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and from whom he had gained good scholarship, and a knowledge of and interest in many subjects which boys in general never come across till they are many years older.
Just as he reached his thirteenth year, and his : father had settled that he was strong enough to go to school, and, after much debating with himself, had resolved to send him there, a desperate typhusfever broke out in the town ; most of the other clergy, and almost all the doctors ran away; the work fell with tenfold weight on those who stood to their work. Arthur and his wife both caught the fever, of which he died in a few days, and she recovered, having been able to nurse him to the end, and store up his last words. He was sensible to the last, and calm and happy, leaving his wife and children with fearless trust for a few years in the hands of the Lord and Friend who had lived and died for him, and for whom he, to the best of his power, had lived and died. His widow's mourning was deep and gentle ; she was more affected by the request of the Committee of a Freethinking club, established in the town by some of the factory hands, (which he had striven against with might and main, and nearly suppressed,) that some of their number might be allowed to help bear the coffin, than by any thing else. Two of them were chosen, who, with six other labouring men, his own fellowworkmen and friends, bore him to his grave—a man who had fought the Lord's fight even unto the death. The shops were closed, and the factories
shut that day in the parish, yet no master stopped the day's wages; but for many a year afterwards the townsfolk felt the want of that brave, hopeful, loving parson, and his wife, who had lived to teach them mutual forbearance and helpfulness, and had almost at last given them a glimpse of what this old world would be, if people would live for God and each other, instead of for themselves.
What has all this to do with our story? Well, my dear boys, let a fellow go on his own way, or you won't get any thing out of him worth having. I must show you what sort of a man it was who had begotten and trained little Arthur, or else you won't believe in him, which I am resolved you shall do; and you won't see how he, the timid weak boy, had points in him from which the bravest and strongest recoiled, and made his presence and example felt from the first on all sides, unconsciously to himself, and without the least attempt at proselytizing. The spirit of his father was in him, and the Friend to whom his father had left him did not neglect the trust.
After supper that night, and almost nightly for years afterwards, Tom and Arthur, and by degrees East occasionally, and sometimes one, sometimes another, of their friends, read a chapter of the bible together, and talked it over afterwards. Tom was at first utterly astonished, and almost shocked, at the sort of way in which Arthur read the book, and talked about the men and women whose lives were there told. The first night they happened to fall on RESULTS OF LESSON 'NO. 2.
the chapters about the famine in Egypt, and Arthur
began talking about Joseph as if he were a living v statesman ; just as he might have talked about
Lord Grey and the Reform Bill; only that they were much more living realities to him. The book was to him, Tom saw, the most vivid and delightful history of real people, who might do right or wrong, just like any one who was walking about in Rugby —the Doctor, or the master, or the sixth-form boys. But the astonishment soon passed off, the scales seemed to drop from his eyes, and the book became at once and forever to him the great human and divine book, and the men and women, whom he had looked upon as something quite different from himself, became his friends and counsellors.
For our purposes, however, the history of one night's reading will be sufficient, which must be told here, now we are on the subject, though it didn't happen till a year afterwards, and long after the events recorded in the next chapter of our story.
Arthur, Tom, and East were together one night, and read the story of Naaman coming to Elisha to be cured of his leprosy. When the chapter was finished, Tom shut his Bible with a slap.
“I can't stand that fellow Naaman,” said he, 6 after what he'd seen and felt, going back and bowing himself down in the house of Rimmon, because his effeminate scoundrel of a master did it. I wonder Elisha took the trouble to heal him. How he must have despised him.”
“ Yes, there you go off as usual, with a shell on
TOM IS STIFF-NECKED.
your head,” struck in East, who always took the opposite side to Tom; half from love of argument, half from conviction. · How do you know he didn't think better of it? how do you know his master was a scoundrel ? His letter don't look like it, and the book don't say so.”
“ I don't care,” rejoined Tom; “why did Naaman talk about bowing down then if he didn't mean to do it? He wasn't likely to get more in earnest when he got back to court, and away from the Prophet.”
“ Well but, Tom,” said Arthur, “look what Elisha says to him, 'Go in peace. He wouldn't have said that if Naaman had been in the wrong."
“I don't see that that means more than saying, • You're not the man I took you for.?"
“ No, no, that won't do at all,” said East; “read the words fairly, and take men as you find them. I like Naaman, and think he was a very fine fellow."
“I don't,” said Tom positively. 6 Well, I think East is right,” said Arthur; “I can't see but what it's right to do the best you can, though it mayn't be the best absolutely. Every man isn't born to be a martyr.”.
« Of course, of course," said East; “ but he's on one of his pet hobbies. How often have I told you, Tom, that you must drive a nail where it'll go.”
“ And how often have I told you,” rejoined Tom, “ that it'll always go where you want, if you only stick to it and hit hard enough. I hate half-measures and compromises."
THE BROWN COMPROMISE.
“ Yes, he's a whole-hog man, is Tom. Must have the whole animal, hair and teeth, claws and tail,” laughed East. “ Sooner have no bread any day, than half the loaf.”
“I don't know,” said Arthur, “it's rather puzzling; ✓ but ain't most right things got by proper compromises, I mean where the principle isn't given up?"
“ That's just the point,” said Tom; “I don't object to a compromise, where you don't give up your principle."
“Not you,” said East laughingly. “ I know him of old, Arthur, and you'll find him out some day. There isn't such a reasonable fellow in the world, to hear him talk. He never wants any thing but what's right and fair ; only when you come to settle what's right and fair, it's every thing that he wants, and nothing that you want. And that's his idea of a compromise. Give me the Brown compromise when I'm on his side." :
“ Now, Harry," said Tom, “no more chaff— I'm serious. Look here--this is what makes my blood tingle ;” and he turned over the pages of his Bible and read, “ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” He read the last verse twice,