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Lord Jesus himself for a teacher, instead of Mr. Baynes ; bis mother, overjoyed, bastened to get some nourishment and learn quietly here, instead of going to school among ready for him. other boys. I daresay it is hard to lie still, and cough ; Overjoyed at this unexpected disclosure, there was but if he be your teacher, all will and must come right. little room for sorrow in the heart of the poor widow, Do listen to what he says; and oh, Charlie, do ask him when she observed the increasing bodily weakness in to make you love him ; do, will you ?”
Charlie. The pleading eyes and earnest voice won the boy ; Easter dawned, with its news of a risen Saviour, scarcely was the promise, “I will,” given, when Miss bringing with it brightness and sunshine to earth ; to Prescott returned.
many souls joy and strength, in that it told them of a Charlie did not forget his promises. Daily he asked seal set to the work of the Saviour for them, for all God for his Holy Spirit, to make him “like Miss Flora.” sinners, and in that it declared that the victory over sin Nor did he ask in vain ; little by little the light dawned and death, those bitter foes of man, was won by the upon his young mind, unknown to others, almost un- sinner's Substitute, Christ Jesus. On the home of the known to himself. All Charlie knew was this, that he widow in Swan Alley, Easter dawned upon hearts filled loved the visits of Mr. Sanar better and better, that his with love and gratitude to God for his unspeakable mother's prayers at night soothed him, wbile an earnest gift. The little invalid was much weaker, yet able to wish had sprung up within his heart (how, he knew not) rejoice even in bis weakness ; no longer irritable and to be different from his former self. He continued to fretful, but patient under suffering, and gentle to all who pray, though like a child feeling its way in the dark. approached him, thankful for every effort made to
Weeks passed on, and Easter was close at hand. A alleviate his pain. No theme of conversation now was few bright, mild spring days seemed to work wonders in so pleasing to him as that of the Saviour's love. There Charlie ; but it was only a teinporary change for the better. fore the Easter news of a risen Saviour, heard by him Very soon his cough returned, with greater violence than for the first time on this morning, was doubly welcome. before, while his weakness was so much increased in All hope of recovery had left the hearts of Ned and consequence, that he had to remain in bed altogether. his mother now; even Flora, determined to hope to the The doctor spoke of rapid decline. Poor Mrs. Astlake last, was now quite sure that Charlie was passing away sorrowed in secret; she could not bring herself to tell her from this world. All human means available had been boy; and not until Ned insisted upon knowing the whole tried, but in vain. And now the end was in God's hands truth, would she tell even him. What could the poor alone. widow do, but pray ?”
During the afternoon of this Easter Sunday Charlie Two days before Easter Sunday, Charlie called his called his brother Ned to the bedside, and said: "Do mother to the bedside and said: “Mother, I think I love you remember, Ned, our last morning together at the the Lord Jesus now, better than all ;-won't Miss Flora big house, when we stood so long at the gate ?" be glad ?”
“Yes, well." “What makes you think this, my boy?"
“And do you recollect my calling it hard and cruel?" “Because I've asked him over and over again to help me to love him ; and now I feel in my heart that I do "Ah, Ned, that was the best thing that could have love him. Even if he don't let me get well and go to happened to us, wasn't it? All that time God was school, still I can love him, because he loved me, and watching us, Ned ;-meaning good all the while, even gave himself for me. O mother, think of that-me, a while we were murmuring. Ned, if it hadn't have poor ignorant little sweep! I do indeed love him now, happened so, where should I be now? That cold waiting better than Miss Flora, or even you, mother dear. So at the gate was the first step to my finding the Lord God must have answered my prayers. You won't mind, Jesus. Oh, it is wonderful !” mother dear, my loving Jesus best, will you ?” added A fit of coughing prevented any further conversation ; Charlie quickly, mistaking the tears in his mother's eyes. but when it had subsided, his mother said, " Ah, Charlie,
“Mind, mind ? Charlie, my boy, why, you have fill my boy, it is with you as it was with Jacob, when he my heart with joy !”
lost heart under trouble. You were thinking and saying, “That's right, mother. And oh! I do think Miss Flora that morning, as he did, “ All these things are against was right in what she said. I have been at school all this me;' when all the while these things were really for yon, time, and none of us knew it. Yes, at school in this bed, not against you. We all mistake God's dealings with with Jesus for my teacher. He made me feel tired, and cough too, because I only wanted to get away from his In reply, Charlie only smiled, and soon fell asleep. class, that I might learn what I liked. But, mother, it During the next few days Charlie sank so rapidly, wouldn't do. He said I was to learn to love him; and that his death was now expected at any moments Flora he's kept me at the lesson, till I have learned it. I obtained permission to visit him once more, in order to had to give in at last, you see; but oh! mother, I know take leave of him. Very few were the words which it now, and I am so happy.”
passed between them, but these were enough to convince Exhausted, the boy sank back upon his pillow, while Flora that her thought was correct—that " Jesus had
taken little Charlie to school to himself.” And oh, how In the arms of his mother he fell asleep, to awake much better he had been trained than would bave been in the arms of Jesus, to find his want satisfied to the the case had she found her own way! How thoroughly
full. bad be learned the great lesson of life on that sick-bed ; To Flora Westmore, his death brought the following namely--the love of God in Christ Jesus ; whom to message : “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it know is life eternal! Tears filled the eyes of poor with thy might!" Flora when she said good-bye to her little friend. And To poor Widow Astlake it said: “Men ought always so they parted for time, these two friends, so differently to pray, and not to faint;" therefore pray without ceasplaced on earth-the one the child of luxury and of wealth, ing. in the full bloom of health-the other the child of poverty To the writer of this sketch it has also spoken, saying: and hardship, dying upon the couch of the
cottage ; and
yet “Go thou and work for God,-in his way, his time, both one-children of one Father--heirs of one kingdom his place of choice." "Be ready to take up or to lay down -one in hope—one in plea—one in purpose-in a word, his work at his bidding.” “Unite work and prayer.” one in Christ Jesus. Therefore they parted now but for “Be not weary in well-doing; for in due season ye shall a time, in full assurance of meeting again in Christ's reap, if ye faint not." Never listen to the tempter's kingdom. Well might Flora's heart sing for joy as she artful suggestion, that the Lord has said in vain to any returned home. Had she not found work to do for God! soul, “Call upon me in the time of trouble, I will deliver, and had she not, in his strength, done it!
and thou shalt glorify me." Charlie did not live many hours after taking leave of Reader ! what does this slight sketch of the Little Flora. His last words were, Jesus, I want you-I do!”* Sweep, with his death, say to you?
W. D. F.
THE STAR BOYS.
STORIES OF THE PFALZ," BY KARL OTTO THELEMANN.
Pfalz, have something of the nature of the as gifts from the “ Christkind”--the child Christ" -
the guizards of old days in Scotland. The doubtedly be irreverent; but in Germany, where the old tendency of most of these old Christmas customs, begun Christmas language is filled up by true Christian feeling at first probably with a reverential desire to keep holy in those who use it, it is quite a different matter. events in remembrance, has ever been to degenerate There, it only leads the very youngest members of the into mere frolic and beggary; so it is well, perhaps, family with child-like faith to associate all the joy and when they die out, as belonging to days gone by. But brightness of their life with Him who was born and died among Christian people in Germany, the Christmas-tree to save them. They learn thus to see that all they have is yet a much more serious and religious thing than and do, even in their play, is under the eye, and may be with us.
full of the presence and blessing, of the Lord, who loved We have borrowed that Christmas custom from them, them so as to become a child for their sakes.- Transbut we have been unable, apparently, to transplant the lator. reverential feelings which form the best part of it. A foreign lady, herself born and brought up in a German pastor's house, expressed to me her surprise at the light
CHAPTER 1. way in which we view the whole thing. She told me of her remembrance of what a gladly solemn thing the Christ
WHERE SHALL WE GET BREAD ?” mas-tree was to the young flock who gathered round it. It was not merely a time and opportunity for friends | The outer spurs of the Vosges Mountains extend from and relatives to exchange gifts and rensembrancers, and Alsace into the Pfalz, and cover part of it with a netso knit together more closely the bonds of family love. work of hills, among which, here and there, a higher It was much more. It was a solemn religious festival, one rises prominent, such as the Donnerberg and Potswhere the young ones were taught that the birth of berg. As they spread out from south to north, these Christ, followed by his life and death, was to them the hills are intersected with valleys, which serve as paths origin of all true joy. Then they learned that without by which the mountain streams make their way easthim earthly blessings are empty and vain, and that ward to the plain, and so reach the Rhine; that is, he alone is the source of all good gifts, temporal and when they do not prefer to turn westward, and have a spiritual.
longer wander among the mountains before they join the company of the Saar or Moselle, who lead them down at last to old father Rhine.
* A fact.
This hilly part of the Pfalz is called the “Westrich.” | specimens of their industry. Others, especially gipsies, Old chroniclers tell us that this name is derived from are skilful carvers, who will cut kitchen utensils and “ Vastum Regnum”--the waste or desert kingdom-a images of saints from the same piece of wood. Others, name which it well deserved at the time when Pirmi- again, travel the country, summer and winter, as chapnius, “ the apostle of Westrich," built his cell at Horn- nen, with kirschwasser, pictures, &e. There are also bach, and the herdsmen set up their tents around many who do nothing but poach in the neighbouring him. On that very spot the town of Pirmasen now forests. In every way they try it, life is a difficult matstands, with its famous shoe-factories, which send their ter with them. When the hard winter is past, as soon produce far and wide, even to Russia and America. as the snow begins to melt and the roads are open,
These old times are long gone by. The border-land whole bands of poor half-starved children come troopof the Pfalz is no longer the savage district which it ing down from these villages to the plain, and appear was in the days when the very mention of “the land of at the doors of the well-to-do Pfalzers. thickets and finches," as it was called, sent a shudder In one of these villages, which had originally been through the hearers. The offshoots of the Vosges are Protestant, but had been brought back to the Ronot so wild as the parent stock. Wide table-lands and man Catholic Church by strength of hand, there lived broad valleys, filled with fruitful fields and rich meadows, two neighbours, the only people of the evangelical faith alternate with stretches of woodland and with narrow in all the place. They were not a remnant of the old deep gullies. Varied as is the land, so diversified are Protestantism of the village, but had both settled there the people. Beside rude wisculture one finds plain lately. Master Klund the joiner had worked there as a honesty and honourable industry. Close to wealth in the journeyman, and on succeeding to his late master's handsome dwellings of rich farmers dwells the deepest workshop took to himself a wife—not of the daughters poverty in mud hovels and under thatched roofs. of the land, but from his old home in the Pfalz. Their
If the rich farmers, named by the poor in bitter irony marriage was unfruitful, so it was all the more easy for “Manschettenbauern" (ruffled-shirt farmers), spend their the mistress to befriend her neighbour Flinner, the poor time with their fashionably-dressed wives and daughters broom-maker, whose wife had died early, leaving him in reading novels and taking their pleasure in the towns, the care of two motherless children. The boys were now the small farmers and day-labourers, on their side, too pretty well grown. Christian, at whose baptism Master often find their greatest enjoyment in pernicious brandy- Klund and his wife had, from Christian love and frienddrinking. One must, alas ! confess that brandy has set ship, acted sponsors, was now thirteen; Friedel was up its desert kingdom in Westrich, and has often turned eleven years old. The boys regularly took a two hours' that land into a real “ Weh-strich". a land of woe. journey to the nearest evangelical church and minister's There, not only the old drink their schnaps like water, class for their religious instruction, while for their comand by the chopin, when they have money or can get mon education they went to the village school. In their credit, but even the youngest children are accustomed holiday-time they accompanied their father to the forest to the deadly drink. Many an unhappy child there in search of birch twigs, or carried his brooms to the goes to school in a morning, and his only breakfast has neighbouring villages for sale. been a bit of bread and a glass of schnaps ! No wonder · It was the evening of the first Sunday in Advent that the children are not like green olive-plants around 1834. Father Flinner and his boys sat by the dim their father's table, but much more resemble the miser- light of a pine splinter at the table in the corner of their able twisted twigs of the gnarled pines which grow out
Outside it was cold November weather; of the rifts of the rock up there, and hang between everything was already hard frozen up. Within the heaven and earth, having too little nourishment for full little cottage a bright wood-fire crackled in the store. life, and too much for death. There is much of sad But at the table and in the boys' faces things did not shadow in the life among these hills; but now and then look so bright. Before them there lay only a few heaps of one meets with men of a powerful stamp of national potato peelings, a small remnant of bread, and some salt character, who would be right leal men of strength in on an earthenware dish. They had just finished their the kingdom of God, if they were but once taken hold very frugal supper, and given thanks. of by God's Word, and had the darkness of their minds “See, my boys,” said the father after a while," what dissipated under the light of everlasting truth.
is weighed and measured is soon eaten. The bread and Towards the French frontier, to the left of the road potatoes are finished, and we have no money, for the that leads from Landau by Annweiler to Pirmasen, brooms which you took out yesterday to sell came back among wooded hills, a very poor district of Westrich is with you unsold What do you think, Friedel? Where to be found. It is dotted with a number of lonely vil- shall we get bread ?” lages, whose inhabitants are, with few exceptions, The boy did not ponder long, but, looking trustfully Roman Catholics. As they can draw but little from up to his father with his great blue eyes, said,the stony soil, they have voted themselves to different “ If Aunt Klund knew about it, she would help poor branches of handicraft. This is the home of the us right gladly, and Uncle Klund would say nothing broom-makers, who supply all the country round with against it.”
It is the kindly custom throughout the Pfalz, that not After speaking these words the father rose and rent only relations, but also master and servant, neighbours to the window, through which they could see the windows and neighbours' children, call each other “cousin" and of the living-room of their neighbour Klund. The two “aunt."
houses stood a little apart from the village, on the edge “I believe it, my little man," answered the father. of a wood, and were only divided by a small garden. “Our good neighbours have truly studied the apostle's Flinner turned back to the children, and said,saying, "Do good unto all men, especially unto them “ Christel, clear up the table and wash the dishes. who are of the household of faith ;' and they have prac- And you, Friedel, stick up a fresh pine splinter, and tised it too, diligently, on our behalf. But mark me, put another fagot on the fire. We shall go over to the my lads--we must not be a burden to other people. As neighbours presently, but I see they are still at their long as a man has sonnd health and all his limbs, he supper.” should try to stand on his own legs and walk on his own When Christel had finished his task, and come back feet. What do you think, Christel? Where shall we from the out-house, which served as a kitchen, his father get bread ?"
and Friedel were sitting by the stove. He sat down Christian was embarrassed, and remained silent. He beside them on a block of wood that stood in the corner, had an answer, indeed, all ready in his heart, and it was and all of them for some time kept a silence that was even at the tip of his tongue; but he did not trust him- only broken by the ticking of the old smoke-browned self to utter it.
Black-Forest clock which hung on the wall. But Chris“Ah, what counselless counsellors you are! Well, I tel fidgeted occasionally, as if he had something on his was only beating about the bush to try you, and see if mind, and did not quite know how to give it utterance you had attended to the sermon this morning; but I to his father in a discreet manner. At last he satisfied can get nothing out of yon. Have you forgotten it all himself, and began. already?"
" Father !" No, father, no!" they both cried out at once.
“What, my son ?” “Well, then, Christel, what pleased you the best in it?” “What does it mean by saying that we become rich
“Ay, it was how the Lord Jesus went riding into through Christ's poverty ?” Jerusalem upon an ass, poor and mean, and yet a helper “Ay, that refers to spiritual riches, as the verse of and a King. All the way home it has been running in the hymn saysmy head whether he would not be a helper to us too. We are poor enough, I am sure, and the rich folks do
“He who is the Lord most bigh,
Once was poorer far than I, not trouble themselves about us; and I have been
That I might hereafter be thinking that, as he was so poor when he was in this
Rich to all eternity.' world, he must know how it feels."
“ Well does he know it," answered the father. “For His poverty consists in that he laid aside the glory that very purpose did he become man, that he might be which he had with the Father, and took upon him our ‘in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' poor flesh and blood; yea, took upon him the form of a And did you not notice in the sermon that conforting servant. Thus he won for us, by his poor life, and word about the poverty of the Lord Christ? Children, through his bitter sufferings and death, the riches of the that was said just for us poor folks.”
heavenly kingdom, forgiveness of sin, righteousness in “ Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,'" God's sight, and eternal life. So I learned in old days began Christian, and little Friedel joined in, “6 that, from the answer in the Heidelberg Catechism to the though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, question, “What dost thou understand by the words, that ye through his poverty might be rich.'”
“Suffered under Pontius Pilate" ?!" “ That's it. If we have him for our friend, we need The father had in his explanation risen too high for ask for nothing more in heaven or earth. With him we the boy's purpose in the conversation, and Christel did have all things, and we need no other earthly riches not know at first how he was to bring it back to what than those of the apostle, ‘Having food and raiment, let he had on his mind; so he was silent again. But he us be therewith content.' We know that we shall have could not be quiet long, and soon began once more. these ; and how we shall get them we know also. How? “ But, father, I think we could, through the poverty By prayer and labour. Thus God gives always what is of Christ, gain something even for the life of our body." needed. If he does let us begin this new week without “ What do you mean ?” any prospect of supplies for it, still, don't let us be “To-morrow the 'Star Boys' of the villages near here down-hearted, and take thought for the morrow.' The are to set off down to the Gäu, as they do every year. Lord will hold his Advent-season in our hearts, as we They sing of the poverty of Christ-how the Lord Jesus have heard to-day. We certainly do not shut the door was born in a stable and cradled in a manger. Then against him by gluttony and drunkenness. He has taken people give them many gifts for the sake of the rememcare of that; let us take care that we do not shut him brance of Christ's poverty.” out by anxious care about the morrow.”
So he had at last got a beginning made with what he wanted to say, and each word came more easily than the fathers refused shelter to the Virgin Mary and the infant last. Yet still he stuck fast.
Jesus. It also told how some learned men supposed “What more ?” said the father, who had a pretty that the gipsies were Jews, who for fear of persegood idea of what he would be at.
cution tried to hide their nationality; and it described “Ay, we two boys"-and his tongue vent fast enough their thieving, begging, fortune-telling ways. now- —“ want to go with them for once, and we might “ One sees there," added Master Klund, “ the origin bring enough back with us to help us on through the of the brown folks ; and their fingers are just as long winter. We have already learned the Star Boys'' now as of old, when they first came from Egypt.” carols; and Gipsy Andrees says he will be our third “One could almost believe," said his neighbour, " that the comrades with whom he went last year are going no there may be some connection between them and the more."
Jews, who also are so obstinate in their own ways. “I would not be greatly against it," said the father ; Though the gipsies do profess to be Christians among us, “but how about the dress ? and where are you to get a yet, as you say, the waters of baptism have not washed star?”
the old heathenism out of them. It may be that their “ Father," broke in little Friedel, “ Aunt Appel has forefathers did indeed in old times sin against the child promised us two new shirts as Christmas gifts; I dare- Jesus, and so brought dowu punishment on them ; just say she would give us them now. And Uncle Klund like the Jews, who, we know, because they hung the would make us the star."
Lord of glory on the tree, still bear the curse, and are a “Hem! We must sleep upon the subject," decided people without heart or courage." the father. “Come now, we shall go across.”
“That may be-that may be. Any way, I trust none There they found Master Klund sitting at the table, of them.” with the large Basle Bible in front of him, of which he “They have very queer ways. Down there in the was turning over the pages. He was waiting for his valley behind Landstuhl, a troop settled down near the usual Sabbath evening guests, who now walked in. As mill, and made themselves holes in the ground like foxes, the two houses were neighbours in their separation from and roofed them with tiles. A few years ago they had the village, so their inhabitants, as being the only vil- an old woman among them called Liz, whom they lagers of the Evangelical Church, were good companions honoured greatly, as they generally do their old women, and helpers of each other's faith, and generally gathered who know most of their evil arts. She went abont bez together round the Bible on Sabbath evenings. Flinner, ging with her two boys. When she was dying she called after their greeting, seated himself with his boys beside them to her, and divided the Pfalz between them, as Aunt Klund at the fireside ; while the master stuck his she said. To the oldest, called 'One-eyed,' she pronised spectacles on his nose, and proceeded to read a chapter, the Vorder Pfalz ; to the other, the ‘Officer,' the Westwhich they afterwards talked over. It was the history rich. And her will was lield good : each keeps to his of the flight of the child Jesus into Egypt.
inheritance, and still goes round his territory gathering " It is wonderful, comrade,” said the master, as he at contributions at the doors.” last shut the brass-bound Bible, and laid it away on a “ Ha, ha, ha!” laughed the master, “ that is not hai. shelf in the corner-"it is wonderful how the gipsies But let them be; I trust none of them." have used this history for their own purposes. But it Little Friedel had sat listening with the greatest has been all lying and deceit with them all along; and attention. He would willingly have put in his word, it is just the same with that race yet. Every race has but did not venture, for father Flinner kept up goed its own nature ; and nature goes further than teach- discipline with his boys. But now, when the old folks ing,' as the farmer said when his cat ran through the were silent for a moment, Friedel began respectfully: room after a mouse. One should not compare human “But, father, Gipsy Andrees, at the beadles, is not beings to beasts; but it is true all the same. I have often like the other gipsies; he is quite to be trusted." said it. These gipsies in the valley down there are "Nay, I will say nothing against your standing op for nought but heathens yet, were they baptized ten times your companion, and if he proves an exeeption to the over. I have been reading about them to-day in an old others I shall be the better pleased ; but seeing is bebook which the master with whom I worked at Heidel- lieving." berg gave me as a keepsake, and there are wonderful 4. You should hear him sing hymns, father-so destories in it of what our fathers attested of them in old voutly, and with all his heart. You would believe bim days."
then." While speaking, he took down from the shelf an old “What sort of companion is that you have got ?" chronicle bound in pig-skin, and opening it, began to broke in Master Kland. read without waiting for a reply. He read out an ac- “A few weeks ago," answered father Flinner, "3 count of the first appearance of the gipsies in Germany poor gipsy woman died down in the valley there, and in the fifteenth century. The chronicle related how left a boy behind her whom she had picked up somethey gave themselves out as Egyptians, who must wander where. As she belonged to these parts, he has fallen a the world constantly as a punishment because their fore- | burden on the parish ; and, as is their use, or ratha