Press enter after choosing selection

Led Out Of Danger

Led Out Of Danger image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Who is tliis F A oarelets little mülshipman, idling abont in a gTeat city, witu his pockets full ot' money. He was waiting tbr the coach ; it bOnHM Op pfMently and he gets on the top ot' it, and begin U look about him. They soon k'avu the chininoy tops behind tliem ; his oye WB&dnra with delight over the harvest fiolds, lio amella the honevsucklc in the hadgsrow, and he wishes lic was down axaong the hazel bushus, that he might strip tiiera of tho milky nuts ; then lic sces a great wain p'lcd up witli barley, and ho wishes he Wui on ttie top of it; thun the cheokered shadowa of the trees lying aoroes the white rond, and then the squirrel luns up a bough, and he caiinot forbcar to whoop and hallo, though he ciiiinot abase it to ita nest. The other passengen were dolighted with his simplicity and ehildlike glee ; and thuy enoouraged hiiu to tulk aboul the sea and the ships, cspecially Her M.ijesty's - whercin he had tho honor to Sail in the jargons of the seras, hi' describes the ninny perfeotionp, andenlarges upon lier peculiar :id vintages, he then confides to them how a certain middy, having been ordoreil to the niasthend asa punishment, IimiI geen, while sittingon the top-iuastcinss-tree.sometliingnneomiiioiily like the seu serpent, Imt findmg tliis hint reccived with meicilulims siniles, he begins to teil them how he hopea that, 8ome day, he shall be promoted to have charge of tl! poop. Tu.: passengen hope that lie will have that honor; tliev have no doubt that he deserves it. Ji is eheeks rlush with pleasure to hear them sav so. and thoy have no notion in what ' that honor" may happen to oonsiflt. The coacli stops ; the inidslripman, with his hands in his pookets, sits rattling his money and singing. Thore is a pooi wotaan standing by the door of the village inn ; she lookscarcworn.and well she may, for in the spring her husband went up to London to seek for vork. He goes for work, and she was expeoting soon to join him there, when, alas I a fellow workiuan wrote her word how he had mot with au accident, how he was vefy bad and wantcd his wife to come and nurse him. She does not think of begging, bid seeing the boy's eyes attraoted to her, she makes a eourtesy, and he withdrew his hand and throws her a dozen sovereigns. ïko looks at it with incrodulous joy, and then she looks at him. " It's all right," he says, and then the coach starts up again, while f uil of gratitude, she hires a oart to take her aeross tin country to the jailway, and the next night she may sit by the " bedside of her sick husbanrl. . The midshipman knows nothing about that - and he never will. The passen gers go on tulking - the little midahipman lias told them who he is, and where he is going. ' JJut there is one wlio has nevor juhied in the con versa tion ; he is a dark looking and restless man, hesits apart, he sees the glitter of the faïling cjiii. and now he watches the boy more closely than he did before. Hü is a strong man, resolute and dotermined ; the boy with his pockets full of money will be no mateli tor hiin. He has told the others that his father's house is the paisoinige at Y , the coach goes within tivc 7uiles ot' it, and he means to get out at the nearest point, and walk, or rather run over to his home, through the great wood. The man decides to get down, too, and go through the woods ; he will rob the little midshipman ; perhaps, if he cries out and struggles, he will do worse. The boy, he thinks, will have no chances against him ; it is quite impossible that he can escape ; the way is lonely, and the sun will be down. No. There seemed indeed little chances of escape The halt'-fledged bird just tluttering down from his nest had no more chance against the the keon-eyed hawk, than the little light-hearted sailor boy will have against him. And now they rcach the village where the boy is to alight. He wishes the passengers good evening and runs lightly down between the senttcred houses. The man has also got down and is following. The path lies through the village church yard ; there is evening servicO) and the door is wido open for it's warm. The little midshipman steals up to the porch, looks m and hstens. The clergyman has just risen trom his knoos in the pulpit, and is giving out the text. Thirteen months have passed sinco tlie boy was in a house of prayer ; and a feeling of ploasure induoed him to stand and listen. He hears the opening gentences of the sermón ; and theu he reinembers his home and comes softly out of the porch, full of calm and serious pleasure. The clergyman has reminded him of his father, and his careless heart is filled with the echoes of his voice and of his prayers. He thinks on what the clergyman said of the care of our Heavenly Father for us ; ho remembers how, when he left home, his father prayed thathe might be preserved through every danger ; he does not remember any danger that he has been exposed to, excepting in the great storm, but he is grateful he is come home in safety and he íiopes whenever he shall be in danger, which he supposes he shall bo some duy, he hopes that then the providence of God will watch over him and protect him. And he presses onward to the entrance of the wood. " Are not two sparrows," he hears, "sold for a farthing f and not one shall fall to the ground without your Father's notiee. But the hairs of your head are allnumbered. Fear not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." The man is there bofore him. He has pushed ihto the thicket, and cut a heavy stako ; he suffers the boy to go on before ; and then he comes out falls into the path and follows himu It ís too light at present for his deed of darkness and too near the entranco of the wood, but he knows that shortly the path will bninch off into two, and the right one for the boy to take will be dark and lonely. Bat wliat prompte ent little nudahip111:111, when not fifty rodsfrom tina branoning of the path, to break into a sudden run ? It is not fear- he never dreamg of danger. - tëome sudden impulse, or soma wild wish for home makes him dash off suddenly from his saunter, with a whoop and a bound. On he goes as if running a race ; the path bends and the man loses sight of him. " But I shall catch him yct," he thinks ; he cannot keep up the pace long. The boy has nearly reached the place wlu ie the path divides, when he puts up a white owl, that can pcarcoly fly, and it goos whirling on, close to the ground before lim. He gains upon it ; another moment and it will be his. Now hc pets the stavt again ; they come to the branching of the paths, and the bird goes down the wrong one. The tomptation to follow it is too strong to be resisted ; he knows that somewhere deep in the wood, their is a cross track by which he can get into the track ho hus left ; it is only to run a little faster and he shall be home nearly as soon. On he rushes ; the path takes a bend and he is just out of sight and his pursuci comes where tho the paths divide. The boy has turned to tbe right - he takes the left aud the fustcr they both run tho farthcr thcy are asunder. The white owl still leads him on ; the p'ith ge g darkor aud narrower ; at last ud tinds taai in-, iüis missed it altogether, and hit bet ure on the soft ground. BCe flounden about among tho tree nu! Btulnpa vexcd with himsulf, aud panting after his raco. At !a;t he hits pon auother track, and pushts on as tast as Ik; can'. The ground begins sensibly to daaoond ; he haa Los) his -way - but Jie keeps hearing to the left ; and though it is now dark, he thinks he luust reach the niain path sooner or latir. He does not know thispirt of the wood. but runs on. Oh, little midshipmaii ! why did you ohase that owl : if you liad kept the path of the dark man behind you, thero was a chance that you miglit outrun him ; or if he. had overtaken you (pme passing w iyfarer might have hemd your cries, and come to save you. Now you are running straight on to your deal I , för the forest water is deep and black at the bottom of this hill. O that the moon might eome out and show it to you ! The moon is under a thick Ottnopy of heavy black clouds, and thereis nota star to glitter on the water and make it visible. The fern is soft onder his feet as he runs and slips down the sloping hill. At lust hc strikes agahist a stone, sturnhles and f:ills. Two minutes more and he will fall into the black wator. " Heydey P " cries the boy, " what's this V Oh, how it tears my hands ' Oh, this is a thom-bush ! Oh, niy anus ' 1 can't get free ! " líe struggles and pants. "All this comes of leaving the path," he says ; " I shouldn't have cared tbr rolling down if it hailn't been tor this bush. T ie tent was soft enough. I'll never stay away in a woods at night again. There, freo at last ! And my jacket nearly torn off mv back." With a good deal of patience and a great many scratche, he got freo of the thorn that had arrested his progress whéll his feet were within a yard of the water, manage to scramble up the bank, and makes the best of his way through the dark, dreary wood. And now, as the clouds move slowly onward, the moon shows her face on the black surfitee of the water, and the little white owl comes and hoots and tiuttars over it like a wandering snow drift. But the boy is in tin; wood again, and knows nothing of the danger trom which he has escapea. All this time the dark passenger follows the inain track, aud believes that the boy is before him. At last he hears a crashing of dead bows, and presen'tly the little ïuiiLshipman's voiee, now twenty yards before him. Yes, it is true ; the boy is in the cross faraok. He will }niss the cottage in the wood directly, and after that his punuei will come apon him. The boy bounds into the path, but as h" s. vs the cottage, he is thirsty and 80 hot, that he must ask the inhabitants if they can sell him a glass of ale. He enters without ceremony. " Ale ? " says the woodruan, who is sitting at his supper. " No, we have no ale ; kmt perIiíijis my wife can give thee a drink of in m k. Come in." Ho he comes in and shus the door, and ■ lililí! U io II lflia - lTn nill. - - ■ ' 1 1, pass. Xhey are tho footsteps of the pursuer, who goes on with his stake in his hand, angry and impatient that he has not vet come ui) with him. The woman goes to the dairy fov the milk, and the boy thinks that she is gone a long time. - He drinks it, thanks her, and then takes his leave. Faster and taster the man runs after him. It is very dark, but thci e is a yellow streak in tüe sky, where the moon is ploughing up a furrowed mass of grey clouds and oae or two stars are blinking through the trees. Fast the boy follows, and fast tho man runs on, with his weapon in his hand.- Suddenly he hears the joyous vh op - not bt'fore, but behind him. He stops and listens noiselessly. Yes, it is so. He pushes hiiu8elf into the thicket and raises his stake, when the boy shall pass. On he comes running lightly, with his hands in his pockets. A sound strikes at the same instant on the ears of both ; and the boy turns back froin the very jaws of death to listen. It 13 the sound of whoels, and it draws rapidly neaier. A man cornos up, dnving a gig. - i "Hilloa!" he says, in a loud, cheorful voice. " AVhat, benighted, youngster ? " "Oh, is it you, Mr. D P" says the boy ; " No) I'in not benighted ; or, at any rate, I know uiy wí,y out of the woods." The man draw back i'arther umong tho shrubs. " Whj') bless the boy," says the farmer, " to think of our meeting in this way ! The parson told me he was in ltopes of seeing thee some day this weck. I'll give theo a lift. - This is a lono place to be in this time of night." " Lone 'i " says the boy laughiilgi " I dou't mind that ; and, if you know the way, it's as safe as the quarter decki'1 So he gets into the farmer's gig, and is once more out of rerch of the pursuer. But the nian knowg that the farmer's house is a quarter of a mile nearor than the parsonage, and in that quarter of a mile there is still a chance of conimitting robberyi- He determined still to make the attempt, and cuts across the wood with such rapid strides that he roaches the farmer's gate just as the gig drives up to it. " Well, thank you, farmer' says the midshipman, as he prepares to get down from the wagon. " I wish you good night, gentlemen," says the man as he passes." " Good night, friond," the farmer replies. " I say, my boy, it's a dark night onough ; I have mind to drive you on to the parsonage and hear the rest of that long tale of yours about the sea-serpaut." The little wheels go on again. They pass tho man, and he stands still in the road to listen till the sound dies away. He flings his stake into the hodge, and goes back again. His ovil pui-poses have all been frustrated- the thoughtless boy has baffled him ttt every step. And now tho littlo midshipmah is at homei The joyful meeting has taken plaooi and when thty have admired his groAVth, and decíded whom he is like, and measured his height on the window frame, and seen him eat his supper, they begin to question him about his adventures, more for the pleasuro of hearing him talk thmi from any curiosit y. " Advmituns ! " says the boy, seated betweeo liis l'iitlicr and mother on the sof. " Why, ma, I did write yon an account of the voyage, and there is nothing elso to teil. Nothing happened to-day - at least nothing partiotilar." " You oame by the coach we told you of?" asks his father. " O, yes, papa ; and when ■wa got about twenty miles, there carne up a bogerar whilo wo were changing horsps, and I threw down (as I thought) a shilling ; but as it feil, I saw that it Was a sovoreign. - Shc ■was vory honcst and showed rae what it was, but 1 didn't tako it back, for you know, mamma, it is a long time since ] have given anything to anybody. " Vcry trun, iny boy," his mother answered, " but you should not be tíarcless with your money, and few beggars are worthy objects of charity." " I suppose you got. down at the cross roadsV" says the eider brothor. , " Yes, and went through the -woodgi I should huve boen home sooncr it' I had not lost iny way thero." "Lob't your way!" pays his mothor alarmod; "my boy you should not havo left the path at dusk." "Oh, nri,'1 suys the little midshipman, with a smilc, "you're always thinking we aro in dangen I ' you could see me soinot;'ri-s stting at tae jib-boom end, or aeróse the umin top-mast-uross-tree, you would be frightened. But what danger oan therc be in a wood 't " " Well, my boy," she answers, "T don 't wish to bfl ovcr-unxious. iirul innke my childrei nnoo 'fortable by my fears. What did yin; stray fr 111 the path'for'r'" "Only ui cu-ha ltt'oowl, mamma: but I didn't entch her, after all. I got a roll down trom a bank and oaught my jacket on a thom bnsh, which was rather unlucky. Ah! Three largo holes I see is my sloeve. And so I sorambled up again and gotjnto the path, and aaked ut the cottage for some beer. What a long time the woman kc]t me to be sure. I thought it would never come But very soon after Mr. D drove up in his gig ; and he brought me on to the gato." " And so, this account of your adventures beiug brought to a close," his father says, ' we discover that there was 110 adventures to teil." " No, papa, nothing happened, notliing particulnr, I mean. ' Nothing particular. If they could have known, they would have thought lightly in comparison of the dangers of the jibboom's end tbc muin-top-mast crowtrees But they did not know, any more than we do, of the dangerB which hourly beset us. Some few dangers we are aware of, and we do what we can to próvido against them ; but for the greater portion our eyes behold we cannot see. We walk si-curely under hi guidanee, without wlioin "not a spariow falleth to the ground ;" and when w-r have had escapes that the angels have admired at, we come and say, perhaps, that nothing has happoned - at least notliing particular. It is not well that our minds should be much exercised about these hidden dangers since they are so, and so great that no human art or foresight can prevent them. Btn it is vci y well that we should reflect constan tl y on the loving Providonce which watnhee erery footstep of a track always balanoing on time and eternity ; and that such reilcotions should mako us happy and afraid - afraid of trusting our souls too much to any carthly guide or security - happy from the knowledge that there is One with whom we may trust them wholly, and with v.hom the very hairs of our heads are all numbered. Without such trust how oan we rest or be at peace ; but with it we may say with the Psalmist, " I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep, for thou, Lord, only makest me dweil in safety !"


Old News
Michigan Argus