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Master. Suppose this boy had parents who had sent him to church, and that he had disobeyed them by not going; would that be keeping the fifth commandment?
Boy. No, master; for the fifth commandment says, " Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother.”
This was the only part of the case in which poor Dick Giles's heart did not smite him; he knew he had disobeyed no father; for his father, alas ! was still wickeder than himself, and had brought him up to commit the sin. But what a wretched comfort was this! The master went on
Master. Suppose this boy earnestly coveted this fruit, though it belonged to another person; would that be right?
Boy. No, master; for the tenth commandment says, “ Thou shalt not covet."
Master. Very well. Here are four of God's positive commands already broken. Now, do you think thieves ever scruple to use wicked words?
Boy. I am afraid not, master.
Here Dick Giles was not so hardened, but that he remembered how many curses had passed between him and his father, while they were filling the bags; and he was afraid to look up. The master went on.
"I will now go one step further. If the thief, to all his other sins, has added that of accusing the innocent to save himself, if he should break the ninth commandment by bearing false witness against a harmless neighbor, then six commandments are broken for an apple! But if it be otherwise, if Tom Price should be found guilty, it is not his good character shall save him. I shall shed tears over him; but punish him I must, and that severely.” “No, that you shan't,” roared out Dick Giles, who sprung from his hiding-place, fell on his knees, and burst out a crying; “ Tom Price is as good a boy as ever lived; it was father and I who stole the apples!”
It would have done your heart good to have seen the joy of the master, the modest blushes of Tom Price, and the satisfaction of every honest boy in the school. All shook hands with Tom, and even Dick got some portion of pity. I wish I had room to give my readers the moving exhortation which the master gave. But, while Mr. Wilson left the guilty boy to the management of the master, he thought it became him, as a minister and a magistrate, to go to the extent of the law in punishing the father. Early on the Monday morning he sent to apprehend Giles. In the mean time, Mr. Wilson was sent for to a gardener's house two miles distant, to attend a man
who was dying. This was a duty to which all others gave way in his mind. He set out directly; but what was his surprise, on his arrival, to see, on a little bed on the floor, Poaching Giles lying in all the agonies of death! Jack Weston, the same poor young man against whom Giles had informed for killing a hare, was kneeling by him, offering him some broth, and talking to him in the kindest manner. Mr. Wilson begged to know the meaning of all this; and Jack Weston spoke as follows :
“At four this morning, as I was going out to mow, passing under the high wall of this garden, I heard a most dismal moaning. The nearer I came, the more dismal it grew. At last, who should I see but poor Giles, groaning, and struggling under a quantity of bricks and stones, but not able to stir. The day before, he had marked a fine large net on this old wall, and resolved to steal it, for he thought it might do as well to catch partridges as to preserve cherries ; so, sir, standing on the very top of this wall, and tugging with all his might to loosen the net from the hooks which fastened it, down came Giles, net, wall, and all; for the wall was gone to decay. It was very high indeed; and poor Giles not only broke his thigh, but has got a terrible blow on his head, and is bruised all over like a mummy. On seeing me, sir, poor Giles cried out, 0, Jack! I did try to ruin thee by lodging that information, and now thou wilt be revenged by letting me lie here and perish.' "God forbid, Giles!' cried I; “thou shalt see what sort of revenge a Christian takes.' So, sir, I sent off the gardener's boy to fetch a surgeon, while I scampered home and brought on my back this bit of a hammock, which is indeed my own bed, and put Giles upon it; we then lifted him up, bed and all, as tenderly as if he had been a gentleman, and brought him in here. My wife has just brought him a drop of nice broth; and now, sir, as I have done what I could for his poor perishing body, it was I who took the liberty to send to you to come to try to help his poor soul, for the doctor says he can't live,”
Mr. Wilson could not help saying to himself, " Such an action as this is worth a whole volume of comments on that precept of our blessed Master, · Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.'" Giles's dying groans confirmed the sad account Weston had just given. The poor wretch could neither pray himself, nor attend to the minister. He could only cry out, “O, sir, what will become of me? I don't know how to repent. O, my poor wicked children! Sir, I have bred them all up in sin and ignorance. Have mercy on them, sir; let me not meet them in the place of torment to which I am going. Lord, grant them that time for repentance which I have thrown away!” He languished a few days, and died in great misery—a fresh and sad instance that people who abuse the grace of God, and resist his Spirit, find it difficult to repent when they will.
Except the minister and Jack Weston, no one came to see poor Giles, besides Tommy Price, who had been so sadly wronged by him. Tom often brought him his own rice-milk or apple-dumpling; and Giles, ignorant and depraved as he was, often cried out, “ That he thought now there must be some truth in religion, since it taught even a boy to deny himself, and to forgive an injury." Mr. Wilson, the next Sunday, made a moving discourse on the danger of what are called petty offences. This, together with the awful death of Giles, produced such an effect, that no poacher has been able to show his head in that parish ever since.
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF DREAMS, OMENS, AND CONJURERS.
Tawny RACHEL was the wife of Poaching Giles. There seemed to be a conspiracy in Giles's whole family to maintain themselves by tricks and pilfering. Regular labor and honest industry did not suit their idle habits. They had a sort of genius at finding out every unlawful means to support a vagabond life. Rachel travelled the country with a basket on her arm. She pretended to get her bread by selling laces, cabbage-nets, ballads, and history books, and used to buy old rags and rabbit skins. Many honest people trade in these things; and I am sure I do not mean to say a word against honest people, let them trade in what they will. But Rachel only made this traffic a pretence for getting admittance into farmers' kitchens, in order to tell fortunes.
She was continually practising on the credulity of silly girls; and took advantage of their ignorance, to cheat and deceive them. Many an innocent servant has she caused to be suspected of a robbery, while she herself, perhaps, was in league with the thief. Many a harmless maid has she brought to ruin by first contriving plots and events herself, and then pretending to foretell them. She had not, to be sure, the power of really foretelling things, because she had no power of seeing into futurity; but she had the art sometimes to bring them about according as she had foretold them. So she got that credit for her wisdom which really belonged to her wickedness.
Rachel was also a famous interpreter of dreams, and could distinguish exactly between the fate of any two persons who happened to have a mole on the right or the left cheek. She had a cunning way of getting herself off, when any of her prophecies failed. When she explained a dream according
to the natural appearance of things, and it did not come to pass, then she would get out of that scrape by saying, that this sort of dreams went by contraries. Now, of two very opposite things, the chance always is, that one of them may turn out to be true; so in either case she kept up the cheat.
Rachel, in one of her rambles, stopped at the house of Farmer Jenkins. She contrived to call when she knew the master of the house was from home, which, indeed, was her usual way. She knocked at the door : the maids being in the field, hay-making, Mrs. Jenkins went to open it herself. Rachel asked her if she would please to let her light her pipe. This was a common pretence, when she could find no other way of getting into a house. While she was filling her pipe, she looked at Mrs. Jenkins, and said she could tell her some good fortune. The farmer's wife, who was a very inoffensive, but a weak and superstitious woman, was curious to know what she meant. Rachel then looked about very carefully, and, shutting the door with a mysterious air, asked her if she was sure nobody would hear them. This appearance of mystery was at once delightful and terrifying to Mrs. Jenkins, who, with trembling agitation, bid the cunning woman speak out.
“Then,” said Rachel in a solemn whisper, “there is, to my certain knowledge, a pot of money hid under one of the stones in your cellar.” “Indeed!" said Mrs. Jenkins. “It is impossible; for, now I think of it, I dreamed, last night, I was in prison for debt.” “Did you really?” said Rachel, “ that is quite surprising. Did you dream this before twelve o'clock or after ?” “Õ! it was this morning, just before I awoke.” “ Then I am sure it is true, for morning dreams always go by contraries,” cried Rachel. “How lucky it was you dreamed it so late!” Mrs. Jenkins could hardly contain her joy, and asked how the money was to be come at. “There is but one way," said Rachel; “I must go into the cellar. I know by my art under which stone it lies, but I must not tell.” Then they both went down into the cellar, but Rachel refused to point at the stone, unless Mrs. Jenkins would put five pieces of gold into a basin, and do as she directed. The simple woman, instead of turning her out of doors for a cheat, did as she was bid. She put the guineas into a basin, which she gave into Rachel's hand. Rachel strewed some white powder over the gold, muttered some barbarous words, and pretended to perform the black art. She then told Mrs. Jenkins to put the basin quietly down within the cellar ; telling her, that if she offered to