« ZurückWeiter »
he will be better,' the master would answer, when he is more used to us. Many children when they first come to school, pine after home: but what can I do for him? I must not make any difference between him and the other boys.'
“ One morning, in the beginning of December, when the boys were playing in the church-yard before breakfast, little Marten not being able to run, or scarcely to walk, by reason of his chilblains, came creeping after them: his lips were blue with cold and his cheeks white. He looked about for some place where he might be sheltered a little from the cold wind; and at length he ventured to creep into the porch of an old house, which stood on one side of the church-yard. The door of the house was open a little way, and Marten peeped in: he saw within a small neat kitchen, where was a bright fire; an elderly maid-servant was preparing breakfast before the fire; the tea-kettle was boiling; and the toast and butter and muffins stood ready to be carried into the parlour. A large old cat slept before the fire; and in one corner of the kitchen was a parrot upon a stand.
" While Marten was peeping in, and longing for a bit of toast and butter, a little old lady, dressed in a gray silk gown, wearing a mob-cap and long ruffles, came into the kitchen by the inner door: she first spoke to the parrot, then stroked the cat; and then, turning towards the porch door, she said (speaking to the maid),
Hannah, why do you leave the door open! The wind comes in very cold. So saying, she was going to push the door to, when she saw poor little Marten: she observed his black coat, his little bleeding hands and his pale face, and she felt very sorry for him. What little fellow are you?' she said, as she held the door in her hand: 'where do you come from? and what do you want at my door?
“My name is Marten,' he answered, and I am very cold.'
“Do you belong to the school, my dear ? said she.
6. Yes, ma'am,' he answered: my mother is dead, 6 and I am very cold.'
"* Poor little creature !' said the old lady, whose name was Lovel. “Do you hear what he says, Hannah ? His mother is dead, and he is very cold! Do, Hannah, run over to the school-house, and ask the master if he will give this little boy leave to stay and breakfast with me.' “ Hannah set down a tea-cup which she was wiping; and looking at Marten, Poor young creature !' she said. • It is a pity that such a babe as this should be in a public school. Come in, little one, while I run over to your master, and ask leave for you to stay a little with my mistress.'
“ Hannah soon returned with the master's leave; and poor little Marten went gladly up stairs into Mrs. Lovel's parlour. There Mrs. Lovel took off his wet shoes and damp stockings and hung them to the fire, while she rubbed his little numbed feet till they were warm. In the mean time Hannah brought up the tea-things, and toast and butter, and set all things in order upon the round table.
6 • You are very good,' said Little Marten to Mrs." Lovel : I will come and see you every day.
6 • You shall come as often as you please,' said Mrs. Lovel, if you are a little boy who fears God.'
“Then I will come at breakfast-time, and at dinner. time, and at supper-time,' said Marten.
“Mrs. Lovel smiled, and looked at Hannah, who was bringing up the cream-pot, followed by the cat. Puss took her place very gravely at one corner of the table, without touching any thing.
66"Is that your cat, ma'am ?' said Martin.
6. Yes,' said Mrs. Lovel; "and see how well she behaves : she never asks for any thing, but waits till she is served. Do you think you can behave as well ?
" I will try, ma'am,' said Marten.
“ Mrs. Lovel then bade Marten fetch himself a chair, and they both sat down to breakfast. Marten behaved so well at breakfast that Mrs. Lovel invited him to come to her at dinner-time, and said she would send Hannah to his master, for his leave. She then put on his dry shoes and stockings; and, as the bell rung, she sent him over to school. When school broke up at twelve o'clock, she sent Hannah again for him; and he came running up stairs, full of joy.
"• This is a half-holyday, ma'am,' he said ; and I may stay with you till bed-time ; and I will come again to breakfast in the morning.'
“: Very well,' said Mrs. Lovel; but if you come here so often, you must do every thing I did you, and every thing which Hannah bids you.'
“ T'he same as I did to my poor mother, and to Susan ?' said Marten.
6. Yes, my dear,' said Mrs. Lovel.
“ So Marten sat down to dinner with Mrs. Lovel : and at dinner he told her all he knew of himself and his mother: and after dinner, when she gave him leave, he went down to the kitchen to visit Hannah, and to talk to the parrot, and to look about him till tea-time. At tea-time he came up again; and after tea Mrs. Lovel brought out a large Bible, full of pictures, and told him one or two stories out of the Bible, showing him the pictures. At night Hannah carried him home; and he went warm and comfortable to bed.
“By the pleasure of God (in whom the fatherless find mercy), Mrs. Lovel grew every day fonder of little Marten; and as the little boy promised, he went to Mrs. Lovel's at breakfast, dinner, and supper; and Mrs. Lovel took the same care of him which his poor mother would have done had she been living. She took charge of his clothes; mended them when they wanted it; prepared warm and soft woollen stockings for him; and procured him a great coat to wear in school, and got him some thick shoes to play in. She also would see that he learned his lessons well every day, to carry up to his master : and then practised him in reading out of school hours : so that it was surprising how quickly he now got on with his books. But the best of all was, that Mrs. Lovel from day to day gave such holy instructions to little Marten, as were best adapted to make him an excellent character in more advanced life; and God blessed her instructions in a degree beyond her expectations, and the boy presently became all that she could desire. For holy instructions given in faith, and with prayer by diligent and pious teachers, are generally crowned with the Divine blessing : though every parent and teacher must acknowledge that the work of regeneration, or changing the heart, must be entirely of God. And in case of such change, he will ever be ready to give the glory to him to whom alone it is due.
“ A little before Christmas, 'Squire Broom came over to Ashford to see little Marten; and determined in his own mind, if he found the child unwell, or not happy, to take him home and bring him up among his own
children; for Mrs. Broom had said that she thought little Marten almost too young to be at a public school without a friend near him. Marten was standing in Mrs. Lovel's parlour window, which looked into the church-yard, when he saw 'Squire Broom's one-horse chaise draw up to the school-house door: without speaking a word, he ran down stairs, and across the churchyard; and, taking 'Squire Broom's hand, as he stepped out of the chaise, 'I have got another mother, sir, he said ; 'a very good mother; and I love her with all my heart; and her name is Lovel; and you must come to see her.'—Why, my little man,' said 'Squire Broom, 'you look very well, and quite fat.'
“When 'Squire Broom heard from the master what a kind friend Marten had found, and was told by all his friends in Ashford what a worthy woman Mrs. Lovel was for everybody in Ashford knew Mrs. Lovel's good character), he was very much pleased on little Marten's account, and said his poor mother's prayers were now answered; and then he repeated a very beautiful verse, which you will find in the Apocrypha : ‘Look at the generations of old, and see: did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded? or did any abide in his fear, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, that called upon him ? Eccles. ii. 10.
“Little Marten could not be contented till he had brought 'Squire Broom to see Mrs. Lovel, and to drink tea with her. During this visit, Mrs. Lovel asked Mr. Broom if Marten might spend his Christmas holydays with her; and from that time the little boy spent all his holydays with Mrs. Lovel. In the summer holydays she often took him to a farm-house in the country, where she had lodgings; and there he had the pleasure of seeing the hay-making, and hop-gathering, and all the country work, and of running about the fields. Once or twice she took him to Tenterden to see his old friends, particularly Susan, who lived with her mother in Tenterden.
“Marten became a fine boy; and as he grew in stature, he grew in grace, ever living in the fear of God. He was very fond of reading ; and soon he became one of the best scholars, of his age, in the school. As Mrs. Lovel got older, her eyes became dim; and then Marten read to her, and managed her accounts, and was in all things as a dutiful son to her. .
“ About this time news came from Tenterden that Mrs. Blake was dead, and Mr. Blake about marrying again; and some time after it was told at Ashford that the new Mrs. Blake had brought her husband a son. When Marten (who was by this time a great boy, and who had been told by 'Squire Broom of what had passed between his poor mother and Mrs. Blake) heard of the birth of this son, he said, “My mother was called a fool for not letting Mr. Blake take me: but if she had, for the sake of money, put me under the care of this man, I might have lost my soul, and got none of his noney either.'—You see, my dear,' answered Mrs. Lovel, who heard what Marten said, “how every thing works together for good to them that love God. While I live, I hope you will never want a friend; and if you continue to serve God, I shall give you something at my death which will support you in a comfortable, plain way; for I have no relations to take what I have.'
“Marten continued with Mrs. Lovel till it was time he should leave school; and as he wished to be made a clergyman, in order that he might spend his life in the service of God, Mrs. Lovel paid for his going to the uni. versity.”
“ The university, mamma,” said Henry: “what is that ?"
“ It is a place where young men go to be prepared to be clergymen,” replied Mrs. Fairchild. “There are two universities in England; Oxford and Cambridge."
Henry then went on.
“ When Marten had been the proper time at the university, he was ordained a clergyman; and he then returned to Mrs. Lovel; and soon afterward he got a living in a pretty village in Kent. There he went to reside; and Mrs. Lovel, who was now becoming very old indeed, lived with him. He was as kind to her, and to Hannah, as if he had been their own child; and indeed it was but his duty to be so ; he did every thing to make their last years happy, and their deaths easy. Mrs. Lovel left all she had, when she died, to Marten; so that he was enabled to live in great comfort. Some time after Mrs. Lovel's death, he married 'Squire Broom's youngest daughter, who made him a kind and pious wife, and assisted him to bring up their children in the fear of God. Susan, who was now an elderly woman, took the place of Hannah when Hannah died,