Little Outcast

I stay ma'am? I'll do anything you

give me, cut wood, go after water, and do all 

your errands."

The troubled eyes of the speaker were filled with

tears. It was a lad that stood at the outer door,

pleading with a kindly-looking woman, who still

seemed to doubt the reality of his good 


The cottage sat by itself on a bleak moor, or

what in Scotland would have been called such.

The time was near the latter end of September,

and a fierce wind rattled the boughs of the only

two naked trees near the house, and fled with a

shivering sound into the narrow doorway, as if

seeking for warmth at the blazing fire within.

Now and then a snowflake touched with its soft

chill the cheek of the listener, or whitened the 

angry redness of the poor boy's benumbed 


The woman was evidently loath to grant the

 boy's request, and the peculiar look stamped

 upon his features would have suggested to any

 mind an idea of depravity far beyond his years.

But her woman's heart could not resist the 

sorrow in those large, but by no means 

handsome grey eyes. 

"Come in at any rate till the good man comes

home. There, sit down by the fire; you look 

perishing with cold;" and she drew a rude chair

 up to the warmest corner; then, suspiciously

glancing at the child from the corners of her

 eyes, she continued setting the table for supper.

 Presently was heard the tramp of heavy shoes;

 the door was swung open with a quick jerk, and

 the "good man" presented himself wearied with


A look of intelligence passed between his wife

and himself; he too scanned the boy's face with

an expression not evincing satisfaction, but, 

nevertheless, made him come to the table, and

 then enjoyed the zest with which he dispatched

 his supper.

Day after day passed, and yet the boor begged

to be kept, only till tomorrow;" so the good

couple, after due consideration, concluded that

 as long as he was so docile, and worked so 

heartily, they would retain him.

One day in the middle of the winter, a peddler,

long accustomed to trade at the cottage, made

 his appearance, and disposed of his goods 

readily, as if he had been waited for.

“You have a boy out there splitting wood, I

see," he said, pointing to the yard.

"Yes; do you know him?"

"I have seen him," replied' the peddler, 

evasively: "And, where? Who is he? What is he?"

"A jail-bird;" and the peddler swung his pack

over his shoulder.  That boor, young as he looks

I saw in court myself, and heard his sentence

'ten months.' He's a hard one. You'd do well

to look carefully after him."

Oh! There was something so horrible in the

word jail the poor woman trembled as she laid

away her purchases; nor could she be easy till

she called the boy in, and assured him that she

knew that dark part of his history.

Ashamed, distressed, the boy hung down his

head; his cheeks seemed bursting with the hot

blood; his lips quivered, and anguish was painted

as vividly upon his forehead as if the word was

branded into the flesh.

"Well, he muttered, his whole frame relaxing,

as if a burden of guilt or joy had suddenly rolled

off, "I may as well go to ruin at once there's no

use in my trying to do better everybody hates

and despises me nobody cares about me I may

as well go to ruin at once."

"Tell me," said the woman, who stood-off far

enough for flight, if that should be necessary,

 "how came you to go so young to that dreadful


Where was your mother where?"

"Oh!" exclaimed the boy, with a burst of

grief that was terrible to behold. Oh! I haven’t

a mother!" Oh! I hain't had no mother

ever since I was a baby. If I'd only had a

mother." he continued, his anguish growing 

vehement, and the tears gushing out from his

 strange-looking grey eyes, "I wouldn't ha' been

 bound out, and kicked, an' cuffed, an' laid on to

 with whips. I wouldn’t ha' been saucy, and got

 knocked down, and run away, and then stole 

because I was hungry. Oh! I hain't got no mother

 I hain't got no mother I haven't had no mother 

since I was a baby."

The strength was all gone from the poor boy,

and he sank on his knees, sobbing great choking

sobs, and rubbing the hot tears away with his

 poor knuckles.

And did that woman stand there unmoved?

Did she coldly bid him pack up and be off the

jail-bird? No, no; she had been a mother, and

though all her children slept under the cold sod

 in the church-yard, she was a mother still.

She went up to that poor boy, not to hasten him

away, but to lay her fingers kindly, softly on his

head, to tell him to look up, find in her a mother. 

Yes; and from henceforth. She even put her arm

about the neck of that forsaken, deserted child;

 she poured from her mother's heart sweet, 


words, words of counsel and tenderness.

Ok! How sweet was her sleep that night; how

soft her pillow! She had linked a poor, suffering

heart to hers, by the most silken, the strongest

bands of love; she had plucked some thorns from

 the path of a little, sinning, but striving mortal.

 None but the angels could witness her holy joy,

 and not envy. Did the boy leave her? Never! He 

is with her still; a vigorous, manly, promising 

youth, The once poor out-cast is her only 

dependence, and nobly does he repay the trust.

My father, my mother, I know

I cannot your kindness repay;

I hope that, as older I grow,

I shall learn your commands to obey.

You loved me before I could tell

Who on me so tenderly smiled;

But now that I know it so well,

I should be a dutiful child.



GOD is my friend, I need not fear;

For he is good and always near.

And he will keep me by his power,

From day to day, from hour to hour.

I am a sinner, but I know

For God's own Word has told me so

That Jesus Christ came down from heaven,

To die that I may be forgiven.

One thing there is that I must dread,

And that is sin; for God has said,

That those whom he protects from ill,

Must love his way and do his will.

Father! now the day is past,

On thy child thy blessing cast!

Near my pillow, hand in hand,

Keep thy guardian angel hand!

And throughout the darkling night,

Bless me with a cheerful light!

Let me rise at morn again.

Free from every thought of pain;

Passing through life's thorny way,

Keep me, Father! day by day.