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lay moaning on the bench, with a few kind playmates around him, when Mr. appeared among them. “What, what," he exclaimed angrily, “is the meaning of all this? Could I not leave you for halfan-hour to yourselves without a quarrel and a fight ? ” A dozen voices were instantly raised, some to vindicate themselves from any share in the disturbance; some, more generously, to exculpate Andrew from blame; and some, more considerately, to direct the master's attention to the sufferer on the bench.
“Andrew, go to your room ; and you, Louis, to yours,” said Mr. as he led Frederick from the play-ground. Presently it was known through the school that a surgeon had been sent for; and that Frederick was ill—very ill, and in great pain. The next day, and the next, it was hoped that he might again join his school
fellows; but he never entered the schoolroom or the play-ground again. After a week or two of careful nursing, it was found that a tumour was gathering where the double blow had fallen; and he was again removed homewards. There he lingered long under a painful affliction which no medical skill could remove; weeks and months of languishing gave way to others of almost entire helplessness; and, at length, all hope of recovery was gone. The passionate blow had been to him the stroke of death.
It was nearly two years after Louis had been expelled from school for his wicked conduct, that he received a letter from his former master which must have cut him to the heart. What lasting effect it produced upon his character, it is out of our power to say. It is to be feared, however, that unless it led him to repent, and seek
for Divine grace to soften his cruel heart, and subdue his passionate propensities, that little alteration took place in his temper; but that, as he grew older, he became hardened against reproof, careless of the happiness of all around him, more and more fierce and resentful of injuries, and regardless of consequences.
Unrestrained passion in a boy is the almost sure forerunner of malignity in the man. Mr. —'s letter contained the following sentences.
“ Frederick is dead ; and I cannot withhold from you the dreadful fact that his death is traceable to the blow which proceeded from your hand. I do not say this to terrify you; I would not willingly add to the torment of any human soul; but because I earnestly desire and pray to arouse you to serious reflection and deep penitence. The poor boy never rallied
after the tumour formed on his tender breast. All attempts at cure were fruitless. The most that could be done for him was to mitigate his sufferings in this world, and endeavour to awaken or deepen in his mind the importance of preparation for another, where the wicked cease from troubling, where there are no raging passions to guard against.
“But I did not take up my pen to write about Frederick; my concern is to show you the mischief which one act of ungoverned passion may occasion. I would have you think seriously that you have sent an immortal spirit into eternity, and thus brought blood-guiltiness on your own. May God forgive you, and lead you by his own Holy Spirit to humble yourself before him, and to say in sincerity,“ Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me!”
In this letter, Mr. also reminded Louis of the injury he had inflicted upon himself, in giving occasion for parents to remove their children from his school because of this accident; and of the distress which he had brought upon the parents and friends of Frederick by his sufferings and death. It is to be hoped although the hope be but faint-that this letter was made useful to Louis, and that he sought in earnest to check and control his unholy and impetuous disposition. Of one thing, however, we may be certain : that strength greater than ours is needed for conquering our sinful passions, and transforming our characters; and that, unless Louis sought for the gracious help of Him who came to destroy the works of the devil, he grew up to be a guilty and miserable man.