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The boy's countenance brightened up, and he said:—“Oh, I should be very glad! I have no place to go to. If you will only be good to me, and let me stay, I will do all the work of the house for you."
Ann almost smiled at his eagerness and joy. “ I have very little work for you, Donald; but, if you will be a good boy, I have no objection to your staying here. But you must mind all my rules, and be very obedient."
“ I will, I will,” cried Donald;" tell me what the rules are.
“ You will soon learn them; for they are very simple. Some of them are these :-You must rise early. You must be perfectly clean and tidy. You must never be abroad at meal-times, or after dark. You must never say any bad words, or speak any falsehood. You must learn lessons every day. You must obey me.”
“I will be glad enough to do it all,” said Donald; “and will you let me stay, sure enough.”
“ Yes, Donald; and I am going to get some clothes for you, which will be more decent than those rags you have on.” She then went, with a sorrowful countenance and with tears in her eyes, to the closets where her husband's clothes were kept. She found many articles among them, which, with alteration, would be just the thing for Donald ; and, while she was getting them ready, she directed him to give himself a thorough washing and combing.
Ann Forbes had no sooner begun to turn her mind towards providing for this orphan, than she felt her own griefs soothed. It was a recreation, and yet it did not jar with the tender and solemn state of her thoughts. This is a kind of arrangement of Providence, by which the very cares of the bereaved are often made the means of keeping them from absolute despondency.
Ann soon saw a great alteration in her new charge. A clean and whole suit, and a new hat, with a little clipping and smoothing of his tangled locks, and the daily application of cold water in abundance, made such a change, that, when Kate Merril came in, she did not know him to be the same boy. But a greater change took place within. For Donald had come into a new world. The good young woman, who had taken him under her care, and who seemed to him little less than a guardian angel, was a true Christian, and every thing she did had some reference to religion. Every day did she cause this ignorant boy to kneel by her side, and to repeat a prayer to God. Every day he learned by heart some verses of the Bible or of
a psalm ; and, several times every day, he read aloud to her from the Scriptures. She made him a paper-book, and set him copies in writing; and she hunted up an old slate, and taught him something of figures.
This was not all. She called him up at an early hour every morning, and put him in the way of working. She put an axe into his hands, and showed him how to split the wood for her stove and oven.
Then he would attend to the cow and the fowls, bring water, clean the knives, set the table, run upon errands, and, in a variety of ways suited to his age and strength, make himself useful.
At a proper time Ann Forbes conducted Donald to the Sunday-school, and put him under the charge of a faithful and judicious teacher. She also took him with her whenever she went to the house of God. She had became attached to him, as if he had been her own son, and he very properly looked up to her as the best friend he had in the world.
I do not intend to pursue the story. It is enough to say, that the Christian kindness of this young woman to a poor, motherless boy, was the occasion of his becoming a useful citizen, and a good man. He often used to say that the old pump at Tiverton was dear to him, because it had made him acquainted with his best earthly friend. And when, a few months after, Ann Forbes's father came over from Scotland, and took a little farm in the neighbourhood, Donald went to help him, and, under his care, grew up to be a thrifty and successful farmer.
TRANSFORMED as in a twinkling, he became
And in oppressive majesty stood high,
What dreams reveal of such as cannot die.
'Twas the meek Legislator, meek yet stern, At whose illumined visage men did turn
To hide them from the radiance of his brow, When from the holy mountain coming down He wore reflected glory as a crown,
And veil'd the beams that did too fiercely glow.