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considered that she must leave her little Marten to strangers; and this grieved her the more, because little Marten was a very tender child, and had always been so from his birth. When these thoughts came into her mind, nothing could give her any comfort but retiring to her own room, and praying, and repeating to herself the promises of God; for there are in the Bible many promises to pious people, that God will take all their concerns into his own hands, and manage their affairs for them. Those people who are enabled by the grace of God to lay hold of these promises, are never deceived ; but whatever affair they trust to God is managed for them better than they could manage it for themselves. This trust in God is called an active and a living faith : and people who have this living faith obey the commands of God, even when, according to man's judgment, they would seem to be losers by their obedience. There were two promises in the Bible which were particularly comfortable to little Marten's mother: these were, first, • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Prov. iii. 5, 6; and the other, 'Leave thy fatherless children; I will preserve them alive: and let thy widows trust in me.' Jer. xlix. 11.
“It happened, a few weeks before her death, as little Marten's mother was lying on her couch, meditating on these promises, that one Mrs. Short, who lived in Tenterden, and spent her time in gossiping from house to house, came bustling into the room where Marten's mother lay. “I am come to tell you,' said she, “ that 'Squire Blake's lady will be here just now.'- It is some time since I have seen Mrs. Blake,' said Marten's mother; but it is kind of her to visit me in my trouble.'
“ While she was speaking, Mr. Blake's carriage came up to the door, and Mrs. Blake stepped out. She came into the parlour in a very free and friendly manner; and, taking Marten's mother by the hand, said she was sorry to see her looking so ill.
“ Indeed,' said the sick woman, 'I am very ill, dear madam; and I think that I cannot live longer than a few weeks; but God's will be done! I have no trouble in leaving this world, but on account of little Marten: yet I know that God will take care of him, and that I ought not to be troubled on his account.'
“Mrs. Blake then answered, “As you have begun to speak upon the subject, I will tell you what particularly brought me here to-day.' She then told her, that, as she and Mr. Blake had a large fortune and no family, they were willing to take little Marten at her death, and provide for him as their own. This was a very great and kind offer, and most people would have accepted it with joy : but the pious mother recollected that Mr. Blake was one who declared himself to be without religion; and she could not think of leaving her little boy to such a man. 'For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.' Matt. xvi. 26, 27. Accordingly, she thanked Mrs. Blake for her kind offer: for a very kind offer it was; and said that she would feel obliged to her till her dying moment. But,' added she, “I cannot accept of your friendship for my little boy, as I have a very dear Friend who would be disobliged if I did so.'
“Mrs. Blake turned red, and was offended; for she had never once thought it possible that Marten's mother should refuse her offer; and Mrs. Short lifted up her hands and eyes, and looked as if she thought the poor sick woman little better than a fool,
666 Well,' said Mrs. Blake, 'I am surprised, I must confess : however, you must know your own affairs best; but this I must say, that I think Marten may live long enough without having such another offer.'
66 And I must say, that you are standing in the child's way,' said Mrs. Short. "Why, Mr. Blake can do ten times more for the child than his father could have done had he lived a hundred years; and I think it is very ungrateful and foolish in you to make such a return for Mr. and Mrs. Blake's kindness.'
“And pray,' said Mrs. Blake, who is this dear friend who would be so much disobliged by your allowing us to take the boy ?
" I suppose it is 'Squire Broom,' said Mrs. Short: 'for who else can it be?'
“Yes,' said Mrs. Blake ; 'I have no doubt it is ; for Mr. Broom never loved my husband. But,' added she, looking at Marten's mother, You do very wrong if you think that Mr. Broom could do as much for the child (even if he were willing) as my husband. Mr. Broom is not rich, and he has a great many children; whereas Mr. Blake has a very handsome fortune, and no near relation in the world. However, as you have once refused, I do not think I would take the boy now, if you were to ask me.'
“I am very sorry,' answered Marten's mother, to appear unthankful to you: and perhaps, as I am a dying woman, I ought to tell you the true reason of my refusing your offer, though it may make you angry. I do not doubt but that you would be kind to little Marten, and I know that you have more to give him than ever his father could have had.' She then, in a very delicate manner, hinted at Mr. Blake's irreligious opinions, and acknowledged that it was on the account of these that she had refused his protection for her son. “The Lord Jesus Christ,' added she, is the dear Friend I spoke of, my dear madam, and the One I am afraid to offend by accepting Mr. Blake's offer. You are welcome to tell Mr. Blake all I say: and add, if you please, that, as long as my life is spared, I shall daily pray that God may turn his heart, and give him faith in that Saviour who is now my only hope and comfort.'
Mrs. Blake made no answer; but got up, and, wishing Marten's mother and Mrs. Short a good morning, went away very much offended.
“When Mrs. Short was left with the sick woman, she failed not to speak her mind to her, and that very plainly, by telling her that she considered her little better than a fool for what she had done. Marten's mother answered, 'I am willing to be counted a fool for Christ's sake.'
“ The next day Marten's mother sent for 'Squire Broom; and, when she had told him all that had passed between herself and Mrs. Blake, she asked him if he would take charge of poor little Marten when she was dead, and also of what little money she might leave be. hind her; and see that the child was put to a school in which he might learn his duty towards God. Squire Broom promised that he would be a friend to the boy to the best of his power; and Marten's' mother was sure that he would do what he promised, for he was a man who feared God. And now, not to make our story too long, I must tell you that Marten's mother grew weaker
and weaker; and about three weeks after she had held this discourse with Mrs. Blake, she was found one morning dead in her bed; and it was supposed she died without pain, as Susan the maid, who slept in the same room, had not heard her move or utter a sigh. She was buried in Tenterden church-yard; and 'Squire Broom, as he had promised, took charge of all her affairs.
“And now, after having done with little Marten's good mother, I shall give you the history of the little boy himself, from the day he awoke and found his poor mother dead: and you shall judge whether God heard his mother's prayer, and whether he took care of the poor little orphan.
“When his mother was in good health, Marten always slept in her arms; but when she became ill, he slept with Susan, in a little bed near his mother. He used every morning, when he awoke, to creep into his mother's bed to kiss her: the morning after her death, he climbed as usual into her bed, and kissed her: she was not yet cold. He spoke to her, calling her several times, • Mother! dear mother!' but she did not answer. It was a long time before Susan could make him understand that she was dead. While the women were laying out the body, he sat outside of the door, and came in again as soon as they would permit him : neither would he allow himself to be taken out of the room till the corpse, was put into the coffin and carried to the grave. He followed the corpse to the grave: and, after the coffin was covered with earth, he still stood by it, though he did not speak a word, till Susan came and carried him back to the house which had been his mother's. 'Squire Broom would have had him go home with him, but he would not leave Susan.
“Marten's mother was buried on Saturday evening ; on Sunday, little Marten went again and stood by his mother's grave, and no one but Susan could persuade him to come away. On Monday morning 'Squire Broom came in a one-horse chaise, to take him to school at Ashford. The master of the school at that time was a conscientious man; but 'Squire Broom did not know that he was so severe in the management of children as he proved to be.
Little Marten cried very much when he was put into the one-horse chaise with 'Squire Broom: “Oh! let me stay with Susan: let me live with Susan!' he said.
What !' said 'Squire Broom, and never learn to read? You must go to school and learn to read, or how are you ever to know God's word?' Susan shall teach me to read,' said little Marten. 'Squire Broom promised him that he should come back in the summer, and see Susan; and little Marten tried to stop crying.
" When little Marten got to Ashford school, he was turned into a large stone hall, where about fifty boys were playing : he had never seen so many boys before, and he was frightened, and crept into a corner. They all got round him, and asked him a great many questions, which frightened him more: and he began to cry, and call for Susan. This set the boys laughing; and they began to pull him about, and teaze him.
“ Little Marten was a pretty child : he was very fair, and had beautiful blue eyes and red lips, and his dark brown hair curled all over his head : but he had always been very tender in his health ; and the kickings, and thumpings, and beatings he got among the boys, instead of making him hardy, made him the more sickly and complaining.
“ The boys used to rise very early; and, after they had been an hour in school, they played in the churchyard (for the school-room stood in the church-yard) till the bell rang to call them to breakfast. In the school. room there was only one fire-place, and the little boys never could get near it: so that little Marten used to be so numbed with cold in the mornings (for winter was coming) that he could scarcely hold his book; and his feet and hands became so swelled with chilblains, that, when the other boys went out to play, he could only creep after them. He was so stupified with cold that he could not learn: he even forgot his letters, though he had known them all when his mother was alive ; and, in consequence, he got several floggings. When his mother was living, he was a cheerful little fellow, full of play, and quick in learning : but now he became dull and cast down, and he refused to eat; and he would cry and fret if any one did but touch him. His poor little feet and hands were sore and bleeding with cold; so that he was afraid any one should come near to touch him.
" As the winter advanced, it became colder and colder; and little Marten got a very bad cough, and grew very thin. Several people remarked to the schoolmaster, • Little Marten is not well: he gets very thin.' 'Oh!