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· Three of them, sir: and the other is also under my care.'
* Mr. Stratton,' said Mr. Z. “bas requested me to provide work for them: I believe I can do it. Here, Abel, write a note to M., and mind this.' He pointed out a passage in the letter, at which the clerk gave a knowing smile, and proceeded to pen a few lines, which he folded and sealed.
While this was being done, the widow respectfully informed Mr. Z. that high wages was not so much their object, as work proportioned to their strength, and sufficient intervals for instruction and proper relaxation : but he interrupted her, without taking his eyes from the newspaper which he was reading, “ All that, my good woman, you must settle with my agent: I have nothing farther to do in the matter.' And he returned to his apartment.
The agent was in another building, and busily employed in making out a number of returns. As he snatched the note which she tendered, the widow thought she had never seen a less prepossessing countenance; but she retracted her basty judgment, when, on glancing his eye over its contents, Mr. M. closed the large volume before him, and leaving his arms upon it, bent forward with a complacent smile, inviting her to be seated on a neighbouring chair, while the young people were directed to occupy a bench near the wall.
* So, Mrs. Green, it appears you have the good luck to come well recommended to our principal, Mr. Z.'
Yes, sir, and he referred me to you.' • A nice party of young hands ; let's see, what are their ages ? but no, we'll say nothing of that just yet.
Of course, you will make a long agreement, having such an advantage at entering.'
No, sir; I wish to make the agreement for a short time, on trial.'
* Trial! Pho—be advised by me; don't drive away good fortune when it comes to your door. Enter them for a couple of years at least.
“Oh, no,' exclaimed the widow, who was firmly resolved to do nothing rashly, 'I must at present only engage them by the week; but if all turns out as I hope, we can then agree for a longer period.'
• You are quite wrong: however, waiving that point, till we see to others-let me tell you the scale of wages. With the ages you and I have nothing to do—the doctor settles that, and these children are so well-grown that he is not likely to under-rate them. In fact some people are so naughty as to mislead the doctor, by letting him think the youngsters are as old as they look, not what the parish registers make them: and as we can't get at the registers, they have it all their own way, you know.'
'I should be sorry to act such a part, sir.'
“Of course, of course : they are, as I said, naughty people ; but they reconcile it to their consciences by arguing that it is the actual strength, not the actual age of a person which fits him for labour; and that if a child at eleven years old has the substance and muscle of thirteen, it is perfectly fair to rate bim accordingly, and to let him earn the wages of thirteen, which are far better. So you see the people know how to beguile us.'
• And if they did not,' thought the widow, you are ready enough to teach them the way of deceiving.' She then asked where she should find the doctor.
* I should not wonder if he dropped in about this time,' replied her new friend. “We'may wait a few minutes. Meanwhile I'll tell you something of the work.' He did so; and a very favourable account it was, particularly the circumstance of a new provision that the children should attend school daily during the week. To all her purposed stipulations he returned so ready and smiling an assent, with regard to the freedom and comfort of her children, that in a mind less willing to judge of others by its own artless honesty some suspicion would have been suggested. The good widow, however, attributed it all to the kind word of Mr. Stratton, considering his letter a sufficient ground for the unusual attention paid to her wishes.
And so it was : for Mr. Stratton had made over this helpless but active and industrious family to those who were, in return, so effectually to lime them, as to preclude the possibility of their becoming burdens on the parish of L., and had, at the same time, instructed his friends by a few pithy hints how to bait the trap that was to enclose the victims within its iron fence.
A STRANGE OMISSION.
In all our compilations of hymns adapted for public or social worship, numerous and various as they are, we meet with selections from that eminent devotional poet, Dr. Watts ; who, taken altogether, must be admitted to stand foremost on our list of national Psalmodists. How familiar to the ear, how accordant with the secret breatbings of every Christian's spirit, is his beautiful version of the millennial psalm.
“Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
What bosom has not throbbed in unison with the pealing notes that waft abroad Watts' sublime wording of the universal hymn of praise
“Before Jehovah's awful throne
Or who, in the hour of affliction, when sorrowing, not indeed as others who have no hope, yet deeply sorrowing still over the endeared memory of some beloved one who sleeps in Jesus, has not acknowledged the soothing power of that lovely strain,
“There is a land of pure delight,
Critics and poetasters may say what they will, the church gives practical evidence that Watts was a Christian melodist for all seasons.
Now, how comes it to pass that nearly all our compilers have overlooked or rejected one of the noblest and truest of this great master's harmonious paraphrases of scripture, and one so peculiarly, so pointedly given by our comforting Lord to his protesting church, when entering the precincts of a furnace that has never ceased to burn for her, although for a little space she has been withdrawn from its immediate operation ? Let the walls of our temples, and of our dwellings, once more take up the too long forgotten strain ; for surely the hour approaches when we shall need it to support us under the passing, and happily the closing tribulation.
The two first stanzas are by Dr. Watts; the third is added by another person:
REV. XVIII. 21.
(TUNE-Martin Luther's Old Hundredth.')
. In Gabriel's hand a mighty stone
* The coming hour we long to see