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A box on the ears and a storm of angry words rewarded this feat.
“ Have I not told you over and over again, you incorrigible, bad boy, not to pour the whole of your tea into your saucer? Just see what a mess you have made with that clean tablecloth. I declare I am out of all patience with you! Go away from the table this instant !”
Harry went crying away, not in anger, but in grief. He had spilled his tea by accident. His mother had so many reproofs and injunctions to make, that the bearing of them all in mind was a thing impossible. As to pouring out all his tea at a time, he had no recollection of any
interdiction on that subject, although it had been made over and over again very often. In a little while he came creeping slowly back and resumed his place at the table, his eyes on his mother's face. Mrs. Burton was sorry that she had sent him away for what was only an accident; she felt that she had hardly been just to the thoughtless boy. She did not, therefore, object to his coming back, but said, as he took his seat, “ Next time see that you are more careful. I have told you again and again not to fill your saucer to the brim; you never can do it without spilling the tea upon
This was not spoken in kindness.
A scene somewhat similar to this was enacted at every meal, but instead of improving in his behaviour, the boy grew more and more heedless. Mr. Burton rarely said anything to Harry about his unruly manner, but when he did, a word was enough. That word was always mildly yet firmly spoken. He did not think him a bad boy or difficult to manage-at least he had never found him so. 5 I wish I knew what to do with that child,” said Mrs. Burton, after the little fellow had been sent to bed an hour before his time, in consequence of some violation of law and order; "he makes me constantly feel unhappy. I dislike to be scolding him for ever, but what can I do!
If I did not curb him in some way there would be no living in the house with him. I am afraid he will cause us a great deal of trouble.”
Mr. Burton sat silent. He wanted to say a word on the subject, but he feared that its effect might not be what he desired.
“ I wish you would advise me what to do, Mr. Burton,” said his wife a little petulantly.
66 You sit and do not say a single word, as if you had no kind of interest in the matter. What am I to do? I have exhausted all my own resources, and feel completely at a loss.”
“ There is a way which, if you would adopt it, I think might do good.” Mr. Burton spoke with a slight appearance of hesitation. “ If you would speak gently to Harry, I am sure you would be able to manage him far better than
do." Mrs. Burton's face was crimsoned in an instant; she felt the reproof deeply ; her self-esteem was severely wounded.
“Speak gently, indeed ! ” she replied, “I might as well speak to the wind ; I am scarcely heard now at the top of my voice."
As her husband did not argue the matter with her, nor say anything that was calculated to keep up the excitement under which she was labouring, her feelings in a little while quieted down, and her thoughts became active. The words “speak gently were constantly in her mind, and there was a reproving import in' them. On going to bed that night she could not get to sleep for several hours; her mind was too busily engaged in reviewing her conduct toward her child. She clearly perceived that she had too frequently suffered her mind to get excited and angry, and that she was often annoyed at trifles which ought to have been overlooked.
* I am afraid I have been unjust to my child,” she sighed over and over again, turning restlessly upon her pillow.
“ I will try and do better,” she said to herself, as she rose in the morning, feeling but little refreshed from sleep. Before she was ready to leave her room, she heard Harry's voice calling her from the next chamber where he slept. The tones were fretful; he wanted some attendance, and was crying out for it in a manner that instantly disturbed the even surface of the mother's feelings. She was about telling him angrily to be quiet until she could finish dressing herself, when the words, “speak gently," seemed whispered in her ear. Their effect was magical; the mother's spirit was subdued.
“ I will speak gently,” she murmured, and went in to Harry, who was still crying out fretfully.
• What do you want, my son,” she said, in a quiet, kind voice.
The boy looked up with surprise ; his eye brightened, and the whole expression of his face was changed in an instant.
“ I cannot find my stockings, maınma,” he said.
“ There they are, under the bureau," returned Mrs. Burton, as gently as she had at first spoken.
“Oh yes ! so they are," cheerfully replied Harry; “I could not see them any where.”
you think crying would bring them ?” This was said with a smile and in a tone so unlike his mother, that the child looked up again into her face with surprise that was, Mrs. Burton plainly saw, mingled with pleasure.
“ Do you want anything else ? ” she asked.
“ No, mamma," he replied cheerfully, “I can dress myself now.”
This first little effort was crowned with the most encouraging results to the mother; she felt a deep peace settling in her bosom, the consciousness of having gained a true victory over the perverse tendencies of both her own heart and that of her boy. It was a little act, but it was the first fruits, and the gathering even of so small a harvest was sweet to her spirit.
For the first time in many months, the breakfast-table was pleasant to all. Harry never once interrupted the conversation that passed at intervals between his father and mother. When he asked for anything, it was in a way pleasing to all. Once or twice, Mrs. Burton found it necessary to correct some little fault in manner, but the way in which she did it did not in the least disturb her child's temper, and instead of not seeming to hear her words, as had almost always been the case, he regarded all that was said, and tried to do as she wished.
“ There is a wonderful power in gentle words,” remarked Mr. Burton to his wife, after Harry had left the table.
“ Yes, wonderful indeed; their effect surprises me.” 66 Love is strong."
Days, weeks, months, and years went by; during all this time, the mother continued to strive very earnestly with herself and very kindly with her child. The happiest results followed ; the fretful, passionate, disorderly boy, became even-minded and orderly in his habits. A word gently spoken, was allpowerful in its influence for good, but the least shade of harshness would arouse his stubborn will and deform his fair
Whenever mothers complain to Mrs. Burton of the difficulty they find in managing their children, she has one piece of advice to give, and that is, Command yourself, and
T. S. A.
NARRATIVE OF LIEUTENANT DANIEL MURRAY, IN A LETTER OF THE LATE FRANCIS S. KEY, ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF
COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WHEN I arrived at the residence of our late friend, Mr. Daniel Murray, I found him apparently dying. He had arranged all his affairs, talked in the most cheerful, consoling manner to his family and friends, and sent messages of affectionate regard to those who were absent. He received me with great animation, and a smile that showed he was filled with “all joy and peace.” He expressed his thankfulness at my visit, spoke of his many and great comforts, the perfect peace and happiness he felt, and the sure hope which enabled him to welcome death, that he might be with his Saviour. He declared that it was to him alone he looked with this confident hope ; that he was himself unworthy, and trusted entirely to the merits of his Redeemer. Hours were passed in conversations like these.
Though weak, he seemed to gather strength from the exercise of holy thoughts and affections. 66 Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” and passages of Scripture were continually, by his desire, read and repeated to him; and his countenance, lighted up by the emotions they awakened, showed the fulness of joy which his lips laboured to express. He wished all his domestics and labourers and his neighbours, and acquaintances to be present, each of whom was called to receive an affectionate farewell, with kind and solemn words of suitable admonition and encouragement.
These exertions, he said, did not weary or distress him, and he wished, in the short time he had left, to say and do everything in his power that might be useful. At one time he requested, in our prayers with him, that we should use the prayers for the dying, after one of which he told me he had hoped that he should have departed while we were using that prayer. He requested some psalms and hymns to be read to him. These all seemed to give him the greatest delight, but he was particularly excited by the one beginning, “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,” etc.
At one time some apparent revival gave hopes of his restoration to others, but not to himself. He spoke of his death as near and certain ; and though willing to submit to a recovery, it was manifest that he neither expected nor desired it. He was right in his opinion—these hopes disappeared. His strength declined very gradually, till these interesting
communications with him could no longer be continued ; but the peace and joy of his soul, when they ceased to be uttered by his lips, were still radiant in his countenance to the last. A few minutes before he expired he was told his departure was near, and asked if he still felt the hopes and happiness he had expressed. He expressed his assent by a smile and the pressure of his hand; and soon these, and all other indications of life, gently and almost imperceptibly disappeared.
And now permit me to say something of him who thus died. Upwards of thirty years ago he made profession of religion. From that time to his death, during a retired and domestic life, he was known as a warm, consistent Christian. All this you know. But I knew him long before this. At eight or nine
age, he being a year older, we became intimate, and were brought up together almost in the same family. We continued thus until he entered the navy, I think in the year 1798; and ever since we have been much together, and always on terms of the closest friendship.
From my earliest recollections of him, his character and conduct were so remarkable that he seemed to me without a fault. No temptations ever seemed to surprise him. No allurement or persuasion led him from his course. member well how strong his influence was over me, and how it was always used for my good. But I ascribed to natural causes altogether the peculiarity and excellence of his character, and did not see how religion could change him who seemed already as perfect as a human being could be. This was not only my thought; all who knew him well thus estimated him.
I remember being present at a conversation on the subject of religion between the late John Randolph and Commodore Decatur, who had known Mr. Murray while in the navy. The latter was expressing his difficulties about the universal sinfulness of man's nature. It surprised him that the very best people in the world should always speak of themselves as sinners. He mentioned his own mother as an instance; and then, turning to me, said, “There, too, is our friend Murray, you know what a man he is: who ever saw anything wrong in him? Is it not absurd to think of such a man as a sinner? And yet he accounts himself such.” I shall never forget Mr. Randolph's reply to this. He rose from his sofa, walked towards Decatur, stood before him, and in his emphatic manner said to this effect: “ I well know how dark and unintelligible this subject appears to you, and why it is so. But