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others, to go to a foreign country for a morsel of bread.” Then her eye fell on the book, and she read again: “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and be shall give thee the desires of thy beart. Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." “ The desires of my heart; oh, I wish they were all right desires.; Lord, make them so. What are they? let
A letter from my husband, that's one, and honest bread for my children, that's another ; 'tis hard to look at the sweet creatures and think there is only food for one day in the house, and only sixpence to buy
-that the silver sixpence, too, which I have been keeping these three months, to pay the postage when a letter comes from that far-off place in America.”
Her glance was again on the page where these words were written : And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him ; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass ;” but the blinding tears would scarcely let her see them. "Sure enough they were wicked devices that bailiff used, to make our landlord turn us out of the farm, and put him in possession of it; that sent my husband across the sea and left us, though I sew my fingers to the bone, almost starving for a bit of bread. And I would think less of the poverty, if it were not for the disgrace, that nearly broke my noble James's heart, though he knew he was quite innocent of the charges brought against him. Oh, if that good word about his righteousness being brought forth as the light might only come true to us, how happy we should
be. But I must wait patiently on the Lord's time, for he alone can do it."
The book was reverently laid aside, and, kneeling down to pray, the weeping mother told the story of a bursting heart to that heavenly Friend who never wearies of listening to a tale of sorrow, and who never fails to answer requests sent up in his dear Son's name. She arose, as all those do who lay their burden of sin and sorrow on Jesus, lightened and comforted.
But Mrs. Duncan did not forget the duty of work as well as prayer ; so, rousing her children from their slumbers, she explained to Donald, while he was dressa ing, how she wanted to send him to the post town that day, to inquire if a letter from his father had come by the last mail, and also to buy a little food. He was to go first to the post-office, and then, if the expected letter did not cost all the precious sixpence, Donald was to bring the worth of the remaining pence in meal. She would gladly have gone herself, she said, instead of sending her little boy ten miles in the snow ; but the shirts she was making were to be finished in a week, and, as she dare not break her word to the shopkeeper who employed her, not a moment was to be lost.
Poor Donald's heart was full when he heard of the proposed journey to town, for his feet were sore from chilblains; and though he longed to get news from his dear father, yet, five miles going and five returning on a lonely road was a trying walk for a little boy. But that sad young heart was a brave one, and not a word of complaint did Donald utter, though a tear stole down unnoticed, while his mother was offering up the morning family prayer.
Breakfast did not take long to prepare or to be eaten, for it consisted only of some oatmeal porridge, with a little treacle to make up for the want of milk ; and, before Agnes had quite cleared the table, Donald had tied the red muffler round his neck, flung the empty meal bag over his shoulder, hidden the sixpence far down in his pocket, and was ready to be off. One thing more was to be done, to fling his arms round his mother's neck and whisper, with a kiss, that he would soon be home, and would be sure to bring a letter. Busy as Mrs. Duncan was, she could not help standing at the door to watch Donald till he was out of sight; and, to make the most of her time, she put some corn in her apron and called her small stock of poultry to their breakfast, while Agnes divided her attention between the distant figure of her brother and the favourite speckled hen, which so selfishly took all the best grains for herself. Donald was now quite bidden from view, so Mrs. Duncan, with a sigh, sat down to her work, and little Agnes was soon occupied with a lesson-book.
The day passed slowly, and evening came on, but no little dark figure was seen returning across the white
Mrs. Duncan grew anxious, for by the fading light she knew it must be late, and the snow, which had at intervals fallen in soft showers during the day, now came down like a thick curtain, hiding everything from sight. And though she hoped the dear boy would soon come-for he had walked that road before in all weatliers-still, fear made her heart beat so loudly she could almost hear its beating as she got his supper ready, and put a pair of old slippers near the fire to
warm for his poor tired feet. How often she listened for his well-known whistle, or fancied she heard a tap at the door; but on opening it, all outside was white, and still, and cold. At last she could bear it no longer, and, with a thousand regrets that she had allowed him to go alone, lighted a lantern and prepared to set out in search of him.
Agnes must go too; she was afraid to stay in the lonely cottage ; and old Rover, the pet dog of the farm in brighter days, was called to go with them. But Rover was nowhere to be found ; this was strange, for certainly he had not gone with Donald in the morning ; so, with trembling footsteps, the mother hastened to look for her lost boy.
The snow had ceased to fall, but the dark clouds that hung overhead did not permit a single ray to
pass from those stars which were shining bright and high above them, and the old lantern only shed its feeble light a very little way. But no snow cloud could chill the mother's love, and no danger stop her in the search for her darling child.
On and on they pressed, until Agnes began to cry with cold; when suddenly a joyful bark was heard, and their own faithful Rover bounded to meet them. He seized Mrs. Duncan's gown with his teeth, and drew her to what seemed a heap of snow by the roadside, in the middle of which he nestled, as if it had been his own snug bed by the kitchen fire. The lantern was laid on the ground, and to her mingled horror and delight Mrs. Duncan saw her lost boy with the snow piled round him, and Rover lying in his arms. In a moment she understood all; the cold had overcome her child
with drowsiness, and had lulled him toasleep from which there might have been no waking, but for the affectionate care of Rover, which, with almost human sense, had done the best thing possible, by first scratching up the snow so as to form a kind of shelter, and then laying his own furry coat and warm sides on his little master's lap. Donald was not too benumbed to hear his mother's voice; and with many a thanksgiving to God, she gently led him home, where the warmth of the kitchen and loving care set all right again.
“See, mother, I have brought the letter,” said Donald, drawing the precious paper from his bosom.
And the meal too!” cried Agnes, not at all insensible to the comfort of a fresh supply of food.
Yes, sister, for the letter cost nothing ; father paid all before he sent it. Was not that good, mother p”
But mother could make no answer, she was already deep in the letter; and she read and read, till at length she was fairly overcome by her feelings, and, hiding her face in her apron, she sobbed aloud. Both the children were frightened.
“Dear mother, what's the matter ?" asked Donald, half sorry now that he had brought the letter.
Oh, something so good; something almost too good to believe, only that we know who has done it all. Let me first thank Him, and then I shall tell you the whole story.”
So, after a few moments' silence, the good mother explained the cause of her joy. Before her husband had been many weeks in New York, a letter from their landlord followed him there, expressing much regret at the harsh manner in which he had treated him and