Слике страница

consequences were to follow. He had interested his own friends for the injured boy ; had once been to see him ; and had obtained a promise that the next Midsummer holidays should be spent together at his own house. No wonder, therefore, that from the time of Frederick’s return to school, the two boys became very great friends; and that Andrew (the good cricketer) became more and more glad as the health of Frederick still improved after his return to school.

But the passionate boy—what has he to do with this story ? You will soon learn.

Frederick, a few weeks after his happy return, was seated on the play-ground bench with his friend Andrew, while many of their schoolfellows were playing near them, among whom was Louis. Never since he came back had Frederick been in

such high spirits; and he was amusing himself and his friend by imitating the peculiarities of some of the boys. Only one amongst them all would take offence where none was meant, but joined in the good humoured folly. That one was Louis. He had long been jealous of the attention paid to his more amiable schoolfellow by all their companions, and had more than once been very furious against him, on account of this propensity to ridicule. On this occasion, he stood at a little distance, grim and savage, in expectation that his turn would presently come: and he was not deceived. A few foolish words, a drolling tone, a sidelong glance—it was enough. Before his course could be arrested, before his movement was even perceived, the passionate boy sprang into the circle of listeners, his lips quivering, his cheek pale, and his eyes flashing with

rage. The next moment his clenched fist was upraised, and the next it fell, with all the force that infuriated malice could give, on the breast of poor Frederick, who uttered a shriek of agony, and sank into the arms of his friend Andrew.

“ Shame! shame!” resounded from all sides ; and Andrew, gently disengaging himself from the stricken boy, started up to avenge the blow. “ You coward,” he exclaimed with indignation, "you dared not have struck a bigger boy; and you have half killed this poor little fellow by hitting his bad place.” “I don't care if I have," replied Louis ; for his rage had not yet subsided ; “I meant to hit him there, and it serves him right.”

The words terminated in blows, and a fight between the two angry boys ensued. But the heaviest blows they inflicted upon each other were light in comparison with

that which had fallen upon Frederick; and had they been heavier, little relief would that have been to the dreadful pain he endured. Andrew was not to be praised for his championship of his friend. It was natural perhaps, but it was not right; and by giving way to the impulse of the moment, he too much resembled the guilty, passionate Louis, with whom he contended. He did not obey the gospel of peace, in thus avenging the injury done to his friend; for that gospel tells us to "give place unto wrath,” because “ it is written, Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord,” Rom. xii. 19.

This was a lesson which Mr. frequently endeavoured to impress upon his pupils; and he was deeply grieved, on this occasion, to find how it had been disregarded. Terrible, indeed, was the plight the two combatants were in by the time

their battle was ended. Their eyes were swollen, livid, and nearly closed; streams of blood flowed from each nostril and mouth, discolouring the clothes they wore; their hands were swollen and almost black with bruises. Alas! that the bad passions of boys, or of men, should so often insti. gate to scenes like this. But a time is coming when men will better learn to copy His example, who was “meek and lowly in heart,” who was “harmless and undefiled;” “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously;" and when this time is come, our world will be a happier world to live in than it is now.

But we must turn again to the playground. The fight was over; the fighters were washing away, as far as they could, the traces of their fray; and poor Frederick

« ПретходнаНастави »