with a
white cord; "it's easy to say that, but I'd just like to see you do it."

"Ah yah!" answered Johnny from the cradle, as though he tried to say, "So
should I."

Then, not being noticed, he gave up pretending to cry, and screamed in
good earnest, loud, positive yells, which brought his mother in haste
from the kitchen.

"Ugly girl!" she said to Kitty, as she lifted the conquering hero from
his cradle; "you don't care how soon your father is waked out of the only
nap he has had all night. Why didn't you rock the cradle? I've a notion
to whip you this minute!"

"I did," answered Kitty sulkily; "and he opened his eyes at me as wide as
he could stretch them."

Crash! went something at that moment in the kitchen; and, with Johnny in
her arms, Mrs. Lewis ran back to see what new trouble she had to meet.
Tip, meantime, had been in business; being hungry, he had cut a slice of
bread from the loaf, and, in the act of reaching over to help himself to
some butter, hit his arm against a pitcher of water standing on the
corner of the table. Over it went and broke, just as pitchers will
whenever they get a chance. This was too much for the tired mother's
patience; what little she had vanished. She tossed the slice of bread at
Tip, and as she did so, said,--

"There! take that and be off. Don't let me see a sight of your face
again to-day. March this instant, or you will wish you had!"

And in the midst of the din, while his mother looked after the pork,
which had seized this occasion for burning fast to the spider, Tip
managed to spread his slice of bread, find his hat, and make good his
escape from the comfortless home.

There was an hour yet to school-time; or, for the matter of that, he
might have the whole day. Tip went to school, or let it alone, just as he
pleased. He made his way straight to his favourite spot, the broad, deep
pond, and laid himself down on its grassy bank to chat with the fishes.

"My!" he said; "how nice they look whisking about. It's cool down there,
I know; they don't mind the sun. I wish I had my fish-pole here, I'd have
one of them shiny big fellows there for my dinner; only it's too hot to
fish, and it would seem kind of mean, besides, to get him up here in this
blazing sun. Hang me if I make even a fish get out of the water to-day,
when it can stay in!"

Of all the scholars in Miss Perry's class, the one who she would have
said paid the least attention was this same boy who was lying on his face
by the pond, envying the fishes. Yet Tip had heard nearly every word she
said; and now, as he looked into the water, which lay cool in the shade
of some broad, branching trees, there came into his heart the music of
those words again,--

"Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."

"I declare," he said, as the meaning of those words dawned upon him, "I'd
like that! they'll never be too warm again. It was a pretty nice story
she told us about that boy. He couldn't have had a very good time; his
father was a drunkard. I wish I knew just about what kind of a fellow he
was; he turned right square round after that man talked to him. Now he is
a minister; I suppose lots of people like him. It must be kind of nice,
the whole of it. I would like to be somebody, as true as I live, I would.
I'd like to have the people say, 'There goes Tip Lewis; he's the best boy
in town.' Bless me! that would be funny; I don't believe they could ever
say it; they are so used to calling me the worst, they couldn't help it.
What if I should reform? I declare I don't know but I will."

And Tip rolled over on his back, and looked up into the blue, cloudless
sky; lying there, he certainly had some of the most sober thoughts,
perhaps the only really sober ones he had ever known in his life. And
when at last he slowly picked himself up, turned his back upon the
darting fishes, and walked towards the school-house, he had in his mind
some vague notion that perhaps he would be different from that time
forth. Just what he was going to do, or how to commence doing it, he
didn't know; but the story, to which he had seemed not to listen at all,
had crept into his heart, had commenced its work; very dimly was it
working, very blindly he might grope for a while, but the seed sown had
taken root.




CHAPTER III.

"Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did
it unto Me."


Around the corner, and far up the street from where Tip Lewis lived,
there stood a large white house; not another house in the village was so
beautiful as this. Many a time had Tip walked slowly by the place, and
cast the most admiring glances on the broad green lawns and bubbling
fountain, of which he caught; glimpses from the road. Often he had stood
outside, at the great gate, and fairly _longed_ for a nearer view of that
same fountain; for the truth was, though he was such a rough,
mischief-making,--yes, a _wicked_ boy, down in his heart he had a great
love for beautiful things.

On this Fourth of July morning, Tip was up and abroad very early. He held
a horse, which had been so frightened by fire-crackers that it wouldn't
stand still a minute, and the owner of it gave him ten cents, with which
he immediately bought fire-crackers for himself, and frightened the very
next horse he saw. When the great cannon on the hill was fired, he got in
the way, just as much as he knew how, which was a great deal; he
contrived to be around when the largest bell was rung, and add his voice
to the uproar among the boys who were gathered around the church doors;
indeed, wherever there was commotion or confusion, Tip managed very soon
to be, and to do his part towards making the most of it.

About ten o'clock he had lived out the most of his pleasures, having been
on hand since a little after three. He had no more money to spend, saw no
chance of getting any more; he had had no breakfast, and was very much in
doubt as to whether he would get any, if he took the trouble to go home;
he had some way lost track of all his companions; and, altogether, he was
beginning to feel as if the Fourth of July were a humbug. He felt
ill-used, angry; it seemed to him that he was being cheated out of a good
time that he expected to have. He sat down on the edge of an old
sugar-barrel and thought about it a while; then finally, with his hands
in his pockets, and whistling "Yankee Doodle" in honour of the day, he
sauntered along the street in search of something to take up his time.

Hurrying towards him, with hands not in his pockets, but full of
packages, came Mr. Mintum, the owner of the grand white house on the
hill.

To Tip's surprise, the gentleman halted suddenly before him, and, eyeing
him closely, asked, "Whose boy are you?"

"John Lewis's."

"Where do you live?"

"T'other side of the pond, by the mill."

"Oh, your father is the carpenter, I suppose,--I know him. What's
your name?"

"Tip."

"Tip! What kind of a name is that? is it all the one you own?"

"Well," said Tip, "I suppose my name was Edward when I was a little
shaver; but nobody knows it now; I don't myself."

"Well, Tip, then, I'll call you that, for I want you to know yourself
to-night. What are you going to do?"

"When? to-night? Oh, hang around, I s'pose,--have some fun, if I can
find any."

"Fun. Is that what you're after? You come up to my house to-night at
dark, and see if you can find it there. We are going to have fireworks,
and songs, and all the fun we can."

Tip was not by any means a bashful boy, and it took a great deal to
astonish him; but this sudden invitation almost took his breath away. The
idea that Mr. Minturn had actually invited _him_, Tip Lewis, to come to
the white house!--to come near to that wonderful fountain, near enough
perhaps to feel the dash of its spray! He could have danced for joy; yet,
when Mr. Minturn said, "Well, will you come?" for the first time in his
life he was known to stammer and hesitate.

"I--I don't--know. I haven't got any clothes."

"Clothes!" repeated Mr. Minturn; "what do you call those things which
you have on?"

"I call 'em _rags_, sir," answered Tip, his embarrassment gone, and the
mischief twinkling back into his face again.

Mr. Minturn laughed, and looked down on the torn jacket and pants.

"Not a bad name," he said at last. "But you've got water at your house,
haven't you?"

"Lots of it."

"Then put your head into a tub of it, and a clean face up to my house
to-night, and we'll try and find that fun you're looking for."

And Mr. Minturn, who had spent a great deal of time for him, was passing
on. "See here!" he called, after he had moved forward a few steps; "if
you see any boy raggeder than you are yourself, bring him along,--bring
every boy and girl you meet who haven't anywhere else to go."

"Ho!" said Tip, as soon as the gentleman was at safe distance; "if this
isn't rich, then I don't know,--fireworks in that great yard, pretty near
the fountain maybe, and lots of fun. We can take anybody we like. I know
what I'll do. I'll hunt up Bob Turner; his jacket has got enough sight
more holes in it than mine has. Oh, ho! ain't it grand, though?" And Tip
clapped his hands and whistled, and at last, finding that didn't express
his feeling, said, "Hurrah!" in a good strong tone.

Yes, hurrah! Tip is right; it is glorious to think that one man out of
his abundance is going to open his heart, and gather in God's poor, and,
for one evening at least, make them happy.

God bless Mr. Minturn!

Never had the good man's grounds entertained such a group as, from all
quarters of the large town, gathered before it was quite dark.

Ragged boys and girls! If those were what be wanted, he had them, sure
enough, of almost every age and size. There were some not so
ragged,--some in dainty white dresses and shining jackets; but they went
down and mingled with the others,--brothers and sisters for that night at
least,--and were all, oh, _so_ happy!

How they _did_ dance and laugh and scream around that fountain, and snap
torpedoes and fire-crackers, and shout with wild delight when the rockets
shot up into the sky, or the burning wheels span round and round,
scattering showers of real fire right in among the crowds of children!

Well, the evening hasted away; the very last rocket took its bright,
rushing way up into the blue sky; and Mr. Minturn gathered his company
around the piazza with the words,--

"Now, children, Mr. Holbrook has a few words to say to you, and after
that, as soon as we have sung a hymn, it will be time to go home."

Mr. Holbrook was the minister; many of the children knew him well, and
most of them were ready to hear what he had to say, because they knew, by
experience, that he was old enough and wise enough not to make a long,
dry speech after nine o'clock on the Fourth of July.

Only Tip, as he turned longingly away from the last dying spark of the
rocket, muttered, "Bother the preaching!"

Mr. Holbrook came forward to the steps, as the boys and girls gathered
around him.

"Children," said he, "we have had a good time, haven't we?"

"Yes, sir!" came in a loud chorus from many voices.

"Yes; I thought you acted as though you felt pretty happy. Now this has
been a busy day, and we are all tired, so I'm not going to keep you here
to make a speech to you; I just want to tell you, in as few words as I
can, what I have been thinking about since I stood here to-night. I have
watched you as you frolicked around that fountain,--so many young, bright
faces, all looking so happy,--and I said to myself, When the time comes
for us to gather around that fountain of living water which is before the
throne of God, I wonder if _one_ of these boys and girls will be
missing--_one_ of them? Oh, children, I pray God that you may _all_ be
there, _every_ one."

Just a little speech it was,--so little that the youngest there might
almost remember the whole of it,--yet it meant _so_ much.

Tip Lewis had wedged his way in among the boys until he stood very near
the minister, and his face wore a sober, thoughtful look. It was only
two days since his long talk with himself at the pond. Fourth of July,
with all the merrymaking and mischief that it brought to him, had nearly
driven sober thoughts from his mind, but the minister's solemn words
brought back the memory of his half-formed resolves, and again he said to
himself he believed he would reform; this time he added that if he knew
about _how_ to do it, he would begin right away. He felt it more than
ever when the sweet voices of many children floated out on the evening
air, as they sang,--

  "I have read of a world of beauty,
    Where there is no gloomy night,
  Where love is the mainspring of duty,
    And God is the fountain of light.
  I have read of the flowing river
    That bursts from beneath the throne,
  And beautiful flowers that ever
    Are found on its banks alone.
  I long--I long--I long to be there!"

If somebody had only known Tip's thoughts as he stood there listening to
the beautiful Sabbath school hymn! If somebody had only bent down to him,
and whispered a few words, just to set his poor wandering feet into the
narrow way, how blessed it would have been: but nobody did.

Ah, never mind! God knew, and took care of him.




CHAPTER IV.

"They that seek Me shall find Me."


Mrs. Lewis's room was in order for once; swept, and even dusted; the
cook-stove cooled off, and the green paper curtain at the window let
down, to shut out the noise and dust; it was quiet there too.

Kitty stood in the open door, her face and hands clean, hair combed, and
dress mended; stood quite still, and with a sober face, unmindful, for
once, that there were butterflies to chase and flies to kill all around
her. In the only comfortable seat in the room, a large old-fashioned
arm-chair, sat the worn, wasted frame of Kitty's father. There was a look
of hopeless sadness settled on his face. Neither Tip nor his mother were
to be seen. One or two women were moving through the house, with quiet
steps, bringing in chairs and doing little thoughtful things in and
about that wonderfully orderly room.

On the table was that which told the whole story of this unusual
stillness and preparation. It was a pine coffin, very small and plain;
and in it, with folded hands and brown hair rolled smoothly back from his
baby forehead, little Johnny lay, asleep. Somebody, with a touch of
tenderness, had placed a just budding rose in the tiny white hand, and
baby looked very sweet and beautiful in his narrow bed. Poor little
Johnny! his had been a sad, neglected babyhood; many weary hours had he
spent in his cradle, receiving only cross looks from Kitty, and neglected
by the mother, who, though she loved Johnny, and even because she loved
him, must leave him to work for her daily bread. But it was all over now:
Johnny's cries would never disturb them again; Johnny's weary little body
rested quietly in its coffin; Johnny's precious self was gathered in the
Saviour's arms.

Tip came out of the bedroom, and softly approached the coffin; his hair,
too, was partly combed, and some attempt had been made to put his ragged
clothes in order. His heart swelled, and the tears gathered in his eyes,
as they rested on the baby.

Tip loved his little brother, and though he had not had much to do with
him, yet he had this much to comfort him,--Johnny had received only
kindness and good-natured words from him, which was more than Kitty could
say. As she stood there in the door, it seemed to her that every time she
had ever said cross, naughty words to the poor baby, or turned away from
his pitiful cry for comfort, or shook his little helpless self, came back
to her now,--stood all around his coffin, and looked straight at her.
Poor Kitty thought if he could _only_ come back to them for a little
while, she would hold him in her arms all night, without a murmur.

People began to come in now from the lowly houses about them, and fill
the empty chairs. Mrs. Lewis came out from the bedroom, and sat down
beside the arm-chair, thankful that her tear-stained face and swollen
eyes were hidden, by the thick black veil which some thoughtful neighbour
had sent for her use.

In a few minutes a dozen or more people had filled up the vacant spaces
in the little room, and Mr. Holbrook arose from his seat at the
coffin's head.

Tip turned quickly at the first sound of his voice, and listened eagerly
while he read from the book in his hand, "And I saw the dead, small and
great, stand before God," listening until the closing sentence was read,
"And there shall be no more death; neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."

Tip had never paid such close attention to anything in his life as he did
to Mr. Holbrook's words; after that they were very simple and plain
spoken, so that a child might understand them, and were about heaven,
that beautiful city of which Tip had heard and thought more during the
last three weeks than he ever had in his life before. His heart had been
in a constant Struggle with Satan, ever since that morning in the Sabbath
school. He didn't know enough to understand that it was Satan's evil
voice which was constantly persuading him that he could not be anybody,
that-he was only a poor, miserable, ragged boy, with nobody to help him,
nobody to show him what to do; that he might as well not try to be
anything but what he was; and he didn't know either that the other voice
in his heart which struggled with the evil counsel, which said to him,
"Other boys as poor and ignorant as you are have reformed; that Robert
did about whom the teacher told you; and then, if you don't, you will
never see that river nor the fountain, nor the streets of gold," was the
dear, loving voice of his Redeemer.

Now, as he listened to Mr. Holbrook, and heard how Johnny, little Johnny
whom he loved, had surely gone up there to be with Christ for ever, and
how Jesus, looking down on the father and mother, and the children who
were left, said to them, "I want you, too, to give Me your hearts, so
that when I gather My jewels I may come for you." The weak, struggling
resolves in his heart grew strong, and he said within himself, while the
tears fell slowly down his cheeks, "I will; I'll begin to-day."

The coffin-lid was screwed down, and Johnny's baby-face shut out from
them for ever. A man came forward and took the light burden in his arms,
and bore it out to the waggon; down the narrow street they drove, to the
burial-ground, which was not far away. They laid Johnny down to sleep
under the shade of a large old tree; and the grass waved softly, and the
birds sang low, and the angels surely sang in heaven, because another
little form was numbered among the thousands of children who stand
"around the Throne."

The people moved slowly from the grave,--all but Tip; he didn't want to
leave Johnny; he wanted to follow him, and he didn't know how. Mr.
Holbrook glanced back at the boy standing there alone, paused a moment,
then, turning back, laid his hand gently on Tip's shoulder.

"You can go up there too, my boy, if you will," he said, in a low,
kind tone.

Tip looked up quickly, then down again; he wanted to ask how--what he
should do; but his voice choked, he could not speak a word; and with the
earnest sentence, "God bless you, my little friend, and lead you to
Himself," Mr. Holbrook turned and left him.

Tip wandered away into the woods for a little. When he returned the earth
was heaped up fresh and black over the new mound, and Johnny was left
underneath it all alone. Tip walked around it slowly, trying to take in
the thought that the baby was lying there; that they should never see him
again; trying, a moment after, to take in the thought that he was not
there at all, but had gone up to the beautiful world which the hymn told
about; then he thought of the chorus, and almost felt it.--"I long, I
long, I long to be there."

Tip had heard people pray; he had been to Sabbath school often enough to
catch and remember most of the words of the Lord's Prayer; he knew enough
of God to understand that He could hear prayer, and that His help must be
asked if one wanted to get to heaven. He hesitated a moment, glanced half
fearfully around him,--no one was there, no one but himself, and Johnny,
lying low at his feet, and God looking down upon him. Presently he knelt
down before the little grave, and began,--

"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom
come"--Then he stopped. Tip was in earnest now; he did not understand
that prayer: he felt as though he was not saying what he meant. He
commenced again,--

"Oh, Jesus, I want"--Then he waited a minute. What did he want? "I want
to be different; I'm a wicked boy. I want to go where Johnny is when I
die. Do show me how!"

Did Jesus ever fail to hear such a prayer as that,--simple, earnest,
every word of it _felt? Never_--and He never will.

Tip rose up from that spot feeling that something was different. Ay, and
always would be different; the Saviour had reached down and taken hold of
the young seeker's hand, and would for ever after lead him up toward God.




CHAPTER V.

"Thy word is a lamp to my feet."


The Sabbath morning sun awoke Tip from a heavy sleep. He lay still a
few moments, thinking who he was. Things were different: he was not
simply Tip Lewis, a ragged little street boy, any longer; this was the
morning when he was going to start out under a new motto, with Jesus
for his guide.

He was going to Sabbath school. He had not been since the morning that
Miss Perry had taught the class, and told the story which was to be a
blessing to him through all his future life. His evil spirit had been
strong upon him during the three Sabbath mornings that had passed since
then, and persuaded him to stay away from the school, but this morning
he was resolved to go. He had a secret hope that he should see Miss
Perry again, for he did not know that she was hundreds of miles away
from that village, and would probably never be there again; all he knew
was, that a gentleman had brought her to the door, and introduced her
to the superintendent as Miss Perry; that much he heard as he sat
gazing at them.

This morning he judged by the sun that it was pretty late, yet he didn't
get on very fast with the business of dressing: he sat down on the foot
of the bed, and looked sorrowfully at his jacket; he even turned it
inside out to see if it wouldn't improve its appearance, but he shook his
head, and speedily turned it back again.

If he "only had a collar," he said to himself,--"a smooth white collar,
to turn down over the worn-out edges,--it would make things look _so_
much better." But that was something he had never had in his life, and he
put on the old ragged brown jacket with a sigh. Then he put on his shoes,
and took them off again: the question was, which looked the best,--shoes
which showed every one of his toes peeping out on the top, or no shoes at
all? Suddenly a bright idea struck him: if his feet were only white and
clean, he thought they would certainly look much better. Down he went to
the rickety pump in the back yard, and face, hands, and feet took such a
washing as they had never received before; then the old comb had to do
duty. Tip had never had such a time getting dressed; but, some way, he
felt a great longing this morning to make himself look neatly; he had a
feeling that it was ever so much more respectable to be neat and clean
than it was to go looking as he had always done. Still, to carry a
freshly-washed face and hands and smooth hair was the very best he could
do; and, if he had but known it, these things made a great improvement.

He made his way half shyly into the mission seat, for the truth was he
did not know just how the boys would receive his attempt at
respectability; but he had no trouble, for several of his companions had
seen his face when he took his last look into that little coffin the day
before, and they felt sorry for him.

No Miss Perry appeared; and it seemed, at first, that the mission boys
were to have no teacher. It was a warm morning, and the visitors' seat
was vacant.

But there was at last a great nudging of elbows, and whispers of "Look
out now!" "We're in a scrape!" "No chance for fun today!" And only Tip's
eyes looked glad when Holbrook halted before their class, with "Good
morning, boys." Then, "Good morning Edward; I am glad to see you here
to-day;" and the minister actually held out his hand to Tip. Mr. Holbrook
never called him Tip; he had asked him one morning what his real name
was, and since then had spoken it, "Edward," in clear, plain tones.

It was a restless, wearying class. It required all Mr. Holbrook's wits
and wisdom to keep them in any sort of order, to gain any part of their
attention. Yet it was not as bad as usual; partly because the minister
knew how, if anybody did, to teach just such boys, and partly because
Tip, hitherto the spirit of all the mischief there, never took his eyes
from the teacher's face. Mr. Holbrook watched his close attention, and
took courage. When the other scholars passed out, he laid his hand on
Tip's arm, with the words, "You have been a good listener to-day, Edward,
Did you understand the story I told, of the boy who started on a journey
to the Holy Land?"

"Some of it I did: you meant that he started for heaven."

"You understand it, I see. Don't you want to take that journey?"

"I mean to, sir."

"'Help Thou mine unbelief,'" was Mr. Holbrook's prayer just then. He had
hoped for, longed for, prayed for these boys, especially for this one
since the day before; yet he was astonished when he received the firm,
prompt answer, "I mean to, sir,"--astonished, as too many are, that his
prayer was heard.

"Have you started, my boy?" he asked, speaking with a little tremble in
his voice.

"Yes, sir, I've tried; I told God last night that I would, but I don't
much know how."

"You want a lamp, don't you?"

"A what, sir?"

"A lamp. You remember in the story the boy found dark places every
little way; then he took out his lamp, so he couldn't lose the road.
Don't you need it?"

"I want some help, but I don't know as a lamp would do me any good."

"Ah yes; the one I mean will surely help you, if you give it a chance."
Mr. Holbrook took from his pocket a small, red-covered book, and held it
up. "Do you know what book this is?" he asked.

"It's a Bible, ain't it?"

"Yes. Have you ever read in the Bible?"

"Some, at school."

"You know, then, that God told men just what to say, and they wrote it
here, so you see that makes it God's words; that is what we call it
sometimes,--the Word of God. Now, let me show you something." He turned
the leaves rapidly, then pointed with his finger to a verse; and Tip
read, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet."

"Oh," he said, with a bright look, "that is the kind of lamp you mean!"

"That is it; and, my boy, I want you to take this for your lamp. There is
no place on the whole road so dark but that it can light you through, if
you try it. When you don't understand it, there is always Jesus to go to,
you know." And, taking out his pencil, Mr. Holbrook wrote on the
fly-leaf, in plain, round letters, "Edward Lewis." Then, handing the book
to him, with a bow and smile, the minister turned away.

Tip walked out of the school and down the road, holding his treasure
closely. Such a queer, new feeling possessed him. Things were really to
be different, then. The minister had talked with him, had shaken hands
with him, and given him a Bible. And here he was walking quietly away
from the school, all alone, instead of leading a troop of noisy boys,
intent on mischief.

"Oh, Tip Lewis," he said to himself, as he hugged his book, "I don't know
but you will be somebody, after all; you mean to try with all your might,
don't you? and you've got a lamp now!"




CHAPTER VI.

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. I
will guide thee with Mine eye."


"Why," said Tip, as he sat on the foot of the bed, turning over the
leaves of his Bible,--"why, that is the very thing I want. 'I will
instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.' Yes,
that's exactly it. I want to begin to-day, and do every single thing so
different from what I ever did before, that nobody will know me. Now, if
He'll help me, I can do it. I'll learn that verse."

The verse was repeated many times over, for Tip was not used to
study. While he was busy thus, the Spirit of God put another thought
into his heart.

"I must ask Christ to help me now," he said, with reverent face; and,
kneeling down, he made known his wants in very simple words, and in that
plain, direct way which God loves. Then he went down--stairs, prepared
for whatever should befall him that day.

Kitty was up, and rattling the kitchen stove.

"Kitty, what's to pay?" Tip asked, as he appeared in the door.

"What's to pay with you? How did you happen to get up?" Receiving no
answer to this, she continued, "The old cat is to pay,--everywhere,--and
always is! These nasty shavings are soaked through and through, and the
wood is rotten,--and there isn't any wood anyway,--and I can't make this
fire burn to save my life. Mother is sick in bed,--can't sit up at all.
She told me to make a cup of tea for father, and things look as if it
would get made some time next month."

Kitty was only twelve years old, but, like most of those children who
have been left to bring themselves up, and pick up wisdom and wickedness
wherever they are to be found, she was wonderfully old in mind; and was
so used to grumbling and snarling, that she could do it very rapidly.

"Oh," said Tip to himself, drawing a long breath, "what a place for me to
commence in!" Then he came bravely to Kitty's aid.

"See here, Kitty, don't make such a rattling; you'll wake father. I can
make this fire in a hurry. I have made one out of next to nothing, lots
of times; you just put some water in the tea-kettle, and we'll have a cup
of tea in a jiff."

Kitty stood still in her astonishment, and watched him while he took out
the round green sticks that she had put in, laid in bits of dry paper and
bits of sticks,--laid them in such a careless, uneven way, that it seemed
to her they would never burn in the world; only he speedily proved that
they would, by setting fire to the whole, and they crackled and snapped
in a most determined manner, and finally roared outright.

Certainly Kitty had never been so much astonished in her life. First,
because that rubbish in the stove had been made to become such a positive
fire; secondly, that Tip had actually set to work without being coaxed or
scolded, and made a fire!

There was a queer, new feeling about it all to Tip himself; for, strange
as it may seem, so entirely selfish had been this boy's life, that this
was actually the first time he had ever, of his own free will, done
anything to help the family at home. His spirits rose with the effort.

"Come, Kitty," he said briskly, "here's your fire. Now, let's fly
round and get father and mother some breakfast. Say, do you know how
to make toast?"

"It's likely I do," Kitty answered shortly. "If you had roasted your face
and burnt your fingers as often as I have, making it for father, I guess
you would know how."

"Well, now, just suppose we make two slices,--one for mother, and one
for father,--and two cups of tea. My! you and I will be jolly
housekeepers, Kitty."

"Humph!" said Kitty contemptuously.

You see she wasn't in the least used to being good-natured, and it took a
great deal of coaxing to make her give other than short, sharp answers to
all that was said. But, for all that, she went to work, after Tip had
poured some water in the dingy little tea-kettle and set it over the
fire, cutting the two slices of bread, and getting them ready to toast
when there should be any coals.

Tip, meantime, hunted among the confusion, of all sorts of things in the
cupboard, for two clean plates and cups.

"You're taken with an awful clean fit, seems to me," Kitty said, as she
stood watching him while he hunted for a cloth, then carefully wiped off
the plates.

"Yes," answered Tip good-naturedly; "I'm going to try it for a spell,
and find out how things look after they are washed."

Altogether it was a queer morning to both of them; and each felt a touch
of triumph when at last the toast lay brown and nice, a slice on each
plate, and the hot tea, poured into the cups, smelled fresh and fragrant.
The two children went softly to the bedroom door in time to hear their
father say,--

"What makes you try to get up, if your head is so bad?"

"Oh, what makes me! What else is there for _me_ to do? The young ones are
both up, and if I find the roof left on the house I'll be thankful. I
never knew them to stay together five minutes without having a battle."

At almost any other time in her life these words would have made Kitty
very angry; but this morning she was intent on not letting her tea spill
over on the toast, and so paid very little attention to them.

Tip marched boldly in with his dish, Kitty following.

"Lie still, mother, till you get some of our tea and toast, and I reckon
it will cure you."

Mrs. Lewis raised herself on one elbow, saw the beautiful brown slices,
caught a whiff of the fragrant tea, then asked wonderingly,--

"Who's here?"

"Kitty and me," Tip made answer, proudly and promptly.

Something very like a smile gathered on Mrs. Lewis's worn, fretful face.

"Well, now," she said, "if I ain't beat! It's the last thing on earth I
ever expected you to do."

What spell had come over Tip? Breakfast was a great success. After it was
over he found a great many things to do; the rusty old axe was hunted up,
and some hard knots made to become very respectable-looking sticks of
wood, which he piled in the wood-box. Kitty, under the influence of his
strange behaviour, washed the dishes, and even got out the broom and
swept a little.

Altogether, that was a day long to be remembered by Tip, a day in which
he began his life afresh. He made some mistakes; for he fancied, in his
ignorance, that the struggle was over,--that he had only to go forward
joyfully over a pleasant road.

He found out his mistake: he discovered that Satan had not by any means
given him up; that he must yet fight many hard, hard battles.




CHAPTER VII.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed thee."


"They must have had an earthquake down at Lewis's this morning," Howard
Minturn said to the boys who were gathered around the schoolroom door.
"The first bell has not rung yet, and there comes Tip up the hill."

Up the hill came Tip, sure enough, with a firm, resolute step. The summer
vacation was over. The fall term was to commence this morning, and among
the things which Tip had resolved to do was this one, to come steadily
and promptly to school during the term, which was something that he had
never done in his life. The public school was the best one in the
village, so he had the best boys in town for school companions, as well
as some of the worst.

"Hallo, Tip!" said Bob Turner, coming partly down the hill to meet him.
"How are you, old fellow?"

Bob had been away during most of the vacation, and knew nothing of the
changes which there had been in his absence. Tip winced a little at his
greeting; shivered a little at the thought of the temptation which Bob
would be to him.

The two had been linked together all their lives in every form of
mischief and wrong; they seemed almost a part of each other,--at least,
they _had_ seemed so until within these few weeks. Now, Tip _felt_ rather
than knew how far separated they must be.

The bell rang, and the boys jostled and tumbled against each other to
their seats.

Bob Turner, as usual, seated himself beside Tip; but then Bob only came
to school about two forenoons in a week, so perhaps they might get along.

When the Bible reading commenced, Tip hesitated, and his face flushed; he
had never owned a Bible to read from before, but this morning his new one
lay in his pocket. The question was, Had he courage to take it out? What
would the boys think? What would they say? How should he answer them?

He began to think he would wait until tomorrow morning; then he grew
hot and ashamed as he saw that he was already trying to hide his
colours. Suddenly he drew out his Bible, and began very hurriedly to
turn the leaves.

Bob heard the rustling, and, glancing around, puckered his lips as if he
were going to whistle, and, snatching the book, read the name which Mr.
Holbrook had written therein; then he whispered, "You don't say so! When
did we steal a Bible, and turn saint?"

The blood growing hotter and redder in Tip's cheeks was his only answer;
but he felt that his temptation had begun. The next thing was to read;
when he had finally found the place, even though there were more than
fifty voices reading those same words, yet poor Tip imagined that his
would be louder than all the rest, and he choked and coughed, and made
more than one trial before he forced his voice to join, even in a
whisper, at the words, "And they clothed Him with purple, and plaited a
crown of thorns and put it about His head."

It did not help him in his reading that Bob made his lips move with the
rest, but said, loud enough for him to hear,--

  "The man in the moon
  Came down too soon,"

and continued to repeat some senseless or wicked rhymes, through the
reading of the beautiful chapter.

How thankfully Tip bowed his head that morning; his heart had taken in
some of the sweet words. That sacred head had been crowned with thorns,
indeed, but he knew it was crowned with glory now,--and he knew that
Christ had suffered and died for him! He joined with his whole heart in
Mr. Burrows's prayer; and, though Bob pulled his hair and tickled his
foot and stepped on his toes, the bowed head was not lifted, and his
spirit gathered strength.

But Tip never forgot the trials of that day, nor the hard work which he
had to endure them. Bob was, as usual, overflowing with mischief, and,
failing in finding the willing helper which he had expected in his old
companion, took revenge in aiming a great many of his pranks at him. Such
senseless, silly things as he did to annoy! Tip spread his slate over
with a long row of figures which he earnestly tried to add, and, having
toiled slowly up the first two columns, Bob's wet finger was slyly drawn
across it, and no trace of the answer so hardly earned appeared.

Then, too, he had his own heart to struggle against: he was so used to
whispering to this and that boy seated near him, to eating apples when
the teacher's back was turned, to making an ugly-looking picture on a
piece of paper and pinning it on the back of a small boy before him. He
was so unused to sitting still, and trying to study.

What hard work it was to study, any way! It seemed to him that he could
never get that spelling-lesson in the world; the harder he tried, the
more bewildered he grew. A dozen times he spelled the two words, receive
and believe, standing so closely together, each time sure he was right,
and each time discovering that the i's and e's must change places; he
grew utterly provoked and disheartened, and would have fairly cried, had
not Bob been beside him to see the tears, and grow merry over them.

Finally, he lost all patience with Bob, and, turning fiercely to him,
after he had for the third time pitched the greasy old spelling-book
upside down on the floor, said,--

"Look here, now, if you come that thing again, I'll pitch you out of the
window quicker than wink!"

"Edward Lewis marked for whispering," said Mr. Burrows. "Edward, you
have commenced the term as usual, I see,--the first one marked for
bad conduct."

How Tip's ears burned! How untrue it was! He had not commenced this term
as usual; how differently he had tried to commence it, only he and God
knew. And now to fail thus early in the day! His head seemed to spin and
his brain reel; he bowed himself on the seat again, but Bob's head went
down promptly, and he whispered,--

  "Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep!"

How often Tip had thought such things as these so very funny that he
could not possibly help laughing; how silly and meaningless--yes, and
cruel--did they seem to him now! Oh, Satan was struggling for Tip to-day:
he was reaping the fruits of long weeks spent in evil company and folly.

He looked over to the back seats, where sat Howard Minturn and Ellis
Holbrook, hard at work on their algebra lesson, nobody thinking of such a
thing as disturbing them; and, as he looked, sighed heavily. If he had
only gained such a place as they had in the school, how easily he could
work to-day. They were very little older than he, yet here he was trying
to do an example in addition, doing it over four times before it was
right,--and they were at the head of the class in algebra. If he could
only jump to where they were, and go on with them! And the hopelessness
of this thought made his spelling-lesson seem harder; so it was no
wonder, when the class formed, and he took his old place at the foot, and
he stayed there, and spelled believe _ei_ after all; nobody was
surprised, but nobody knew how very, _very_ hard he had tried.

The long day, crowded full of trouble and temptation to poor Tip, wore
away. At recess he wandered off by himself, trying hard to get back some
of the strong, firm hopes of the morning.

One more sharp trial was in store for him. Towards the close of the
afternoon Bob's fun took the form of paper balls, which, at every turn of
Mr. Burrows's back, spun through the room in all directions; two or three
of the smaller scholars joined him, and a regular fire of balls was kept
up. The boys complained--Mr. Burrows scolded.

At last he spoke this short, prompt sentence: "The next boy I catch
throwing paper, or anything else, in this room to-day, I shall punish
severely; and I shall expect any scholar who sees anything of this kind
going on to inform me."

Not five minutes after that Mr. Burrows bent over his desk in search of
something within, when--whisk! went the largest paper ball that had been
thrown that day, and landed on the teacher's forehead. Some of the
scholars laughed, some looked grave and startled, for Mr. Burrows was a
man who always meant what he said.

"Does any one know who threw that ball?" he asked, closing his desk and
speaking in a calm, steady tone.

No reply,--silence for a minute. Then, "Ellis Holbrook, do you know who
threw that ball of paper?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well; I am waiting to be told."

"Tip Lewis threw it, sir."

This was a little too much for Tip. The first time in his life that he
had ever been in school all day without throwing one, to be so accused!
He sprang up in his seat with fire in his eyes.

"I didn't!" he almost screamed. "He knows I didn't! It is a mean,
wicked lie!"

"Sit down," said Mr. Burrows. "Ellis, did you _see_ him throw it?"

"Yes, sir, I did."

Mr. Burrows turned to Tip. "Edward, come here."

Tip was still standing.

"Say you won't," whispered Bob. "Say you won't stir a step for the old
fellow. If he goes to make you, we'll see who'll beat."

But the command was repeated, and Tip went forward, fixing his steady
eyes on Mr. Burrows as he spoke.

"Mr. Burrows, as sure as I live, I _did_ not throw that paper ball."

And yet--poor Tip!--he knew he would not be believed; he knew his word
could not be trusted; he knew he had often stood there and as boldly
declared what was _not_ true, and what had been proved in a few minutes
to be false.

No, nobody believed Tip. He had earned, among other things in the school,
the name of hardly ever speaking the truth; and now he must suffer for
it. So he stood still and received the swift, hard blows of the ruler on
his hands; stood without a tear or a promise. Mr. Burrows had not a doubt
of his guilt, for had not Ellis Holbrook, whose word was law in the
school, said he saw the mischief done? and did not Tip always deny all
knowledge of such matters until made to own them?

Still, this time the boy resolutely refused to confess that he had thrown
a bit of paper that day, and went back to his seat with smarting hands
and the stern words of his teacher ringing in his ears.

What a heavy, bitter heart the poor boy carried out from the schoolroom
that afternoon, he felt as though he almost hated every scholar
there,--_quite_ hated Ellis Holbrook.

Mr. Burrows, catching a glimpse of his face, said to one of the other
teachers, "That boy grows sullen; with all the rest, his good-nature was
the only good thing which he had about him, and he is losing that."

Tip heard him, and felt that it was true. He had been punished many a
time before, and taken it with the most provoking good humour. But to-day
it was different; to-day, for the first time in his life, he had received
a punishment which he did not deserve; this day of all others, in which
he had tried with all his heart to do right!

"Why didn't you hold on, you simpleton?" Bob asked. "Never saw you get
up so much pluck in my life. What made you back out, and be whipped
like a baby?"

"Why didn't _you_ own that you threw that plaguy paper ball, and not sit
there like a coward, and see me take your whipping?"

"_I_ own it! That's a good one! 'Pon honour, Tip, didn't you throw that
ball? I thought you did; I was aiming one at Ellis Holbrook's head just
then, and I didn't see what was going on behind me. Didn't you throw
it--honour bright?"

"No, I didn't; and I'll throw _you_ if you say so again."

And Tip turned suddenly in the opposite direction, but Satan still
walked with him.

"It's no use," said this evil spirit, speaking out boldly,--"it's no use;
don't you see it isn't? You might as well give it up first as last; the
boys, and the teacher, and every one, think you're nothing in the world
but a wicked young scamp, and you never _can_ be anything else. You've
been humbugging yourself these four weeks, making believe you had a great
Friend to help you: why hasn't He helped you to-day? You've tried your
best all day long, and He knows you have; yet you never had such a hard
day in your life. If He cares anything at all about you, why didn't He
help you to-day? You asked Him to."

Tip sat down on a log by the side of the road, and gave himself up for a
little to Satan's guidance, and the wicked voice went on,--

"Now, you see, you've been cheated. You've tried hard for a whole month
to _be_ somebody, and no one thinks any more of you than they did before,
and never will. Your mother scolds just as much, and your home looks just
as dismal, and Kitty is just as hateful, and the respectable boys in the
village have nothing to do with you. You might just as well lounge around
and have a good time. Nobody expects you to be good, or will let you,
when you want to be."

Softly there came another voice knocking at Tip's heart. At first he
would not notice it, but it _would_ be heard.

"What of all that?" it said; "suppose nobody cares for you, or helps you
here. Jesus died, you know, and He is your friend. You _know_ that is not
a humbug; you _know_ He has heard you when you knelt down and prayed. He
has helped you. Then there's heaven, where all the beauty is, and He has
promised to take you--yes, _you_--there by and by! Oh, you must not
complain because people won't believe that such a bad boy as you have
been has grown good so soon. Christ knows about it, so it's all right.
Just keep on trying, and one of these days folks will see that you mean
it; they _will_--God has promised. He has given you a lamp to light you.
Why have not you looked at it all this day?"

"Oh," said Tip, "I can't; I _can't_ be a Christian! I have not done right
nor felt right to-day. I almost hate the boys, and Mr. Burrows too. I
don't know what to do."

"Go on home," said Satan. "Let the lamp and these new notions and all
_go_! Christ don't care anything about _you_; such a miserable, wicked,
story-telling boy as you have been, do you expect Him to notice _you_?"

But Tip's hand was in his pocket, resting on his lamp, as he had learned
to call it; and the low, sweet voice in his heart was urging him to let
its light shine. He drew it out, and turned the leaves, and the same dear
Helper stopped his eyes at the words, "Fear not, for I have redeemed
thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art _Mine_."

Then came hot, thankful tears. Oh, precious words, sinking right into the
torn, troubled heart. Christ the Redeemer had called him by his name! He
was--yes, he _would be His_! He glanced around. Nobody was to be seen; he
was sitting in the hollow at the foot of the hill, and under the shade of
a low branching tree. And there he knelt down to pray; and Satan drew
himself away, for the spot around that kneeling boy was holy ground.
Tip's soul had gained the victory.




CHAPTER VIII.

"Freely ye have received, freely give."


Whether Tip felt it or not, there were some changes in his home. Mrs.
Lewis, though worried and hurried and cross enough, still was not so much
so as she had been.

The house was quieter, there was no cradle to rock, there were no baby
footsteps to follow and keep out of danger; she had more time for sewing.
Yet this very thing, the missing of the clinging arms about her neck,
sometimes made her heavy heart vent itself in short, sharp words.

But Tip had astonished the family at home,--it didn't require wonderful
changes to do it,--rather the change which they saw in him seemed
wonderful.

The fire which she found ready made in the morning, the full pail of
fresh water, the box: filled with wood, were all so many drops of honey
to the tired mother's heart. The awkward pat of his father's pillow,
which Tip now and then gave as he lingered to ask how he was, seemed so
new and delightful to that neglected father's heart, that he lay on his
hard bed and thought of it much all day.

Tip got on better at home than anywhere else; he had not so many
temptations. He had been such a lawless, reckless boy, that they had all
learned to leave him very much to himself, and, as not a great deal of
his time was spent there, his trials at home were not many. As for Kitty,
she did not cease to wonder what had happened to Tip; she perhaps felt
the difference more than any one else, for it had been the delight of his
life to tease her.

Now, from the time that he gathered his books, with the first sound of
the school-bell, and hurried up the hill, until he returned at night,
ready to split wood, hoe in the garden, or do any of the dozen things
that he had never been known to do before, he was a never-failing subject
of thought and wonderment to her. Watching him closely, the only thing
she could finally settle on as the cause of the change which she found in
him was, that he now went every Sabbath morning to the Sabbath school.
The mystery must be hidden there. Having decided that matter, Kitty
speedily resolved that she would go there herself, and see what they did.
Many were the kind hearts that had tried to coax her into that same
Sabbath school, and had failed. But this Saturday afternoon's gazing out
of the window, with a wonderfully sober face, had ended in her
exclaiming,--

"I say, mother, I want a needle and thread."

"What do you want with a needle and thread?" asked Mrs. Lewis, stirring
away at some gruel in a tin basin, and not even glancing up.

"I want to mend my dress; it's torn this way and that, and looks awful. I
want some green thread, the colour of this wide stripe."

Now for a minute the gruel was forgotten, and Mrs. Lewis looked at Kitty
in amazement.

"Dear me!" she said at last; "I don't know what will happen next. It
can't be possible that you are going to work to mend your own dress
without being scolded about it for a week, and then made to do it."

"Yes, I am, too; I ain't going to look like a rag-bag another hour. And
I'm going to wash out my sun-bonnet and iron it; then I mean to go over
to that Sunday school to-morrow. I ain't heard any singing since I was
born, as I know of, and I mean to."

The gruel began to burn, and Mrs. Lewis turned to it again, saying
nothing, but thinking a great deal. Once she used to go to Sabbath school
herself, when she was Kitty's age; and she didn't have to mend her dress
first, either; she used to be dressed freshly and neatly, every Sabbath
morning, by her mother's own careful hands.

She poured the gruel into a bowl, and then went over to her workbox.

"Here's a needle and thread," she said at last, drawing out a snarl of
green thread from the many snarls in her box. "Mend your dress if you
want to, and I'll wash out your bonnet for you towards night, when I get
that vest done."

It was Kitty's turn to be astonished now. She had not expected help from
her mother.

Tip lingered in the kitchen on Sabbath morning. He looked neat and clean;
he had a fresh, clean shirt, thanks to the washing which his mother had
done "towards night." He was all ready for school, yet he waited.

Kitty clattered around, making rather more noise even than usual, as she
washed up the few poor dishes.

Evidently Tip was thinking about her. The truth was, his lamp had shown
him a lesson that morning like this: "Freely ye have received, freely
give." He stopped at that verse, reading no further. What did it mean I
Surely it spoke to him. Had not God given, oh, _so_ many things to him?
Had He not promised to give him heaven for his home? Now, here was the
direction: "Freely give." What, and to whom? To God? Surely not. Tip was
certain that he had nothing to give to God; nothing but his poor, sinful
heart, which he believed the Saviour had taken and made clean.

What could he give to any one? He leaned out of his little window, busy
with this thought. Kitty came out to the door, and pumped her pan full of
water. He looked down on her. There was Kitty; had he anything which he
could give her? He shook his head mournfully; not a thing. But wouldn't
it be the same if he could help her to get something? What if he could
coax her to go to Sunday school; perhaps it would do for her all that it
had done for him. And at this moment the unwearied Satan came with his
wicked thoughts.

"Kitty would be a pretty-looking object to go to Sabbath school,--not a
decent thing to wear! Everybody would laugh at her and at you. Besides,
I don't believe she would go, if you _did_ ask her; she would only make
fun of you. Better not try it."

"Oh, Tip Lewis," said his conscience, "what a miserable coward you are!
After all you have promised, you won't risk a laugh for the sake of
getting Kitty into the Sabbath school!"

"Yes, I will," said Tip, and he ran downstairs.

And this was why he lingered in the kitchen,--not knowing just what to
say. Kitty helped him.

"Tip," said she, "I suppose they sing over at that Sunday school,
don't they?"

"I guess they do;" and Tip's eyes brightened. "Ever so many of them sing
at once, and it sounds grand, I tell you. They play the melodeon, too:
don't you want to go and hear it?"

"Humph! I don't know. I don't suppose it will be any stupider than
staying at home. I get awful sick of that. If I knew the way, maybe I
would go."

"Oh, I'll take you!" said Tip, in a quick, eager way. He wanted to speak
before his courage failed.

So Kitty, in her stiff blue sunbonnet and green calico dress, went to
Sabbath school. There was no mission class for girls, so Mr. Parker sent
her among the gaily-dressed little girls in Miss Haley's class; but Mr.
Holbrook detained Tip.

"Edward, you intend to come to Sabbath school regularly, don't you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then I think we must leave your place in the mission seat to be filled
by some other boy, and you may come forward to my class."

It is doubtful whether Tip will ever see a prouder or happier moment than
that one in which he followed the minister down the long room to his
_own_ class. But when he saw the seat full of boys, his face grew
crimson. At the end of the seat was Ellis Holbrook, the minister's
son,--the boy who but a few days before had, he believed in his heart,
told a wicked story about himself, and gained him a severe punishment. He
did not feel as though he could sit beside that boy, even in Sabbath
school. But Mr. Holbrook waited, and sit down he _must_. Ellis moved
along to give him room, and disturbed him neither by word nor look during
the lesson. But Tip's heart was full of bitterness, and he thought the
pleasure of that morning gone. The lesson was of Christ and His death on
the cross, and, as he listened, hard thoughts began to die out. The
story was too new; it touched too near his heart not to calm the angry
feelings and to interest him wonderfully.

As soon as school was dismissed, Mr. Holbrook turned to him. "What
disturbs you to-day, Edward?"

Tip's face grew red again. "I--I--nothing much, sir."

"Have you and Ellis been having trouble in school?"

"He has been getting _me_ into trouble," spoke Tip boldly, finding
himself caught.

Mr. Holbrook sat down again. "Can you tell me about it, Edward?"

"He said I threw paper balls, and Mr. Burrows whipped me; and I didn't."

"Are you sure you didn't?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you say so at the time?"

"Over and over again, but he said he _saw_ me."

"Edward, have you always spoken the truth? Is your word to be believed?"

Tip's eyes fell and his lip quivered. "I've told a great many stories,"
he said at last, in a low, humble tone; "but this _truly_ isn't one. I'm
trying to tell the truth after this, and Jesus believes what I have said
this time."

"So do I, Edward," answered Mr. Holbrook gently, even tenderly. "Ellis
was mistaken. But I see you are angry with him; can't you get over that?"

Tip shook his head. "He got me whipped for nothing, sir."

"Suppose Christ should follow that rule, Edward, and forgive only those
who had treated Him well; would you be forgiven to-day?"

This was a new thought to Tip, and made him silent. Mr. Holbrook held out
his hand for the little red Bible.

"Let me show you what this lamp of yours says about the matter."

And Tip's eyes presently read where the minister's finger pointed: "If ye
forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses."

"Trespasses mean sins," explained Mr. Holbrook; then he turned away.

All this time Kitty had been standing waiting,--not for Tip, she didn't
expect his company,--but for the stylish little girls to get fairly
started on their way to church, so she could go home without having any
of them look at or make fun of her.

Kitty had not been having a very good time: she had the misfortune to
fall into the hands of a teacher who thought if she asked the questions
in the question-book, and if one scholar could not answer, passed on to
the next, she had done her duty. So the singing was pretty nearly all
Kitty had cared for. God was leaving most of the work for Tip to do,
after all. He went over to her now, and walked down the road with her.
The boys had all gone, as well as the girls, so there was nothing to
hinder their walking on quietly together.

"How did you like it, Kitty?" he asked.

"Oh, I didn't think much of it. I sat by the ugliest girl in town, and
she made fun of my bonnet and my shoes. I _hate_ her."

Tip had a faint notion in his heart that Kitty also needed the verse
which had just been given him; but he had other thoughts about her. God's
Spirit was at work. Having taken her to Sabbath school, having begun a
good work, he wanted it to go on. It was very hard to speak to Kitty; he
didn't know what to say; but all the way down the hill there seemed to
ring in his ears the message, "Freely ye have received, freely give."

"Kitty," he said at last, "don't you want to be a Christian?"

"I don't know what a Christian is."

"But wouldn't you like to love Jesus?"

"How do I know?" replied Kitty shortly. "I don't know anything
about Jesus."

"Oh, didn't you hear, in the lesson to-day, about how He loves everybody,
and wants everybody to love Him, and how He died so we could?"

"I don't know a thing about the lesson. I counted the buttons on Miss
Harley's dress most all the time; they went up and down the front, and up
and down the sides, and everywhere."

"Oh, but, Kitty, you surely heard the hymn,--

  'Jesus loves me, this I know,
  For the Bible tells me so.'"

"Yes," Kitty said; "the hymn was pretty enough, only nobody gave me a
book, and I could just hear a word now and then."

Altogether, Tip didn't feel that he had done Kitty a bit of good. But he
knew this much, that, since he had begun to think about and talk to her,
he longed--yes, _longed_--with all his heart to have her come to Christ.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ellis, come here a moment," said Mr. Holbrook, turning towards his study
door, as the family came in from church. "What is it about this trouble
in school with Edward Lewis?"

"No trouble, father; only Tip threw a paper ball, just as he always _is_
doing, and, as Mr. Burrows asked me if I knew who threw it, of course I
had to tell him, and that made Tip mad. Why? Has he been complaining to
you, father?"

"Ellis, did you see Edward throw paper?"

"Yes, sir."

"Are you positive?"

"Yes--why--that is--I glanced up from my book just in time to see
it whiz, and it came from Tip's direction, and his hand was raised,
so I supposed of course he threw it. I thought a minute ago that I
knew he did."

"But now you would not say positively that some boy near him might not
have done it?"

"Why, no, sir. Alex Palmer might have thrown it; but I didn't think of
such a thing."

"Well, Ellis, my verdict is that you were mistaken; I don't think Edward
told a falsehood this time. I'll tell you why: he is trying to take the
Saviour for his pattern. I believe he is a Christian. Now, there is one
thing which I want you to think of. Edward Lewis, who has never been
taught anything good, who has never had any one to help him, has given
his heart to Christ; and my boy, for whom I have prayed with, all my soul
every day since he was born, has not."




CHAPTER IX.

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."


"Boys," said Mr. Burrows, one Monday afternoon, "you may lay aside your
books; I want to have a talk with you."

Books were hurriedly gathered and piled in their places, and the boys sat
up with folded arms, ready for whatever their teacher had to offer.

Mr. Burrows drew out his arm-chair from behind the desk, and sat down
for a chat.

"Who will tell me what an acrostic is?"

Several hands were raised.

"Well, Howard, let us hear what you think about it."

"It's a piece of poetry, sir, where the first letter of every line spells
another word."

"Do you mean the first letter alone spells a word?"

The boys laughed, and Howard explained promptly. "No, sir; I mean the
first letters of each line taken together form a name."

"Must an acrostic always be written in poetry?"

This question called forth several answers, and made a good deal of talk;
but it was finally decided that there could be acrostics in prose as well
as in rhyme; and Mr. Burrows asked,--

"How many understand now what an acrostic is?"

A few more hands were raised, but many of the boys did not understand
yet; it must be made plainer.

"Howard," said Mr. Burrows, "come to the board and give us an acrostic on
the word boy."

Howard sprang up. "Must it be a sensible one, sir?"

"Sense or nonsense, just as you please, so as it shows us what an
acrostic is."

"I can take my parsing-book and give you one, I think, sir."

And Howard came forward and wrote rapidly,--

  "B But you shall hear an odd affair, indeed,
   O Of which all Europe rings from side to side"--

Then he paused, turning the leaves of his parsing-book eagerly.

"I can't find anything in Y to finish this up with," he said at last.

"Can't you give us a line from your own brain?"

And at this Howard's eye brightened with fun, and, turning to the board
after a moment of thought, he dashed off the closing line,--

  "Y You who can finish this may have the job;"--

then took his seat amid bursts of laughter from the boys, who all began
to understand what an acrostic was.

Ellis Holbrook's hand was up, and his eyes were full of questions.

"Mr. Burrows, why is that called by such a queer name as acrostic?"

His teacher smiled.

"You must study Greek, Ellis. We get it from two words in the Greek, or
from one word made up of two others, which mean _extreme_, or _beginning_
and _order_. In an acrostic the beginnings of the lines are arranged in
order. Do you understand how we get that word now?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, now, you would all like to know what this talk is for. I want
every boy in school who can write, to bring an acrostic on his own name
for his next composition."

The boys groaned, and exclaimed, "They couldn't do it, they were sure;
they couldn't _begin_ to do it!"

"Yes, you can," said Mr. Burrows; "I don't give my scholars any work that
they _can't_ do. You may quote it, or make it original, as you please;
but I want every one of you to _try_."

Johnny Thorpe, the smallest boy in school who could write, now seemed in
trouble, and stretched up his arm to its full length.

"Well, Johnny, what will you have?" asked his teacher.

"If you please, sir, I don't know what you mean by quote."

Mr. Burrows laughed pleasantly.

"I must remember, I see, to speak plain English; I mean you may borrow
your essay from a book, or a dozen books, if you like, so that you don't
try to make us believe the thoughts are your own. You may write in poetry
or not, as you please; but I want each to choose a subject, and stick to
it better than Howard did just now. I have given you something to do that
will keep you hard at work, but you will succeed at last."

Tip went home in a tumult. What could he do? He had never written a
composition in his life, having made it a point to run away from school
on composition-day; but running away was done with now. It didn't seem
possible that he could write anything: certainly not in such a new, queer
way as Mr. Burrows wished them to.

Supper and wood-splitting were hurried over for that evening, and Tip
took his way very early to the seat under the elm-tree down by the pond.
He wanted to think, to see how he should meet this new trouble; it was a
real trouble to him, for he had set out to do just right, and he saw no
way of getting out of this duty, and thought he saw no way of doing it.

"There is no place on the road so dark but this lamp will light you
through, if you give it a chance."

This is what Mr. Holbrook had said when he gave Tip his Bible. And Tip
had thought of his words very often, had already proved them true more
than once; but he didn't see how it could help him now.

He took it out, and slowly turned the leaves; it couldn't write his
composition for him, that was certain. But oh, the bright thought that
came to Tip just then! Why not find his acrostic in the Bible, and write
it out? among so many, _many_ verses, he would be sure to find what he
wanted. But then, how very queer it would be for _him_, Tip Lewis, to
copy anything from the Bible! What would the boys think? What would Bob
Turner say? Still, what else could he do? Besides his spelling-book and a
worn arithmetic, it was the only book that he had in the world.

"I don't care," he said suddenly, after a few moments of troubled
thought. "I guess I ain't ashamed of my Bible,--it's the only thing I've
got that I needn't be ashamed of. I'll _do_ it. The boys have got to know
that I've turned over a new leaf. I wish they did; the sooner they know
it the better. I say, my lamp shall help me out of this scrape, that's as
true as can be; it helps me whenever I give it a chance."

He fumbled in his pocket and drew out an old stump of a pencil. The next
thing was a piece of paper; he dived his hand down into another pocket,
producing a rusty knife, pieces of string, a chestnut or two, and,
finally, a crumpled piece of paper on which Bob Turner had scrawled what
he called a likeness of Mr. Burrows, and given to Tip for a keepsake. He
spread it out on a flat stone which lay near him, and began his work.

A long, slow work it was for Tip. Hours of that day, and the next, and
the next, every day, until the fading light drove him home, did he sit
under the elm-tree turning the leaves of his Bible, poring over its
contents, writing words carefully now and then on his bit of paper.
Remember it was new work to him.

At last, one evening, the sun went down in the bright red west, the stars
shone out in all their twinkling, sparkling glory, the shadows began to
fall thick and fast around the old tree, when Tip, with a little sigh of
relief, folded the precious piece of paper, laid it carefully away in his
Bible, and turned his steps homeward. His acrostic was finished, and into
his heart had crept some of the beauty of those precious words, which he
had found for the first time. Words they were which would go with him
through all his life, and sweetly comfort some dark and weary hours.

The school-books were all piled neatly on the desks that Friday
afternoon; the shades were dropped to shut out the low afternoon sun; and
forty boys were still and expectant. The acrostics lay in a great white
heap on Mr. Burrows' desk, not a name written on any of them. Mr.
Burrows was to read, and the boys were to have the pleasure of spelling
out the names of the owners as he read.

A merry time they had of it that afternoon. Some wonderful acrostics were
read. Ellis Holbrook had a very clever one, arranged from his lesson in
Virgil. Howard Minturn had borrowed from his father's library a copy of
Shakespeare, and worked hard over his; the boys and their teacher thought
it a success.

Even Bob Turner had written; the idea had happened to strike him as a
very funny one, and Bob always did everything that he thought funny. He
had found three lines in rhyme which just suited him, and by the time the
eager boys had spelled out B O B,--which was the only name the boy saw
fit to own,--the schoolroom fairly shook with their laughter.

Next to his lay a paper which Tip knew, and his heart beat so loudly
when Mr. Burrows took it up, that he thought every one in the room
must notice.

The room had now grown quiet, and Mr. Burrows, after opening the paper,
announced the title,--

"WHAT JESUS CHRIST SAYS."

Then read slowly and reverently, while the wondering scholars spelled
out the name.

  "E Even the night shall lie light about thee.
   D Depart from evil and do good.
   W Whosoever cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.
   A A new heart will I give you.
   R Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
   D Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to thee.

  "L Lo, I am with you always.
   E Ever follow that which is good.
   W Whosoever abideth in Him, sinneth not.
   I I will go before thee, and make the crooked paths straight.
   S So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper."

What a silent and astonished company listened to this reading, and
spelled the name "Edward Lewis!"

"Edward," Mr. Burrows said at last, "who found those verses for you?"

"I found them, sir, in my Bible. I've got them all marked!" speaking
eagerly, willing this time to bring proof that he was telling the truth.

Mr. Burrows' voice almost trembled as he answered,--

"It is a beautiful collection of some of the most precious verses in the
Bible. It was a fine idea; I am very much surprised and pleased. I wish
that you, and every scholar of mine, could feel in your hearts the full
meaning of those words of Jesus."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I can't to-night, Howard," said Ellis Holbrook, in answer to his
friend's coaxings to accompany him home; "I've got something else to
attend to. Hallo, Tip! Tip Lewis! Hold on a bit! I'm going your way. No,
Howard, I'll come up in the morning; I really _can't_ to-night."

Tip waited in wondering silence, while the boy, whom he counted an enemy,
hurried towards him.

Ellis was a bold, prompt boy: when he had anything to say, he _said_ it;
so he came to the point at once.

"See here, Tip, did I blunder the other day when I told Mr. Burrows you
threw paper? I thought I saw you."

"Yes," said Tip, "you did. I didn't throw a bit of paper that day."

"Well, father said he thought I was mistaken. I'm sure I supposed I was
telling the truth. I'm sorry. I'll say so to Mr. Burrows and the boys, if
you like, and let him find out who did it, and then was mean enough to
see you whipped for it."

Tip struggled a little. "No," he said at last, "let it go. The
whipping is done, and can't be undone; I don't want to make any more
bother about it."

Ellis eyed him curiously.

"You're a queer fellow," he said at last. "I expect you had about the
best acrostic, this afternoon, that can be written."

Tip's heart was throbbing with pleasure as he walked on home after Ellis
had left him. For the first time in his life he had earnest, warm, hearty
praise from his teacher. Ellis had said, "Father told me he thought I was
mistaken." Mr. Holbrook, then, did believe and trust him. Besides, there
was another thought which seemed delightful to him. Tip Lewis, the
worthless, yes, wicked boy that everybody thought him, had walked down
the main street side by side, and talking earnestly with Ellis Holbrook,
the minister's son.




CHAPTER X.

"Enter not into the path of the wicked."


Kitty hung on the gate and watched them pass by,--the long train of high
waggons with grated windows, out of which strange animals peered with
their great, fierce eyes; the two elephants in their scarlet and gold
blankets; the tiny ponies tossing their shaggy manes; the splendid
carriage drawn by eight gaily blanketed, gaily plumed, dancing horses,
and every seat filled with splendidly dressed men and women; the bright
red band-waggon, with the sun glittering over the wonderful brass
instruments and turning them into gold. Kitty watched all
this,--watched, and listened to the loud, full bursts of music, until
her heart swelled and bounded. She sprang from the gate, and stamped her
foot on the ground.

"I wish--oh, I wish I could go!" she almost screamed at last. "I want
to--I _want_ to! Oh, I never wanted to go anywhere so bad in my life!"

"I reckon you'll take it out in wanting," said her mother, who had also
leaned on the fence and watched the show pass by. "Folks who have to dig
as I do, from morning to night, just to get something to eat, don't have
any money to spend on circuses."

Kitty shook her head with rage. "I don't go anywhere," she screamed.
"Never! I never went to a circus in my life, and all the boys and girls
around here go every year. Tip always goes--always; he manages to slip
in. Oh, Tip'" and she opened the gate and went out to him on the
sidewalk, a new thought having come to her, "can't you do something to
get some money, and let me go to the circus with you? Can't you manage
some way? Oh, Tip, do! I'll do anything for you, if you only will. I
never wanted anything so bad before."

And Tip's face, as he walked towards the village ten minutes after that,
was a study, it looked so full of trouble.

Kitty wanted to go to that circus,--wanted to go so very much that she
had coaxed and begged him in a way that she had never done before.
Besides, if the truth be told, Tip wanted to go himself; every time the
wind wafted back to him a swell of the distant music, it made his heart
fairly jump. It was true, as Kitty had said, he always managed to slip in
some way; and the oftener he went, the oftener he wanted to go.

Well, then, what was the matter with Tip? What he had done so many times
before, he could surely find a way to do again. Oh yes! But Tip Lewis
to-day was different from any Tip Lewis there had ever been before on
circus day. Wasn't he trying to do right? But then, what had circuses to
do with that? He tried to think what were his reasons for being troubled!
Why did a small voice down in his heart keep telling him that the circus
was no place for him now?

Looking at the matter steadily, the only reason Tip knew was, that Ellis
Holbrook and Howard Minturn never went; their fathers had taught them
differently. Ellis, he knew, rather looked down on people who did
go,--called them low. This had never troubled Tip before, because he had
always known himself to be low; but now, wasn't he trying to climb?
Didn't respectable people generally think that circuses were bad things?

No, poor Tip, they didn't; there was Mr. Bailey, a rich man,--so rich
and so respectable that his son wouldn't stoop to lend Tip his
spelling-book at school,--yet Mr. Bailey went to the circus last year and
took all his children. So did Mr. Anderson and Mr. Stone, and oh! dozens
of others, rich, great men. Well, did good people go? and Tip's thoughts
strayed back to Mr. Holbrook, and Mr. Parker, and Mr. Minturn, yea, and
others, whose voices he had heard on the streets and in stores,
condemning the circus.

But then, after all, where was the harm? There was Kitty, how much she
wanted to go; if he could manage to take her, how glad she would be! At
this point Satan thought there was a chance for him to speak; so he
walked along with Tip, talking like this:

"Kitty has never asked you to do anything for her before. You want to
help her; you want to get her to go to Sunday school and to read the
Bible. Now's your time: if you take her to the circus, very likely she
will do what you want her to."

This was a little too absurd, even for Tip, who wanted to believe it all
so badly; but who ever heard of taking any one to a circus in order to
get them to love Jesus? Tip knew altogether too well for his comfort,
that day, that Mr. Holbrook's example was the safe one. At last he drew a
little sigh of relief; he needn't think about it any more, for he had no
money: he had never owned fifty cents at one time in his life; so the
question, after all, would settle itself.

No, it wouldn't. Mr. Dewey stood in the door of his market, looking up
and down the street.

"Hallo, Tip!" he called, as Tip turned the corner; "you're the boy I
must have been looking for, I guess. If you'll carry home packages for
me for an hour, and not steal one of them, I'll give you two tickets for
the circus."

Tip's cheeks glowed at the word steal, and he came near telling Mr. Dewey
to carry his own packages, if he were afraid to trust him.

But then, those two tickets! Here was a chance for Kitty. The conflict
commenced again.

A whole hour in which to decide it, for Tip meant to do the work any way.
Up and down the streets, stopping at this house and that with his
parcels, back again to the market for more, all the time in a whirl of
thought. The question was almost decided when the two green tickets were
placed in his hand; it closed over them eagerly. He hurried towards home.

Towards home led him past the brick hotel. In the bar-room sat some of
the circus men; he knew them by their heavy beards, which almost covered
their faces; knew them also because he knew every man in town, just who
were strangers and who were not. Well, these circus men were very busy
drinking brandy and playing cards. Tip stopped and looked in at them;
and, ignorant boy as he was, the thought that good, respectable people
would go to see and hear such men as these, seemed very strange. It
couldn't be right, could it? How was it? A great many nice people must
have blundered terribly if it were wrong; and, on the other hand, if it
were not wrong, how did the minister happen to be so afraid of these
things? Why did he himself have so many queer feelings about the matter?

What a trouble he was in! If only he could find somebody or something
that would decide it for him! Long before this he had walked away from
the hotel; now he had crossed the bridge, gone around behind the mill,
and was very near his seat under the elm. Down he sat when he came to it,
still holding fast the two green tickets, but with the other hand diving
down in his pocket for the little Bible. That was getting to be a habit
with him, to hunt for this lamp of his whenever he was in darkness. He
turned the leaves now with a perplexed face. If he only knew where to
turn for help!

"Let me see," he said. "Where was that verse that I learned for the
Sunday school concert? I liked the sound of that; it was somewhere in
this book full of short, queer verses. I can find it; yes, I see it.
'For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from
being taken.'"

It didn't seem to help him; he shook his head slowly, still glancing on
over the verses, until suddenly his listless look vanished, and he read
aloud;--"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of
evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."

"That means them," said Tip, "and me. They're wicked men, that's certain:
they were drinking and gambling,--swearing too, I guess; and this verse
reads about them just as plain as day. It says, 'Don't go near
them,'--says it over and over again; and I'll mind it, I will. I'll take
these tickets right back to Mr. Dewey, so they won't be here to put me in
mind of going."

No sooner said than done; he turned around and fairly galloped up the
hill, around the corner, and landed nearly breathless at the market.

"Here, Mr. Dewey," he said promptly, "I've brought back your tickets; I
don't want 'em this time."

"What's up now?" asked Mr. Dewey, coming out from behind his desk, and
eyeing the panting boy curiously. "Won't the tickets pass?"

"Not if they wait till I pass 'em," answered Tip in his prompt, saucy
way. "I ain't going to the circus, not an _inch_," he added, as if to
assure himself that he meant it.

"But why not?"

"Oh, I've got reasons."

"Well, now, Tip," said Mr. Dewey, "that's really astonishing! Suppose you
give us a few of your reasons. We don't know what to make of this."

Tip didn't know what to say; he hesitated and thought, and finally did
the best thing he _could_,--spoke out boldly. "I've made up my mind that
I won't go to any more circuses, _ever_! I don't believe in 'em as much
as I did."

That wasn't it yet,--he had not owned his Master in the answer. Neither
was Mr. Dewey satisfied.

"But, Tip, give us the _reasons_; this is such a sudden change,
you know."

"Well," said Tip, "I've been reading about them just now."

"About whom?"

"Why, them circus fellows. They're up here at the tavern; they're
drinking and fighting, and I don't know what; and I guess, by the looks
of things, they're pretty wicked. The book I was reading said, Don't go
near wicked men, turn around and go the other way; and I _mean_ to." And
with this Tip whisked out of the house and around the corner.

Mr. Dewey shrugged his shoulders.

"The world turns around, sure enough," he said at last.

"How do you know that?" and Mr. Minturn set his market basket on the
step, and fanned himself with his hat. "I'm my own boy to-day, you see;
give me something for my dinner. How did you find out that the world
turned around?"

"Why, Tip Lewis has taken to preaching against circuses. Will you have a
roast to-day, Mr. Minturn? I gave him a ticket, and he just rushed in
with it and informed us he wasn't going to circuses any more, because the
Bible says they are wicked fellows. What do you think of that?"

"Humph!" said Mr. Minturn. "The Bible says it would be better for a man,
sometimes, if a millstone were about his neck, and he were in the bottom
of the sea. I'd look out for that, if I were you. Hurry up with your
meat; I ought to be at the store."

Tip went home to Kitty. She still swung on the gate; at least she was
there when he came up.

"Oh, Tip," she said, "are you going to take me? Oh, Tip, _do_! I never
asked you for anything before."

Tip walked slowly up the yard, with his hands in his pockets,
troubled,--not knowing what to say, or how to say it. At last he stopped
and wheeled about. "Kitty, I can't; I can't go. I could get tickets if I
dared, but I don't mean to go any more. They're bad, wicked men, and I'm
trying to be"--

But Kitty twitched herself away from him, and wouldn't hear any more.

"Do go off!" she said. "You're a mean, ugly, hateful boy! I'm sorry you
got so awful good, if you can't do that little much for me. Go away and
let me alone."

Even in his sore trouble a little flash of joy shot through Tip's heart.
He _was_ different, then. Kitty had noticed it; she knew he was trying to
be different. There _must_ be a little bit of change in him.




CHAPTER XI.

"Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."


Over and over in his mind did Tip repeat this verse; it seemed to sound
all around him, and mixed up with everything he did. And yet he went out
of the house that evening, and turned straight down the street in the
direction leading to the tented circus grounds, walking along slowly,
talking to himself.

"It won't do any harm just to listen to the music. I don't mean to go
in--of course I don't! Suppose I'd do _that_, after all I said to Kitty!
Besides, I couldn't if I would; I haven't got any ticket. I'm just going
to walk down that way, and see if there's lots of folks going, and if the
music sounds nice."

"Avoid it, pass not by it." Oh yes, Tip knew; he heard the voice, yet on
he went; beginning to walk swiftly, only saying in answer, "I ain't going
in; I couldn't if I wanted to; and I don't want to."

By and by he came within sight of the tents and within sound of the
music, which, to his untaught ears, was wonderfully beautiful; came up
even to the very door of the large tent, bewitched to go just a step
nearer, though he didn't mean to go in, not he.

Yes, the people were crowding in. Mr. Douglass stood by the door. Tip
knew him very well; that is, he knew he lived in a large house and had
plenty of money; and he knew, when the men were trying to raise any
money, some one was sure to say, "Go to Mr. Douglass; he's always
ready to give."

Everybody liked Mr. Douglass. He turned around now from looking down the
road, and looked down at Tip.

"Well, Tip," he said, "going to the circus?"

Tip shook his head.

"What's the matter?--no money? Pity to get so near and not go in;
isn't it, pet?"

This last to the dainty little girl whose hand he held.

"Yes," she answered, with a happy smile. "Papa, why don't mamma come?"

"Oh, she'll be along soon. Here, sir," to the doorkeeper, handing him
twenty-five cents, "let this ragamuffin in. In with you, Tip, and
practise standing on your head for a month to come."

It was all done in a hurry; the doorkeeper stepped aside, the crowd
jostled and pushed against him, the music burst forth in a new loud
swell. A moment more, and Tip stood in the brightly-lighted room, staring
eagerly around him. There was enough to see; the seats were filling
rapidly with gaily--dressed ladies and gentlemen. He knew them, many of
them, had seen them on the streets often and often; had seen some of them
in Sabbath school, seated before their classes.

Tip was speedily giving himself up to enjoyment, hushing the small voice
in his heart. One of the nicest men in town had let him in; yes, and
there he was now with his wife and little girl; Mrs. Douglas was not
only a teacher in the Sabbath school, but a member of the church. If she
could go to the circus, why couldn't he? So Tip reasoned, and nobody
told him that his lamp said, "Every one of us shall give account of
_himself_ to God."

Presently the wonderful little shaggy ponies trotted out; and back behind
the curtains was one of the riders; he got a peep of her every now and
then in her splendid dress; he knew she would be out pretty soon, and
then she would ride.

Oh, that music! how it rolled around the ring! Tip was too busy looking
and listening to keep out of people's way; he stepped back, still jostled
by the crowd who were pouring in, and stepped directly in front of a man
who was trying to make his way through the crowd around the entrance. Tip
knew him in an instant; he was one of the circus men,--the one with the
ugly face that he had noticed in the morning; it was ugly still, and red
with liquor. He turned a pair of fiery eyes on Tip, and a dreadful oath
fell from his lips as he swung him angrily out of his way.

Oh, Tip Lewis! No wonder your heart fairly stops its beating for an
instant, then bounds on with rapid throbs. Only a few days ago you
listened to the story of a bleeding, dying Saviour, bleeding and dying
for you; and you promised, with honest tears, that for this you would
love and serve and honour Him for ever. And yet, to-night, here you are,
watching the tricks of men who can speak that sacred name in such a way
that it will make even you, who are used to this, shudder and turn cold.
"In the name of the Saviour whom you love, what do you here?"

It was to Tip as if Christ Himself had asked that question. He turned
suddenly, and, with both hands pressed to his ears, fairly fought his way
through the crowd.

"Let me out! let me go!" He fairly shrieked the words at the astonished
doorkeeper, who stood aside to let him pass. Up the hill with swift,
eager steps he ran, trying still to shut out the ring of that awful oath,
the sound of that hateful voice, speaking the name which had so lately
become to him the one dear and precious name in earth or heaven. On, on,
up the hill, and then down on the other side, stopping finally at the
great tree under the hill, just across the pond. Stopping and sitting
down, he tried to think. What had he done? He had been warned, he had
been tempted, and he had _fallen_. It didn't help him now to think that
good men and women were there. Perhaps God had not so plainly shown them
the wrong. Perhaps they had never found that verse: "Avoid it, pass not
by it." Perhaps--oh, _anything_--it was nothing to him now. This much was
certain: he had done wrong. Such a heavy, _heavy_ heart as Tip had
to-night. "What _should_ he do? What would Kitty say, if she found it
out? Oh, what would Mr. Dewey think, or Mr. Holbrook? and then, above
all else, came the thought, What could Jesus, looking down on him now
from heaven, what could _He_ think of him? This thought brought the
bitter tears, but it brought him also on his knees; and he said,--

"Oh, Jesus Christ, in spite of it all, you _know_ I love you. Won't you
forgive me and let me try again?" Long he knelt there, trying to get
close to Christ, and his Saviour did not leave him alone. It was only
yesterday he had learned the verse, and it came to him softly now: "Thou
art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, of great
kindness."

In his sore trouble, Tip's lamp had not failed him.




CHAPTER XII.

"He honoureth them that fear the Lord."


Slowly, but surely, as the late autumn days came on, Tip was growing into
a better place in the schoolroom, in the opinion of his teachers and his
schoolmates. In Mr. Burrows' school, ten was the perfect mark, and _x_
was the very lowest grade a boy could reach. It had once been an everyday
joke with Tip, that, being _x_, he must be perfect, because it said in
the spelling-book that _x_ was ten.

But it had been a good many days since Tip had said "_x_;" the boys had
ceased to be amazed when he answered "ten" in prompt, proud tone.

They were growing, many of them, to be surprised and sorry for him, when,
in his days of failures, he answered, with drooped eyes and very red,
ashamed face, "seven," or, it might be, "six."

Though he was still anything but a good reader, no one could fail to see
that he blundered less and less every day, and Mr. Burrows was growing
patient with his blunders, growing helpful in his troubles.

The boys saw him working hard over his spelling-book, and few of them now
had the meanness to laugh when a word passed him.

Mr. Burrows' tones were not so harsh to him as they used to be; and
now-a-days, when he was accused of breaking rules, instead of being
called up and unhesitatingly punished, his teacher, who grew every day
less and less sure that he was at the bottom of all the mischief done,
always gave him a chance to speak for himself, and was learning to
believe him.

Oh yes! things were different, and were all the time growing more so. Bob
Turner saw this plainly: he began to find Tip a very stupid companion,
and stayed away from school more afternoons than ever.

But poor Tip noticed the change less,--yes, much less than any of the
others. You don't know how hard it was for him. Do you think Satan was
willing to leave him, and let him grow quietly into a good boy? Not a
bit of it. You see he had been born bubbling over with fun and frolic;
he had never learned to have them come in at the right place or the
right time.

Sometimes he felt willing to give up all trying to do right, for the sake
of having a grand frolic just when and where he wanted it,--no matter
what might be going on just then. Sometimes, when he failed, he felt
fierce and sullen, and told himself it was all humbug, this trying to be
good. Sometimes he felt so utterly sad and discouraged, that it seemed to
him he never could try again; yet through it all he _did_ try heartily.

His arithmetic was the hardest. He was still in the dunce class,--so the
boys called it, because it was made up of the drones from several
classes, and was constantly being put back to addition.

It was a sharp winter's morning. No more make-believe winter for a
while,--the snow lay white and crisp on the ground, and the frosty air
stung every nose and every finger it could reach.

Tip's study, at the foot of the hill under the elm, had been quite broken
up, and he found it very hard to study at home,--especially this
morning. His father's cough had been bad all night, and this made his
mother troubled and cross.

Kitty, these days, seemed trying to see just how cross and disagreeable
she could be; and the kitchen--at best a dismal place--was just now at
the worst. The wet wood in the stove sizzled and stewed and made a smoke;
and in the midst of Tip's fifth trial on an example which was puzzling
him terribly, he was called on to split some kindlings.

"This instant!--I won't wait a minute!" Kitty said in a provokingly
commanding tone; and Tip went at it sullenly, saying, with every spiteful
drive of his axe through the pine board which he had picked up, "It's no
use; I _cant_ do that sum, and I ain't going to try. I don't know
anything, and never will. I've done it over fifty times, and twisted it
every way I can think of. There's no sense to it, any way,--sixteen
sheep _stood him in_ two dollars apiece. What does that mean, I'd like to
know? He had forty sheep and twenty-five cows. I know it all by heart;
but I can't do it, and that's the whole of it. I wish his sheep had
choked to death, and his old cows run away, before I ever heard of them.
I'll go over it just once more." (Tip was back by the kitchen window now,
with his slate and book.) "Let's see: twenty-five cows at thirty-four
dollars apiece;" and he worked away in nervous haste, until he came to
"stood him in." If he only _could_ find out what that meant, he felt sure
he could do it. If he had somebody to help him; but he hadn't. There
would be no time after he went to school before the class was called.

Just then he thought of his father; he used to be a carpenter before he
was sick, and he used to make a great many figures sometimes on smooth
boards. Tip remembered it was just possible that he might know something
about the sum. Suppose he should ask him?

He started up suddenly, and went towards the bedroom door.

"Father," he said softly, "can't you tell me what 'stood him in' means?"

The sick man turned himself on his pillow, and looked wonderingly at Tip.

"What do you mean?" he asked at last.

"Why," said Tip, in a despairing tone, "it says 'stood him in' in the
arithmetic,--the sheep stood him in two dollars apiece,--and I don't see
any sense to it."

"Oh!" said Mr. Lewis; "I see what you mean;" then he went back to his
long-ago deserted carpenter's shop.

"Why, Tip, if I had ten pounds of nails, and they were worth eight
cents a pound, they would stand me just so much,--that is, they would be
worth that to me; and if I should sell them I'd get so much for them.
Don't you see?"

Light began to dawn on Tip's mind.

"Then it means," he said, "that the man didn't sell his sixteen sheep; he
just counted them worth two dollars apiece. Yes, I see; if that's it,
I'll try it." And he rushed to his work again.

And Tip will never forget the eagerness with which he presently turned to
the answer in his arithmetic, and from that back to the one on the slate,
nor the way in which the blood bounded through his veins when he found
that they agreed perfectly.

"It's exactly it," he called out to his father, in a hearty, grateful
voice. "I've got it, and I've been at work on it this whole morning."

Ellis Holbrook, about that time, conquered a most puzzling example in
algebra; but he felt not prouder than did Tip.

"Thomas," said Mr. Burrows to the head boy in Tip's arithmetic class,
"you may take the twenty-third example to the board."

"Can't do it," answered Thomas promptly.

"Henry may do it, then."

"I couldn't get it either," was Henry's answer. So on down the class;
Tip's heart meantime beating eagerly, for the twenty-third example was
about his troublesome, but by this time very much-beloved sheep.

"Robert?" said Mr. Burrows, more for form's sake than because he had the
slightest doubt about Robert's reply.

"My!" said Bob Turner good-naturedly; "I can't do it."

Tip sat next, and something in his face made Mr. Burrows put the
question to him, though he had nearly resolved to waste no more time in
the matter.

"Can you do this, Edward?"

"Yes, sir," said Tip promptly and proudly, "I can."

And no nobler figures or firmer lines did chalk ever make on a blackboard
than was made while that troublesome example was being done.

He was roused from his flutter of satisfaction by hearing Mr.
Burrows' voice.

"Do you know anything about the lesson, _any_ of you?"

"I'm sure _I_ don't," answered Bob, still good-naturedly.

Mr. Burrows was growing utterly out of patience; this same scene had been
acted too often to be endured longer. He turned back to the first pages
in the book.

"Very well," he said at last; "you may take the first page in addition
to-morrow morning, and we'll see if you can be made to know anything
about that."

Tip's hopes fell; his heart was as heavy as lead. Not one of the others
cared; they were used to it; so indeed was he, only now he was trying, he
did so long to go on; just when he was working _so_ hard, to be put away
back to the beginning again made him feel utterly disgraced.

"Wait a minute, Tip." Mr. Burrows' eye fell first on him, then on the
neatly and correctly worked example; then he turned, and asked, "Charlie
Wilcox, on what page is your arithmetic lesson for to-morrow?"

"We commence multiplication, sir," answered Charlie, a bright little
boy, who belonged to a bright class, that did not idle over any pages in
their work.

"Edward," said Mr. Burrows, turning back to Tip, "you have done well
to-day. You mean to study, after this, I think; I have been watching you
for some time. The third arithmetic class take the first page in
multiplication for their next lesson to-morrow; you may take your place
in that class, and remain there as long as you can keep up with it."

Now Tip was too much astonished to speak or move; his wildest dreams had
not taken in promotion, at least not for a long, _long_ time.

Bob Turner leaned over and looked at him in actual sober wonder, that Tip
was to be in a higher class.

Not a word did Tip say. He did not even raise his eyes to his teacher's
face; and that teacher had not the least idea how the boy before him
felt. He did not know how Tip's heart was throbbing, nor how he was
saying over and over to himself, "Things are different; they're surely
different." He did not know how those few words of his, spoken that
winter morning, were going to help to make the boy a man.

It was that very morning, standing in that room before the blackboard,
with his toe on the third crack from the wall, that Tip resolved to have
an education.




CHAPTER XIII.

"The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all."


The boys gathered around the stove before school, and talked. The
boys,--not all of them, by any means. Only that small, select number who
were above, and led all the rest. Tip wandered outside of the circle,
feeling very forlorn; he didn't belong anywhere these days. Bob and his
friends had very nearly deserted him; there was scarcely any of their fun
in which he had time or desire to join, and the other cliques in school
had never noticed him; so he stood outside, and wondered what he should
do with himself. Howard Minturn wheeled suddenly away from the boys, and
called to him,--

"Tip, see here."

And Tip went there.

"What do you want?" he asked crossly; for some way he felt out of sorts
with that company of finely-dressed boys around the stove.

"Want you to come over to-night. It's my birthday, you know, and some of
the boys are coming to take tea, and spend the evening. Can you come?"

Tip's wide-open eyes spoke his astonishment. "What do you want of me?" he
asked at last, speaking boldly just what he thought.

"Why, I want you to come and help have a nice time," returned Howard,
with great kindness, but just a little condescension in his tone.

Tip heard it, and his bitterness showed itself a little. "It's a new
streak you've got, ain't it?" he said, still speaking crossly. "You've
had lots of birthdays, and this is the first one _I've_ heard of."

"Oh, well!" said Howard proudly, flushing as he spoke; "if you don't want
to come, why"--

Mr. Burrows' hand was laid on Howard's arm. "Don't spoil a good, noble
thing, my boy. It is all new to Edward; _urge_ him."

Mr. Burrows spoke low, so no one else could hear him, and turned away.

At recess Howard sought out Tip.

"I honestly hope you'll come to-night, Tip, for you're a good fellow to
play games with, and the boys would all like to have you."

Tip had quarrelled with his ill-humour, and it had vanished.

"I'll come," he said, in a cheery tone; "only I'll look like a big
rag-bag by the side of _you_ fellows."

"Never mind," said Howard, turning to join the boys, "_you_ come."

Why had Howard Minturn invited him to the grand birthday party? This was
the question that puzzled Tip. Had he known the reason, it would have
been like this: Mr. Minturn had never quite lost sight of Tip since the
circus. He wanted to help him,--wanted to do it through his son; only he
wanted the son to think that he did it himself. Knowing Howard pretty
well, he said, when they were seated at breakfast that morning,--

"I've just been reading about a real hero."

Howard longed to be a hero; he looked up eagerly.

"Who was he, father? What did he do?"

"He was a rich young man, and he had the courage to take for his friend a
poor fellow who hadn't two cents to his name. To pay him, the time came
when he was proud to be noticed by the great man who was once so low."

This thought was still in Howard's mind when he walked with Ellis to
school. So, when Ellis said, "There goes Tip Lewis; father thinks we boys
ought to notice him; he is trying real hard now-a-days to behave himself,
you know," it was easy for Howard to mingle Tip in with his thoughts.

"Ellis," he said, after a moment's silence, "suppose I invite him to come
to our house to-night? He's a splendid good fellow to have a game; never
gets mad, you know."

"S'pose he'd come?" asked Ellis.

"Yes, of course; jump at the chance. _I'll do it_. Our boys will think it
odd, I suppose; but I guess I have courage enough to do as I please."

And Howard drew himself up proudly, and thought of his father's hero.

So this was why Tip was invited to the birthday gathering at the grand
house on the hill.

Mrs. Lewis sewed, that afternoon, on his jacket, mending it up more
neatly than ever before. She had said very little about this invitation,
but she couldn't help feeling proud and gratified over it. It was
certainly a wonderful jump for Tip, from mingling with the worst and
lowest boys in town, to find himself taking a long stride, and reaching
the very top. So Mrs. Lewis sewed, and Kitty, as she sat watching the
needle fly back and forth, spoke her thoughts:

"All of the boys down to Mr. Burrows' school wear white collars on
their jackets."

"Well," answered her mother snappishly, "what's that to me? S'posing
they wear white _cats_ on their jackets, I could get him one just as
easy as t'other."

It was a sore subject with Mrs. Lewis. From her very heart she wished she
could dress Tip in broadcloth to-day, just as fine as that which Howard
Minturn himself wore, and a collar so white and shiny that it would
fairly dazzle the eyes of the others to look upon it; but, since she was
so powerless to do what she would, it made her cross.

The bedroom door was open, and Tip's father heard. By and by, when his
cough was quieter, he called, "Kitty!" and the little girl went in to
him. "Is the jacket fixed, Kitty?"

"Yes."

"Does it look nice?"

"Some."

"Would you like to find a collar for Tip to wear?"

"Well enough," said Kitty wonderingly.

"Well, now, I've got two or three that I don't wear any more, and never
shall, I guess" (this last spoken sadly); "s'pose you take one of
'em--they're in that square box under the table--and see if you can't sew
it on the jacket, and make it look like what the other boys wear? Now,
you try what you can do, just to see what Tip will say."

Kitty went slowly over to the box. This was new work for her, but her
father was very pale to-day, and those sadly-spoken words, "and never
shall, I guess," had quieted her; so she made no answer, but drew out one
of the collars. It looked nice and white, and shone, too. Mrs. Lewis had
done it up late one night, with tears in her eyes, because she could not
hope that it would be worn again.

"What are you doing with that?" she asked sharply, as Kitty appeared from
the bedroom.

"Father wants Tip to wear it," answered Kitty.

"I'll lend it to him," spoke the sick man; "we want him to look as decent
as we can to-day, you know."

Mrs. Lewis said no more, but it seemed to her like giving up one more
hope of her husband's life.

Tip came down from the garret, with neatly-brushed hair, and dressed
in his clean shirt, nicely mended jacket, and the shiny collar. It
was wonderful what a difference that collar made; he didn't look like
the same boy.

"Kitty," he said, his face all aglow with pleasure, "where _did_ I get
a collar?"

"It's father's; he said wear it," answered Kitty.

"And how did it get on my jacket?"

"Jumped on, likely."

Kitty spoke in a short, half provoked tone; she was so unused to doing a
kind thing, that she really felt half ashamed of it.

"Well," said Tip, smiling all over his face, "if that's so, it's the best
jump it ever took, and I thank it from the bottom of my heart." Then he
carried his bright, good-natured face out of the little house in the
hollow, and went towards the great house on the hill.




CHAPTER XIV.

"Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in
the day of judgment."


Howard Minturn was a king among the schoolboys; so, though some of them
nudged each other and laughed a little when Tip swung open the iron gate
and appeared in Mr. Minturn's grounds, the most of them, seeing how
quickly Howard sprang forward, and how heartily he greeted the newcomer,
did the same. Howard was his father over again; if he did a thing at all,
he did it well. Every moment of that afternoon was enjoyed as only boys
know how to enjoy holidays: the whole round of winter fun was gone
through with,--coasting, snowballing, building forts, rolling in the
snow, each had their turn.

Tip was not one whit behind the rest in all these matters, and if ever
boy enjoyed an afternoon, he did that one. The sun had set in its clear,
cold beauty, and the sharp winter night was coming down; the boys stood
at the foot of the hill waiting for Ellis and his sled, which were at the
top; they came at last, shooting down the glassy surface.

"Hurry up," called out Howard, as he spun along. "What the mischief
became of you? We thought you had gone to hunt up Sir John Franklin
and crew."

"Hurry down, I should say you meant," answered Ellis, guiding his sled
skilfully around the curve, and springing to his feet. "I waited for the
rest of you; thought you were coming back."

"No," said Howard, "we just _ain't_. We appointed a committee to find out
how many were frozen up altogether entirely, and found that every single
one of us were; so we're going in to the library fire to get thawed out
by tea-time."

"All right," said Ellis, shouldering his sled; "Howard, where's
your skates?"

"Oh, bother! they're at the top of that awful hill. Never mind; you walk
on slowly, and I'll run back and get them."

The boys obeyed, and Ellis Holbrook was just swinging open the little
gate that led to Mr. Minturn's grounds, when Howard called, as he ran
down the hill, "Hold on! Don't go that way, it will lead you right
through the deepest snow there is; take the big gate." And by the time he
reached them, panting and breathless, they were at the big gate.

"This is jolly," said Will Bailey, throwing himself into a great
arm-chair before the glowing fire. "My! I believe I'm a snowball."

"You'd have been an icicle if you had gone the way Ellis was leading you;
why, the snow is so high," said Howard, raising his hand almost on a
level with his head.

Ellis laughed. "I'm sure I thought I was going right," he said. "I must
have been thinking of yesterday's lesson in Sunday school,--'Enter ye in
at the strait gate.'"

"Ho!" said Will Bailey; "for that matter, one gate is as straight as
the other."

"You don't understand the Bible, my boy," said Howard, laying his hand on
Will's shoulder with a provoking little pat, "or you'd know that strait
means narrow."

"I'll bet a dollar that you were no wiser yourself until father explained
the verse yesterday," said Ellis, laughing.

Tip, meantime, stood apart flushed and silent; he knew about the Sunday
lesson, and remembered the solemn talk which Mr. Holbrook gave them; and
remembered how he urged them, while they were young, to enter into that
strait gate; he felt shocked and troubled at the sound of Ellis's
careless words.

"I know one thing," he said abruptly.

"Do you?" said Will Bailey in a mocking tone. "That's very strange!" Will
felt above Tip, and took care to let him know it.

Ellis turned a quick, indignant glance on him; then spoke to Tip in a
kind and interested tone: "What were you going to say, Tip."

"That, if I were the minister's son, I wouldn't make fun of the Bible."

Ellis's face was crimson in an instant. "What do you mean by that?" he
asked haughtily.

"Just what I say," was Tip's cool reply.

"Do you pretend to say that _I_ make fun of the Bible?"

"Humph! Didn't I hear you?"

"No," said Ellis, in a heat, "you _didn't_! and I'd thank you not to say
so neither."

"Well, now," said Tip, "I'll leave it to any boy here if you didn't. When
a fellow takes a thing in the Bible and twists it around, and makes
believe it means some little silly thing that it don't mean at all, I
call that making fun."

"Poh!" said Howard, coming to the rescue of his friend. "What a fuss
you're making about nothing. You're getting wise, aren't you, Tip? Ellis
was only saying that verse in fun, just as lots of people do. I've heard
good men quote the Bible and laugh over it."

"Can't help that," said Tip boldly; "I say it's wicked, and Ellis
Holbrook's father says so too. I heard him tell Will Bailey once
that folks ought to be very careful how they said things that were
in the Bible.'

"Did he tell you to go around preaching for him through the week? How
much does he pay you for your services? Come, let's hear."

This was said in Will Bailey's most disagreeable tone. Before Tip had
time to answer, Ellis spoke again.

"Well, I don't pretend to be as good as some people are, but I really
can't see any awful wickedness in anything that I've said to-night."

"Neither can anybody else, except Tip," said Will, "and he's good, you
know; he never does anything wrong, except to tell lies and swear, or
some little matters."

Ellis was an honest boy. "No," he said gravely, "there is no use in
saying what isn't true, for the sake of helping my side along. Tip don't
do either of those things now-a-days, I believe; but I'm sure I don't
thank him for his good opinion of me."

Howard was glad at this moment to hear the tea-bell peal through the
house, for the boys were growing cross. Most of them had been so
astonished at the bold stand which Tip had taken, that they said nothing,
only gathered round, and waited to see what would come next.

Howard sprang up. "There's something I, for one, am ready for. Come,
boys;" and he led the way to the dining-room. Oh, that dining-room, with
its bright lights and splendid table, was such a wonderful sight to Tip!
It was a very nice birthday supper,--plates of warm biscuit, platters of
cold chicken, dishes of beautiful honey, silver cake-baskets, filled with
heavily-frosted cake. Tip, for one, had never seen such a sight in his
life before, and he was so bewildered with the dazzle and glitter that he
didn't know which way to turn.

"Howard," said Mrs. Minturn, turning to her son, after she had welcomed
his friends, "do you want your father to take the head of the table, or
would you and the boys prefer having the room to yourselves?"

"No, ma'am," answered Howard, with energy; "we want you and father
_both_. I guess I want _you_ to my party, whoever else I have."

Tip watched the bright light on Howard's face with surprise. How much he
seemed to love his mother, and how much she loved him! how queer it was!
The supper was a great success; the boys forgot their excitement and
ill-humour, and enjoyed everything.

It was almost nine o'clock, the hour when it was generally understood
that the party was to break up. The boys had been very merry all the
evening; the discussion which had taken place just before tea seemed to
have been forgotten, save by Ellis, who, genial and hearty enough with
the others, was cold and haughty to Tip. Still, they kept apart, and the
fun had gone on famously. There was a sudden lull in the uproar when Mr.
Minturn opened the door.

"Are the walls left?" he asked, coming forward.

"The _walls_?" said Ellis inquiringly; "why, sir, did you expect to
miss them?"

"Well, I had some such fears, but I see they're all right. What are
you up to?"

"Ellis was telling a story, that's what we were laughing at when you
came in," said Howard. "Go on, El--never mind father, he likes to
hear stories."

"No," said Ellis, blushing crimson; "I think I'll be excused."

"Go ahead," said Mr. Minturn; "I'm very fond of stories."

"I was only telling, sir, how Joe Barnes talked to his father when I was
down there this morning."

"Yes, and, father, you'd be perfectly astonished to hear him," chimed in
Howard. "I never heard a fellow go on so in my life; he makes fun of
every single thing his father says."

"Do you think there is anything very surprising in that?" asked Mr.
Minturn coolly.

"Surprising! I guess you'd think so. Why, when his father is talking to
him real soberly, he mimics him, and laughs right in his face."

"But I shouldn't suppose you would think there was anything strange
about that."

The boys looked puzzled. "Why, Mr. Minturn!" said Ellis; "wouldn't you
think it strange if Howard should do so?"

"Well, no; I don't know that I should have any reason to be astonished."

Howard looked not only surprised, but very much hurt. "I'm sure, father,"
he said, in a voice which trembled a little, "I didn't know I was so rude
to you as all that."

"No," said Mr. Minturn, "you never have been, but I rather expect you to
commence. I shall have no reason to be surprised if you and Ellis and
Will Bailey, and a host of others, all go to making fun of what your
fathers say to you after this."

The boys seemed perfectly astonished. "_I_, for one," said Ellis Holbrook
proudly, "think too much of _my_ father, to be in any such danger."

"You _do_?" said Mr. Minturn; "well, now, I _am_ amazed. I supposed you
would be the very worst one."

Howard left the table and came over to where his father had seated
himself.

"Father, what _do_ you mean?" he asked, in an earnest, anxious tone.

"Why, I mean," said his father, "that I was in that room over there
just before tea, and I heard the discussion which came up between you
boys, and I came to the conclusion that boys who thought it such a
little matter to make fun of solemn words which God has said to them,
need not be expected to show much respect for what their father or
anybody else said."

A perfect stillness settled over the boys at these words, and not only
Ellis Holbrook's cheeks, but his whole face glowed.

Howard came to the rescue at last, very stammeringly: "But, father--I
don't think--do you think--I mean--well, sir, you know Ellis and the
rest of us didn't mean to make fun of what God said. Don't you think that
makes a difference?"

"I don't know, I'm sure. How do you know that Joe Barnes means to make
fun of what his father says?"

"He acts like it," Howard said.

"Exactly; and so do you, every one of you, except Tip. I don't say, boys,
that you are all going to be disrespectful to your elders after this; I
only say I don't see why your earthly friends should expect more
reverence from you than you give to God."

Boys and man were all silent for a little after that, until Mr. Minturn
broke the stillness by repeating reverently, "'Enter ye in at the strait
gate.' I guess you all know what that means. I would like to know whether
there is a boy here who thinks he has entered in at that gate."

How still the room was while he waited for his answer! Tip could feel his
heart throb--throb--with loud, distinct beats; twice he tried to break
the silence, and couldn't. At last he found voice: "I do, sir."

Mr. Minturn turned quickly. "What makes you think so, Tip?"

"Because I love Jesus, and I'm trying to do what He says."

Mr. Minturn's voice trembled a little: "God bless you, my boy; try to
get all the rest to go through the same gate."

The town clock struck the hour, nine o'clock. The boys made a move to
separate. Tip took his cap and walked out alone in the cold, clear
starlight. He felt quiet and strong. It was done at last: he had taken
his stand before the boys--had "shown his colours."

They all knew now that he was trying hard, and who was helping him.
Things must surely be different after this, for ever.




CHAPTER XV.

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in player, believing, ye
shall receive."


Meantime, was Kitty forgotten? Not a bit of it. If ever boy prayed for
any one, Tip prayed for her. His very soul was in it; yet thus far his
prayers seemed to have been in vain. The lesson, one Sabbath morning, was
on "God's answers to prayer." Tip listened closely, yet with an
unsatisfied longing in his eyes.

"Mr. Holbrook," he said, waiting after the rest had gone, "is there time
for just one question?"

"Yes, for two, if you like," said Mr. Holbrook, sitting down again; "what
is it, Edward?"

"I want to know why God don't answer folks' prayers right away?"

Mr. Holbrook smiled. "If your questions are all as hard as that, Edward,
I don't think there will be time for another to-day. But there may be
several reasons: we will try to find them. Sometimes God doesn't answer
our prayers at once, simply to try our faith, to see whether we are
willing to take Him at His word, and keep on asking, until He is ready to
give; or whether we will grow tired in a little while, and give it up.
And sometimes we spend all our strength in praying, and don't work; then,
often, we don't believe we shall get what we are praying for. Do you
understand me?"

"No, sir," answered Tip promptly.

"Well, let me see if I can make it plainer. For whom are you
praying, Edward, that you are troubled this morning, because you
have not been heard?"

"For Kitty; I have been, this long time. Kitty's my sister, and I
want her to love Jesus; but it don't seem to do any good for me to
pray for her.

"It is _possible_ that God may be trying your patience, but not probable;
I think we can find a better reason. Do you work while you pray? I mean,
do you talk with Kitty,--tell her what you are praying for,--urge her to
come to Christ,--try to show her how?"

Tip looked grave. "I did talk a little to her once, but it didn't seem
to do her any good, and I haven't said a word since."

"Did you ever read in the Bible what is said about such praying, about
saying, 'Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled,' and not _doing_
anything?"

Tip shook his head, and Mr. Holbrook held out his hand for the little
Bible.

"Let me find it for you, and when you go home you may read it, and see if
you, in praying for Kitty and never saying a word to her, are not a
little like that man. Then there's another thing. Do you really believe
that God will do what you ask Him? You say every day in your prayer, 'O
God, make Kitty a Christian;' and yet, wouldn't you be very much
astonished if Kitty should come to you to-day, and say, 'I want to be a
Christian!' Are you looking out for any such thing?"

Tip generally spoke his honest thoughts.

"No," he said gravely, "I ain't."

The church bell began to ring, and Mr. Holbrook arose. "I think, if you
begin to work and pray together, and then ask God to help you to believe,
that He will surely do as He has promised; that you will soon find your
prayers answered."

This he said while gathering up his books and papers ready to start,
and then,--

"Edward, why don't you come to our Thursday evening prayer-meetings?"

Tip's eyes were full of astonishment.

"I never once thought of it," he said. "Why, Mr. Holbrook, boys don't
go, do they?"

"No," said the minister sadly, "they don't; because I don't know of
another boy of your age in this whole town who loves the Saviour. Only
think what a work there is for you to do!"

Tip went home with his brain full of new thoughts. No, he didn't go home;
he only went as far as the elm-tree, and there he sat down and read what
Mr. Holbrook had marked in his Bible. Yes, that was just the way in which
he had been praying for Kitty; and it was certainly true, as Mr. Holbrook
had said, nothing could surprise him more than that Kitty should really
and truly come to Jesus.

Before he went from under the tree that day, he prayed this prayer: "O
God, teach me to believe that you will make Kitty love Jesus, and show me
how to help her."

After this, of course he looked out for his chances in which to work, and
of course he found them,--found one that very day. After dinner Kitty
wandered off by herself. Tip watched her, and she took the road leading
to the cemetery. God put it into his heart to hurry after her; so, when
he came up to her, where she sat, on a large stone which she had rolled
very near to Johnny's grave, his heart was beating at the thought of the
great work which he had to do.

"What did _you_ come for?" said Kitty, looking up.

Tip hesitated a minute, then told the plain truth.

"I came after you."

"I suppose I know that: you didn't come before me."

"I mean I came to _see_ you."

"Well, look at me, then, and go off; I don't want you here."

Clearly, whatever was to be said must be said quickly, and Tip's heart
was very full of its message, so his voice was tender:

"Oh, Kitty, I came to ask you if you _wouldn't_ be a Christian. I _do_
want it so, it seems as if I couldn't wait."

Kitty looked steadily and gravely at her brother. "What do you mean by
'be a Christian?'" she asked at last.

"I mean love Jesus, and do as He says."

"What'll I love Him for?"

"'Cause you can't help it, when you find out how much He loves you, and
all the things He does for you."

"What does He say do?"

"He says be good; try to do right things all the time."

Kitty's eyes flashed. "Now, ain't you mean," she said angrily, "to come
and tell me such things, when you know I ain't good, and _can't_ be good?
Isn't mother ugly and cross and scolding to me all the time? and don't I
have to work and work, _always_, and never have anything? And I'm cross
and get mad, and I _will_, too. I can't help it."

"Oh, but, Kitty," Tip interrupted eagerly, "you don't know about it! He
helps you, Jesus does. When anything is the matter, when you feel cross
and bad, you just go and kneel down and tell Him all about it, and He
helps you every time. And up in heaven, where you can go when you die,
nobody ever gets cross and scolds. And it's beautiful there: they sing,
and have fountains, and wear gold crowns; and--and Johnny is there, you
know; and I'm going, and I _do_ want you to come along."

Kitty's face had been growing graver and graver with every word her
brother spoke, and when at last he stopped, with his eyes turned towards
Johnny's little grave, Kitty's shawl was crumpled up in her two hands and
held tightly to her face; and she was crying, not softly and quietly, but
rocking herself back and forth, and giving way to great sobs which shook
her little form.

Tip looked distressed; he didn't know what to say next; he stooped down
to her at last, and spoke softly: "Oh, Kitty, I'm sorry for you! if you
only _would_ love Jesus, it would make you happy."

"I want to--I want to!" sobbed Kitty; "I would if I knew how."

Tip's heart gave a bound of joy--a surprised bound, too; he had not
expected it so soon.

"It's easy, Kitty, it is, truly, if you only just ask God to do it. You
see He can hear every word you say; He hears you now, but He wants you to
ask Him about it. Say, Kitty, I'll go off and leave you,--I'll go where I
can't see nor hear you,--then you kneel down and tell Jesus about it, and
He'll help you."

"Stop!" said Kitty, as Tip was turning away; "wait! I don't know
what to say."

"Why, just _tell_ Him, just as you did me, and ask Him to help you. You
see, Kitty, you can't do a thing without that; He's got to look after you
every single minute, or it's nothing at all."

Tip went away, and Kitty was left alone,--alone in the spot where her
brother had first found the Saviour. She felt very strangely; she had
been left there alone to offer her first prayer.

Kitty had never been taught to kneel down by her bedside every evening,
and repeat "Our Father;" it was all new and strange to her. She sat still
a long time, with the sober look deepening on her face. At last she got
down on her knees and rested her little hard hands on the hard snow which
covered Johnny's bed, and she said, "Jesus, I want to be what Tip says. I
want to love you if you'll let me. Nobody loves me, I guess. Tip says
you'll help me all the time. If you will, I'll try."

After she had said this, slowly and thoughtfully, stopping long between
each sentence, she didn't feel like rising up; she wanted to say more, so
she repeated it, adding, "Tip says I must be good. I can't be good, but
I'll try."

Over and over was the simple, earnest prayer repeated.

Tip did not go back to Johnny's grave; he took a side road down
through the edge of the grove, and so went home; and when he reached
home, he went up to his attic room, and knelt down and prayed for
Kitty as only those _can_ pray who have been working as well as
asking for what they want.

Kitty was stirring the pudding for supper when he saw her
again,--stirring away hard at the heavy mass, which grew thicker and
harder to stir every moment. He went over to her.

"Kitty, let me do this;" and she gave up the pudding-stick. Tip
stirred away.

By and by she leaned over the kettle to put in some salt, and as she
sprinkled it around she caught his eager, longing look. She nodded her
head. "I guess He heard," she said softly.

"I _know_ He did," Tip answered, his eyes very blight; in his heart
he sang "_Glory!_" And the angels in heaven sang for joy; for that
night there had been laid aside a white robe and a crown of gold for
Kitty Lewis.




CHAPTER XVI.

"Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also
before My Father which is in heaven."


Tip was very undecided what to do. He went out on the steps and looked
about him in the moonlight; then he came in and took a long look out of
the window. At last the question, whatever it was, seemed to be settled.
He turned with a resolute air to Kitty who was washing the tea-dishes.

"Kitty, don't you want to go to prayer-meeting up at the church?"

Kitty dropped her cup back into the dish-pan and stood looking at him, a
good deal surprised. At last she said,--

"I'd like to, Tip, but I don't look decent to go anywhere. I've only this
dress and my old hood."

"I wouldn't mind that," said Tip. "I've only this awful old jacket
either, but I mean to go. Hurry up the dishes, and let's go."

"Well," said Kitty at last, "I _will_; but what will mother say?"

"I'll fix that." And Tip stepped softly into the bedroom. "Are you better
to-night, father?"

"Not much better, I guess. How's arithmetic to-day?"

"First-rate; Mr. Burrows said I was getting ahead fast. Mother, may Kitty
go out with me to-night? I'm going up to the church to prayer-meeting."

Mrs. Lewis turned from the basket where she had been hunting long, and as
yet in vain, for a piece of flannel, and bent a searching bewildered look
on her son.

"I don't care," she said at last; "she can go if she likes; but I doubt
if she will."

She _did_, however; in ten minutes more the two were walking along the
snowy path. Kitty was sober. "Tip," she said presently, "don't you never
get real awful _mad_, so mad that you feel as if you'd choke if you
couldn't speak right out at somebody?"

"Well, no," said Tip, "not often. Yes, I do too; I get mad at Bob
Turner sometimes, mad enough to pitch him into a snow-bank; but it
don't last long."

"Well, mine does," said Kitty. "I begin in the morning; something makes
me cross, and I keep on getting crosser and crosser every minute, till it
seems as if I should fly. Do you suppose I'll always do just so?"

"No," answered Tip positively, "I _don't_. You keep on trying a little
bit harder every day, and by and by you'll find that you don't get cross
more than half as easy as you used to. I know it will be so, because
I've tried it in other things: when I first began to behave myself in
school, it was the _hardest_ work--my! You can think how I wanted to
whisper, and things kept happening all the time to make me laugh, but I
just kept trying, and now I hardly ever think of whispering. Kitty, does
mother know?"

"No," said Kitty, "she don't."

"If I were you, I'd tell her."

"Oh, Tip, I can't! She never looks at me without scolding me; I can't
talk to her about this."

"Yes, you can; I'd surely do it if I were you. It will be a great deal
easier to try hard if mother knows you are trying."

They were almost at the church door.

"Kitty," said Tip suddenly, "let's pray for father to-night. I've been
praying for him this long time; you help me."

Step by step, God was leading Tip Lewis in the narrow way. No sooner was
he seated in the bright, warm little room, and had listened to Mr.
Holbrook's earnest prayer, that every Christian there might do something
for Christ that night, than the struggle began: what ought he to do for
Christ? People all around him were, one after another, offering prayer or
saying a few words. Ought he to? Could he? Oh, he couldn't! Who would
want to listen to him? It wouldn't do any good. There was Mr. Burrows
right in front of him; he would be ashamed of him, perhaps. Yes, but
then, ought he not to own his Saviour? Mr. Holbrook had spoken of the
verse, "Whosoever will deny me before men," and had made the meaning very
plain. Mr. Minturn had just prayed that no one there might be ashamed of
Christ. The end of it all was, that Tip slipped off his seat down on his
knees, and said, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Show me how to pray. I don't want to deny Christ. I want to love Him. I
want the boys in our school, and my father, and everybody to love Him.
I'll try to work for Jesus. I'll try to work for Him. Help me every day,
and forgive my sins for Jesus' sake. Amen."

Tip had never felt so near to God as he did when he arose from his knees.
Mr. Holbrook's voice trembled with feeling, when, soon after, he prayed
for the young disciple who had early taken up his cross.

At the close of the meeting, the minister pressed his way through the
little company of people who were waiting to speak with him.

"Good evening, all," he said hurriedly. "Excuse me to-night, brother," to
Mr. Minturn, who would have stopped him any way; "I want to speak to some
people before they get away from me;" and those who watched, saw him
hurry on until he overtook Tip Lewis and his sister.

"Good evening, Edward. This is Kitty, I think. How do you do, my little
girl? Edward, do you know such a Bible verse as this: 'I love the Lord,
because He has heard my voice and my supplication'?"

"No, sir," answered Tip eagerly; "_is_ there such a verse?"

"Yes, somewhere in the Psalms you will find it. I don't remember just
where. Can you feel the truth of it when you think of your sister?"

"Yes, sir, I _can_. God _did_ hear me."

"And you think you love Jesus to-night, Kitty?"

Kitty felt a great awe for the minister, and her "Yes, sir," was low, and
spoken in a timid voice.

"What makes you think so?"

"I--I don't know; only I pray, and He hears me, and I like to."

"Well, now, Kitty, almost the first thing which people think of after
they have found Jesus, is something to do for Him; they begin to look
around to see what they can find. What are you going to do?"

"I don't know, sir; I haven't got anything I can do."

"Ah, that's a mistake! you can find plenty of work if you look for it;
only don't look too far, because it is the little bits of things which
come right in your way that Jesus wants you to do. When you brush up the
room, and set the table neatly, and brighten the fire, and do little
thoughtful things that help your mother, then you are pleasing Jesus,
doing work for Him. Isn't it pleasant to think that in all those little
things He is watching over you, and that you make Him glad when you do
them well? Do you know that one of God's commands is, 'Honour thy father
and thy mother'?"

"No," said Kitty softly.

"It is; those are the very words; Edward can find them for you in the
Bible; and honour means more than obey; it means, try to please them in
the very smallest things."

They were very near the corner where Mr. Holbrook must leave them. He
laid his hand gently on Tip's shoulder, as he said, "Speaking of Bible
verses, Edward, I have one for you this evening, in the Saviour's own
words: 'Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess
before My Father which is in heaven.' Good-night."

Tip understood him, and there was a bright look in his eyes. The two
walked on in silence for a little. Presently Kitty said, "I guess Mr.
Holbrook don't know just how mother is, or he wouldn't talk so."

"Yes, but," said Tip quickly, "God knew all about it always, you know;
and yet He said that verse."

"So He did," answered Kitty gravely.




CHAPTER XVII.

"Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth."


"Bah," said Will Bailey, "you're fooling, Howard Minturn!"

"As true as I live, I'm not," answered Howard earnestly; "you can ask
Mr. Burrows."

"What's up?" inquired Ellis Holbrook, joining the two.

"Why, Howard is telling the biggest yarn you ever heard: he says Tip
Lewis went to prayer-meeting last night and made a prayer."

"Tip Lewis!" and Ellis Holbrook's voice was full, not only of surprise,
but scorn; "I should like to hear him."

"Well, it's true," repeated Howard. "My father told us about it this
morning, and he said it was a good prayer too; he said, Ellis, that your
father couldn't keep the tears out of his eyes when he heard him; and Mr.
Burrows walked up town with father, and told him that Tip had changed
wonderfully, that he was one of the best boys in school."

"Well," said Will Bailey, "if Tip Lewis has turned saint, I'll give up.
Why, he's the meanest scamp in town; my father says he's had enough for
anything."

"Oh, well now," answered Ellis, "there's no use in being stupid enough
not to see that what Mr. Burrows says is true. I never saw any one change
as he has in my life, but I'll be hanged if I like him as well as I did
before he was so awful good; he's too nice for anything now-a-days."

"Especially when he trips _you_, the minister's son, up, about twisting
the Bible."

Ellis's face glowed, but he was an honest boy. "He was right enough about
that," he said promptly; "my father says it's wrong. But, if it will do
you any good to know it, I haven't liked Tip so well since."

"Say, Tip," said Will Bailey, hailing him at recess, "come here and give
an account of yourself. They say you turned parson last night; did you?"

"No," said Tip, with the greatest good humour, "I didn't."

"Didn't you speak in meeting?"

A quiet gravity spread itself over Tip's face. "I prayed in meeting," he
answered soberly.

"Oh, well, what did you pray for? Come, let's know."

"I prayed for _you_." Tip spoke with quiet dignity.

"Humph! Now, that's clever, certainly. Much obliged."

And Will said no more.

Certainly the boys had never talked so much about any prayer-meeting in
their lives as they did about this one. So that was the way it commenced;
such a little fire kindled it. Tip didn't know it; he never found it out;
probably he never will, until he takes his crown in heaven. From the
humble little prayer which Tip had offered sprang the first buddings of
the great revival which God sent down to them.

"Say," said Howard Minturn to Ellis on the next Thursday evening, "let's
go over to prayer-meeting to-night. I really am dreadfully anxious to
hear Tip speak."

"No," answered Ellis, speaking hastily, more hastily than he often did to
Howard. "I'm sure I don't care in the least to hear him, and I have
enough to do without going there."

Howard was _determined_ to go, and to find company.

"Will, let's go to meeting to-night," he said, the next time he came
across Will Bailey.

Will looked at him in amazement. "What for?"

"To hear Tip."

"Oh!" said Will; "good! I'll go. Let's get a lot of the boys and go over;
just to encourage him, you know."

And they went. Tip and Kitty were there again; and again, with Tip, the
struggle had to be gone through; his coward spirit whispered to him that
the boys would only make fun of him if he said a word, and it would do
more harm than good. His conscience answered, "Whosoever will deny Me on
earth, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven." The
solemn words conquered, and again Tip knelt down and prayed.

"My!" said Mr. Minturn, talking with his wife after they reached home;
"when I thought of the bringing up which that boy has had,--no bringing
up about it, he has just _come_ up, the easiest way he could,--but when I
heard him pray to-night, and then thought of our boy, who has been prayed
for and watched over every day since he was born, I declare I felt as
though I would give all I'm worth to have Howard stand where Tip Lewis
does now."

Howard heard this, as he waited in the sitting-room for his father and
mother; heard it in great amazement, and at first it made him indignant.
The idea of comparing _him_ with Tip Lewis! Then it made him sorrowful:
his father's tones were _so_ sad; after all that had been done for him,
it _was_ hard that he should disappoint his parents.

He listened to his father's prayer that night very closely, and its
earnestness brought the tears to his eyes. Altogether, Howard went to
school the next morning with a somewhat sober face, and took no part
whatever in the boys' fun over the meeting.

Mr. Burrows' heart had been warmed by the voice of prayer from one of his
scholars, and he began to pray and long for others of them to work also;
and the great God, who knows the beginning and the end, led his first
words of anxiety to Howard Minturn. They stood at the desk, teacher and
scholar, Howard bending over his slate.

"Can't you get it?" Mr. Burrows asked,

"No, sir."

"Howard, are you working with all your thoughts to-day?"

"No, sir." And a bright flush mounted to his forehead.

"What is it, Howard?"

"I don't know, sir; not much of anything, I guess."

"Are you not quite satisfied with yourself to-day?"

"Satisfied! I--why--I don't know what you mean, sir; I have tried to do
the best I could, I believe."

"Do you really think so, Howard?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you think so last evening, in the prayer-meeting? Can a boy, who is
as well taught as you have been, feel that he is doing as well as he can,
when he knows that he is every day cheating God?"

Howard's face fairly burned.

"I don't understand you, sir."

"Don't you?" and Mr. Burrows' voice was very kind. "I wish that God's own
Spirit might help you to understand it. Didn't your father and mother
promise God, when you were born, to try to train you up for Him, because
you belonged to Him, and they knew it? Now, haven't they done their duty?
is it their fault that you are not a Christian?"

"No, sir."

"Then it comes back to you. You belong to God, body and soul: He made
you; He has kept you; He would save you, only you will not let Him. You
can't help the fact that you belong to Him; all you can do is to refuse
to give Him your love, and let Him lead you to heaven, and this you are
doing. Is it right?"

Howard was growing haughty.

"I don't feel the need of any such things, Mr. Burrows," he
answered coldly.

"Suppose you don't, does that help the matter any? Does it change the
fact that you belong to God; that you are cheating Him out of His own
property? The question I ask is, Are you doing right?"

Howard stood, with eyes fixed on his slate, saying nothing.

"Won't you answer me, Howard?" Mr. Burrows asked gently; "is it right?"

And, after a long, long silence, the boy's honest, earnest eyes were
raised to his teacher's face, and he spoke steadily:

"No, sir."

"Are you willing to go on doing wrong?"

"No, sir."

"Will you turn _now_, Howard, and start right?"

Now came another long silence. Howard Minturn, the honest, faithful boy,
always getting a little nearer right than any of the others, had been
condemned by his own words, and knew not what to say. At last he spoke:

"I can't promise, Mr. Burrows."

"Howard! such an answer from _you_, to whom I have only needed to point
out what was right, in order to have it done!"

"But I can't trust myself, sir; I shall not feel to-morrow as I do now."

"That is, you feel like doing your duty today, but you expect, if you
wait until to-morrow, that you will feel less like it; so you mean to
wait. Is that right?"

The silence was much longer this time,--so long, that the boys began to
look curiously at the two figures over by the desk, and wonder why the
bell was not rung. But at last he raised those clear, truthful eyes
once more:

"Mr. Burrows, I'll try."

And the next Thursday evening, when in the house of prayer it was very
still, because Mr. Holbrook had just said, "Is there not _one_ here
to-night who wants us to pray for him, and if there is, will he not let
us know it _now_?" suddenly there was a row of astonished faces in the
seat where the schoolboys were sitting, because from among them arose
Howard Minturn, and his face was pale and grave, and his voice was
steady; they all heard his words:

"I want to be a Christian: will you pray for me?"

Oh, wouldn't they! Was there ever such another prayer as that which Mr.
Minturn offered for his son? Did any one who heard it wonder that such
prayer was answered, and that in the next meeting, Howard, speaking with
a little ring of joy in his voice, said, "I love Jesus to-night. I want
every one to love Him. I am very happy"?

From this the work went on. The little lecture-room grew full and
overflowed, and the crowd now filled the church; and every night Some new
voice was heard, asking for prayer.

Will Bailey seemed filled with the spirit of torment; teased the boys
unmercifully; went to the meeting every evening, and made fun of it all
day: but the boys were praying for him, and God's pitying eye was on him.

One evening there were two who arose to ask the prayers of Christians:
one was Will Bailey, the most hopeless, so the boys thought, of all
the boys in town; the other was Will Bailey's grey-haired father, the
most hopeless, so the good men feared, of all the strong,
self-satisfied men in town.

Yet there were two for whom daily earnest prayer was offered, who, in
this blessed time, held themselves aloof,--two boys so far separated,
that it seems strange and sad that their names should be coupled just
here. Bob Turner and Ellis Holbrook, the lowest and the highest; the
worst boy in school and the best! Yet they were united in this one thing,
that they would have nothing to do with Christ. Tip had prayed for both,
worked for both; but this was his success one afternoon.

"Say, Bob, won't you go to meeting to-night, just to please me?"

"Couldn't, Tip, no way in the world. I'd do most anything to please you,
too, for the sake of old times when we used to steal apples together; but
I've promised to go with Nick Hunt tonight, and tie old Barlow's cat fast
to his frontdoor knob, and that's got to be done while the old man is at
meeting, you know. 'Tain't no matter, either, about my going; you just do
the praying for you and me too; then it will be all right."

Tip turned away with a sigh and a shudder. Could it be possible that
_that_ boy had ever been his only companion? Ellis was round by the
ball-ground, and he went thither.

"Ellis, won't you go down to-night with the boys? it's almost the last
meeting, you know."

Ellis wheeled around, and spoke in his coldest tone:

"Tip Lewis, you seem to take a wonderful interest in me, and I'm sure I'm
much obliged to you; but I'll be a great deal more so if you'll attend to
your own affairs after this, and let mine alone."

Poor Tip! how discouraged he felt! Yet that very evening, going home
from school, he met Mr. Holbrook; the minister turned and walked up
town with him.

"Edward," he said, "are you praying for my boy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Will you never stop praying for him while you live, until he comes
to Christ?"

"I never _will_, sir," answered Tip, with energy.




CHAPTER XVIII.

"Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bore thee shall
rejoice."


How did Mr. Holbrook know so well what Kitty needed to help her? His
words had given her such new thoughts; some way it was all new to her,
the idea that she had any duty to perform towards her mother. She stood
thinking of it that bright winter day,--stood before the little fire, and
wondered how it was that she ought to commence. She was to be alone all
day. Mrs. Stebbens, their next neighbour, had fallen down and sprained
her ankle, and sent to know if Mrs. Lewis could do her promised day's
work in the village. Kitty was left in charge of the house and her sick
father. She looked around the room: what an ugly, dreary little room it
was!--dust, dirt, and cobwebs everywhere; her hood and shawl lying in
one corner; her mother's apron on the floor in the middle of the room;
the breakfast dishes not yet washed; the stove all spattered with grease
from the pork gravy; the hearth thickly covered with ashes; the paper
window-curtain hanging by one tack; and on the mantelpiece, behind the
stove, such an array of half-eaten apples, matches, forks, sticky spoons,
broken teacups, and dirty candlesticks, as would have frightened any one
less used to it than was Kitty. As she looked around her, a forlorn smile
came over her face, for she thought of Mr. Holbrook's words: "When you
brush up the floor, or brighten the fire to please your mother"--

"He don't know," she said to herself, "that mother don't care for
sweeping and such things; he don't know how we live. I wonder if mother
_would_ notice now if things were different. What if we did live like
other folks,--had nice tilings, and kept them put up, and the room swept.
Suppose I try it. What could I do? I might sweep and wash off the stove,
and--and clean off the mantelpiece. I'll just do it, and see if anybody
in this house will care."

No sooner thought than commenced. Kitty went to work. The dishes were
washed until they shone; those clean dishes shouldn't go in such a
disorderly cupboard. There was no help for it, the shelves must be
washed; down came the bottles and bundles, papers of this and boxes of
that, which had been gathering, Kitty didn't know how long, and the
astonished shelves felt soap and water once more. How they were scrubbed!

"Kitty," called her father from his bedroom, hearing the racket, "what
are you doing?"

"I'm cleaning house," answered Kitty promptly.

And her father, because he did not know what else to do, let her work.
From the cupboard she went to the mantelpiece, bundled the things all off
in a heap, washed it thoroughly, and put everything in order. What a day
it was to Kitty! One improvement led to another, and as things began to
grow clean in her hands, she grew wonderfully interested, and only
stopped at noon to warm her father's gruel.

It was Saturday, and Tip had gone to pile wood for Mr. Bailey. He was to
get his dinner and a grammar for his pay. He had wanted a grammar all
winter, so he worked with a will; and Kitty saw neither him nor her
mother through all the busy day. The early sun had set long before. Kitty
thought he certainly would not know that room the next morning, it was
all so changed. The paper curtain was mended and tacked up in its place;
the old lounge cover was mended and fastened on smoothly; the mantelpiece
shone and glowed in the firelight; the two shiny candlesticks, and beside
them the little box of matches, were all that remained there of the
rubbish of the morning; the floor was just as smooth and clean as soap
and ashes, with plenty of hot water and an old broom, could make it;
hoods and shawls and aprons and old shoes had all disappeared,--nothing
was lying around: the table was drawn out, the clean, smooth plates
arranged so as to hide the soiled spots on the tablecloth, the pudding
was bubbling away in the astonished kettle, and Kitty's joy had been
complete, when, only a few minutes before, after a great deal of stamping
and pounding, she had opened the door to Howard Minturn, who said,--

"Mother sent you some milk for your supper.--Where's Tip?--_Isn't_ it
cold, though?--There'll be prime skating to-night.--Give me the pitcher
right away, please." All this in one breath.

Now they would have beautiful fresh milk for supper; and if there was
anything which Tip liked, it was pudding and milk.

So Kitty set the old arm-chair in the warmest corner for her mother,
fastened her father's door wide open, so that he could see the new room,
then stirred her pudding, and watched and waited. Her mother came first.
Kitty's heart had never beat more anxiously than when she heard the slow,
tired step on the hard snow. Would she notice anything different? In she
came, tired, cross, and cold, expecting to find disorder, discomfort, and
cold inside. Could anybody, having eyes, fail to notice the changes which
had been wrought in that little room since she went out from it in the
early morning? She shut the door with a little slam, and then the flush
of the firelight seemed to blind her a little; she brushed her hand over
her face, and looked around her with a bewildered air. Kitty went over to
her; some way she felt a great kindness in her heart for her mother, a
great longing to do something for her.

"Is it cold, mother?" she asked brightly. "Take that chair," pointing to
the seat in the warm corner. "Supper's all ready, and I've made a cup of
tea for you."

Mrs. Lewis took off her hood and shawl in silence, untied her wet shoes,
and placed her cold feet on the clean, warm stove-hearth; took in the
brightness of the room, the shiny candlesticks, the neatly-spread
tea-table; took whiffs of the steaming tea,--all in utter silence; only,
when Kitty's father, looking out, said, "There's been business done here
since you went away," something in her mother's voice, as she answered,
"I should think there had," made the blood rush warmly into Kitty's
cheeks, and made her whisper to herself, as she stooped to place the wet
shoes under the stove to dry, "Mr. Holbrook told me true, I do believe. I
guess I have pleased Jesus to-day; I feel so."

While she was taking up the pudding, there was a merry whistle outside, a
brisk, crushing step on the snow, and Tip whizzed into the room.

Oh, there was no mistaking the look of delight on his face, nor the glad
ring in his voice, as he said, "Oh, Kitty! why, Kitty Lewis! what _have_
you been doing? Why, it looks almost as nice here as it does at Howard
Minturn's."

All that evening there seemed a spell upon the Lewis family. Mrs. Lewis
didn't say one cross or fretful word; indeed, she had no cause, for in
Kitty's heart there was a strange, new feeling of love for her mother, of
longing to please and give her comfort; and never was mother waited on
with a more quiet care than Mrs. Lewis received that night.

This was the first coming of home-comfort to the family. Tip had apples
in his pocket, which Howard Minturn had given him; he roasted them
before the fire, and his father ate very little pieces of them; and his
mother darned stockings by the light of the candle in the clean little
candlestick set on the clean little stand; and they were happy.

By and by Tip brought out his grammar, and, finding Kitty very much
interested in examining it, said,--

"What if you should begin and study grammar with me?"

"What if I should?" answered Kitty. So that evening she commenced her
education, and, though grammar was a queer study to _begin_ with, still
it was a beginning.

The pleasant evening wore away; the town clock had struck nine; Kitty's
father had gone quietly to sleep, and the bedroom door was shut to keep
all sounds from disturbing him. Tip had taken his candle and gone. Mrs.
Lewis sat toasting her feet before the dying fire. Yet still Kitty
lingered. She wanted to take Tip's advice, and tell her mother about her
dear, new Friend, and this evening, of such wonderful peace, seemed the
good time for doing so; but she didn't know how. If her mother would only
say something to help her! and presently she did.

"Kitty, what fit came over you, to go to work and clear up at such rate?"

"I wanted to please _you_, I guess."

Kitty knew that this answer would surprise her mother, and it did, into
utter silence; but, after what seemed to Kitty a long, _long_ time, she
spoke again:

"What did you want to do that for?"

Now for it! This was the best chance she could ever hope to have, and her
voice trembled a little:

"I wanted to please Jesus too, mother, and Mr. Holbrook said if I did
things to help you, and that you would like, _He_ would be glad---Jesus
would, you know." A little silence, and then: "I want to please Jesus all
the time now, because I love Him, and I'm going to try to do right."

It was all out now, and her heart was beating so that it almost stopped
her voice. Her mother shaded her face with her hand, and neither spoke
nor moved. Kitty waited a little, then moved slowly towards the door of
her bit of a bedroom; it was moonlight, so she needed no candle.

"Good-night, mother," she found courage to say at last.

"Good-night;" and her mother's voice sounded strangely, coming from
behind the closely-held hand.

There was something like a great sob in Kitty's throat as she went to
her room that night; in her heart was a great longing for mother-love.
She would have liked to kiss her mother good-night, but she felt how
queerly that would look; even to _say_ good-night was something very
unusual. So she knelt down beside her bed, and prayed for her mother.

I don't think Mr. Holbrook knew that the few kind words which he spoke to
Kitty Lewis, on her way home from prayer-meeting, were seeds which were
going to spring up and bear fruit unto everlasting life.




CHAPTER XIX.

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord."


"Father," said Tip, as, after having carefully measured out and given him
some cough-drops, he sat down for a chat with him before
school,--"father, didn't you and Mr. Bailey go to school together when
you were boys?"

"Yes," said Mr. Lewis. "Our fathers lived side by side, and we used to
walk more than a mile to school together every morning; we were in the
same class, too, and the best scholars in school. My! times are changed
since that day. My father was considerably better off than his was, and
now he's a rich man, and I'm nobody."

"Was he such a boy as Will Bailey is--or, I mean, as Will used to be?"

"I don't know much about Will; but I know his father was a sorry scamp,
and many's the scrape he got me into. He took a notion to me. We lived
near by, and were always together, and then I was as full of pranks as he
was, I suppose. But he was a regular tyrant over the rest of the boys;
they were more than half afraid of him; I don't know but what I was
myself. Anyhow, I know I've thought I'd have been different, maybe, if I
hadn't followed him so close in all his scrapes."

"Father, did you know Mr. Bailey was different now?"

"Different--how? What do you mean?"

"Why, he comes to prayer-meeting, and speaks and prays, and seems
to love to."

"The mischief he does!" said Mr. Lewis, surprised out of his usual quiet
tone. "I should think he _was_ different. Why, he used to make great fun
of all such things."

"Yes, that's what he says; but I tell you he don't make fun now."

"When did all that happen?"

"A few weeks ago, when the revival was, you know. He got up one night and
asked them to pray for him, and now he almost always speaks or prays in
the meetings."

"Well," said Mr. Lewis, after a pause, and with a little sigh, "I'm
sure I ain't sorry. I only hope it will last; he needed it as bad as any
one I know of."

"It will last," Tip said, speaking positively. "God will look out
for that."

Then he waited a little before he spoke again--but he had been praying
for his father long enough and earnestly enough to feel bold:

"I thought, last night, that you must have been pretty good friends
once," he said presently, "for he most broke down when he was praying for
you, and the tears just blinded him."

Mr. Lewis turned himself on his pillow, and looked steadily at his son.
"Did Mr. Bailey pray for _me_?" he asked at last.

"Yes, he did; and he prayed as if he meant it."

"How came he to?"

"Why, I asked 'em to--all the folks in meeting, you know. I wanted you to
be a Christian, and prayed for you, and then I asked them if they'd pray,
and Mr. Bailey got right up. You don't mind that, do you, father? All the
folks down there ask us to pray for their friends."

"_No_," answered Mr. Lewis at last, speaking slowly, "I don't know that I
do. I need praying for, I suppose, if anybody does. I'm going where I
can't be prayed for, pretty fast, I guess."

Tip had no answer to make to that.

"So you prayed for me too, did you?" his father asked presently.

"Yes, and I do every day, father; I _do_ want you to know Jesus."

A long silence followed, and then the sick man spoke again:

"Well, Tip, I'm glad that you've got right, gladder than I can tell you.
My father was a good man, and tried to make me do what was right; but I
went all wrong, wasted my whole life, and brought up my children to do so
too; but you're getting on without my help, and I'm glad you'll grow up
to be a good man, and be a comfort to your mother when I'm gone. But I
don't know that you need ask folks to pray for me; it's too late,--I've
gone too far to get back."

Tip's bold, prompt manner did not forsake him now; he answered quickly,--

"Father, I don't believe any such thing. God doesn't say anything about
it's being too late; and He says if we want anything very much, and pray
for it, and it's good to have, He'll give it to us; and I'm bound to
believe Him. Once I prayed for Kitty, and prayed and prayed, and it
didn't do a bit of good, until at last Mr. Holbrook told me that maybe it
was because I didn't really believe any of the time that God was going
to do what I wanted Him to; and I found out that was it. Just as soon as
I began to think He would hear me, it all came out straight; and now I'm
bound to believe Him every time. I've asked Him to make you a Christian,
and I'm going to keep on asking, and _He'll do it_. Father,"--Tip's voice
took a softer tone, for he knew there was one very tender spot in his
father's heart,--"don't you want to see little Johnny up in heaven?"

The muscles around Mr. Lewis's mouth began to twitch nervously, and a
tear rolled down his cheek.

"I'm pretty near it," he said at last; "and I think sometimes I'd give
the world, if I had it, to be ready to go; but it's all too late. I've
known the right way all my life, and I've gone the other way; now I must
just take my pay."

The very Spirit of Christ must have shown Tip what to say next. He spoke
the words earnestly and solemnly; he meant no disrespect:

"Father, do you know more about it than God? Because, you see, it don't
say any such thing anywhere in the Bible; I know it don't, for we talked
about it in Sunday school once, and Mr. Holbrook said, 'No matter how old
a man was, nor what he had done, he could be a Christian.'"

"I always thought it looked mean and sneaking in a man to have nothing to
do with such things all his life, and then turn around just because he
was going to die, and pretend to be very good. God can't be pleased with
any such thing as _that_. I've always said that I'd never do it."

Tip couldn't answer this: it didn't sound true; he felt sure it was not
true; but he had no wisdom with which to meet it. He went to school with
those last words of his father's ringing in his heart, and his thoughts
took shape, and spoke in the very first sentence that he addressed to Mr.
Holbrook, whom he overtook as he came out of the post office:

"Mr. Holbrook, can I ask you a question?"

And the minister, always ready to help any one out of trouble, smiled and
bowed, and walked on by the side of the troubled boy.

"If a man should tell you he thought it would be mean in him to turn
around and go to serving God, after he had found out he had but a little
while to live, when he had cheated Him out of all the rest of his life,
what would you say?"

"I think," said Mr. Holbrook, "I would be very likely to ask him whether
he supposed he would feel any less mean for cheating God out of the last
year of his life, simply because he had been doing so all the other
years. Because a man has been doing wrong for forty years, I don't know
why he should add another year of wrong; I should think he might much
better turn around, and make all the amends he could."

"Oh!" said Tip, drawing a long breath; "why couldn't I have thought of
that? I knew it was wrong,--I saw it plain enough; but I couldn't think
of a word to say."

Mr. Holbrook looked earnestly at the eager boy. "Edward," he said at
last, "do you think your father would see me this morning?"

"Yes," said Tip decidedly, "I know he would. If you would only go and see
him, Mr. Holbrook, and explain that to him, I would be _so_ glad."

And, looking back soon after, he had the satisfaction of seeing Mr.
Holbrook walk quickly down town in the direction of his home. And now Tip
felt hopeful for his father: he had prayed for him, he had worked for
him, and now Mr. Holbrook had gone to him; surely he could leave the rest
in God's hands.




CHAPTER XX.

"Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."


"Here Tip!" said Howard Minturn; "hold this frame steady while I try
that nail. Will, don't put that one up so high, it ain't even with the
others. Hold on, Ellis,--catch hold of this stool, it's tipping. There,
now, it's all nice and in order,--isn't it, Mr. Burrows?" And he sprang
from his stool, as their teacher entered the schoolroom door.

"Very likely," answered Mr. Burrows, smiling; "only I didn't hear what
you said."

"I say we're ready for examination, room and all."

"The room is, certainly; and I hope your brains are. Ellis, I'd move that
chair a little to the left; it will be in the way of the classes as it
stands now. Do you feel brave to-day, Edward?"

"Yes, sir," answered Tip promptly; "pretty brave."

And he did, besides feeling eager and excited. The long winter term was
over; to-day and tomorrow were to be days of examination. The boys had
been working hard for it,--none harder than had Tip. It was the first
examination which had ever come to him in this exciting way. Always
before he had been among the few inevitable dunces, running away from
examination altogether, or else laughing good-naturedly over his own
blundering ignorance. But to-day it was different: he stood there on the
stage among the workers, proudly answering his teacher's questions, and
looking proudly over at the group of idlers,--Bob Turner at their
head,--who loitered near the windows, wondering that he could ever have
been of their number. This was going to be a great day for Tip; it is
true he was far behind some others of his age, so far that not a single
class of Howard Minturn's and Ellis Holbrook's were to be examined that
day,--the advance classes being put for the next day,--while all of his
came that morning; but then Tip knew there was change enough in him to
call the attention of every one present. He felt the change in himself;
his mother felt it, when she that morning brushed his hair for him, and
fastened a clean collar on his jacket; the boys in school felt it. He had
taken his place among the workers.

The bell rang at last, and the scholars filed in and took their places.
There were visitors, even in the early morning; the people liked to
attend Mr. Burrows' examinations. Tip's class in reading came first on
the list, and never had his eyes been so bright or his face so eager. Tip
had learned to read. Patiently, earnestly, he had plodded on through the
long winter; now his sad blunderings in that line were over for ever; not
a boy in school read more slowly, distinctly, and correctly than Tip
Lewis. The selections were to be made by the committee, immediately after
class, of those who were considered ready to enter the history class on
the following term. This was the highest reading class in the school: and
Tip's eyes fairly danced when Mr. Holbrook, who was chairman of the
committee, out of a class of thirteen read but two names,--"Thomas Jones"
and "Edward Lewis."

"Hallo, Tip!" Howard Minturn had said to him at recess; "let's shake
hands. Welcome to history; it's awfully hard and interesting."

And Tip did shake hands, and laughed; and looked over at the other
clique--the dunces--with a half-patronizing nod to Bob Turner; and
wondered how he _could_, have borne it to have been numbered with them
that day; then he felt that he was climbing into the first set, and
climbing _fast_.

In spelling, too, he came off conqueror; spelled down the class, spelled
until Mr. Burrows closed his book with the words, "I presume you are
tired of this, gentlemen, and, as our examinations are confined to the
lessons, I think it will hardly pay to go further, for Edward has not
missed since the second week in the term."

So again, flushed and excited, Tip went to his seat victorious. Only
arithmetic now, and he would be through with the working part of the day.
It was the last recitation in the morning, and he was so eager and
anxious to do well, that he began to grow nervous.

The class was called at last. They had gone slowly and carefully through
long division, and would be ready for fractions next term. The recitation
passed off finely. Tip had not studied day and night during the winter
for nothing. He was at the board, working an example in long division; it
was almost finished. The hand of the clock pointed to ten minutes of
twelve. In ten minutes he would be through, and his name would stand on
that honoured list, among those who had not missed one word or made one
mistake during the examination. His hand began to tremble. What was the
matter with that example? Oh, what _was_ the matter? The remainder was
too large; no--it was too small; no--it was--he didn't know what!
Everybody was watching him; he heard a boy laugh softly. He had made a
mistake, then; what was it? where was it? Mr. Burrows' voice came to him,
calm and kind:

"Edward, don't get excited. Look at your remainder closely; take the
first figures of divisor and remainder--nine in thirty-one, how many
times? That will help you."

Ellis Holbrook stood but a step from the blackboard, just behind him. Tip
heard his low whisper, "Seven," and, without waiting to think,--indeed,
he was too nervous to think,--he caught at the number.

"Seven times!" he said hurriedly.

Then he heard bursts of laughter from the boys, and dashed down his chalk
in an agony of shame and pain. And the clock struck twelve!

The honour was lost.

The boys gathered around him after school was closed.

"It was too bad, Tip," Howard Minturn said, in a tone of honest
sympathy. "You'd have had it in a minute more."

"I'd have had it if it had not been for Ellis Holbrook, and he's a mean
scamp!" Tip answered, in a rage.

"Whew!" said Will Bailey; "what did Ellis do?" and Ellis turned, and
proudly confronted the angry boy.

"He told me wrong just on purpose; that's what he did, and he knows it."

And Tip broke away from them, and dashed out of the room.

Howard Minturn stood aghast! That Ellis Holbrook, his best friend, and
the very pink of honour among the boys, should do so mean a thing, he
could not think, and yet it was hard to think that Tip had not told
the truth.

"What does he mean, Ellis?" he asked at last.

"You'll have to ask him if you want to find out," said Ellis haughtily.
"He knows better than anybody else what he means, I guess."

The boys started homeward presently in a body. Bob Turner and his friends
surrounded Tip, and Bob, who never lost a good opportunity for teasing,
commenced at once:

"Poor little fellow, missed his lesson, so he did. Don't him cry; him
shall have a penny to buy a multiplication-table with."

"Hold your tongue!" answered Tip, too angry to see how foolish it was to
let such words, coming from a boy who didn't know a single line of the
multiplication-table, provoke him.

"_Such_ a pity!" began Bob again; "when it had spelled its lesson all so
nice, and had its face washed and its hair combed so pretty. Mustn't cry
now, to spoil its face. Poor little fellow!"

Tip turned to his tormentor a face perfectly white with rage, and the
boys hardly knew his voice:

"Bob Turner, if you say another word, I'll knock you down and thrash you
within an inch of your life. I will"--

Oh, Tip Lewis! God forgive you for the way in which you in your blind
rage have finished that sentence,--for the use which you have made of
that great Name, which above all others you profess to reverence and
fear! The awful word, once spoken, recalled him to himself: he
clapped both hands over his face and ran wildly up the hill, then
down out of sight.

The boys had all heard it. Howard, Ellis, Will Bailey, and a half-dozen
others, were just behind him.

Ellis Holbrook's pride rose high.

"There's your wonderful boy," he said, "who was so changed, and has
taken it upon himself to preach so many sermons to _me_. I'm sure I
never finished any of my angry speeches with an oath, if I _am_ so far
below him."

What an afternoon that was to Tip! he will _never_ forget it. He went
no farther than the great tree, which was budding out in spring
green. Down he sat on a stone, and once more covered his face with
his hands, and such a storm of rage and pain swept over him as he had
never known before.

How could he, how _could_ he have said that word?

Ever since he had learned to pray, he had been afraid of that
sin,--afraid he might forget, and go back to his old habits, and he had
watched and guarded his lips with such care and prayer. But lately he had
given up all fear; it had been such a long time, and he had never once
fallen, he felt sure that he never would again.

He had felt so sure and proud and strong, that he had asked no help from
God that day; he had been so eager to spend every moment on his
arithmetic, that he had found no time to go to his Bible for strength. No
wonder--oh, no wonder that he fell! He had been standing too firmly,
feeling no need of help. Now, what should he do? How low he felt, how
mean! Could God forgive him? Yes, He _could_.

Tip felt in his soul that there was nothing which God could _not_ do, and
yet he felt too mean and fallen to dare to ask Him for anything more; he
forgot for the moment that Jesus Christ died to save _sinners_.

The sun went on over his head, and commenced his afternoon work; then
there came up the hill the sound of the school-bell, but Tip took no
notice of that; he didn't want to _think_ of school, much less even _go_.
He began to fumble presently for his Bible,--he _must_ have some help. It
opened of itself at the Psalms, and he read the first line which he saw:
"Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks "--No, not that, and he turned back
a couple of leaves. "Make a joyful noise "--No, no! he didn't want to
hear anything about joy; his heart was as heavy as lead. So he turned
over several leaves at once: he _must_ find something that would read as
if it meant him. "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath, neither chasten me
in Thy sore displeasure." Oh, that was it! God was very angry with
him,---had a right to be,--this was just what he ought to say. He read on
through the psalm; almost every verse seemed for him, and when he read
the one next to the last,--"Forsake me not, O Lord; O my God, be not far
from me,"--he said it over and over, and finally, in a great burst of
tears, got down and said it on his knees.

The short spring day was over, and the chilly night was setting in. Tip
had reached home finally, had split the wood for the next day, done
whatever he could find to do about the house, and then carried the vests
which his mother had just finished to the clothing-store,--going away
around behind the mill so as to avoid passing the schoolhouse, lest he
might chance to see some of the boys. Then he came home, ate his supper
in silence, and went up to his attic. He felt better than he had at noon,
but his heart was still heavy, and he dreaded the next day, not knowing
what he ought to do, or how to do it. This was Thursday evening, but he
didn't mean to go to prayer-meeting. Kitty had asked him, had even coaxed
a little, but he said, "No, not to-night." He felt stiff and sore from
his long sitting under the great tree in the early spring dampness. He
told himself that this was the reason why he was not going to
prayer-meeting; but the real one was, he felt as if he could not possibly
face Mr. Burrows that evening, and _certainly_ not Mr. Holbrook,--of
course, Ellis had told him all about it. He felt very tired, and his
head and limbs ached; he was going to read a chapter in his Bible and go
to bed. He chose the same psalm which had come to him with so much power
that afternoon, read it slowly and carefully, then knelt down to pray,
and as he did so a new trouble loomed up before him. What should he do?
He had prayed for Ellis Holbrook and Bob Turner ever since he began to
pray for himself, but he felt as though he could not possibly pray for
either of them to-night. Both had tried to injure him; both had
succeeded. He wished them no harm: he didn't want to choke or drown them,
as he had felt like doing at noon, but clearly he didn't want to pray for
them. He had arisen from his knees, and was sitting on the edge of the
box which was his table and chair, with a very troubled face. The more he
thought about it, the more he felt that he could not pray for those boys
just then. At last he thought he had found a way out of the difficulty.
He said to himself that he was very tired, almost sick; he would just
repeat the Lord's Prayer and go to bed. In the morning, very likely, he
should feel differently; he almost knew he should. So he knelt down once
more.

"Our Father which art in heaven," slowly reverently, through the sweet
petition, until he came to "forgive us our debts as we"--There he
stopped. He understood that prayer; they had been taking it up in Sunday
school, a sentence at a time, and talking about it, and only the Sunday
before last that sentence had been explained. To-night Tip could not
finish it; there was no getting around the fact that he had not forgiven
either Ellis or Bob. Once more he got up, and took a seat on the edge of
his bed to think. He was never so perplexed in his life. What ought he to
do? Couldn't he pray at all? Mr. Holbrook had said he must never mock God
by asking for what he did not mean, and to say those words, "as we
forgive our debtors," feeling as he did to-night, would be mocking God.
He ought not to feel so, but how could he help it? Suddenly, with a
little sigh of relief, he went down on his knees again: he had thought of
something which he could say. "Oh, Jesus, make me feel like praying for
Bob and Ellis; make me want them to be Christians as hard as I did last
night; make me feel like forgiving them." Then there was silence in the
lonely attic, while Tip, still on his knees, struggled with the evil
spirit within him, and came off conqueror, for presently he added, "Oh,
dear Jesus, I'll forgive them both!" and then he finished the
prayer--"forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." While he went
around after that, making ready for rest and sleep, the "peace of God
which passeth understanding" came down and settled in his heart.
Presently he seemed to come to another difficulty, for he sat down with
one boot in his hand and one still on his foot. This question, however,
was settled promptly: he pulled the boot on again in a hurry, then picked
up his jacket and put that on, seized his hat, and ran down-stairs.

"Kitty," he said, putting his head in at the kitchen door, "I'm going,
after all; come on."

And Kitty joyfully ran for her hood and shawl.

But Tip did not open his lips in prayer-meeting that evening; he felt
bowed down to the very ground with shame; he did not once raise his eyes
to the seat where Howard Minturn, Will Bailey, and others of the
schoolboys were sitting; and, when the short hour was gone, he made haste
to get out from Mr. Holbrook's sight and the sound of his voice. But he
had much reason, after that, to thank God that he did not succeed. He had
just got from under the gaze of the hall-lamp, and stood a minute in the
darkness waiting for Kitty, when he felt Mr. Holbrook's hand on his arm,
and heard his kind, quiet voice:

"Edward, Mrs. Holbrook has some little business to transact' with Kitty
to-night; shall I walk with you?" And, as Tip saw there was no help for
it, and walked by his side, he said, "I didn't see you at school this
afternoon: how was that?"

"Mr. Holbrook, didn't Ellis tell you about it this noon?"

"Ellis has told me nothing. I heard, from one of the smaller boys, a very
sad story. Have you anything to tell me?"

"No, sir, I have not; it's all true. I got awful mad, and I said mad
things. I--I did worse than that."

Tip's voice sank to a solemn whisper. Mr. Holbrook, too, was silent and
sad; at last he said,--

"What, Edward! do you mean to give up, and go back to the old life?"

And he remembered, years after, just how painfully his heart throbbed
while he waited for Tip's answer; it was prompt and plain: "No, sir; God
wouldn't even let me do that."

And then for a minute Mr. Holbrook did not speak for very
thankfulness, that, through all this maze of sin, God was leading Tip
into the light again.

"Do you feel that you have God's forgiveness?" he asked, speaking gently.

"Yes, sir." Tip could not give very long answers that evening.

"Why were you so quiet to-night in prayer-meeting?"

"Because," said Tip, speaking low, "I was ashamed to say anything before
you or Mr. Burrows or the boys, after what happened today."

"More ashamed with us than you were with God?"

"Yes, sir, I was; because God knows all about it,--just how sorry I am,
and how He has forgiven me, and is going to help me; and you didn't
know that."

Again Mr. Holbrook was thankful.

"How about to-morrow, Edward?" he asked at last.

And this time Tip's answer was very low: I don't know; I don't know
what to do."

"If you knew what was right to do, would you _do_ it?"

"I'm pretty sure I'd _try_ to, sir."

"Well, did you honour or dishonour Christ to-day?"

Tip's answer was in a more timid tone than he often spoke:

"I dishonoured Him."

"Do the boys know that you are very sorry, and have asked God to
forgive you?"

"No, sir; they don't know anything about it."

"Don't you think, for the honour of Christ, they ought to?"

"I suppose so."

"Who ought to tell them?"

No immediate answer came to this; then, after a little,--

"Mr. Holbrook, how could I tell them--to each one--about it?"

"See if you cannot answer your own question. Will not all the boys be
likely to hear about it?"

"Yes, sir; they'll be sure to."

"And would they all be likely to hear what you have to say, unless you
spoke to all at once?"

"But, Mr. Holbrook, if I did that, it would have to be in school."

"Well?"

"But to-morrow is the last day, and it's examination."

"Well?"

That short word seemed to have a good deal of power over Tip, for he
only answered it by saying, after a long silence,--

"Mr. Holbrook, I wonder if you can think how very hard that would be?"

"Edward, I wonder if you can think how very hard it was for your Saviour
to listen to your words this noon?"

And Mr. Holbrook heard no more from Tip, save, when they reached the
corner, a very low, very grave "Good-night."




CHAPTER XXI.

"He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in
trouble: I will deliver him, and honour him."


There were not many visitors in the next morning; it was too early, as
yet, for any but the examining committee, and a few very fond, very
anxious mothers. Mr. Burrows' hand was on the bell; in a few moments
the algebra class would be in full tide of recitation. Ellis and Howard
had their slates in their hands, ready to start at the first sound,
when Tip Lewis left his seat and made his way towards the stage. Mr.
Burrows looked surprised; this was entirely out of order; but a look at
Tip's face made him change his mind about sending him back to his seat,
and bend his head to listen to the few words that were hurriedly
whispered in his ear. Then he looked more surprised, hesitated a
minute, then asked,--

"Hadn't you better wait until noon, and I can detain the scholars a
few moments?"

"No," said Tip, shaking his head, and speaking earnestly; "I'm afraid, if
I wait till noon, I shan't do it at all."

"Very well," Mr. Burrows answered finally. "Scholars, one of your number
tells me that he has something of importance to say to you; we will wait
and hear him."

It was well for Tip that he was a bold boy, that every day of his life
had been such as to teach him a lesson of boldness, else his courage
would surely have failed him, when he felt the many curious eyes resting
on him. As it was, his face was scarlet, when he turned it away from the
desk and towards the boys. Yet he spoke promptly, as he always did when
he spoke at all:

"I want to tell the boys that I am sorry for yesterday. I suppose they
all know what I did. I got awful mad, and I--I said a dreadful word. I
didn't think I would ever be so wicked again; I feel awful about it. But
I don't want the boys to think that I don't love Jesus any more, because
I do; and He is going to help me try Such a silence as was in that
schoolroom then, the boys had never felt before! Mr. Burrows' face was
shaded with his hand; he let the silence rest upon them for a moment,
after Tip had taken his seat; then he spoke, low and solemnly,--

"Boys, what God has forgiven, I feel sure that no scholar of mine will be
mean enough ever to mention again."

Then the bell sounded, and the business of the day went on. Tip had laid
his head down on the desk the minute he took his seat, and he kept it
there throughout the recitation. He had been through a fearful struggle;
it was hard work for a boy like him to stand up before the school and
tell them how he had fallen. But it was over now, and from his very soul
he felt that he had done right.

Bob Turner, sitting beside him, was quiet and sober; and when Tip raised
his arm with such a sudden jerk that he knocked his arithmetic to the
floor, Bob leaned over and quietly picked it up and laid it back in its
place; which was a wonderful thing for Bob Turner to do.

At noon the boys gathered around Tip, quiet and kind; no one spoke of
what had been _the_ important event of the morning; all were on good
behaviour.

Ellis Holbrook came into their midst.

"Tip," he said, speaking gravely, yet very coldly, "perhaps it would be
as well for you to know that you made quite a blunder yesterday, when you
said I told you wrong; I hadn't the slightest notion of telling you,
right or wrong. But I know how you came to think so. I was looking out a
word in Mr. Burrows' dictionary, and stood just behind you, when Mr.
Bailey leaned over and asked me how many there were in your class when
all were present, and I answered him, seven."

Tip looked perfectly astonished.

"Why didn't you say so yesterday?" he asked at last.

"Because you didn't give me a chance," Ellis answered coolly. "I'm not in
the habit of cheating, nor of being told that I do, so I was not prepared
with an answer."

"That's true," said Tip, after a minute, answering the first part of
Ellis's sentence; "that's true, I didn't. I was mad, and I just banged
off before anybody could say anything. I might have known you didn't do
any such thing; it ain't like you."

And Tip walked away, leaving Ellis to think that the boy who was so far
below him had shown much the better spirit of the two.

The busy day was drawing to a close; the last recitation was over, and
the boys were in a state of grand excitement, waiting to hear the report
of the committee; waiting to know whose names were to stand on the Roll
of Honour, having passed through the entire examination without a
mistake. Poor Tip was sad; yesterday morning he had felt so sure that his
name would have an honourable place, and to him it was so much more
exciting, because it would be for the first time. How hard he had worked;
and now it was all lost! Stupidly lost, too, he said to himself, over an
example that he had done a dozen times; and he drew a heavy sigh, and
roused himself to listen to the report. Mr. Burrows had already called
for it, and Mr. Holbrook, as chairman of the committee, had arisen; but,
instead of reading the report, said,--

"Mr. Burrows, if there is time, I should like to say a few words to the
scholars. Boys, you were all listeners to Edward Lewis's examination
yesterday, and I presume you know better than I do how hard he has
worked. Now, I think any one who watched him yesterday could not have
failed to see that, had he not grown excited and nervous, he could have
worked that example. Mr. Burrows, may I put a question to vote?"

And Mr. Burrows giving a hearty consent, he continued, "Very well. Now I
want every boy here, who is willing to allow Edward Lewis to go to the
board _now_ and try that example, and, if he succeeds, give him the place
which would have been his yesterday, to stand up."

Ellis Holbrook was the first to spring to his feet, and every single
boy in the room followed his example; Tip alone sitting still, with
burning cheeks.

"Well done," said Mr. Holbrook "Now it only remains to get your teacher's
consent to our plan."

Which Mr. Burrows gave by wheeling his table from before the blackboard
and picking up an arithmetic. "You may come forward, Edward. I will
dictate the example; which one is it?"

"The thirty-ninth, sir; fifty-first page."

By this time Tip was at the board. How they watched him! how fearful his
teacher was for him! how he longed to have him succeed! Tip worked fast
and boldly; his hand did not tremble; chalk and fingers and brain did
their duty; the terrible "nine in thirty-one, how many times," as a test
for the larger number, was reached, and an unusually large and bold
figure _three_ was placed in the quotient; a few more rapid dashes, and,
with a grand flourish after the "seventeen remainder," Tip threw down the
chalk, pushed back the hair from his hot temples, and walked to his seat.
The boys could not keep quiet any longer: a very soft tapping was heard
at first, then, finding they were not silenced, it rose to a loud,
decided stamping of many feet. But Mr. Holbrook was on _his_ feet again,
and they were quiet directly, for the report was finally to be read.

"My son," said Mr. Holbrook, not long after, laying his hand kindly on
Ellis's shoulder, as he was hurrying from the room, "what do you think of
Edward's religion to-night?"

"I think it is honest, sir," Ellis answered quickly. "Excuse me, father,
if you please; I must see Howard a minute before he goes;" and so he ran
away from his father's longing look.

As for Tip, he borrowed from Howard Minturn a copy of the village paper,
which came out a few days after, and read the report of the examination;
read this sentence: "And, among all the pupils, perhaps no one of them
has made more rapid or astonishing progress than has Edward Lewis."

Then, while the twilight deepened, he turned eagerly to the next column,
which read in this way:--

  "ROLL OF HONOUR;

  "Being an alphabetically arranged List of those
  who passed the entire Examination without
  making an error:

  WILLARD BAILEY.
  ELLIS HOLBROOK.
  HARVEY JENNINGS.
  EDWARD LEWIS."




CHAPTER XXII.

"I will lead them in paths that they have not known."


"See here, Tip," called Mr. Minturn, appearing in his store door one
morning not long after the examination; "I want to talk to you."

Tip swung his basket off his shoulder, and went into the store. He was at
work for Mr. Dewey, and every piece of meat which he carried home took
the form, in his eyes, of a Latin grammar and a dictionary; for these two
books were what he was at present aiming after.

"I'm in a great hurry, Mr. Minturn," he said; "I've got a piece of meat
for your folks in my basket, and I expect they want it."

"They'll have to wait till they get it," answered Mr. Minturn; "but I
never hinder folks long. What are you going to do with yourself, now
school's out?"

"Oh, work; anything I can find to do while vacation lasts."

"So you're going to keep on at school, are you? I thought likely, since
your father was laid up, you'd he hunting for steady work, so you could
help the family along. There's a hard winter coming, you know."

There was no mistaking Mr. Minturn's tone. It said, as plainly as words
could have done, "That's what I think you ought to do, anyhow."

Tip looked troubled. "There's nothing for me to do," he said at last; "I
don't know of a place in this town where I could get steady work that I
could do; and besides, if there was, I'm after an education now."

"My brother is here from Albany," Mr. Minturn made answer to this. "He is
a merchant, has a large store there, and keeps a great many clerks. He's
been plagued to death lately with one of his boys,--when he sent him home
with bundles, he'd open them and help himself; and my brother told me
last night, if I could warrant him a boy who was perfectly honest, he'd
take him home with him, pay his fare down, and do well by him. I thought
of you right away, and I told my brother that you were just the boy for
him,--you'd be as true as steel; but then, if you're going to keep on at
school, it's all up."

Mr. Minium did not add, that he had kept his brother until eleven o'clock
the night before, telling him Tip's history,--what a boy he had been, how
he had changed, how he was struggling upward; and, finally, the whole
story of the examination,--the failure, the downfall, the public
confession; nor how his brother had listened eagerly, and had said, with
energy, after the story was finished,--

"Such a boy as that ought to be helped; and I'm ready to help him."

None of this did Tip hear, but he stooped down for his basket when Mr.
Minturn had finished speaking, with a bright blush on his cheek. It was
something for a boy like him to be called "as true as steel."

"Yes," he said decidedly; "I'm going to keep on at school, that's
certain. Thank you all the same."

And out he went; yet all the way up and down the streets his thoughts
were busy over what he had just heard. It was _time_, certainly, as poor
as they were, that he began to work; his mother's sewing supported the
family now, and hard and late into the nights she had to work to keep
them from hunger. Tip had thought of this question before, but had
always comforted himself with the thought that work was not by any means
an easy thing to get in the village; the odd jobs which he could find,
out of school hours, being really the only things he could get to do.
But no such comfort came to him to-day: here was a chance, and a
splendid one, for getting steady work, and by and by good wages
probably; why wasn't he glad?

Oh, ever since he gave himself to Christ, there had been in his heart a
longing to get an education, and not only that, but to become a minister.
Very small, faint hopes he had, and even those were frightened sometimes
at their own boldness; but every day the desire grew stronger, and it did
not seem as though he could possibly give up school now. It was out of
the question, he told himself, just as he was beginning to enjoy his
books so much, and was doing well. Mr. Burrows would be disappointed in
him; he had encouraged him to study. No, it couldn't be done. He would
consider the matter settled. And yet there was his mother, working day
and night, and he, her only son, not helping. There was his father,
growing weaker every day, coughing harder every night; long ago they had
given up the hope that the cough would ever leave him. There was Kitty,
who ought to be in school, but could not because her mother _must_ have
the little help which she could give. Tip was half distracted with
thinking about it; he felt provoked at Mr. Minturn, and Mr. Minturn's
brother, and the store in Albany, and the boy who helped himself out of
other people's bundles; they were all trying to cheat him out of his
education. A dozen times he said it was settled, and as many times began
at the beginning to think it all over again. He went home finally, after
the meat was carried around; but this didn't help him any. Home hadn't
gone back to its old state of dirt and disorder: Kitty's first attempt
had been too successful, and she had liked the looks of things too well
to give up; so there was a great change for the better in the
housekeeping, which both Kitty and her mother enjoyed. Still, there was
no denying that, though a clean, it was a very forlorn little room, with
very few things for comfort or convenience. Tip had never seen this with
such wide-open eyes as he did today; so coming home did not quiet the
vexing thoughts.

He split wood and pumped water without whistling a note, growing more
sober every minute. At last, after supper, when the work was all done
that he could do, he drew a sigh of relief; it was so nice to have time
for thought. He could go up to his attic, and he would not come down,
no, not if it wasn't in three days, until this thing was decided finally
and for ever.

Kitty sewed steadily on the seam which her mother had fixed for her, and
wondered why Tip didn't come down and hear her lesson, which had been
ready for him this hour. It was another hour before he came; then his
mother said,--

"Tip, if you've a cent in the world, do take it, and go and get your
father some of that cough-candy. I do believe he hasn't stopped coughing
since supper."

Tip took his hat and started for the store; as he went he whistled a
little. The cough-candy was found at a store away up town, and, getting a
paper of it, Tip dashed on around the corner and opened Mr. Minturn's
store door.

"When is your brother going home?" he asked, without ceremony, seeing Mr.
Minturn behind the counter.

"Next Monday."

"Well, I'm going to talk to father, and I think likely I'll want to go
along with him."

"All right."

So Tip slammed to the door and ran away and Mr. Minturn never knew what a
downfall that decision had been to the boy's dear hopes and plans.

It was all settled in the course of a day or two. Mr. Minturn from Albany
was very kind. Tip was to have wages that seemed a small fortune to him,
and enough had been advanced to get him a new suit of clothes, which his
mother made.

One would have supposed that the future would look bright to him; yet it
was with a very sad heart that he took his seat in prayer-meeting that
Thursday evening, the last time he expected to be in that room for--he
didn't know how long. He had a feeling that he ought to be very glad and
thankful, and wasn't at all.

Through the opening hymns and prayers his heart kept growing heavier
every moment, and it was not until Mr. Holbrook arose, and repeated the
text which he had chosen for the evening, that Tip could arouse himself
to listen. It was a queer text, so he thought,--"Who shall roll away the
stone?" What could Mr. Holbrook be going to say on that? He found out,
and had reason to remember it for ever after. As he went out from that
meeting, his thoughts, had he spoken them, would have been like these:

"That's true,--I don't believe any man but Mr. Holbrook would ever have
thought of it: they worried at a great rate about that stone, how they
would get it rolled away, and when they got there it was gone. I'll
remember that. I'll do just as he said: when I see a stone ahead of me, I
won't stop and fret about it; I'll walk straight up to it, and when I get
there maybe it will roll out of my way."




CHAPTER XXIII.

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."


Behold Tip, now in Albany, far away from home and friends, from every one
that he had ever seen before, save Mr. Howard Minturn, young Howard's
uncle. But he had been there some time, and was growing into a
settled-at-home feeling. It had been a wonderful change to him. Mr.
Minturn did not board his clerks; but for some reason, best known to
himself, he had taken Tip home with him. For a few days the boy felt as
though the roses on the carpets were made of glass, and would smash if he
stepped on them. But he was getting used to it all; he could sit squarely
on his chair at the table instead of on the edge, spread his napkin over
his lap as the others did, and eat his pie with a silver fork under the
light of the sparkling gas.

"Mother," said little Alice Minturn, "why does father have Edward board
here, and sit at the table with us?"

"Because, Alice, your father wants to help him in every way; your uncle
Minturn thinks he is an unusually good, smart boy."

"I think so too," said Alice, and was satisfied.

And Tip Lewis was Tip no longer; no one knew him by that name; every one
there said "Edward," save the store clerks, and they called him "Ed."

He had a queer feeling sometimes that he was somebody else, and that Tip
Lewis, whom he used to know so well, would be very much astonished if he
could see him now.

He went into Sabbath school, and became a member of Mr. Minturn's Bible
class; but teachers were scarce, and before he had been there three weeks
Mr. Minturn sent him to take charge of a class of very little boys, who
called him "Mr. Lewis," and made him feel strange and tall. He began to
realize that he was almost sixteen years old, and growing very fast.

He was leading a very busy life now-a-days; at work all day, in and for
the store, and in the evening doing all he could with his books. Those
books and his love for them were a great safeguard to him, kept him away
from many a temptation to go astray; and yet it was hard work to
accomplish much in the little time he had, and with no helper. Sometimes
he sighed wearily, and felt as though the road was full of stones.

"I pity you, old fellow," one of the younger clerks said to him one
evening, as they were leaving the store.

"I don't know for what," was the good-natured answer.

"Why, Mr. Minturn's pink of a perfect and wonderful and altogether
amazing son Ray has just got home from the University; saw him pass the
store not an hour ago, leaning back in the carriage like a prince."

"What's he?" asked Edward.

"He's a prig; that's what he is."

"What's a prig?"

"Ho! you're a greeney, if you don't know what a prig is. Wait till he
snubs you and lords it over you awhile; then I guess you'll know. He'll
have a good chance, seeing you're right there at the house all the while.
I wouldn't be in your shoes for a penny."

Spite of its making him a great greeney, Edward did not know what a prig
was; but, judging from his companion's tone, he decided that it must be
something very disagreeable. He went home feeling cross and
uncomfortable, wishing that Ray were anybody in the world rather than Mr.
Minturn's son, or anywhere else rather than at home. He was beginning to
have such a nice time there; they were all so kind to him, and really
seemed to like him. It was too bad to have it all spoiled.

"I know what kind of a fellow he is," he muttered to himself; "he's like
that Mr. Symonds who comes to the store twice a week or so after kid
gloves, and acts as if he thought he was a great deal too good to ask me
a decent question. My! I wish he was in Texas."

The dining-room was a blaze of light when he peeped in, soon after the
family were gathered waiting for Mr. Minturn. The newcomer sat on the
sofa, one arm a-round little Alice, and the other resting gently on his
mother's lap. Edward guessed, by his mother's face, that she did _not_
wish he was in Texas. Mr. Minturn came in presently, and Edward stole
into the room just behind him; but Alice called him eagerly:

"Edward, Ray has come! Come over here and see him."

"Go ahead," said Mr. Minturn, as Edward stood still, with very red
cheeks; and Ray sat up and held out his hand.

"How do you do, Edward? Alice has been making me acquainted with you this
afternoon, so you're not a stranger."

How very clear and kind his tones were! Edward was astonished. That same
evening he was more astonished. He was in the library, at work over his
books; Mr. Minturn had to go to a committee meeting, expecting to be
detained late; as he arose from the dinner-table, he said,--

"How am I to get in to-night? Here's my night-key in two pieces."

"I'll be night-key, sir," said Edward promptly.

"Well, you may; you can take your books to the library, and have a long
evening to pore over them."

So he was there, poring over them with all his might, when the door
opened gently, and Ray Minturn came in.

"Are you hard at work?" he asked kindly.

"Yes, sir," said Edward, wishing he would go out again. But he didn't
seem in a hurry to do so; he took a book from the case, and glanced over
it a moment, then came towards Edward.

"What are you studying?"

"Fractions," answered Edward briefly.

"Do you have any trouble?"

"Yes, lots," speaking a little crossly, for he wanted to go on with his
work; "I can't get this one I'm at, to save my head."

"Suppose I see what is the matter." And Bay drew a chair to the table and
sat down, glancing his eye over the slate.

"Rather, suppose you see for yourself," he said in a few moments. "Just
run over that multiplication at the top of the slate."

"Oh, bother!" Edward said, after he had obeyed orders; "that figure three
has made me all this trouble."

"Smaller things than figure threes make trouble. Have you been to
school lately?"

"Always, till I came here; but I might just as well have been out until
last winter."

"What happened last winter?"

"Lots of things," answered Edward, with brightening eyes. But he
didn't seem disposed to state any of them; so, after waiting a little,
Ray asked,--

"Wouldn't you get on faster with your books if you had a teacher?"

"Think likely I should; but I haven't got any, so I'll have to get on as
fast as I can."

"How would it do if I should play teacher while I am at home, and give
you the hour from nine till ten?"

Edward laid down his pencil, turned his eyes for the first time full upon
Kay, and looked at him in silent astonishment.

"Do you mean it?" he asked at last.

"Certainly I do; I shouldn't say so if I didn't. Don't you think you
would like it?"

"Like it! I guess I would. But I don't know--What do you do it for?"

"Because I am glad to help a boy who seems to be trying to help himself.
We will consider it settled, then. It is ten o'clock; will you come out
to prayers now?"

And at this the astonished look on Edward's face deepened.

"Is Mr. Minturn here?" he asked.

"No; but his son is. Are you so surprised that I should have prayers in
my father's absence?"

"Yes," said Edward; "I didn't know--I mean I didn't think"--

"You didn't think I had learned to pray, perhaps. Thank God, I have."
Then he laid his hand kindly on Edward's shoulder. "Have _you_ learned
that precious lesson yet, my friend?"

"Yes," said Edward softly; "a good while ago."

"I am very glad; you will never learn anything else that is quite so
important. What is all the study for, by the way? Have you any plans.'"

"Yes," said Edward, astonished at what he was about to tell to a
stranger; "I want to get an education, and then, if I possibly _can_ do
that, I want to be a minister."

Ray's hand fell from his shoulder, and when he answered this, his voice
was low and a little sad:

"God bless you, and help you. I hope you will never have to give it up."

Edward made up his mind that night that a prig meant the best and
kindest,--yes, and the wisest young man in the world.




CHAPTER XXIV.

"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."


The long, bright summer days and the glowing autumn days were gone;
mid-winter was upon them. During all this time Edward was hard at work;
there was plenty of business to be done at the store. He had been
promoted; very rarely, now-a-days, was he called on to carry home
purchases, or to do errands. He had his counter and his favourite
customers. There had been another change, too, which Edward felt sure Ray
had had a hand in; Ray had a hand in everything that was good and
thoughtful. He had long evenings for study now; he came up to dinner with
Mr. Minturn at six o'clock, and had no further work to do until the next
day. Oh, those long evenings! What rapid progress he made! what a
teacher Ray was! Could a boy help getting on who was so carefully and
kindly led?

What was _not_ Ray to him?--teacher, friend, brother; constant,
unfailing, loving guide. Edward was learning to love him with an
almost worship.

Meantime, every one saw better than did Edward himself how he had
changed. He had not been in constant intercourse with a Christian family,
who lived their religion every day and every hour, for nothing; his
improvement had been constant and rapid.

He came home from the post office one evening with his hands full of
letters, among them a very queer-looking one for himself. He carried the
others to the library, and his own to his room. Such an odd letter as it
was! He was glad it was his business to get the mail, and that none of
the other clerks had seen this, with his name written at the very top of
the envelope, and written "Tip" at that. How oddly it looked, and how
queerly it sounded when he said it over! It was so long since he heard
that name, he never wanted to again. He was glad that Ray Minturn had
never called him Tip, nor heard him called so.

Who could it be from? Nobody wrote to him except Kitty, and once in a
long while his mother; but this was no home-letter. At last he broke the
seal, and read:--


"DEER TIP,--Mother's dead, I feel bad, you kno that, so what's the use?
I've got to go to work. I like you better than any of the other felows,
always did. Can't I com out there to your store and work, I'll behave
myself reel wel; I _will_, honour bright, if you'll git me a place.
I've got money enuff to get there. I dug potatoes for old Williams and
earned it. Rite to me rite off that's a good fellow. I want to com
awful. BOB TURNER."


Edward was thunderstruck! he dropped the letter on the floor in disgust.
What was to be done now? The idea of having Bob Turner there was
perfectly dreadful; besides, thank fortune! it was impossible. They
wanted more help, to be sure, had been looking out for a boy that very
day, but not such a one as Bob,--that was out of the question; and
yet--Bob's mother was dead! In his rude, careless way, Bob had loved his
mother rather better than he had any one else, and Edward did not doubt
that he felt badly. He was without friends now; surely he needed one if
he ever did. But it was _so_ disagreeable to think of having him
there,--he was so different from any of the others, and he would call
_him_ Tip, and be always around in his way; would seem to lead him back
to the old life from which he thought he had escaped altogether. It was
not to be thought of for a moment. But then--and now came a startling
thought. How long he had been praying for Bob! Perhaps this was the way
in which God meant to answer, by giving him a chance to work as well as
pray. Perhaps he ought to be _willing_ to have him come. No matter how
much the clerks might make fun of him for having such a friend; no matter
how much pain and annoyance it might cause him; if this was God speaking
to him to help his brother, how dreadful it would be to make no answer!

He sat down to think about it; his algebra lay open before him; he was
not quite ready for Kay, but he could not attend to algebra now.

"Let me see," he said; "if there _should_ be such a thing as that Bob
could come, what would I do for him? One of two things is certain, either
he'll lead me or I shall him; we always did when we were together much.
Which will it be? If he leads me, he'll lead me into mischief, just as
sure as the world; if I lead _him_, I'll try to keep him out of mischief.
It's clear that I ought to be the leader. Now, how would I do it, I
wonder? Bob ought to be a Christian; he won't be safe two minutes at a
time until he is. If God says anything, He says He'll hear prayer. If I
believe that, why don't I pray for Bob, so that he'll be converted? I
_do_ pray for him always, but it's kind of half-way praying--kind of as
if I thought it was a pretty hard thing for God to do after all. That's
wrong. God wants him safe, and He knows he isn't safe now, and He's
willing to help him; it must be my fault that He don't. My business and
lessons, and all that sort of thing, are putting Bob and Ellis, and even
father, pretty much out of my thoughts. That's wrong too, and must be
stopped. Mr. Minturn says a thing is never half done that hasn't a corner
in the day belonging to itself. I'll try that rule. After this, every
evening at half-past eight, I'll come up here to my room and lock the
door, and I'll pray for Bob; I'll pray as though I expected an answer,
and was going to be on the look-out for it. I won't let anything hinder
me from coming at just that time, unless it's something that I can't
help. Meantime, I'll get him a place if I can."

Edward was as straightforward as Tip had been; this point decided, he
went down-stairs to the library door, and knocked.

Mr. Minturn was alone, and busy; but he looked up as Edward entered in
answer to his "Come in."

"Well, sir, what is it?"

"Have you time for a little piece of business?"

"Always time for business; sit down. What is it about?"

"Have you found a boy yet?"

"No. Have you?"

"Yes, sir; there's a boy out home who wants to come; I've just had a
letter from him. His name is Turner--Bob Turner."

"Is he a good boy?"

"No, sir."

"Well, that's plain! What are you talking about, then?"

"I want you to make him a good boy, sir."

"Humph! that's an idea. I can't make boys over new. Is he honest?"

"No, sir, I don't think he is very,--not what you mean by honest; but his
mother is dead, and he hasn't any friends; he goes with a miserable set
of fellows, and he'll get worse than he is in no time if he stays there."

"And the whole of it is, you think it's my duty to let him come, and try
to save, him! Suppose I should, what would you do for your share?"

"I'd try, too."

"How?"

"Why, I'd try to get him to do right."

"Suppose he should try to get you to do wrong?"

"He couldn't!" said Edward positively.

"How did you find that out?"

"Because I should pray for myself every day, and for Bob too; and God
hears prayer."

"Yes, but God's people sometimes get very far away from Him; if this Bob
should lead _you_ astray, I'd be sorry I ever heard of him."

"I don't feel much afraid," Edward said, speaking this time in a more
quiet, less positive tone, "for I never go wrong when I pray often; pray
about everything that comes up, you know, and mean what I pray for."

"Humph!" said Mr. Minturn; "that's a good idea; I guess you're pretty
safe under _that_ rule."

"Besides," said Edward, reserving one of his best arguments till the
last, "I know somebody who would help Bob ever so much,--Mr. Ray would
find him out."

Mr. Minturn's eyes grew bright, and he smiled a half sad smile.

"Yes," he said, "that's true enough; Ray can't come near anybody without
helping him. Well, write to the boy to come on; we'll try him. Has he
anything to come with?"

"Yes, sir, he says he has money enough to get here." And Edward went away
glad, for he had begun to be very willing to have Bob there.




CHAPTER XXV.

"If ye abide in Me, and My word abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you."


Edward got up one morning feeling years older than he had only the
morning before,--older and graver, feeling a great responsibility resting
on his shoulders; for he was The weary frame, racked with so many pains,
was at last at rest. Kitty had written just a line, telling the sad
story, but it did not reach him until nearly a week after; and with it
came Mr. Holbrook's,--a long letter, full of tender sympathy, telling all
about how, in the afternoon of an early spring day, they had laid his
father by Johnny's side.

Edward read on eagerly, until he came to this sentence: "My dear boy, I
have a most precious message for you. I was with him only an hour before
he died, and at that time he said to me, 'I want you to tell Tip that God
has heard his prayer, and saved his father; and that I shall watch for
him to come to heaven, and bring all the rest.' And, Edward, I haven't a
shade of doubt but that your father is with his Redeemer; you must let me
quote again a verse which I once gave you: 'I love the Lord, because He
has heard my voice and my supplications.'"

And at this point the letter dropped from his hand, and Edward shed his
first tears for his father.

It was curious, the different ways that Mr. Minturn and his son had of
expressing sympathy.

"Oh," Mr. Minturn said, when he was told, "why in the world didn't they
send for you?"

"Because, sir, my father died very suddenly, and my mother thought I
could not afford to come so far for the funeral."

"Afford! as if that would have made any difference. Did they think I
would let it cost _you_ anything?"

Edward showed Mr. Holbrook's letter to Ray after that; and when it
had been read, expressed the feeling which had been much in his heart
ever since the news came, and which had been strengthened by Mr.
Monturn's words:

"I shall always be sorry that I could not have gone to the funeral."

And Bay answered, resting his arm, as he spoke, lightly on Edward's
shoulder, to express the tenderness which he felt, "No you won't, my dear
fellow; when you get up there, in the glory of the Redeemer's presence,
and meet your father face to face, you will not remember to be sorry that
you did not see him _buried_."

Meantime Bob had come, and been set at work. He did not board at Mr.
Minturn's. Edward had heard that matter arranged with a little sigh of
relief; his precious hour with Ray, then, would be undisturbed.

Bob was doing very much better than anybody who knew him would have
imagined he _could_ do; he seemed to have made up his mind to behave
himself, sure enough. Yet his being there was a trial to Edward in
several ways: he had a great horror of being called "Tip;" that name
belonged to the miserable, ragged, friendless, hopeless boy who used to
wander around the streets in search of mischief, not to the young man
who was a faithful clerk in one of the finest stores in Albany, besides
being a teacher in Sabbath school, and a very fair scholar in Latin
and algebra. But Bob Turner could not be made to understand all this;
and though he stared at the neat black suit which Edward wore, and
opened his eyes wide when Mr. Minturn went and came in company with his
old companion, and honoured him in many ways, he still called him
"Tip," in clear, round tones, that rang through the store a dozen times
a day. But there was nothing which Ray could not smooth over, so Edward
thought, when one evening he flounced into the library with a very much
disturbed face.

"I wish that fellow knew anything," he said angrily.

"What is the matter now?" Bay asked, meeting the bright, angry eyes with
a quiet smile.

Edward laughed a little. "Well, I can't help feeling vexed; Bob screeches
that hateful little name after me wherever I go. I despise that name, and
I wish he could be made to understand it."

"How did you happen to be called Tip at first?"

"Why," said Edward, turning over the leaves of his dictionary, "my little
sister Kitty made it up before she could talk plain. How she ever got
that name out of Edward, I don't know; I'm sure I wish she had been
asleep when she did it; but that's what she called me, and that's what
I've been ever since."

"And did Johnny, the little boy that died, ever call you so?"

Edward's eyes began to grow soft.

"Often," he said gently; "and it was about the only name he could speak;
he was a little fellow."

"Well, Edward, I should not think it would be such a very disagreeable
name to you, when your father, who is gone, always used it, and always in
kindness, you told me; and it is the only name by which little Johnny can
remember you. There are two things to be thought of in this matter," Ray
continued, after a moment, finding Edward not disposed to speak: "one is,
if you hope to do anything with this old companion of yours, you must be
ready to take worse things from him than a quiet, inoffensive little name
like that; he will learn your right name, perhaps, in time. And the other
is--What is Bob Turner's right name, my friend?"

Edward's face flushed, his lips quivered into a little smile, then he
laughed outright.

"It would be ridiculous to call _him_ Robert!" he said, still laughing.
"Ray, here's my exercise, if you want it now."

And Ray heard no more complaints about the offending little name.

"Say, Tip, just go home with me to-night," Bob coaxed one evening, as
Edward, having been detained late at the store, was leaving just as Bob
was closing the shutters. "Mr. Ray's head is so bad you won't have any
plaguy lessons to-night to hinder you. Every single fellow in the store
but me is going to the theatre, and I am awful lonesome up there alone."

"It is a wonder you are not going too," said Edward.

"No, it ain't. I can keep a promise once in a while, I reckon. That
Ray Minturn can do anything with a fellow, and I was fool enough to
promise him that I wouldn't go. Come, go up home with me; do, that's a
good fellow!"

"No," said Edward decidedly, "I can't."

"Now, Tip Lewis, I think you're real mean; you don't never come to see me
no more than if I was in Guinea. You act as if you were ashamed of me,
and I keep my word and behave myself, too; and you're a mean,
chicken-hearted fellow, if you're ashamed to notice me now-a-days, just
because you board in a big house and dress like a dandy."

"Poh!" said Edward; "what nonsense that is! I'd look well being ashamed
of any one that Minturn talked with. But, Bob, I can't go to-night, nor
any other night just about this time; because I made a promise that I'd
do something else, at exactly half-past eight, and that nothing in the
world should hinder me if I could help it; and it can't be far from
half-past eight now."

Bob eyed him curiously. "Tip, you're the oddest fellow born, I do
believe," he said at last "Is it lessons?"

"No, it's nothing about lessons."

"Couldn't I _help_ you to do it?"

"Yes," said Edward, after a thoughtful silence; "you _could_ help me
better than any one else, only you won't."

"Well, now," Bob answered earnestly, "as sure as I'm alive, I will, if
you'll tell me what it is; I'll help you this very night."

"Do you promise?" asked Edward.

"Yes, I do, out and out; and when I promise a thing through and through,
why, _you_ know, Tip Lewis, that I do it."

"Well," said Edward, as he tried the door to see that all was safe before
leaving, "then I'll tell you. Every night, at exactly half-past eight, I
go to my room and ask God over and over again to make you want to be a
Christian."

Not a single word did Bob answer to this; he took long strides up the
street by the side of Edward in the direction of Mr. Mintern's, never
once speaking until they had reached the door, and stood waiting to be
let in; then he said, "Tip, that's mean."

"What is?"

"To get a fellow to promise what he can't do."

"I have not. Don't you want to be a Christian?"

"No; I can't say that I'm particular about it."

"But that's too silly to believe. You need a friend to help you about as
badly as any one I know of, and when you can have one for the asking, why
shouldn't you want Him? Besides, I didn't say _make_ you a Christian,
anyhow; I said make you _want_ to be one. You can pray, that _I'm_ sure;
any way, you promised, and I trusted you."

Bob followed him through the hall, up the stairs, to his neat little
room, and whistled "Hail, Columbia," while he lighted a match and turned
on the gas.

"My! you have things in style here, don't you?" he said, looking around,
while the bright light gleamed over the pretty carpet and shining
furniture.

"Yes," said Edward; "everything in this house is in style. Bob, it's
half-past eight."

"Well," Bob said good-naturedly, "I'd like to know what I'm to do; this
is new business to me, you see."

"I'm going to kneel down here and pray for you, and you promised to do
the same."

Edward knelt at his bedside, and Bob, half laughing, followed his
example. But Christ must have been praying too, and putting words into
Edward's heart to say. By and by, in spite of himself, Bob had to put up
his hand and dash away a tear or two. He had never heard himself prayed
for before.

That evening was one to be remembered by Bob Turner, for more than one
reason. Bay sent for both of the boys to come to his room; he was sick,
but not too sick to see and talk with Bob whenever he could get a chance.
He made the half-hour spent with him so pleasant, that Bob gave an eager
assent to the request that he would come often. More than that, he kept
his word; and as often as he passed Edward's door, towards nine o'clock,
he stepped lightly, for he knew that he was being prayed for, and there
began to come into his heart a strange longing to pray for himself. One
evening he discovered that Ray, too, prayed every night for him, and the
vague notion grew into a certainty, that what they two were so anxious
about for him, he ought to desire for himself.

"Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Edward had taken this promise into his heart; he was trying to live up
to the condition to abide in Christ, and in due season God made His
promise sure.

"I wish," Bob said to Ray one evening when the weary head was full of
pain,--"I _do_ wish I could do something for you."

"You can," Ray answered quickly,--"something that I would like better
than almost anything else in the world."

"What is it?" Bob's question was sincere and eager.

"Give yourself to Christ."

Bob heard this in grave, earnest silence.

"I would," he said after a minute, "if I knew how."

"Do you mean that?"

"Yes, I do; I'm sick of waiting, and I'm sick of myself."

"If I should tell you how, would you do it?"

"Yes, I would," spoken evidently with honest meaning.

"Kneel down, then, here beside me, and say to God that you want to be a
Christian; that you are willing to give yourself up to Him now and for
ever, to do just as He tells you."

Bob hesitated, struggling a little, and at last knelt down. There was
silence in the room, while three sincere hearts were lifted up in prayer;
and surely Christ bent low to listen. When Bob would have risen, Bay laid
one hand on his arm, and, steadying his throbbing head with the other,
said solemnly,--

"Blessed Redeemer, here is a soul given up to Thee. Do Thou take it, and
wash it in Thy precious blood, and make it fit for heaven. We ask boldly,
because Thou hast promised, and we know that Thy promises are sure."

"Edward," Ray said the next evening, as they sat alone, and were silent
for a little, after Bob had left them, and gone home rejoicing in the
hope of sins washed away, "what was that verse that your minister at home
quoted for you in his letter?"

"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplication,"
Edward repeated it with brightening eyes.




CHAPTER XXVI.

"And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away."


Onward sped the busy days, until at last there came an evening which made
it exactly three years since Edward had first set foot in Albany. They
had been years of wonderful progress to him. He had gone on steadily with
his evening studies; he had been an eager pupil, and Ray had been a
faithful teacher. This evening he sat in the library waiting for Ray, but
he had a very troubled face. Once more he took Kitty's long letter out of
his pocket. Kitty wrote long letters once in two weeks, but it was a rare
thing to have a postscript added by his mother. He turned to this and
read it again; it was a very kind one. They were doing well now, so she
wrote. Her health was very good, now that she slept quietly at night;
and just here Edward knew there had come in a heavy sigh, because there
was no constant coughing to disturb her rest. She had steady work, and
could support Kitty and herself nicely without his help; he must keep
what he earned for himself after this. "Kitty says you want to go to
school," so the letter ran; "if you do, save up your money for that. Your
poor father had a notion that you would make a scholar; I think it would
please him if you did."

Surely he could not wish for a kinder, more thoughtful letter than this;
coming from his _mother_, too! she must have changed much, as well as
himself. But this very letter had greatly unsettled his quiet life; the
old longing to give himself up to study, to prepare for the ministry, had
broken loose, and well-nigh overwhelmed him with its power. He wanted it,
oh, so much! it had grown strong, instead of weak, during these three
years. But what to do, and how to do it? That was the question. Certainly
he was not prepared to answer it. If he stayed where he was, led his busy
life all day in the store, how was he ever to go through with the
necessary course of study, which it was high time he commenced in
earnest? If he left them, these dear friends, who had taken him into
their home and hearts, and made him feel like one of thorn, how was he to
live while he studied? How, indeed, could he study at all? The truth was,
Edward, calling to mind Mr. Holbrook's lecture that last evening in the
home prayer-meeting, and his resolution taken then, thought that the
stone was ahead of him no longer, but that he had walked _close_ up to
it, and could not take another step because of it, and very large and
impossible to move did it look to his shortsighted eyes.

Just as he was growing hopelessly moody, Lay came in, and settled himself
among the cushions, rather wearily.

"Ray," said Edward anxiously, "you are not well enough for lessons
to-night."

"No," answered Ray, smiling, however, as he spoke; "I think I am not,
because I want to talk instead. I am full of a scheme which needs your
help; for once we'll let the lessons go. It is an age since I have heard
anything concerning your plans; you have not given up your desire for the
ministry, I hope?"

"No, Ray; I shall never give that up."

"I thought not; it would not be like you. That being the case, isn't it
time to do something definite?"

"Time, certainly," Edward answered gloomily; "but what's to do?"

"That brings me to the unfolding of my scheme. Edward, do you know
that it was my lifelong desire to reach the point towards which you
are looking?"

"_No_," said Edward, with pitying interest; "I never thought of it."

"Well," and Ray smiled sadly, "it is so; and I hope you may never know
how hard it is to have to give up such a wish. I cannot say that I did
actually give it up entirely until very lately. I gave up all study three
years ago, and came home to regain strength! _you_ know how well I have
succeeded in that." And Ray pressed his thin, wasting hand across his
damp forehead. "It is all over now, _utterly_." The hand did duty now for
a moment, shading his eyes from the light. Presently he spoke more
cheerily. "All over for myself, but not for you; so, Edward, what I want
to say to-night, in brief, is this: You have talents, perseverance, and
health; I have money,--the four combined cannot fail to speed you in your
work. What say you?"

"I--I don't understand you," Edward spoke, in complete bewilderment.

"Let me speak more plainly. I want you to go now, _immediately_, to some
good preparatory school, thence to college, thence to the seminary, and
the means wherewith to do these three important things shall be at your
disposal. Isn't that plain?"

"Why," said Edward, "I don't know what to say; I am too much astonished,
and--and thankful."

"Then you will do it?"

"Only,--Ray?"

"Well?"

"Isn't there a right kind of pride, about being helped in these things?"

"There is a great deal of wrong kind of pride. Let me show you;" and he
sat up and spoke eagerly. "It is right and honourable for people to help
themselves in this world, but very vain and foolish to refuse help which
would greatly aid the cause that they profess to have at heart. You see
how it is: God has given me money; I am ready and waiting to give it back
to Him. I would gladly give myself to Him in the ministry; I have longed
and prayed for this; but He has seen fit not to answer as I wished. I
have no strength to give; you have, and are ready to give it. Do you
think God would be less pleased with the offering if we united it, thus
giving me a chance to do something?"

"No," said Edward, speaking very slowly; "only, I had hoped to
accomplish my plans without help from any one but God."

Ray leaned back again among the cushions, and spoke wearily,--

"That is, you prefer to be a great many years longer in preparation than
you need be, and have about half as much strength finally as you would
have, had you not overworked, rather than give me a chance to do what I
could, since I cannot do what I would."

"But, Ray, there are plenty of people to help, even if you do no more for
me. The world is full of poor young men, struggling to get an education."

"Yes, that is so; and I suppose you would enjoy helping some young
man out in Oregon, of whom you had never heard, quite as well as you
would me."

Edward came quickly to the sofa where Ray was lying, and laid his hand
tenderly over the closed eyes.

"Ray, there is nothing in the world I would not do for you."

"Will you let me help you into the ministry, as rapidly as money
_can_ help?"

"I will be glad to; it is a great, noble offer, and I thank you from my
heart. You mustn't think that I don't; only I thought--perhaps"

"I know," said Ray, for Edward had stopped doubtfully; "I understand just
how you feel; but I _do_ think the feeling, in this case at least, is
wrong; and, my dear brother, you will be glad when you know how thankful
you have made me."

"Yes; and after all you will not be doing any more for me--you
_can't_--than you have done. I think money is very little, compared with
that. Ray," and Edward sank down among the cushions in front of him, "I
do believe you are more to me than any other human being ever will be."

Ray smiled, quite as if he did not think so, but would not unsay it
for anything.

"It is all right," he said gently, after a little silence. "I think you
will do so much more than I ever _could_ have done. God bless you, my
dear brother!"

After that Edward went up to his room, got out his little red Bible,
his precious lamp, and, opening at the history of the rock-bound grave,
read on until he came to the verse, "And when they looked, they saw
that the stone was rolled away." Around this he made heavy marks with
his pencil, thinking, meantime, that the angel of the Lord was still at
work on earth.

"Bob," said Edward, stopping before Bob's counter, two days after this
matter was settled, "I am going to start for home in the morning."

"Are you, though?" Bob answered eagerly, stopping his work to take the
sentence in fully. "My! I wish I was going along, just to see what folks
would say."

"About _you_, do you mean?" said Edward, laughing, and thinking
wonderingly, as well as joyfully, of the change which there had been in
Bob Turner.

Bob had a counter too, and was no longer an errand-boy; there had very
rarely been known such a rapid promotion in that store; but the truth
was, Mr. Minturn had early learned that Bob Turner was destined to be,
not a minister, nor a lawyer, not even a scholar, but a thorough,
energetic, successful merchant. He had no sooner made this discovery than
he determined to give the boy a chance.

So Bob had earned a name and a place in the store, and was a general
favourite with the other clerks, and was beginning to have customers who
sought him out, and liked to make purchases of him. More than all, Bob
was an earnest Christian; his loving tenderness for, and almost worship
of, Ray Minturn, kept him from being much led into temptation, and his
influence over the younger clerks was growing to be for good. He was
destined to be more popular than Edward had been; for Edward had risen
too rapidly, and was too much at home with the entire Minturn family, not
to be looked upon with some degree of envy.

"Well, Tip,"--Bob had never learned not to say Tip, and probably never
would, but Edward had long since forgotten to care,--"tell every one
at home that I'm well and happy, and never want to see one of them
again. I don't believe I have a friend there: anyhow, I know I don't
deserve to have."




CHAPTER XXVII.

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto,
according to Thy word."


Kitty Lewis shook out the folds of her new bright pink calico dress,
walked to the little looking-glass, for about the tenth time, to see if
the dainty white ruffle around her neck was in order; then took a survey
of the room, lest there might possibly be something else to do which
would improve its appearance.

It was the same little room in which Kitty had spent her childhood, from
which Johnny first, and then long afterwards the husband and father, had
been carried out to return no more. And yet it was not the same,--there
was a neat rag carpet on the floor, a Christmas gift from Mrs. Minturn;
the round table in the corner was covered with a bright red cloth, and
strewn with a few books and papers; the full white curtain was looped
away from the window, and the light of a clear sunset glimmered in the
room; everything was neat and bright and cheery. The table was set for
tea, the white cloth showing just the folds in which it was ironed; there
were three plates and three cups and saucers, instead of two, while
Kitty, in her restless wanderings around the room, and Mrs. Lewis, in her
frequent glances out of the window, both showed that somebody was being
watched and waited for.

"The eastern train is in," Kitty said finally "Now, if he comes
to-night, he'll be here in three minutes." And it could not have been
much more than that when a quick, crushing step was heard on the gravel
outside, then on the plank before the door, then the door swung open,
and Edward Lewis walked into the little room out of which he had gone
three years before.

Kitty was all ready to spring forward, say, "Oh, Tip!" and throw her arms
right around his neck. Instead, she stood still. Some way, in spite of
the long letters which had passed between them during these years, Kitty
had fully expected to see a stout, tanned boy, in a strong, coarse suit
of grey, with thick boots and a new straw hat. Of, at least,--why, of
course, she knew he must have changed some; hadn't she? But then she did
_not_ think he would be so tall, and have a face and hands without tan or
freckle, or that his clothes would be so _very_ black and fine, and fit
as though they had grown on him, or that his collar would be so white and
glossy, or his boots so small and shiny. So Kitty stood still in
embarrassed silence. But the mother,--oh, she saw in him the picture of
the dear, dead father, as he used to come to her long, long ago; the
husband who, through all change and poverty and pain, she had _always_
loved! And all the tenderness that had ever been in her heart took form,
and spoke in those words with which she came forward to greet her
son,--"Oh, my _dear_ boy!"

There was happiness in the little home that night; only the bedroom door
was closed, and Edward knew that his father's bed was vacant.

Such a queer feeling as possessed him all the next day, while he went
around the village! He went _every_where. He felt like walking through
every street, and stepping on every stone on which his feet had trod in
the old life, now utterly gone from him. He wandered down to the
river-bank, where he had lain that summer morning and envied the fishes;
and, standing there, thanked God for the mission class in Mr. Holbrook's
Sabbath school. Thence to the cemetery, where by the side of little
Johnny's grave the new life had been commenced. There was a long grave
beside the short one now; and, standing there, he thanked God for the
hope which he had of meeting the father and the baby in heaven. Thence to
the great elm-tree at the foot of the hill; and, standing there, he took
out once more the little red Bible, and turned the leaves lovingly;
lingered over the name written by Mr. Holbrook's hand, turned again to
the first verse which he had ever read from its pages: "Thy word is a
lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Time and again had he
proved the truth of that verse. There, under that very tree, it had
helped him to fight battles with Satan and come off conqueror. And he
thanked God for the Bible. After that he went directly to the village;
just looked in at the meat market for the sake of the old days.

Somebody told Mr. Dewey who was coming, and he was just ready to say,
"Hallo, Tip!" but instead, he came around from behind the counter, and,
holding out his hand, said, "How do you do, Lewis? Glad to see you."
Something, either in the city-made clothes or the quiet air of dignity
with which they were worn, made him dislike to say "Hallo, Tip!" to the
tall young man before him.

Mr. Minturn shook him heartily by the hand. "Never rejoiced over any
one's luck more in my life!" he said; then, in the same breath, "How's
Ray? Oh yes, I see how it is, poor fellow! And you love him too; of
course, every one does."

There was still the schoolroom to visit, and as Edward went up the
familiar walk he wished Bob Turner could have been with him to make this
call. But Bob was probably rushing like a top through the city store,
without a thought of the old schoolhouse or the miserable days which he
had spent there.

Mr. Burrows himself answered the knock, and gave him a hearty greeting.
Three years had made changes there. Edward found himself looking eagerly
towards the back row of seats fur the old faces,--Will, Howard, Ellis,
and half a dozen others,--before he remembered that they had long since
entered higher schools. The boys whom he hid left plodding through long
division were filling those back seats now, and leading their classes in
algebra and Latin. He sat down near the blackboard to watch the progress
of Joe Bartlett through an example in division. And behold, he was doing
that old never-to-be-forgotten example about the cows and sheep! He
picked up an arithmetic eagerly.

"Mr. Burrows, do you remember that example?'

"I remember that it has puzzled some forty or more of my boys in the
course of time," said Mr. Burrows, laughing; "but nothing very special
about it."

"I do; it was the cause of my first promotion."

"Was it, indeed! I'm afraid it will never be the cause of poor Joseph's;
it seems to be mastering him."

Mr. Burrows was engaged with a grammar class, and Edward offered to
assist the bewildered Joseph.

"I remember those sheep of old," he said kindly, as he turned to the
board. "Isn't it the 'stood him in' that troubles you?"

"Yes, it is," Joe answered grumbly. "I don't see no sense to it."

"Let me show you. Suppose"--And he went through with the well--remembered
explanation. It was successful, Joe understood it, and went on briskly
with the figures.

Edward turned towards Mr. Burrows. "It was the way my father explained it
to me," he said, with eyes that glistened a little.

Some one brought Mr. Burrows a note, and, as he read and laid it down, he
said, "Now, Edward, if you had continued at school instead of running
away from us, I should get you to hear this recitation in algebra, and
take leave of absence for a few minutes. There is a friend in town whom I
would give much to see before the next train leaves."

"Suppose you set me at it as it is."

Mr. Burrows looked surprised.

"Have you been studying algebra, Edward?"

"Somewhat."

"How far have you been?"

"Through."

"Do you feel _positive_ that you could do examples over here?" turning to
"Evolution."

"_Entirely,"_ Edward answered, smiling at Mr. Burrows' doubts. Ray had
been a thorough teacher.

So Mr. Burrows went away, and Edward took his seat on the stage and
commenced the recitation. At first the boys were disposed to be wise, and
display their knowledge; when they had known him last, he was in
division. But he was in algebra now, or rather through it, and they
speedily discovered that he seemed to have every example in the lesson
committed to memory.

Meantime, Mr. Burrows returned, and listened with astonishment and
delight.

"Thank you heartily," he said afterwards. "You ought to fit yourself for
teaching. But, Edward, you did not get through algebra alone?"

"No," said Edward, flushing at the thought of Ray; "I had the best and
wisest teacher on earth."

Well, he sat down in what had been his seat, and tried to imagine that it
was his seat still; that Bob would be in pretty soon, and plague him
while he studied his spelling-lesson. But he could not do it. "Things
were different,"--very different. First and foremost, there was Ray: he
had not known _him_ in those days; if he had, he said to himself, things
would have been different long before they were.

Going back up town he met Mr. Holbrook, who turned and walked with him.

"And so," he said, after the long talk was concluded, "you go next
week, do you?"

"Next Tuesday, sir."

"Well, God bless you, my friend, as He has, and will." Then, after a
minute, "Edward, my son is a wanderer yet: do you still remember him?"

"Always, sir," Edward answered, in firm, steady tones; "and, Mr.
Holbrook, God _never_ forgets!"

As he went on past Mr. Minturn's store, could he have heard the remarks
that were made there, very likely he might have remembered a certain
statement which he made to the little fishes that summer morning.

Mr. Minturn, looking out after him, said to Mr. Dewey,--

"There goes one of the finest and most promising young men in this town."

"Yes," answered Mr. Dewey, laughing a little; "I used to notice that he
improved every day after he brought back those circus tickets."




CHAPTER XXVIII.

"For them shalt find it after many days."


"Come in;" and the Rev. Edward Lewis laid down his book, pushed back
his study chair, and was ready to receive whoever was knocking at his
study door.

"Mr. Lewis," said the little girl who came in in answer to his
invitation, "father has just come from the post office, and he brought
you some letters, and here they are."

Mr. Lewis thanked his little next-door neighbour, took his letters, and,
when the room was quiet again, settled back in his chair to enjoy them.

The first one was from a brother minister, begging an exchange. The next
brought a look of surprise and delight to his face, for he recognised
Ellis Holbrook's handwriting. And the delight spread and deepened as he
read; especially when he came to one sentence: "I asked father what
message he had for you, and he replied, Send him this verse, and tell him
that again it is peculiarly his, 'I love the Lord, because He has heard
my voice and my supplication.'" That, you see, would have told me the
whole story, without this long letter. "I thank God that He put it into
your heart to pray for me, as also that He has heard your prayers. God
bless you. By the way, father wants you to assist him on the first
Sabbath in July. I earnestly hope you can do so; he thinks you will be
coming east about that time."

Was there ever a more thankful heart than was that minister's as he laid
down his old schoolfellow's letter? How constantly, how sometimes almost
hopelessly, had he prayed for Ellis Holbrook! How many times had he been
obliged to reassure himself with the promise, "In due season we shall
reap, if we faint not." And now again had God's word been verified to
him. He took the letter up once more, to look lovingly at that closing,
never before written by Ellis,--"Your brother in Christ."

There was still another letter to read. That writing, too, was familiar;
he had received many reminders of it during the past years. He laughed as
he read, it sounded so like the writer:--


ALBANY, _June_--, 18--.

"DEAR TIP,--Do you have Fourth of July out your way this year? We do here
in Albany; rather, I'm going to have one in my yard. Perhaps you remember
a Fourth of July which you took me to once, when we were ragged little
wretches at home? I do, anyhow, and this is to be twin-brother to that
time. All the ugly, dingy little urchins that I know have been invited.
We're to have fine fireworks and fine singing and fine _eating_. My wife
added that last item,--thought it a great improvement. I'm not sure but
it is; most things are that she has a hand in. Now, to come to the point
of this letter,--you're to make the speech on that occasion. No getting
out of it now! I planned this thing one day in the old schoolhouse. Oh,
did you know Mr. Burrows had given up teaching? Grown too old. Queer,
isn't it? Don't seem as if anybody was growing old except me. At first I
wasn't going to have my feast on the Fourth, because, you remember, it
was on _that_ day that our blessed Ray left us; but, talking with Mr.
Minturn about it, he said Ray would have been delighted with it all,--and
so he would, you know. Don't think we are going to gather in all Albany;
it's only the younger scholars of the mission school, in which my wife
and I are interested.

"Tell Howard and Kitty to be sure and come; they can put their visit a
few weeks earlier as well as not.

"Oh, by the way, if you have heard from Ellis Holbrook lately, you are
singing 'Glory Hallelujah' by this time!

"I am writing this in the counting-room, and am in a great hurry, though
you wouldn't think it. Shall expect you by the third, _certainly_.--

"Yours, etc.,

"BOB TURNER."


These letters came on Saturday evening. The next morning, in Sabbath
school, when the superintendent's bell rang, the minister left his class
of mission scholars, and went up the aisle towards the altar, pausing
first to speak with a bright-eyed little lady, who sat before her class
of bright-eyed little girls.

"Kitty, where is Howard?"

"At home, coaxing a fit of sick headache."

"Well, here are letters that will interest you both,--came last evening;
one contains an invitation. Tell Howard I think we must try to go. Mother
bade me tell you she wanted to see you at the parsonage in the morning;
she is not out to-day."

Then he went on. The scholars began to sit up straight, and fold their
arms; they knew they must listen if they wanted Mr. Lewis to talk to
them. When every eye was fixed on him, he began,--

"Children, I have a very short story to tell you to-day about myself.
Years ago, when I was a little boy, my Sabbath school teacher told us a
story, one morning, which was the means of bringing me to Jesus. I have
to thank that lady, next to God, that I am standing here to-day a
minister of Christ. She was not our regular teacher, but was a stranger;
I never saw her after that Sabbath. Perhaps you can imagine how I have
longed, since I became a man and a minister, to find that lady, and tell
her what one hour of faithful teaching did for me. I thought it would
help her, encourage her. I thought she would be likely to tell it to
other teachers, and it would help them. But though I had it always in
mind, and made very earnest efforts to find her, I never succeeded until
last week. You know, children, it is ten years since I came here to be
your pastor, and last week I learned that during all this time I have
been living within twenty miles of the lady whom I have so long been
seeking. And what else do you think I heard of her? Why, that two weeks
ago she died. Scholars, my first thought was a sad one, that I never
could thank her now. But you know I can; I expect to one of these days.
Why, when I get to heaven, one of the first things I shall do will be to
seek her out and tell her about it. So, you see, she will know it, even
if some of the watching angels up there have not told her already.

"Just here, I want to say one word to the teachers. This incident should
come with wonderful encouragement to your hearts, reminding you that you
may often speak words which spring up and bear fruit that reaches up to
God, though you do not know it, and _will_ not, until in heaven you take
your crowns, and question why there are so many stars.

"Children, next Sabbath I will tell you the story which led me to Christ;
and all this week I am going to pray that it may have the same effect on
some of my scholars.

"It is time now for your verse. If any of you can find out why what I
have been telling you to-day made me think of this verse, you may tell me
next Sabbath. Now repeat,--'Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou
shalt find it after many days.'"





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