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interest to him. He at once concluded that it was you who sent them; but, until he got your letter, we had no idea how they had
We very much regret that your father did not give us the opportunity to thank him personally for his kindness. We can only forgive his not calling on the supposition that his professional engagements did not leave him sufficient leisure.
Will you please tell him that we are very desirous to make his acquaintance, and that we hope he will never omit calling on us when he is in town? Again thanking you for Ernie's present, I am, yours respectfully,
Letter No. 63.
Waterside House, Worcester,
November 11th, 187, MY OWN DEAR MOTHER, —
From a letter I got from father, I suppose you have been just a bit frightened lest I might have been hurt on the 5th of November. We had a jolly bonfire and lots of fireworks, and yet not one of us got hurt. I was very sorry to hear of the accident to Edgar Foster, though I wonder he wasn't hurt worse, and a lot more fellows besides.
Please tell father I have had such a nice letter from Mr. Instone. He seems put about that father did not call to see them, and he tells me to beg of him not to forget to do so when he goes to London again. I hope father will go there, for they are pleasant people, and, besides, I want them to see what a clever man he is. I should like you to see them too, mother; I am sure you would like Mrs. Instone.
I have also had a letter from Ernie himself. He is very pleased with the rabbits. He says they make themselves quite at home already.
Please give my love to father and Clara and Helen, and to Bob. Ted also wishes to be remembered to you all. With a lot of love to yourself, I am, your own son,
Letter No. 64.
November 15th, 187—. DEAR TOM,
Many thanks for your long letter. It was sad to hear of the accident on bonfire day, though it did seem to serve the blacksmith's lad right; for if he hadn't interfered, the barrel might not have been loaded so full. I should think they won't let you have a bonfire next year. Father seems to be set against it, and I'm afraid the rector and the schoolmaster will be.
We had no accident at all. But then Dr. Tasker was very strict and would not let us do as we liked.
We had a half-holiday of course. Well, it was as good as a whole holiday, for instead of regular lessons, the doctor bad us all in the schoolroom, and gave us an hour's lecture on Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. It was grand. When he tells us history it is just like seeing the events he talks about. Well, after that Mr. Macpherson gave us a short lecture about gunpowder. He told us how it was made, and how fireworks were manufactured, and told us what dangerous things they were.
Then Dr. Tasker told us on what conditions we were to keep up the memory of Gunpowder Plot. He said he liked it when he was a lad, and he did not wish to keep us from enjoying it. We should have a bonfire in the playground, and he had bought a small load of coals for our special use. But he would not have a single pistol of any kind fired off.
He said nine out of every ten of the accidents on bonfire day were caused by pistol firing ; there was nothing pleasant in seeing them fired, and the incessant reports of such explosions were a public nuisance. He thought sky-rockets, princes' feathers, and Catherine wheels were very beautiful, and we might have as many of those as we liked. But as even these were not without some danger, not a single one was to be fired except under the direction of Mr. Macpherson, who understood such things.
Well, we did not at first like being tied down to fireworks; but I think we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves after all, and now that we know what happened at Woodbourne, both Ted and I think the Doctor was very wise to be so strict.
Before it got dark enough for the fireworks, Mr. Macpherson set about making an effigy of Guy Fawkes. · We found an old coat, a pair of trousers, and a hat, and stuffed them with straw like the farmers do the bird-seares. Then we tied a lantern to one sleeve, . and a match-box to the other, stuck a pipe in his mouth, and tied å paper round his hat with the inscription"A real guy."
When it got darker we fixed the rockets and squibs in Guy's hat to fire them, and at last we put him bodily on the fire, and he perished amid a blaze of fireworks. Besides the rockets and wheels, we had half-a-dozen small fire-balloons which Mr. Macpherson made. He is clever.
When all the fireworks were gone, and we thought all the fun was over, the Doctor sent us out a peck of nice big potatoes and a bag of beautiful apples. These we roasted nicely in the spaces underneath the bonfire, and we had a glorious supper of two courses,
I tell you. The best of it is that if anyone did get burned at all, it must have been the roasted apples that did it, and not the gunpowder.
Give my kind regards to Thornton when you see him, and to all inquiring friends. Ted also sends regards. Yours truly,
TOM FOSTER, THE ORPHAN.
BY CHARLES LEACH.
CHAPTER XVIII.-A CHANGE.
We need only say that he sank into the lowest depths
We proceed to narrate an event which changed the whole course of his life, and led him back to the paths
of virtue. One Sunday evening as he passed along the street hardly knowing or caring where he went, he had the good fortune to pass a place of worship. The service was just commencing. As he passed the front there came through the open door a wave of sound which arrested his attention. He listened. It was an old familiar tune, one that his mother used to sing to him when a lad. He almost thought be could hear her voice among the worshippers. All the thoughts which passed in his mind in those few minutes it is impossible to tell. The singing ended. As the last strains passed he appeared a little disappointed. He would have beard more, but all was quiet. The minister was engaged in prayer. He was about to turn away, when a hand was placed upon his shoulder, and a voice said, in very kind tones :
• Good evening, sir! Shall I find you a place in our chapel to-night?"
The speaker was a woman past middle age, with a voice full of kindness, and eyes running over with love. Her gentle touch and soft words bad rather startled Foster, coming as they did so unexpectedly. He looked right in her face, and for a moment thought he knew it, but could not be sure. Touching his old hat rather politely, he thanked her, and, declining her offer, was about to pass away
“ But,” said she, “I am sure you will like it. The chapel is nice and warm. I will find you a book, and you can sit with me just inside the door. Do come! ” continued she, gently taking of his arm and moving towards the chapel door. He offered no resistance, and was soon at the entrance gate. Here, however, he looked at his old clothing and worn-out shoes, and was about to offer an objection, when the door opened to allow late comers to enter. A few minutes later he was comfortably seated in a pew with a hymn-book in bis band. Once or twice he looked round at the chapel. It was small, but neat. There was a good congregation, and all seemed to
be happy. When the chant was finished the preacher announced the 15th chapter of St. Luke as his lesson.
The lady passed bim a Bible opened at the lesson, but he could not look at it. His eyes were fixed upon the preacher. He was sure he knew that face. He leaned forward as if to get a nearer view of him. The preacher read his lesson well. Foster was interested. When he heard the three parables read he could not help feeling very strange ; the last of the three especially took hold upon him.
When the lesson ended, with tears in his tears, he leaned across to the lady, and said, “What is the minister's, name, please ? " Strong," replied she. “Mr. George Strong ? " asked Foster.
" Yes." Then it was as he had thought. The preacher was his old friend George Strung, the country lad wbom Foster had taught to pray many years before. Placing himself in the corner of the pew, he hid his face in his hands and wept such tears as none can describe, and pone understand but those who have wept the bitterest tears of repentance.
Like a moving panorama all the events of his life passed before him. He saw what he might have been, he saw what he was. He remembered how he had broken the solemn promises which he had made his poor mother years ago. He saw, too, how he had wandered into sin, slighted the mercy of a loving God, and brought disgrace and misery upon himself. In that pew he dránk a bitter cup ; but God, who is ever merciful, threw into it the sweets of His love. As he sat in that corner, hearing very little of what the preacher said, God converted his soul, and enabled him to resolve that the future of his life should be spent in efforts to redeem the past.
In the prayer meeting which followed the sermon, penitents were invited to kneel round the communion that good men might instruct them in the way of salvation. Without a moment's hesitation Foster went and knelt before George Strong, who recognised him, though so many years had passed since they last met.
CHAPTER XIX.-CONCLUSION. When the prayer meeting ended, George Strong took Foster to his home. Each explained to the other as briefly as possible the chief events of his life. Strong and his mother were both led to be religious as the result of Foster's visit to them. George had learnt book-keeping and took a situation in Liverpool. He and his mother, whom he now supported, had come to live in Liverpool. He had become a useful and acceptable local preacher. When poor
Foster told his sad tale all three wept. He gave it about as we have given it, and finished by saying that he deserved it all and more, but would not have cared so much had not Mr. Trueman sent him away as a thief.
"Mr. Trueman!” said George, in astonishment;“why, that is the very man for whom I work. Cheer up, man, all will yet be well.”
The next day George sought an opportunity to speak to Mr.
Trueman in his private office. As well as he could he pleaded for Foster when he had stated the case. Mr. Trueman, however, needed very little pressing. It came out that for some time he had been making inquiries for Foster. When Barker and Foster were dismissed it occurred to the master that he ought to have investigated the settled note affair before turning them away. He did so after, and as the result of his inquiries found that the money had been puid to Barker by the boy as above detailed., Carefully comparing the writing with other writing of Foster's, he found that, whilst it was a good imitation, it was not Foster's. The rest he guessed, and was anxious to find Foster.
A day or two later, Foster, dressed in a suit of clothes purchased for him by George Strong, presented himself, at the request of Mr. Trueman, at the old firm. The master was much moved when he saw and heard Foster's account. "All this,” said he, " is the result of bad company.” He then re-engaged Foster, who after a few weeks spent at the house of his old friend Mr. Wood, where he was surrounded by the kindly influences of a Christian family, went back to his situation a changed man.
George Strong was his constant companion and looked after him with all the love of a brother. They lived together, slept together, and worshipped together.
Foster suon regained his master's confidence, and never more gave him reason to suspect his honesty. He joined the religious society of which George was a member, and ultimately became a local preacher.
It remains only for us to add that he made for himself a comfortable home, took to it a wife, and with her and his children lives in the bonds of peace and Christian affection. He is now a respectable and useful man, but has not forgotten the struggles of Tom Foster, the Orphan.
FOOTPRINTS OF GOD IN NATURE.
By GEORGE PACKER,
important. They are regarded with strong general as
The milk and butter and cheese which the cow supplies enter into our everyday diet, and are_indispensable to our comfort and health. The si roast beef of Old England” has been surrounded with quite a halo of sentiment by the song-writers, and is indeed a most venerable and important institution. In Northern countries