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Title: Of no account

Author: Ruth Lamb

Illustrator: Paul Hardy

Release date: April 17, 2024 [eBook #73416]

Language: English

Original publication: London: The Religious Tract Society, 1893


Transcriber's note: Unusual and inconsistent spelling is as printed.






Author of "Only a Girl Wife," "Her Own Choice,"
"Holiday Stories," etc. etc.


































"I DON'T know why you should trouble yourself to come after me. I'm o' no account. What matter does it make whether a poor chap like me spends his Sundays at home or in the streets, at church or in a church with a chimney?"

The speaker, Adam Livesey, was a man whose appearance suggested that the world had dealt hardly with him, and that he had found life, regarded as a journey, very rough travelling.

He was spare of form, rugged of feature, not given to much talking, but usually civil spoken, and not unpleasant in manner. There was, however, one exception. Adam Livesey was deemed surly by those who ventured to interfere with what he considered his strictly private affairs. He might not say in so many words, "Mind your own business, and let mine alone. It's a hard case that a quiet fellow cannot be left to himself by folk that are nothing to him. I wasn't meddling with you." But he looked all this and more.

If Adam could have been induced to open his mind to anybody, he would have summed up his experience by saying that, all through life, he had received "more kicks than ha'pence."

A clever lad, he would have done credit to good schooling, but could not get it. Just as he was beginning to understand the value of learning, his father died, and Adam had to go to work. The years that followed were marked by scanty fare, rough treatment, and small wages, which went to the support of those at home, who were younger and more helpless than himself.

In after days, Adam seldom spoke of his mother, but the neighbours described her as being "of a sour sort."

Mrs. Livesey was always engaged in a struggle for bare bread, so had little time, even if she felt the inclination, to indulge in acts of motherly tenderness. The house was cheerless, for she went out washing and cleaning. There was no girl to attend to it and the younger boys, so the place looked desolate to the weary lad when he returned from work before his mother's arrival.

It had been different when the father was living, but then Mrs. Livesey had only to stay with her children and use for the common benefit good wages, regularly placed in her hands.

With a husband to lean on and look up to, she stood firmly enough. Without him, she was like a climbing plant from which the prop has been withdrawn. She became limp and comparatively lifeless.

But the plant which has lost its first support often stretches out new shoots in search of a fresh one, and throws its clinging tendrils round some new source of strength, which will lift it from the ground.

Not so Mrs. Livesey. To use her own words, "When my husband died, I just gave up. I've never had a bit of spirit for anything since. I drag on somehow, and that's all I can say."

It was the giving up and the "dragging on somehow" which was so terrible to the young ones, especially Adam, who had a great capacity for tenderness, but was shy at showing his affection. He fairly hungered for love and sympathy, and the one of all others, his mother—who should have shown both—gave neither.

The sweetness had been taken out of one portion of Mrs. Livesey's daily life, and she sought none elsewhere. She toiled hard enough to secure bread and shelter for their bodies, but these children's hearts were famished for want of what she might have bestowed if only she had not "given up." Home was brightest when the mother was out of it; for, though the children were neither beaten nor ill-treated—though she gave them the best she could, the presence of the grave, silent woman was like a wet blanket to them all.

Dear mothers, if you could only understand how much it is in your power to brighten your children's lives, you would surely do it. If Adam Livesey's mother had met him with a smile when he came in, and told him that she thanked God for having left her such a helper in her boy! If she had put her arms round his neck and given him a loving kiss, as she took his hardly-won wages, or said she was sorry he had so heavy a weight to carry while still so young! If she had gone with him and her other children to the throne of grace, and there and with them made her requests known unto God, and taught them that, though this may be a world of toil and trial, there is something better beyond! If she had put into their young hearts the precious, cheering thought that, though the earthly father had been taken, they had a Father in heaven, who had given sweet and precious promises to cheer the widow and the orphan! If she had done these things, toil would have been lightened, her children's lives made happier, their yearning for a mother's love satisfied, and within them would have been planted good seeds which, by God's grace, would have doubtless brought forth good fruit in their lives.

She did none of these things, and she reaped fruit of another kind. As the younger boys grew old enough, they went to work, and as soon as they could severed the tie between themselves and the home that had no brightness in it.

All went but Adam. Perhaps he had suffered most, because he was the only one who was old enough to remember the better days during his father's life. He, too, had a trial which the younger boys were spared, for the cup of learning had been snatched from his lips as he was beginning to taste its sweetness. Often was he sorely vexed, when he saw lads with no yearnings after knowledge waste the opportunities he would have prized. But there seemed no help for it.

Years passed, and Adam's boyhood was gone. "Too old to learn now, if I had the chance," he murmured. "I'm o' no account in the world, and I never shall be. I've got nothing to do, but to hammer away until I have struck my last stroke, and then—"

Adam often said these words, but he never finished his sentence. He stopped with "and then," seeming unable to look beyond the moment when, his last day's work on earth being done, some one else would have to lift the tool which his arm could raise no longer.

Adam's work was that of "striker" in a foundry. He had never been apprenticed to any mechanical trade, and his calling was one which required little beyond strength and adroitness. Though wiry, he was very strong, and, happily for him, his depressing surroundings had never driven him to drink.

His mother's last days were free from toil, for, when the other two lads had crossed the ocean and found homes in far-away lands, Adam stayed by her and worked for her. Before Mrs. Livesey died, she seemed to realize that she might have made her children happier, and that she herself might have found a good deal of sweetness towards the bottom of life's cup, if she had not closed her lips against what was left, because of the one bitter draught she had been compelled to drink.

"You'll do better without me, Adam," she said. "I've been nothing but a clog to you all your days. I wish I'd been a bit brighter, but after father died I had hard lines, and I gave up."

Adam would have liked to say something cheerful if he could, but he could not at the moment think of anything to say, because his mother's words were true. Before an answer came from him she had given up her last breath, and the young man, always lonely enough, felt a little more lonely than before.

It was some comfort to think of those last words of his mother, and to know that the grave, unsympathetic woman had in her heart recognised his devotion.

She had owned, after her fashion, that if she had done her part towards Adam as faithfully as he had performed his to herself, both their lives might have been happier. This was a crumb of comfort to feed upon, and threw just a ray of light across that death-bed, not for the departing soul, but for the watcher beside it; and Adam rejoiced that he had "stuck by mother to the last."

"Poor soul! I reckon she couldn't help feeling so down-hearted and dull. Dulness is catching, and I've got a good deal into mother's ways with being so much along with her. However, I'm glad I haven't got to look back and think that I left her to shift for herself, as Ned and Tom did."

Adam, you see, had done his duty according to his light, and this thought was the best comforter he had, as he sat by his solitary hearth that night, thinking of the past, and wondering how he should shape his future. Often and often had he rebelled in spirit against the monotony of his work and its hopeless character. He asked himself—Would it be possible for him to make a fresh start, now he had only himself to work for?



ADAM LIVESEY was not fated to be long without a companion. His mother's next door neighbour was a widow, like herself. Her only unmarried daughter had just given up her place to come and live with her, the one who had been at home having lately become the wife of a mechanic.

Mrs. Livesey, as we know, had not been much given to neighbouring, but, being "fond of peace and quietness," was certain to quarrel with nobody. She was silent enough, but Mrs. Allison, being a great talker, had liked her all the better on that account. So she told how Annie was going to be married, and Maggie, her youngest, coming to live with her at home, because she could not be left by herself.

"And lucky for me," she said, "my husband had a trifle of money that came to him only just before he died, or I am afraid he would have run through it; and he left it to me for life, and then it will go, share and share alike, amongst the four girls. Only a trifle when it comes to be divided, but enough to keep a little house over my head while I live, and so as I can have one daughter with me. Maggie is the last. Eh, dear! I hope nobody will want her!"

Maggie was a dark-eyed, rosy-checked damsel, full of spirits, rather too fond of finery, yet kindly hearted and of an affectionate disposition. She had only been home a few days when Mrs. Livesey was taken ill. What so natural as that the one neighbour who had persisted in making her acquaintance should minister to her during her sickness? What so certain as that one pair of hands proving insufficient, the bright-eyed daughter should relieve her mother?

Both were very kind. There could be no mistake about that, and Adam was very grateful, and longed to express his feelings; but having become taciturn by habit, he hardly knew how to begin. He thought he should offer payment, but was afraid of giving offence. However, greatly to his relief, Mrs. Allison guessed from the first hesitating words what was coming, and stopped the rest.

"Don't you say one word about what Maggie and I have done. Mrs. Livesey was heartily welcome to our best, whether by night or day. I felt for her, having no daughter or sister to watch by her. Our turns will come, when we shall want looking after, and somebody will have to do for us what we have done for your mother."

Adam found words to express his thanks, and the friendly widow extended her good offices, put his house in order for him, made all the arrangements that would have fallen naturally to a woman's hand, had there been one of his kindred to undertake them, and laid him under no small obligation by so doing. What so natural as for him to consult such kindly neighbours, and to talk over with them his plans for the future?

"I think I shall sell the few sticks of furniture and go into lodgings," he said. "It is so lonely to come home and find no mother. She was very quiet, but she was always there."

"I wouldn't, if I were you," replied the widow briskly. "It would never do for you to be by yourself. You must have somebody to look after you. If you sold your things, you would get next to nothing for them, and yet there is a tidy little lot. They would cost a good bit if you had to buy them. You'll not be a bachelor always, Mr. Livesey, and it says a deal for your good heart that you denied yourself of marrying and stopped with your mother."

The widow's words were strangely confusing to Adam Livesey, and the suggestion was a novel one to him. The idea of marrying had not entered his mind, though, now he was alone in the world, it came home with great force as the most fitting remedy for his solitude. Almost involuntarily he looked towards the widow's daughter, and she, seeing his glance, turned quickly to the window, though not soon enough to hide the flush that rose to her cheek at the words of her mother.

Maggie Allison was young, pretty, bright, and kind. How different it would be if he had such a face as that to meet him at the threshold! How pleasant to hear her singing about his little house, as she did about her mother's! He had heard her voice often, through the thin walls which divided the tenements, and thought that she was just like a bird, with her cheery voice and active movements. How delightful it would be to have her at one side of the hearth, turning that rosy face towards him, and chatting away about all that had happened during his working hours! Thus cogitated Adam Livesey. Before he went back to his own cottage that night, Mrs. Allison had persuaded him to let things be for a while, until he had time to turn round.

"Maggie and me will see to things for you. Just for a bit, till you settle on something, or somebody to keep house," added the widow, with a half-smile hovering round her features.

Adam thankfully agreed, and went home with his mind full of Maggie Allison, and wondering whether, after all her mother had said about her being the last daughter left, and her dread of losing her, she would look favourably upon him as a suitor. Perhaps if she were only coming next door it would not be like parting! There was hope in that fact.

Then Adam looked at his spare form and homely features, and thought, with a sigh, that he was too old, too plain, too poor for one so young and pretty as Maggie. His dimly-conceived plans for self-improvement must be given up if he married, for in this case he would have to work for a wife, instead of a mother. Well! He had never been afraid of work, and he thought, if he only had such a face as that to look on, and such a voice to cheer him on, he could do more and better than he had hitherto done.

It is easy to foresee the end of these musings. Maggie Allison's image drove out every other tenant from Adam's mind. Her mother, having a shrewd suspicion that the girl would not remain single for her sake, and wishing to keep her near at hand, encouraged his advances, and Maggie was won by the almost reverential wooing of this hitherto reserved and silent man.

There was really only six years difference in their ages, and, under the influence of this new affection, Adam grew younger looking, whilst his natural intelligence lighted up his face, and hope gave it a new expression.

"He worships the very ground I tread on, and I am certain he has never thought about anybody else in all his life," said Maggie; and she was right.

So the two married, and whilst there were only two, things were fairly bright. Adam poured his wages into his wife's hands, as he had formerly done into his mother's, and wished he had more to bring.

Children came, and Maggie could no longer manage to afford herself the bits of finery in which her soul delighted. She found that plenty for two, was but a scanty allowance for four, and scantier still for six, and grumbled accordingly.

Mrs. Allison helped a little from time to time, but finding that Maggie's appeals became more and more frequent, she grew tired, and, without having told her daughter until almost the last moment, left the cottage next door, and went to live near another of her children, whose circumstances were comparatively prosperous.

This was a terrible blow to Adam and his wife, especially the latter. Mrs. Allison went, as if only on a visit to her elder daughter, and then, having taken a cottage, sent a person with authority to remove her goods to the new home.

Then Adam Livesey had an opportunity of judging as to the relative merits of a silent, gloomy mother, and one who was too often a fretful, disappointed, scolding wife.

It had been pleasant, for a time, to be worshipped, to be of the first importance, to have Adam's eyes following her every movement with delighted wonder, to receive from his hands all that he had to give. But after all, Maggie found that they had not much in common, and when money ran short, that admiring looks would not make amends for the lack of it. So the wife grumbled at being a domestic slave, and being quick-tempered as well as keen-witted, often made the house too hot for husband and children.

Adam never retorted. On the contrary, he felt terribly guilty, and reminded himself of those old misgivings that had tormented him before his marriage. "I ought never to have asked a bright young lass like Maggie to tie herself to a grim know-naught of a fellow such as I am. But it can't be undone now. I must just work on, and when the children grow up, they'll help, and things will be better for the mother."

Poor, faithful soul! He loved his wife with the one affection of his heart, and blamed himself for the change in her. He would soothe the frightened little ones, when Maggie's angry words drove them in terror from the hearth. In summer, he would carry one in his arms, and with a couple more running beside him, would wander off into the public parks and silently watch, whilst they played in quick and happy forgetfulness.

Or, if it were winter, and the little ones were driven upstairs to creep into bed in the dark, Adam, remembering his own boyish hungering for the clasp of arms round his neck, would follow stealthily, and kiss and comfort them, or hold a tiny hand in his, until the child forgot its trouble in blessed sleep.

He had learned some lessons as a boy, which he was putting into practice as a man.

Adam had become as silent as his mother used to be. Never angry at Maggie, but very pitiful. Never giving way to the temptation to drink, though not restrained from it by any higher motive than the thought, "Poor lass! I have little enough to take her as it is. I mustn't make the little less, by spending it on myself."

So this poor fellow, with his big heart, his willing hands, his unsatisfied yearnings after knowledge, and his ignorance of things spiritual, went silently about his daily task, each day realising more fully the kind of weight of which his mother had spoken when she talked about "giving up."

It was not giving up work. She had never done that, and Adam was not likely to do it either. Work was the habit of his life, the one thing that gave a sort of satisfaction to his inner consciousness. It was all that he had the power to do, and it must be right to go on, apart from the needs-be, which ever cried in his ears, "Wife and children have to be clothed and fed, and your toil must win food and raiment for them."

The "giving up" was the yielding of all his old hopes and longings, the labouring on like a machine with as little power to turn aside, as little expectation of any future good, either in this world or the next, the working passively rather than patiently, the bearing himself humbly, as one whose opinion of himself is of the lowest. And yet the time was coming when a new and blessed light would burst upon Adam's mental and spiritual darkness, and change the whole of his daily life.



RUTHERFORD'S boilers were known all over the world, and it was at Rutherford's works that Adam Livesey wielded his hammer day after day. He was the subject of many a joke, on account of his silent, unsocial ways, and yet most of his fellow workmen felt kindly towards him. They could hardly do otherwise, for the man never resented their gibes, sometimes did not appear to hear them. If he contributed nothing to their enjoyment by his sayings, he took no offence at theirs, and did not attack the speakers in turn.

"Adam, lad," said one of them, as the striker paused to wipe the moisture from his brow, "have ye heard aught about the new manager that's coming?"

"No," was the brief reply.

"If saving words would save pence, Adam would be a rich man," put in another.

"'A still tongue makes a wise head,' they say. Do you believe that, Adam? I should think you must, or you wouldn't be so quiet. But, man, if it is true, how wise you must be!"

A general laugh followed this speech, and Adam smiled, somewhat grimly, for the words reminded him how he had longed to be something different from what he actually was.

"If Adam Livesey had been the first Adam that ever lived, I don't believe he would have felt lonely if no Eve had been given to him."

"Yes, I should, mates. I never was fond of being alone."

"Then you would stand by, for company, and let the other do the talking, eh, Adam?"

No response this time. There was work ready again, and the striker's hammer was raised to deliver one of those ponderous blows the sound of which was usually ringing through the smithy during working hours. But when another pause took place, the subject of the new manager was again introduced, and Adam listened attentively to what was said about him. He knew that Mr. John Rutherford, the junior partner, who had hitherto been the acting manager, had broken down in health, and was going abroad for some months. He had always been looked upon as the very life of the whole concern, and it was a matter of wonder and anxiety as to what Rutherford's would be without "our Mr. John."

"It will want a first-rate man to stand in his shoes," was the general verdict; "for Mr. John knows when a man understands his work. And likely, for when he came here, a lad, he went through his degrees, and learned the whole business up and down."

"A good thing for the men when the master does know what work means," said a steady old hand, who, like Adam, was not given to much talking.

"I don't say that," interposed another, whose face showed signs of intemperance, and in whose unsteady hand the tool shook again, as he paused in its use.

"I should have said it is good for the men whose minds are made up to do an honest day's work for a fair day's wages," returned the older man, with a half-pitying, half-contemptuous look at the trembling hand of the last speaker. "It isn't good in the eyes of those who try how little they can do for their money. I have always respected Mr. John for being a first-rate workman, as well as a fair dealing master, and I only hope the new manager may turn out to be after the same pattern. You've seen him, Jim. What is he like?"

"A clever-looking man. Got both eyes open, and won't be easy to gammon, I should say. Depend on it, he knows how many sixpences go to half a crown, and how much work should go into nine hours and a half. He came up to me, as the foreman brought him through, and he asked me a question. I thought I'd have him on a bit, and find out what he knew, but I'd better have let it alone. He made me look foolish, I can tell you, and I only hope he'll not remember my face when he starts here for good."

The speaker, Jim, was reckoned "a sharp un," a sort of workshop oracle, and his account of the coming manager was eagerly listened to. After Jim's experience, the conclusion come to was that Mr. Drummond would not be easily "done."

"They say he goes about preaching o' nights," remarked another. "Queer that, isn't it?"

"So long as he doesn't try on his preaching with me, he may do it where he likes," said Jim. "I should stand none o' that. I didn't agree for it, and it never did agree with me;" and Jim made a comical, wry face, as if he had just been trying to swallow something which would not go down.

"I only wish any preaching would do thee good, Jim," said the old workman, with a kindly look. "You've a deal in you that I like, for, if you've got a thing to do, you go at it with a will. But I can never stand your way of making fun of preachers that try to help their neighbours into the road that leads to heaven. If you won't go along with them, there's no need to make game and hinder other folks by laughing them out of it. You can see for yourself that if people go from comfortable firesides, where they have their wives and children, and could have more pleasant company besides—if they leave these, I say, where all is bright and tempting and cheerful, and go out into the dark lanes and miserable dirty homes, it must be out of love for Christ, and love for the souls He died to save. When a man gives time and strength, kind words and loving labours to those who are poorer than he is, and nought akin, and is certain that if he does it all his life he'll never be a penny the richer, you can't say that it's for his own sake."

Most of this talk took place during the dinner-hour, and as the speaker finished there were murmurs of assent from the men who were seated round. The old workman was much respected at Rutherford's.

Jim tried to raise another laugh against him, but not succeeding, he turned again upon Adam Livesey, who had been an eager but silent listener.

"You'll be the chap for the new manager to preach to, Adam," said he. "You're the one to take all in and give naught out. Eh, lad! I wish my wife were like you."

Jim's wife was known to possess a shrill tongue and a sharp temper, both of which were easily roused into action, but not easily stilled. Happily for him, he bore both with equal good humour, and either answered jestingly or got out of the way till the storm was over. His words now raised a laugh at his own expense, and when it subsided, the men rose and went back to work again.

Adam Livesey had not seen the new manager when he visited Rutherford's. In fact, he could hardly be called the manager yet. He was only chosen and appointed to fill that post, not actually in it. It would be a month, the men had heard, before Mr. Drummond could leave his present situation to enter upon the new one, and some regrets were expressed on account of the delay. Not, of course, that the men wanted to see anybody else filling the shoes of their grand favourite, Mr. John. But they saw that the latter gentleman was "looking bad," and thought the sooner he was away the better, and the more chance there would be of his coming back well. He was not to take the place of managing partner any more. Mr. Drummond, if all went well, was to be a fixture; but it would be pleasant to have Mr. John in and out amongst them, though taking things more easily than of old.

Adam Livesey said less than anybody about these things, but probably no one thought more of the new manager, or looked more eagerly for his coming, than did the silent striker.



RUTHERFORD'S got its new manager before the month was out. Mr. John's state of health became alarming, and as he had to be hurried away, an arrangement was made for Mr. Drummond to come at once.

He had not been many days in the place before every workman had come to the conclusion that he was "a cute 'un," and that the person who wanted to "get round him" would have to be up very early in the morning.

Already, however, he had made a favourable impression. An accident happened the very day after his arrival, by which two men were rather seriously hurt, and his conduct on that occasion won the hearts of the lookers-on. He showed such anxiety to spare the injured men any needless pain, was so tender in word and deed, and, when he heard that one of them had an ailing wife, he took such precautions to prevent the bad news from reaching her suddenly.

Later in the day Mr. Drummond found time to visit the men at the Infirmary, and later still, to call at their homes and carry the cheering news that both were likely to do well.

"He's a good sort, that new manager," was the opinion expressed by the anxious wives, to whom his coming was as a ray of sunlight. "It isn't so many that would have called themselves. They would have thought it plenty to send word," said the one wife to her invalid neighbour, after Mr. Drummond's departure. "He feels for folks, because he evens himself to them. He said he once got hurt, and he knew what his missis went through, when she heard that he couldn't be brought home."

"He asked me if my man were in a club, and how we should get on while he was laid by. I said we should be all right there, and the two lads were working."

"He asked me too. And that was not what everybody would ha' done. Masters sometimes like to know as little as they can about the men's money matters. If they don't know that you have nothing coming in, though they can always have a pretty good guess, you see, they don't feel as anybody can blame them for not putting their hands in their pockets. I don't say it to find fault. Masters often have their minds full enough, and not too much in their pockets, after all's said and done. They would often help if they could, but they can't keep all the wives and families, when the men are doing naught. And they are often very ill plagued with the awkwardness of the men ¹ going off drinking just when they're busiest, and such-like work."

¹ "Very ill plagued." A common expression in Lancashire, denoting domestic troubles through slack work or sickness.

The words were true enough. Rutherford's knew what it was to be fined for non-fulfilment of a contract, now and then, through the sheer perversity of the less steady amongst their workpeople. There would be bitter complaints if there were not work enough to keep all going, and then, very often, when all was in full swing, some of those who had grumbled most loudly were the first to shirk their employment and stroll off to the public-house, whence they could neither be coaxed nor driven.

When pay time came on Friday evening, they would come up with the rest and hang about, until the steady workmen had received their well-earned wages. Then they would lounge up to the pay desk and plead for an advance on work partially done, or yet to be commenced, and make many a promise of future steadiness.

Perhaps they were met by a stern refusal, and had to listen to a sharp lecture on the folly of their ways and the misery they entailed on others by their evil doing.

Meanwhile, half clad, worn-looking women would be waiting the result with what patience they might.

The knowledge of this fact and the thought of the children who would have to go hungry if no advance were made, generally secured it, though at Rutherford's the cashier often made it a condition that the wife should be called to receive the money. It made little difference in the long run, for, unless she were very strong minded indeed, she was sure to have to yield up enough to pay the public-house score before she could begin her calculations for spending the little balance left in her hands. The two women who were comparing notes about the new manager were happy in having steady husbands, and being spared such experiences.

"Did Mr. Drummond say anything else to you?" asked the invalid, with an eager look on her pale face.

"Aye. He hoped I had the 'Best of friends' to be with me and cheer me whilst I was troubled about George. I was bewildered like, and hardly knew what he meant then, but I seemed to see after."

"He didn't say many words to me, but he brought back some verses I learned at Sunday school. One forgets in course of time, but it's a good thing to have one's memory brushed up a bit."

Here the conversation ended.

The accident had been the means of bringing Adam Livesey under Mr. Drummond's special notice. But for it the striker's shyness would have induced him rather to keep out of sight; yet, when the alarm was given, Adam was the first to run to the scene of the mishap.

"Poor old Silentsides dropped his hammer sharp enough to-day," said another workman, in Mr. Drummond's hearing. "When there's work on, Adam is never in any hurry. I've noticed many a time that his hammer gives the last stroke that sounds in the smithy when going home time has come."

The words made Mr. Drummond curious to know which was Adam Livesey. He thought that a man of whom his fellows gave such a character might be worth a little looking after. But the manager was too wise to startle the men by making sudden changes. He wanted to get acquainted with them, not merely as items in the human machinery which kept Rutherford's going, but as fellow men, with souls to be saved, minds to be enlightened, bodies to be cared for, homes to be brightened, lives to be cheered and influenced for good.

How to set about it was the difficulty. Mr. Drummond had already been spoken of as fond of preaching, but in one sense he did not deserve it. He did not intrude upon the men during their dinner-hour, or when they were talking together in groups. He knew how jealous many were of anything like interference with their freedom of action and word. He did not wish them to think that he desired to be a spy upon them, so he was extremely careful to do nothing which should excite doubt or suspicion. But opportunities are never long wanting to those who seek them, and, as Mr. Drummond's words were always well timed, the sight of his frank face and the sound of his footfall were soon welcomed by all amongst whom he moved.

Some of the workmen joked Adam Livesey about the manager's "'ticing ways."

"He'll make a talker of thee, whether thou wilt or no," said one.

"There's no standing against Mr. Drummond," put in another.

So many things were said about the manager's power of "leading whoever he chose with his little finger," that for once in his life, Adam had a feeling of almost dislike towards the object of so much praise. Though he did not say as much, he made up his mind not to be talked to or driven into anything, by the cleverest manager that ever lived.

Adam was almost painfully conscious of Mr. Drummond's great abilities and intimate knowledge of the duties he had undertaken. He thought he had long ago subdued anything like envy of those who were better taught, and the hope of rising beyond his monotonous work. Mr. Drummond's position seemed to reproach Adam, for, as a boy, the manager had been no better off than himself. But he had conquered opposing circumstances, whilst Adam had yielded to them, and been beaten down at every point. It hurt the man to know this, and he took every opportunity of avoiding Mr. Drummond. He succeeded in doing this while at his work, but met the person he least wished to see when and where he least expected to find him.



IT was Saturday afternoon and Adam Livesey had taken charge of all his children except the eldest, who was staying at home to fetch and carry and to be made generally useful during the weekly "cleaning up" for Sunday. The one left behind cast longing glances after the little troop who, under father's convoy, were being taken out of mother's way. It was rather hard lines for the solitary little damsel, who would have so enjoyed a run in the park with the rest, but who, being ten years old and the eldest of six, mostly boys, paid the penalty of being a sort of household drudge.

The mother could hardly be blamed for this, since, as she truly said, her own work was never done, and in the pinched face and often peevish tones of Mrs. Livesey there was not much to remind any one of rosy-checked Maggie Allison. But she might have made her willing little helper much happier, if she had only led the child instead of driving her, and given kind words in place of perpetual fault-finding.

As to Adam, he silently rejoiced in being able to take so many of the youngsters into the somewhat grimy enclosure called the "People's Park." There was plenty of space for play, the air was as fresh as any in the neighbourhood, and there were swings, trees and flowers, though to pluck a leaf or blossom with clean gloves on would have destroyed their purity for ever.

However, the park was not so much for the clean-gloved people, so that mattered little; and it was a vast source of enjoyment to many whose hands were innocent of covering, and alas! their feet too, in many cases.

Before lifting the baby in his strong arms, Adam whispered a promise in the ears of Maggie junior, which brought a flush of gladness to her rueful face, and would do much to cheer her during her hours of toil. Then he went off to the park with his youthful following.

The day was pleasant, the breeze just fresh enough to make walking delightful; and the spirits of the children infected their father.

Mrs. Livesey often said that Adam gave them more words during one walk than anybody else got out of him in a week; but then she should have remembered that she talked more than enough for them both. Even patient Adam had been driven to say that there was no edging in a word beside her. Anyway, he always answered the little folks pleasantly and kindly, and the walk to the park seemed short to them all. Once there, the four went off to the swings, and baby being asleep, Adam sat down on a bench well sheltered by a background of shrubs, lest his smallest charge should suffer by exposure to the breeze, and began to think things over.

When with the children, the man's mind was often sorely perplexed. He loved them dearly, and, in spite of the change in his wife's looks, he had never varied in his affection for her. True, she was not just the Maggie she used to be. But was he not to blame? If he had not married her, somebody brighter and better off might have made her his wife. Was it not wrong of a man who was so little in himself, and who had nothing else, to marry at all? And would the children have no better prospect to look forward to? He could see nothing tempting before any of them. He was only forty years of age now, and his wife thirty-four, but how much older both of them looked than their actual ages!

Just at this moment Adam heard voices behind the shrubs. One was that of a girl, and as she passed on, she gaily hummed a tune. It was one that his wife used to sing in her clear fresh voice, which he had so loved to hear, during their brief courtship and early married days. The sound actually brought moisture, of which he felt thoroughly ashamed, to Adam's eyes, and he was gently disengaging one hand so as to wipe it away, when a different voice addressed him by name. He recognised it in a moment. It was that of Mr. Drummond, and he was by no means glad to hear it, though the words were friendly and the tone pleasant.

"I am glad to see you here, Livesey," said the manager. "You are a wise man to use your half-holiday in this way. One would think that most workers who spend so much time in places like the cotton mill or smithy would be glad to get the smoke and steam blown out of them, now and then, by such a sweet breeze as this."

Adam gave a sort of indistinct murmur of assent, said something about bringing the children out, and "cleaning day," and made as if he would have risen.

He did not want the manager's company, but the man's instincts were ever on the side of courtesy, and he never failed in civility to those whom he had been used to call his "betters."

Mr. Drummond saw the movement, and laying his hand on Adam's arm, said, "Do not get up, please. You might rouse that little sleeper. What a pretty creature!" And he looked admiringly at the child, whose forehead was shaded with dark rings of silky hair, and her long lashes rested on the flushed cheeks.

"By your leave," added the manager, "I will sit down beside you."

What could Adam say? Certainly he could not refuse, for the seat was as free to Mr. Drummond as to him, and there was room for five occupants. Then, too, the feeling of antagonism which he had cherished towards Mr. Drummond was beginning to give way already. That gentleman's frank admiration of his youngest born touched Adam in his tenderest point, and his politeness had gained him a further advantage.

"To think he should say 'By your leave' to me. Why, one of the men wouldn't have troubled himself to do that, but would have flung himself down, and maybe stuck his feet up with his shoe soles against my clothes, and whether I wanted his company or no."

Adam's cogitation was perfectly correct, and by the time he came to the end of it, he could say with truth, "Sit down, sir, by all means. There's lots of room. Besides," he added, "nobody has any call to ask leave."

"Maybe not, in one sense, and so far as occupying a seat goes. But when a person you know is sitting quietly and alone, it is perhaps as well to find out whether your company will annoy him or not."

"I suppose that would be so if it were a gentleman," returned Adam, slowly.

"Do you mean a gentleman sitting?"

"Yes. I reckon very few folks would trouble about manners to a man o' no account like me."

"Then it would be their own loss. It always does harm to those who miss a chance of showing civility. I had a very good mother, Adam. Not a fine lady, according to the world's notion, but a hard-working woman, and she taught me this lesson, that one-sided politeness is not worth much. It should go everywhere, and be practised all round."

"You learned that lesson right off, and you've remembered it, sir," said Adam, on whose face an expression of interest was already manifest.

It was very curious, but during the brief moments that the two men had spent together, the manager succeeded in touching the most sensitive chords in the striker's nature. His love for his children, his own low self-estimate, and his memory of the mother who "gave up."

Mr. Drummond went back to the first. Bending over the lovely unconscious baby-sleeper, he touched its soft cheek with his lips, too gently to rouse it, however, and then looking into Adam's face with a smile he asked, "How old is she?"

"Fifteen months. She can toddle about a bit, but not walk far; so I have to carry her, you see."

"I have one the same age. We lost the next oldest."

"And so did Maggie and me. Maggie's my wife, sir."

"How many have you altogether?"

"Six, and the eldest is just turned ten, poor little lass!"

Mr. Drummond put two and two together, and guessed the meaning of these last words. "I suppose she is at home helping her mother, and would have liked to be here."

"That's just it, sir. The rest are here. They will come to me when they're tired."

Adam would have liked to ask how many children Mr. Drummond possessed, but his shyness overcame him, and he remained silent. The manager wanted to draw him out a little, and thinking the best way was by being communicative, said, "You are twice as rich as I am, Livesey."

"Then you have three children. I was just wondering. But you are a many times as rich as I am in other ways—learning and place, money and manners. I have very little of anything except children. Seems queer now, doesn't it?"

"It does. People often puzzle over that subject, and wonder that the meat and the mouths get sent in different directions. But you must not fancy that I am a rich man, or that my way has been made smooth for me."

Adam never could tell how it was that he managed to get out the question, but he next found himself inquiring about Mr. Drummond's mother, to whom he had alluded as "a hard-working woman."

"I beg your pardon, sir," said he, "but was your mother one that 'gave up'?"

The manager hardly understood Adam's meaning. He hesitated, then said, "Gave up what?"

Livesey's features worked in a most peculiar manner, as if he might be engaged in the manufacture of words by which to make his meaning clear. After a struggle, he answered, "I'm not sure whether I can tell you, sir. But mother was left a widow with three of us, and nobody to help, and she was like somebody that has too much weight on them. She bent under her troubles, and had a grave face and a down-trodden look and way with her. Things were very dull at our house, and I am sure it was because, as mother said, she 'just gave up.'"

By dint of thinking and questioning, Mr. Drummond at length realised Adam's meaning. "I see," he said. "Now I can answer you. My mother would have been one of the last to give up. She worked bravely and steadily. She set us an example of cheerfulness, and cheered us when we were inclined to break down. With a mother leading her children in the right way, and always looking up with her bright face heavenward, we children could hardly help following, could we?"

"But what did she look up for, sir?"

A glance at the questioner showed Mr. Drummond that Adam made the inquiry in perfect good faith.

"I do not mean that her eyes were always looking up. She had to keep those on her work, in a general way. I meant that her thoughts were turned heavenwards. She remembered God's many promises to the weary, the troubled, the widow and the fatherless, and believing that they were meant for her, and that He was faithful that had promised, the faith cheered her, and she looked for their fulfilment, and taught us to do the same; only I, for one, was a careless scholar."

Adam answered something, but the words meant little.

The slight allusion made to God's dealings with His children had carried the striker out of his depth already.

Mr. Drummond perceived this, and began to question Adam in turn. He was interested in him, and showed it.

"It's a queer thing for anybody to want to know about me. I told you about mother. She wasn't like yours. I might ha' been something better than a striker if I'd had a chance. I had it in me to learn, and I was never afraid of hard work. Maybe, if I hadn't got married after mother died, I should have saved money and gone in for a bit of learning; but I'd been slaving on for years, making no friends, because she couldn't abide neighbours. A big town's an awful lonely place if you've nobody belonging to you. I couldn't stand the loneliness. Then it's hard work starting again at school after you're grown up; so I thought, 'There are lots more in the same fix as I am. I may as well settle down to it like the rest,' and I did.

"I had used to work for mother, you see, and when she was gone, it seemed so queer to have all my wages for myself, and be slaving away for just Adam Livesey. There was a girl next door—"

Here Adam's face began working again, as the image of Maggie as she then was came into his mind.

"Never mind," he continued, almost fiercely. "She has been my wife for a dozen years, and sometimes I wish she hadn't. Nothing the matter with her, mister. Don't you go thinking that. Only marrying me turned as pretty a lass as you would wish to see into a mother of seven—one dead, you know—and a thin, weary woman, with too many children, too much work, and far too little money to make things comfortable. Maggie couldn't go out to work and help. How could she, with seven of 'em born in ten years? And one pair of hands! I say, sir, it's wonderful she has managed as well as she has done. Don't you think now I did wrong by that pretty young woman by marrying her? If she hadn't had a place to lay her head in, it would ha' been different. But she had a nice home with her mother, and used to sing like a lark up and down their house, and for a good while after she was married to me. She never sings now. There's a man at Rutherford's that has a bird. It used to be in a large place, where it could fly about and hardly know it was in prison. Something happened to the man who owned the place, and the birds were sold. This man bought the one I spoke about. It was the grandest singer, he said. He put it in a little cage; but though he gave it the primest spot in the cottage, it never sang any more.

"When he told me, I said I was sorry to hear it, but I thought to myself, 'That's just like my poor Maggie.'

"Well, I've had my share of slaving too, but it came natural. And plenty of them to slave for, as you may see, sir."

Adam gave a grim wintry smile as he alluded to the number of his olive branches, but at the same time he pressed the sleeping child a little more closely, as if to say, "I should not like to part with one, for all that," and relapsed into silence.



ADAM LIVESEY'S story was not told all at once and straight forward as it is here put down, but jerked out at intervals in a spasmodic fashion, and a few words at a time, in response to much kindly questioning. Then the man seemed half ashamed of having been drawn out, and shrank into himself again.

But Mr. Drummond had taken a liking to Adam. He felt strongly for the man, with his cravings after a higher and better life, his ignorance of the greatest yet simplest truths. He was profoundly touched at the wealth of fatherly tenderness that lay deep down in his heart, at his painful sense of wrong done to the pretty bright-eyed girl who had so sadly changed since she had linked her fate with his, at the manifest hopelessness which weighed down his whole nature.

Moreover, the manager had observed Adam at his work, and noticed how faithfully it was performed. He had found out that while many laughed at his grave, silent ways, all respected "the poor chap," as they called him, even while they pitied him for having "no pluck to help him to stand up for himself."

Mr. Drummond, in his own mind, compared Adam to those Gentiles of whom St. Paul wrote in the Epistle to the Romans. "This man," he thought, "is living in the heart of a great city and in the midst of a Christian nation. And yet, while he is as ignorant as a heathen, he has been doing by nature the things contained in the law. He has a tender, though not an enlightened conscience, and has obeyed its dictates and been a law unto himself. If only the gospel message could be brought home, first to his ears, and then by the blessed influence of the Holy Spirit to his soul, what a different life would Adam Livesey's become! Oh that into his heart might shine the light of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.

"And," he added the silent but heartfelt prayer, "oh that I might be made the instrument in leading him to the one and only Saviour!"

If the baby had waked up in a very short time, all this talk would have been impossible, but the words which take long to write are quickly spoken.

"I cannot help thinking, Adam, that it is not too late for you to better your position. I know you can in one sense, if not in another."

"It's no good talking, sir. What's done is done. I'm forty years old, and I'm just where I was at twenty-five, as far as wages go. I had two to feed then. I've eight now. Things are past mending for me. I'm o' no account in the world, and I shall never be of any."

"Of no account! I cannot agree with you there. You are of account, as a workman. What would become of Rutherford's if all such as you were withdrawn? There are many idle, useless people in the world, who could be better spared in a batch, than one man who does as honest a day's work as Adam Livesey."

In spite of himself, Adam's deep set eyes were kindled into an expression of pleasure, but he did not speak.

"Are you of no account to the wife and little woman at home? To the playing children, whose voices sound very full of music to me, as the breeze wafts them this way? Are you of no account to that sweet little sleeper who rests so trustfully and safely in her father's arms? Adam, your heart must tell you that there are many by whom you could be ill spared."

"Yes," he answered, simply. "They would want me."

"And though poor Maggie may not have cheeks as round and rosy, and her voice may not often be raised in song, I daresay she has a warm heart at the bottom. Depend on it, Adam Livesey, she keeps the best corner of it for you, though many cares prevent her saying much about it. Would she let anybody call you names behind your back?"

The striker's face assumed a look of positive amusement, as he said, "It wouldn't be good for 'em to try that game on with Maggie."

"Does she ever keep the best bit for your dinner, and try to go without any of it herself? I say 'try,' Adam, because I know you would not let her."

"To be sure she does. That's just Maggie. Why, sir, you might have seen for yourself."

"And do you think, if it could be possible for any one to say, 'Mrs. Livesey, if you would like to go back twelve years, you can. You shall be the girl Maggie again, only you must say "good-bye" to Adam and these six little plagues who make you so much work, and are so full of wants. Say the word, take back your youth and your roses, on condition that you part with husband and children.' Would she say the word, Adam?"

The man was strangely moved. The rugged features worked again, and showed the effect of Mr. Drummond's questioning. "No, no," he cried, "Maggie may scold a bit and say sharp words, then wish she hadn't, but nobody would drag that word out of her."

"Here's a nice man to say he's of no account. Why, Adam, you are a regular fraud, to set up as a person that nobody would miss."

Mr. Drummond laughed cheerily, and his hearer caught the infection. "I'm afraid I haven't come out very well in this line," he said. "I shall be getting conceited just now, and forget to give up."

This was the effect the manager wished to produce. He wanted Adam to take a higher and more just view of his calling and responsibilities. He wanted first to raise his self-estimate, to encourage efforts at self-improvement; above all, to lead him to a knowledge of his spiritual need, and the all-sufficiency of Christ to meet it. But this last part of the subject would have to be carefully approached. There must be no plunging recklessly into it. He must prove his good-will to Adam, and thus secure his confidence, and he was a good deal astonished at the progress already made.

The manager had no thought of meeting Adam when he did, but he had been longing for such an opportunity, and was thankful for such a fulfilment of one of the desires of his heart.

"You think, then, I did not do wrong by marrying Maggie?" said Adam, interrupting Mr. Drummond's thoughts by the inquiry.

"I imagined that question had been settled a few minutes ago."

"I'm glad you think so, sir. It has troubled me for a long time, ever since her mother went away to live beside her elder daughter. She used to be next door to us, but the children began to run in and out too often, and Maggie was p'raps a bit too having, seeing her mother was independent like. Maggie will have a matter of three hundred pound when the old lady dies, so I may well wonder she married me."

Adam was relapsing, and would be o' no account again directly.

"No doubt she was, and is, very fond of you, Adam. You have proved this by your own evidence, and I was sure of it almost without that. I do not think I durst have felt certain if you had been like some of the men whose wives are waiting for them at pay time. You do the best you know how to do, and Maggie must respect you."

At this instant the baby opened her dark eyes, then looked into Adam's face, and began to laugh and struggle to be on her feet. Just then, too, the other four children, tired of the swings and wanting a change, approached the bench on which they had left their father.

The sight of the gentleman checked their rapid advance, and they hung shyly back. But Mr. Drummond encouraged them, saying that he wanted to see Adam's flock, and at the father's call they came to be inspected.

The manager congratulated Adam on their healthy looks, and the signs of a mother's care to be seen in their neatly mended clothing. Then he asked, "What school do you go to on Sundays?"

Adam answered for the children. "They don't go anywhere, sir. They get schooling enough on week days, when they must go. I'm glad for them to learn, but they want their little heads to rest one day in the seven."

It was a good thing that baby became obstreperous, and insisted on joining her elders on the ground. So they formed themselves into a bodyguard for the youngest darling, and led her to the soft grass on the other side of the walk, where they enticed her to join in gambols contrived for her special benefit.

"We fathers like to look on such pictures," said Mr. Drummond, still lingering by Adam's side, and pointing to the children.

"We do, sir."

Mr. Drummond, by coupling his own interests with those of Adam, had forged another connecting link between them.

"By the way, Livesey, where do you and your family go on Sundays?"

The man's first inclination was purposely to misunderstand the question and say, "Sometimes to this place, but mostly we stop about home." But the striker's nature was a true one, and he hated himself for thinking of such a paltry subterfuge. So he replied,—

"To say the truth, sir, we don't go to church or chapel any more than the children go to school. I never was in a religious way myself, and Maggie, though she had been used to go to a place of worship when she was in service, never had much heart for it. She liked better to take a walk with me, and show her pretty face beside my ugly one. She wore pretty bonnets too, in those days. If we did not trouble about church before, we weren't likely to put ourselves out when there was a baby to mind. So we keep to a church with a chimney, though by that we don't mean what your public-house men do. It's just our own little place you would find us in, mostly."

"I wish you would go for a time or two to hear a gentleman I know something about," said the manager.

"I don't know why you should trouble about where we go, sir," said Adam, with the least pleasant manner Mr. Drummond had noticed. "What matter does it make whether a poor chap like me spends his Sunday at home or in the streets, so long as he isn't doing any harm, or drinking himself into a—"

"Do not say 'beast,'" remarked Mr. Drummond, with a good-humoured smile.

"I won't. I was stuck for a word, and didn't like to say that, seeing it isn't fair on the beasts, that only drink when they're thirsty, and know nothing about reeling zig-zag to their kennels. Maybe I might ha' said drinking till they have to stay from work on Monday, to sleep themselves sober. I reckon I've a right to spend my Sunday as I like, so long as I'm always up to time at Rutherford's."

It would have been strange if there had not been a spice of doggedness somewhere in Adam Livesey's composition. The man who had all his life manifested such firmness in resisting the temptations to self-indulgence, such steadiness and industry in his humble calling, such patient consideration for mother and wife in turns, was almost certain to carry some of these excellencies to the extreme. His very firmness was sure to have a stubborn side, and Mr. Drummond detected its whereabouts.

Adam held strong views with regard to outside interference from his employers, and, to use a homely phrase, "his back was up" the moment the manager made an allusion to the mode in which he and his family spent their Sabbaths. His tone was alike resentful and expressive of injury received, and the conversation had reached this point when Adam uttered almost the identical words with which this account of his life begins.

"I am never a minute behind my time, and I work as long as any man does in all the place. I never stopped a job by being off a single day when there was anything to do, and for what need this new man be poking and prying into what I do on Sundays? I've a right to do as I like, and I shall too, for all his meddling."

These were Adam's thoughts, and Mr. Drummond had little difficulty in reading them, though he answered only the words.

"It does not matter to me, in one sense," he said, "but it does in another. We have had a very pleasant talk together, and you have been kind enough to tell me a good deal about yourself and those at home. I know you are not reckoned a great talker, and so I felt your frankness the more. I cannot help seeing what a life of constant toil it has been, and, as a man who feels for and sympathises with his brother man, I thank God you have not made worse of things, either for yourself or those who depend on you for bread. I honour you for your patience, steadiness and industry, but you must not be offended if I wish for you something better still. Do not think me a meddler for speaking of what is outside Rutherford's."

Adam felt a little ashamed. Mr. Drummond's politeness rebuked his ungracious manner and dogged utterance. He seemed to have read his thoughts too, and answered them, for had he not felt very angry with him for interfering with his freedom of action outside the works? He was, however, too confused to reply, and the manager added, "Once I was like you. I thought it was enough to give six days' work to my employers, and to be just in all my dealings, doing harm to no one. But I was led to see that I had to answer for more than my six days' work, that there were duties to God, my neighbour, and my own soul, that called for my urgent attention. I was very proud of the work done, but I forgot to be humble on account of what I left undone, or did amiss. There were calls which I had not answered, opportunities neglected, privileges despised, gifts received without thankfulness, and Sabbaths misused. Perhaps I turned them to more account than you do, for I was restless and eager to get on in the world. I often spent them in calculations and plans for bettering myself. I did not even rest, but I brought all the anxieties of the other six days into the Sunday. Then I was led to think and act differently."

Adam's dogged manner was all gone, charmed away he hardly knew how, and he was eager to hear more. But the children were coming, and the boom of a great clock was borne to their ears by a favourable breeze. This told the striker that Maggie would be expecting their return, and there was a good mile between the park and home.

Mr. Drummond rose from the bench also. "No time now to tell you what brought new life and light and joy to my life, Adam. But it was through a message which God was pleased to send me. And it is because my whole being has been changed and made glad by it, that I want everybody else to have the same joy. The man who brought me the message is in Millborough now, holding some mission services. I wish you would go and hear him, Livesey. His name is Kennedy, and the room is in Aqueduct Street. Good-bye."

Mr. Drummond held out his hand. Adam was so astonished that at first he did not hold out his own, though not from unwillingness.

"Will you not shake hands, though I have been stepping on forbidden ground? I am not 'the manager' here, but with you as man to man."

If Mr. Drummond had after cause for fault-finding, it was certainly not on account of want of heartiness. The effects of Adam's grip, made his fingers tingle for some time. Then, after a farewell pat to the baby, and an acknowledgment of the striker's lifted cap, the manager walked rapidly away.



Two pairs of eager eyes had long been on the watch, and two eager tongues loudly announced that "father" was coming, as Mr. Drummond approached his own doorstep.

Then there was a rush of the two pairs of feet belonging to the aforesaid, and the hall resounded with welcoming kisses and alternate expressions of delight that he had come at last, and of reproach that he had been so long absent.

The children's faces and voices were not the only ones that told of gladness when Mr. Drummond made his appearance. Their small hands, which had seized both his, were disengaged again. The father had plenty of loving caresses for his little people, but he did not overlook the mother's claims. Putting them aside for a moment, he passed his arm tenderly around her, as he said with a laugh, "Don't be greedy, darlings. Mother must have her share," and then affectionately kissed the fair face in which he could read a whole volume of glad welcome.

"You have thought me long, Edith, though you do not scold me for having kept you waiting."

"I sometimes make up my mind to lecture you, Robert, but when you come, I am so glad to see you that I forget the words I meant to say, and tell you this instead."

Mrs. Drummond's sweet face was so irresistible that again her husband bent his tall head to kiss it. The flush that overspread her cheeks was as bright as that on a girl's, but the colour faded too quickly. It was Robert Drummond's greatest trouble that his wife was not strong. Apart from this, no wedded couple could well be happier.

"Is Mr. Kennedy here?" asked the manager.

"No, but he will be before six o'clock. He must leave again by seven, to be ready for the service. So far, he says, few men have been at the room, though many women have attended. To-night, he hopes it will be the other way, as the men have their half-holiday, and could well spend a portion of it at the mission service."

"If they would. But it is not easy to get them to think so. I have been trying hard to enlist one recruit, but I fear with little success."

Here the children put in their claim to the father's attention, and, as usual, not in vain. Mr. Drummond and the small people were soon in the midst of a romp, and it was hard to say whether they, he, or the mother who looked on, enjoyed it the most.

Then the youngsters were sent off to the nursery, and just after their departure, Mr. Kennedy arrived, and tea was brought in.

During the meal they said little. The mission preacher was tired, and needed to rest both voice and body before the evening's work should begin. But knowing Mr. Drummond's wish to be of use to the large body of workmen placed under his orders, he was most anxious to hear whether he had made any progress. He listened with deep interest to all the manager had to tell, and especially to his account of the recent conversation with Adam Livesey.

Mrs. Drummond's sympathies were also enlisted, especially by what Adam had said about his wife, and the change wrought in pretty Maggie. "You would be just the one to comfort the poor fellow, Robert," she said. "You could enter into his feelings as few men could. He is the same as that silent, rugged-looking workman about whom you told me, as having such a strange attraction for you. It was singular you should meet with him so unexpectedly, and have a chance to talk quietly about so many things."

"It was. We got on very well until I mentioned Sunday, and asked how he spent it. However, we parted good friends, and I have broken the ice between manager and man."

"You will not let it close up again," said Mr. Kennedy, and then he rose to take leave of his hostess.

Mr. Drummond was going with him to the Mission Room. When there, he looked eagerly at each new arrival, but was disappointed in his search for the face of Adam Livesey.

Adam's arrival at home was not marked by such pleasing features as that of Mr. Drummond. He was rather late, and the children, weary with play and the walk to and from the park, were getting fretful, baby included.

"If you didn't want your tea, you might ha' thought these poor little things would, let alone Maggie and me, after being at work all day," said Mrs. Livesey in no amiable tone. "You may well cry, baby. You're almost famished, and father has given you nothing, I'm sure."

Mrs. Livesey might well be sure on this point, for, seeing that Adam had taken no eatables in his pocket, and had handed every farthing of wages into her keeping on the preceding evening, it would have been difficult for him to feed the children.

He was going to say so, but he checked the inclination to defend himself, as he had done on many similar occasions. "She knows as well as I do," thought he. "It's only her way. Least said's soonest mended, and naught said needs no mending."

So, having carefully rubbed his shoes and seen that the youngsters did the same, he went through into the little lean-to scullery to wash his hands. When he sat down at the table, he found his wife full of curiosity about the gentleman who, the children said, "had been sitting talking to father nearly all the time."

"Tom says he was a gentleman from Rutherford's, and that he saw him twice, on days when he brought your dinner. But I told him he must be wrong. No gentleman from Rutherford's would sit talking to a poor labourer like you."

"Tom was right. It was Mr. Drummond, the new manager."

"Well, I never! What's going to happen now? Whatever had he got to say?" inquired Mrs. Livesey, brimming over with curiosity.

"I can hardly tell you, Maggie. He said how pretty baby was, and he kissed her little face, and told me he had one like her at home, and he'd lost the next oldest, same as we did. I told him she favoured her mother, and what a bonny lass you were when I first knew you."

Mrs. Livesey stared in utter astonishment. What could possess him to begin talking such nonsense as that—he that went about in a general way as if he couldn't say "Bo!" to a goose. In the very depths of a heart not yet cold and dead, she was pleased at the nonsense, though she gave a little groan and replied, "You might well say 'was.' My pretty days have been over this long while."

"That's as folk think, Maggie;" and the poor fellow looked at her with a world of kindness in his eyes. Mr. Drummond's words had stirred him strangely, and made him see Maggie in a new light. He had made up his mind that she did not regard him as the thief who had stolen her youth and beauty by bringing her to his own poor home, but as the husband whom she still loved better than herself, and as the father of her children.

Maggie plied him with many questions, but there was no longer any sharpness in her tone or unkindness in her words. Finally, she concluded that the new manager must be a very nice gentleman, and that something good might come of the meeting. Like Adam, she did not think much of being interfered with out of working hours. The very fact of Mr. Drummond's having talked about going to a place of worship, and such-like, inclined her to be suspicious. "If he had promised to raise your wages, there'd ha' been something to think about. Even a shilling a week would ha' been better than nothing."

"I don't suppose he could give me a rise, Maggie, though I daresay he would make things better for everybody if he could. You see I'm only a labourer, and I get same as the rest that do the same work."

"You do more and better, for you stick to it," said Maggie. "But there, it's no good talking."

At this moment, a smart rap at the door interrupted the speaker, and she went to open it. There stood two decently dressed men, strangers, one of whom said, "You'll excuse us disturbing you, missis, please, but there's a lot of us going round in twos, to ask our neighbours to come to the mission service to-night. You'll be kindly welcome, if you'll come, and your master, too. You'll hear something good."

"Eh, dear! It's all very nice, I daresay," replied Maggie, who was quite her best side out, "but I couldn't do it. To-morrow 'll be Sunday, and Saturday night's the busiest in the week, with six of 'em to tub, and ever so many things to do beside."

"Well, missis, I'm glad you see to keeping their little bodies clean and wholesome. It would be a good job if every house we'd looked into were as tidy as yours is. Folks say, 'Cleanliness is next to godliness,' but it don't do to stop at the cleanliness, does it, mate?"

The other man said, "No, that would be a bad lookout," and, turning to Adam, "Will you come along with us, mister?"

Adam shook his head, and Maggie said, "Thank you, we've both enough to do for to-night."

"Well, then, I'll just leave you this little paper. It will tell you all about the mission services. Time and place, and preacher, and everything. If you go to a church or chapel regular, I don't ask you to give up your own service for this. But if you don't happen to be fixed, look in at our place to-morrow. You're safe to have time, and you too, missis, when you have your Saturday's work done so early, and your kitchen floor so as one might eat one's dinner off it."

There was no being angry with such good-tempered, pleasant-spoken visitors. So Maggie took the little handbill and thanked them for it, saying, they would "see about it."

Not that either Adam or his wife had the smallest intention of going near the Mission Room, but they would not say so. They only wanted to rid themselves of their callers in a civil way, and without giving offence by a direct refusal.

So when, after a kindly "good night," the door closed behind the men, they considered they had done with them and their errand also.

But they were mistaken.



MR. KENNEDY, the mission preacher, had found out long before his visit to Millborough that those who would rouse spiritual sleepers to anxiety about the well-being of their souls, must carry the gospel invitation to their very doors. For this work messengers were needed. Moreover, these required special qualifications. The message must be lovingly delivered by persons who had themselves experienced its importance and knew its preciousness.

There were doubtless many such who were longing to be of use, and willing to carry it into the dark lanes and alleys of Millborough; but mere willingness was not enough, neither was the experimental knowledge alluded to. Both these things were indispensable, but more was wanted. There must be love for the souls of others, as well as thankfulness for personal salvation. There must be readiness of speech, pleasant looks and manners that would manifest good-will and bespeak a hearing, courage that would not fail under difficulties and disagreeables, and the charity that "suffereth long and is kind, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked."

There were a few such, and the two that called at Adam Livesey's door were of the number. They were of the sort to whom the roughest found it hard to give a rude reply.

When tea was over, Adam took up the little handbill left by the visitors, and read what was printed thereon.

"Why?" he exclaimed. "This preacher must be the one Mr. Drummond told me about. The name is Kennedy, the room is in Aqueduct Street. They're having meetings all next week, beside to-morrow and the Sunday after."

"They're welcome to have 'em for a month o' Sundays for me," said Maggie, promptly. "I've enough to do without going to such places. How would the dinner be got ready, and the house cleaned, and the washing done, to say nothing of the children being seen to, if I were to be running off to meetings morn, noon, and night, as some of 'em do?

"There's Mrs. Jackson, she goes to some meeting or another nearly every day, and she's always talking about her soul, while she's neglecting her home and her husband's body. It's a good job she has no children, but poor George came home this very day just before you did. The house was all in a litter, dinner things on the table, fire out, and no kettle a-boil. I believe she was off to this very room in Aqueduct Street. Poor George came across here with a little teapot in his hand, to beg a drop of boiling water, because he had to go back, and would be working till eleven."

"New boiler," jerked in Adam. "Rutherford's made it."

"Yes, he said so. And there he had to sit down in that kitchen, with everything on heaps, and drink his drop of tea and eat his bread with hardly a scrape o' butter. She hadn't had time to buy any before she went off to the meeting. He left his wages for me to give her, all but a shilling, and I was to tell her he would be late, and he would get a threepenny pie for his supper. He gets half as much more wages as you do, Adam, and not a bit o' comfort out of them, though there's only two to keep."

Adam shook his head in sorrowful sympathy, remarking, "George is a skilled mechanic. He gets twice what I do, as a regular thing."

"More shame for Sarah Jackson to serve him as she does. If you'd been at home, you should have asked him to bring his tea and have it here."

"You might ha' asked him, Maggie."

"Not I," she returned, with some severity of speech. "You don't catch me having other folk's husbands here unless their wives are with 'em, or you are at home. I don't believe in giving gossiping tongues anything to talk about. I took George Jackson's key and the money from him on the doorstep, and when Sarah came, I passed them on to her. I did not ask her in, any more than her husband. I can tell you, Adam, if that woman had begun talking about her 'beautiful meeting,' I should have said something to her that wouldn't have sounded very beautiful, so I cut her off short."

Maggie did not trouble herself to wait for any comment from Adam, but bustled off to begin her preparations for the "tubbing process," which would take some time. Her husband's thoughts were, however, busy enough, though they did not find vent in words.

Adam had often heard his wife rail against Sarah Jackson, who was to be found, as a rule, anywhere but by her own fireside. He had heard her speak of other women too, who went from meeting to meeting, "for the sake of what they could get." Maggie believed they had no better motive than to meet with neighbours in the class-rooms, to pass an idle hour or two, to gossip on the road, to be brought into company with ladies, and be made pets of by them. There were many attractions in connection with such gatherings, and Mrs. Livesey's firm conviction was, that some of her neighbours put up with the Bible readings and lecturings, because of sundry substantial helps, and the annual trips and tea-meetings.

No doubt she was right in her judgment in a few cases. She saw some who never seemed to be the better for what they were taught, and who made attendance at various religious ordinances an excuse for the neglect of their homes and families. Her standing sample of the class was her near neighbour, Sarah Jackson, and she regarded her with unmeasured contempt.

"If that woman was worth her salt, she'd have her house like a little palace, and save a fortune out of what he gives her! It's a wonder the man's alive, the way he has to scramble for his meals," Maggie would say, as she looked with pardonable pride on her own surroundings.

These sayings were, however, all reserved for Adam's ear, not proclaimed from the threshold or to her neighbours.

"They can see for themselves, without me telling them. Besides, there's George to think about. He has enough on his mind without any dinning from outside."

It was Maggie's misfortune that she should have been brought into contact with a sham Christian instead of a real one, an idle, who had learned the letter of the gospel message, but whose heart and life had not been reached by it. Maggie knew, for others had told her, that Sarah Jackson had been heard to express regrets at Mrs. Livesey's darkness and hardness of heart. As in duty bound, she had invited her to many "means of grace," and offered to be her companion, but always in vain.

No wonder Maggie regarded Mrs. Jackson's invitations as uncalled-for meddling, and an insult to her own common sense. At each renewal she would say to Adam, "That hypocrite's been at me again, but I think I've settled her for a bit. I was cleaning my windows when she began at me, and I looked straight at hers, that you can't see through for dirt, and said I didn't know how she found time. I had to be on the go all the while, to keep straight. I shouldn't like my windows to be made up so that if I wanted to see who was passing, I must come outside. Then I came in and shut the door."

In spite, however, of all this talk on Maggie's part, and the fact that Mrs. Jackson's example had done both husband and wife harm, Adam was not satisfied that it was fair to judge by one only.

Every person, whether man or woman, who talks glibly about religion, the soul's need, and the Saviour's all-sufficiency, without showing a life influenced and purified by the spiritual experience spoken of, must cause the enemies of the gospel to triumph, and the doubter or indifferent to remain so. But, while Adam listened to Maggie, it was only in a half-hearted way.

He thought of the two men whose pleasant words and manners had left a favourable impression, along with the printed handbill. He remembered words uttered by that old workman at Rutherford's, who had long been a professed follower of the Lord Jesus, and who was one of the happiest men he knew. This individual had said that for a long time he had walked one way and his wife the other, but that now they were agreed, and he thanked God for it. It was a happy day for him, he said, when a neighbour had persuaded the wife to go to a Bible class with her.

"I'd asked her many a time, but she wouldn't go for me. The neighbour had sat up o' nights with our lad when he was ill, and she couldn't say her nay. She went that once to please her, and she has gone with me ever since. I was going to say to please herself, but she wants to serve One that's higher now, and please Him."

Adam had felt constrained to ask whether she did her household work as well as before, and the old man had replied, with moistening eyes, that she did everything better for being a disciple of Jesus.

"We've no little ones now, but there are the lads and me. She has work enough, but when she wants to go to a meeting in daytime she gets up sooner in the morning, and if it's at night, we all go together."

It was plain to Adam that there must be something in religion, and that there were real and sham Christians. Some of the old workman's words stuck to his memory.

"Thou'rt diligent in business, Adam, always. I wish I could see thee happy in serving the Lord, too. There's naught like it for lightening labour and brightening life."

Then there was Mr. Drummond. He professed to be a religious man. What difference did this make in him as a manager?

Adam had worked at Rutherford's from his boyhood; but while he respected his employers for fair dealing, and knew what sort of work they sent out, he had known little of them, as man to man. "Our Mr. John" had been the most popular of all, for he had a very winning way with him. Many a time a joke of his had made the whole smithy ring with laughter.

He had been kind, too, in sending money help to needy widows of improvident workmen, and had done many a kindness in a quiet, unpretending way. He would be very much missed, would Mr. John, and he would be welcomed back with open arms when he returned.

But never had one of the great Rutherfords been known to take a personal interest in a man's eternal welfare, or spoken to him in the way that Mr. Drummond had done that afternoon. And it seemed religion was at the bottom of that. The manager was not ashamed to say so, or to own that it had given a joy and brightness to his life that neither worldly success nor position had been able to do.

Adam half wished that he had responded more pleasantly to Mr. Drummond's advances; for what was it to him how a poor labouring chap spent his Sundays unless he thought there might be a change for the better? He felt just a little glad that these services in Aqueduct Street were not drawing to a close. There were eight days before him yet. Maybe—

"Adam, just carry baby up to bed, will you, whilst I wash Jack?" cried Maggie, interrupting Adam's meditations.

Baby's bath was over, and it was the usual thing for Adam to convoy the little ones to their beds.

The youngest three, being half the sum total of his olive branches, were thus seen to. The elders scrambled off by themselves. Adam rose at once to perform this duty, and thus his cogitations were brought to an end for the time.

It seemed that there was a conspiracy to upset the habits of the Liveseys, for little Maggie revealed to her mother that two of her schoolfellows had been asking her if she would go with them to Sunday school.

The child would not have ventured to say anything but for the fact that these children were always cited by Mrs. Livesey as examples of neatness and "pretty behaviour." Compelled to send her three eldest to a day school, though she parted with Maggie very unwillingly, the mother was very particular in her instructions as to the company they were to keep.

"Mind you don't go with any of 'em that are rude and say bad words. And keep away from such as are dirty. You never know what you may get. I want you to have clean ways, and to behave so as, if your grandmother ever does see you, she may know that I've done my best."

The mention of her mother always caused a double feeling in poor Mrs. Livesey's mind—resentment that she had been so left to herself, and pain that Mrs. Allison could do it. She had not visited Millborough since she left it six years before, and her daughter could not go to her. Two or three letters a year, and as many parcels of partially-worn clothing from the well-to-do sister, near whom she had taken up her abode, were all that told Mrs. Livesey that she was not quite forgotten by her mother.

Still she thought, "Surely she will want to see me some day, and I should like to show her the children."

Every mother longs to exhibit her children to their grandparents, and somehow the thought of what grandmother would think of them when they did meet, was often in Mrs. Livesey's mind.

Little Maggie, having been trained to endurance and obedience, soon became a favourite at school. She had a good deal of her father's longing for learning, so found favour with the teachers; and her cleanliness of person and clothing prevented the poverty of her garments from being noticed, and won her the companionship of the little girls above mentioned. Their homes lay in the same direction, and they became inseparable companions on the road. Mrs. Livesey was pleased that two of the nicest children in the school "had taken up with Maggie," and she would not have liked to interfere with such a friendship.

Naturally the children wished to be together at the Sunday as well as the day school, and Maggie, having been urged thereto by her friends, preferred her request on the Saturday night, though in much fear and trembling.



"I DON'T know why Jessie and Alice Mitchell should begin bothering about you going to Sunday school," said Mrs. Livesey in a sharp tone. "Their mother doesn't want them. She has a girl, and can go out herself when she likes. What has started them now? You've gone to school for a year without being together on Sundays."

"They have often asked me, but I said you wanted me," whimpered Maggie.

"They might know that without telling," said Mrs. Livesey, and at the moment she gave Maggie's newly washed hair a tug which brought tears into the child's eyes.

"There, there! I didn't mean to hurt you. It's no use talking about Sunday school. You haven't a hat and frock fit to go there in, so say no more about it."

Maggie knew better than to disobey. She crept upstairs to bed in silence, and only indulged in the luxury of a few quiet tears. But she was too tired to remain long awake, and she soon forgot her troubles in dreamless sleep.

What had set Jessie and Alice Mitchell into a state of anxiety to take their friend to school was this.

On the previous Sunday, the anniversary, nearly every scholar had been present, and yet there were some empty seats, and room to place more. The clergyman had called the children's attention to this, and said, "Now, if every two girls or boys would join to try and bring one more scholar, we should have our rooms full, even if all did not succeed. And you, dear children, having tried, would have the happiness of thinking that you had done what you could."

Hence the renewed efforts of Maggie's two friends.

Hence, too, a modest, half-frightened tap at Adam Livesey's door on the following morning, which Maggie junior shrank from answering, whilst the roses fled from her cheeks, for fear of consequences.

Mrs. Livesey opened the door and saw Jessie and Alice, "morals of neatness," as she described them, and in such pretty frocks that her own motherly heart was touched with admiration of the effect produced, and regret that she could not "turn out" her children after the same fashion.

"Please will you let Maggie go to school with us?"

That was all the spokeswoman could say to Mrs. Livesey, but she gave a knowing little nod to her friend, and added, "You see, we've come to call for you, though we never told you we should."

This was a fortunate remark, for Mrs. Livesey was at first inclined to think that Maggie expected this visit, and had kept it a secret.

"It's very kind of you, and I wish my little girl could go, but she can't."

"Why not, Mrs. Livesey? Do, please, let her," pleaded both children, whilst Maggie's face was turned to her mother in mute appeal.

"Why, just look at her frock and hat. Do you think if your mother knew they were her best, she would like such smart little girls to go out with her on Sunday?"

"I'm sure Maggie is always nice. Our mother always says she is quite a pattern, and we like her in any frock. Please let her come."

"But I shouldn't like her to go as she is, thank you all the same," said Mrs. Livesey, with decision.

"When she gets a new hat and frock may she come?" said Alice; and Mrs. Livesey, feeling that the promise might be safely made, answered, "Yes."

The children had to go, or they would be late for school, and they said "good-bye" with considerable cheerfulness, feeling that something had been gained. The time must come even for Maggie to have new clothes, though she made hers last a very long while. It was only consent deferred, and children are very hopeful.

But to Maggie this promise and the sound of the door closing behind her friends were as the death-knell to all her hopes. The child was far above a ragged school, and, it seemed, as far below a regular Sunday school. There was no place just right for Maggie.

In the afternoon, Adam fulfilled the whispered promise made to the child on the day before. He took her out with him, "all by herself, except baby."

Something, he could hardly tell what, attracted him towards Aqueduct Street, and he thought he would just pass the Mission Room, since he could go that way to the park. But, when he would have joined a little group that were hanging round the door, Maggie loudly protested against losing any more time.

"You've come the longest way," she said, "and I don't want to stop here, father."

So, in obedience to the childish hand which drew him, Adam went off towards the park, rather glad, after all, that there was no familiar face amongst the people at the door of the Mission Room.

The Sunday was soon over, and the working week had begun. Adam Livesey's cottage was too far from Rutherford's to allow of his coming home to breakfast, so he took it in the smithy, boiling the water for his tea at one of the hearths. He was in the midst of the meal when he saw the round face of his eldest boy, who was plainly in search of his father. The eager excited look of the child told that something unusual must have occurred.


"Mother's got a letter. It's about grandmother. She's ill, going to die maybe, for she wants mother to go to see her to-day." Dropping his voice to a whisper, he added, "She's sent some money, mother says, but it's only a piece of paper, and you're to get off work, if you can, and come home with me."

It was not likely that so steady a man as Adam Livesey would have any difficulty in getting permission to go back with his boy. It was well known that he never willingly lost an hour's wages, so the foreman at once said, "Go back with the lad by all means;" and Adam, without waiting to finish his breakfast, tied up the remains, slipped on his jacket, and started homeward.

He found his wife excited and tearful. "See," she said, "mother has sent this. A whole five-pound note. She is very ill, and I am to make haste, if I want to see her alive. Ann has written the letter. I am to take baby with me, but how I am to leave the rest of you, I don't know. Maggie is too little to manage by herself, and I've never been used to have anybody in, except when there was a new baby to look after. What am I to do, Adam?"

Mrs. Livesey rarely appealed to her husband, being usually of opinion that she was quite able to manage her household affairs without masculine advice or interference.

"You mind your own business, and I'll mind mine," was a very favourite mode of expression with her.

But the present difficulty, and Adam's mode of dealing with it, showed her that she might have had a worse counsellor than her usually quiet husband.

Adam thought for a minute, then said, "There's a nice steady young woman that comes to Rutherford's sometimes. She brings dinner for Richard Evans when he doesn't go home. Not always, but now and then. I've heard him say she's his niece, and a very good girl. She helps his wife on washing days, when she has nowhere else particular to go."

Richard Evans was the elderly workman who has already been mentioned, and Mrs. Livesey at once declared that if he spoke well of a girl, she would be the right sort. So Adam went to see if her help would be available, and Mrs. Livesey began to prepare for the journey.

She calculated that she might start at two, and reach her mother's home by about six o'clock, always provided she could get a deputy to leave with the children.

In the letter she was told to spend a pound or two to make herself tidy, and in a postscript her sister providently advised her, if she bought a shawl or bonnet, to get a black one, as it would be "most useful after."

"Poor mother! If she had seen that bit of writing put in at the finish, she wouldn't have liked it. She hasn't made much account of you and me for a long while, but we couldn't have written that. Ann was always good at contriving for other folks."

"I wouldn't get a black bonnet, if I were you," had been Adam's remark, when the postscript was read.

"Trust me for that. Why, mother knows I'm not in mourning for anybody, and if she saw me in a new black bonnet, she would say directly I'd got it ready, reckoning on her dying soon. I'll buy a neat dark bonnet, and go in it, and the shawl mother gave me years ago. I've always kept one decent gown, in case I should be sent for, ever. She'll know the clothes, though I doubt if she would know me, I'm so altered."

Mrs. Livesey looked at her face in the little glass that hung on the wall, and truly the image it reflected was very different from that of Maggie Allison in her girlish days.

"I'm only four-and-thirty now," she thought, "and quite a young woman. But that face might be fifty years old. Eh, dear! Girls don't know what's before them when they are so ready to get married."

Though Mrs. Livesey managed to do a good deal of thinking and talking, she was not idle, but went rapidly on with her preparations. "I should never get through," she would say, "if I hadn't learned both to talk and work when I was young."

Maggie junior had to stay from school whilst mother made her purchases, of which baby had the largest share. By the time she had returned from the shop, Adam was there also, with Sarah Evans, whose appearance gladdened Mrs. Livesey's heart. The young woman expressed her willingness to take immediate charge, and to stay for a couple of days or weeks, as might be needed. She was not alarmed at the sight of the five children, for she was one of a large family, and she received with good-humoured attention all the instructions that Mrs. Livesey could crowd into the time at her disposal.

Adam went with his wife to the station, and saw her off. As they went along, she said, "I've just spent two pounds out of the five, and two I'm taking with me, though going and coming won't cost me that much, only I shouldn't like mother to think that wanted her to give me more. You must keep this other pound, Adam. Maybe that young woman won't be able to make your wages spin out till the week end as I do, and this journey will lose you full half a day."

Adam's astonishment at being entrusted with the custody of a whole sovereign, with discretionary powers as to the spending thereof, struck him with temporary dumbness. He was so used to handing over every sixpence into his wife's hands, and feeling humbly grateful when she, now and then, handed him back two or three coppers, which were certain to be spent on the children, that her present confidence touched him to the very heart.

Mrs. Livesey was herself not a little moved. She and Adam had never been parted since their wedding day, and now the railway was going to put a full hundred miles between them. She felt all the solemnity of the occasion, and in her very heart wished Adam were going too.

Many a tender thought crossed the minds of both, that neither tongue expressed, though the man said with an effort, "I'll take care of this money, and keep it whole, if I can, till you come back."

"As if you need tell me that. Why, there never was such a one as you for not spending on yourself. I shall tell them all that if Ann and the others have had more money, they have not had steadier, harder-working husbands. You've never given me an ill word, Adam."

"Why should I, Maggie, lass? If I've worked out o' th' house, you've worked in it. I've often been sorry for you. You were a bright, pretty lass when you married me."

"And I'm not a bright pretty lass now. I look too old for four-and-thirty. They'll hardly know me."

Adam sighed. This remark touched a sensitive chord in his breast.

"But," continued Maggie, "you're just as fond of me yet, aren't you?"

"Fond of thee, my girl! Why, my one trouble has been, not that I got thee, but that thee didn't get a man that could give thee more and better things than I could. You took me, a poor labouring man, of no account, and naught to look at, and you've made every shilling I've earned go as far as most folk's eighteen pence. And you've grown old before your time—all through marrying me, Maggie."

The two were sitting in the railway carriage with the sleeping child in the mother's arms. They were a quarter of an hour too soon, and one of the porters, whom Adam knew, had put them into it, that they might be quiet until train time. They would be all right, he told them, and when this carriage was brought from the siding and attached to the train, Adam could get out.

Mrs. Livesey's face never before had on it such an expression as it wore at that moment. Never in her courting days had she felt so deep an affection for her homely, rugged-looking partner, as she did now that they were about to part for the first time. He had bent his head to kiss the sleeping child that lay on her lap, and as he raised it, Maggie threw her arm round his and drew his rough face to hers.

"Adam, Adam," she sobbed out, "never you talk of being o' no account to me. Never you say such words as you did just now. Listen, my man. If I had it to do again, I'd choose you, mind this, knowing all I know now, and with all to come that has come. Just think of that while I'm away, will you? I've tried your temper many a time. I wonder you've stood it, and not gone off drinking, like many have done. When I come back, I'm not sure that I shall be a bit better. I shall be the same Maggie, with the same tongue, and the old place and work before me. But you'll remember what I've said to-day."

Then there was a shower of kisses on Adam's rugged face, which were heartily returned, as her clasping arm held him close, and his arms were round her. Then there was a cry of "All tickets ready," and Maggie had to produce hers, as Adam left the carriage.

He stood watching the train till it was out of sight, and then went back to Rutherford's, like a man in a dream. Some of the workmen noticed the light on his face that afternoon, and Jim, the wag of the smithy, joked Adam about it.

"He's got rid of his missis for a bit, and he's going to shake a loose leg. You can tell by his face that he's up to mischief of some sort."

But Adam only smiled and shook his head, saying, "I'll give you all leave to watch me."

The happy look remained on his face. The daydream in which he was indulging was evidently a pleasant one.



MRS. LIVESEY'S deputy promised to be a very efficient one. Adam and the children found everything in order when tea-time came, and to the little people, the sight of a young face had a great attraction. That of Sarah Evans might well have a charm for the small Liveseys, for, as we know, the mother who scrubbed from morning till night for the common good was very chary of praise or caresses. Too often the toil was accompanied by sharp words and fretful complaints, because her little namesake's hands were less skilful, her movements less quick, than were her own.

Sarah Evans, on the contrary, found much to praise. She told Adam that the children were "just wonderful for putting things in their places when they came in. Mrs. Livesey must have taken a world of pains with them," she said; "and it's a deal harder to get little ones in such neat ways, than to right up after them."

Adam assented, and said his missis was very clever in her way. Then he expressed his gratification at seeing that the very little ones had taken to Sarah so nicely.

"We shall get on all right, no fear. Maggie's quite a little woman, and can tell me where everything is, and what mother does when she's at home."

Sarah amazed the children by calling them "darlings," and, instead of bidding them sharply "do this or that," she said, "Maggie, dear, please shut the door," and so on.

It was evident that a kind word would go as far and produce as immediate obedience as a sharp one.

After tea, Adam strolled out by himself. He was not in the mood for company, and the little people were happily employed at home. Sarah Evans was telling nursery rhymes to the three youngest, and the eldest two were learning their lessons for the morrow.

Their father's mind was full of the parting with his wife, and the words which had preceded it. It had set him pondering whether they had not both missed their way somehow, and got off on a wrong track.

He certainly had with regard to Maggie, who, in spite of her sharp temper, had kept the warmest corner in her heart for him alone.

Who could doubt her love for the children? And yet she often called them "the plagues of her life."

How nice she could be when she had her best side out! If she were always, or even often like what she had been during those few precious minutes in the railway carriage, what a little heaven their home might be! Was there no way of bringing about such a state of things?

Thus mused Adam, and then it seemed as if the words of Richard Evans and the testimony of Mr. Drummond came with fresh force. Both of these ascribed the brightness of their lives to religion. They were happy men, of this there could be no doubt.

Finally, Adam, whose feet had all the while been tending towards Aqueduct Street, made up his mind to enter the Mission Room and see if he could get any light on the subject that was perplexing him. He had no idea how to make a start on the new road, and he thought it was best to try and find out during his wife's absence. She was against this sort of thing, and he remembered a remark made by her that very morning, as she unfolded her one carefully preserved stuff gown, and smoothed out its creases. "See, Adam, it looks almost as good as new. I am glad I never started going to church on Sundays. If I had, this gown would have been worn out, and I should not have one decent to go in now."

Adam was in good time, and he at first stood near the Mission Room door, then ventured inside, and waited until some one invited him to take a seat. "You can go where you like," he was told, so he placed himself where he could get a clear view of the platform. He had made up his mind to hear all he could, and if he felt in any way the better for his new experiences, to tell Maggie when she came home. If not, he would be silent.

Adam was not quite prepared to see Mr. Drummond. Indeed, he heard his voice before he did see him, for the manager came in along with the mission preacher, Mr. Kennedy. As they passed towards the upper end of the room, Mr. Drummond came close to Adam, and at sight of the striker's earnest face, his own brightened. He stopped for an instant to shake hands, and to tell Adam that he was glad he had not forgotten the invitation given on the previous Saturday.

"My wife's mother is ill, and she's gone to see her, I felt lonely, so I thought I'd come here for a bit," said Adam, as if his presence needed an excuse. Then he noticed how the manager went forward and talked to first one and another of the homely-looking men, such as himself, meeting them as if there were no social differences. In the group near the platform, he saw the two who had called at his door on the Saturday evening, and he observed how all their faces seemed to brighten as they exchanged greetings.

"And yet," thought Adam, "though Mr. Drummond makes himself of no account here, he's not the man to be trifled with at Rutherford's. What he says has got to be done. The place was never better ordered than it is now, but nobody ever says he isn't fair to everybody."

Adam's musings were interrupted by the giving out of a hymn, and at the same moment, a book was put into his hand, with the place found for him. He was not much given to singing, but he had a great love for music, and we know the charm his wife's voice had exercised over him in their early married days. It was a delight to him to find that the children "were so tuneable," though they sang more out of doors than in, because the mother complained that she could not bear the racket; it made her head ache.

Everybody knows how the little folks catch the tunes and words of popular hymns, though they often sing them with no knowledge of their real meaning, and Adam's were no exception. The moment he heard the tune, he recognised it as one that his children sang sometimes, but he had never noticed the words. Now he read them.

"I am so glad that our Father in heaven
    Tells of His love in the Book He has given:
 Wonderful things in the Bible I see
    This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me."

Then uprose the rejoicing chorus, in which, however, Adam took no part. How could he? What did he know of that love they were singing about? What of the Book which told the story of the love of Jesus?

The man was only sensible of an inner longing that nothing within his own life and experience could satisfy. In his heart was that yearning after God, that sense of void which, at one time or other, is felt instinctively by every human soul, and which must remain until He who first implanted it also satisfies it. He who has made of one blood all nations of men has ordained "that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being."

Poor Adam was beginning to feel after Him, though only as one who gropes in the dark.

Again rose the words,—

"Though I forget Him, and wander away,
    Still He doth love me wherever I stray;
 Back to His dear loving arms do I flee,
    When I remember that Jesus loves me."

So on, through all the verses to the end, and still Adam's lips were closed. He was too true a man to say or sing words that had no meaning for him. These, though English words, spoke in an unknown tongue to Adam Livesey.

The mission preacher did not ask the people to kneel down at once, but, keeping the hymn-book open in his hand, said:

"I hope you who sang these words just now felt as well as uttered them. I mean those which speak of your love for Jesus. You are right about His love for you. He loves the sinner, the forgetful, the wanderer, the wilful, the disobedient. He would have the worst and vilest to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth. It was love that brought the Son of God from heaven to redeem your souls and mine. It was love which made the Father willing to bestow on us His most precious gift. It was love that made Jesus die on the tree, to save us everlastingly. It was love which brought the Holy Spirit to show the sinner his need, and to lead him to Jesus.

"No doubt about all these things. They are true, for they come from Him who is the Truth. In believing them is life, for faith lays hold on Christ, who is our Life, and makes us one with Him.

"If you have found Christ you have also found the way to peace, joy, happiness, and to a new service and a new master. You have found the way to heaven, for Jesus is the new and living Way.

"All right to sing about His love. But how about yours? Are you carried away with the music with its joyful chorus? Or can you say from your hearts, 'Jesus loves me, and I know I love Him?' If there were doubts in your minds that kept you from joining, thank God that you kept silent. If you felt your hearts sink within you as you heard other voices take up the words, whilst you could only sigh and say within yourself, 'Oh, how I wish I could feel the love and the assurance that brings sweetest rest,' thank God for that. Your heart is no longer quite dead; there are stirrings of life in it. You are not wholly asleep, for the Holy Spirit has awakened you to a sense of want, and is striving with you now. You are beginning to feel after God."

Here the preacher paused, and said, "Let us pray, dear friends, that every soul in this place to-night may not only seek but find."

It seemed to Adam that Mr. Kennedy might have been enabled to look into his very thoughts, so exactly had he described his feelings during the singing of that hymn.

In all his life, Adam had never realised that he had much to be thankful for. On the contrary, he had been apt to look on himself as an ill-used man, and to say that things had always been against him. But when he heard the preacher begin, not by asking for fresh gifts, but by expressing his thankfulness for those already bestowed, Adam's thoughts were a sort of running comment on his words.

Mr. Kennedy thanked God for life and breath, for health and strength to work, for the rest and food which renewed his powers from day to day, for air and light, for the pure water, the sunshine and rain, for the love and kindness of earthly friends. Not for his own share alone, but on behalf of all who possessed these common every-day mercies.

To Adam Livesey the thanksgiving was a revelation. Why, even he had all these things, and had never thought of being thankful for them, and yet how would it be with him if any of them were taken away?

After all, such gifts were of more account than money.

But the preacher went to heights and depths which Adam could not follow. He thanked God for all who had been enabled to receive the blessed message of the gospel, and prayed that, having heard the word, they might keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. He poured out supplications for those who were still afar off, that they might be brought nigh through the precious blood of Jesus, and know the blessedness of those "who have the Lord for their God."

Adam had a dim sense that he was being prayed for amongst the rest and, though he could not see the meaning of the prayer, or the advantages that were to follow, there was a sort of inward pleading that in some way good might come of it to him and his.

Then there was another hymn, which began—

"Lord, I hear of showers of blessing,
    Thou art scattering full and free—
 Showers the thirsty land refreshing;
    Let some droppings fall on me—
            Even me!
"Pass me not, O gracious Father!
    Sinful though my heart may be;
 Thou might'st leave me, but the rather
    Let Thy mercy fall on me."

Again Adam's voice was silent, but his desires were eloquent. He felt that these words, and the verses that followed, were more in harmony with his sense of need than was the joyful song of confidence in the love of Jesus with which the worship had been begun. He did plead for "even me" to have a portion in those blessings of which many around him seemed to know the value, and he waited with eager expectancy for the preacher to say something which should enable him to understand it too.



THE preacher opened his Bible, and read from it two passages:—

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich."

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Then Mr. Kennedy began to speak about the verses he had just read.

"'The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.' These are very familiar words. We teach the little children to repeat them, when they have learned to say, 'Our Father,' at the mother's knee, followed by the simple prayer, 'God bless father, mother, brothers, sisters, all kind friends and relations, and make me good.'

"Again, we tell the little ones to 'say grace' before they eat of the 'daily bread' given in answer to the prayer which Jesus taught us, thus owning that we want God's blessing with the food.

"But common words are like common blessings. The first are often spoken without a thought of their meaning, the second without a thought of Him who gives them. It is so with those I have read. Here we see what the 'grace of our Lord Jesus Christ' means. It means the free love, favour and gift of God's own Son for sinners. It means all that Jesus gave up, and all that He gave, to buy back for them what sin had lost. Jesus was rich, in the form of God and equal with God. Creator of the universe, ruler of heaven and earth, joint-owner with the Father and the blessed Spirit of all that is meant by creation. 'For without Him was not anything made that was made.' Jesus was, as He still is, 'the Lord of glory.'"

"It is a great deal easier, dear friends, to say these words than to take in all they mean. Let us try to do it by comparison with earthly things. We must come down, not a little, but a long way. All the way from heaven to earth, from the court of the King of kings to the home of our own Queen. What a great space still remains to be bridged over! Think what a distance there is between the palaces of our sovereign and the cottages in which most of us live!

"You would think I was making game of you if I were to say that the Queen's eldest son was going to leave his home, to put aside his clothing and every sign of his rank, and to come here to Millborough, without a single servant or a place to dwell in that he could call his own. But if an earthly prince really did this, and went in and out among the working folk, feeling for them, doing them good, spending nothing on himself, but knowing hunger and weariness, temptation and sorrow—not because he had any need to do it, but out of deep love and pity to the miserable and the sinful, and because he had power given him to do for them what no one else could—what should we think of one like this?"

There was a sort of stir amongst the people in the Mission Room, and a murmur, but no distinct words.

"I fancy you say to yourselves, 'A likely story that! No fear of it coming true!' Well, perhaps not. But surely what I have just read to you was far more unlikely. And yet it is true that the Son of God, who was equal with God, put aside all His glory, and came as man among men. Not as a king, but as a servant, a person, as you would say, 'of no account' in the world. He made Himself of no reputation.

"He humbled Himself to be man. Further still, to be as a servant, a man of low estate, and no great name. He humbled Himself even to die, and further still, to die as the meanest slave might be put to death—on the cross. And for what?

"Because He saw a world lying in wickedness, with none to save. He saw that all had sinned and come short of the glory of God. He knew that no mere man could save himself, much less his fellow man. And so the Son of God came in man's form, took man's nature, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, and suffered in our stead.

"'God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.'

"Perhaps some of you are saying to yourselves, 'I can't believe this tale of yours; it is not easy to take it in.'

"I agree with you, dear friends. It is not easy to believe such love possible, and many of you have not taken it in. If this blessed message had reached every heart, I should not need to keep repeating it. Instead of that our keynote to-night would be one of praise, and every heart and voice would be in tune. There would be no keeping you quiet.

"But I know that as you look round in the world, you see so much that makes it hard to believe the message; and beside this, there are many who take Christ's name, but reflect little of their Master's image. All around people are pushing and jostling for the best places and the largest share of what the world calls its good things, with no thought of God or of their own souls.

"Do we see the strong stand back to give the weak a better chance, or the swift give way for those who move slowly in the race of life? Do we find the rich cry out, 'Enough!' And stay the flow of gold from going into their money-bags? Is the earthly brother or friend willing to bear the shame or punishment in order to let the guilty go free?

"No, dear friends, as a rule we find that each is for himself in this world. And why do we see nothing better? For want of having in us the mind which was in Christ Jesus. Because with our outward sight, we can discern only human beings of like sinful inclinations with ourselves, liable to the same temptations and trials. We want to turn away from this picture, from sin to perfect holiness; from rebellion to perfect obedience; from hate, enmity, indifference, to perfect love, compassion, and self-devotion. But we need the eye of faith for this. Faith sees the remedy for sin, the Reconciler of sinners, the sinless Sufferer, the all-sufficient Saviour in Jesus Christ, the God-man, in whose name I come to you to-night, and whose message I bring."

Much more did the preacher say. He repeated the loving invitations and the sweet promises of the gospel. He called upon many who were present to testify to their faithfulness, and to tell of the joy and blessedness of those "whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered," and who, being "justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

There were some who spoke in answer to this appeal, amongst them Richard Evans, the old smith from Rutherford's. As Adam Livesey listened, he felt convinced of this man's sincerity, and he knew that his life proved it.

Adam began to run over in his mind the names of those he knew who professed to be religious, and taking them as a whole, he was fain to confess that they seemed to be preferable, as companions, to those who made game of them. Had he not gone himself that very day to Richard Evans, feeling sure that he would help him out of his difficulty if he could? And there was Mr. Drummond! Had any manager ever before troubled himself about what the men did with their time or their money outside the works, so long as they were at their posts during the regular hours?

No, it must be because Christ's true servants had in them the loving spirit of Christ Himself, and showed it towards their neighbours. Adam knew well enough that it could not be because they expected to gain anything by it. What would Mr. Drummond be bettered by any change that might take place in Adam Livesey? Yet he and others who felt with him were willing to give up time, and rest, and ease, just because they wanted sinners to come to Jesus for pardon, for weary souls to find rest, and to exchange trouble for joy?

Adam's thoughts were interrupted by another hymn, and before the preacher gave it out he said, "This will just suit those who want to come to Jesus, and I hope many will join heart and voice in singing it"; and he read:—

"Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole,
 I want Thee for ever to live in my soul;
 Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
 Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

And so on through all the verses.

Afterwards the preacher spoke again.

"Perhaps," he said, "many of you would like to take Jesus at His word. You that are tired of your present way of life, without God and without hope, want to accept the invitation, 'Come unto Me.' But you think it is for anybody but you. The message is good—too good to be true for you. You think to yourselves, 'I'm o' no account. Only a poor working man, or weary woman, tired with the task that never comes to an end. Who cares for me? Who would do anything for me?'

"'Of no account'? That is what Jesus made Himself. Of no reputation, so as first to come down to your level in all but sin, and then lift you from your low estate to be joint heirs with Him to a heavenly inheritance.

"Of no account? You may say that before you understand the price that has been paid for you—never after!

"Of no account? When God gave His Son to die for you!

"Of no account? When Jesus loves you, and has bought you with His own blood!

"Of no account? When the Holy Spirit pleads with you, is willing to dwell in your hearts and guide you into all truth.

"Of no account? Then for whom are the many mansions in the Father's home above? For whom are the crowns of glory? It is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.'

"And who are they that love God, but those who believe and rejoice in His great love for them?

"Are they of no account? Hear what He says of those 'that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.'

"You know what jewels are, dear friends, though you may not possess any. You see them glittering in the jewellers' shops, and you know that the smallest of them cost a great deal to buy. You know how carefully they are guarded, and valued, and protected from thieves and housebreakers. Why is this?

"Is it because they are of no account? No; it is because there is the most money value in the least room. Yet these are of no use beyond the grave. God's jewels are the poor sinners bought by the blood of Jesus. And though they may be of little account in the eyes of men, they that fear the Lord are numbered amongst the jewels of the Lord of hosts.

"Of no account? Never say that again. Rather pray as a good man of old prayed, 'When Thou comest to number up Thy jewels, remember that I cost Thee as dear as any.'

"Yes, dear friends, this should be your exulting cry. 'Poor I may be, of no account in the eyes of men, but God loves me, Jesus died for me, the Holy Spirit deigns to dwell in me, and though here I own not a foot of earth, I can claim a share in a heavenly inheritance.' I am one of the Lord's jewels.

"Not one of the sparkling diamonds so valued and guarded here can be carried out of the world by those who possess them whilst here. They are of no account beyond the grave.

"But the jewels of the Lord have an eternal value, and will be safe in His keeping for ever and ever. No chance of their being lost or carried away from the heavenly treasure-house, for there 'thieves cannot break through nor steal.'

"I should like to say just a word about shams before I finish. I daresay you know that there are such things. Every kind of precious stone is imitated, and it needs a practised eye to tell the sham from the real thing. The jewellers know the difference at a glance, because they have experience, and are in the secret of their manufacture. And if you were to buy some of these shams, you would find them out in a little time, because they cannot stand wear and tear, and keep bright like the real things. The real diamond cannot be scratched, and can only be polished with its own dust, the sham one can be scratched with any rough surface it comes against.

"So, dear friends, there are real Christians and imitations. The shams moving to and fro in the world are often mistaken, at first, for the genuine articles. But, as the jeweller's experienced eye knows the true, precious stone, even in the rough, so God knows His own jewels, however poor may be their surroundings and humble the place they occupy. He sees hearts and reads thoughts. Man may mistake them. God never.

"But there is always a fear that sham Christians may mislead those who know no better, and who have not yet learned what is meant by the 'grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.' When they see that the bright outside disappears in the time of trial and temptation, and that they are no better than those who do not profess to follow Christ, they say that there is nothing real in religion. They scoff at it, and declare they would rather be without it, than pretend to be better than their neighbours, while they are only hypocrites.

"Dear friends, remember this. No matter how many imitations may be made, they cannot alter the value of the real diamond. Its beauty and lustre remain the same when hundreds of years have passed away. It is the same with the Lord's jewels. As the cutting down and grinding and polishing that the diamond has to go through makes it shine the more, and take a lustre which time cannot alter, so do the troubles and trials of the world affect those who are God's children in Christ Jesus. If only the mind be in any of us that was in Him, trouble will bring it out more plainly. We see the stuff men are made of when trial comes. The Spirit of the Master shines in the lives of His disciples.

"Eternity cannot alter the glory of the Lord's jewels, for, when the hypocrites have received their portion, 'Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.'"

The preacher paused a moment, then gave out the hymn, "Just as I am, without one plea," which was sung with deep feeling by most of those present. Then, with a brief prayer that each soul not yet surrendered to the Holy Spirit's influence might yield thereto, and thus come to Jesus, the meeting closed.



IT was not late when Adam Livesey found himself on the road home, for the conductors of these mission services wisely brought them to a close at nine o'clock. They knew that their hearers would mainly consist of working men who must be in bed betimes, in order that they might be ready to rise early in the morning. It was a common thing for a few to stay and hold a brief prayer-meeting, or for individuals to ask advice from the conductors, but these would sanction no late gatherings which would unfit the men for the duties of the morrow.

Adam shrank from speaking to or being addressed by any one, and he was amongst the first to slip quietly out of the room. He had plenty to think about, and the wish uppermost in his mind was that his wife could have been with him. She would have been put right about the people she called hypocrites. He could understand her feelings about that neighbour who was constantly running about from one religious service to another, whilst neglecting her plainest every-day duties.

Adam could not have quoted the words of Jesus, "These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone," but he understood the spirit of their teaching.

Then Adam remembered an experience of his own. It happened during his brief courting days, and when he was very anxious to give his pretty Maggie some little gift. Being unused to make any purchase of the kind, he had gone from window to window, and gazed at the glittering objects within, passing on and on, without being able to make up his mind.

He had wandered far beyond his usual bounds, and entered the great square of the city, in which the principal jewellers' shops were situated. Before the window of one, he stood as if spellbound, for the many ornaments it contained shone so beautifully. He thought they were bits of glass, such as hung from lustres and chandeliers in another great shop he had passed, only very finely cut. There were carriages about the door, and for a long time Adam shrank from entering, and stood, turning over his few hoarded shillings in his pocket.

One grandly dressed customer after another came out, entered a waiting carriage and was driven away, and as others did not take their places, Adam mustered enough courage first to peep round the doorway, and then to enter the shop. An assistant stepped forward and politely asked what he could show him, whilst the faces of the rest manifested surprise at the appearance of this would-be customer. Indeed, they one and all decided to keep a sharp eye on him. He had been observed as he hung about the windows for nearly half an hour past, and was regarded as a suspicious character. What could this rugged fellow in his working clothes be wanting in the shop of the first jeweller in Millborough?

In answer to the assistant's inquiry Adam said, "There's a little thing in the window I thought of buying, if it's not too much money. Please tell me what you want for it."

The assistant invited him to step outside and point out the article, which Adam did, and the young man returned to his place behind the counter, and took the little brooch from the window case, saying—

"This is the one, I believe."

"Yes," said Adam, gazing with admiring eyes, but not venturing to extend his hand that he might look at it more closely. "It's only a little thing, but it's very neat. I reckon it will not be very much, now?"

"Not much in comparison with many of the others, but the stones are good. The price is thirty-five pounds."

Adam stared like one struck dumb, and was turning to go, but "remembering manners," as he afterwards told, he said to the assistant, "Thank you kindly, sir, for telling me. I'm sorry I've given you the trouble but I might have known that the things in a grand shop like this wouldn't be for such as me."

There was something so innocent and genuine in Adam's look and words that the assistant was touched, and he said, "You are very welcome. I am sorry we have not what you want. What did you wish to spend?"

Adam blushed deeply. "Only a matter o' ten shillings, or so. But I never wanted to buy a brooch before, and I know nothing about such matters. I'm to be married in a week or two, and I thought I would buy her a present."

"You must come to us for the wedding ring, then," said the good-humoured shopman. "We will serve you extra well, to make up for your disappointment to-day."

Further than this, the young man told Adam that the pretty glittering things he admired so much were real diamonds, and explained something of their properties and uses, apart from their beauty. It interested him to see the rugged face light up with pleasure and astonishment, and to receive the hearty thanks which followed.

He could not join in the burst of laughter which the rest of the assistants indulged in when Adam was out of hearing, though he smiled at the simplicity of the man, while regretting his disappointment. He was pleased when Adam actually made his appearance a fortnight later, and he was able to fit the finger of the pretty smiling lass who accompanied him with the all-important ring. He even presented the bride elect with a little silver brooch in the shape of a bird, which was still one of Mrs. Livesey's treasured possessions, and of genuine metal, as its durability proved.

This old experience enabled Adam to understand the preacher's teaching better than he could have done without it, and he thought to himself, "If I took real stones for imitations, no wonder other folks sometimes take sham things and people for real good ones till they're taught better, or find 'em out."

Adam soon reached home, and as he entered, Sarah Evans rose from her seat to pour out his frugal supper of porridge, and to place it before him. She had been reading, for she put her book aside at his coming.

"The children are all in bed and asleep," she said. "They have been very good with me; better than I expected, though I am used to children. Yours are very ready to do as they are bid."

"They find it best for 'em," said Adam. Not many words, but they expressed a good deal.

"It's best for us all, isn't it, Mr. Livesey? Though it's sometimes hard work to do a thing just because it's right, specially when one's mind is hanging after something else."

Adam answered that he supposed it was, then relapsed into silence again, and attacked the plate of steaming porridge, though he afterwards bethought himself to ask if Sarah had kept any for her own supper.

"I had my bit before you came. I was getting some food of another sort when you came in, and I hardly noticed how time was going."

Adam looked round inquiringly, and the girl, seeing this, laid her hand on the Bible. "I didn't mean anything to eat. I was reading some words of Jesus. It cheers one so to have a verse or two to think about, when one's hands are busy and there's nobody to speak to. I shall be washing to-morrow, but all the day through I shall have these verses coming into my head, and helping me on."

"You might read them to me," said Adam, making his porridge last out, as an excuse for not moving.


Sarah complied with the request, and read—

   "And Jesus said unto them, 'I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.'

   "'All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'

   "'And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent Me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.'"

Sarah paused as Adam laid down his spoon, with the remark, "I reckon them words, 'shall never hunger,' don't mean that people won't want victuals, or that they'll always get 'em when they do want."

Sarah shook her head. "It doesn't mean that at all," she said. "I wish I could make it all plain, for I feel it, only I can't put it in right words, like the preachers do, or as Uncle Richard can. Only I know that I feel something wanting, besides food and clothes and the friends at home. When I've done wrong, I feel weighed down, as if I was carrying a load, and I go and ask God to forgive me, for Jesus sake, and then I get light and happy again; or I get down-hearted, thinking I've no father, and mother isn't strong; for there are ever so many young ones at our house. Then I bethink myself that I have a Father in heaven that loves me, and a Friend in Jesus that will never forsake me, and I'm cheered up again. There's something in us that hungers for better things than meat and drink, and I expect the verse I read means that we shall get all by going to Jesus."

"Do you believe that?" asked Adam earnestly.

"Yes, Mr. Livesey, I do. Haven't I just read His very own promise?

"'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'

"And isn't it nice to-night, you know, when I think, 'Here I am brought all of a sudden into a fresh place and among strange people, to be able to kneel down and say, "Lord, help me to take care of these little children, and keep all right and straight till the missis comes back? Lord, help me to set them a good example, and to remember that Thou God seest me."' I want to be careful of the little 'uns, and the house and money, and keep things clean and comfortable. But if I didn't ask God to help me, I might feel that I should like to be running off here and there, and neglect things."

"You don't look like that sort."

"Perhaps not. But I'm no better than anybody else in these ways, without God's help. So I go, hungering like, for bread for my soul, to make me strong in what is right; and I'm always better for going, because He keeps His word. And isn't it a comfort for you, now Mrs. Livesey's had to go away for the first time, that you can ask Him to take care of her, and know that He sees her and baby all the while, same as He sees you and the other children at home?"

Adam did not answer, but he thought about the question. Surely it should be a comfort, though he had never counted it one, while feeling very lonely in Maggie's absence. He was beginning to find out that there were many privileges open to him, of which he had never dreamed before.

Without waiting for a reply, Sarah busied herself in clearing away the few articles, and this done, said, "Must I make the door, or will you."

Adam said he would "fasten up," and the young woman bade him "good night," and betook herself to the room occupied by little Maggie and the two youngest children, the elder boys sharing their father's. But the mind of the latter was too much occupied to allow of immediate sleep, so he stayed downstairs for a while to think things over.



LEFT alone with his own thoughts, Adam Livesey took up Sarah's Bible, and began to turn over its leaves. He was a good reader, in spite of little practice and the fact that money was too scarce to be spent on books, except those which must be bought for school use.

Still these interested Adam, and he was always ready to hear the elder children repeat the lessons which had to be learned at home. But neither he nor they ever thought of opening the one large Bible. Indeed, it was deemed a sort of parlour ornament, and lay, year in year out, on a little table under the window. Moreover, it served as a stand for an inlaid tea-caddy, which had belonged to Adam's mother in her best days.

The large Bible would have been brought out to-night if Sarah's had not been left close at hand.

Adam's soul was fairly hungering for spiritual food, and its yearnings could not be silenced.

The preacher's words, the talk of the young woman, to whom religion seemed such a real thing that it entered into her daily life and work, filled the man's thoughts.

Mr. Kennedy might have read his very heart, and answered his difficulties in his address. Had he not all his life deemed himself "of no account," even in the eyes of men? And yet, if that preacher had told the truth, he, poor Adam Livesey, was an object of interest and of love to man's Maker, the God of heaven and earth.

He was "nobody" to the rich and great of this world, and he never would be of any consequence. But could it be true that his soul was as precious in God's sight as that of, say Mr. Drummond, or Mr. John Rutherford? He might go higher still, and say, as the soul of the Queen of England? If God had given His only Son for the sake of Adam Livesey, why, He could give no more or better for the greatest king in the world!

"He must have loved me, or He couldn't ha' done it," thought Adam; and he found a new joy in the thought, while in his ears seemed to sound again the words in which he had felt unable to join when at the Mission Room, "I am so glad that Jesus loves me."

He felt as if he could sing them now, and caught himself whispering "Even me" with a new sense of happiness. But he wanted to know a great deal more, and he felt that he could not sleep while all this inner questioning was going on.

The preacher had said they must begin by repenting. Now, what had he to repent about? There was marrying Maggie. He had troubled about that. But dear me! How she had silenced his regrets on that score whilst they sat in the railway carriage. She didn't own to having eaten rue pie, not she, indeed, but said that if it were to do again, she, knowing all that was to follow, would take him to her heart.

Thinking over that little scene, Adam smiled to himself, and seeming to feel the wife's kisses on his rough face, said softly, "No, no. If she doesn't rue, I needn't." So repentance on this score was out of the question.

Then Adam began to think what else there was. He was resolved, if he made a start on the new road, it should be a fair one, and so he looked back as far as he could on his past life, with the honest intention of finding out what he ought to be sorry for.

Not about mother. He had given up much, done his best, stuck to her alone, and to the last.

Conscience expressed herself satisfied on this point. Not with respect to his employers! As boy and man no one could say that Adam Livesey had not given a fair penn'orth of work for every penny of wages.

Again conscience affirmed the assertion.

There were wife and children. Well, he had never abused the one or the other. He gave them all he could win by steady, honest toil. He never used hard or cruel words, or struck his innocent little ones, or spent on drink and self-indulgence even a small portion of the wages he earned.

"All right, so far," said conscience; and then Adam was a little in danger of giving up his newborn resolutions and going to bed in a state of satisfaction with himself hitherto unknown.

He would have done so, if it had not been for the memory of the preacher's words and that open Bible, which he had been turning over and over, not knowing where to find what he wanted. Whilst doing so, he was thinking how much better he was than many of his neighbours. Had he really anything to repent about?

All at once through his mind flashed the memory of the preacher's thanksgiving for mercies received, and Adam remembered how many of them he also enjoyed. Life, health, strength, food, clothing, light and air to breathe. Home, wife, children, and from what he had heard there were other blessings without end, that he might have had for the asking, in the name of Jesus.

He could see a light shining through his ignorance now. He had never thanked God for anything. He had lived without thinking of Him at all.

But he wanted something out of that Bible, and he could not find the right thing. He had opened it several times, hap-hazard, and had come upon long strings of names which were hard to read; upon a description of Solomon's Temple, which he found it impossible to realize, never having seen any fine house in his life; then upon a chapter in Revelation which was more mysterious still. Evidently he wanted a guide to show him where these passages could be found, that gave such light and comfort to other people.

Adam was almost giving up in despair, when he noticed that there were some strings, as he mentally called them. Opening at one place where a narrow ribbon lay, he observed some of the verses had pencil marks, and he thought they must be specially nice to be so distinguished. He began to read, "'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.' 'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.'"

"That's for me," said Adam; then turning to another pencil mark, "'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'

"And I've left that to the last. What have I cared about God while He's been caring about me? I wish I knew how to begin now."

Adam's eye was wandering in search of another pencil mark, and in a moment his eye rested on the words, "'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.'

"That's plain," thought Adam. "I've got to ask. 'Tisn't reason to get all one wants without speaking a word for it. At Rutherford's we reckon we're well off if we get a favour for the asking, and we don't forget to say 'Thank ye' to the foreman or manager. No taking everything as if one had a right to it, same as I've been doing with God's gifts, never owning any obligation in the matter.

"Very cheering, too, to read such words as these. They're so straight. No going round about. No 'ifs' or 'buts' or 'maybe's,' but a plain 'it shall be given you.'"

Adam followed on and read the three next verses, ending with, "'If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?'"

Adam's fatherly tenderness helped him here, and he thought, "Yes, I would give any of my little 'uns the best bit I have, poor things! I wish I had more for them. Can it be that God feels like this to me? It says, He would 'much more' give this Holy Spirit, and He has given His only Son, and that with Him, He will freely give all the other things we want. If all this be true, I ought to be ashamed of myself, for it's plain God only wants to be asked."

It was many a year since Adam Livesey had bent a knee in reverence, or uttered a word in a spirit of prayer, and from a sense of want.

He did both now, amid a very conflict of varying feelings. Joy at the discovery of God's love in Christ Jesus, disgust at his own ingratitude, wonder that he could have been so utterly blind and indifferent to his Heavenly Father's dealings and gifts, sorrow for so many lost years—lost, because lived without God—and a longing after pardon, peace and guidance in the present and the future.

His prayer would have sounded strangely in human ears, but it went up to God from an honest and true heart, and not in vain. The Father's promise, given in the words of Jesus, was fulfilled, and the poor humble solitary man, "of no account" in his own eyes, did not ask or seek in vain when he poured out his supplications at the throne of grace.

Earth rejoiced not, knew nothing of the yearning soul or the cry that went up from it, but "there was joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repented."

There would have been joy beneath an earthly roof too, if its master and his guest could have known what was passing in Adam Livesey's mind.

Mr. Drummond and his friend, the preacher, had been glad to see Adam at the Mission Room that evening. Indeed, the striker had suggested both text and sermon, though he did not know it.

The manager having told Mr. Kennedy about his talk with Adam, the latter had seized on the man's oft-repeated expression, "I'm o' no account," and used it as has been already told, though not without praying that the man might be led to the place of meeting, and be benefited by it.

Mr. Kennedy thought of speaking to Adam, but was prevented by his early departure, and Mr. Drummond was not sorry for this, and said to his friend, "Livesey is no ordinary character. He is best left to himself at first. He is not the man to be excited or carried away by mere feeling, to make professions or promises on the spur of the moment. But he will think over what he has heard, and you and I can wait and pray that the good seed of the word may take deep root in his heart, and eventually bear fruit to God's glory. I think we shall see him again to-morrow."

In this, however, Mr. Drummond was mistaken. He kept a careful watch on all comers and goers, and was convinced that Adam Livesey was not in the Mission Room on the Tuesday evening.

The manager was greatly disappointed. He thought if that particular address had not touched a responsive chord in the man's heart, he would not be likely to come a second time.

If he could have known that it was the very unselfishness of his rugged friend that kept him at home he would have felt no regret.

The fact was that Adam stayed at home in order that Sarah Evans might go to the Mission Room. He felt that the girl would like it, especially as her uncle and aunt would be there, and so hastened home from work to get tea over, and take charge of the children. Though Sarah insisted that she would not mind staying in, Adam quoted his usual saying, "Turn about's the fair thing," and that the girl must take hers. Baby could be put to bed, and Maggie could manage with him to stand by her. She'd often done it without anybody, for that matter, but he meant stopping at home. So it was settled.

When Sarah's back was turned, the little tongues were loosed, and the children told their father how, the night before, this new housekeeper had wondered so that they had never been taught to say a prayer. She had put some simple words into their mouths, and knelt beside them and asked God's blessing on them all, from baby upwards.

"And, father, she cried when she was knelt down," said Maggie, with an awe-stricken face, so much was she impressed by the memory of Sarah's tears.

Truth to say, the young woman was grieved that not one of the little group of children seemed to dream of kneeling to say "Our Father" before they went to rest.

She wondered whether, if she strove to teach them, she should be blamed, but resolved to risk this, and before the children slept, each had also been taught that short but precious text, "God is love."

When Maggie told her father this, Adam felt as if he had received a blow. Conscience made it plain to him that here was something left undone that ought to have been done, another sin to be grieved over, forsaken, and he trusted, forgiven.

In that humble way which was so touching, he said to his child, "I doubt I have not done right in letting you go on so long without learning to say your prayers, Maggie. But now you have begun, you must go on. I'm glad Sarah has given you a start."

To the amazement of the children, Adam was the one to kneel beside them that night, though all he found words to say was, "Lord Jesus, bless the children and their mother and me. Help us to do right, and forgive us all our sins." Then he repeated "Our Father," bidding the children say the prayer after him, and that was all.

When they were at rest, he got the large Bible, for Sarah had taken hers to the meeting with her, and though there were no marks to guide him, he remembered whereabouts he had found such sweet words of encouragement. By seeking, he discovered many more, and the lonely hour was happily and profitably spent.

Only Adam's heart was full of longing that his wife could share his newborn happiness, the experience which in after days, every child of God can recall to mind as the first desire of an awakened soul.



THE next morning's post brought a letter from Mrs. Livesey, with news of her safe arrival. Adam was delighted to receive it, but it took a long time to make out its meaning. His wife had a style both of writing and spelling peculiar to herself, the natural result of having had little practice in either for many years past, and fingers stiffened by rough work.

By dint of much painstaking, Adam gathered that she had been met at the station by Ann's husband, sent by her mother for that purpose. That Mrs. Allison had rallied, and might live for weeks, though she could not get better, and that she begged her daughter to remain with her to the last.

The thought of being so long absent from Adam and the children troubled Mrs. Livesey, but what could she do? Adam must let her know, somehow, what he thought about it, and if he said she must come home sooner, she would come.

Adam gathered other particulars from the queer scrawl.

Mrs. Allison, lying on her death-bed, owned that she had not done the right thing by her youngest daughter.

"She says she will make it up to me. I don't know what she is going to do," wrote Mrs. Livesey, or at least she wrote what may be thus translated. "I'm glad I did not buy a black bonnet. Mother looked at mine and said, 'Is it new?' and when I told her 'yes,' she was pleased, and said, 'Then you are not looking for me to die, so as you may get my shoes.'"

Mrs. Allison had also praised the baby's beauty, her daughter's thrift in having taken such care of the clothes sent her from time to time, and she sent her love to Adam and the children. "You must have been a good husband," she says, "or I should not stand up for you as I do, and after all, that is one of the things that can't be got for money."

There were messages for the children, and kisses for all round, which were to be mutually delivered on behalf of the writer. And inasmuch as she did not lavish such caresses on any of them, except the two youngest for the time being, Mrs. Livesey's deputy kisses caused some surprise to those who received them.

In a postscript, Mrs. Livesey told Adam that he must use that sovereign as occasion required, to pay Sarah Evans for her services. Even if the money were made to go as far as usual, which could hardly be expected in hands less experienced than those of the mother, the wages were extra, and Mrs. Allison would gladly pay them and more, in order to keep her daughter with her while she lived. Money would be sent in due course.

Altogether the letter was very satisfactory to Adam. He could picture his wife by her mother's bedside and looking, years considered, hardly less changed than the invalid herself, yet stoutly standing up for her man at home, all of whose virtues would be magnified in her eyes by absence. The letter said no word of the mother's feelings on seeing the change, but doubtless, the sight of her Margaret's pale face and thin, aged features would touch her heart, and add to her feelings of regret for years of neglect.

Of course Maggie should be spared. Adam was not the one, at any time, to stand selfishly in the way of giving pleasure or comfort to another, and now he did not allow Mrs. Allison's desertion of them and after neglect to influence his reply. He resolved that Maggie should stay just as long as her mother wanted her.

The letter had been brought to him with breakfast by his eldest boy, and he was pondering as to the answer, when Mr. Drummond passed through the smithy.

The manager was always early at the works, having great faith in the value of the master's eye for keeping the men at their posts, and for enhancing the quality of the work turned out.

Adam was just folding up his letter, which he had taken into a quiet spot to read. In five minutes the pulses of the great engines would begin to throb again, and the human as well as the other machinery would be all in motion.


Mr. Drummond stopped not to shake hands here. At Rutherford's, he was manager, Adam a mere labourer. Outside they were man to man; nevertheless, he brought a bit of his outside humanity to bear, for he paused to ask the striker if he had received good news from his wife.

Adam in few words gave him the substance of his news, and thanked him for the inquiry.

A little sigh, which escaped the striker as he pushed the letter back into his pocket, reached Mr. Drummond's ear. He was a man of quick sympathies, and as he glanced at Adam's horny, toil-stiffened hands, he guessed the reason. Probably he dreaded the labour which the writing of an answer would involve, more than a week of ordinary work. Even if he could write, practice must have rendered it easier for him to wield that huge hammer than to guide a pen.

"You have an hour for dinner," said the manager; "can you make half the time do, and come to my office for the remainder?"

"To be sure, sir. I have my dinner here, and less than half an hour will do to eat it in."

"Look in at half past twelve, then."

Adam had only time to assent, for it was needful to resume work, and the men were thronging into the various departments.

Richard Evans was employed in another part of the works, or probably Adam would have spoken to him about replying to his wife's letter, and bespoken the services of one of his sons. He went home to dinner, so there was no chance at that time.

Exactly at the half-hour, Adam entered Mr. Drummond's office, and found him alone.

"Now, Livesey," said he, "I have about twenty-five minutes at your service. Would you like to employ me as your clerk? You trusted me a good deal when we met in the park, and if you like to do so now, I will write whatever you wish in answer to your wife's letter. Then you can put in the private messages at the end."

Adam's astonishment may be better imagined than described. "That was so bothering me," he answered. "I never write letters, and though I once could manage pretty well, I've got clean out of it."

He was going on to thank Mr. Drummond, but the latter, with good-humoured firmness, said the thanks must wait until he had earned them, and bade Adam tell him what to write, as time was precious.

The manager had already dated a sheet of paper, and written, "My dear Maggie," and showed the same to the gratified eyes of the striker, who, after a little pause, went on to dictate to his volunteer secretary.

   "I was very glad to get your letter this morning, and to know that you got safe to your mother's, and that she was pleased to see you. We are all very well, and the children take to Sarah Evans very nicely. She is very clean, and keeps them and the house nice and tidy, as you would say, if you could look in now. You must stop with your mother while she wants you. You would be sorry after, if you left her, and I should be sorry to send for you back, if we only all keep well, as this leaves us at present.

   "I've not been home since your letter came, for Tom brought it with my breakfast; but they will all be pleased when I tell them I've heard from mother. I'll give them the kisses.

   "Mr. Drummond is writing for me in half the dinner-hour. I should be slow with a pen now, but I'll try and put a bit in at the last.

   "I haven't changed that sovereign yet, but I expect I shall have to do, for you know what. I have it locked up in the little tea-caddy till I want some of it.

   "I'm glad, too, you didn't buy the black bonnet." (Adam explained this allusion.) "It would have looked bad if you had. Tell mother I'm much obliged for promising to pay the young woman, but maybe the sovereign will last. I was going to say I hope it will, only I bethought me that would be like saying I hope mother won't last long. So I hope it won't, unless it be that she takes a good turn, and gets better after all; which it would please me to hear of.

   "The little uns will want to send their love and kisses back again, but I'll put them in after I get home. So no more at present from—

"Your loving husband,


The signature was executed by Adam himself, and he seemed rather proud of it when it was done. Mr. Drummond had hard work to hide the kindly smile that came to his face as he watched him labouring over it, thinking the while that he would, if possible, devise some means for the improvement of the man's writing. The manager addressed the letter, and put on the stamp, leaving the envelope open for additions. He was touched when Adam, after vainly searching in every pocket for a coin, said he would bring the pay for the stamp and paper next morning.

"I have a threepenny bit at home," he said, with perfect simplicity, "but I left it in my other waistcoat pocket. I don't hardly keep any myself, because my missis wants it all to pay her way with."

"You are welcome to the paper and the writing, Adam. You can pay for the stamp afterwards, if you like."

Very warm were Adam's thanks, though his face said as much as his words. Mr. Drummond would have gladly given him a dozen stamps, had his correspondence required. But he rightly judged that this man, so unlike many of those around him, would shrink from coming to him a second time, if he were not allowed to pay his penny, even though the manager had offered to write for him as often as might be necessary during Mrs. Livesey's absence.

That very afternoon, when the men left work, Adam lingered for some time outside the great gates, in the hope of seeing Mr. Drummond. His face lighted up with pleasure when at length he came towards them, and taking off his old cap, he said, "May I speak, sir, just a minute?"

"Certainly, Livesey; what is it?"

"When you were writing for me, you put something about a sovereign in the letter. I wanted to tell you how I came by it. It's hardly mine, like, now;" and in a few words, Adam explained why such an unwonted sum was in his keeping.

For a moment, Mr. Drummond was puzzled to understand why Adam had deemed such an explanation necessary. Then it flashed upon him that he had hunted for the threepenny piece, and spoken of it as if it were all the money he possessed, though he had alluded in his letter to the unbroken sovereign. He was afraid that Mr. Drummond might think him wanting in straightforwardness, and could not rest till the matter was cleared up.

The manager was pleased, but frankly owned that he had noticed that which had troubled Adam. Then he added, "I was glad to see you at the Mission Room on Monday. I hoped you would like the service well enough to come again."

"I want to do, sir, and now the letter to Maggie is mostly off my mind, I'm hoping I shall be in time to-night. I should ha' gone last night, only there's a young woman doing for us all while Margaret's away, and she's fond o' preachin's and such-like, so I thought she ought to have her turn. I might ha' left that little lass of mine to look after the lesser ones, but she has her bits o' lessons to learn, and it's no good loadin' 'em too heavy, poor things! They can only be young once."

Adam was astonished at himself that he could talk "so free like" to the manager, and Mr. Drummond was pleased to see that the ice between them, once broken, was not likely to close over again.

"You were quite right, Adam. The little ones often have too much to bear, and are made to grow old too soon. I am glad that you want to save yours as far as you can. I respect you more for staying away than I should have done for coming last night. But I shall look for you again this evening."

With a kindly nod, the manager went homewards, and Adam, watching him till he was out of sight, said to himself, "Here now is something else to thank God for. He must ha' made Mr. Drummond so kind to me, for I've done nothing myself."

Truly, many a mere man of the world may feel inclined to scoff at this simple account of the manager's intercourse with Adam Livesey, and say, "How unlikely that a person in such a position of authority would trouble himself about one filling so low a place as that of the striker! To a gentleman acting as the head and manager of a great concern employing many hundreds of hands, what would one humble labourer be but an item in the mass of human machines moving like clockwork around him?"

Probably in many such places, the humbler toilers are never noticed, could not even be known by name or sight to those so far above them.

They are too many, too much alike, as they pour in and out of the business hive. Many a manager, especially one who had risen from the ranks, would have been afraid to risk his dignity by such free interchange of thought with a man who was never likely to get beyond the lowest rung of the social ladder.

Others would have thought themselves in danger of losing the respect of their inferiors in station, or have been too proud to stoop.

But Mr. Drummond was not merely the head man at Rutherford's, next to the partners themselves, he was a Christian whom the Holy Spirit had taught the value of his own soul, and the love of God for sinners. Could he be stooping or lessening himself by striving to do good to those for whom Jesus died? Had not the Master made Himself of no reputation, and come as man amongst men?

Ought he then to let pride of place hinder him from doing what he could on behalf of those amongst whom the good providence of God had brought him, and by most unlooked-for means?

Every feeling of gratitude and thankfulness to God forbade this. The constraining love of Christ within his heart forbade it. And so, while as yet he could do but little, Mr. Drummond resolved to make a beginning. If he could not get hold of the great mass of toiling humanity around him, he would devote the best powers he had to one at first. Circumstances turned his attention to Adam Livesey, and for this man's conversion to God he was striving on earth, and pleading, for Jesus' sake, to heaven.

Worldlings may smile, infidels may scoff at such a picture. But, God be thanked, there are yet many men, and women, too, on earth who are moved by a like spirit to that which impelled the new manager at Rutherford's.



WHEN Mrs. Livesey parted with her husband at the railway station, she little thought that she would be a full month absent from her home and family. But so it proved.

It seemed that the daughter's visit produced a good effect on the sick mother, for after Margaret's arrival, Mrs. Allison brightened visibly. Those about her began to think that the patient would yet recover, in spite of the doctor's opinion to the contrary. The improvement did not, however, last, though it is probable that Mrs. Allison lingered longer, owing to the pleasure and comfort she derived from the sight of her youngest child.

Another feeling mingled with that of joy. She could not look at Margaret's changed face without pain and remorse, and an ever-present wish that she had not left her to herself. She thought that a selfish feeling on her own part had induced her to countenance Adam Livesey's addresses to pretty Maggie, and that the girl had never crossed her in any serious matter since she knew the difference between right and wrong, added to her own mental discomfort. Often did she draw Margaret's thin face down to hers, and whisper, "You don't feel vexed at your mother, do you, my dear?"

And the younger woman would smooth her pillow, and kiss her, denying stoutly the while that she was the least bit vexed about what had passed.

"You did it for the best, mother. It was no wonder you went away, for you never had any peace, what with me and the children. We were always at you, one or other of us; and when folks are getting on in years they can't stand things like young ones."

"I was not so very old then, Margaret, and I'm not to call a real aged woman now. Only just turned sixty-five. You see the being quiet and comfortable don't make folks live any longer."

"Maybe you'll get better yet," said Mrs. Livesey. "I'm sure I wish you may be spared for many a year to come. Why, for all you are so poorly, and have been a fortnight in bed, your face is fuller than mine, and you've more colour in it. Why, I expect if I go on as I'm doing till I'm sixty-five, I shall look a hundred years old at the least."

Margaret was giving her mother the best consolation she knew how to offer. Was not the hope of getting well again the only thing likely to cheer an invalid?

It would have been to herself, for life, with all its troubles, must, she thought, be better than death.

"You look sadly too old, my poor lass," said the sick woman. "No wonder, borne down as you've been. But I hope you will grow younger again yet."

"That would be going t'other way about from what one expects, mother. But don't you fret over spilt milk. I've had hard work, no mistake about that, and little to do with. Still, if you could ha' looked into our bit of a place as I left it, you would ha' said there wasn't a dirty corner. The children, poor things, haven't many clothes, but they've a change apiece of under things, and no holes or rags. Then, whether we've little or much, we pay as we go on. You taught me that lesson, mother; so we are never afraid, let who may knock at the door."

"You must ha' done wonders with such little wages."

"I've done my best, but then, you see, mother, I had all he earned to do it with. If I'd had to deal with some men, the house and children would ha' been lost in dirt and rags. But Adam is a real good 'un in his quiet way. Turning up every penny to me, and taking just what I could give him. Never drinking, nor grumbling, nor swearing, though he might have got mad with me many a time. I was always quick, you know, mother, and what I've had to go through has not made me sweeter-tempered. That poor fellow at home has had something to stand, specially these last years."

It will be seen that Margaret Livesey was not wanting in perception. She had a good deal of self-knowledge, and was frank enough in alluding to her own short-comings.

"I am glad Adam has been such a good husband," said Mrs. Allison. "In other ways, I know he wasn't good enough for you. I've blamed myself."

She could not finish her sentence, for Margaret interrupted, "Never blame yourself again about Adam, mother. He's too good all round for me. He's that patient and true, you wouldn't believe. I only wish I were more like him. But I expect I shall be a little spit-fire of a woman to the end o' my days. If I'd nothing to try me, I should make something to be sharp about. It's just in me. As it is, I have the one comfort of thinking that I've a little bit of excuse for being so short-tempered. But Adam does know that I care for him, and would give him the best and last mouthful I had. If I'd my time to bring over again, and knew all that was coming, I should take Adam. The little 'uns too. They just worship their father."

There was much in all this to comfort the invalid, and to confirm her in a resolution she had arrived at after much consideration. So far, she had not revealed her plan to Margaret, though, after regretting her neglect of the Liveseys, she had several times murmured, "I shall make amends. I shall make amends."

Poor Mrs. Allison! Her one thought of wrongdoing was in connection with Margaret, and on this score she was gradually receiving comfort. Things had not turned out so badly, after all, if her daughter could boldly declare that she would not have them otherwise.

Yet, though Mrs. Livesey said so much to cheer and comfort her mother, she did not the less feel that there were many things connected with her daily life which she would fain have altered. It was true that she would not like to part with Adam or any of those small people on whom she bestowed very uncomplimentary names when she was put out. "Little torments," "plagues of my life," "creatures who were always worritting for something," were no uncommon names for Margaret to bestow, together with slaps and other pains and penalties.

Despite such words, she would have liked to send them out as nicely clad as the best, even while she told her mother, with a sort of fierce pride, that the best dressed children in the school chose her Maggie for a companion, because she was "clean and wholesome, and pretty behaved."

Then she would have liked to dress up poor homely-looking Adam, and herself too, though not in the same sort of finery in which her youthful soul once delighted, but in "real good clothes," and to walk out, with him carrying baby, on fine Sunday evenings. Yes, there were many things she longed for, and the non-possession of which gave sharpness to tongue and temper, even whilst she toiled and turned to good account all that came into her hands. She would not tell Mrs. Allison about these daily conflicts.

"Where would be the good?" thought she, and kept silence, though it cost her an effort to do it.

Mrs. Livesey would not have had so much opportunity for quiet talk, but that Ann's husband happened to be ailing, and required more attention than usual, and she had no daughter to see to home matters. So Margaret was her mother's head nurse, and whilst acting as such, she was called upon to bring a visitor to her bedside. He was one whom Margaret had seen several times after her father's death, for he acted as executor under the will of the relative through whom the "bit of money" had come to him.

It will be remembered that in the early days of Adam's acquaintance with Mrs. Allison, the widow told him about a legacy which fortunately her husband had been unable to spend, because he died almost immediately after coming into possession of it. Also that one-fourth of it, about three hundred pounds, would come to Margaret at her mother's death. The executor under the first will had been induced to act as such for the dying legatee, and had since held the principal sum of twelve hundred pounds in trust for the widow and her daughters. The money had been well invested by Mr. Collinge, and Mrs. Allison justly deemed herself very fortunate in having so kind a friend in this worthy and upright gentleman.

"Mr. Collinge is coming to see me," said the widow to Mrs. Livesey. "It is about a bit of business, but I don't want Ann to know, or you either. She'll know soon enough," added the invalid with a wan smile, "and you too, for that matter. Bad news always travels too fast, and good is sure to come at the right time. Mind, Margaret, if Ann is here, Mr. Collinge will call again; if not, he must see me. Wake me, if I'm asleep. Let me have a few minutes to speak to him on the quiet. Ann may hear he has been, and ask you what he said; but I shall take care you have nothing to tell but what the town-crier would be free to repeat."

Mr. Collinge came. Not alone, though, for his daughter, a sweet-faced young lady, was with him, and accompanied him to the bedside of the sick woman.

Of what passed between Mrs. Allison and her visitors Margaret was told nothing. They exchanged a few kindly words with herself, and made inquiries after her husband and family, then took leave.

After the departure of Mr. Collinge and his daughter, Margaret returned to her mother's room, and found her with a look of great satisfaction on her face.

"Yes, I'm feeling better," she said. "I've settled the one thing that troubled me, and made amends. I'm glad Ann kept out of the way at the right time; but you can tell her when she comes that I have had these visitors. It's all you can tell." And she laughed a little laugh of triumph, which made her hearer feel very uncomfortable, she knew not why.

When Ann, otherwise Mrs. Bradford, returned to her mother's house, Margaret told her about Mr. Collinge's call, as she had been requested to do.

An angry flush mounted to her elder sister's face as she heard this, and she asked sharply, "What did he come here for? Mr. Collinge only calls when there's business to be done. What could mother want with him, I should like to know?"

"That's more than I can tell you, for mother wanted to speak to the gentleman and his daughter by themselves; so I came downstairs. I wasn't likely to cross her by stopping, or poking my nose in, if I wasn't wanted!" retorted Margaret, with her usual plainness of speech.

Her sister gave a searching, suspicious look at Mrs. Livesey, but learned nothing by it, as Margaret's face was openness itself.

"Do you mean to say then," she asked, "that you went straight down and never stopped to listen? You'll hardly make me believe you didn't want to know what Mr. Collinge came about."

The flush deepened on Margaret's face, and her tone was not only sharp, but scornful, as she answered, "You're measuring my corn in your skep, Ann. Nobody could ever say of me that I was fond of sneaking or listening to what wasn't meant for me to hear. I know what you were when I was only a little thing at home, and you were the oldest. You used to want me to pry and tattle then, but if I didn't learn then, I wasn't likely to learn after I'd lost my teacher. Whether you believe me or no, I did come straight downstairs after I'd shown Mr. Collinge and the young lady into mother's room, and I stood by the house door with baby till I heard them on the steps. Mr. Collinge never mentioned a thing, except that he was sorry mother was so ill, and was sure me coming would comfort her. Then he asked after Adam and the children at home, and went away. Believe me or no, as you like," repeated Margaret, with a look and tone which made her elder sister shrink before her.

Mrs. Bradford did believe her, though she did not say so. She only muttered something about Maggie's flare up, and that she was always so sharp that nobody could ask her a civil question without catching it back again. The fact was that the elder sister's disposition was entirely different from that of Mrs. Livesey. The latter was hasty in temper and frank almost to a fault, often speaking when silence would have been better and more likely to evoke a spirit of peace and good-will.

Ann was close, suspicious, mistrustful, ever imagining that others were planning to promote their own interests at her expense. Her husband's position in life was far above that of Adam Livesey, on whom she looked with almost contempt, and wondered how Margaret could ever marry such a one. This was one bone of contention, for we know that Mrs. Livesey would allow no human being to run her husband down, though she might give him what she called "sharp sauce" now and then.

Again, Mrs. Bradford had only two sons, one out of his time and doing well as a journeyman ironmonger, the other serving his behind a grocer's counter. She was also comparatively well off, and had helped her husband to save money, which they both loved rather too well.

Years before, this couple had induced Mrs. Allison to leave the neighbourhood of the Liveseys, having taken pains to make her believe that if she stayed beside those who were so poor, and with so many wants, she would soon be without a bed to lie on, or a roof over her head.

"Margaret will always be at you," Ann had said. "You will never have enough for her, let alone yourself, and with her tribe of children there will be no peace. They will never be off your doorstep. Now if you come to live beside us, you will be out of their way, and our boys will be no trouble to you, but a help."

We know how Mrs. Allison was over persuaded, and what were her feelings at this present time. But her youngest daughter knew nothing of what the mother's clearer sight had discovered respecting Ann's motives in persuading her to make the change of home.

Before her husband's death, Mrs. Allison had saved a little money, not from his earnings, but her own. An active woman in the prime of life, who had not "an idle bone in her body," and with a thorough knowledge of household work, notably high-class cookery, Mrs. Allison had plenty of employment for these talents, and was well paid for their exercise. All that she could spare from her earnings was placed in the savings bank in her own name, and though her husband spent his own money only too lavishly, he never tried to lay a finger on this little hoard of his wife's. Its existence had been kept a profound secret from his daughters.

"If they thought there was money to run at, they'd be wanting all sorts of things that they're content to do without now," was the mother's prudent comment. And as this was before the days of the legacy, the little store in the savings bank was the only provision for a rainy day.

After her husband's death, Mrs. Allison still strove to keep her secret, though, as she would sometimes say, "It's hard to have your thoughts to yourself when our Ann comes. She's such a ferret. She'd find out a thing if you hid it at the far end of a coal pit."

Somehow Ann had an inkling of her mother's little hoard. Nothing absolutely certain, either about the money or the place where it was kept, but constant watchfulness had convinced her of its existence, and from that time the main object of her life was to find out the rest, and to secure the reversion of it for herself.

This was at the bottom of Mrs. Bradford's anxiety to have her mother near her. This moved her to offer many little attentions, hitherto unthought of, and to be constantly sending dainty bits, or invitations to Mrs. Allison to come and partake of such at the Bradford table. She also hinted, again and again, that it would be less lonely and much cheaper for her mother to give up her separate home and live with her and her family.

But neither hints nor questionings brought her any nearer the knowledge she desired, and Mrs. Allison, who was shrewd enough, saw through both, and resolved to disappoint her daughter's expectations.

"No, no," said she to herself; "Ann thinks if she could get my bit of furniture and me under her roof, she would be sure of the things, and manage me and what I've got as she likes. It's herself she thinks about, not me. I haven't studied her ways for over forty years without knowing Ann up and down, though I was led by her in coming in here. Margaret is worth a dozen of her yet. Beside, an old neighbour of mine taught me a lesson. She gave up her good home and went to live with her son, and a nice time she had of it. They got all she had, and then grudged her the bit she ate and the bed—she'd only half a one—that she lay on. She wrote a book, as one may say, and I read it."

From all which observations, it will be seen that Mrs. Bradford had gained little by her selfish efforts, that she still only suspected the existence of a secret store of money, and that Mrs. Allison had wisely made Mr. Collinge her sole confidant, both as to its whereabouts and disposal.

Even on her death-bed, she quietly exulted in the thought of disappointing Ann, whilst making amends to Margaret, her youngest, once her prettiest, always her favourite daughter. Moreover, there was an extra grudge working in her mind. When the letter which summoned Margaret from Millborough had been written and duly read aloud to Mrs. Allison by her daughter, the invalid noticed that some addition was made to it, without being read.

Determined to know what it was, she managed to send Ann to a desk in the parlour to fetch the necessary stamp, feeling certain that before returning the key, her prying spirit would induce her to take at least a glance at its other contents.

Not that she would gain anything, for there was neither a line nor an article of any importance to be looked at.

But during her absence, Mrs. Allison managed to get hold of the letter and to read the postscript, in which Mrs. Bradford advised her sister to "buy a black bonnet, as it would be most useful after."

Needless to say this piece of advice was the "last hair" which is so often said to break the camel's back. Mrs. Allison could not forget and did not forgive this heartless message, and her regard for Margaret was increased in proportion, when she saw that the advice had not been followed.



WE will not follow step by step what Adam Livesey did during his wife's absence. He had tasted of the heavenly gift, he had yielded to the blessed influence of the Holy Spirit, he was rejoicing in the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." He felt himself to be indeed a very babe in spiritual knowledge, but he was possessed with an intense desire to increase it.

He desired the sincere milk of the word, that he might grow thereby. Without neglecting the claims of work in the smithy, or of his children at home, he used every means in his power to learn more of that "love of God which passeth knowledge."

His hammer was still the last to sound at the works, his children received perhaps more attention and caresses than even before, for his heart was full of joy and thankfulness, and this inner gladness was reflected in the outer man, and made him brighter in his looks and more cheerful in his ways. But whenever he could go there, he was to be seen listening with eager face to the speakers at the Mission Room, and joining as best he could in the prayers and hymns of praise.

At home, during the silent hour when the young housekeeper and her little charges had gone to rest, Adam would sit poring over the great Bible, and realizing the scenes and doings it described, as only one of such a thoughtful nature could do.

Any one might have been touched to see the changes in that rugged face, as the man took in, bit by bit, the precious gospel story, the narrative of the life and death of Jesus. Thus, in thought, he followed the footsteps of the great Teacher, and drank in the words of that wondrous Sermon on the Mount!

How he tried to picture Him sending the message of healing to the sick servant by the centurion, and the joy of this man on returning to his home and finding that his faith had not been in vain!

He seemed to see Him tenderly lifting the beloved little daughter of Jairus from her couch of death, and giving her back, with the flush of health replacing the pallor of the grave, to her rejoicing parents.

The tears ran down Adam's cheeks as he read of Jesus first weeping as man at the tomb of Lazarus, then putting forth His power as God, and snatching its victim from death.

Never in all his life had the striker seen the wide ocean. Never once had it been his lot to stand and see the tide roll in, and the waves break, either with a rustling murmur on a calm day, or with a roar like thunder, when, storm-tossed and angry, they flung the white foam on rock or sand.

But he could picture many things, though not the Saviour's doings on sea or shore. He could see Him sitting faint and weary by the well side, and waiting the return of His disciples with the food of which they had gone in search. Weary, faint, thirsty, and asking for the draught of water, which we are not told that He got, and then, putting self aside and heeding not the cravings of hunger, feeding the famished soul of the Samaritan woman with heavenly bread and living water.

Adam caught himself talking aloud over this picture and saying, "Aye, that were just like Him to do. He would make bread enough, and more than enough, for those thousands of men and women and little children that had followed Him right away so far from home. But He'd make no bread for Himself. The devil couldn't taunt Jesus into that, and He bore the hunger, put it o' one side, so as He might teach that poor woman. Eh dear!

"How different things are wherever one looks! It's mostly everybody for himself. Anyway it is, unless they've learned of Him. I can see every day more how it was that Jesus made Himself of no account.

"And if there's here and there one that thinks much of his neighbours and very little of himself, it's because he's been to that school and learned from that Teacher."

Thus Adam practically learned the meaning of the words:

"'Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.'

"'By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.'

"'Every tree is known by his own fruit.'"

There were notes to the great Bible that Adam used, and pictures—not grand works of art, by any means, but precious to the one who knew so little.

At any rate, being representations of scenes and places in the country where Jesus lived, taught, and ministered in his manhood, they were helpful in a certain way to this new student of the Word of God. The notes described what would be the bodily sufferings of Jesus on the cross. The story of these, following on that of the agony in the garden and the sleeping disciples, the loneliness of the Master, forsaken by every one—even by the boastful Peter—made Adam's heart swell within him, sorrow and indignation mastering him by turns.

"To think of them going to sleep, and then running away! It were too bad. If I'd been there—"

But the words died away. Adam had been going to say that he would have done differently, but instead of these, he finished with a sigh and the words, "I reckon I shouldn't ha' been a bit better. He's cared for me and loved me always, and I never troubled till lately to think whether there was a God at all. And He forgave them. Peter, too—and everybody that had made game of Him, and been so hard. 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' He said it as He was going to die for them, and for me, too. Yes, dear Lord Jesus, I've been just like them all these years. I didn't know what I was doing. And all the while you'd loved me and died for me."

Down on his knees, with clasped hands, the poor striker poured out his thankfulness for the new light which had dawned on his soul, and his heartfelt prayers that it might also shine on his dear ones, and that they might all become like Jesus.

These were Adam's home experiences, and he had other happy ones beside; for the influence of Sarah Evans was making itself felt amongst the children. These no longer went prayerless to bed, and the girl taught them to lift their young voices in simple hymns of praise.

Adam really saw very little of his young housekeeper, for his working hours were long, and, tea excepted, his meals were eaten at the works. Sometimes he would take the elder children out, whilst she put the younger ones to bed, and Sarah was seldom out of her room long after little Maggie went to it. It was "early to bed, early to rise," in Adam Livesey's cottage. Beside, while the mission services lasted, they took it in turns to attend them.

Before they came to an end, Adam found that he, too, could join, heart and soul, in singing the sweet words:—

"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
   'Come unto Me, and rest;
 Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
    Thy head upon My breast.'
 I came to Jesus as I was—
    Weary, and worn, and sad;
 I found in Him a resting-place,
    And He has made me glad.
"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
   'Behold, I freely give
 The living water: thirsty one,
    Stoop down, and drink, and live.'
 I came to Jesus, and I drank
    Of that life-giving stream;
 My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
    And now I live in Him.
"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
   'I am this dark world's Light;
 Look unto Me! Thy morn shall rise,
    And all thy day be bright.'
 I looked to Jesus, and I found
    In Him, my Star, my Sun,
 And in that Light of life I'll walk
    Till travelling days are done."

Yes, rest, life, light had come to Adam Livesey, and the yearning cry of his soul was, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? Lord, teach me what is right and give me strength to do and to love it."

It would be needless to tell how rejoiced Mr. Drummond was at this happy change in the man who had from the first interested him so deeply. He was determined not to lose sight of Adam, and already the striker felt a deep affection and gratitude for the gentleman who had stooped to him as no other had ever done.

The manager was too busy a man to be able to spare much time, but he did spare a few minutes now and then to say an encouraging word, whilst the mere sight of his kind true face cheered Adam on the new way upon which he had started.

The striker had something to bear, when at the works, from the jeers of a few of his companions. One who had only just escaped dismissal for drunkenness flouted Adam with "canting, just to please the new man, and to get his wages raised."

But though the striker was slow to defend himself, there were others who spoke on his behalf.

"It'll be well if you don't ha' to go without any wages before long, Sam," said Richard Evans. "Nay, I'm forgetting. There's one sort of pay that you're always working hard for. Did you ever hear those words, 'the wages of sin is death'?"

"I reckon you mean to live for ever, then," returned Sam with a sneer. "You talk about it, but I don't see as you can carry out that notion—you canting folks—any more than the rest of us. You have to be put to bed with a spade when your time comes, for all your cant;" and Sam looked round with a smile of triumph, as if expecting to be applauded.

But even amongst the careless and indifferent about religion, there are not so many who like to ridicule it openly, or to range themselves on the side of those who do. Sam's words did not produce the effect he intended, for some looked pityingly, others with contempt on the miserable man who had been allowed to return to his work, out of pity for his half-starved wife and children.

So the feeling was all on the side of Richard Evans, as he answered, "I know that as well as you do, Sam, for the same Book that says, 'the wages of sin is death,' tells that 'one event happeneth to them all.' The wise man and the fool have to come to their six feet of earth at last. But it's no use coming to it before one's time, for God gives us our bodies to take care of, as well as our souls, and we've got to account for both. It isn't in the dying that finishes these few years of life that there is so much difference, though there are death-beds that are dark and terrible to stand by, and others that are so full of light and glory that they seem to give us a peep at heaven.

"But it's what comes after. There's eternal life, the free gift of God, to those that have sought and found a Saviour in Jesus. Without Him what is there? 'After death the judgment,' when God 'will render to every man according to his deeds.' You can't get over this, Sam, say what you will, and I can tell you, for I've seen that the greatest cowards, when Death stares them in the face, are those who have pretended to be so bold, and have laughed and made game when they thought him a long way off."

Richard Evans resumed his work, and Sam slunk away, muttering something which no one heard or heeded, whilst those around, whether they realized the truth of what they had listened to or not, honoured this servant of Christ, who was ever bold on the side of his Heavenly Master.

How Adam Livesey wished that he could find words to speak as his friend did! But he thought to himself, "I never could talk much about the things I understood best. Still, I feel that I am under a new Master, that He loves me, and I do so want to love Him. As to wages! Why, I'm getting better pay every day, for I never was so happy in my life as I am now. I only want Margaret back, and to feel as I do, then—"

But Adam could not picture what would be beyond such a beginning. He could only pray and wait, and hope for this much—that his wife and he might become like-minded. He wondered, now and then, how it was with Mrs. Allison; whether, now she was coming towards the end of life, she was trusting in the blood of Jesus for pardon, and looking forward with joy to meeting Him as her Saviour. He wondered how Margaret felt, as she ministered, day by day, to the wants of one who was on the edge of the grave. He knew that she could remember her father's death, but he did not believe it had impressed her in a solemn way, though from all he had heard Mr. Allison's life had not been such as would bear looking back upon with satisfaction.

Had it been otherwise with him when he lost his own mother? No. Adam was forced to own that while he had thought much of providing her with earthly comforts whilst she lived, he had felt no anxiety as to what must follow.

We must know what it is to stand guilty before God, and then, through believing in His name, to receive pardon and remission of sins, before we can understand the danger and the need of others.

Mrs. Livesey's experience during her mother's illness brought no anxiety for Mrs. Allison, or teaching to herself. So far as the sick woman was concerned, she seemed to have no particular fears about the future; indeed, her opinion of herself very much resembled that of Adam when he first began to think over his past life. She derived satisfaction from comparing it with lives of others, and her youngest daughter, willing to cheer her as well as she knew how, said, "Don't you fret, mother. You've no call to worrit. You've been a good-living woman if ever there was one."

Mrs. Allison had become very weak when these words were spoken, and past making any effort after a clearer light and self-knowledge, even had she felt it needful. She kissed her laughing grandchild with quivering lips, and putting one thin arm round Margaret's neck, she did the same by her. Then she said faintly, "I—was—not—always—kind—to—you—but—I've made amends"; then quietly passed away.

What these last words meant was made plain by Mr. Collinge, who, having been informed of Mrs. Allison's death, came to the cottage.

Mrs. Bradford met him dry-eyed. "I must conquer my feelings as far as I can," she said, "for I'm only a poor creature, and if I was to give way as Maggie does, I should be good for nothing—here, or at home."

Margaret's nature was too impulsive to be so easily controlled, and she was weeping in real sorrow at the loss of her mother, yet glad that she had been able to wait upon her during her last days.

It soon became apparent that Mrs. Allison's daughters would only have to see the orders of Mr. Collinge carried out. He informed them that their mother had made a will; that he was the sole executor, as he had been under that of her husband, and that she had given him written instructions as to her funeral.

"There was only her furniture to leave. The money comes to us daughters, share and share alike, unless mother had put anything by;" and Mrs. Bradford looked inquiringly at Margaret. "The things have been well taken care of, but if they were sold they wouldn't more than pay all expenses."

Margaret knew and could tell nothing, and Mr. Collinge said, "Mrs. Livesey is scarcely likely to know more of her mother's affairs than you who have lived so near her. I think, indeed, that Mrs. Allison told no one but myself exactly how her affairs stood. The funeral expenses will be amply met without any sale, as the deceased was a member of two burial clubs. Beside, she had saved money, and this and the furniture are dealt with in the will to which I alluded. Its contents will be made known when the other members of the family are present."

So Mrs. Bradford had to control her impatience as best she might. In the meanwhile, she took up her abode under the same roof with Margaret, who was only too glad of the extra companionship, there being beside herself and her baby, only a young girl sleeping at the cottage. The widow's other daughters had visited her from time to time, but did not remain, as they lived at no great distance.



MRS. BRADFORD passed the interval between her mother's death and funeral in what Margaret called "a continual worritting." She was ever harping on the money question, and wondering who would get the best share, or if it would be "divided equal"; whether there was much or little, and who would have the furniture, of which she knew Mrs. Allison had the disposal. She professed to be surprised that Margaret seemed so little moved by what excited herself so much.

"You take things very easy, Margaret," she said. "If you knew just what was coming, you couldn't put yourself less about."

"I don't know, then," replied Margaret. "And more than that, I don't trouble. Whatever mother had was her own, to do as she liked with, and whoever gets it, you'll not hear me say she's done wrong. As to you, Ann, it is always the money and not mother that is in your mind and on your tongue. You could not trouble yourself less, if her that's lying upstairs was a stranger, and naught akin to you, instead of your own mother. Please never to say another word to me about the money, or I shall be vexing you, and I don't want, 'specially at a time like this."

Mrs. Bradford was nothing if not prudent, and she took Margaret's hint, but thought the more.

By Mr. Collinge's orders, decent mourning was ordered for each of the sisters, so that, after all, as Ann remarked, Margaret's having ordered a coloured bonnet did not matter so much, though "it would have come in for second best if it had been black."

It was not deemed necessary for Adam Livesey to journey all the way from Millborough to be at the funeral, and as to the children's "black," it was to stay until their mother's return.

At length Mrs. Bradford's curiosity was set at rest—but alas! not her mind—by the reading of the will.

It set forth that inasmuch as the testatrix had only a life interest in a principal sum of twelve hundred pounds, that amount would be equally divided between her four daughters, in accordance with their father's will. That previous to, and during her widowhood, she had saved a sum of two hundred and fifty pounds. Of this she left ten pounds to her eldest daughter, Ann, "because she is better off than her sisters, and has had more from me at various times. Beside which, she has told me that she did not look for another penny from me, so she will receive, by her own showing, more than she expected or desired."

To her daughters Eliza and Martha, fifty pounds each were left, and certain articles of furniture and clothing were to be allotted to each, as well as to Margaret, by way of keepsakes, Ann having already asked for and received her full share. Then, after the payment of funeral expenses and all just debts, the remainder of the money, and whatever further sum might accrue from the sale of the furniture, was left absolutely to Margaret, youngest daughter of the testatrix and wife of Adam Livesey, of Millborough, Lancashire.

"There are no debts, I believe, except those for the funeral and the doctor's bill, and they will be nearly met by the club moneys. So that you, Mrs. Livesey, may reckon on coming into the hundred and forty pounds, beside something from the furniture. There will be Government duties to pay, of course, but near relationship lightens these," said Mr. Collinge, as he folded up the will.

The scene which followed was not pleasant, though the two sisters Eliza and Martha showed no disappointment, but tearfully owned it was good of mother to have denied herself and worked to leave them all a bit extra, when she might have spent every penny, and no blame to her. For their parts, they were content for Margaret to have more than themselves, for it was true that mother had done many a thing for those that were near at hand, and nothing for her that had least to do with and most to do for.

It gladdened Margaret's heart to hear these words, for she had started from her chair, on being made acquainted with the terms of the will, and looked from one to another, as if she could hardly believe them true.

She took in their meaning when she remembered her mother's oft-repeated expression, and the last on her lips, "I've made amends."

Margaret had to hear some fierce cruel words of reproach, all the more cruel because untrue and undeserved, from her eldest sister, whose disappointment and anger knew no bounds.

"So this is what you came for!" she cried. "It was to tell stories and undermine me with poor mother, that you left your husband and children for all this while, was it? I wondered, and so did other folks, that you could stop away; but you thought it would pay you. And it has, seemingly, for you've robbed us all of our rights, and me most of all. But your tricks will come by you main. 'Ill-gotten, soon goes.'"

If Margaret had not been equally overcome by the thought of her mother's kindness, and her way of making amends, and astonishment at Mrs. Bradford's sudden attack, she would perhaps have said words in reply that she would have been sorry for afterwards.

"Ann," she began, while the tears streamed down her checks, "I never said anything to poor mother. I didn't know she had a penny laid by. As for thinking she was going to leave me this money! How could I? If I'd known of it, I should have thought it would go to all alike, or more to you than me, when I hadn't seen mother for years."

Sobs stopped Mrs. Livesey's utterance, and though her sister did allude to "crocodile tears," the sympathy was with Margaret, and Martha bade her wipe her eyes and never mind, adding, "Better bear ill than do ill."

Mr. Collinge, too, interfered, and with authority, and told Mrs. Bradford that her sister's coming could have had no influence upon their mother, for Mrs. Allison's will had been made fully three months before.

"Then what did you come here for last week, with Miss Collinge, if it wasn't for her to witness something?" asked Mrs. Bradford, moved to tears now, though not of sorrow for the loss of her mother.

The gentleman could hardly forbear a smile.

"I have no objection to tell you, Mrs. Bradford, though I am not obliged to do so. I came in order that Mrs. Allison might place her club books and some other necessary documents in my keeping. Also to receive her instructions to furnish all her daughters with suitable mourning, free of expense to themselves. If you object to this, you can still pay for yours. Miss Collinge accompanied me, as she has often done before, when I have called upon your mother—not a matter of necessity, but out of good-will. As the directions were given and the books handed over in her presence, she was so far a witness. In fact, she took them out of a drawer in Mrs. Allison's room, at her request. She also heard your mother say that she wished each of her daughters to have what would make them equal, and the money she had saved unknown to any of her children would insure this. She said that you, Mrs. Bradford, suspected her of having put by a little, and wanted to get at it. I could say more, but for your sake, I will be silent."

Mr. Collinge had been induced to speak thus frankly, in order to defend Margaret, as well as to punish her elder sister for her greed and unseemly display of temper on such an occasion. His words had the effect intended, and Mrs. Bradford, instead of continuing the attack, seemed glad to get away from the house, which was left in Margaret's charge.

"The articles left to your sisters are all mentioned, and can be removed without delay. Whatever the remainder produces will belong to you, so you are the fittest person to take charge of them," said Mr. Collinge.

"Eh, but I don't want to stay any longer than can be helped, sir," replied Mrs. Livesey. "Just think! I've been near on a month away from my husband, and there are five more at home beside this—" indicating the baby by a little jerk of the head in her direction. "I wouldn't mind for a day or two, but I must be back at Millborough by the week end."

"So you shall, Mrs. Livesey. This is Tuesday. I am sure you will be able to return home on Friday," said Mr. Collinge, sympathising with her anxiety.

The house and its contents were not difficult to deal with, so the articles bequeathed to the elder sisters were promptly removed, those which Mrs. Livesey chose to keep packed, and the remainder prepared for sale by auction.

When Margaret started on her homeward journey, it was with a greatly replenished wardrobe, many useful additions to her household goods, and the certainty that, after all expenses were paid, she would have at least a hundred and fifty pounds, in addition to the three hundred which she had always known would come to her in due time.

Though Adam and his wife had exchanged several letters during her absence, each was ignorant of much that had happened to the other. How could Adam employ another hand to tell of the great inward change which had taken place in himself? It is doubtful whether he could have expressed in words the feelings uppermost in his mind, even had Margaret been by his side to listen. Much less could he have conveyed these thoughts in writing.

So the letters dealt only with the continued health of the children at Millborough, and Margaret's told of the gradual fading of her mother, until the end came.

Mrs. Livesey was eager for Adam to know about her unexpected windfall, but unwilling that the tidings should reach him otherwise than from her own lips. So she gave no hint of it in writing, though the extent of her luggage puzzled the man not a little.

"Oh, Margaret! I am glad to see you. Give me baby till you get out," was Adam's greeting. "Long-looked-for, come at last!" And the man's hands were extended to relieve his wife of the child, his much missed pet and darling.

But a month is a long time in a baby's life, and Adam's youngest had become unaccustomed to the sight of the bearded face in which she used to delight to bury her fat fingers. She turned her head away from the extended arms, buried it on her mother's shoulder, and clung round her neck.

"It's dada, love," said Margaret. "Baby's own dada. He wants to lift her down and carry her as she likes. See, my pet!" and she tried, but in vain, to coax the child into looking at Adam.

"Eh dear! I must keep her myself till she gets used to you again. Who would have thought it?"

"I might ha' done," said Adam, ruefully, for it gave the father's loving heart a pang. "But we'll not frighten her. Let me help you out, and then I'll get in and reach out your things. The train goes no further, so there's no call to hurry yourself."

"I've a lot of things in the van beside these, Adam," said Mrs. Livesey, indicating her smaller parcels, "and there's more yet to come by goods train. You'll see there's a deal come back with me that didn't go with me."

"I've got you and the little 'un safe back, and that's best of all, however good the rest may be," said Adam. "And though you've had your troubles, you look a deal better in the face—plumper like. And you've a bit of nice fresh colour again, as you used to have. Not so much yet, but something towards it, as if you were growing younger."

And Adam, as he noted these improvements, looked with a face full of affection and pleasure at that of his wife.

Margaret smiled, and said, "Why, Adam, you might think I'd been at the mill for grinding old folks into young 'uns again. Happen you'll grow younger too, in a while, for I think I'm bringing what will ease your mind. You must get a cab. We can't carry the luggage home as we brought it here."

The cab was called, and, with no little pride on Margaret's part, and surprise on Adam's, the many packages with Mrs. Livesey's name appended were at length collected and piled thereon.

Then husband and wife got into the vehicle, and out came Margaret's secret.

"Adam, my dear lad," said she, as glad tears came welling up into her eyes, "Adam, mother told me, over and over, how sorry she was that she left us in such a way, and that she'd taken so little notice of us for years and years. She kept saying that she'd made amends, and so she had. When her will was read, I found out what she meant, though I couldn't understand before. She'd saved money, and she's left me a great deal, the biggest share, besides most of her clothes, and her watch, and some silver spoons, and a lot o' things more than I can tell you all at once. I've brought what I could, and the others will be here to-morrow. Just think, Adam! There'll be a hundred and fifty pound extra, beside the three hundred."

Margaret repeated the last sentence slowly, and with much stress on each word. She seemed to think this would be necessary, in order that Adam might grasp news of such an amazing and unexpected character.

"I'm very glad, Margaret. It would comfort you so to know that your mother was full of love to you at the last. It would be almost more than money to hear her speak in that kind way. And I'm glad about what she has left you, because your sisters married men that could do more for them than I could ever do for you. This will make things so much better for you and the little 'uns. Thank God!"

"For you too, Adam. It would be no pleasure to me, if you weren't to be bettered by it."

Adam said he was sure it wouldn't. To begin with, it would give him an easier mind to think that, come what might, there was this little sum between his family and want. And again he murmured, "Thank God!"

Margaret did just notice these last words, accompanied as they were with a look that she had never before seen on Adam's face; but her mind was too full of her good fortune, and the distance to be traversed too short to allow either of much thought or questioning. Then baby, who had been gazing at her father with the inquiring steadiness peculiar to the age of innocence, all at once awoke to the fact that he was not a stranger, as she at first imagined.

Holding out her arms, she was received into those of Adam, who was delighted to see his pet ready to spring toward him as the little tongue once more shaped the word "Dada."

"She knows me now; little Bess knows dada," he said, as the plump arms went round his neck and the rosy cheek nestled lovingly in the old place, giving the father a sense of having recovered his tiny treasure.

A few more moments, and Margaret caught sight of the other five, eagerly watching for mother's coming, and grouped about the door of their cottage home.


Their astonishment at seeing their parents arrive in a cab, like real ladies and gentlemen ride in, almost rendered them speechless. But amazement gave way to joy, and mother was welcomed and baby squabbled over, each child being eager to take her, until, as Adam said, the little thing was "fair moithered" with the noise they made, and frightened at so many faces.

Little Bess settled the matter by clinging to her father with one arm and dealing a vigorous slap at Maggie, when her eldest sister strove to take her from his protecting grasp.

"Do be, children. You're fit to pull the child to pieces. Why, she'd forgot her dada at first, and do you think she'd remember a set of 'ruffi'ns,' like you? Eh dear! I soon find out I'm among you again."

Though Mrs. Livesey called them 'ruffi'ns,' they all felt that she was glad to be amongst them, for whilst Adam was handing out the packages, a great deal of hugging and kissing had to be done. The mother was not given to great displays of tenderness, but there was usually more in her heart than in her actions. The sight of the little group safe, well, and bearing about them all the signs of having been carefully watched over, made her almost too glad for words, and there was moisture in her eyes as she put down little Adam, "her baby but one."

Not till these greetings were over and the sound of the cab wheels had died away, did Sarah Evans make her appearance, neat and smiling, and with the words, "I'm glad to see you safe back, Mrs. Livesey."

The mother's eye had already travelled round the house, and long experiences of its ins and outs enabled her to realize the beautiful cleanliness of every part. There were no neglected shelves or dusty corners; no windows dim with dirt, no unwashed crockery on table or dresser.

It was high summer, so the one fire was in the little kitchen at the back. There it blazed merrily, and the bright fender and the few tin articles reflected its glow. The kettle sang a pleasant song, and a little rasher of bacon, only meant for the newly arrived house-mother, sent out a savoury smell to greet the nostrils of the tired and hungry traveller.

Mrs. Livesey's first words to Sarah Evans were not an answer to the young woman's greeting, but they came straight from the mother's heart.

"Eh! But you've done well by them all since I've been away. I'm sure I don't know how to thank you."

The words were just what Sarah had worked to win, and her bright face told that she regarded them as far better payment than the modest sum which had hitherto rewarded her services.

The girl busied herself in taking off Margaret's things, giving her warm water to wash with, and bestowing on her all the kindly attentions which cannot be bought, but which proceed from an honest and good heart.

They were very grateful to Margaret, who said, "Dear, dear, I'm not used to be waited on. It's mostly my work to run about after other folks."

But Sarah continued her thoughtful ministry until the meal was over, and the younger children in bed. Then, when she had done what she could, she said, "I'll be going home now, for mother hasn't been so well the last day or two. She'll be glad to see me, and you and Mr. Livesey 'll have plenty to talk about. But I'll come over for an hour or two in the morning, to fetch a few things that I can't take with me to-night, and if I can just help you to straighten up, I will."

So, with true delicacy and thought for others, Sarah Evans left husband and wife alone together as soon as possible.



"THAT'S a clever young woman," said Mrs. Livesey, when the door had closed behind Sarah Evans.

"Aye, and a good one, too. She's shown what sort a stuff she's made of, this last month. Coming all on a sudden into a strange house and amongst five children, and expecting only to stop two or three days. It's just wonderful how she's managed with the money too, and made things so comfortable," replied Adam.

He wanted to say more, and to tell what lessons the little ones had learned from the lips of the young housekeeper. Most of all, he longed to tell of that new life, born within himself, which had given him an abiding sense of peace, and made him feel rich, in comparison with which Margaret's sense of wealth in her unexpected legacy, was as nothing.

She had found it very easy to tell of what had come to her through her earthly parent's will, but Adam found it very difficult to speak about the heavenly inheritance to which he could now lay claim through the loving will of his God and Father in Christ Jesus.

Anybody could understand Margaret's good news, and what the dead mother had left to her daughter. But only one who had been taught by the Holy Spirit could enter into the present happiness, or comprehend the eternal riches of another who has been born again, who, by virtue of this new birth, has learned to cry, "Abba Father!" and to say with heartfelt joy, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup"; "I have a goodly heritage."

When the children went to rest, the young ones under Sarah Evans' guidance, the elder a little later, the father had bidden them in a whisper not to forget their prayers. Another night, mother would be settled and able to attend to them.

Adam was not cowardly in refraining from speech about these new and better ways before his wife. He wanted her to know of everything that had taken place during her absence. But he felt that in speaking of what God had done for his soul, and of the new habits he had striven to bring into the little household, he must use great caution and patience.

Margaret had always set herself determinedly against religious ordinances and people who professed to be religious. The practices and conversation of such she usually styled "cant," the individuals, "hypocrites," with a very great stress on the last syllable. She had ever persisted in turning her eyes upon two or three unmistakable "shams," and talking of them as if they were a fair sample of those who profess and call themselves Christians, and she rejoiced that she was not one of that sort.

Poor Adam was brimful of anxiety to speak on the subject nearest to his heart, but dreadfully afraid that at the first mention of it, Margaret might "fly up," as she had so often done before. He listened very patiently to all that she had to tell, and answered her many questions, which, indeed, seemed almost endless.

Margaret was specially full of Ann's disappointment on hearing the will read, and of the reasonableness of sisters Eliza and Martha.

"I wish you could ha' seen Ann," she said. "She was that vexed she looked as if she could have eaten me with a grain o' salt. But she always was that mean and having, there was no doing with her. She thought when she got poor mother beside her, she would persuade her into leaving her all she had. Ann always thought her share ought to be elevenpence ha'penny out of every shilling. But mother saw through her, and served her out at last."

Margaret's exultant tone jarred on Adam's ear. The thought of that scene after the funeral was to him almost too painful to dwell upon, and he said, "Well, Margaret, I'm glad for some things I wasn't there with you. I should ha' liked to hear your mother's kind words about me and to you, and it's a great comfort to know she said them. But I shouldn't have enjoyed any quarrelling over what had been hers that was but just gone. As it is, I feel sorry about it, for I hate quarrelling among relations."

"So do I," replied Margaret briskly; "but I hate being put upon, too, and I know, if Ann could have had her way, nothing belonging to mother would have become ours. I did keep in on the funeral day, though it was hard work. But I thought about poor mother, and that helped me, for it isn't nice for people's mouths to be filled with a tale of two sisters quarrelling over anybody's things directly they've done with them. Mr. Collinge took my part, and gave it Ann pretty plain, because he knew more than I did. And then you know, Adam, there was another thing that helped me to keep my temper. I'd got a deal the best o' the bargain."

What could Adam say that would not be out of harmony with his wife's train of thought? Indeed, before he had time to think of an answer, she was off again, telling him of all the lesser items that made up her legacy.

"There's a lot of clothes that will serve me for years and years, with a bit of altering, for mother was taller and stouter than I am. She kept to black after father died, and always bought it good; so some of her worst things will make up nicely for the children. Fancy, Adam, there's two nice dark-coloured silk gowns, that have been laid by, oh such years, and haven't a spot on them. Then there's a black one, quite a beauty. You remember mother went out nursing sometimes in very good houses, and had a many presents. I believe there are things to last a lifetime, and I shan't need to be frightened of wearing my one decent gown and shawl, like I used to be, thinking I should never be able to get another."

Thus Margaret ran on, and how could Adam help sympathizing with her delight in her new possessions? She could add, and he knew with truth, "I never expected or looked for them, Adam, but I'm glad mother has done the right thing by me."

Had he not grieved for years that his scanty means prevented his wife and children from turning out as nicely dressed as their neighbours?

Had he not cast many a wistful glance into the shop windows, and wished he could buy a pretty bonnet or a length of stuff so temptingly displayed there, for the use of his Margaret?

He would not need to look and long and turn away with a sigh of regret from such objects now. Margaret would have enough and to spare, thank God! Here was another desire of his heart granted. A worldly wish in one sense, but a very natural desire, and neither selfish nor wrong.

So the man smiled, while his heart was full or thankfulness, and he told Margaret that she would be so smart there would be no walking beside her, and he should have to take the other side of the street.

"As if I could be content to dress myself up and leave you with only your old things! Nay, Adam, I hope I'm not o' that sort. You must have a new suit, and we shall be able to have a walk out on a Sunday without being ashamed of a neighbour seeing what we've got on."

"Eh, my lass, I was only joking. Don't I know that you would ha' no pleasure in your things if the rest of us were not as well off? And we can go to church too, can't we, Margaret?"

This was the thin edge of the wedge in Adam's hand, and he felt a little doubtful of introducing it. But Margaret was in too good a temper to be easily put out. Moreover, she reflected that when, as a girl, she got a new thing, she made a point of going to church in it, as a favourable place for its immediate display to a goodly number of people.

So she answered, "I daresay we may, sometimes. I should like Mrs. Mitchell to see that we can all go out nice and neat, when our things are ready. Beside, in church one is always sure of a good hour and a half's quiet, and that would be something. I'm mostly too tired to take as long walks as we did when I was young, and we were first married.

"Adam," she continued, returning to a list of her new treasures, "there is the beautifullest Bible you ever saw, with gold on the back and covers, and such lots of pictures. I remember mother taking it in, a part every month, and getting it bound when it had all come. It cost pounds, and when we were at home we used often to quarrel about who was to have it at last. Ann always made sure of that, but mother left it among the special things to me. I know you like books, so I kept what there was; but they're heavy carrying, so they will come with the other things I told you about, by goods train."

The mention of books gave Adam another opportunity. "I've been reading a good deal out of the big Bible since you've been away, Margaret. It was very lonely without you, for Sarah went to bed mostly when Maggie did, and I was by myself, maybe for an hour. I've got quite in the way of reading a chapter last thing, and, Margaret, I went to the Mission Room in Aqueduct Street, where the men invited us to go, and Mr. Drummond too. You'll remember the men calling, don't you?"

Margaret assented, but in an absent sort of way. Indeed, she was hardly taking in the sense of Adam's words, though she caught the sound of them, for her thoughts were pre-occupied. Her mind was at that moment full of the question, "What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my goods?" The last word being substituted for the fruits, the very abundance of which embarrassed the rich fool of the parable.

Margaret's abundance was much less difficult to dispose of, but the cottage was small, and even the handful of things that were coming would require very judicious arrangement, so as not to be in the way of every movement. And so it was little wonder that, instead of answering her husband, she said, after a moment's thought, "I think we will put the new table where that little one stands, and it may go upstairs. The corner cupboard will be very handy, and take up hardly any room. I've always thought I should like one, but we had nothing much to show through the glass doors. Now there'll be mother's best china tea-set, all complete, and her teapot, as bright as silver itself. I hope none of 'em will get broken on the road, for there wasn't a crack in one when I packed them. We can do with the chest of drawers upstairs, and fill them, too, with the clothes and bed linen."

Adam sighed, poor fellow! With his full heart, he wanted to say something, but he was dimly conscious that this would be the wrong time to persist, whilst he was afraid to be silent.

He had made a start on the new and better way. He had begun new practices of prayer and Bible reading, and he dreaded the thought of these being interrupted. Unlike many who think that the race is won when a start is made, Adam was almost painfully anxious not to be turned off the course, having once entered upon it. Yet he could not help feeling that difficulties might arise when Margaret returned, which would be hard to overcome.

It was something that as yet she had neither answered him sharply, nor ridiculed his new love for Bible reading; but this might arise from her not having heeded his words, though she answered them after a fashion. So, finding that Margaret was not likely to enter into his feelings, Adam tried to enter into hers, and even gave his opinion about the placing of the furniture, though he well knew it would not be acted upon, unless it agreed with her own. But what matter? Does not the great Apostle of the Gentiles tell us that it is the woman's business to "guide the house"? And is it not good for the husband when she attends well to this plain duty, and exercises a wholesome influence in her proper sphere?

Margaret's unpacking, straightening and plans for the morrow came to an end at last, and owning herself "right down tired," she announced her intention of going to rest.

"Won't you let me read a few verses, while you sit down for a minute or two, Margaret?" asked Adam, determined not to lose this first opportunity.

"Read! To-night! What is the man thinking about? I'm that tired I can hardly lift one foot after another to get upstairs. If I sit up any longer, how am I to turn out in the morning? Whatever has come to you?"

Adam was going to try and tell his wife what had come to him. But she did not want an answer.

Before he could shape his words, she quietly lifted the large Bible from the table before him, restored it to its usual resting-place, and deposited the tea-caddy on the top of it.

"It's no good beginning at this time o' night," she said. "If you started to read I should be sure to go to sleep, and then I should be like baby, as cross as two sticks at being waked up. Maybe you'd have to carry me upstairs."

Margaret's tone was good-tempered and her face smiling, but her actions were decided enough. She followed up the removal of the Bible by fastening the outer doors and putting out the gas. Then calling, "Come along, Adam," she went straight upstairs.

He could only follow, for there was plainly no chance of five minutes with the Book he loved, and he felt that if he were to persist, he might do more harm than good.

"I'll not vex her. I mustn't wonder that she sees no need of Bible reading, when I remember that I have only just begun to care about it, I, that am forty years old. I must do what I can, and be patient and wait God's time."

Thus thought Adam, and he was comforted to some extent. He had learned several sweet passages of Scripture off by heart, and he could go over these if he could not add to them. Then Mr. Drummond, who understood something of the difficulties which beset a beginner at Bible study, had given him a little book as a help. It was quite a tiny volume, which Adam could slip into his waistcoat pocket, and on each page there was a text in good large print for the morning, and another for evening.

"It is not always easy, Adam," the manager told him, "to find time and opportunity for reading a whole chapter, or even a Psalm. But if you can just get a verse into your mind, a precious word of comfort, a sweet promise, or a something to make the way plain before you, as you go about your work, it often proves of more lasting benefit than a longer portion rapidly read over. You can make it your own, and think about it many a time whilst your hands are busy."

Adam had already derived much comfort from following this advice. He looked for his morning and evening messages as portions of bread on which his soul could feed during his hours of toil, or wakeful seasons during the night-watches.

One day there came the words, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

Adam had always been one to feel for and with others, but he was too shy and silent to express his sympathy. But these words gave him courage, and he tried to comfort a fellow workman who was in great trouble at the time. Thus, between two who had been as strangers, through seeing each other daily, sprang up a feeling of brotherly kindness and mutual good-will, which time only tended to strengthen.

On another occasion, Adam was taunted about his "new-fangled notions," and accused of "setting up for a saint." This was a tender point with the man. He was not ashamed of his profession, and he felt "joy unspeakable" as his mind dwelt on the love and grace of his Divine Lord. But these were holy things, and he could ill endure for them to be rudely spoken of.

He was tempted to answer sharply, but he found strength to resist through the sweet message: "If ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye."

"Trust in the Lord, and do good."

As Adam followed Margaret up the narrow stairs, he felt glad, in spite of his partial disappointment, for he had previously read the sweet message:

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

"Surely I may wait and be patient," he thought, "when God waited forty years to be gracious to me."

Adam thought Margaret was asleep, when he knelt by the bedside in earnest prayer. But she was not. She was only "making believe, to see what her husband was after," and she heard whispered words of thanksgiving for her safe return and a prayer that God would bless her.



MRS. LIVESEY'S children were naturally delighted at her return, and full of eager curiosity about the contents of her many boxes and parcels. Their joy was, however, much sobered when they found that mother's coming meant Sarah's going, and that without delay.

The past month had been a very happy one to them all, for Mrs. Livesey's deputy had ruled by love. Sharp words and accompanying sharp slaps had become things of the past. Sarah being young, and yet the eldest of a tribe of brothers and sisters, well knew how to occupy and amuse her juniors when indoors.

While at Adam Livesey's, she brought all her powers to bear for the benefit of the children, who had hitherto been left pretty much to their own devices in this line. But Sarah taught them merry little games, or to lisp nursery rhymes and accompany them to suitable actions, making herself, for the time, the biggest child of them all. Often the cottage rang with laughter, in which Sarah's could be distinguished no less hearty than the rest. Before bedtime her sweet voice would lead theirs in some simple hymn, fitted to their childish minds. She was care-taker, friend and playfellow all in one, and having a large and loving heart, she became much attached to her little charges.

Still she felt the trust a very serious one, but, as she told her Uncle Richard, "It came upon me without seeking, and when there seemed to be nobody else handy to fill the gap, I couldn't say 'No.' So I just ask that He who gave me this work to do will, from day to day, give me the will and the strength to do it well."

Sarah's heart glowed with joy and thankfulness when the time came for her to give back her charge into the rightful hands—the cottage in good condition, and its inmates safe and well. She was glad her duties were over, but sorry to have to unclasp the little arms that clung round her neck, whilst the lips covered her cheeks with kisses, or pleaded, "Don't go, Sarah. Stop just till to-morrow."

"There's no room for me now, and you've got your mother back. Besides, my mother wants me, and says our little Jack has cried many a time for Sarah. I'll come and see you, never fear;" and so the warmhearted girl tore herself away.

"It was nice," she told her own mother, "to see Mrs. Livesey look them all over and the house too, and then turn to me and say, 'You've done well by them. I don't know how to thank you.'"

Sweeter still was it for the young Christian to have the approval of her own conscience, and to know that with the best powers she had she had striven to benefit these children in higher things also. And so, thanking God for His sustaining grace, the girl prayed that her labour of love might not prove in vain in the future.

Adam Livesey told his wife how, week by week, his wages had been carefully husbanded, and every penny accounted for to himself; and when Sarah made her appearance the next morning, according to promise, Mrs. Livesey was still more warm in her thanks and praises.

"Somebody will have a good wife when you get married, Sarah," she said; and in the fulness of her heart, she bestowed a pretty necktie upon the girl, and would have added a gift in money.

"I'll take the tie for a keepsake and thank you," replied Sarah. "But please don't ask me to have any more money. I've had what I bargained for regular, and I'm best paid in knowing that you and Mr. Livesey are satisfied, and that nothing has happened to the children while their mother was away."

The girl was firm, so Margaret could only repeat her thanks and tell her to come in as often as she could, for she would never be made a stranger of in that house.

When Sarah's back was finally turned, Mrs. Livesey sang her praises to all whom it might concern.

"That Sarah Evans is worth her weight in gold. She's one of a thousand. The first girl I ever knew to say 'No' to an extra five shillings, specially when she was as well worth the pay as one penny is worth another."

So on for twenty-four hours, and then—

It is a pity to have to tell it, but at the end of that period, Mrs. Livesey changed her tune, and it came about in this way. The little people missed Sarah, and said so. They even cried after her, and would hardly be pacified, though they had new china mugs with "A Present from Oldford," in gilt letters on one side, and their Christian names on the other.

Gilt and white china mugs may be very pretty to look at, and treasures to children who have few, but they cannot tell stories or join in games, or comfort a little mite who has fallen down and bumped his head. They cannot kiss away tears from baby faces, or coax back smiles; and so, sadly missing Sarah, who did all these things, the youthful Liveseys begged to have her back again. Finding this impossible, they lifted up their voices and wept, to the surprise and indignation of Mrs. Livesey.

Adam excused them to their mother, saying, "It's no wonder. The girl has been so kind and gentle with them. I don't believe one of them has had a slap or a cross word since you went away."

Adam made this remark very innocently, thinking only of the pleasure a mother would feel in knowing that her children had been so tenderly dealt with.

Sarah took it differently, and rather sharply echoed the last words, "Since I went away! I suppose I'm the one to do the scolding and slapping, then, when it is done. I'm beginning to see this, that I might as well have stopped away altogether. It's 'Sarah did this,' and 'Sarah said that,' or 'taught the other,' till I'm beginning to feel as if nobody but Sarah could do anything right for you all now."

Truly the mother had dropped into her own old ways without loss of time, and more than one little hand and back had tingled under her fingers before the night of that first day, even though the children had been promised new garments and other good things. It was the old, active, bustling, quick-spoken Margaret back again, as they were all soon made to understand.

It was very natural for one innocent tongue after another to tell what Sarah had done and taught. But much would have been better left unspoken, for the effect produced was very unexpected.

A red spot became visible on Margaret's cheek, and her dark eyes had an angry light in them as she said at length, "I don't want to hear another word about Sarah, She has turned you all upside down while I've been away. I'm obliged to her for what she's done in most ways, but I don't want new fashions, so we'll go back to old ones."

As we already know, Mrs. Livesey was a warmhearted woman, who thought nothing too much to do for her husband and children. Like most such, she was quick-tempered and prone to jealousy, of a kind. She liked to be first and foremost in her home and with those she loved, and could ill bear to hear the praises of another.

She had been willing enough to give due credit to Sarah Evans, but she wished to do all the praising herself. She was quick enough to see that the girl had made her children very happy, and, with a strange mixture of feeling, was grateful for the doing, yet annoyed that this should have been the work of a mere stranger.

Conscience often pricked her for sharp ways and words. Her deputy's experience proved that cleanliness, order, and obedience might be maintained by joining kindness to firmness. Yet Mrs. Livesey could not forgive Sarah for succeeding in things where she had so often failed. From that day forward, she resolved that the memory of Sarah's rule in the household should be blotted out as rapidly as possible. In time she succeeded so far as to keep the children from talking about her, and when the young woman came to the house, she so managed that, without showing her any incivility, she prevented the girl from wishing to repeat the visit.

A busy time followed Mrs. Livesey's return. The active mother knew no rest until she had the pleasure of seeing her husband in new garments, her children's wardrobes renovated, her house re-arranged to suit the additions made in the way of furniture.

Then she looked with pride and satisfaction after little Maggie as she went off to the Sunday school between Jessie and Alice Mitchell, and said, "There! I can send my girl out as nice as her neighbours. I've got the desire of my heart at last."

How fared it with Adam in the meanwhile?

If the truth must be told—not over-well. In the old days, if any one had said that more than eight shillings per week would be added to the family income, Adam would have been quite certain that nothing but good could be the result of the increase.

After a short experience, he was not quite so sure.

Margaret had nothing beyond human resolutions and human strength to enable her to bear this sudden prosperity with meekness. She was hardly the one to do it. She was, as her husband told Richard Evans in confidence, "a bit set up."

She was proud that the money had come from her side. She was a little self-willed in the use of it, and, seeing that she had never consulted her husband about the application of his own earnings, she did not ask his advice as to spending what was, she considered, doubly her own.

She had one or two rash plans for laying out a portion of the capital so as to bring in more interest, but fortunately Mr. Collinge persuaded her to let the money stay where it was, on a well-secured mortgage at five per cent.

Taking all things together, Adam began to doubt whether, whilst the bit of money might have added to their bodily comfort, it had increased the happiness of his little household. After six months' experience, he came to the conclusion that things had gone rather the other way, and Margaret and he hardly pulled as comfortably together as of old.

Adam, poor fellow, thought he and his wife only needed to meet again, and then he would be able to commune with her of all that was in his heart. He tried to tell her about that first night at the Mission Room, when he learned some of the value of his soul, and of the price paid for its redemption. He was full of his subject, but he soon found it hard to speak to one who seemed neither to understand nor to sympathise with him.

He almost doubted whether she heard him, for she made short answers that did not mean anything, she yawned, looked about her, and finally started up before he had finished with the question, "Is that baby crying?" And though Adam could hear no childish voice, she went to see if all were right, and did not come back until long afterwards. He was thankful that she allowed all the children who were old enough to go to the Sunday school.

"It gets them nicely out of the way, Adam, and saves their clothes too, which is another good thing."

The best thing of all, the teaching and training, the feeding of those whom the risen Saviour called "My lambs," was entirely overlooked.

Once or twice Margaret accompanied Adam to church. But she seemed to take little interest in the service, and felt, as she said, "quite strange now." So, after having exhibited herself and her husband in their new apparel, and derived but little satisfaction therefrom, she decided to stay at home, as a regular thing, and rest on Sundays.

"I've got out of the way of going to church," she said. "I'm most comfortable at home, as a good wife should be, Adam," And Margaret laughed as if she had said something clever.

In her younger days, Margaret lived for some years in a country place, and in speaking of it she said: "There was some pleasure in going to church where you knew everybody. In a great place like Millborough you go and see only strange faces. Nobody speaks to you, or takes a bit of notice. I'm more comfortable at home. I've got into another rut now, and I mean to keep in. We've done very well for years without so much church or chapel going, and why need we bother our heads now? We're sober and honest, we pay our way and meddle with nobody. I've a quiet conscience, and I think you might have one, too, Adam, for any harm you do."

Adam could understand Margaret's feelings. They were just what his own had been a few short weeks before. But how was she to be awakened to her need of forgiveness, or the preciousness of the Saviour he had found, if she had no disturbing consciousness of sin?

The truth was, that Margaret felt very insignificant as one of a city congregation. What were her new garments to the strangers she saw there? Who noticed them or her? Why, in the country every second person would have had a word with her. Where was the good of going when there was nobody to meet?

Thus Margaret entirely overlooked the fact of the great Presence promised wherever two or three should be gathered in the name of Jesus.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Livesey was not contented to take her own way; she began to throw stumbling-blocks in her husband's path. She would not walk with him, and was resolved he should not leave her to walk alone on the new and better way he had chosen.

Did Adam arrange to go to church in the morning, he was asked how he could be so unreasonable.

"How can I do my work and look after the two little 'uns?" she would say. "You know, Adam, they're just at the age when they oughtn't to be left for a minute. I like to have a nice dinner for you all on Sunday, and here you'd go off and leave me to do by myself, with these two up to all sorts of mischief."

Adam would yield with a sigh, and resolve to stay at home or go out with his youngest pair.

Adam was now better provided with books, and amongst those which Margaret had brought was a fine old copy of the "Pilgrim's Progress," with quaint pictures. Situated as he was, Adam could hardly have possessed a volume better suited to his wants.

It was, however, difficult to find a quiet spot in which to read. He would fain have read it aloud, but Margaret protested against this.

"I read that old book years and years ago. I don't want to hear it again," she said.

If Adam brightened at this, and began to speak about the trials and victories of the pilgrim, he soon found that if Margaret had read the book, its contents had long been forgotten.

So it was with others. Let the man try to interest his wife by reading aloud, and she would reply, perhaps with a good-humoured laugh, "It's no good, Adam. I'm not fond o' reading, like you. I shall be asleep in a few minutes if you begin, and no wonder, when I'm afoot nearly all my time. Talk to me, and I shall have to answer."

But talking meant speaking about the neighbours or the children, or of what was going on at Rutherford's. Any and everything except the "one thing needful." Truly Adam was called upon to climb the hill Difficulty without going beyond the threshold of his cottage door.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

Adam was sometimes almost ready to give up, so many and constant were the petty hindrances against which he had to contend. But he thought, "If it be hard to bear and to forbear, with the help of prayer and the comfort and strength that comes from knowing that God sees and loves and cares for me, what would it be without these things?"

So the trustful soul got new courage, and Adam, thinking about the trials of Bunyan's pilgrim, said to himself, "Christian had to start for Zion, leaving wife and children behind him. But they followed him after all. Maybe poor Margaret will be like her. Still, it would be sweet if we could travel together."

Thus Adam's faith was tried, whilst it was but as that of a little child clinging to a father's hand, and knowing nothing of the way by which it is led. But from the depths of his awakened soul, he cried, "Lord, help me to bear and forbear. What I know not, teach Thou me. By Thy Holy Spirit's help I have got to know something about my own need, and been guided to the feet of Jesus to find a Saviour in Him. O God, let that same blessed Spirit teach my poor Maggie. I am slow at speaking, and I don't know what is best to say to her, for I seem to have tried all ways that were plain to me. Send her the same Teacher and the same light that showed me my sinfulness and need. Help me to be very patient, for she's a good wife and mother, according to what she knows, and would give the last penny or the last bit for me or the children. I'll try to wait Thy time. O God help me not to murmur, but to be sure that time and way of Thy ordering must be best!"



"AND we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."

An easy text to adopt when the "all things" suit our inclinations and are in accord with what we think should be.

Adam Livesey learned to make the text his own, and humbly acknowledged that even the little provocations which, added together, took most of the comfort out of his domestic life, drove him to seek to know more of that "love of God which passeth knowledge." He was wonderfully patient with Margaret, and, if she would have told the truth, she must have owned that she found it as hard to persevere in her course of conduct as Adam did in his.

Nay, harder, for he was upheld by a strength which she had not. She had resolved to break Adam of his new-fangled notions, and whilst conscience reproached her for harassing one who was so patient, and her naturally warm heart pleaded for the husband who was, after all, dearer than the whole world beside, Margaret did not like to give in when she had determined on any course.

Sometimes she chose to taunt Adam about his friend the manager.

"A deal of good his coming has done us," she said. "Not one shilling a week has your fine Mr. Drummond put on to your wages since he came. And he never will. Don't tell me that he can't. I know better. Where there's a will there's a way. And you that have worked all your life at Rutherford's. You haven't had a rise for years. It's a shame. That's what it is."

"I've had the best rise I ever had," replied Adam. "It's through Mr. Drummond I got the good news that Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me. That has made me a rich man—me that was o' no account;" And the man's face was lighted with a holy joy as he spoke of his blessed heritage.

"I don't make much account of riches that you can neither see nor spend, Adam. I tell you my riches are a deal the best, for they bring twelve pound ten every six months, and help to clothe and feed the children and make home comfortable. If you could only put your new fortune into the shape of half a crown a week more wage, I should like it a deal better. And so would you, I'll be bound."

"No, dear lass, no," returned Adam fervently. "I would not change the unsearchable riches of Christ for all the money in the world. I should ha' said same as you once, but 'whereas I was blind, now I see.' I was a poor lost sinner, now saved through faith in the 'grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.' I'm hoping and praying every day that you'll say the same before long. Good-bye, dear lass."

Adam looked at Margaret with a tender, yearning gaze, but she did not return it or answer his good-bye, and he went off to his work, whilst Margaret continued her grumble to a neighbour, who came in at the moment.

"I was just talking to our Adam about his wages," she said. "As a regular thing, he only gets a pound a week. When he has piece work, it mends things a good bit, only the poor fellow has to slave like anybody on the treadmill when Rutherford's is busy. But he never grumbles, not he. You might think half Millborough belonged to him, to hear him talk."

"You're better off, by a deal, than most of us, Mrs. Livesey. Your husband is just as steady as old Time, and never gives you an ill word. Beside, you've your own little fortin, as one may call it, for a fortin it is, added to regular wages," and the speaker gave a sigh. She had a husband who earned more than Adam's wages and Margaret's fortune put together, but owing to his drinking habits, she was far worse off with only two children, while the Liveseys had six living.

Margaret liked any allusion to her "fortune." It gratified that feeling of pride which had been growing ever since her mother's death. She answered, with a satisfied smile, that it was a good job there had been a bit o' money laid by on her side. She often wondered how she had kept a house over their heads, when there was nothing but what Adam worked for. He was always a real good husband.

"I expect he's better still now he's turned religious."

"He was good enough for me before. If he'd been like some men, I might have been glad enough to see an alteration," returned Margaret, rather sharply.

"You may say that," replied her neighbour, without resenting the implied allusion to her own partner. "We're none of us so good, though, but what we might be better. I often feel as if I wanted something different, some comfort that I can't get out of my share of this world."

Margaret was not prepared to administer such, and the neighbour took her leave with the thought in her mind that Mrs. Livesey hardly knew when she was well off, specially in the matter of a husband.

It was true that Adam never grumbled. He worked with his might, was satisfied with fair wages, and he had mastered that very difficult lesson which St. Paul spoke of, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

He had his desires and longings, but not after the good things of this world. He wanted to grow in likeness to Jesus, to be fruitful in every good work, to increase in the knowledge of God.

He could not have put his longings into these very words unless he had just read them, but he did feel like a very child, ready to be taught and led, and humbly conscious of his ignorance and weakness. He clung to what he had already gained, and thanked God for it with a rejoicing heart. And only God knew how he prayed that the partner of his life, the mother of his children, might yet share his fortune, and that they might walk to the house of God in company.

All the while Margaret, with far less to try her than of old, was making troubles both for Adam and herself. She was soon to experience a very real one.

That very morning, one of the workmen at Rutherford's placed some iron beams near a sliding gate. They were not firmly fixed, but were only intended to remain for a few minutes, and then to be gradually removed. The man was, however, called away for something else, and in the meanwhile, Mr. Drummond and another workman approached the spot, followed by Adam Livesey, who was a couple of paces behind the manager.

The workman advanced to open the gate without noticing the insecure position of the beams, the first of which was displaced by the movement, and the rest came crashing down. Adam's eye was turned in that direction, and he saw the danger, and uttered a warning cry, whilst darting forward to save Mr. Drummond, who was perfectly unconscious of the possibility of risk.

No one could tell just how it was done; only the manager was thrust aside, the first workman, whom Adam vainly strove to reach or warn, lay crushed and bleeding on the ground, and Adam's strong right arm, broken in two places, hung helpless by his side.

Great drops of moisture sprang to the poor striker's brow, and, sick and faint, he sank down beside the wall of the building and tried to wipe his pallid face with his rough hand. Even in that moment of suffering, his first thoughts were for those at home, his first words told of anxiety for them.

"Poor Margaret! How will she bear it? Oh, sir!" To Mr. Drummond, who was bending over him in deep distress. "I shall never lift the hammer again."

"Adam, my dear fellow, words cannot tell how grieved I am that you should be bearing this for me. You saved my life at the cost of this calamity to yourself."

"Did I? Did I really?" said the suffering man, as a ray of light crossed his pallid face. "Then it's not all trouble. There's a bit of comfort out of it. I doubt poor Jim has got the worst. I tried."

"You did, my friend, all that courage and presence of mind could do. But poor Sam is past all earthly suffering. One of the beams struck him on the temple, and must have killed him instantly."

Whilst these brief words passed, means were being used for the removal of all that remained of poor Sam. Then Adam was conveyed to the hospital accompanied by Mr. Drummond, who intended first to ascertain the extent of his poor friend's injuries, and then to break the news to Mrs. Livesey.

There are always loungers and hangers-on in the neighbourhood of a great hive of industry like Rutherford's, and the tidings flew rapidly from mouth to mouth, and lost nothing in the transit. It reached the ears of little Tom Livesey, who was just leaving morning school. The lad rushed wildly homeward, and bursting into the kitchen, in the midst of tears and sobs, told that "there'd been a lot o' men killed at Rutherford's, and they said father was one of 'em."

Poor Tom was not to blame for this false report. He told the tale as it had been told to him, and in the anguish of his childish heart rushed homeward and wailed out his terrible tidings.

Margaret Livesey will never forget that time or the half-hour that followed it. She was almost like a woman turned to stone, and at first incapable of speech or action, or anything but remorse. She endured a lifetime of misery during the brief interval which passed before she knew the truth.

All poor Adam's patience and long-suffering, his unselfishness, his loving ways with his little ones, his steady industry, his perfect confidence in and true affection for herself, his silence under provocation, or the soft answers which always seemed most natural to him, where many a man under similar circumstances would have replied with an oath and a blow—all these things came before her mind's eye on one side.

And on the other what did she see?

Ah, she could hardly bear to look. She got a view of herself, such as all her previous experiences had never given her. All her own sharp, impatient ways and words, her want of sympathy with her husband's joy, her unwillingness to listen when he would fain have poured out his very heart-longings for her to understand, if such might be. Her worritting ways, her finding fault with the course which Adam had chosen, and at which many another wife would have rejoiced with a full heart.

These things Margaret saw, and she clasped her hands in utter misery, as she thought of his "good-bye" that very morning, when he lingered for a word or look from her, and she gave him neither. Oh, if she could have him back! If he had only been hurt, not killed, how she would have worked for him in turn, and never grumbled, be the toil ever so hard, the hours ever so long.

What was now the value of the fortune of which she had been so proud? How gladly would she have given up every penny, just for the chance of saying, "Forgive me, Adam. I'm sorry for my contradictious ways and cross words. Say you forgive me, and put your kind arm round my neck once more, whilst we have just one farewell kiss."

These thoughts did not take long to pass through Mrs. Livesey's mind, and during the time she was moving about in a mechanical way and preparing to go, she scarce knew whither, in search of what was left of the husband who had gone from her in health and strength so short a time before.

As she approached the outer door, she heard a step drawing near it, and, looking up, she saw old Richard Evans, with a face full of mingled sorrow and sympathy, coming towards her.



MR. DRUMMOND had sent Richard Evans to break the bad news of the accident to Mrs. Livesey, whilst he accompanied Adam to the hospital.

"Oh, Mr. Evans! My poor Adam, my husband!" wailed Margaret, as she saw the face of the old workman, and not waiting to hear what news he had brought. "To think he should be taken from me in such a way, and him so good and kind. There's so many that are no use to anybody, and that nobody would want, though they might miss them for their very badness, and because they made their families miserable. What shall I do? What shall I do?"

Tears streamed down Margaret's face, and all her independent, self-reliant manner was gone. She could only clasp her hands in an agony of combined remorse and sorrow, as she wailed out her regrets and complaints in turn.

"You've heard of the accident then," said Richard. "Ill news flies fast indeed, for I thought I'd lost no time in coming. Mr. Drummond was so anxious you shouldn't hear in a sudden way."

"My little Tom heard about it, and ran home as fast as his feet would carry him. Poor thing! He knew no better than to speak out. How should he? Where is my poor Adam? Where have they taken him to? I must go and bring him home."

"I'm grieved for you," began Richard, "but words bring poor comfort. There's only One that can wipe away tears and give the oil of joy for mourning. May He comfort and strengthen you. But you must have a bit of patience, Margaret. You shall see him as soon as it's wise for you to go."

"Where have they taken my husband?" persisted Margaret.

"To the hospital. Mr. Drummond went with him. He would trust nobody to see after him on the road but himself. You shall go to him, I tell you, as soon as possible."

"Seeing him won't bring him to life," cried Margaret. "And oh, dear, dear, I let him go out this morning without answering him, or giving him so much as a look when he said, 'Good-bye, dear lass.'"

"Well, you must make that right when you see him. Adam isn't the one to bear malice. He'll forget and forgive. He's badly hurt. Arm broken in two places, beside cuts and bruises, but he'll get well in time, no fear."

"Get well!" cried Margaret, hardly believing that her ears were telling the truth. "Why, some one told my little Tom that his father was killed, and ever so many more men beside him."

"Nay, Mrs. Livesey, things are not that bad," said Richard, relieved to find himself in the position of one who brings comparatively good tidings, when his heart had been sinking within him at the thought of what had to be told. "Your Adam is worth any number of dead men yet. I've told you the truth. He's hurt, but nobody thinks his life is in any danger.

"It's poor Jim that's killed, the merriest, thoughtlessest chap at Rutherford's, in spite of his sharp-tongued wife. She'll be sorry she never gave him a gentle word, I daresay, now he's gone, though I fancy it will be more for the loss of his wages than his company. There must be such-like wives to be all sorts, I reckon," said Richard. "Your home is a different place from what poor Jim had to go to. Keep up your heart, Margaret. Adam's hurts are being well tended to, and you can see him soon. I'll go with you to the hospital."

Margaret's face had been growing paler as she listened to the hopeful words. She had borne up somehow, when the first great shock came. Now the revulsion of feeling was too great, and to the surprise of Richard Evans, she sank at his feet, fainting and unconscious.

With fatherly tenderness, the man succeeded in lifting Margaret from the ground and on to a couch, one of the treasured articles of furniture which formerly belonged to her mother.

Little Tom had been an eager listener to the news brought by Richard, and had just gathered that, after all, his father was still alive, when a fresh terror seized him. "Mother must be dead," he thought, for her face was white, and she neither spoke nor moved after she was laid on the couch.

Richard Evans read the child's fears in his face, and said, "You must be a man, Tom. Don't cry, but run off to the missis next door, and tell her to come this minute to your mother."

Tom had been on the point or giving vent to his feelings by a lusty roar, but the firm words of Richard Evans checked the sound, and subsiding into mere tears, he ran off to obey his orders.

The neighbour returned with him immediately, and Richard gave Margaret into her care. Then he sent Tom on another errand.

"You know where I live, little chap, don't you?" he said.

"Yes," replied Tom.

"Then go thy ways to my house as fast as thy feet will carry thee, and bring Sarah Evans back here, if she's with her aunt when thou gets there. If she isn't, tell my wife she must come, for somebody is badly wanted at Adam Livesey's."

Tom's fears lent swiftness to his feet, and when he reached the house, he could hardly deliver his message for want of breath.

Sarah was with her aunt, but knowing what had happened at Rutherford's, she had quietly made ready to go and offer her services to Mrs. Livesey, without waiting to be asked.

"Maybe she'll have got a neighbour in, Sarah," said Mrs. Evans, when the girl told her she was going to do what she could for Margaret. "She has behaved none so well to you. I don't forget how you went to the house before, and set Mrs. Livesey free to go straight away to her mother, and how you toiled and moiled with her tribe of little ones all those weeks, doing for them as well as she did in some ways, and better in others. And when they got to love you, poor things, as was only natural when you made their home happy and bright, she gave you the cold shoulder, and drove you right away from the house."

"Don't say 'drove,' aunt," replied Sarah; "there was no driving."

"You mightn't call it driving, my lass, but it was the same thing. Margaret Livesey thanked you and praised you, and gave you a necktie, and would have given you a bit of extra money too if you'd have taken it. Those things were all very nice in their way, but it wasn't very nice for you to go to the house a few days after, with your heart full of loving-kindness towards those children, and to feel that you weren't wanted under the roof where you had done your best for everybody, as in God's sight. And Mrs. Livesey knew it, but she couldn't bear for the little things to be made bright and happy by anybody but herself, though, owing to her sharp ways, she often made them glad to get out of her sight."

"We are not all alike, aunt," replied Sarah, the flush on her face showing, however, that the words went home. "I'm not beyond owning that I felt a bit hurt when Mrs. Livesey let me know, without words, that she only looked on me as a girl that had been a sort of stop-gap in the house, and that now my work was done I was not to think I had a settled place there. But after all, you know she said I had filled the gap well, and that hits been a pleasant thing to think of ever since."

"I think I should wait till she asked me, before I went near her again," said Mrs. Evans.

"Maybe I should too, if all were well with her," replied Sarah. "But I cannot wait now. I shall go, and if I can be of any use I shall stay. It isn't likely Mrs. Livesey can have the heart to work, when her mind will be full of poor Adam. He will be away from home till he gets a turn round, that's certain, and she will want to go to him whenever she's allowed in at the hospital."

"Aye, with all her little sharp ways she dotes on Adam and the children. She'll feel every pain he has to suffer as if it were her own. Still, I think I should let her send for me if she wanted me," persisted Mrs. Evans.

"There's nobody knows all about the house and where everything is, like I do, aunt, or could be of the same use all at once, as I can."

"That's just it, my girl. Margaret Livesey ought to know your value, and that the help that is worth having is worth asking for."

"Yes, aunt. But then think how many blessings God gives us that we never ask for, just because of our need, and even when we are not a bit thankful. Whatever should we do if He waited to send everything till we showed that we valued His givings as we ought!"

"Sarah, you are just like your uncle. He always goes to the same Teacher for his lessons. Sometimes I'm ready to be vexed with him, and tell him he's poor spirited to put up with the things he does. But it's no use, he gets over me by putting me in mind of what his Master did when He walked the earth as man, and spent His days and nights in doing good, and specially to His enemies. Go your ways, my lass, and may you be welcomed and blest in the work your hand finds to do! If you are not wanted at Adam Livesey's, you can just come back; you're never one too many in this house."

Sarah's hand was on the latch, and she was about to set out, when little Tom arrived with his tear-stained face, and full of the message which he had not breath to deliver.

"You want me to go back with you, don't you, my man?" said Sarah. "I was just coming."

Tom nodded, and pushing his hand confidingly into Sarah's, turned to retrace his steps in her company.

Amid the general confusion and sense of trouble in Tom's mind, a gleam of comfort now found place. It could not be all bad, if it were the means of bringing dear, kind Sarah to the house again. It was a pity that it should be so, but he and the other children often looked longingly back on the time of mother's absence as the brightest bit in their lives, and they sometimes ventured to whisper the wish to each other that she might have to go away again for something.

Now, the very sight of Sarah and the grasp of her hand gave confidence, and by degrees Tom managed to tell her what had happened at home, of the condition in which he had left his mother, and the message sent by Richard Evans to herself.

"They said father was dead," added Tom, "and I ran home and told mother, and then Mr. Evans came and said father was alive, only he had been hurt and his arm was broke, so they'd taken him to get it set. Then mother went so white and fell down on the floor. I thought she was dead too."

The tears came as Tom recalled the terror, caused by the news of his father and the sight of his mother's face.

"But father is not killed, and mother will soon be better, Tom, so you mustn't cry, my man. You and I have got to help mother, and crying is not the way to do it; but I don't wonder at the tears, my poor little man. I daresay I should have been ready to cry too, if I had been there. Now we must just think to ourselves how we can make the best of a bad job. And we'll make all the haste we can, and see what has to be done first."

"You'll stay with us, Sarah, won't you?" asked Tom.

"To be sure I will, if mother wants me," said Sarah, which reply lengthened Tom's face a little.

Child as he was, he had divined that mother could not have wanted Sarah, or she would have asked her to tea sometimes, and not told him and the rest to hold their tongues when they said how kind she had been, or that she was sick of hearing Sarah's name. Well, any way, he could not be blamed for bringing her this time, for Mr. Evans had sent him to fetch her.

Tom need have had no fears on the score of a welcome for Sarah. With the first moments of returned consciousness, Mrs. Livesey had become aware that she should be ill-fitted to sustain even the burden of her daily work unassisted. Indeed, she doubted whether she might not be dependent upon others for still further help.

Richard Evans had told Mrs. Livesey that he had sent for his niece; but Margaret's pale face flushed at the mention of Sarah's name, then paled again as she whispered, "I don't think she'll come."

"I don't think anything about it. I'm sure she will come sooner or later. It will be very soon if Tom finds her at my place," replied Richard. "Why, bless your heart, Mrs. Livesey, if you were the biggest enemy she had, instead of being a neighbour and in trouble, Sarah would be ready to run to your help without being asked at all. And I really believe she's here," he added, as the latch was lifted and Tom entered with his niece.

"Just at the right time, Sarah, lass," said Richard. "Did Tom meet you on the road?"

"No, uncle; but I had heard about Mr. Livesey's accident, and I thought maybe I could help a bit, so I put on my things, and was ready when Tom came to the door. Please don't move," for Margaret was trying to raise herself from the couch. "You don't look fit for anything but to be waited on, and if you'll let me, I'll look after you and the children. I know where to find things, for you have a place for every one of them, and each in its place."

The tears rolled down Margaret's cheeks as she motioned for Sarah to come near her; then she whispered, "I did not think you would come after all. You are kind. I don't deserve it, but you are fond of the children, and they love you, poor things! And you'll be sorry about my Adam."

"I'm sorry for him and for you, Mrs. Livesey—for one as much as the other, I was going to say, but I think I'm most sorry for you, because it is harder for you to know of his hurt and the pain he will have, than to bear pain yourself. But what a mercy you are not a widow with a troop of little orphans round you at this minute!"

"Aye, lass," said Richard Evans. "And it seems to me that the first thing we should do is just to say a word of thanksgiving to God for Adam's spared life, and a prayer for poor Jim's widow and little ones."

This was a new thought to Mrs. Livesey, who was already turning her mind from the contemplation of what might have been, to the consideration of the very real though lesser trouble she had to face. She was, however, ready enough, first to listen to; then to join in the words of thanksgiving which Richard offered on behalf of her husband, herself and the children, for the precious life still spared, and the hope of restored health and strength. She could feel for her neighbour too, for in that terrible moment when she thought the worst had happened, had she not experienced in little what Jim's wife must bear through the long years of probable widowhood and the struggle for daily bread? She heard Richard's prayer for her and her children, that God would bless and cheer them, and make even this trouble the means of bringing them closer to Him, and teaching them to love and serve Him better.

"Better?" thought Margaret. "I've never loved God a bit. I don't know Him well enough for that. I've grumbled often enough, when things have gone wrong, and blamed Providence for it; but if they've gone right, I've mostly taken the credit to myself."

Then Margaret heard Richard asking that God would bless what was being done for Adam at the hospital, and give him peace of mind, and freedom from anxiety, which might hinder him from speedy recovery.

"Well," thought Margaret, "there's no harm in asking that, though one mostly thinks that doctors have a deal to do with such cases. A bad one will set a joint so as it will be stiff for life, like Jane Middleton's elbow was. She could never raise her hand to her head through that doctor's blundering."

"All good things come of Thee," Richard was saying, and Margaret's thoughts came back once more, so that she heard the old workman thank God for the wisdom and skill that He had bestowed, and by which the doctors had found out the means of lessening pain and prolonging precious lives. He ended by commending them all to the loving hands of the Great Physician both of souls and bodies, then rose from his knees with the bright look on his face which ever comes when the servant of God has held communion with his Divine Master.

Very few moments had been thus occupied, for time was precious, and there was much to be done. The children must be cared for, and all the little household matters attended to, for their sakes. These things, however, Sarah would undertake.

"You'll be free to go and see Adam, Mrs. Livesey," said Richard; "but if you'll take an old man's advice, you'll try and eat a bit before you start. It's a long while since breakfast, and after that faint turn, you had you cannot be fit for much. You'll want all your strength to keep a bright face and a cheery word for Adam. He's sure to be a bit down in the mouth, as one may say, and only natural. Now I'll leave you and Sarah, and I'll just get to know how Adam is going on, and then come back here for you, if the doctors will let you see him."

"They always let a man's wife see him when he's badly hurt," said Margaret. "I must go soon."

"It's often a good sign when they say, 'Wait a bit, and let him have a rest before anybody comes.' When a man is so badly hurt that they think there is no chance of pulling him round again, why, then he must be seen soon, if at all. But when they feel sure it's only a question of a little time, and that every minute's rest is doing him good, they like to keep visitors away for their patient's sake. I hope soon to bring you good news."

With these cheery words, Richard left Mrs. Livesey and Sarah together.



"HE goes over the ground at a good rate," said Sarah Evans, as she glanced for a moment at the retreating figure of her uncle. "He's sixty-eight, but his step is firm and his hand as steady as a young man's."

"Steadier than many a young man's," replied Margaret. "Some of them get the trembles in their wrists many a year before age has aught to do with them, more's the pity. My poor Adam's hand was all right before this trouble, but I reckon he'll never be the same man again. No more striking for him. An arm that's been broke in two places will not be fit to lift the big hammer for many a month to come, if ever. I should think it will never be strong again."

"Don't you go looking at the dark side, Mrs. Livesey. There's real trouble enough without going off in a hurry to see if we can't find a worse. An hour ago it would have seemed good news just to know that your husband was living, without anything else."

"Aye, that's true. When I thought Adam was killed, there wasn't a bright spot anywhere. If it hadn't been for the children, I could have just lain down and died myself. And worst of all, I hadn't been very good-tempered in the morning, and I let him go without answering, when he spoke to me as kind as could be. He never said a cross word, as many a man would have done; and though I never looked the side he was, I know as well as can be that he kept turning round to see if I gave him as much as a nod from the doorway, before he got out of sight."

"I daresay something had put you out, or maybe you didn't feel quite yourself this morning," said Sarah, willing to find an excuse for the troubled heart.

"If I were put out, I had no right to be," replied Margaret. "As to being myself, I was too much myself, for it's just me to say a sharp word when I ought to have spoken kindly or to hold my tongue, and seem sulky when Adam was waiting for a word. Eh, dear, dear! My old mother used to say civility cost nothing and went a long way, and I've mostly thought of this, and been pretty mannerly towards my neighbours. But I've got a fresh lesson to-day, and I find that good manners, like charity, should begin at home. Many and many a time I've acted and spoke to Adam as if any sort was good enough for the best husband that ever lived."

The streaming tears stopped Margaret from further speech, but Sarah's kind heart was full of sympathy for her, and she showed this by looks, words, and acts, whilst busying herself with household duties.

At first Margaret tried to assist, but Sarah could not help noticing that she stopped from time to time, as if unequal to any exertion, so she begged her to rest.

"I can do everything easily," she said; "you must rest to get up strength and spirits for Adam's sake."

Margaret agreed, more willingly than might have been expected, and Sarah could not help thinking that the shock had affected her more than she had at first realized.

The children were fed and sent off to school again, the least of all having been carried off and cared for by a neighbour. Margaret had forced herself to swallow a few morsels of food, and was anxiously waiting for Richard to return, when Mr. Drummond made his appearance instead.

"I am thankful to bring as good news as possible under the circumstances," he said. "Your husband's arm is well set, and his other hurts are not serious. He must, however, stay where he is at present, and you may depend on his being well attended to. For myself, Mrs. Livesey, I owe him a lifelong debt of gratitude. But for his bravery and presence of mind, my wife would now be a widow and my little ones fatherless. Probably more lives would have been lost, but certainly mine would. My one sorrow is that your brave, good husband is suffering for what he did to save me."

Margaret felt proud to hear such words from a man who stood in such high esteem as Mr. Drummond, and she was, in a sense, glad that he stood there alive and well, the messenger of good tidings. But it would be too much to suppose that she did not consider his safety too dearly bought.

Thought is rapid, and as Margaret had rested on the couch whilst Sarah worked on her behalf, many vision had passed through her mind.

Adam, not being a skilled mechanic, only a sort of labourer, was not in a club. There would be no allowance during his illness. When he was well again, what would he be able to do? Just jobbing work, most likely, with uncertain wages, and these poor at the best.

When an accident or death took place amongst the hands at Rutherford's, and it was known that the wife and children would be in almost immediate need of help, a collection was sure to be made, in order to tide over the first money difficulties. Comrades gave almost beyond their means, without fear of reproof from wives who were waiting for wages, in order that their mate's widow might not at once feel the pinch of poverty along with the wound of bereavement.

But Margaret had already calculated that two causes would prevent her from receiving aid of this kind.

First, there was poor Jim's widow and children to care for, and their case was sadder, their need greater than her own. Secondly, everybody knew that Margaret's "fortune" had not been encroached upon, for had she not been proud to say as much? A woman who had hundreds of pounds "out at use," or interest, was not likely to need help from those who owned no reserve of the kind, or to receive it.

Jim's wages had been much higher than Adam Livesey's, but owing to his own habits he had always been in debt, and the family generally in low water, poorly fed and worse clad.

Adam's small earnings had been turned to the best account, and apart from Margaret's fortune, the family were regarded as "comfortable."

"There will be nobody to stretch out a hand for me nor mine," thought Margaret. "Drink and shiftlessness pay best when trouble comes. I did think that bit of money from mother would be there to make things easy for us in our old days, but some of it will have to be spent now. However, if it's for Adam, I'll not grudge it, if the last penny goes. It's all I can do for him, poor fellow. In a year or two, the lads will begin to bring a trifle in; but, however hard parents are put to it, the children must have their time at school."

Margaret sighed at this last thought, for, like many other uneducated parents, she was inclined to put little value on learning, and to regard it rather as a hindrance to early bread-winning. "If not this," she said, and perhaps with some truth, "that when working men's lads had got much schooling, they began to be ashamed of fathers and mothers that had little or none."

"Aye," Margaret would say, "they all want to dress in broadcloth, and work with their coats on in an office or such-like place. They go by hundreds after everything that means being stuck at a desk with a pen in their hands, and think they're gentlemen on fifteen shillings a week. Why, if there's a place for a clerk at ever such a trifle to begin with, they're after it like a swarm of flies round a dab of treacle. They go on trying to live genteel on less wage than my Adam gets, and that's little enough. Any way, working folks that don't pretend to be anything else, have no need to dress up like them that have ten times as much to spend."

Margaret's ambition for her boys was that each should learn a trade of some kind. Observation had convinced her that the steady, skilled mechanic, with a good knowledge of his craft, seldom had idle time on his hands, or needed to be one of a swarm of applicants for a vacant place at a desk.

Adam, too, had confirmed her views from an experience at Rutherford's.

The firm had advertised for a youth to assist in the office, and for skilled mechanics in the works. For the former post more than a hundred applications were made; for the latter, three. Yet the office employé would have begun at ten shillings a week with no prospect of rising beyond a guinea. The mechanics could each have made from two to three pounds, according to their skill and industry.

Adam had grieved at the disappointment of so many would-be clerks, and said to Margaret, "Didn't it seem a pity there was only one place and such a lot of likely lads after it? Think, Margaret, a hundred and eleven went away disappointed while one got a start!"

"Whose fault was that?" retorted Margaret, with some sharpness. "Doesn't it come of teaching lads too much, and making 'em all want to be gentlemen, instead of good workmen, like their fathers were content to be?"

"I shouldn't be sorry if I had a bit more learning," Adam had replied. "It helps a man on, whatever station of life he may be in. If he's poor, he can get more pleasure and satisfaction out of a spare hour with a good book to read and enjoy."

"I had no learning to speak of, and a good job too," returned Margaret. "I've no spare hours, if the house is to be cleaned, clothes are to be mended, children looked after, and meals ready in time. When my stirring work is done, if it ever is, I have to sew or knit to keep myself awake; I should only go to sleep over a book. Not that I'm against reading, writing, and doing sums. They're useful, though as to writing, you get out of practice if you seldom do it. The summing I want comes pretty regular, for I have to buy and pay for things, and reckon how far the week's money will go. I get fast now and again, when I want two shillings to buy half a crown's worth;" and she laughed heartily.

"You do make two shillings reach further than most women's half-crowns," said Adam, ever ready to praise Margaret's good management. "But you wouldn't like our lads to be behind other folks, and to lose a chance of getting on for want of a bit more learning. A lad is often stuck fast because of the want."

"And more of 'em are stuck up because they have it. No, no, Adam. Let our lads have enough for every-day use—we're bound to keep 'em at school till they're past standards enough, then get 'em in at Rutherford's, or some such place. They'll soon earn a bit, and make things easier for you. As to a working man that gets a book in his hand as soon as he comes in! He sits like a stone, and hasn't a word for anybody, or a bit o' news to cheer up the wife who has no time to go out and hear for herself."

Margaret, somehow, always silenced Adam when learning and books were in question. He had thought, poor fellow, that if he read aloud sometimes whilst she worked, after the children were in bed, she would share his innocent pleasure. After the first fruitless attempts to interest Margaret in that "Book" which had become most precious of all to himself and others of a decidedly religious tendency, he had made another effort. Mr. Drummond had lent him books of travel and adventure, and stories in which instruction and amusement were well united. But all in vain. Margaret would none of them, and even objected to the father and elder children sharing them together.

"Tales take them off their lessons, which are hard enough in all conscience for such young heads. But they've got to be done, and tale books must wait till they haven't so much learning to take up their time."

These scenes and arguments had wearied Adam, and for peace and quietness sake, he had for some time past ceased to press upon Margaret what was evidently so distasteful to her. He tried to carry home whatever news was likely to interest her, though he abstained from telling anything in the shape of mere gossip or scandal.

Now that Adam was lying at the hospital, injured and helpless, many memories crowded through his wife's mind. The most abiding pictures were those which told of his patience towards herself, and of her want of sympathy in return, mingled with anxiety about the future of her husband and children.

"If," she thought, "Mr. Drummond has any real gratitude, he'll show it as well as talk about it. We shall soon know what his words are worth a week to us, now wages are stopped. And after Adam is better? If he ever does get well—" and Margaret's heart sank within her as she thought of the possible darker side. "Surely there will be some place found for my poor man at the old shop."

Margaret was so business-like, so prompt both to act and plan, that during the earliest hours of her new trouble, her mind had been occupied with many things. Regrets for the past, anxieties for the future, speculations as to what the firm, as represented by Mr. Drummond, and Mr. Drummond on his own account, might do for her husband—plans and resolutions for the greater comfort of her good, kind Adam and the children, each chased each other through her mind.

One thought added to the mental weight which oppressed her from the first moment she heard that Adam was hurt. There were six children already. A few weeks hence, the mother would need tending, and there would be another little mouth to feed. With the sense of work to be done, it was a trial to Margaret to take the needful rest which would enable her to visit her husband at the hospital. But when Mr. Drummond came with his cheering news, he showed his forethought for Margaret in more ways than one.

"I have asked Richard Evans to arrange for his wife to go with you to the hospital," he said. "She will be here in a cab directly, and in the meanwhile, if you feel equal to going, you will put on your bonnet, will you not? Mrs. Evans will take good care of you I am sure."

Margaret tried to utter words of thanks, but broke down in the effort. Quivering lips and tearful eyes told their story without speech.

"You must be brave, Mrs. Livesey, for Adam's sake. He has told me what a good wife he has. One who would take the last bit from her own lips to give to him or her children. And now you must do what is harder even than that to a loving heart, when one dearer to it than all the world beside is suffering. You must drive tears away, and give Adam a smile and hopeful, cheery words, which will be far-away better than medicine. Say nothing about wages or money matters. I hope his mind has already been eased on those points. On each pay day, Richard Evans shall bring you the full amount, until Adam is able to work for you all again."

No better remedy for Margaret's tears could have been suggested, as her brightened face promptly testified.

"I can't thank you, sir," she began—

"No thanks are needed," said Mr. Drummond. "I think I hear wheels. Now, mind, you are to be Adam's best doctor, and if you are inclined to be down-hearted, just think of poor Jim's wife, and what might have been your case and mine. You and I and my wife may well thank God with full hearts, for spared lives. I most of all, for I have no hurt, whilst I have the sorrow of knowing that a faithful friend has been injured through his efforts to save me."

There was much in Mr. Drummond's words that gave Margaret ease of mind, comfort, and pleasure. No fear of want in the home, or that Adam would not be well cared for and eventually recover.

Then this gentleman, head over all at Rutherford's, was not ashamed to call her Adam his faithful friend. Adam, that had reckoned himself of no account from his boyish days upwards! It seemed too wonderful to think of. Of all that Mr. Drummond had said, nothing had so helped to restore Margaret's courage as those two words, "faithful friend."

Well might Margaret feel glad and proud on Adam's behalf, and confident too, that, whatever might be the weakening effect of the injuries he had received, the man who had called him "friend," and who had confessed that his life had been saved at the cost of those very injuries, would not be likely to forget his interests in the future. Nay, on the way to the hospital, she began to build castles on the foundation of Mr. Drummond's words, and in fancy saw her husband in a post of trust with lightened labour suited to his diminished strength, and her lads going in turn to learn their trade at Rutherford's.



MARGARET was very brave on the road, but at the sight of her husband's bandaged head and pale face, she lost the colour from her own.

"Don't be frightened, Maggie," said Adam, with a smile. "These cuts and humps up and down don't mean much. They tell me I shall get all right again in a bit. Keep a good heart, dear lass. I can do nothing but pray for you all as I lie here; but what a comfort I can do that! God will not forget us. He has taken a big weight off my mind in making me easy about you and the little things at home."

"It was Mr. Drummond's doing. He told me the wages would come regular, just as if you were working," replied Margaret.

"Aye, but God put it into his heart to see to it at once, and not let you and me be troubling ourselves, and wondering what was to be done until pay day came. Lifting the weight straight away was like good physic to me. And I felt so glad, dear lass, that your bit of money wouldn't have to be meddled with because of me."

"I'd give it to the last penny this minute, if it would make you well as you were when you started out to work this morning," said Margaret; and she meant it.

"Don't I know it, my girl? You're real grit, and would give more and better than money for the little uns and me. How are they all? You're not much for kissing, but mind you give 'em a kiss apiece for daddy. They'll miss me, I know, poor things!" And a tremble came into Adam's voice as he named his children. It was from him that after babyhood, they received the greatest tenderness and most caresses.

"I will, Adam, and they shall have more than one, both for their daddy and from their mother. And oh, my dear lad, forgive me for my contrary ways many a time, and specially this morning. You know, I wouldn't look or speak, and when our little Tom ran in and said you were killed, I thought I should ha' died when I minded how I'd been so stunt with you, and wouldn't speak back."

"Forgive you, Maggie! Of course I did, before you asked me. I know how it is when you feel tired, and worried with all the toiling and moiling with house, and bairns, and me. And you none so well able just now."

Margaret's tears had begun to flow at the thought of what she had felt during those awful moments when she never hoped to see Adam again in life.

And the nurse, who had been looking on, but out of ear-shot, now thought it time to interfere, lest her patient should be over-excited.

"You'll have to bid him good-bye now," said she. "You may trust him to us, and we'll have him ready to come home as soon as ever we can. We don't keep any of our patients longer than we can help. It is a pleasure to send them home looking and feeling different from what they do when they come to us."

The nurse's confident tone and hopeful words gladdened Margaret, and she thanked her for them.

Adam had heard from Richard Evans that his niece had gone to offer help without waiting to be asked; but, remembering Margaret's past treatment of the girl, the knowledge hardly gave him the comfort it was intended to do. He was almost afraid to mention Sarah's name, lest his wife should manifest the old spirit, but he soon found that fears on this head were groundless.

As Margaret bent over him to take a loving farewell, she whispered, "Sarah Evans came to me straight, as soon as ever she knew of my trouble. I felt so 'shamed of the way I'd behaved, that I could hardly look her in the face. But oh, Adam! You and Sarah are teaching me that there's something in religion. It makes folks do many a thing that they couldn't do without it. And the seeing what it does in them that have it, makes me want to be good too."

The nurse was again about to admonish Margaret to cut short her leave-taking, but the light on Adam's face convinced her that, whatever those lingering last words might be, they were giving pleasure to her patient, and she turned away, not to interrupt the farewell between husband and wife.

"Thank God! I'm so glad. All things are working together for good, even my getting hurt, Maggie dear. We shall be happier than we've ever been when I get home again."

"We'll try," whispered Maggie; and then she had to go, for nurse durst not allow her to stay longer.

"Mr. Drummond can get leave for you to come again very soon, Mrs. Livesey," she said, by way of comforting Maggie for having to leave her husband. "He's one of our trustees, and such a good visitor. He brings comfort with him whenever he enters the ward."

Margaret could well believe this, and thanked the nurse for all her kindness. She turned to give Adam a last smile and look, and Mrs. Evans thought how well she had borne up during their meeting. But when they got into the cab to return home, she startled her good friend not a little by a burst of weeping, and by words which followed the tears.

"I'm thankful I've seen him just once. It has been hard work to keep up now, but I shan't be able to go again for a while."

"Nurse said you might, and that Mr. Drummond would see about it."

"Aye, but I shan't be able," wailed Margaret.

The words perplexed Mrs. Evans, but she understood their meaning very soon. A few hours later, the effects of the shock Maggie had sustained when she heard that Adam had been killed were more fully shown. The little babe, whose coming she had been looking forward to with no little anxiety, was prematurely born. There would be no sweet cares in connection with a new life in the home, no extra work for the mother's hands, already full enough. But there were very present anxieties about the mother herself.

The doctor looked grave, and enforced absolute quiet, owning, too, that the case was at best a serious one. Neighbours, always full of sympathy at such a time, volunteered to take the children out of the way in the daytime, and, if needful, to give them a share of such sleeping accommodation as they possessed.

Mrs. Evans and Sarah were, however, aware of Margaret's particularity with regard to her children, and undertook to insure quiet in the home by arrangements of their own.

Mr. and Mrs. Drummond were greatly distressed at this new trouble—another result of Adam's brave, self-devoting action at the time of the accident. It is not needful to tell how ready both were to help and sympathise in every way, and anxious to prevent Adam from further suffering on Margaret's account. He must be told enough to explain her non-appearance at the hospital a second time, but her present danger must be hidden from him.

A few days and nights of anxious watching and loving ministry followed, and then those who waited and watched were called on for thankful rejoicing. The danger was over, and, though very weak, Margaret was in a fair way to recover. Adam was then told that it had existed, and was happily past, so he could only look hopefully forward. He knew those who brought the information would not deceive him. So, with the simple trust of a childlike Christian, he thanked God for mercies given, and left his dear ones and himself in "our Father's" hands.

As Margaret gained strength, and was able to listen first, and then to speak the thoughts that were in her heart, she and Sarah Evans were daily drawn nearer together. The old wilful, self-asserting Maggie, so confident in her own opinions, so sure that the profession of religion, and love for God's Word and His house, were only so many forms of cant, disappeared altogether. In her place was one who humbly owned that her Adam, and Mr. and Mrs. Drummond, and though last, not least, Sarah and her kinsfolk, showed what their religion meant by their lives.

She could not take Bible words to illustrate her meaning, for her memory had not been stored with such treasures of wisdom when she was a child. But she could say that whilst many in the manager's position as head of Rutherford's would only have taken Adam at his own valuation, and as a mere "hand" in the works, have deemed him "of no account," Mr. Drummond had bent in order to lift her husband from the slough of despond from which he could not free himself. He had evened himself with the poor labourer in one way, for had he not brought home to him, by God's help, some truth that had made another man of him?

Then look at Sarah. If the same spirit had been in her that once animated Margaret, she would have rather rejoiced at the trouble which had come upon her, seeing how ungratefully her former efforts had been rewarded.

Mrs. Drummond, with her sweet, refined ways and beautiful face, seemed like an angel almost to Maggie. In spite of her frequent presence in the sick room, she could not, however, have opened her heart to her as she was able to do to Sarah Evans.

Her own longing after the higher life to which the cultured Drummonds and her homely Adam had, by some mysterious way, alike reached, she could only express by the old childish words, "I do so want to be good."

Sarah understood the longing, and could tell Margaret the method by which Mr. Drummond had been enabled to show Adam that he ought not to deem himself of no account.

"It isn't that my husband thinks more of himself in a way," said Margaret. "He's that humble he'd put anybody before him. But he's a happy man now, and he looks up, as one may say, instead of looking down-trodden, and as if he hadn't a friend in the world, like he used to do."

"It's because he has a Friend, not only for this world but for ever and ever, in Jesus," said Sarah. "In the old days, he couldn't be very bright, for he only thought about himself as a poor labouring man at Rutherford's, with no likelihood of being anything else or getting a lift even in this world. I dare say he thought, 'If anything happened, somebody else would just go into my place, and the big hammer would rise and fall in fresh hands, and nobody would miss me but those at home.'

"But after Adam learned that in God's sight he was just as precious as the greatest man in the land, because Jesus came from heaven and took the form of a servant, and made Himself of no account, so that by His precious life and death, souls might be saved, why, Adam couldn't feel the same after he learned that lesson, could he now? Just to think that God gave as much for him as for the greatest king that ever lived."

"And for me too?" said Margaret, as if half in doubt.

"Of course. King and working man, queen and you, stand on the same level, as far as the soul's salvation goes. And when one lays right hold of this, and believes in the truth of it, one can't look down all the while. We begin to look up, and ask that God's Holy Spirit, who has taught us this much, will come into our hearts and help us to live our religion."

Many other talks followed. A few words at a time, but always to the purpose; and, what was still more effectual, the sight of Sarah's living faith shown in every act of kindness, patience, industry, cheerfulness, and self-devotion as she went about the house, helped to deepen the impression already made on Margaret's mind.

Her silence, too, taught something. She was ready to tell whatever it would please Margaret to know. Afterwards Mrs. Livesey alluded to these communings and talks by her sick bed, and said how pleasant it had been to hear about what was going on outside.

"But," she added, "never a sharp word nor an ill word about anybody ever crossed that girl's lips. Watching her and listening to her, I might have been a little lass at school again. Me, too, that is old enough to be her mother, and with six children of my own. Well, God has been very good. He has shown me a bit of myself, and made me glad and willing to learn better ways than I ever cared about before."

There was time for thought, heart-searchings, prayer, and some progress on the new path, before husband and wife met again. Each had suffered a severe bodily shock, and both required quiet and a longer rest than was at first anticipated.

They met again in their own home six weeks after the eventful day on which they parted at the hospital. Adam was allowed to leave the building, and attend as an out-door patient; but even then, Margaret was not strong enough to attend to her household duties.

Of course there was great rejoicing amongst the small Liveseys when father came home, and before he arrived there, many a fellow workman gave him a hearty greeting on the way. If the right hand had not been still in a sling, and otherwise protected, It must have stood many a grip from horny-handed toilers at Rutherford's.

It would be loss of time to try to describe the meeting between Maggie and her husband. The joy of both was too great to be expressed in words. Adam, never a great talker, and Maggie, given to express herself with much freedom of speech, were alike on this occasion.

Each felt as if the other had been given back from the grave, and each read in the face of the other the story of the glad thankfulness which filled their hearts to overflowing.

From that day, Adam and Margaret began to realize a more perfect union than they had ever before experienced. They had worked as one with regard to earthly things. Henceforward they had the same higher hopes, aims, and longings; and in looking back, each could say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted."

Maggie was right in supposing that Adam's arm would never again be fit to wield that ponderous hammer which once swung to and fro like a toy in his powerful grasp. But her dreams became realities. It was most unlikely that no place would be found in the old works for one who had not only been injured through saving the manager from death, but who was in himself so trustworthy. Again good came out of the past evil.

An old man, much respected at Rutherford's, had a legacy bequeathed to him, which, with his savings, enabled him to retire. But little scholarship was needed for the post. Honesty, trustworthiness and steadiness were indispensable. With these everybody credited Adam Livesey, and so, to his own intense surprise and gratitude, he found himself actually promoted to a position far better than the one he had filled before the accident. The most he had looked for was labouring work proportioned to his strength, and perhaps with wages also in proportion to the diminution of his bodily powers.

"Who'll say you're of no account now, Adam?" said Maggie, beyond measure proud and delighted when he brought the news.

"Dear lass, I don't feel that it's because me being of any more account that this good has come to us," was Adam's answer. "In a way, I am worth less than ever. But it shows how God cares for us, for the sake of Him that you and I look to as our Saviour now. He never forgets the poorest and the least of His children.

"I mean, Maggie," added he, after a little pause, "I mean to try and fit myself a bit for my new place. It has been given me out of thought for me—not because I'm clever, or a scholar. I know that well enough. But I'll put in honest work, and never grudge an extra hour, and the children's schooling will come in and help their father."

Adam was in earnest, and by dint of much painstaking, he became daily better fitted for his new post, and gained higher wages still.

Margaret had once grudged her children the time for school and lessons. But she found out her mistake. The youngsters were quick, and made good progress; and though she still adhered to her opinions as to their learning a trade, instead of trying for ill-paid clerkships, she saw them received in turns at Rutherford's, and in a fair way to become skilled mechanics.

Mr. and Mrs. Drummond remained the firm friends of the Liveseys, and never forgot the debt of gratitude they owed to Adam.

As to Sarah Evans! No fear of Mrs. Livesey ever undervaluing her again, or of any misunderstanding because the girl won and kept the affection of the youthful Liveseys one and all.

There is somebody else who knows Sarah's worth, also. It is an open secret that she would be in a home of her own now, but for the fact that a dutiful son has been unselfishly caring for his parents, and paving the way to future comfort for the girl he loves by patient waiting and working.

Sarah will marry later in life than most of the working girls she has known. Many of these have married in haste, and too young to be fitted for such solemn duties as those of wives and mothers. But when she goes to a husband's home, the pair will be able to look back on filial duties faithfully performed, and forward with confident expectation of a happy wedded life together.

If Adam Livesey could be questioned to-day about his own, he would say that, like Job's, God had graciously blessed his later days more than those of his youth.


Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.