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“ Jast after my dinner I got my grist and started for home. When I arrived at Albright's gate, where I turned off to go home, I found the old squire waiting for me. I saw in a moment that something had gone wrong. I had always stood in the greatest awe of the old gentleman, because he was the rich man of the neighbourhood, and now I felt my heart beginning to beat very fast. As soon as I came near he said :

“ Did you go through this gate yesterday ?”

“I could easily have denied it, but Charley Allen, kneeling in the barn, came to my mind like a flash, and before I had time to listen to the tempter, I said, “Yes, sir, I did.'


“This question staggered me. I remembered distinctly that I did not. I could pull the pin out without getting off my horse, but I could not put it in again, so I carelessly rode away and left it open.

"Out with it; tell just what you did.'
“• I left it open,' I said abruptly.

“Well, you let the cattle in, and they have destroyed all my early potatoes—a terrible piece of business.' "I'm very sorry,

I'd"Talking won't help matters now; but remember, boy, remember that sorrow don't make potatoes.'

“I felt very badly about the matter at first, but was comforted when I found that father knew nothing about it. Alas! for human hopes. One rainy afternoon I saw the squire riding down the lane. I ran off to the barn, ashamed to face him, and afraid to meet my father.

“ They sat in the porch and talked for a long time. curiosity overcame my fear, and I stole back to the house, and went into mother's room to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

“Why, the boy could be spared well enough, but he doesn't know anything about the business,' said my father.

“There is one thing he does know,' said the squire; he knows how to tell the truth.'

He then related the circumstances which I so much dreaded to have my father hear. After he had gone my father called me to him, and told me that the squire was going to start a grocery in the village, and wanted a boy to help, and that I could go if I wanted to. I went, and remained in the country store, and people say that I got my start in life when I entered Albright's store.”

What would have happened if our hero had shut Squire Albright's gate we cannot tell. It is like asking what would have happened if our first parents had not sinned. No doubt it would have been vastly better for them and for the world. For although God in His great mercy many a time brings good out of evil,-a thing for which we ought to be truly thankful, we must never do evil that good may come. Daty, honestly performed, truth, squarely told, is far away the grandest thing for boy or man to do. Therefore shut the gate against every temptation to do otherwise.


At last my

Githa's Message ; or, God is Lobe.


Author of Glaucia, the Greek Slave," “ Before the Dawn,&c.



URTH had been on a battle-field, and encountered death in its most ghastly forms, but his heart stood still with fright and horror as he leaned over Leofric.

“I must have been mad to do it,” he gasped ; and then he shouted for help, and one or two servants ran out to see what had happened. They looked horrified when they saw poor Leofric; but Gurth had no patience with their fright. “Lift him up, and carry him in, and one of you that is skilful in dressing wounds, bind up his head.”

“Better send to the convent of St. Mary, and ask Father Alred to come. He is a skilful leech, as well as"

“Do as I bid ye,” thundered Gurth; “I will have no help from the church, and no monk shall come here by my will."

“But, my master, he may die," one of the frightened maid-servants ventured to say.

" Let him die, then," said Gurth, sullenly, and trying to appear unmoved; for he was ashamed to let his father's house-carles see how deeply his heart was wrung by what had happened.

Leofric was carried to the little lead-to, where his master slept on a bed in the corner, while

he lay on a mat at the door; but Gurth ordered that he should be laid on the bed now, and when his wound was dressed he sat down beside the bed, and gave way to his unavailing grief. He would not have it known for all that he possessed, but he actually burst into tears as he leaned over and gazed into Leofric's unconscious face.

Something in the unwonted sound seemed to rouse Leofric's dormant senses, and he said faintly, “Have they told thee the earl's message ?”

“The earl's message!” repeated Gurth. There, ther thou art dreaming, I can see, my poor fellow; try to go to sleep again, and we will talk of this by and by.

But instead of "trying to go to sleep,” Leofric struggled to raise himself on his elbow.

“My master, thou must go; every minute is precious. Oh, why could not some of the knaves have told thee why I threw the water over thee? they might have known.”

“Oh, why didst thou play me that sorry joke? I had almost forgotten it again," said Gurth, glancing at his dripping garments.

"It would have been a sorrier joke to let thee sleep on, when earl Harold hath summoned all his lithsmen to follow him to Northumbria,” said Leofric, struggling against his weukness until he could convince his master that this was no idle fancy of his brain.

Gurth was half convinced now, and starting to his feet began to unfasten his tunic at the throat. “Earl Harold hath summoned us to go with him to Northumbria,” repeated Gurth; "was that what the messenger said, Leofric P"

“Yes, yes, and time is precious,” said Leofric faintly.



Gurth threw off his dripping garments, and went in search of his father, who had doubtless received the messenger.

“Well, sluggard, I was preparing to go in thy place,” said the old thane, as his son entered the great hall, where the servants had already begun furbishing his arms in readiness.

"Thou hast news from earl Harold,” said Gurth, with a glance at the gleaming armour.

“Yes, he bath summoned his lithsmen to follow him to the field again." "And Leofric cannot go with me,” said Gurth sadly.

Is he dead?” asked Godrith, with assumed carelessness; for he did not wish to add to his son's grief if the slave had died.

“Nay, nay, I hope he will live to follow me to other wars, though he cannot go now to Northumbria,” said Gurth. “But why did the messenger delay his coming until the meal was over, and our heads were full of strong ale? He might surely have known that men were little fit to think of any business at this hour of the day,” grumbled the young man, who felt vexed with himself, and therefore only too ready to throw the blame on some one else.

The old thane laughed at his son's vexation. "Nay, nay, blame not the messenger, but the ale, Gurth, for this mischance," he said. “Earl Harold will tell thee it is the wine and strong ale that causeth half the mischances too.

But Gurth was in no humour to be told of this just now, and so, after a few words with those who were to go with him, he hurried away to his sister's bower, to bid her farewell, and ask her to send Githa occasionally to see that her brother was properly cared for by the house-carles.

“Why, what aileth Leofric ?” asked Hilda, while Githa turned pale with alarm.

Gurth turned away confused and half-ashamed. “I have struck him down and wounded him, for playing me what I thought was a sorry joke,” he said.

“Oh, th, thou didst drown thy wit in the ale-horn again,” said his sister, in a half-reproachful tone.

“And what if I did !" demanded Gurth angrily. “Am I not an English man? Wouldst thou have me a Norman shaveling ?”

“O Gurth, thou knowest I love all things English, but if, as I have heard, these Normans are temperate in eating and drinking, ruling themselves wisely in this matter, it would be better for thee and for all to follow their example.'

" What! an Englishman learn of a Norman! Fie on thee, Hilda. Hast thou so soon forgotten thy Danish ancestors p”

“I cannot forget them when I see thee and the best and bravest of our house-carles drinking till ye have no more sense than swine.”

So the brother and sister parted in anger-a circumstance that Gurth soon forgot in the bustle and excitement of the march northwards; but to Hilda, in her quiet retirement, it was a source of deep pain, and caused her many sleepless nights; for what if Gurth never returned from this campaign ? and that her brave brother would rush into the thick of the fight she knew quite well.

“If I had but spoken more gently, he would not have left me as he did," sighed Hilda again and again. "If I could but remember Githa's messageGitha's message,” she repeated. “Nay, nay, is it not my message too ? Surely that was what the old monk meant-that all who learned this wondrous, blessed truth, that God is love,' should tell it to another, that the news may travel on and on, like the light of our beacon fires that tells of danger at hand to the next, which instantly springs into life and light, passing the news onward until all the country is aroused. Yes, yes, Githa's message shall be mine too, and I will try to speak in love, and not in anger. Oh, if Gurth may but return from this campaign, I will give my life to sending this message abroad.”

Githa was almost as angry as her mistress when she went to see her brother, and found bim not only suffering from the dangerous wound on his head, but very ill besides. As Gurth was out of the way, and could make no

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further objection to the learned monk being sent for, some of the servants had been to the convent of St. Mary, and fetched this skilled leech to see Leofric; for his condition puzzled them, and the monk himself said he could scarcely understand the wound causing such a distemper of the whole body.

He bade Githa watch her brother closely, and give him nothing but the cooling drink one of the sisters from the convent would bring.

“But he is always asking for ale; he bade one of the house-carles take me away from him, if I could not bring him a horn of strong ale,” said Githa tearfully.

“Ah, he had been drinking this same strong ale when his master struck him," said the monk quickly; and he knew at once what ailed his patient, and how small his chance of recovery was. But he would not tell Githa this just

Let the girl hope for the best as long as she could; but he said, as he left, “No more double ale, mind; but the decoction I will send, and a little water from the spring, and some barley bread, and a few grapes, if he is hungry.”

Githa stared, and thought her brother would be starved on such poor diet, but she promised to obey the monk's directions.

It was no easy task, however, to make Leofric obey her. The fever ran high, and he was very thirsty, but refused to touch the herb-tea sent by the sisters from the convent; but begged and prayed Githa to fetch him a horn of ale, and threw himself into a violent passion when he found she would not go. Then he would try coaxing, pleading, and reproaches, telling her she could not love him as she once did, or she would not treat him so cruelly now he was ill and could not help himself. It was hard for Githa to be told this, when she was doing all she could to relieve her wilful brother; and she said to him rather tearfully, “Leofric, it is because I do love thee that I refuse to give thee thisbecause I know it will do thee harm."

Leofric flung himself over, displacing all the skins that Githa had so neatly arranged on his bed. Don't talk to me about love," he said, “when thou dost refuse to do as I wish.”

"But, Leofric, thou art ill, and I want thee to get well again," said Githa gently.

“Don't I want to get well? Dost think I want to die like a cow in my bed? I must journey to Northumbria, I tell thee, and take the blows that may be falling; an thou wilt give me a draught of good double ale I might begin my journey to-morrow,” he added coaxingly.

But Githa remained firm. 'I can give thee something better than ale," she said; "something that will help thee to get over this distemper, so that thou mayest set out on thy journey without fear or danger to thy health.”

Naught will do this, I tell thee, but a bucket of our good English ale. I would that I could get forth to the kitchen; thou shouldst see then what I would do;" and Leofric fumed and tossed about, and was altogether as unmanageable a patient as any nurse was ever troubled with.

Some of the house-carles, when they heard Leofric calling for the ale, tried to persuade Githa that it would be better to let him have it. “Thou wilt have no peace or rest thyself, if thou dost not give it to him."

“I care not for my own peace, but for my brother's life; and I believe what Father Alred hath told me—that he drinks too much ale, and it is this as much as his wound that hath caused this distemper.”

"But he will wear thee out with these wild ravings. I should give it to him for the sake of peace," said the man.

Githa smiled. “But he is not thy brother,” she said; and when Leofric called for drink again, she ventured to take him the horn of herb-tea which she had at hand, and put that to his lips. But the moment he had tasted it he spat it out again, and pushed Githa roughly aside.

“How canst thou give me such filthy stuff to drink p" he exclaimed; "it is bitter, and compounded of all evil things.”



“Nay, nay, Leofric; it is a cooling drink prepared by the hands of the good sisters of St. Mary, and will cure thee of thy sickness and wound too."

“That—that cure me!" exclaimed Leofric; "why 'tis enough to turn my blood to gall. Much thou knowest of what would cure mine ailments," he said contemptuously.

“ Nay, nay, I said not that I did, Leofric; but good Father Alred is the most skilful leech between here and London, and he doth know for certain what will cure thy distemper.”

“Then let Father Alred keep his cure, if he can give me no pleasanter drink than that;” and he made another wry face at the recollection of the disagreeable draught he had tasted.

When the doctor came the next day and found his patient no better, and the herb-tea almost untouched, he scolded Githa for not giving it to her brother.

" Nay, nay, it is not her fault, holy father,” said Leofric; “I would not take thy bitter draught.”

Then I can do nothing for thee, and thou must die,” said the monk, rising from the stool where he had seated himself at the bedside of his patient.

“ Die-die like a cow in my bed and not on the battle-field, where every free-born Englishman would fain give up his life !” exclaimed Leofric.

“An thou art not brave enough to swallow a draught of herb-tea because it is bitter; thou dost deserve to die like a cow," said the monk coolly.

Leofric winced at these words. “No man ever questioned my valour before,” he said. “Give me thy vile decoction, monk;" and the next minute he had swallowed the whole of it, unpleasant as it was.

“Drank like a hero,” said the monk admiringly; "thou art worth making it even a little more bitter," he added.

“And wherefore should it be more bitter, holy father P" asked Leofrio, somewhat appeased by the monk's last words.

“Well, my son, in this particular decoction the more bitter it is the more costly it is, and the better chance thou wilt have of being cured of thy distemper. If I cared not whether thou didst get well or die, I could make thee a drink pleasant as honey; but I have heard of thee and thy bold master Gurth Godrichson, and England may yet need every true man she can muster, and so I would fain save thee to strike a blow at England's foes, if ever it should be needed."

“Well, thou dost speak fair, good father, but an I take thy vile bitterness, wilt thou not let me have some good ale? I have had not a drop since I have been here."

“And if thou didst never drink a horn of it again thou wouldst be the better man, I trow," said the monk boldly.

“ An Englishman, and drink no ale !” exclaimed Leofric in astonishment.

"Well, I suppose it is asking too much; but I tell thee this is England's curse and England's danger—this want of moderation in eating and drinking.”

“Surely thou art a Norman to speak thus of our good old English customs,” exclaimed Leofric.

“They were Danish, I trow, before they were English,” said the monk quietly.

“Ah, marry were they, and right proud should we be of them. Why, monk, thou shouldst see an Englishman and a Norman at meat together; the mean, pitiful, half-starved Norman!” added Leofric contemptuously.

Ah, the Englishman would eat twice as much, and drink three times as much," said the monk.

“ Three times! say five or six times, good father, and it were nearer the mark," answered Leofric triumphantly.

“Ah, I doubt it not,” said the monk sadly. “The Normans have learned to rule themselves—to eat not beyond what is reasonable, nor to drown their minds, which they are learning to use, in the wine-cup or ale-horn.”

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