Part 2 out of 3
But though Heraklas toiled with all his remaining strength, he
succeeded in releasing but one other Christian.
"Leave us," urged the others.
"O my brethren," answered Heraklas with a sob, "would that I could
But the six Christians answered steadily, "Why weepest thou,
brother? We but go to our Father's house before thee."
Then he whose feet Heraklas had released, thanked him most heartily,
and all said farewell.
Hours had gone by since Heraklas first came on board the ship.
Cautiously he and Timokles and the other Christian crept out of the
hold. Every movement of their own affrighted them, though they knew
a drunken stupor rested on some of the ship's company. One after
another the three fugitives finally slipped into the water. Heraklas
bore up Timokles, who swam but weakly. The third Christian was
feeble, but he made headway, and in slow fashion they came at length
to the docks of Alexandria.
By this time it was long past midnight. That Timokles or the third
Christian, whose name was Philo, should enter the city was not to be
thought of, since they would be recognized and retaken. After
consultation it was agreed that Timokles and Philo should proceed
along the edge of the sea in an easterly direction and hide
themselves at a point agreed upon, on the coast, a distance from the
city. Heraklas was to enter into Alexandria at the earliest dawn and
was, if possible, to send a message to his mother. He was to obtain
an amount of food, such as he could carry without exciting
suspicion, and was to met his brother and Philo at the appointed
place on the sea-shore. Then they were to flee.
Heraklas went with the others a little way. It seemed as if he could
not part from Timokles. Who knew if they should ever meet again?
In the house where Heraklas' mother dwelt, a receiving-room for
visitors looked upon the court, but a row of columns led inward to a
private sitting-room, which, after the manner of the Egyptians,
stood isolated in one of the passages. In this isolated room, the
mother sat on a stool of ebony, inlaid with ivory. Beside her lay a
papyrus on which was written part of the Sacred Book of the
Christians. The face of the proud woman was hidden in her hands.
Before her stood a messenger who had brought her the following
writing from Heraklas:
"O my mother, forgive thy son! I have found Timokles! He is weak;
nigh, I fear, to death. O my mother, I also am a Christian: Read, I
pray thee, the papyrus I send. It is part of the Christians' Book.
We flee, with other Christians, from Alexandria, today. Farewell."
The mother lifted her face, and her cry rang through the room, "O my
sons, my sons!"
She had execrated Timokles at times when she had spoken of him
before Heraklas, and he had thought that the execration came from
her heart. But she had longed, with pain unspeakable, to see
Timokles once more. And now, when she knew that he had been in
Alexandria, that he needed a mother's care, that Heraklas, also, had
owned allegiance to the Christians' God--when she thought of
Christians burned, beheaded, given to wild beasts--when she realized
that perhaps she should never see again the face of Timokles or
Heraklas, the heart of the mother broke within her, and she wailed,
"O my sons! My sons!"
"Hush!" warned the messenger, quickly. "Thy slaves will hear thee!"
The mother seized the messenger's arm.
"Tell me where my sons are," she begged. "I will go to them!"
The messenger looked piercingly at her. He, a Christian, had risked
much to bring her this message. Dare he trust this woman, known to
be a devout worshiper of Egypt's gods? Would she not betray the
"What is it, my mother?" he asked gently.--See page 37.
"Tell me where my sons are!" besought the mother with tears. "Oh,
tell me! I cannot lose them! What is my, home to me without them? I
will not betray any Christian! Only tell me; and let me see my sons
Then the messenger saw in the mother's eyes that she spoke
truthfully, but he said, "How can I trust thee?"
"I swear by Isis!" implored the mother.
"Nay," returned, the messenger gravely, "it is not meet that a
Christian should bind any one by a heathen oath."
The mother cried out, and besought him, declaring that she would
depart from Alexandria, if her sons could not dwell there.
"They cannot, except they risk death," stated the messenger "Thou
knowest Timokles' life is forfeit. Knowest thou not how many
Christians have fled, and what torments Christians who have been
brought here from all Egypt have suffered? Wouldst thou thy two sons
should suffer in like manner?"
"I will go into exile with them," answered the woman.
"How wilt thou leave this, thy beautiful home?" asked the messenger.
"I will leave it in the, care of my kinsmen," she replied.
"It may never be thine again," warned the messenger.
"Hear me, O Christian!", cried the mother passionately "I know not
the Christians' God, but the Emperor Severus shall not take away my
sons! I care not if he takes my home!"
"Come then with us," answered the messenger. "I trust thee! May the
Christian's God cause thee to know Him!"
That day there passed through Alexandria's streets a chariot drawn
by two mules. Seated in the chariot a lady and a child rode in
state. The charioteer was only a small lad.
Out of the city by the eastern gate, as they had passed so many
times before, Cocce and her mother rode. Who would hinder so devout
worshipers of the gods from taking a pleasure drive? Alexandria knew
nothing yet of Heraklas' defection.
When Alexandria was some distance behind, the lady spoke.
"Stop the chariot," she commanded.
The young lad obeyed. The woman and child descended to the road.
"I would walk," said the woman. "Drive thou home again, and say thou
naught. See, here is something for thee."
She gave him some money.
The lad did as he was bidden. The mother of Heraklas had known whom
to choose for her charioteer this day.
The chariot receded. It passed out of sight. A distance away from
the road, a man rose and beckoned. It was the messenger of the
morning, disguised, as a beggar.
They went northerly toward the sea. The mother's straining eyes
looked ever forward. How if the Christians had been discovered! How
long the way was!
A faintness seized upon her as they neared the sea. What if her sons
were not there? She hurried forward.
The sea splashed on the rocks at her feet. The salt splay blew in
her face. They were not here! They were not here!
Out of the recesses of the rocks, some forms arose, and Heraklas, as
in a dream, saw his mother, his proud mother--she who had burned
incense to the sun, she who had once held the sacred sistrum in
Amun's temple, she who had taught him to worship Isis, and Osiris,
and Horus, and the River Nile--his mother throw her arms about
Timokles, and kiss his scarred cheek, and sob on the young
Christian's neck, "O my son, I have missed thee so! I have missed
Some ten months later, on the desolate, uninhabited western shore of
what the Hebrews called "Yam Suph, the Sea of Weeds," known now as
the Red Sea, in the country spoken of by the Romans as part of
Ethiopia, now named Nubia, a little company of Christians made ready
their evening meal.
Down on the shore a little girl sang. Her voice rose exultantly in a
hymn of the early Christians:
"Blessed art thou, O Lord; teach me thy judgments.
"O Lord, thou hast been a refuge for us from generation to
"Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
"Thou hast healed my soul in that I have sinned against thee."
"O Lord, to thee I flee for refuge. Teach me to do thy will
Because thou art my God; Because thou art the fountain of life In
thy light shall we see light. Extend thy mercy to them that know
Timokles went toward the shore to call Cocce. As he returned, he saw
his mother standing a little apart from the other Christians and
gazing toward the northwest, in the direction of Egypt, as she had
often gazed since the Christians took refuge here.
"She misseth her home," thought the young man sadly. "It is but a
rough abiding-place here for her. And yet Severus hath not found us.
I would that she had come here for the love of Christ, and not for
love of her two sons, only! Then she would feel, as the others of us
do, that there is no one who hath left house or lands for our Lord's
sake, but receiveth a hundred-fold in this life, and in the world to
come life everlasting. Oh, I would that my mother might know how
near our Lord can be, even in this desert!"
His mother had ceased to speak of Egypt's gods. She had even read
somewhat in the Christians' Book. But to Timokles she seemed no
nearer to accepting Christ than when she was in Alexandria. How
little we know of the heart-experiences of those persons nearest to
Timokles drew nearer. His mother heard his step, and turned toward
him, but in place of the homesick longing he had expected to see in
her eyes, there was a look that thrilled his soul.
"What is it, my mother?" he asked, gently.
"Timokles," she answered softly, "I was thinking but now of
Alexandria and of our dear home there. Timokles, if God had not
driven me into the desert, would I ever have found him?"
Timokles trembled with exceeding joy. Could she be speaking of the
real God, not of Egypt's idols?
"Hast thou found Him--the Christian's God--my mother?" he asked
A holy awe looked from his mother's face.
"Did not his Son say, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast
out'?" she answered. "I have come to him, Timokles--even I, the
former worshiper of Isis--and he hath not cast me out."
"O my mother!" murmured Timokles, overcome by the glad tidings.
"What more can I ask of him than this!"
The sun sank, and Heraklas raised for the little company the evening
hymn of the early church. His mother's voice rose clear and sweet,
as all sang:
"Children, praise the Lord, Praise ye the name of the Lord. We
praise thee, we hymn thee, we bless thee, Because of the greatness
of thy glory. O Lord the King, the Father of Christ, Of the spotless
Lamb who taketh away The sin of the world, To thee belongeth praise,
To thee belongeth song, To thee belongeth glory, to the God And
Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, To the Most Holy, unto ages
of ages. Amen."
However long their exile might be, whatever privations they might
suffer in this desert place, the little company could sing their
praises with gratitude, for now not one voice of their number would
be silent. Here they would abide, telling of Christ to every heathen
wanderer whom they could seek out in these wilds. And if it should
please God that henceforth Egypt might never hold a home for them,
yet they could dwell in the deserts beyond Rome's dominion, knowing
that He who when on earth had no place to lay his head would be with
them. He had delivered the last one of the little company from the
snare of false gods.
THE SQUASH OF THE ESVIDOS.
Black dog slipped through a swinging gate and Miss Elizabeth
followed him into an olive, orchard of small dimensions. The family
to whom the black dog belonged was there. The father, Bernardo
Esvido, stood on a step-ladder, picking black olives into a bucket
half filled with water, the bucket being fastened to Mr. Esvido's
waist so that he might use both hands, while the water in the bucket
prevented the ripe olives from being bruised. He who picks ripe
olives into a hard bucket knows not his business.
Beneath another olive tree sat the mother, the daughter, and the
son, washing olives in a water-trough. The small black dog raised
his voice, and did his best to inform the Esvidos that a stranger
eyed their olive-washing.
"You read Portuguese?" asked Miss Elizabeth, smiling on the busy
group. Miss Elizabeth was not a book-agent, but, moved by the
religious destitution of the Portuguese, she had devised the plan of
buying at some city book-store Bibles or Testaments in Portuguese,
and then going into the surrounding country and hunting for
Portuguese who could read. To such, on account of their poverty,
Miss Elizabeth often sold for ten cents a Bible she had bought for
forty or sixty cents. She would gladly have given the Bibles free,
but from observation she had become persuaded that those Portuguese
who paid a few cents for a Bile were much more likely to read it
than were those to whom one was given for nothing.
At Miss Elizabeth's question the united Esvido family looked at the
mother. She was the one reader of the group. Many Portuguese do not
read, either in English or in their own language. If a Portuguese
woman reads Portuguese, her neighbors perhaps know of her
accomplishment. Mr. Esvido was proud that his wife knew how to read
Portuguese even if he was ignorant. None of the family could read
"You like buy Biblia Sagrada?" (Holy Bible) questioned Miss
Elizabeth. "It is all Portuguese."
The red book was passed to the mother, who shook olive-leaves and
dust from her hands, and took up the Bible. She had dimly known that
there was such a book. She remembered hearing of the Biblia Sagrada
years ago, when she was a girl in Lisbon, long before she came to
California; but none of her acquaintances had such a book, and she
had never before to-day seen a Portuguese Bible.
But at last the book was handed back to Miss Elizabeth.
"No money," carelessly explained Mr. Esvido.
The oil-maker who bought the crops of the local olive-growers had
not yet paid for the olives. Even ten cents was not in Mr. Esvido's
pocket, just now.
Miss Elizabeth looked around. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Esvido seemed
very anxious about the Bible, but Miss Elizabeth felt anxious for
them. A woman who could read Portuguese ought to have a Bible, and
she ought to pay something for it in order to interest her in it
thoroughly. Miss Elizabeth's eyes spied a yellow squash. She did not
want it, but it would be payment.
"You give me squash, I give you Biblia Sagrada," she proposed.
"How you take it?" asked Mr. Esvido, smiling.
Miss Elizabeth opened her hands with a gesture that showed she meant
to carry the squash, hidden as much as possible under her short
"We make trade," agreed Mr. Esvido; and Miss Elizabeth, leaving the
Bible, bore the big squash away.
But Miss Elizabeth's yellow burden became very heavy before she had
gone far on the long country road. She found at last a wandering
piece of newspaper, which she wrapped over as much of the vegetable
as possible. The rest her cape covered, and then she marched on
toward the far wires of the electric car-line that had brought her
into the country. So vanished the squash of the Esvidos from their
Meantime the Portuguese mother read aloud from the Bible. The
daughter, Delpha, listened, while gently rubbing the black olives in
the water-trough. She knew of Christ, yet the words of the Biblia
Sagrada were unknown.
After this, Mrs. Esvido read the book much in the evenings. Delpha
and Mr. Esvido listened, the father listening more because just now
he had not his pipe for company. The American who bought the olives
declared that no one who picked olives for him must smoke during
olive harvest! All his workmen, even when off duty, must refrain
from smoking, for the tobacco odor clung to clothing. The olives
would absorb tobacco smoke. The oil would be spoiled. Mr. Esvido
grumbled much, but obeyed. There was a warning in the fate of the
neighbor, Antone Ramos, who in last year's olive season had thought
one evening to smoke a pipeful of tobacco secretly, and lo! the
American, ever watchful, came to Antone Ramos' house that very
night, and the tobacco smoke was perceptible! Antone Ramos was
Therefore, during this year's olive harvest, Mr. Esvido, with a
cautious respect for the American's preternaturally, acute
perception concerning tobacco, refrained from smoking, and found
solace in listening with Delpha to Mrs. Esvido's evening readings
from the Biblia Sagrada. It seemed marvelous to Mr. Esvido that his
wife could read. The marvel of it had never lessened for him, and
one night he said proudly, "We make good bargain when we give squash
for Biblia Sagrada! Biblia Sagrada ver' good book."
One day Mrs. Esvido read something that startled Delpha. Site could
hardly believe it possible that her mother hid read aright.
The words in the Portuguese language were these: "Amai a vossos
inimigos, fazei bem aos que vos tem odio." (Love your enemies; do
good to them that hate you.)
Alas! Delpha knew whom that meant.
There had long been a deep-seated quarrel between her and Sara
Frates. Thinking of this bitter animosity, Delpha felt keenly the
command, "Fazei bem aos que vos tem odio."
Olive harvest went on. The Esvido olives were gathered. Then Delpha
and Sara and others went to work in the American's costly olive-oil
mill, scalding the mill-stones and the crushing troughs daily,
sweeping the scraps of olive skins from the floors, and scalding the
floors to keep every odor away from the precious olive oil. Before
beginning this season, the walls of the building had been given a
coat of whitewash, and now a wood fire must not be lit anywhere near
the premises, for the precious olive oil might take a smoky taste.
It was therefore with great wrath that Delpha, who was careful to
obey rules, found one day, in a crushing trough under her
supervision, some scattered little pieces of iron. Now iron must
never be allowed to come in contact with olive juice. The tannic
acid in the olive juice acts very rapidly on the iron, producing a
kind of ink, that turns the oil black and almost ruins it. The
American's crushing troughs and weights were of granite. Delpha was
sure Sara had scattered the pieces of iron in the crushing trough on
purpose to bring Delpha into trouble.
"I do something to her!" resolved Delpha fiercely. "I pay her for
Then she remembered, "Fazei bem aos que vos tem odio." (Do good to
them that hate you.) To Sara's amazement, Delpha did not retaliate.
Sara could not understand why.
Toward the end of the olive season, the American went away for a
day. During the noon rest, Delpha, sitting in a side door, thought
she caught the odor of smoke. No wood fire was allowed around the
oil-mill! Delpha went out to investigate.
She saw a film of smoke rising from a gulch. Delpha discovered that
some of the young mill-workers' friends had caught some fish in the
bay sparkling in the distance, and had brought them this way going
home. The American being absent, the young mill-workers and their
friends had made a fire in the gulch, and were merrily broiling
fish. Sara was there, disobeying rules with the others.
Delpha ran back to the oil-mill. She hoped the fire's smoke would
not injure the oil. She was troubled as she dropped in the door. But
she could do nothing.
By and by she heard screams. She sprang up. Sara came running around
the mill. Her dress was on fire!
"Delpha! Delpha!" she screamed, "Delpha, help me!" She seemed crazed
Did a voice say it to Delpha? She snatched a great canvas bag used
for olive-picking, and a shawl. She ran to Sara. She breathlessly
tore at the blazing garments, rolling Sara in the shawl and canvas
bag. Blackened, sobbing, Sara lay at length safe on the ground.
Delpha ran for water and olive oil.
As Delpha gently spread some olive oil on the burns, Sara flung her
arms about Delpha's neck.
"Amiga!" (friend) she sobbed, and the enmity between the girls was
Miles away, Miss Elizabeth one day said to herself, "I don't believe
we can ever use that squash I brought home from those Portuguese!
But anyhow the squash made that Portuguese woman feel that she paid
for the Bible! I hope she reads it, poor soul!"
But Miss Elizabeth did not know the whole story of the squash of the
Esvidos, or of the message that the Biblia had brought to Delpha's
THE VERSE MARTIN READ.
Martin put his bare feet down through the thick dust of the country
road. It was warm summer, and he was used to going barefoot, even to
Sunday-school, from which he was now returning. Over the hot, dry
grass of the fields there swayed at frequent intervals the heads of
California wild oats. One such stem grew near the road, and Martin,
with a quick sweep of his hand, pulled off the wild oat heads and
went on through the dusty road, scattering the oats as he walked.
Martin was thinking.
"Teacher doesn't know how 'tis," he said. "I have to carry 'round
milk mornings and nights, and I have to go down to the barn to hunt
eggs, and I have to help pa about the stage horses, and sometimes I
have to ride the horses back to be shod, and I have to walk a mile
to day-school and back, and learn my lessons, and I'd like to know
how teacher thinks I've got much time to read the Bible some every
day. There's lots of days I don't believe pa reads any in the Bible.
He's too busy driving the stage and 'tending to the horses. And ma
doesn't read it, because she has to cook for the teamster boarders.
It's a real pretty book teacher's given me, though."
Martin felt inside his jacket, and brought out a little New
Testament. It was only a ten-cent Testament, for Miss Bruce, his
Sunday-school teacher, did not have money enough to buy Bibles for
her class of thirteen boys. She had felt that she must do something,
however, for the boys were destitute of Bibles of their own.
The best she could do was to buy small Testaments with red covers,
and she had cut a piece of bright red, inch-wide ribbon into
thirteen lengths, had raveled out the ends so as to make fringe, and
had put a piece of this fringed ribbon into each boy's New Testament
for a book-mark. The boys thought a great deal of the pieces of
ribbon, they were so bright and pretty. Miss Bruce had written some
special little message to each boy in the front of his Testament.
The general purport of each message was that the book was given with
the teacher's prayer that the boy might learn to love the Bible and
might become a real Christian. Some of the boys let the others read
what was written in the Testaments, and some boys did not.
Miss Bruce had given them the Testaments to-day, and had said that
she hoped each boy would read a little, daily, in his Testament,
even if it were only two or three verses.
"I wonder if teacher'll ask me next Sunday whether I've read any?"
Martin questioned himself now, as he admiringly eyed his piece of
red ribbon. "It'll be a shame if I have to tell her, the first
Sunday, that I've forgot it! I'd better read one verse now, so I can
say I read that, anyway, if I forget the rest of the week."
Martin sat down beside the road. He was not a very good reader. This
was the first piece of the Bible Martin had ever owned. There was an
old, unused family Bible at home. A red Testament, was much more
attractive to Martin.
"Where'll I read?" Martin asked himself now. "I want an easy verse.
Some of them look too hard."
He began and dropped several verses, because of their difficulty.
Finally he settled on one, because of its shortness. He read its
seven words haltingly but carefully.
" 'L-e-s-t'--I don't know that word--'c-o-m-i-n-g'--coming--'s-u-d-
d-e-n-l-y--he find you s-l-e-e-p-i-n-g.' 'Lest coming suddenly, he
find you sleeping.' "
Of the connection of the verse, and its spiritual significance,
Martin knew nothing. The word "l-e-s-t" puzzled him. He would ask
somebody about it.
When he helped his father with the horses at the barn that evening,
Martin questioned his father about the word "l-e-s-t."
"Haven't you spelled it wrong?" asked his father. "I guess it's 'l-
"It's in my new red book," answered Martin, perching on the watering
trough. "I'll find the place."
Martin did not know much about New Testament books or chapters, but
he knew that verse was on the eighty-second page. Martin had noted
the little numbers at the bottom of the pages.
"Here 'tis!" triumphantly exclaimed Martin.
His father took the book. Martin's eager finger pointed to the
"Lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping."
The words faced the stage-driver. Well did he know their meaning.
Years ago in his mother's home he had been taught from the Bible.
His eyes now ran over the preceding_verses. He caught parts of them.
"The Son of man is as a man taking a far journey." "Watch ye
therefore." "Ye know not when the master of the house cometh." "Lest
coming suddenly, he find you sleeping."
"Don't you know what 'l-e-s-t' means?" asked Martin, eager for the
"Oh--why, yes," responded his father. "It means 'For fear' he should
"Who?" asked Martin.
"The Lord," returned his father gravely.
"Why shouldn't they be sleeping?" asked Martin.
"Who?" said his father, turning to attend to the horses.
"I don't know," said Martin. "I mean my verse."
"Martin," stated the stage-driver, "I'm no hand at explaining. Don't
ask any more questions."
Every Sunday after this Miss Bruce persisted in asking whether the
boys read in their Testaments.
"It's mean the way some of the boys don't read any, after her giving
us all nice red Testaments," Martin told his father. "I don't read
much, but I ought to read some, after her fringing that red ribbon!
Most verses I read are short, like 'Lest coming suddenly, he find
you sleeping.' "
The stage-driver moved uneasily at the words.
"He hasn't forgot that verse after all these weeks?" thought the
"I know what that verse means now," went on Martin. "Miss Bruce told
me. She says some folks forget they've got to die, and they ought to
be ready for that. A good many folks don't become Christians, and
Miss Bruce says she's afraid they'll be like that verse, 'Lest
coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.' You and I won't be that way,
will we, father? I'm going to try to be ready. Ain't you? Miss Bruce
says folks ought to always be."
His father's eyes were on the harness he was buckling.
"I hope you'll be ready, Martin," answered the father, "even if I
The place where Martin lived was a small settlement distant from
town. Martin's father, Mr. Colver, not only three days in the week
drove the stage, but other days acted as a sort of expressman,
bringing freight in a large wagon over the miles from town. One
night about nine o'clock, Mr. Colver was on the long, lonely road
coming toward home. He had a very heavy load on his wagon. The
wheels scraped on the wagon bottom, and the team went with a heavy,
As the heavy wagon came opposite a clump of white blossoming buckeye
trees, one of the fore wheels of the dragging wagon suddenly gave
way and fell off. Mr. Colver was thrown violently from the wagon's
high seat into the road, among the tumbling heavy boxes and barrels.
The sharp corner of one box struck Mr. Colver's head near the
The weary horses waited to be urged forward again. They did not know
that their driver lay insensible in the road.
It was early gray morning before one of the teamsters who boarded at
the Colvers' found Mr. Colver lying still insensible, and brought
him home. The blow on the head had been a very dangerous one. Martin
gazed awestruck at his father's shut eyes and unconscious face.
"I wonder if pa's going to die?" the boy anxiously thought. "I
wonder if pa's ready?"
The sorrowful hours came and went. Mr. Colver regained
consciousness, but for weeks he felt the effects of the blow that
might have smitten him never to rise.
One night when Martin was going to his room, his father called
weakly to the boy.
Martin turned back. He found his mother sitting beside his father.
"Martin," said his father with grave earnestness, "your mother's
been reading to me from your Testament. We've been talking about
Bible things that we haven't paid much attention to. We were both
brought up better, Martin. The Lord's had mercy upon me. He might
have taken me suddenly that night, but he knew I wasn't ready, and
he had mercy on me. And now, lad, your mother and I thought we would
just kneel right down here to-night, and ask the Lord to take each
of us, and make us his own. You want to, don't you, my son?"
Martin nodded, and for the first time the stage-driver's family
knelt together. They whose souls had been sleeping were awake.
BY THE WAY.
Cliffs by the blue bay held many fossil shells. Children sometimes
strayed here and there with hammers, pounding out fossils from
fallen pieces of the cliffs. On the extent of sands that bordered
the cliffs and stretched up the coast between them and the breakers,
old stumps that had been months before brought in by the waves lay
half buried from sight. A short distance farther up the coast, the
sands went a greater way inland, forming a nook where driftwood and
stumps had accumulated. On the sand in this nook stood a horse and
an old wagon. Beyond a large log, a little fire of driftwood had
been started, and a woman was endeavoring to fry some fish in a
spider. Two children had partly unharnessed the horse, and were
giving him some dry grass.
From afar, a woman and a girl who had been taking a walk on a road
high up on the cliffs, looked curiously down at the persons in the
"I wonder who they are, and what they are traveling that way for?"
said the girl to her mother.
"It's the same wagon that was on, the sands last night, I suppose,"
returned her mother." The milk boy said he saw a wagon drive on the
beach about dark. I wonder if they stayed up here all night? Suppose
we walk down, Addie, and talk with that woman."
"I'm afraid she won't want to see us," objected the daughter. "If
they had wanted to see anybody, they'd have stopped at the
Notwithstanding this objection, the mother began to descend the path
toward the sands at the bottom of the cliffs. Both Mrs. Weeks and
her daughter Addie were somewhat breathless by the time they had
pushed their way through the heavy white sand to the spot where the
stranger, was cooking. The spider contained only a few very small
"Good-morning," said Mrs. Weeks, pleasantly.
The brown-faced woman who held the spider lifted her eyes and
"Have you been fishing?" asked Mrs. Weeks.
"We didn't have much luck," murmured the other woman. "Maybe we
didn't fish in the best place. Tillie was wanting fish."
The younger of the two children colored and hung her head at this
reference to her. The other smiled shyly.
"We have some fresh rock cod up at our house. My brother catches
fresh fish for us every day," said Addie to the older little girl.
"Don't you want to walk back with me, and, get some of the fish for
The child nodded. "We're not beggars, Miss. You must not rob
yourself of your own fish," remonstrated, the child's mother; but
Addie assured the woman that fish were so plentiful in the
settlement that neighbors often gave part of the results of a catch
to some one else.
The girl went away over the cliffs with the child. Mrs. Weeks sat
down on a log. When Addie and the little girl came back with the
fish and some milk, Mrs. Weeks rose and went home with her daughter.
"The woman's husband is dead, and she's driving north with her
children," Mrs. Weeks told Addie. "She has an idea she can get work
in some cannery up the coast. I told her there were some unoccupied
tents in our settlement, and I wished she and the children would
come and sleep in the tents, while she's here. But she won't come. I
was sorry they slept on the beach last night, but she says they are
used to sleeping in the wagon, and it is warm weather, you know."
The wagon did not drive on that day, though the woman and the
children kept away from the little summer settlement.
It was the custom of the people of this small settlement to go down
on the beach, after dark at evening, and have a camp-fire. Some old
stump would be lit, and the, people would, sit, on, logs or on the
sand about the fire, and talk and sing. The last thing, every night,
hymns were sung.
To-night, Addie and her, mother went down to the beach as usual.
After sitting by the fire awhile, Addie rose and wandered up the
beach, as persons sometimes did, to watch the waves. At a distance
from the camp-fire, where the darkness, covered the beach, Addie
turned to go back. She was startled by a movement in the darkness.
"Don't be afraid," said the voice of the woman who, with her
children, had spent that day in the nook farther up the beach. "The
little girls were asleep, and I came here to listen to the folks
sing. That's the reason I haven't driven on to-day, because I hoped
the folks would sing again to-night, the way they did last night. I
haven't heard hymn-singing for years, before. I've lived in mining
and such places. I want to ask you a question."
The woman paused.
"Do you suppose my baby's at the River?" she went on.
Addie hardly comprehended the woman's meaning.
"What river?" asked the girl.
"The River they sang about last night," explained the woman.
She motioned toward the group at the distant camp-fire, and Addie
remembered that on the previous evening the people had sung:
"Shall we gather at the river?"
"I haven't heard that sung before for years and years," the woman
continued. "We used to sing it when I was a little girl at home in
the East, but I've mostly forgot such things. Mining camps and a
drunk husband make you forget. There never was a church anywhere we
lived, and Sam got drunk Sundays. And then he died. I don't suppose
Sam got to the River. I don't know. I wish he did. But if my baby's
got there, I want to go to the River."
The woman began to sob.
"I never told you about my baby." she faltered." He was a dreadful
"Good-morning!" said Mrs. Weeks pleasantly.
baby. I've got some of his things in a little box in the wagon. He
died after his father did. I wouldn't feel acquainted with the
saints that the folks sang gather at the River; but I'd feel
acquainted with my baby. He's there, isn't he?"
"Yes," said Addie softly, "your baby's by the River, and you can go
The woman tried to control her sobs and listen, while Addie told in
as simple language as she could the way to peace.
"It's just coming to Christ, just as we are, and asking him to make
us his," finished the girl. "He's promised to forgive, if we're in
earnest about asking."
Addie waited a moment.
"Maybe you'd be willing to come to the camp-fire with me," suggested
Addie. "Those people are only, some of our neighbors. They like
these open-air meetings. Perhaps they'd make the way clearer to
"No," said the woman hastily. "No, I'm not fit for such folks, but
would you mind doing one thing for me? Will you go back and just sit
down, careless like, on one of the logs there by the fire, as if
you'd got back from going down to see the breakers roll in, the way
some of the folks do? And don't let anybody know you've seen me at
all! Don't say one word about me, but when they get through singing
some hymn, won't you just start them singing, 'Shall we gather at
the River'? I want to hear it once again, but don't let them know
they're singing it for me! Will you manage it the way I want?"
"Yes," promised Addie.
The girl went back and sat down on a log beside the fire, with the
other people. The fire was beginning to burn low, and the girl was
fearful lest at the end of the hymn that was being sung, some one
should make a move to go back to the encampment. As soon as she
could Addie began:
"Shall we gather at the river?"
The other voices took up the hymn. No one noticed that Addie's voice
soon faltered and was still.
"Shall we gather at the river, Where bright angel-feet have trod:
With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God?"
The words rang, out clear and sweet, and then the joyful assurance
"Yes, we'll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river.
Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of
The words of stanza after stanza floated out into the darkness of
the cliffs and upper sands with a distinctness that the loud waves
did not overcome. There was no form or, motion visible in all the
night that hid the shoreward side of the beach.
The next morning Addle went from the settlement, to carry the woman
and her children some milk. When the girl reached the nook, she
found it empty. She ran upon the bluffs, and looked northward, but
there was neither horse nor wagon visible. The mother, and children
had evidently resumed their journey very early, and the turns of the
country roads had hidden the travelers. They had vanished forever.
"God guide them to the River!" whispered Addie.
AT COUSIN HARRIET'S
The "filaree," or pinclover; had borne its seeds with curious long
ends--those seeds that California children call "clocks"--and among
THE filaree there stood, on slender, bare stems, small flowers of
the lily family which are known as "bluebells." A boy was walking
through the filaria. He was carrying a hatchet and an ax, and he
looked tired, though it was early in the day.
"I guess Cousin Harriet doesn't know how hard working on the alkali
patch is," he murmured softly. "She isn't like mother:"
The boy's head dropped, and a sob escaped him.
"I wish mother hadn't died;" he said chokingly. "Most every boy has
He tried to stop crying, but it was hard, for he was overworked, and
he was only twelve years old.
Six months before this, his mother had died. Several weeks alter her
death, Claude's father had been called East on business; and had
left the boy and his younger sisters Rose and Daisy on a ranch owned
by Cousin Harriet, several miles from the children's former home. It
had been very hard for the children to part from their father so
soon after their mother's death, but he told them that while the
business that called him East would take a number of months, yet
there was some prospect that their mother's own sister, Aunt Jennie,
with her husband and little boy, would come with Claude's father on
his return. Then they could all live together at the dear home
place. So the stay at Cousin Harriet's would not probably be
Cousin Harriet was a widow. She looked after her ranch with great
diligence. She had several hired men and women, and the ranch was a
very busy place. Cousin Harriet was not much used to children,
having none of her own, but she tried to do her duty by the three
left in her charge. Rose and Daisy did not find the household tasks
that were assigned them very difficult. Cousin Harriet secretly did
not like boys, however. She tried to treat Claude justly, but the
boy sadly missed the mother-love to which he had been accustomed all
his life. He was expected to help the hired men on the ranch, and
they made him work rather hard, especially since they had been
fixing the "alkali patch."
The alkali patch was in the southwest corner of Cousin Harriet's
ranch. On several acres, nothing would grow, on account of the
alkali in the soil. The alkali stood on the ground in white patches
here and there, and Claude hated the sight of it. Cousin Harriet,
however, was very enthusiastic about trying to reclaim this "alkali
sink," so that it might bear crops.
Alkali extended over the fields of adjoining neighbors, and Cousin
Harriet thought that if only her hired men could conquer her alkali
patch, then the discouraged neighbors might think it possible to do
something with such parts of their land, also. So, one of the first
things that was done with Cousin Harriet's "alkali sink" was to make
some redwood drains, shaped like the letter V, and place these about
three feet below the surface. A "sump," or drainage pit, was dug,
too, into which the drains might discharge the alkali water. The
hired men expected Claude to help dig the "sump," and it proved
quite hard work. So did the pounding of the "hard pan" on the alkali
tract, itself. The tough, hard clods of earth were so difficult to
pulverize that they had to be pounded with crowbars and axes.
"I used to think that helping pick lemons, at home, was work,"
Claude thought to-day, as he went toward the part of the ranch where
he was expected to work, "but I didn't know about alkali patches,
then. And--I had mother."
The tears would come into his eyes.
The hired men were scattered over the extensive alkali tract, and
were pounding the clods. Claude chose to work near a man called
Neil. The boy liked Neil better than the other men, because he did
not speak crossly.
Claude sorrowfully lipunded the alkali clods. How tiresome the work
was, and how uncomfortably warm the sun! The boy worked dejectedly.
After a while, pausing to take breath, he looked up and found Neil
"We are tired," said Neil, with a friendly smile.
"Don't you hate this work?" exclaimed Claude vehemently. "I wouldn't
touch it, if Cousin Harriet didn't make me."
The hired man looked kindly at the small, tired boy.
"It is not most pleasant," he returned, "but what I think of makes
me glad while I work."
"What do you think of?" asked Claude, giving an alkali clod a push.
"I was thinking," answered Neil gently, "how once I had a hard
heart--very hard. It was like these clods, where nothing good can
grow. People who looked at me could see that my heart was hard. Men
would have said, 'Neil's heart can never be different' But Jesus
took away my hard heart and gave me a new one. That is what makes me
glad all the time, though I work on these hard alkali clods. Some
day this patch we work on will be different. There will be
beautiful, green, growing crops on it. But that is not so great a
change as it is to change a hard heart and get a new heart from our
Claude did not say anything. He bent over the hard clods and worked
silently, but he was not thinking of his work. He was remembering
his mother's voice as it had sounded nights when she had knelt
beside his bed and prayed that her boy might become a Christian.
There had been one night that Claude would always remember, when his
mother had come for the last time to his bedside, and prayed feebly
for her boy. The next week she had died.
Claude looked up at Neil, now. The man evidently found the work
hard, but his face showed that he had spoken truly when he said that
he was glad, even though he did work on the hard, alkali clods.
"I wish I were like Neil," thought Claude.
The wish grew. It changed into an earnest prayer, not that he might
be like Neil, but a prayer for the same blessing that Neil had--a
new heart. No earnest prayer for that gift is ever met by a refusal.
Neil watched Claude anxiously, as they worked day by day.
"We can't change ourselves, any more than this alkali plot can
change itself," said Neil, "but we can yield ourselves and our life
to the blessed Jesus and love him, for he is love."
One day, Claude said softly, "I've done it, Neil. I've given myself
The face of the hired man glowed with added happiness through the
toiling days that followed. When the alkali clods were broken and
plowed, gypsum was scattered on the land and harrowed in. Then water
was turned on and allowed to stand several inches deep over the
alkali plot. The water stood for several weeks. Gradually it soaked
through the soil and passed out into the drainage pit. After several
soakings, alternating with breaking of clods and treatment with
gypsum, the former alkali patch was given some seed. How the men
watched the land day after day, and how the first green sprouts of
corn were hailed! The alkali patch was changed. Cousin Harriet was
"There's so much land saved," she said. "It's a great change."
Neil listened to the words as in a parable. He was thinking of a
greater change. He was rejoicing over the boy of the household.
Months had gone by. One day there was a joyful outcry at the farm-
house. The little girls rushed out to meet their father. With him
was their mother's sister, Aunt Jennie, with her husband and little
Claude was on the ranch at work, and did not hear the joyful outcry
He was not aware of the new-comers, till his father and the two
little girls rushed where Claude was working, and the boy's father
caught him in a close embrace.
"Come and see Aunt Jennie," his father said to Claude.
"She-she looks like, mamma," whispered Rose tremulously, and Claude
came somewhat bashfully into the house.
There he saw a woman whose face did indeed look, like his mother's,
and he felt mother-arms put around him. He heard a voice like his
mother's say, "Is this my boy?" He felt a warm teardrop on his
cheek, and he knew that Aunt Jennie understood and cared for boys,
and that he would be indeed "her boy."
That afternoon they all drove away from the ranch, leaving Cousin
Harriet smitten with a sudden sense of loneliness, for she had even.
grown attached to Claude as well as to his sisters. The boy looked
back at the ranch. It was rapidly being left behind, but he could
still see the green patch of corn that covered the place where the
alkali used to be. Rut the boy was, not thinking of the alkali patch
alone. A look of reverent thankfulness came into his face. "Mother
will be glad I ever met Neil," he thought.
TWO small brown hands were held outstretched in the air. Cautiously
they moved forward, lower and lower. Then they darted and grasped
with speed what seemed to be some sand. Something in the sand
objected, but the boy held on and gathered sand and all into his
tin. He looked with much satisfaction at his presumably indignant
prisoner, a spiny gray "horned toad" that had been peaceably sunning
himself, nearly buried in sand, on the hill.
The owner of the two nimble hands, Arturo, smiled.
"Get four bit, maybe!" he anticipated.
"Get four bit for tia Marta!"
In California "four bits" means a half dollar. Occasionally somebody
on the overland train that stopped at the station in town would be
attracted toward a spiny "horned toad" as a curiosity, and would buy
one. Arturo meant to try to sell this specimen in that way. If he
got the money, he would give it to tia Marta.
Tia Mama was Arturo's aunt. "Tia" means "aunt" in Spanish.
Presumably for the reason that nephews are sometimes troublesome to
their aunts, there is a Spanish proverb that warns a nephew against
making his aunt too frequent visits:
En casa de tia, Mas no cads dia:' ("In the house of thy aunt, But
not every day.") Notwithstanding this adage, however, the boy Arturo
lived with his Aunt Marta. This was not always pleasant, for neither
Arturo nor tia Marta was perfect. Yet they really thought a good
deal of each other. The third member of the household was Tia
Marta's husband, do (uncle) Diego, but he was very old and lame, and
could not work. Tia Marta earned the living, and Arturo usually
thought of himself as dwelling with tia Marta rather than do Diego.
Arturo never quarreled with his uncle.
When the overland train stopped at the station for water, and Arturo
rushed breathlessly to sell his horned toad, the eager boy found no
passenger who was desirous of being a customer save an old gentleman
who doubtfully offered twenty-five cents for the creature. 'Arturo
stuck bravely to his intended price of "four bits," but the train
creaked for starting, and, alarmed, the boy hastily handed over the
toad, took the quarter of a dollar, and rushed off the train.
The old gentleman shouted from the platform for instructions as to
feeding his pet, 'axed Arturo shouted back advice in broken English
to let it catch "muchos, muchos" (many) flies, and have "mucho,
mucho" air. The toad was in a pasta-board box at present. Arturo was
anxious that it should be well treated, for the boy felt it would
not be fair to make the creature a prisoner, and then sell it to
somebody who would starve it.
The old gentleman seemed satisfied with the shouted directions. But
when the train had puffed away, Arturo sat down and wrathfully
looked at his quarter of a dollar.
"He had altos pesos!" Arturo muttered; "ought give four bit."
According to Arturo's belief, every American had in his possession
"altos pesos," which is Spanish for "high" or "enormous" "dollars,"
or, as Americans say, "a pile of money." Therefore Arturo felt sure
that the old gentleman ought to have given half a dollar for the
Arturo was now not at all inclined to give tia Marta the twenty-five
cents. He wanted the money himself. Tia Marta was going to wash for
somebody to-day, and would get her pay.
What should he buy? Twenty-five cents must not be spent lightly. It
was not so often that a horned toad was found or sold.
Arturo did not muse long alone. Another boy had heard Arturo's
shouted advice to the old gentleman, and had told two or three
comrades. They came about Arturo to proffer advice. "Bollos," or
cakes, were joyfully suggested, but Arturo refused.
An older Spanish boy, Manuel, joined the company. He was a lazy
fellow, whom a good many of the younger boys admired because he
could play a guitar and because he wore cheap jewelry that seemed
gorgeous to inexperienced eyes.
Manuel approved of Arturo's rejection of the cake proposition. What
good was cake? It would be soon eaten and gone!
Manuel, who was ever bent on securing any money that he could obtain
without work, proposed to Arturo that he should buy a certain watch-
chain owned by himself. Manuel, who knew that the showy thing was
worthless, tried to picture how a fine-looking boy like Arturo would
appear with so gorgeous an ornament. The younger boys listened
enviously, and Arturo's Spanish love of display began to glow. Yet
he was cautious enough to put off Manuel till the next day. Arturo
went away, leaving the younger boys gazing enviously after him. His
pride was flattered.
As Arturo came into the little yard that was about his humble home,
he heard tia Marta singing. Arturo always dreaded to hear her sing,
because then he was sure that some calamity had occurred. Tia Marta
fully believed in the Spanish saying, "He who sings frightens away
It was as Arturo thought. Tia Marta had failed to get the day's
washing she had expected to have. This seemed very unfortunate, for
there was but little in the house to eat. Beans, one of the main
staples of food among the Mexicans, were almost gone from the
household supplies, and there was no money to buy more. Tia Marta
had cooked the last of the beans for supper. The uncle and aunt gave
fully half the beans to Arturo, and, being hungry, he ate them. Tia
Marta ate little, and urged the rest of the beans on tio Diego.
After supper, the aunt repeated with devout cheerfulness those
Spanish sayings, "God sends the sore, and knows the medicine," and
"God sends the cold according to our rags." She believed that God
Arturo thought of the twenty-five cents in his pocket. He looked at
old tio Diego. Arturo wondered if his uncle were really hungry.
Beans! Twenty-five cents would buy beans enough for a number of
days. But it would be such a downfall to buy only beans with that
twenty-five cents! Tia Marta would probably find some washing soon,
and would buy beans herself. Arturo had had enough supper to-night.
Next day Arturo bought the watch-chain. The little boys at school
were overawed by his showy ornament, but the teacher thought
laughingly, "How these Spanish do like to dress up!"
At night, when Arturo went home with his watch-chain hidden in his
pocket, tia Marta was singing again. There was only a little bread
and some dried figs for supper, and Arturo's healthy boyish appetite
already began to make him sorry for his bargain.
The next day tia Marta sang, and there were only dried figs to eat
all day. The next day there were figs for breakfast and figs at
noon. Even dried figs were almost gone.
At night, however, tia Marta said joyfully, "I got wash to-morrow!"
Arturo felt relieved.
The next morning there were only two or three figs apiece. When
Arturo came home at noon, he found frightened tio Diego crying
feebly and leaning over tia Marta, who had sunk in the door-way.
Scantily fed tia Marta's strength had given out in the midst of the
washing. She said she was only dizzy, but Arturo was frightened by
her looks. Suddenly it came to him that he loved her.
Arturo ran out of the house. He ran to a little grocery, and begged
the grocer to take the watch-chain for some beans. The grocer only
laughed, telling the boy the chain was worthless. But Arturo was
desperate. He knew better than to go to Manuel. Manuel would have
spent the twenty-five cents long ago, and Arturo pleaded with the
grocer. The grocer's wife was in and out, looking after her romping
children. She held the worthless, gaudy chain before her black-eyed
baby, who clutched it and laughed. The mother laughed, too. Her
husband laughed. The baby kept the chain, and crowed.
The grocer's wife filled a big paper bag with beans, and gave it,
with a loaf of bread, to Arturo. The boy clasped the packages, and
At home he found tia Marta sitting still with shut eyes.
"Eat!" cried Arturo, thrusting the loaf into her hands.
Tio Diego laughed with joy and put the beans to cooking. Arturo
stayed home from school that afternoon, and helped wash. To-morrow
the pay would come. Tio Diego tried lamely to help Arturo wash.
Tia Marta was feeling better, and had just declared her intention of
washing, when Arturo suddenly forsook the tub and dropped beside
"Me malo, malo!" (bad) he sobbed.
He cried bitterly, and told tia Marta about the watch-chain.
Old tia Marta looked pityingly at her shamefaced nephew.
"Poor child!" she said, "thou art young."
But when next day the school teacher asked Arturo the reason of his
absence from school the previous afternoon, and he had confessed the
whole story, the teacher said, "Arturo, it is more beautiful to have
a heart of love toward others than it is to wear a watch-chain even
of real gold. Will you remember that?"
Arturo promised, and the teacher said to herself:
"I will see that tia Marta does not come to such straits again."
The Waves splashed on the bold rocks that guard the little harbor
of Colombo on the southwest shore of the island of Ceylon. Groves of
palm trees looked down on the one-story houses of the town. Upon a
rock outside of Colombo stood a barefoot boy, his dark eyes gazing
toward the tropically green mountains of the island. His attention
was particularly riveted on one of the highest peaks, that one which
is known to English-speaking people as "Adam's Peak," and which is
reverenced by natives as being the traditional spot from which
Buddha ascended to heaven.
"The butterflies are making their pilgrimage to the holy footprint,"
murmured the boy, Comale, to himself.
He could see from his standpoint great streams of butterflies,
taking their flight apparently from all parts of the island, and
going toward the famous Peak. These flights of butterflies,
occurring occasionally in Ceylon, have won for the butterflies
themselves the name of "Samanaliya," since it is thought that the
heathen god, Saman, left his footprint on the mountain, and the
butterflies, like devout beings, take pains to go on pilgrimage to
the holy footprint.
Comale himself knew better than to believe in this old heathen tale,
yet he never saw the myriads of flying butterflies without
remembering what he had been taught in his earlier years, before
Christianity came under the high-pitched roof where Comale's father
and mother lived.
Long time did Comale stand on the rock and gaze at the vast numbers
of flying, winged "pilgrims." The butterflies seemed countless, and
at last Comale, sighing a little, said, "They are very good," and,
jumping from his rock, made haste toward the cinnamon gardens where
Comale was a "peeler." In the perfectly white soil around the city
of Colombo, the cinnamon tree flourishes as well as, if not better
than, in any other place in the world. It requires much practice to
become a skillful peeler of cinnamon, but Comale, having been taught
by his father, and being moreover a careful, observing lad, was fast
attaining a degree of success in his trade. Formerly the Cingalese
had allowed the cinnamon trees to grow to their natural height,
about twenty or thirty feet, and naturally the cinnamon bark from
such trees had been tough. This was long ago, however, before even
the Dutch owned Colombo. Better wisdom came with them, and in these
later days of English rule, sensible ideas still prevailed. The
cinnamon trees were kept pruned, and the comparatively young shoots
were found to produce better cinnamon than old trees had done.
Comale, arriving at the gardens, began to work. The branches he
chose for cutting were about three feet long and were the growth of
from three to five years.
Comale made longitudinal cuts in the bark, two cuts in a small
shoot, more cuts in a large shoot, and then with his instrument
carefully removed the bark strips.
He placed the pieces of bark in bundles, in which shape the cinnamon
was to stay for a while, that it might ferment, so that the outer
skin and the under green portion might be more easily scraped away
by Comale with a curved knife. After that, the inner cinnamon bark
would dry and draw up, till the pieces looked like quills. But ever,
as Comale worked this day, something inly disturbed his thoughts. He
was very unhappy.
"Comale," warned his father sharply, "that was a bad cut! Be more
Comale's father was attending to some bark that had dried to quills.
He was putting small cinnamon quills into larger ones, till he made
a collection about forty inches long. Then he would bind the
cinnamon into bundles by pieces of split bamboo. But Comale's father
kept an eye on his son's work, also.
Comale was much abashed at his father's reproof. For a time the lad
kept his mind upon the cinnamon. Then his thoughts went back to
their old uncomfortable vein, for he found in a tree a little bundle
of sticks from four to six inches long, all the sticks placed
lengthwise, the whole looking like a small bunch of firewood. Comale
knew what this bundle was, well enough, for many a time he had found
this kind of a nest of the larva of a moth. He knew it was lined
with fine spun silk, and that the heathen people said that the moth
used once to be a real person who stole wood, and who, having died,
came back to earth again in the form of a moth, condemned, for the
former theft, to make little bunches of firewood. Comale sighed as
he touched the little bundle hanging from the tree.
He thought of the "good" butterflies that he had that morning seen
going on "pilgrimage."
"Some people are good, and some people are bad," thought Comale
sadly. "The butterflies go on pilgrimage, but the bad moth's little
bundle of firewood hangs in the tree. I wish I did not always do
Ordinarily he would not have cared for the acts of either moth or
butterfly, but to-day there was in Comale's heart a sense of guilt
that found accusation from unwonted sources.
"Comale!" warned his father again, "another false cut!"
Tears of mortification sprang to the lad's eyes. Never had ha seemed
to himself to be so awkward a peeler. It was something beside
awkwardness that ailed Comale's hand to-day. He was worrying over
the possible consequences of a deed of his.
That morning, he and his sister Pidura, who was about his own age,
had quarreled. They did not quarrel as often now as they used to
before Pidura and he knew anything about the way to be a Christian.
They tried to be patient, usually, but this morning there had been a
sharp quarrel between the two about the rice for breakfast. After
breakfast, Comale, still feeling very angry, had gone into the
veranda that each one-story house possesses. This veranda was
overshadowed by the high-pitched roof, and while, inside the house,
there was matting on the floor, as in Cingalese houses, the veranda
had a rough material made from the husks of the cocoanut. This
material was so placed as to prevent serpents from crawling into the
house. Ceylon has many serpents, and Pidura, Comale's sister, was
very much afraid of them. As Comale, yet very angry with his sister,
stood in the veranda, it occurred to him that if he pulled away some
of the rough cocoanut material, he might leave a place where a
serpent could come into the house and scare Pidura. It would be good
enough for her, he thought; and not pausing to reason about the
consequences of his action, he pulled away the rough material till
he left quite a space undefended. He did not believe that Padura
would notice it.
He could see her, busy in the kitchen, which is a house separate
from a Cingalese dwelling. Her plump, pleasant face bent over the
fire, and then again she turned away, her light jacket and striped
skirt vanishing toward another corner of the kitchen. Comale half
laughed as he thought how scared she would be if a little serpent
should find the opening he had made. Then he ran away.
But now, since beginning his day's work, his quarrel and the
possible consequences of his misdeed had begun to weigh heavily on
Comale's conscience, and had lent an accusing tongue to nature. So
true is it that a guilty conscience finds censure where a heart that
is at peace with God and man would find no reproving reminder.
Comale could not go home till nightfall, and all day his worry
increased. Why had he done so wicked a thing? The quarrel over the
trouble about the rice looked so little, now! If a poisonous snake
should find that opening, and should creep in, and strike his
mother, or Pidura, or the little brother, or, the baby! It was
dreadful to think of! Why had he blindly followed his anger? Had he
not often heard that he who would be a Christian must forgive
others? Instead of forgiving Pidura, he had done something that
perhaps might kill her.
"Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you." It was what the
missionary had said.
"I ought to have forgiven Pidura!" Comale's heart cried. "Oh, I am
bad, bad! How can I bear it, to wait till I can go home to see if
all is safe?"
Naturally, Comale's work was not done well, to-day. But he cared
little for criticism of his peeling, when at evening the time came
to go home. He ran all the way. He plunged headlong into the street
where he lived. He ran past the tile-roofed houses. There was his
home's veranda with bunches of bananas hanging in the shade, and a
basket of cocoa-nuts below. Comale hastened in, out of breath, yet
trying to act as if nothing ailed him. Pidura was safe! He saw her.
He found his mother and the baby in another room. Comale drew a long
breath, and tried to stop trembling. His little brothers were in the
It was growing dusk, and another fear beset him. If a serpent had
crawled into the house, the creature might have hidden itself, and
might not come out till sometime in the night. Comale guiltily
slipped into the veranda again. The unprotected portion had not been
discovered. It lay exposed as he had left it.
As well as he could, Comale replaced the cocoanut-husk material, so
that it might be a defense as before. Then he went softly around
within the house, hunting for any possible hiding-place where the
enemy he dreaded might be concealed.
"Comale," said his mother, "what are you doing?" And Comale did not
dare to hunt any more.
He was dreadfully miserable as he lay that night in the darkness. He
could not sleep. He listened for any outcry. To think that he might
have let an enemy into his own home! Comale rose upon his elbow to
listen. The walls of Cingalese houses are not carried up to the
roof, and, because of this, an outcry or conversation in one room
can be heard all over the house. Comale listened. Sometimes he
fancied he heard the sound of something slipping over the matting on
the floor. So worried was he that when he slept it was only by short
naps from which he woke with a start, and resumed his listening.
Toward morning, when light began to come, Comale crept from his
place. He looked toward where his little brothers slept. Hanging
above one of the little boys was a slender dark line. It was alive!
It swayed to and fro in the shadows, and seemed to slip a little
lower toward the sleeping child. Comale started. He sprang forward
with a cry, and caught the swaying thing. But it was no living
creature that Comale brought with him to the floor. It was only a
long, thin strip of bamboo with which Comale's father had intended
to bind cinnamon bark! The strip had been hung up out of the way,
and had swung a little in the current of air between the top of the
wall and the roof. As the bamboo strip swayed, it had gradually
slipped lower and lower toward the sleeping little boy below.
Comale's outcry had aroused the household; and without reserve the
penitent lad told to the family the story of his misdeed. His dark-
faced father smiled slightly and showed his teeth through his beard.
He understood now the mistakes Comale had made in the cinnamon work
the previous day.
"A wrong heart makes corundoo peeling go ill, Comale," he said
"Corundoo" is the native word for cinnamon.
"A wrong heart makes rice-cooking go ill, too," softly confessed
Pidura. "I am sorry for yesterday's rice! It was I who made Comale's
The father looked from one child to the other.
"Little children, love one another," he said.
AT THE PANADERIA.
The door of the "panaderia" opened. Americans would have called the
place a bakery, but the sign said "Panaderia," which might be
interpreted "breadery" or bake-house. All California does not read
English, and it behooves shop-keepers sometimes to word their signs
for the customers desired. In like manner the "Restaurante
Mexicana," across the street, on a sign advertised "comidas," or
meals, at twenty-five and fifty cents.
Through the panaderia doorway came a girl and a boy. They walked
along by the "zanja," or irrigation ditch, that here bordered the
road. The fern-leaved pepper trees beside the zanja were dotted with
clusters of small, bright red berries.
"Rosa," said the boy, when the two had walked a little way, "I saw
in that big yard many purple and green grapes, spread out drying for
Rosa did not answer. She trudged on, carrying her basket of bread.
The brother carried a loaf in brown paper. He and she lived at the
panaderia, and had set forth to carry the bread to the two regular
"Rosa," stated the boy again, after a pause, "all the little oranges
on the trees over there are green."
Rosa did not even look toward the oranges.
"Rosa," affirmed the boy emphatically, when a few minutes had gone
by, "the Chinese doctor is measuring a window in his house! See! He
has some little teacups and a teapot in his front room! I saw them
Rosa looked absently toward the old building, inside a window of
which was visible the head of the Chinese doctor, who wore black
goggles, and who was indeed measuring his window for some reason.
Rosa had small hope of the Chinese doctor as a future customer. She
had seen him eating his rice with chop-sticks, and he never came to
buy a scrap of bread or anything else. Rosa sighed to think what
would become of the panaderia, if all the world had the same opinion
as the Chinese doctor, in regard to eating. In these days Rosa was
in danger of looking upon the world from a strictly calculating
standpoint, and of regarding only those people as worthy of her
interest who either were or might become customers of the panaderia.
Still indeed customers were needed, for the receipts had been
slight, lately, and Rosa's grandmother's parrot, Papagayo, a bird of
such understanding that he had learned to screech, "Pan por dinero,"
(bread for money) had recently seen more of the former than of the
latter in the shop.
Rosa and her brother still kept by the zanja, even when it turned
away from the road. They went on till they reached the orange
orchard of the Zanjero of the town. The Zanjero is the man who has
the oversight of the irrigation system, and he has deputies under
him. Rosa and her brother Joseph thought the Zanjero a great man,
and stood much in awe of the irrigation laws concerning stealing
water, or raising a gate to waste water, or giving water to persons
outside the district.
The two bread-carriers went through the orange orchard, which was
not being irrigated at this hour, for the Zanjero was particular
himself to keep the hour that he paid for, as other men should be.
Up to the Zanjero's house Rosa now carried the bread, and his wife
herself paid for it. Rosa tied the coins carefully in one corner of
the black shawl that she wore over her head.
"Rosa," anticipated Joseph aloud, as they went away through the
orange orchard again, "when I am grown up, I shall be a Zanjero, and
we will not have to keep the panaderia!"
But Rosa looked unbelieving. "It is not granted every man to be the
Zanjero," returned she gravely, "and I love the panaderia."
It was true. She did love it, even to the castor-oil plants that
grew like weeds in neglected places in the yard, and down to the
south wall that was hung with a thick veil of red peppers that her
grandmother was drying in the sun. It was only because the panaderia
had not enough customers that Rosa looked so grave to-day. Besides,
the grandmother's birthday was near, and where was money for a
At the other house where the children regularly delivered bread,
irrigation had been going on all the morning. The half-day of
irrigation, for which the owner of this orange orchard had paid, was
just over, and the water-gate connecting the man's ditch with the
main zanja was being shut when Rosa and Joseph arrived. The little
water-gate was like a wooden shovel. It slid down some grooves, and
the running water stopped. It squirmed in the zanja an instant. Then
the little wooden gate was fastened with a padlock, as every gate
must be when the payer for water had received from the Zanjero's
deputy the amount of water paid for, whether by the fifty-cent-hour,
or the two-dollar-day, or the dollar-and-a-quarter night rate, and
whoever unauthorized should unfasten the padlock and open the gate
would be a thief of water.
After witnessing the shutting off of the water, Joseph carried his
paper-enfolded loaf to the house of this second regular customer,
and then the children turned homeward toward the panaderia.
"Pan por dinero!" cried the parrot, Papagayo, when Rosa and Joseph
reentered the panaderia; but alas! no customers were there. Only the
grandmother sat sewing behind the counter, her blurred old eyes
close to the cloth she held.
"I will take care of the panaderia now, grandmother," Rosa offered;
and the grandmother answered, "I will rest a little, then."
The poor, dear grandmother! She was so tired and thin, nowadays, and
her hands trembled so much! It was hard for her to try to sew. If
the panaderia paid better, if there were more regular customers to
whom Rosa and Joseph could carry eatables, then the grandmother
would not attempt sewing at all, for it strained her eyes very much.
But now she did not know what else to do. There must be a living for
herself and the children someway.
Rosa found the afternoon long, sitting behind the counter, waiting
for customers and trying to sew. A little boy came in and bought a
loaf. Two girls bought another. Then the panaderia door ceased to
swing, and the quiet afternoon went on. Across the street, women
stood here and there and gossiped.
Nobody came. It grew four, then five, then six o'clock. Finally the
panaderia door opened, and a woman entered. Rosa sprang up. Here was
a customer, at last!
But the woman only came to the counter, and stood still. She was
young, very thin and ill, evidently, and her eyes had tears in their
depths. Under the black shawl that was over the newcomer's head Rosa
spied a dark mark, as of a bruise, on the forehead. The young woman
tried to speak.
"I have three little children," she said. "I am sick. I cannot work,
and their father drinks mescal--always mescal. I have no money. Will
you give me a little bread? I am no beggar, but my babies are so
Rosa knew how much harm mescal (a kind of intoxicating drink made
from the maguey or Mexican aloe) did among the neighbors. She did
not doubt the woman's tale; only it was disappointing, when one
thought a real customer had at last come to the panaderia, to find
that it was not so. But the girl nodded sympathetically at the
conclusion of the young woman's appeal.
"I will speak to grandmother," she promised.
She found her grandmother lying down still, but half awake, and
explained to her the situation.
"Yes, yes," returned the grandmother, her wrinkled face full of
sympathy. "Give her the bread. Has not the Lord told us to care for
the poor? He would not be pleased if we sent her away without bread.
Tell the poor woman to come again. The little children, must be
Rosa hurried back to the counter, and gave the woman two fresh
loaves and the grandmother's message.
"Gracias!" (thanks) sobbed the young woman and hurried away.
"I hope she will not tell that we gave her bread," murmured Rosa to
herself as the usual quiet settled over the panaderia. "We can't
afford to give bread to many people."
The weeks went by, and the panaderia did not prosper very well. It
grew to be a customary thing for the thin, sick woman to come daily
for bread, and she was never refused. She said with a sensitive
eagerness that when she was well again she would work and pay all
back, and Rosa's grandmother answered "Yes," cheerily, to this
promise, though any one who looked at the poor young mother's face
could see that there was small prospect of her ever being well again
in this world. Her husband still drank.
Times grew harder and harder at the panaderia. In the midst of the
winter a heavy blow fell, for the Zanjero's wife took a fancy to
making her own bread, and as she was the regular customer who bought
more loaves and paid more promptly than the other, the panaderia
felt the loss keenly. Customers were very scarce, and the
grandmother's eyes became so weak that she could no longer sew. Rosa
sewed the little that she could, but some days there was scarcely
enough to eat at the panaderia, except the very few loaves in the
case--the loaves that the three hardly knew whether to dare eat or
not, for fear some one should come in and want to buy. There were
many other people who were poor and without work, and the little
family kept their troubles to themselves. The poor sick neighbor
always came every day and was given bread. Winter passed and spring
arrived without much change in the panaderia's prospects.
"We could have eaten that ourselves," thought Rosa one night when
the neighbor went out with the bread.
The grandmother had said that the poor were God's care, and he would
bless those who for his sake fed them.
"But we keep on being poorer and poorer," thought Rosa with a sigh.
Then she reproached herself. Had not her grandmother said that the
Lord cared about the panaderia? One day when spring was turning into
summer, the poor neighbor came in earlier than usual. Her face was
very white. Rosa and her grandmother were both by the counter. The
grandmother smiled and was about to draw out the bread and give it
to the woman. But the poor neighbor dropped her head on the counter,
and stretched out her hand toward the old grandmother. The
grandmother took the hand, and lo! in her own lay a little key.
"Take it to the Zanjero!" sobbed the sick neighbor," and tell him to
forgive! It was the mescal made my husband do it!"
Little by little Rosa and her grandmother pieced together the story
of the small key. Some unscrupulous persons wished to obtain water
for irrigation without paying for it. A key was made that fitted the
padlocks of the little wooden gates leading from the zanja. By night
some one must open these gates and close them again before morning.
It was thieving, of course, and the Zanjero or his deputies might
catch the person who did it. But the sick neighbor's husband,
wanting money to buy more mescal, had been induced to undertake the
task of stealthily opening the gates. His wife, suspicious of his
errand, had followed him on the first night of his attempt. She had
seen him stop by a Mexican cactus, and raise something, she knew not
what, in the zanja. After he had gone, she went to the spot and
putting her hand into the water felt the current that ran through a
gate he had opened.
"Then I know!" tearfully declared the woman to Rosa's grandmother.
"I follow my husband. I tell him the Zanjero is the friend of the
good panaderia that gives the bread! I tell him he shall not open
the other gates! I snatch the key! I tell him `No! No! The panaderia
is my friend! The Zanjero is the panaderia's friend!' He shall not
cheat the Zanjero! My husband say if he open other gates he get
money for mescal. I say 'No!' I run away with key. My husband say,
'Don't tell anybody! I will not open the gates again! Let other men
do it.' But I say, 'I must tell, because the Zanjero is the best
friend of the panaderia. No one shall cheat the best friend of the
panaderia, that feeds our babies so long--all winter and now."
Evidently the woman supposed that the Zanjero was still the
principal regular customer of the panaderia. Rosa and her
grandmother had never told about his ceasing to buy bread, and the
neighbor thought that he was still considered their very chief
That evening Rosa and Joseph took the long-unused path to the
Zanjero's house. His wife came to the door.
"Oh," she said, "it's the two little bread-bringers! No, I don't
want any bread. Are you trying to get orders?"
"May I see the Zanjero?" asked Rosa gravely.
The Zanjero's wife, whose name in plain English was Mrs. Craig, led
the two children into her husband's presence. Rosa, very pale with
the thought of being in the presence of so great a man, told her
story in trembling tones, and held out the key.
The Zanjero took it, and looked at it curiously.
"Will you forgive?" asked Rosa timorously. "The poor, sick woman
asks you to forgive. She says it was the mescal that made her
husband do it."
"I presume so," returned the man grimly. "They're all thieves."
But the Zanjero's wife was wiser than her husband. She dropped into
a chair and put an arm around Rosa.
"You have not told all the story yet, or else I do not understand,"
she said gently. "What makes this woman so much your friend that she
comes and tells your grandmother about the key?"
So the whole story came out at last--about the long, sad winter at
the panaderia; the grandmother's attempts at sewing; her failing
eyes; the lack of customers, yet the daily giving of bread to the
poor neighbor and her three children; the trust that the Lord knew
about the panaderia and its occupants.
The Zanjero's wife understood it all now. She looked up at her
husband. There were tears in her eyes as she said:
"While you are forgiving that man, you'd better think how much
forgiveness I need for having stopped taking bread of the panaderia
in the heart of winter, when they needed the money so badly! To
think of their struggling along, and yet giving bread every day to a
woman and three babies! If the panadeiia folks had not done this,
you'd never have found out about this plan to rob the zanja! That
woman would simply have kept the story and the key to herself, and
those dishonest men would have found somebody else to open the gates
at night for them. It was only because she thought that you were a
noted customer of the panaderia that she sent you word of this plan
to steal the water."
The great Zanjero turned and looked at Rosa.
"Tell that sick woman," he said gravely, "that I forgive her husband
for opening the gate, though I don't know how much water he helped
steal that night. Tell her, though, that he must never do such a
thing again. I am coming to see him myself, and I shall tell him he
is forgiven. But he must stop drinking mescal."
"And tell your grandmother," broke in the Zanjero's wife, "that I
want three loaves of bread to-morrow morning, and I want bread every
day. Here's the money for the three loaves. And I'm going to get you
a lot of regular customers! I have friends enough. They'll take
bread of you, if I ask them. You poor children! Why didn't you come
and tell me about things, long ago?"
So it was that the mercy which the old grandmother showed to the
sick neighbor and her children returned in blessing on the
panaderia. For the Zanjero's wife rested not till she had fulfilled
her promise. Customers became many and well-paying, and the old
grandmother, happy in the prosperity, said to Rosa and to Joseph:
"See you, my children? Did I not tell you that the Lord knew about
the panaderia? It is he who sends all this good to us who deserve it
MISS STRATTON'S PAPER
The wind was blowing quite keenly from the north, and Miss Stratton
had the collar of her coat turned up, as she hurried through the
darkness of the avenue. She was talking behind her coat collar, the
tips of which brushed her lips. If what Miss Stratton said had been
audible to any one beside herself, it would have sounded as if she
were talking severely to somebody.
"I don't see why you can't throw that evening paper where we can
find it!" Miss Stratton was saying under her breath. "We have a
broad walk, and there's plenty of room! I've been out in the yard
three or four times to-night, and hunted thoroughly, and mother's
been out once. Mother's eyes are poor, and she likes to have the
paper before dark."
Miss Stratton caught her breath in the cold wind. She hastened by a
gas-lamp, climbed the hill, and found her way in darkness up the
long steps of a house. She fumbled for the bell and rang it. There
was a little stir within, the opening of an interior door to let
light into the hall, and then a boy's step. The front door opened.
Miss Stratton looked straight into the boyish face that appeared.
"I want to know where you threw our paper to-night," she demanded.
"I can't find it anywhere."
The boy stepped one side so that the light within the farther room
might fall on Miss Stratton's face. He recognized her.
"Oh," returned the boy, "your paper went up a tree."
"Up a tree!" exclaimed Miss Stratton, indignantly. "Why didn't you
come in and tell me, so I'd know where to look for it?"
"If I'd had an extra copy with me, I'd have thrown in another," said
the boy--"I'll get you one."
He walked back into the sitting-room, glad to escape from the
accusing subscriber, whom he had not expected to see following him
to his home. Miss Stratton sternly waited. The boy's sister had come
into the hall, and was holding a candle for a light. Her brother
came back with the evening paper, and Miss Stratton took it.
"I wish you'd be careful where you throw that paper, Harry," she
admonished him, her indignation cooling. "I've spoken to you about
that before. I don't like to have to come away up here for the
paper. It isn't convenient."
"Yes'm," answered the boy.
Miss Stratton hurried home. When she arrived there, one of the first
things she saw gleaming faintly through the garden's darkness, was
the missing evening paper that Harry had thrown into a pepper tree
near the side fence. During Miss Stratton's absence, the strong wind
had shaken the paper down, and it lay at the foot of the tree. "How
did he suppose I was going to find that paper up that tree?"
questioned Miss Stratton. "I did look up there before dark, but I
didn't see anything."
The evening paper was easily discoverable for a week or so after
this: Then matters went back to their old state and Miss Stratton
frequently spent a quarter of an hour finding her evening paper.
"If he'd take the slightest pains he could throw it on this walk
that is ten feet wide!" she would tell herself indignantly, as she
pushed aside the branches of blue marguerites and the leaves of
calla-lilies, and peered into holes on either side of the steps near
the front gate, where the watering of the garden had washed away the
Miss Stratton had liked Harry very much, when he first became paper
boy. He had a frank manner that made him friends. At first he
carefully threw the paper on Miss Stratton's front piazza. He never
skipped an evening, as the former paper boy had sometimes done, and
Miss Stratton rejoiced that at last a paper boy who was reliable had
been found for the route. Months had passed, and while Harry was as
careful at some houses as before, Miss Stratton's was not among that
number. Harry had three 'customers on that street and he nightly
walked only as far toward Miss Stratton's as would enable him to
throw her paper and then, with two or three steps, throw another
paper to the neighbor diagonally across the street. A few more steps
would have made Harry sure that Miss Stratton's paper fell every
night squarely on the broad front path, but he "fired the paper at
her," as he expressed it, and the result was Miss Stratton's
otherwise unnecessary number of steps hunting after her paper. Yet
Harry would have scorned to cheat any customer. He fulfilled the
letter of the law. He delivered the paper.
Late one afternoon the minister and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Landler,
came by invitation to take supper with Mrs. and Miss Stratton. After
a while, as they sat, pleasantly chatting, Mr. Landler spoke of a
ship that had been overdue for almost two weeks. A neighbor's son
was on board, and this fact caused Mr. and Mrs. Landler to look at
the papers, morning and night, as soon as possible, to ascertain if
anything had been heard of the missing vessel.
"That's what my daughter and I have been doing, too," returned Mrs.
Stratton. "I wonder if this evening's paper hasn't come, so we could
Her daughter glanced at the clock.
"Why, yes!" said she. "That paper ought to have come before now."
Miss Stratton went out and hunted carefully. No paper was visible,
search as she might.
"Perhaps it hasn't come yet," she said to the guests, when she came
A little later she went out again. Mrs. Landler came to help search,
though Miss Stratton disclaimed the need of aid.
"The paper doesn't always fall where I can see it," explained Miss
Stratton, mortified at her failure to find the paper for her guests.
"Who brings it around?" asked Mrs. Landler, looking at the broad
"Harry Butterworth," answered Miss Stratton.
She did not tell of the annoyance Harry had caused her heretofore.
Harry's mother was a church friend of the Landlers and the
Strattons, and Miss Stratton was loath to expose the boy's
No paper appeared, and after a thorough search, Mrs. Landler and
Miss Stratton went into the house. Dusk was coming. Miss Stratton
had occasion to go upstairs for something, and glancing out of the
front hall window, she saw the twisted roll of that evening's paper
lying on a projection of the roof.
"He threw the paper on the roof!" exclaimed Miss Stratton, "and he
didn't come in to tell me!"
She pushed up the hall window, and reaching out as far as she dared,
she tried with an old umbrella handle to dislodge the paper. She
drew breathlessly back.
"It's no use! I can't get it!" she gasped.
She went downstairs and told her mother quietly, but Mrs. Stratton
had no scruples about informing her guests what had happened.
"That boy's thrown this evening's paper on the roof!" stated old
Mrs. Stratton. "He does put us to so much trouble!"
The minister instantly offered to climb the roof. Miss Stratton and
her mother protested, but Mr. Landler took off his coat, climbed out
of an upper-story window, and secured the paper. In one column was a
notice that the missing ship had been heard from and was safe. Great
was the rejoicing around the Strattons' supper-table that their
friend's son was not lost.
The next time Mr. Landler saw Harry, the minister said pleasantly,
"You gave me quite a climb the other night, my boy."
Harry looked astonished.
"Gave you a climb?" he questioned. "I gave you one?"
"Yes," nodded Mr. Landler. "Miss Stratton's evening paper fell on
her roof. My wife and I were taking supper there, so I climbed the
roof for the paper."
Harry turned very red. Was ever a paper boy so unfortunate? He knew
the paper fell on the roof, but who would have supposed Mr. Landler
was at the Strattons'? Harry wanted very much to be thought well of
by the minister and his wife. Everybody liked them.
"I didn't know you were there," apologized Harry, hardly knowing
what to say.
"No," said the minister, gently, "we never know who may be in any
home. You didn't know you were delivering the paper to me. You
thought it was to Miss Stratton. Wasn't that it?"
"Yes," acknowledged the boy.
"If the Lord Jesus were here on earth, Harry," went on the minister
in a very grave, tender tone, "and if he wanted a little service
from you, you wouldn't render it in the way you deliver Miss
Stratton's paper, would you? Yet she is his child, one of his
representatives on earth, and as you treat her you treat him.
'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these,' you
The next night Miss Stratton's paper fell with an emphatic thwack in
the middle of the front walk. The next night it did the same, and
the next, and the next.
"What has changed that boy?" wondered Miss Stratton with grateful
relief, as weeks passed and the paper still fell in plain sight.
She did not know that as Harry carefully aimed his papers, the boy
thought, "'Ye have done it unto me.'"
AN HONEST DAY'S WORK.
Willis walked down one of the city wharves. He was going to see his
father, Mr. Sutherland, who was one of the men employed by the State
Harbor Commissioners in repairing wharves. The piles that supported
the wharves often needed renewing, being eaten by teredos. Sometimes
the flooring of the wharves sagged and needed restoring to the
Willis liked to see the pile-driver with its big hammer. He marveled
at the air-pumps with which sagging wharves were raised. Perhaps
three air-pumps at a time would be stationed over as many "caps," as
the twelve-inch timbers under the wharf's flooring were called. The
pumps, being worked, would raise the caps and hold them until blocks
could be shoved underneath. Then the pumps were worked some more,
and other blocks put under, till the wharf was restored to the
required level. Great screws such as are used in raising buildings
were also employed under wharves sometimes. There were rocks under
some wharves, and water was under others. Whichever it was, Willis'
father often had to go under the wharves and climb around among the
caps and stringers and piles, repairing.
Seven or eight other men were employed like Mr. Sutherland. It was
mid-forenoon, but Willis saw that three or four of the men were not
working. They were idling around the engine of the pile-driver, and
were eating something that Willis found to be cooked crabs.