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They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.'
When the reading of the Psalm was over, and they had stood silent for a little while, they raised their heads, but could scarcely see each other for the tears in their eyes. Then they kissed, and said good-night; and Joshua, casting a wistful glance round the kitchen, every piece of furniture and crockery in which appeared to share in the general regret, assisted Dan up to his bedroom for the last time.
They had scarcely time to sit down before the handle was gently turned, and George Marvel entered. In the room were all Joshua's little household gods — his accordion, his favourite
books, and his dear little feathered friends.
George Marvel threw his arm round Joshua's waist, and drew him close.
• What are you going to do with the birds, Josh ?' he asked.
Dan will take care of them, father.'
Be a man,
*Don't fret at leaving them-or us. Josh-be a man,' he said, with the tears running down his face.
Yes, dear father, I will,' said Joshua with a great sob.
And don't forget father and mother, my boy.' ‘No, father, never!'
'It's better than being a wood-turner, Josh, Don't you think so ?' doubting at the last moment the wisdom of his having encouraged Joshua in the step he was about to take.
A great deal better, father. You'll see!'
That's right, Josh—that's right! I'm glad to hear you say so. Good-night, my boy. God bless you!' And pressing Joshua in his arms, and kissing him, George Marvel went away to bed.
He had not been gone two minutes before the handle of the door was turned again, and Mrs. Marvel's pale face appeared. She did not enter the room; and Joshua ran to her. She drew him on to the narrow landing, and shut the door, so that they were in darkness. She pressed him to her bosom, and kissed him many times, and cried over him quietly.
• O mother,' whispered Joshua, shall I go? Shall I go?
*Hush, dear child,' Mrs. Marvel said. “It is the very best thing; and you must not doubt now. Bless you, my dear, dear child! You will come home a man; and we shall all be so proud of you
-so proud—and happy! She pressed him closer, and tried to speak cheerfully; but it was a poor attempt. “And write whenever you can, and tell us everything.'
"Yes; I will be sure.'
• Dear child, God will protect you. I shall think of you of a night saying your prayers, my dear, and it will comfort me so! And here I am, keeping my boy out of bed, like a selfish, selfish, selfish mother! Now, my dear, one more kiss, and say good-night.'
He kissed her again, and she left his arms, and crept softly to her room. These heart-shocks were hard to bear, and he paused to recover himself before he reëntered the room. Dan did not look at him, nor ask him any questions. But Joshua sat down beside Dan, and said,
• It was mother kept me, Dan.'
• Yes, I know, Jo dear. There's somebody else at the door.'
It was Sarah, who asked if she might come in. Of course she might. And might Ellen come in ? Of course.
So Ellen came in, and she and Sarah sat with their brothers for a few minutes. They talked quietly together, and Joshua drew close to Ellen, and grew calmer as he looked at her sweet peaceful face. She raised her eyes shyly to his, and told him she had a little present for him, and would he accept it? There was a question to ask him! Joshua answered almost gaily. She produced her present-& poor little purse, which she had her
a self worked for him-and Joshua kissed it, and kissed her afterwards, and she nestled to his side very tenderly and very prettily, and cast down her eyes, and was perfectly happy. The girls did not stay long. Good-night was said again and again, and Joshua asked Ellen to kiss him, and she did so without hesitation. When they were gone, Joshua sat down, and rested his head upon his hands. He was weary after the day's excitement, but although he was tired, he was wakeful, and did not feel inclined for sleep. So he and Dan had a long chat together, recalling the many tender memories that enriched their friendship.
'I have a present for you, too, Jo,' said Dan,
I producing a Bible.
Joshua opened it, and read on the first page, "From Dan, to his dearest friend and brother, Joshua. With undying love and confidence.'
With undying love and confidence, mused Joshua. Nothing could ever change our friendship, Dan, could it ?'
Come, now,' said Joshua, “suppose, for the sake of argument, that I was to turn out bad.'
Dan smiled. That couldn't happen, Jo.'
Thereupon Joshua told Dan the adventure he had had that day with Susan and the Lascar. And, do you know, Dan, that when I knocked him down, and saw his mouth bleeding, I was glad
I -savagely glad, I am sorry to say. Yet afterwards when I thought of it, and when I think of it now, it seems as if it was a bad feeling that possessed me.'
* It doesn't seem so to me, Jo; it gives me greater confidence in you. If you had not acted so, what would have become of poor Susan ?'
That's true,' said Joshua.
'I knew all along, Jo dear, that you were loving and tender and good, but I did not know