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pond ; whereupon John mended his hedge, but
he was so angry with the innocent cow that he
actually tied her to a stake in the middle of
the field. The cow acted sensibly enough : it
was John Webster who was to blame ; and so
he sought to mend his own negligence by his
cruelty. Children, love one another, and, that
you may do so, be thoughtful. Remember,
others have feelings as well as you. If your
tongue is a spur, it may make somebody kick.
If you sow nettles in your throat, dont let them
grow outside of your tongue. In a word, that
you may love one another, think before you
speak.

"The second black, coarse thread in the velvet
of life is PASSION. Many a blow has been
struck, many a word has been said, many a



BLIND AMOS. 29

deed has been done, and the speaker and the
doer would have given nearly their all to have
recalled them, but it was impossible. Passion
has made foes of the best friends. Passion has
darkened the windows of many a heart and
many a home. Passion, my boys, is the gun-
powder of life ; and it often does for a life
what gunpowder does with a magazine, lays
it in ruins in a moment. Even things well to
be done are not done well in a passion. If a
thing will bear doing, it will bear reasoning
about. But passion never reasons. Passion
is usually blind. When I was a lad I knew
two men, prudent, kind, respectable men
ordinarily. They had some dispute about a
mere trifle, and parted in high anger. They
had to meet one another shortly again, and it
was hoped that the dispute might be made
up ; and it would have been, but one spoke
hurriedly, and made, I believe, some slight
mistake. The other called him a liar. It was
the meeting of spark and powder. His old
friend lifted his hand and felled him at a blow,
and that blow killed him. He was tried for
manslaughter, and he was ruined in character
for life ; but that was trifling compared with
his sufferings, and the recollection that in a



30 BLIND AMOS.

moment of passion and frenzy lie had killed
his friend !

" Now, that you may love one another, con-
quer passion ; and, if you ask me how, I have
no better receipt than this. In the very mo-
ment of passion, pray :

" ' The angry word and angry heart

Should be my constant care :

From each I must extract the dart

By the strong spell of prayer.'

"Passion is madness; and I do not think
any of my readers would like to be thought
mad. There was a strange and very eccentric
man lived once in a village where I spent some
time, and not far from him lived one of the
most ungovernable men I ever knew, whom
we will call passionate George. He wanted
to rent a field belonging to the pious and
eccentric man, whose name was Burley ; but
friend Burley was wary and quiet, and he
declined having passionate George for a tenant.
So one morning he made his appearance at
Mr. Burley 's house, full of rage, to ask why
he had been refused. In passion and in storm
he burst into his room. A passionate man is
usually met by passion : quietness makes him
feel awkward and not at home. He began



BLIND AMOS. 31

his conversation by some oaths, to which Mr.
Burley replied, ' If thou art going to talk in
that way, I shall leave thee here to talk to
thyself. If it is profitable to- thyself, thou
canst swear away at these walls: thou wilt
have just as much pleasure, just as much sin,
and it will save me some pain.'

" George was taken quite aback, as we say,
when Mr. Burley said, ' I never intended thee
any harm. Just as thou came in, we were
about to pray : if you have any thing to talk
over with me, it will do thee no harm to stay
while we pray ; it will quiet me, and thee too.'
Poor George had not calculated on this at all.
He knelt quietly down. Here, at any rate,
was a man who would not go into a passion
with him ; and there is no enjoying a fit of
passion long alone. He got up and walked
away. It was a sort of proverb afterwards
that nobody had ever been a match for pas-
sionate George but quiet Burley.

" My lads, when a dog makes too free with
you, jumps and bounds over you, you say,
' Down, Nero ! down, sir !' That is what you
must say when passion rises : ' Down, sir !' I
once took a passionate man very much aback
by asking him to hold his tongue while he felt



32 BLIND AMOS.

my pulse, or else while I felt his. It is astonish-
ing how efficacious a moment or two of quiet is
in the midst of a great storm. When the fit
is very strong on you, think how you would
appear before the glass, or rather think how
you do really appear before God. The greatest
of all heroes is he who can rule his spirit in a
great storm. So, my lads, I must have you to
take the black thread of passion out of the velvet
of life.

11 1 said there were three black, coarse threads
that spoiled the beauty of the velvet of life;
and the third is SPITE: that is only another
name for hate. Spite is hate in little things,
and trifles. Hate is spite in larger things;
and it usually happens that those towards
whom we have shown any spite we soon learn
to hate. Spite is the child ; hate is the full-
grown and dark-spirited man. Spite begins in
the indulgence of dislikings, sometimes very
unreasonable.

" When I was teaching a class, a good many
years ago, in a Sunday-school, there was a
little, thoughtful fellow who always had his
lessons ready and his answem clear and cor-
rect, and the third or fourth boy below him
in the class was a sturdy little rogue who



BLIND AMOS. 33

never had a lesson ready, and I often found
him stealing behind his mates to pinch or
strike his steady little school-fellow, and it
was only because the works of the one were
good and the other evil. I am afraid that
there is something in us which prompts us to
hate what is morally excellent and to admire
what is stubborn and ungentle and disobedient.
Take care of this. What is it you hate ? And
why do you hate it ? Do you hate what is
better than yourself? *Do you hate what is
done well ? Recollect, we always hate what is
unlike ourselves. From the time of Cain down
to the present hour, the bad man hates the
good man and all his works.

" I cannot tell you all the disagreeable stories
about spiteful and hateful people which I have
heard or known in my life ; but I will tell you
three. They are about three kinds of spite.
There is envious spite. You know that the
New Testament speaks of ' the spirit that lusteth
in us to envy.' It is very hard to 'rejoice with
them that do rejoice,' because it requires such
an unenvious spirit. I remember hearing of
a little girl who went to her Sunday-school,
and when she came home her mother asked
her what she had done at school ; and she, in



34 BLIND AMOS.

the simplicity of her little heart, said, ' Oh,
dear mother, I am afraid I have done nothing ;
for you know there was little Mary Curtis,
whose baby-brother was buried this week, and
she was so sorry, and she cried so that I cried
with her; and I took her hands in mine and
kissed her ; but it quite took all the lessons
out of my head; so that Sarah Miles, who is
always behind with her lessons, had them this
morning quite perfect ; and she was so happy
that, although she got more tickets than I did,
I was quite glad, and I told her so, and kissed
her too.' 'My dear/ said the happy mother.
'you have not said so many lessons, perhaps,
but you have fulfilled the apostle's injunction.
You have "wept with those that weep, and re-
joiced with those who rejoice"'

"But that is not the story I was going to
tell you. It is about the spite of envy. When-
ever I see an envious man at work against his
neighbour's prosperity, he always looks to me
like a man who is pulling another's house
down to mend his own with the broken bricks,
forgetful that by destroying his neighbour's
house he has, perhaps, loosened the foundation
of his own, and that, at any rate, the bricks
of the building he has pulled down are not of



BLIND AMOS. 35

much use to him. ' Envy is rottenness to the
bones' (Prov. xiv. 30.) It is not what we have,
but the way we use it, that makes us happy.
I don't know how it happened, but so it was,
that old Hooper, who kept the village chand-
ler's shop, became envious of old Moses Owen
and his family. Old Moses was a day-labourer,
and old Hooper called himself a trader; but
somehow poor old Hooper who was, however,
not much more than fifty could never make
the two ends of the thread of life meet. And
old Moses seemed very quietly to make the
ends meet without much trying.

" In the house of old Moses all was neat and
nice as a new pin. In the house of old Hooper
I recollect once seeing the cat playing with a
shawl and bonnet on a chair; and the idea
occurred to me directly that she it was who
kept the house in order, for every thing looked
in a most lively state of confusion. There
were plenty of children in both families, but
those of Hooper grew up in idleness, those of
Moses in order and diligence. Hooper and his
family minded everybody's business but their
own ; Moses and his family minded nobody's
business but their own ; and, in the long run,
this makes a great difference. Well, the two



36 BLIND AMOS.

families became rather conspicuously noticed in
the village, and old Hooper fixed people's atten-
tion, and gave them occasion to remark his own
constant spite against poor old Moses. I am
sorry to say, old Hooper made a great profes-
sion of religion. And, although he had a heart
as black as a coal, he wore what he called a
white neckerchief: he called it white, though
white it never had been since it left the draper's
shop. At last he got it into his head that he
would try to do two things. He thought,
foolish man, that he should succeed better if
he lived where Moses lived ; and he bade a
higher rent for his cottage, and he worked
very skilfully to get the old man dismissed, by
a young master, from his employment. And
now everybody thought old Moses would come
to the workhouse, or break stones on the road.
Well, what do you think? To the very house
where old Hooper lived, old Moses went,
helped by his children, whom he had not
taught the way of industry and piety for no-
thing. He set up a little shop himself. Poor
old Hooper got worse and worse ; for ' Envy
slayeth the silly one.' (Job v. 2.) His children
got worse and worse too. At last he left the
village, and I don't know where he went; but



BLIND AMOS. 37

I met him the day before he left. I never
like to speak unkindly to men in their fallen
fortunes ; but I could not help saying to him,
'Hooper, those bricks did not do.' He did
not know what I meant, and said, 'What
bricks?' 'The bricks of old Moses Owen's
cottage!' said I. 'You left your house to pull
down his, and now, you see, you are out of
house and home, and you cannot use the bricks
to build another.'

"Take care of /tlie black thread of spite.
There is an old proverb that says, 'Curses,
like little chickens, come home to roost.'
There is a boy here, named Tom Battersby,
who has a black eye, I am told, by a ball
bounding back and striking him. Take care,
boys : every blow you strike another bounds
back with just the same fury on yourself. In
the long run, God always does good to them
that do good. How it ought to hold back our
hands from evil to know that 'all evil-doers
shall be cut off'/

" Now I will tell you another story. The
second spite is the spite of revenge. Revenge
is folly ; it is madness. If any one has done
you any harm, it won't do you any good to do
them harm in return. A young man once in-



38 BLIND AMOS.

suited Socrates, the great Grecian philosopher,
and went so far as even to kick him; but
Socrates walked on and did not heed it, at
which his friends were surprised. ' What/ said
he, ' would you have me do ? if an ass kicked
me, would you have me to kick him again ?'
Which answer of Socrates was so much talked
of, that always afterwards the young man was
called the Kicker. But in this reply of the
wise man there was a sort of revenge. It did
not come up to Christ, who, 'when he was
reviled, reviled not again.'

" And oh, my boys, think how dreadful is
that feeling of revenge. The man who has
indulged in these evil passions may easily be
known. Revenge is like a branding-iron, and
it burns its fiery traces upon the face of the
passionate and the wrathful man. 'If thy
enemy strike thee, strike him again :' that is
what self says'. 'If thy enemy hunger, feed
him:' that is what Christ says. When you
come to know life, you will see the man who
indulges in revenge. His dark, blood-shot
eyes and cruel face betray his disposition.
Such a man injures himself more than his foe.
How much better is it to be

'Sinned against than sinning'!



BLIND AMOS. 39

" Never injure because you have been in-
jured. There is a fable that a rat once did an
injury to a lion, and when the lion walked
majestically on without revenging the insult,
the jackal, and the tiger, and the panther, all
called the lion coward. Whereupon the lion
set up such a roar of laughter as made the
desert shake again and all the beasts to trem-
ble. 'No,' said he, 'I am not a coward; but
you might think so if I thought so much of
the tooth of a rat as to revenge it by a blow
from the paw of a lion.' The noblest natures
never stoop to revenge.

"I am come to my last tale, and that is to
illustrate the spite of disappointment. Some
people get into so bad a state of mind, that
their hatred is not against any thing in par-
ticular, but against all things and people in
general. And I must admit that disappoint-
ment sours the spirit very much ; but then
so ur apples wont make sour apples sweet.
Love is a great cure for disappointments.
Don't expect much, then you won't be disap-
pointed. Don't calculate on any thing on this
earth but the love of God, and even of that,
don't be disappointed if sometimes you cannot
tell how it works. Sometimes, even, it is as



40 BLIND AMOS.

sweet as a rose, and sometimes as sharp as a
surgical knife. Before we become angry from
our disappointments, we should ask what right
had we to be disappointed. I met a man
going along the road ; I thought I knew him
by his step.

" ' How is it with you this morning ?'
said I.

"'Oh,' said he, 'very bad indeed. I have
been to old Brooksbank, to ask him to lend me
some money. Do you think he would do it ?
No, not he. I'll tell you what it is, Amos,
I'm sick of the world : so much friendship as
he had expressed for me, and now not to lend
me a little money !'

" ' But stop, stop/ said I : ' what right had you
to expect he would lend it ? It may not be
convenient. He may respect you, and yet not
be disposed to run the risk. You see, you in-
dulged in foolish expectations, and now you
are disappointed ; and he might say, "Ah! I
thought William was a decent fellow. I did
not expect that he would put me to the
painful disappointment of refusing him this
money." ' It will, my young friends, exalt
your love if you reduce your expectations.
Human nature is poor even in the best t even



BLIND AMOS. 41

in those who are converted. And now I have
nearly done.

" The other day, a man spoke so crossly in
my hearing that I said to him, ' I think you
must have drunk a great deal of crab-apple
wine and it has almost intoxicated you' He
did not like it. Let us, in speech, in action,
in character, love one another.

" Some of you go to one church, and some to

another. When you go to the church in

Street, next Sunday, and you come to that
part of the service where there is a beautiful
passage in a prayer in which I have often
joined, 'from envy, hatred, malice and all
uncharitableness, good Lord, deliver us,' just
think what it means. Envy is the spring,
Hatred is the brook, Malice is the river, and
Uncharitableness is the sea ; and many persons
drink of the first, and follow its guidance until
they swim and bathe and live in the last.
Take care of envy, the fountain, and you shall
escape uncharitableness, the sea."



42 BLIND AMOS.



IV.

ftfre ffelfot Slippers.

I THINK you will not have read on so far
without finding out that Amos was fond of a
good, long talk. Nobody ever heard him dis-
puting. He was not fond of talking with
proud or knowing people; but he loved to
talk to children, and either in twos, or threes,
or twenties, or fifties, or hundreds, he seemed
equally at home. He had an inexhaustible
stock of stories and sayings; and so he was
not a whit more fond of talking to the children
than the children were fond of hearing him
talk. I was at his house very often. But I
remember one night, in the deep winter-time,
about Christmas, he asked our old school-
master to bring down the six best boys to have
tea with him a great honour and to spend
the evening. I remember how cold and clear
the night was ; the snow spread over the



BLIND AMOS. 43

whole ground, and sparkled brightly in the
moonlight; the ice hung from the roofs of
the houses, and the snow was lying like wool
upon the branches of all the trees. We came
to the cottage, bright, snug, warm and very
comfortable; there was such a fire! and blind
Amos never invited us without recollecting that
we were boys, and Melly and he always had
something very nice to please our young palates.
The evening passed along very pleasantly.

After tea he took each of us in turn by
the hand, and inquired whether we excelled
in reading, or writing, or arithmetic, and said
something to us as he took our hand in one
of his and laid the other on our head. This
evening, some one said to him, " I dare say, Mr.
Blake, these youngsters would like to hear one
of your stories."

" Very well," said Amos; "and what shall
it be about?" And one little fellow, some-
what bolder than the rest, who knew what
his way was, said, "Something about velvet,
sir." That pleased Amos : so he said, "Well,
then, I'll tell you the story of

THE VELVET SLIPPERS.

" But you must remember it is only a story.

4*



44 BLIND AMOS.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl living
in a village like this, and there came to her a
man of a very venerable appearance and offered
to her one of three things which he set before
her. One was a book, by which she was to
understand all things, all mysteries, all know-
ledge, and all sciences. Another thing was a
wand, by which she would be able to compel
implicit obedience everywhere, from every-
body to her in every thing. But the most re-
markable of all was a pair of velvet slippers,
which if she put on, she was to carry peace
everywhere as she moved. All disorder, all
noise, were to fly before her. She was to bring
quiet into every family in which she entered.
And she was so sensible that, without think-
ing a moment about the other two, she chose
for the present from the old patriarch the
velvet slippers. She was wise enough to see
that knowledge and power are of little value
without peace.

" As soon as she put them on, she seemed
as if walking on the wind, she moved over the
earth so noiselessly. She did not hurt her
feet as she moved along; and it seemed as if all
things made way for her as she moved : no-
thing resisted her. The velvet slippers were



BLIND AMOS. 45

like a second instinct to her. It is true that
wherever she went peace went with her ; but
the slippers told her what to do. If it was
unwise to go into a certain house, the slip-
pers nipped her feet as a hint not to go.
Sometimes she was about to speak, but the
slippers gave a nip, as much as to say, ' Hold
your tongue;' and so she held her tongue.
Her face was always bright and kind, but she
made no more noise than a rose makes in grow-
ing. Old Agnes Pepper, the postman's wife,
the most notorious old gossip in those parts,
left off in the very middle of a scandalous story,
and hobbled, grumbling, away, if she saw her
coming down the street. Old Tom Punshon,
who never opened his mouth without an oath,
put on quite an amiable face, and said, ' Good-
morning, ma'am/ as he saw her approaching.
But, what was most remarkable, Jack Welsby,
who behaved so badly to his wife, after the
velvet slippers had crossed his threshold two
or three times, was seen taking his wife out to
church ; and a few nights after I heard him
and his wife, in their rough way, actually sing-
ing a hymn by the fireside !

" You have no idea what a deal of good that
pair of velvet slippers did to the village.



46 BLIND AMOS.

Somehow, everybody seemed to be smitten
with the idea of minding their own business ;
there was less beer drunk by a great many
gallons, and the Ked Dragon tavern was al-
most without a customer. Old Mr. Wurley,
who was called ' The Parish Newspaper/ seemed
now never to have any news to tell, although
he always had something pleasant to say. Miss
Glibby, at the grocer's shop, now never served
out scandal with the sugar and tea. There was
a great deal less evil seen, and infinitely less
heard of, and all through this pair of velvet
slippers. It was not so much what the young
lady who wore them said, that kept the people
in awe : it was what she did not say. Story-
tellers, if they were making mischief, felt that
there was a sort of quiet, uncomfortable power
in her mild eyes. All scandal seemed to her
like a shower, or a mist, on a bird's wing: it
never entered into her; she shook it off, and
went on her way forgetful of it. She healed
a great number of family disputes, but she
usually did it* by saying nothing, but simply
going to the house and filling it with her
spirit. Until she came, the minister of our
parish was rather harsh and censorious, I
thought, in some of his sermons; but, when



BLIND AMOS. 47

she came, lie preached the first Sunday a ser-
mon so full of peace, that, as he left the pulpit,
I very narrowly looked at his feet, to see if he
had not borrowed the VELVET SLIPPERS.

" Now, I've told you what sounds very much
like a fairy-tale ; but there is a sense in which
it is every word true. One of the most de-
cided proofs of a holy nature is the disposition
and the power to produce peace wherever you
go. The world is one great scene of turmoil
and war ; there are wars in families, wars in
nations, wars in villages, and wars in the
heart ; and in the midst of all this the Chris-
tian is to go with peace. He is to be a peace-
maker. His life is a walk and a conversation;
and in the walk which he is to pursue, he is
to make 'straight paths for his feet,' and to
see that they are shod with the Christians slip-
pers, 'the preparation of the gospel of peace, 1
(James iii. 18.) The Christian is to sow the
seeds of peace that he may get the fruits of (
righteousness. ' The fruit of righteousness is
sown in peace of them that motke peace.' A
man will be a Christian just so far as he
has peace within him. He will not be able
always to command peace without him, be-
cause offences will come, and there are many



48 BLIND AMOS.

to whom the very peace of his own nature will
be an irritation and an offence. There is no- '
thing more annoying to a passionate and en-
vious man than the spectacle of peace in the
man he envies ; and if he can only arouse him
to some hasty act or word, how gladly he says,
'Ah! I've stung him at last.' But, if the
Christian cannot always command and compel
peace around, he will add no oil to the flames
of passion and discord; he will use oil not as
a combustible, but as an emollient. 'And the
work of righteousness shall be peace, and the
effect of righteousness quietness and assurance f
forever. 1 (Isa. xxxii. 17.) And is it not a
great thing to be able to say, in the midst of
all the wrangling in the world, ' Well, / never
added to it, / never joined in the cry, /
never mixed in the affray. They made a
great noise, but I never helped them. / was
in the crowd, and obliged to go through it,
but / never added to the uproar. The up-
roar always ceased as / came nigh, for they
saw I did not like it and tried to stop my
ears against it'? If we act thus, boys, we
will go through the world so quietly that it
will be as if we wore velvet slippers.

" But the work of some people in the world



BLIND AMOS. 49

is very different from this. They live to
make a noise, to fume and to foam. The story
is told of Diogenes, the Cynic, that at Corinth or
Abdera, I forget which, when the city was in
a great turmoil, and people were moving about
in great confusion, he went into the city and
rolled an empty tub about, that, as he said,
they might see that he was not idle. But the
tubs rolled about by many people are not so in-
nocent as was that of Diogenes, for they are full


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