« AnteriorContinua »
ONE morning, as Mr. Fairchild was coming down stairs, he heard the little ones quarrelling in the parlour; and he stood still to hearken to what they said.
" You are very cruel, Lucy," said Henry : "why won't
you let me play with the doll?” “What have boys to do with dolls ?” said Lucy: you shan't have it.”
“ But he shall," said Emily; and, the door being half open, Mr. Fairchild saw her snatch the dori from her sister, and give it Henry, who ran with it behind the sopha. Lucy tried to get the doll away from her brother, but Emily ran in between them, and accidentally hurt Lucy's foot, which increased Lucy's anger so much, that she pinched her sister's arm; whereupon, Emily struck her sister: and I do not know what might have next happened, if Mr. Fairchild had not run in and seized hold of them.
Mr. Fairchild, however, heard Emily say to her sister, “ I do not love you, you naughty girl:" and he heard the other reply, " And I don't love you: I am sure I do not."
At the same time they looked as if what they said was true, for the moment; for their faces were red, and their eyes full of anger. Mr. Fairchild took the doll away from Henry; and, taking a rod out of the cupboard, he whipped the hands of all the three children till they smarted againi, saying:
“ Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
For God has made them so;
For 'tis their nature too :
Such angry passions rise :
To tear each other's eyes.”
After which, he made them stand in a corner of the room, without their breakfasts : neither did they get any thing to eat all the morning; and what was worse, their papa and mamma looked very gravely at them. When John came in to lay the cloth for dinner, Mr. Fairchild called the three children to him, and asked them if they were sorry for the wicked things which they had done.
“ Oh! yes, Papa! yes, Papa! we are sorry,” they said.
"Do you remember, Lucy-do you remember, Emily," said Mr. Fairchild—" what words you used to each other?”
“ Yes, Papa," they answered : we said that we did not love each other; but we did not mean what we said.”
“ Yes," answered Mr. Fairchild ; mean what you said at the time; or else why did you pinch and strike ?"
:Oh, Papa!" answered Lucy, « because we were angry then.”
“ And suppose," said Mr. Fairchild,“ that you had had a knife in your hand, Lucy : in your anger you might have struck your sister with it, and per. haps have killed her.”
- Oh! no, Papa ! no, Papa!" said Lucy: " I would not kill my poor sister for all the world.”
Mr. Fairchild. ** You would not kill her now, I am sure, for all the world, because you are not now angry with her; nor would you pinch her now,
I am sure: but when batred and anger seize upon persons, they do many shocking things which they would not think of at another time. Have you not read how wicked Cain, in his anger, killed his brother Abel? And do you not remember the verse in 1 John iii. 15: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him ?'”
“Oh! Papa, Papa!” said Emily; "we will never be angry again.”
My dear Emily," said Mr. Fairchild,“ you must not say that you never will be angry again ; but that you
pray to God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your dear Redeemer, to send his Holy Spirit into your heart, to take away these wicked passions."
“ Papa,” said Lucy," when the Spirit of God is in me, shall I never hate any more, or be in wicked passions any more ?”
“My dear child," answered Mr. Fairchild," the Lord Jesus Christ says, ' By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one-towards another. (John xiii. 31.) Therefore, if you are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God is in you, you will love every body, even those who hate
ill.” ” Then Mr. Fairchild kissed his children, and forgave them; and they kissed each other; and Mr. Fairchild gave them leave to dive with him us usual. After dinner, Mr. Fairchild said to his wife :
“ I will take the children this evening to Blackwood, and shew them something there which, I think, they will remember as long as they live: and I hope they will take warning from it, and pray more earnestly for new hearts, that they may love each other with perfect and heavenly love.".
“ If you are going to Blackwood,” said Mrs.
Fairchild, “ I cannot go with you, my dear, though I approve of your taking the children. Let John go with you, to carry Henry part of the way; for it is too far for him to walk."
" What is there at Blackwood, Papa?" cried the children.
“ Something very shocking," said Mr. Fairchild. " There is one there,” said Mr. Fairchild, looking very grave,
“ who hated his brother.”
* No,” said Mr. Fairchild : " he cannot hurt you now.'
When the children and John were ready, Mr. Fairchild set out. They went down the lane nearly as far as the village ; and then, crossing over a long field, they came in front of a very thick wood.
“ This is Blackwood," said Mr. Fairchild, getting over the style : “ the pathway is almost grown up; nobody likes to come here now.'
“ What is here, Papa ?" added the children: " is it very shocking ? We are afraid to go on.”
« There is nothing here that will hurt you, my dear children," said Mr. Fairchild.
“ Am not I with you; and do you think I would lead
children into danger ?”
“ No, Papa,” said the children ; " but Mamma said there was something very dreadful in this wood."
Then Lucy and Emily drew behind Mr. Fairchild, and walked close together; and little Henry asked John to carry him.
The wood was very thick and dark; and they walked on for half a mile, going down 'hill all the way. At last they saw, by the light through the trees, that they were come near to the end of the wood; and, as they went further on, they saw an old garden wall'; some parts of which being broken down, they
could see, beyond, a large brick house, which, from the fashion of it, seemed as if it might have stood there some hundred years, and now was fallen to ruin. The garden was overgrown with grass and weeds, the fruit trees wanted pruning, and it could now hardly be discovered where the walks had been. One of the old chimneys had fallen down, breaking through the roof of ihe house in one or two places; and the glass windows were broken near the place where the garden wall had fallen. Just between that and the wood stood a gibbet, on which the body of a map hung in chains : the body had not yet fallen to pieces, although it had hung there some years. It had on a blue coat, a silk handkerchief round the neck, with shoes and stockings, and every other part of the dress still entire : but the face of the corpse was so shocking, that the children could not look upon it.
“ Oh! Papa, Papa! what is that?” cried the children.
“ That is a gibbet," said Mr. Fairchild; “ and the man who hangs upon it is a murderer-one who first hated, and afterwards killed his brother! When people are found guilty of stealing, or murder, they are hanged upon a gallows, and taken down as soon as they are dead; but in some particular cases, when a man has committed a murder, he is hanged in iron chains upon a gibbet, till bis body falls to pieces, that all who pass by may take warning by the example."
Whilst Mr. Fairchild was speaking, the wind blew strong and shook the body upon the gibbet, rattling the chains by which it hung.
“Oh! let us go, Papa!” said the children, pulling Mr. Fairchild's coat.
“ Not yet," said Mr. Fairchild : “I must tell you the history of that wretched man before we go from this place."