Слике страница
PDF
ePub

What if he should do this, and she should never hear of him again !-never hear whether he died of cold in the woods, or made good his escape to the faroff Flanders, where they had lived so long. That was where he would go, she thought, and then she prayed that the vessel bearing him thither might not be wrecked, as the one was that brought them to England. This peril over, there was little fear that Leofric would be made a slave again. He had often told her that he could escape from his master at any time, and no one would know he was a fugitive slave, and the exulting words he had so often uttered about this came back to her mind so very vividly, that the fear soon grew into a certainty, and she felt sure she should never see her brother again; and then her grief broke out afresh, How long she sat curled up on the pile of straw where she had thrown herself she did not know, but she began to feel stiff and cold at last, and when she crept out of her hiding-place she saw that the shadows of evening were darkening the sky, and the stars beginning to peep out one by one. She hurried back to her mistress' apartments then, half frightened that she had been away so long. But before she got there she was met by her companions, who had all been sent away.

You are not wanted any more than the rest of us," said one; “Gurth is with our mistress-bath deigned to pay her a visit at last—and 'tis hoped he may please her now he hath come, for 'tis ill work trying to please her now."

Githa did not wish her companions to see her in tears, and so, with a murmured word of thanks, she turned back and went out into the yard to lean on the stockade to watch for any sign of Leofric coming back. Perhaps he might come to speak to her once more, or to get some extra article of clothing, and she stood waiting and watching for more than an hour; but no footfall sounded along the wood path or broke the silence, except the moaning of the wind between the leafless branches of the trees.

At last she turned towards the house, where lights were gleaming between the chinks of the shutters, and the sound of laughing and scolding could alike be heard.

Supper was smoking on the table when Githa when in a huge boar's head, flanked by joints of beef and pork, which the servants brought in on spits straight from the kitchen fire. Githa hardly knew whether to sit down at the table with her companions, or go to her mistress at once; but at length she decided to go, for supper in the great hall was being served, and Gurth would be compelled to leave his sister.

She found her mistress alone, as she expected, and Hilda at once called her to the side of her couch.

“Why, child, what is the matter?” asked the lady in surprise, for Githa was shivering with cold, and at her mistress' question she burst into tears.

“Nay, nay, no more tears, Githa, for 'tis as I hoped it would be; the earl hath not sought to crush the witless knaves, though his punishment seemed severe, but he hath sought to bring them to a better mind, and 'twas for this Leofric was kept from his master these three days.”

But Githa's tears could not be stayed. Leofric bath told me he cannot do better, for no one expects aught of him but slave's work,” she sobbed.

“Nay, but the earl hath spoken of him to his master, and Gurth hath promised for him that he shall no more rob poor pilgrims, or fire nuns' hay. ricks, but learn some useful handicraft, or to be more skilful in the use of the bow and arrows."

But to the lady's surprise, Githa's tears only flowed the more freely, when she heard. “Oh, my brother, my brother,” she wailed ; and kneeling down by her mistress' couch, she told her all her fears concerning Leofric.

Hilda looked deeply concerned. “It may be as thou sayest, but I hope he will yet come back, for Gurth will lose a trusty and a noble servant, I trow, and will not be so earnest in his efforts to amend his ways."

“I fear, I greatly fear, he will not come back," sobbed poor Githa.

“Thou bast been watching for him at the stockade, I trow, until thou art cold to thy bones. Hast tbou had any supper?”

“Not yet; I am not hungry,” said Githa.

“But thou needest a posset to warm thee. Fetch me yonder flagon, child; it hath some wine grown in our own vineyard; and bring me the drinkingGITAA'S MESSAGE.

183

horn, with a little water and honey, and thou shalt set it in the wood ashes on the hearth, and it will soon warm thee. There now, if the witless knaves would set themselves to learn how the growth of the grapes could be improved, it would be well; for 'tis said that all the old vineyards are declining, both in the quality of the grapes and the quantity they yield; and if they be not improved shortly, England will have to send across seas for her wine, as she now doth for her fashions."

“Nay, but the vineyards look to be flourishing,” said Githa.

“They are not what they were. 'Tis said the Romans planted them when they made the great roads that run straight through the land, and

goodly wine in plenty did they yield them, but 'tis little we get from them now.'

The lady watched the colour as it slowly came back to Githa’s pale face as she drank the warm posset, and when she was more calm, and somewhat revived, she said, “ Come now, child, tell me why thou fearest thy brother hath run away.

Githa told her all she could remember of the conversation with Leofric.

“So the knave is sorely grieved because he hath not been punished,” said the lady. “What dost thou think of that, Githa ?"

Githa shook her head. The whole affair was a puzzle to her, and her mistress all at once seemed to be lost in thought. At length she said, “ Dost thou remember what thou didst tell me about thy God afflicting and troubling those whom He loved, and whom He would fain have to love Him?"

“Yes; Father Dunstan said it was God's way to trouble those most whom He loved best.”

“Then if that be true, and God dealeth with us as we deal with each other, then-then-ob, Githa, thy God hath a little care for me, though I come of a race who have ever hated him.”

“Nay, it is not a little care, but a great love, that God beareth towards thee, and if thou wilt only believe this,” and Githa clasped her hands, and looked imploringly into her mistress' face.

“I will try. I will go into a convent where I can learn all I want to know, and thou shalt come with me, Githa, to tend me when I am sick, and help me to learn all the sisters can teach us."

It seemed that this was not the first time Hilda had thought of going into a convent, but it was the first time she had ventured to speak of it to anyone, and now, after she had talked of it a few minutes to Githa, she begged her to keep it a secret for the present. “I must talk to Gurth first, and then to my mother and father, before I can do this thing," and Githa wondered what Leofric would say if he should hear she had retired to a convent to spend the rest of her days.

But these reflections were speedily interrupted by the return of the rest of the bower-maidens, and then her mistress insisted that she should go and have some supper too, after once more warning her to keep silence upon what they had been talking of.

But this and everything else went out of Githa's head a few minutes afterwards; for on her way through the passages to the other end of the house, she met Leofric, who had just come in quite tired out with his long walk.

Githa uttered a faint scream of joy, and threw her arms about his neck. “Oh, Leofric, I am so glad, I am so glad," she said.

“So glad—what about?” asked Leofric in surprise, for he wanted his supper now,

“I thought, I thought you had run away,” hesitated his sister.

“Githa, Githa, could'st thou think me so low, so ignoble, as to think I should leave my master, because I am left free as himself to come and go as I will without slave-badge or token? Nay, nay, my sister, did I not tell thee aforetime that Gurth had left me without chains or collar about my neck, but that he had made my heart fast to his own-had bound me with a chain more strong than any forged by smith's art?”. He spoke in a grieved, passionate tone, and Githa hung down her head, utterly abashed at the suspicions she had entertained against him.

“My brother, I am very sorry,” she faltored. But Leofric scarcely noticed his sister's words. “Hast thou told thy mistress of these thy base thoughts concerning me?” he demanded in the same angry tone.

1-I was afraid”

“ Then ask the Lady Hilda to let me speak to her,” he interrupted; and Githa felt compelled to yield to his request, and ask her mistress to see him.

The lady smiled when she heard Leofric's indignant denial of his sister's suspicions,

* I were base indeed not to feel bound to such a master as mine,” he said in conclusion.

“ Thou art a true and trusty knave, I see,” said the lady, with a smile, “and if thou and thy master would only think of doing some honest work when you are not hunting and hawking, my father and Earl Harold would have less to complain of concerning thy wild doings, Could'st thou not see to the vineyards and fields ? they are greatly neglected, I trow.”

“ I will do aught that my master bids me,” said Leofric promptly.

“I will talk to him about the matter. Thou art a true and trusty knave,” concluded the lady admiringly, as Leofric turned to leave the room.

The Question Box.

seem

to vary

Compartment I. For the young people.

Answers to questions of last month :-(10) 1. Adino, the Eznite or the Tach. monite. 2. Eleazar, son of Dodo, the Abohite. 3. Shammah, son of Agee, the Hararite. In 2 Sam. xxiii. 8—17, these three men are mentioned as fetching the water from the well at Bethlehem to gratify the wish of David, having to cut their way through the ranks of the Philistines. In 1 Chron. xi: 6, 11-19, the same incident is related, but the names

Adino the Tachmonite being called Jashobeam the Hachmonite, probably through the change of a letter in transcription.

(11) Eliphaz, the Temanite, had a dream or vision in which a spirit seemed to utter these words.—Job iv. 1, 17.

(12) At Miletus Paul quoted the words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”-Acts xx. 15, 17, 18, 35.

New Questions :-(13) What city was that, whose inhabitants were ready to deliver up to his enemies, the very man who had saved them from their enemies ?

(14) Is there any instance in the Bible of a man actually offering his son as a burnt offering; and if so, what was his name?

(15) What preacher of the gospel was mistaken for the captain of a gang of four thousand murderers ?

Answers to be addressed to Rev. W. R. Stevenson, Carrington, Nottingham. Compartment II. For the general reader.

A reply from E. E. E., of Derby, to the question of last month, relating to Saul and Samuel, is in type, but is deferred till next month for want of room.

Meanwhile may we say that from six young friends in a Sunday School in Derbyshire, who sent replies to our earlier questions in No. I. Compartment, no letters have been received lately? Surely they have not become " weary

in well-doing.” Let them try again. The assistance of any Christian friends may be obtained, ministers only excepted.

We are pleased to receive answers (usually correct) month by month from a goodly number of both boys and girls all over the Connexion, and foresee that our difficulty will be at the end of the year to select the three most worthy of mention. But we shall welcome a still larger number, and trust that parents and the conductors of Bible classes will give the young people all encouragement to enter the lists and try their best.

Notices of New Books.

BAPTIST WORTHIES. By Wm. Landels,

D.D. Vol. II. Price 28. 6d. London:

Baptist Tract and Book Society. The second volume of a series of sketches of distinguished men who have held and advocated the principles of the Baptist Denomination. When we state that the men whose careers are sketched in this volume are Dr. Judson, the missionary ; John Foster, the essayist; Wm. Knibb, the philanthropist ; Henry Havelock, the soldier; Sir Robert Lush, the judge ; and James Garfield, the president; and when we recall the fact announced on the title-page that the writer of the book is Dr. Landels, we have said enough to assure our readers that in obtaining and perusing it they will both enjoy a rich intellectual treat, and receive a healthy bracing stimulus. We wish that every young man in the Baptist Denomination would read it and take its lessons to heart. Then should we hope to see the number of manly men amongst us increase,-not mere pleasure-loving, self-indulgent mannikins.

American fellow-countrymen must be! And as to the “fine arts," has he no pictures on his walls ? no ornaments on his mantle-pieco ? Has he rebuked his publishers for trying to make his book externally “a thing of beauty"?

Such writing is not simply nonsense. It does harm to the cause of Christianity. It gives men excuse for regarding earnest godliness as inseparably connected with a weakly, narrow-mindod religious sentimentalism. O that some of our modern evangelists would combine with their zoal a little of the commonsense of the apostle Paul !

an

The Book FUND AND ITS WORK, 1883.

Passmore & Alabaster. Many people are aware that Mrs. Spurgeon, though an invalid, has been led by providence to undertake a most interesting and useful work for Christ, that of distributing to pastors with small incomes books that may be servicable to them in their ministry. But all do not know the extent to which this work has grown. In the little book before us Mrs. Spurgeon tells the story of the past year's distribution with charming simplicity and pathos. 11,351 volumes have been given away in the course of twelve months at a cost of about £1,430. The books have consisted very largely of Mr. Spurgeon's "Treasury of David' and other works. Friends in all parts have helped by contributions varying from one sbilling to £50. As we read, we could not help saying to ourselves, “O that some pastor's wife in our Connexion might be stirred up to attempt a similar work if

a smaller scale, and might receive from

warm - hearted Christian friends like generous assistance.'

IN THE VOLUME OF THE Book: or, The

Pleasure and Profit of Bible Study.
By G. F. Pentecost, M.A. Morgan

and Scott. The design of this volume is most praiseworthy, and its 150 pages supply some very useful hints in regard to the study of the Scripturos. But here and there we light upon weak and silly things, which, as characteristic of the school to which the writer belongs, we take this opportunity of protesting against. Take the following as an instance.

“ Another characteristic”-says Mr. Pentecost-"of Cain and his spiritual descendants is seen in the fact that when he went out of the presence of the Lord he at once builded a city. It may not seem to have special significance in the eyes of many, but city building and city living, with the “fine arts' of life, have been characteristic of the world' since the days of Cain. It is the pride of life' which is not of the Father, but of the world. This is the more striking when we consider that the righteous line through Abel-Seth-were over dwellers in tents," etc., etc.

We wonder whether Mr. Pentecost at his bome in New York dwells in a tent. And does he mean seriously to say that "city-building” is a characteristic of the ungodly world? If so, what sinners his

on

“ Full SALVATION," AS SEEN IN BUN

YAN'S Pilgrim's PROGRESS. By Rev.

W. Haslam, M.A. Morgan & Scott. We do not exactly see the need of this book; and yet, if its clear good type and attractive engravings lead a number of people to read Bunyan's matchless allegory over again, it will not have been printed in vain. Mr. Haslam gives the snbstance of the story, sometimes in big own words, wbere abbreviation seemed dosirablo, sometimes in Bunyan's ; and his comments are almost always sensible and to the point.

The Death of Prince Leopold,

[graphic]

Duke of Albany, is an event which during the past month has excited painful and universal interest. The suddenness of his decease,—the sharp contrast between the silence of the death-chamber and the festivities proceding as well as anticipated,the interest and respect with which the Prince was generally regarded as a young man of refined taste, and as probably in intellect the most gifted of all the Queen's sons,—the circumstances of his domestic life, one day so bright and fair, the next clouded in gloom and sadness,—all combined to produce in the nation a feeling of painful surprise and sincere sorrow. We are sure that our readers will unite with

us in respectful sympathy with the Queen, thus boreft of a son, on whose filial affection and intelligent counsels, it is said, she had been accustomed latterly somewhat to lean, as well as with his young wife and infant offspring, so suddenly and mournfully deprived of a husband's love and a father's care. On recalling the circumstances one cannot but think that Prince Leopold himself was imprudent in his delicate state of health in attempting what he did during the last few days of his life. But we cannot be harsh in our judgment of one who on the whole was so amiable and good, who, moreover, is now beyond the reach of either human praise or human blamo. We trust that to us, as well as to the wealthy and noble of our land, not in vain will be the lesson so often given and yot needing constant repetition,—that of the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, and the duty of trying to live, whilst we may, to some good purpose.

OBSTRUCTION IN PARLIAMENT.— It is, wo think, the duty of the hour, not merely of Liberals, but of moderate roasonable men of all parties, to protest against the shameful waste of time and energy caused by the policy of obstruc. tion now pursued by certain mombers of Parliament. If such measures as the Franchise Bill, or that for Reform in the government of London, are considered by any persons to be injurious or unwise, let dissentients by all means oppose them with all the forces of argument, wit, and eloquence,- let them bring forth their facts, and set in array their statistics. That would be a straightforward and manly course. It would be intelligent opposition, worthy of all respect. But to occupy the time of the most important legislative assembly in the world night after night, twenty times over, with questions and speeches about Egypt and other subjects on which no new light can be thrown, simply for the purpose of hindering and irritating, is a policy unworthy of representatives of the British

people in this last quarter of the nineteenth century. It is a policy, too, upon which, if we mistake not, the British people will declare its mind pretty plainly when an appeal is again made to it at the hustings.

SUNDAY CLOSING. – Mr. Stevenson's bill was talked out on April 2nd by Mr. Warton. Why Sunday closing has not been obtained in England as it has been in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, passes comprehension. Such a measure has the support not only of temporanco people, but of vast numbers who are not abstainers; nay, it has the support even of publicans. Why, then, is the Bill shelved year after year? Because those who manage temperance politics are overconfident. They say, “Raise the cry for Local Option, and Sunday closing is suro to come." It ought to, if Local Option be what its supporters fondly imagine it to be. But it is nothing of the kind. It is a delusion and a snare. A more hollow and empty election cry was never raised, simply because it has no meaning, or

« ПретходнаНастави »