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many pleasant acquaintances. He counted them upon his fingers : the pilot, Mrs. Roseberry, Mr. Chaffin, Dr. Piercey, Mr. Grantly. He would have to begin upon the other hand before night, most likely.
Who read a chapter when they rise
George Herbert. An honest mind, and plain: he must speak truth.—Shakespeare. ом
Abbotscliff were fully realised. The cakes might have had something to do with it, but he found many of the boys disposed to be friendly, especially when Chaffin was not at hand; and some of them he felt sure were above mercenary considerations. In the evening, when his companions had to prepare their work for the next day, Mr. Grantly took the new boy, who had as yet no fixed place in the school, and therefore no lessons to get ready, again into his study, and gave him an amusing book to read, talking to him occasionally without reserve, and encouraging him to make a friend of him, and to come to him for advice or assistance whenever he might require it. He gave him some useful hints about the rules and customs of the school, and the boy listened to him with grateful attention, and again congratulated himself upon the good fortune, or rather good Providence, which had directed his steps to such a school. He was reserved, however, and did not speak much about his adventures of the previous day. It had been hinted, both by the pilot and afterwards by Mrs. Roseberry, that it was hard lines for him at his age, being sent ashore in
that way without any one to look after him, and he was secretly afraid that Mr. Grantly might entertain a similar opinion: that would have been unjust towards his parents, so he thought he had better keep his own counsel. Mr. Grantly was attracted by the boy's manner and character, frank yet not talkative, cheerful but serious, quiet and intelligent and yet simple-minded, almost childish in some of his ideas.
“There is one thing I shall ask you to do, Howard,” Mr. Grantly said; "all my boys do it, I believe: read a psalm or a few verses of the Bible every night before you go to bed, and after that no more talking."
"Oh, yes, sir, I always do that," he answered ; "except when I'm very sleepy."
“I don't like exceptions,” Mr. Grantly replied. “They are apt to increase and to become frequent, until they form the rule. Only a few verses, you know, giving your mind to them as much as you can.
You will not find it difficult.” Tom promised Mr. Grantly that he would do as he required; he had already promised his mother the same thing, and meant to adhere to it strictly. She had drawn up a kind of almanac of short daily readings for him, keeping a duplicate for herself; and they had agreed together to read the same portion each day. They would have liked to be able to feel that they were both reading the same words and thinking the same thoughts at one and the same moment; but there were difficulties arising from the difference of longitude which would render that almost impracticable. They intended, however, to approach it as nearly as circumstances would permit; and although Tom had confessed, in his strict honesty, to past exceptions, he did not mean to admit of any in future.
“Of course you say your prayers every night?” Mír. Grantly said.
“Of course I do," said Tom.
“Sleepy or not sleepy ?” “Yes, sir."
"Some boys think more about religion than others,” Mr. Grantly remarked. “You will find it so among your companions. I hope they all have some serious thoughts and impressions; but there's a difference. You have been well taught, no doubt.”
"Yes, sir; I have, indeed," Tom answered, his eyes getting moist, as he thought of his mother's early lessons.
“I thought so. Well, you know, Tom—that's your name, isn't it?—the great thing in religion, as well as in most other matters, is to be sincere and steadfast, not to get excited now and then and talk a great deal about your feelings, but to have it in your heart, as a guiding principle in all that you do. Religion should be like the mainspring of a watch, you know, which keeps all the wheels going, though nobody sees it. 'In season and out of season:' it comes to the front, and is shown plainly when occasior. calls for it—that is in season; and it's the regulating principle at all times, though unseen-that's out of season.”
Tom made no reply. He was afraid he had not so much religion as he ought to have, notwithstanding his mother's excellent lessons.
“You will find,” Mr. Grantly went on, " that some of the boys make more profession than others. I am speaking chiefly of the elder boys, but the younger ones follow their example, and are a good deal under their influence. Don't be carried away by first impulses; don't take up with any special friend or party to the exclusion of others; stand to your own principles, and give others credit for being sometimes better than they seem. See how the 'watch'goes, Tom, and if it keeps good time there cannot be much amiss with the mainspring. And as for your self, be guided by circumstances. If occasion arises for you to speak of religion, do so, firmly and boldly. You need not parade it unnecessarily; but never be ashamed of it.”
Tom looked at Mr. Grantly open-eyed and open-mouthed.
“Ashamed of religion ?” he said, simply, and with unconcealed astonishment. "Why should I?”
Mr. Grantly was struck with the emphatic yet perfectly natural manner of the boy's question—“Why should I ?" He began to feel for his own part embarrassed, if not ashamed, at having given him such advice. The reproach came home to himself also in a way that could not have been anticipated; for he was conscious of having on more than one occasion avoided speaking of religion to the elder boys when he ought to have done so; he had failed to rebuke a light word, or affected not to hear an irreverent jest, because he did not like to have it said that he was “preaching.” Which of us has not been guilty of similar acts of unfaithfulness? Ashamed! Yes, he had been
, ashamed of his Master and of His word, and this young boy's simple, unconsidered reply, was a sharper reproof to him than any well-argued sermon could have been. He felt that it would do him good, and that he had gained something in return for the counsel he had offered. “He that watereth shall be watered also himself."
“No, Tom,” he said; "why should you, indeed? Why should any of us be ashamed of saying or doing what is right ?” He did not attempt to give him any further counsel or instruction that night, but occupied himself with his own thoughts till
There was a good supper for the boys, for it was an axiom with the management that "growing boys” require more nourishment than men; and it was better for them to have good wholesome food than to eke out a scanty diet with tarts, and sausages, and pork pies, and such other dainties as boys are apt to purchase at a pastrycook's Their parents paid for board; and board, good and sufficient, ought in common honesty to be provided; that was admitted and acted upon with liberality. After supper there was an interval for amusement; then the bell rang for prayers, and immediately afterwards the junior school were dismissed to bed.
The dormitories were so arranged that every boy had a separate compartment, or “cubicle," as it was called. When Tom Howard was shown to his, he could almost have fancied that he was again on board the ship which had brought him home from India, it so nearly resembled the little cabin which he had occupied on that voyage. If there had been a port-hole instead of a window it would have been still more like, and still more delightful. There was a long corridor, with a fireplace at the end, and on either side of it a series of small compartments divided one from another by fixed screens, or bulkheads, as Tom called them, of woodwork; they were open at the top, but afforded complete privacy to the occupant. Each cubicle contained, in addition to the bed, a washstand and all else that was requisite for cleanliness and comfort. The walls of most of them were adorned with pictures, according to the fancy of the occupants. Tom found that he could read his psalm or chapter, and kneel down by his bedside to say his prayers, without fear of interruption. That was a privilege which, from all that he had heard of schools in former times, he had not expected. Although still yearning in his heart for the dear faces which he missed, and for the loving kiss which his mother scarcely ever failed to bring him after he was in bed, he no longer felt depressed or lonely. School was a much better place than he had expected to find it, and he hoped he should get used to it and like it.