Page images

its poor hammock, and brought him down naked in his arms: and as he gave him to the half-distracted mother, he felt that her joy and gratitude would have been no bad pay for the danger he had run, even if no higher motive had set him to work. Poor Jenkins, half stupified by his misfortuné, had never thought of his child; and his wife, who expected every hour to make him father to a second, had not been able to do any thing towards faving little Tommy ; · Mr. Trueman now put the child into Miss Fantom's apron, saying, “ Did not I “ tell you, my dear, that every body could “ be of use at a fire?” He then desired her to carry the child home, and ordered the poor woman to follow her; saying, he would return himself as soon as he had seen all safe in the cottage.

When the fire was quite out, and Mr. Trueman could be of no further use, he went back to Mr. Fantom's. The instant he opened the parlour door he VOL. IV.


eagerly cried out, 66 Where is the poor 6 woman, Mr. Fantom "S" Not in my “ house, I affure you," answered the phi lofopher. " Give me leave to tell you, it " was a very romantic thing to send her 4 and her child to me: you should have “ provided for them at once, like a pru" dent man.”—“I thought I had done * fo,” replied Trueman, 6 by fending 6 them to the nearest and the best house te in the parish, as the poor woman seemed 66 to stand in need of immediate affift. • ance.”—“ So immediate," said Fantom, 4 that I would not let her come into iny " house, for fear what might happen. “ So I packed her off, with her child, in « her arms, to the workhoufe; with or « ders to the overseers not to let her want “ for any thing."

“ And what right have you, Mr. Fan“ tom," cried Trueman in a high tone, “ to expect that the overseers will be more « humane than yourself? But is it possible “ you can have sent that helpless creature,

[ocr errors]

64 ders can things right bacon in 2 ill be mainte

[ocr errors]

not only to walk, but to carry a naked “ child, at such a time of night, to a place “ so distant, fo ill provided, and in such as

condition? I hope at least you have -“ furnished them with cloaths; for all their « own little stores were burnt."- Not I « indeed," said Fantom. “What is the “ use of parish-officers, but to look after " these petty things?? '

It was Mr. Trueman's way, when he began to feel very angry, not to allow himself to speak; because, he used to say, " if I give vent to my feelings, I am sure. « by some hasty word, to cut myself out “'work for repentance.”. So without making any answer, or even changing his cloaths, which were very Wet and dirty from having worked fo hard at the fire, he walked out again, having first inquired the road the woman had taken. At the door hemet Mrs. Fantom returning from her visit. He told her his tale; which she had no sooner heard, than the kindly refolved to accompany him in search of Jenkins's D 2


wife. She had a wide common to walk over before the could reach either the workhouse or the nearest cottage. She had crawled along with her baby as far as she was able ; but having met with no refreshment at Mr. Fantom's, and her strength quite failing her, fhe had sunk down on the middle of the common. Happily, Mr. Trueman and Mrs. Fantom came up at this very time. The former had had the precaution to bring a cordial; and the latter had gone back and stuffed her pockets with old baby linen. : Mr. Trues man foon procured the affiftance of a la. bourer, who happened to pass by, to help him to carry the mother, and Mrs. Fantom carried the little shivering baby. .

As foon as they were safely lodged, Mr. Trueman set off in search of poor Jenkins, who was distressed to know what was become of his wife and child; for having heard that they were feen going towards Mr. Fantom's, he despaired of any affist, ance from that quarter. : Mr. Trueman



felt no small fatisfaction in uniting this poor 'man to his little family. There was something very moving in this meet. ing, and in the pious gratitude they ex, pressed for their deliverance. They seemed to forget they had lost their all, in the joy they felt that they had not loft each other. And some disdainful great ones might have smiled to see so much rapture expressed at the safety of a child born tò no inheritance but poverty. These are among the feelings with which Providence sometimes overpays the want of wealth. The good people also poured out prayers and blessings on their deliverer, who, not being a philosopher, was no more ashamed of praying with them than he had been of working for them. Mr. Trueman, while allisting at the fire, had heard that Jenkins and his wife were both very honest, and very pious people; so he told them he would not only pay for their new lodging, but undertook to raise a little subscription among his friends at the Cat and Bagpipes



« PreviousContinue »