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I know that her horses always have their rest on some day in the week.”
Jos could scarcely attend to what his father was saying, the boy's finger was growing so exceedingly painful. Dr. Jackson again noticed the looks of his son.
“Have you a headache, my boy ?” he inquired.
Jos declared that he had nothing whatever the matter with his head; and in saying this he spoke truly. He took care to keep his hand under the table, for his poor finger was beginning to swell.
Jos for once was glad when the time came for saying good-night to his father and going to bed. But, oh, what a painful task it was to the poor little fellow to undress himself in his own small room! Jos thought that he would never manage untying and unbuttoning, and pulling off jacket and boots. Manly as was the doctor's young son, there were tears in his eyes when, the toil of undressing being over, he got at last into bed, and laid his head down on his pillow. Jos was not to have much rest during the night, owing to the pain in his hand. If he sometimes dropped asleep from weariness, he was sure to awake before long with a thrill and a start.
“I can't bear this much longer!” murmured poor Jos to himself, after he had heard Twelve o'clock strike, then One, then Two. “My finger gets worse and worse. I wish that I had not mounted on Shaggy. I shall have, after all, to own to papa the whole truth in the morning.”
And other thoughts came into the mind of poor Jos during that wearisome wakeful night—thoughts which had not entered into it during the day. He remembered how everything, even the most secret thing, will one day be brought to light. Those who have said there is “no harm ” in breaking one of the Lord's commandments, will see then what a grievous injury is done to the soul, though at first, like the hurt in the finger, it may “not show” to the eye of man.
If it had been difficult for Jos to undress himself at night, it was quite impossible for him to put on all his clothes in the morning. He tried, indeed, to do so, but weary with pain, and from want of sleep, the courage of Jos gave way, and he fairly burst into tears.
Presently he heard his father's foot-step on the stairs. Dr. Jackson was going down to breakfast.
“Oh, papa, I wish you would come here !” cried Jos, in a doleful tone ;—“ please come, I have hurt my finger.”
Jos had not to call twice; his kind father was ever ready to help him out of a trouble. Dr. Jackson came to the room of his son, and at once examined the finger. He did so gently and tenderly, but still Jos could scarcely help crying out with the pain which the handling gave him.
“ You have hurt your finger indeed, my poor boy,” said the doctor; “ I'm afraid that you have fractured the bone. How on earth did this happen?”
Jos told all—with a full heart and quivering lip he told all—how he had been tempted to do that which he knew he ought not to have done, and how he had given way to the temptation. Dr. Jackson neither chid nor punished his son, for he saw that Jos was sorely punished already, and that the boy's own conscience was rebuking him for his fault. Grieved, but not angry, the father did all that he could to relieve the pain of his son. He skilfully dressed and bandaged the finger, and fastened it firmly in the right position by means of a splint, so that Jos had no power to bend his hand. All this dressing and binding was painful enough to the boy, but he did not utter a word of complaint. He knew that he had deserved all that he suffered.
But it was a very great trial to Jos not to be allowed for some time to mount Shaggy, lest the motion of the pony should hinder the bone from properly setting. Pain and weakness in the hurt finger long remained, to remind the poor boy of his fault.
“Certainly the accident might have happened on any other day of the week,” said Jos to himself when he took the first gentle ride upon Shaggy which he had had since hurting his hand; “ or I might have had my Sunday scamper without getting any harm at all. But perhaps I am wrong there ”—thus the boy pursued his quiet reflections—“I suppose that no one ever breaks the Commandments without getting harm, though the harm at first may not show. My father said last night that outward troubles are like bruises or cuts on the skin, but the sin that wounds the conscience is like a hurt to the bone; it shows less, but it injures more.”
KNIGHTS OF THE CROSS.
I R John and Sir Bevis were knights of old,
Who went to the Holy Land;
Each had a firm strong hand;
He had chosen the Christian's part,-
Another—within the heart.
Sir John he prized the wine-cup well,
And sat at the banquet long ;
And to sing the boisterous song.
And burned his castle down;
And won what he called renown: