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you are able to say,



BLIND AMOS. 93

My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of thine,

While like a penitent I stand
And there confess my sin.'

" For, you see, the FOURTH velvet letter is
this : l God does not IMPUTE our trespasses to us'
when we are reconciled to him. How strange
and amazing ! The prosecutor would forgive
the prisoner, but the prisoner will not forgive
the prosecutor ! The injurer fancies that he
is injured ! The murderer won't forgive the
murdered man ! That is just your case before
God. ' Be ye reconciled to God.' If you are
reconciled to God, and God is reconciled to
you, I am sure you will not be on bad terms
with man. You will see so clearly that the
worst place you can be in is far better than
your deserts and deservings, that, so far from
doing unjustly or unkindly to man, you will
bear the unkindness of men towards you, be-
cause you have offended against God, and you
will get back again to your Father's palace,
to the old mansion ; and you will be at peace ;
for l whosoever dwelleth in love dwelleth in
God, and God in him. 1 "



94 BLIND AMOS.



VIII.

0ft anb Jirm.



IT has been often thought that persons like
blind Amos, who take the world smoothly and
act towards it lovingly, are weak and frail
creatures, yielding and bending to every im-
pression, and irresolute before all strong in-
fluences. But this is a great mistake; and
one of Amos's favourite proverbs was, " Pliable
boughs stand most storms." "Act," said he,
"always on the velvet principle, soft but
firm."

It was very difficult to be angry with him,
but it was a still more difficult thing to move
him. He was no hair-splitter. He would
right cheerfully and willingly yield a point or
an impression, or acknowledge himself to be
wrong ; but in the matters by which he regu-
lated his general conduct, in the great articles
of his faith and the great outlines of his prac-



BLIND AMOS. 95

tice, lie was a most resolute and unyielding
man. "No," he would say: "water is soft
but unstable : you may drag any thing through
it. We must be like velvet, soft but firm"

And several times in the course of his life
Amos had his firmness tested. Once he worked
for an ungodly man, who frequently wanted
work done on the Sabbath. He had always
allowed Amos to spend his day uninterrupted,
without ever proposing to him what he knew
must be a violation of his principle and prac-
tice. At last, however, he commanded his pre-
sence at the workshop on the Sabbath-day.

" You know, sir," said Amos, "it is im-
possible."

" Then," said he, " it is impossible for me to
employ you on Monday."

" I am very sorry," said Amos. " The place
suits me very well, and I hope I suit you very
well ; but we ought to obey God rather than
man." And so he left. But early on Monday
morning his master sent for him, and con-
fessed that it was only a trial of his principles.
On Amos's part there was not a single word
to recall : he returned to his employment; but
this incident did not diminish his faith in his
velvet doctrine, soft but firm.



96 BLIND AMOS.

And it was a constant doctrine of Amos's
that it is a much harder thing to forbear than
to fight, easier to revenge than to endure. The
depth of his character was not known. There
is a strange disposition to suspect the man
who walks in a plainer path than his neigh-
bours. His neighbours could not bear his
short sententious stories and wise and witty
sayings. They felt his superiority, and de-
termined to contest it. They knew his gentle
life, and they systematically sought to do him
an ill turn when the opportunity offered. They
stole the apples from his little orchard. They
drove the pigs at night into his little garden.
If they saw him coming along the road, some
of the more wild would set up a hymn in mock-
ery. These were not pleasant occurrences,
and some of them left Amos much poorer;
but he walked unrepiningly along. It was
many a time a sore grief to himself and his
wife ; but he suffered in silence.

These were Amos's worst days. His dinners
were very scant and poor ; but, like many other
poor people, his wife aimed to provide some-
thing better than usual on the Sunday. Not
far from his cottage was the home of ou.e of
the reprobates who had been his chief per-



BLIND AMOS. 97

secutor, and in the midst of his persecution
his wife fell ill. Amos's wife was the only
person near and willing to render the little
necessary neighbourly offices; and, when the
poor creature recovered, every day, and espe-
cially every Sunday, Amos cut off, and his
wife ran in with, a nice morsel of dinner be-
fore they sat down to their own. At last the
husband relented. He came to Amos with
tears in his eyes.

"I'll tell you what it is," said he: "I've
been more a brute than a man, and I can't do
you much good now; but I'll say this, them
that seek to injure you shall injure me first;
and when the potato-digging comes on, I can
give you two or three work-days in your gar-
den, and I will."

But it was the last of the persecution. That
night at prayer Amos said, '"Thou wilt keep
him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on
thee, because he trusteth in thee.' ' When a
mans ways please the Lord, he maketh even
his enemies to be at peace with him. 1 I think,"
said he to his wife, "we should thank God for
our velvet lesson. It is best, although it is
hardest, to be soft and firm."

But this was before Amos became blind.



98 BLIND AMOS.

Afterwards, on one occasion, a wild young man
in the neighbourhood, who knew that Amos
was alone, entered his cottage, and, as he was
aware that he usually had a few ten-dollar
pieces in his little tin box, he came to demand
them, and thought there would be very little
difficulty in making Amos yield. He entered
quietly, locked the door, and put the key in
his pocket.

"That isn't you, Melly," said Amos. No
reply. "That is Tom Wilson," said Amos,
relying confidently on his strange, instinctive
senses. " What do you want ? Why do you
not speak ?"

" I'll tell you what I want, old man," said
the hardened reprobate. " I know you've got
some money here, and I want it ; and we all
know your word's as good as your oath : so I
must have you to promise that you will not
say who has been here."

"Well, Tom, so it's come to this, has it,
my poor lad ? Eh ! dear, dear ! to think of it.
Well, we are all of us born, and none of us
buried : Lord, to whom shall we go but unto
thee ?"

"Now, I say, old fellow, I'm not going to
let you stand preaching there till somebody



BLIND AMOS. 99

comes in : so tip us your word, and out with
the shiners."

"Why, Tom, do you really mean to say
that you have the idea of robbing and mur-
dering your old neighbour and teacher?"
And the old man rolled his sightless eyes on
the young sinner, who, perhaps, felt more the
power of those lightless balls than if they had
been alive with light.

" I will tell y6u this, certainly," said the
old man, as composed as if he had been talking
to a friend : " I will neither give you my money
nor my word ; and, if you consult your own
safety, you will be off from hence at once."
The bully and the thief began to talk of his
pistol, which was lying on the table, and his
hand upon it ; but Amos laughed at this.

" Nonsense !" said he : " you are not the stuff
murderers are made of, I think and hope.
But you have to-night put a black spot on
your soul, which many years will not wipe
away. Your drinking and card-playing, Tom,
have brought you to a terrible passage in your
life." Tom became frantic; he swore, he
cursed. " Give me the money," he said. But
Amos was wise enough to know that passion
is the sign of conscious weakness, and he



100 BLIND AMOS.

acted on his knowledge, and he became pro-
portionably calm and mild as Tom became
furious. "No, no, my lad," said he, "I shall
give you no money : if it were to save you, I
would give it to you ; if it could bless your
mother, who wept and prayed for you so often
when you were a little lad, I might do so; but
I will give you no money to help you to hell.
As to me," and I think I can see how the old
man looked as he said it, so noble and strong
in his hale old age, " ' I am not my own, I am
bought with a price;' and if this is my Mas-
ter's moment, I am ready to be offered. Ah,
Tom, I would gladly give up my body to save
your soul. God has not spared these hairs to
become gray and to cover them with dishonour;
and if I gave you money, or gave you my
word, I should be a dishonoured coward, Tom.
You see, as it is, I am the brave man, though
old and blind, and you are the coward."

Tom began to sneak away. Old Amos heard
1;he key put into the lock, and the door open-
ing. He stepped to the door. " Now," said he,
"stop a moment." Poor Tom was in fright;
he thought an alarm and seizure were certain.
But the hand of old Amos was kindly laid on
his shoulder. "Now," said he, "you may de-



BLIND AMOS. 101

pend on me. I will mention to no one the black
deed of this night; but let us pray together,
and praise together. We have both cause for
it. If I can help you, come to me to-morrow.
'I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge, my
God, in him will I trust.' He hath given his
angels charge concerning us both : he hath
saved you from the blacker sin, and me from
death. And perhaps it may not be unnatural
for you to recollect, Tom, that the victory
will always be their's who are able, leaning on
divine help, to be soft and firm."

The story oozed out principally through
Tom himself. He had not kept his counsel in
going, and his failure was noised among those
who knew of the attempt. It was Amos him-
self who helped him to go abroad, where he
commenced a new course of life and continues
to this day. He too tells the story, but in
the third person, and always winds up in
praise of the undaunted old gray-haired man
who was at once soft and firm.



102 BLIND AMOS.



IX.

Cotton



AMOS BLAKE was an epicure in his sensa-
tion of touch. He preferred passing his fingers
over an inch of silk velvet to passing them
over yards of cotton velvet. I sometimes took
him a piece of velvet in which I could not de-
tect any difference, but he would often say,
" Ah, my boy, it's only cotton. 1 ' It wanted the
smooth, soft pile, to run his fingers over
which was, to him, the truest luxury he had.
This piece of fine velvet was every thing to
Amos ; it was what good wine or good eating
are to some, or fine flowers to others ; and he
linked some of his moralities to this side
of. his taste, too, and would indulge himself in
thoughts on the importance of having real
things about us. Silk velvet was to him real
velvet, and cotton velvet was only sham and
counterfeit. He detected the difference by a



BLIND AMOS. 103

single touch, and a shade of disappointment
passed over his features as he drew his hand
away, and said, "It is only cotton: it is not
real, it is not real!"

I often had the honour of taking Amos by
the hand and walking with him to places he
did not so well know, and I was sometimes
greatly amused by speeches which /only heard
and understood, for he had a hieroglyphical
way, sometimes, of uttering his proverbs and
his thoughts. Once, I remember, he was
called to go to pray with a .poor man who was
very ill, dying, indeed ; and we were in the
room together, when in swept Miss Buckham,
in all the glory of silk and satin. She was a
lady who had taken up the work of charity as
a business, and followed it as such. I will not
dare to say how much or how little she fol-
lowed her pursuits with the genuine feelings
of love; but she talked very loud, made a
great noise, and inquired after the poor with
great dignity and condescension. I saw that
all this mock philanthropy was not very plea-
sant to Amos, of whom Miss Buckham took not
the slightest notice ; but, as she was sweeping
out of the room with the same rustle with
which she entered, I caught the half-spoken



104 BLIND AMOS.

words muttered to himself by Amos, "Cotton
velvet; cotton velvet ."

Another time, as we were going along the
road, some gentleman met us. I think by his
appearance he must have been a clergyman,
he spoke to Amos so warmly.

"I have heard of you so often/' he said,
"I have quite longed to see you."

"I am usually at home, on Warley Com-
mon," said Amos.

"Oh ! oh! you live there still, I believe, do
you ?"

" Yes, sir, I have lived there twenty years.
I knew the house before I was blind ; I can
see it written in my mind's and heart's eye : I
hope to die there."

" Yes, yes : it's a very pretty place, I dare
say. I often wish you had a more comfort-
able home, more lively and commodious and
healthy."

" You honour me, sir, by thinking of me so
often," said Amos, "but it would be indeed a
misery to me if I had what you call a more
comfortable home. A palace or a mansion
would be to me as miserable as it would be to
a bird to be compelled to live in either without
a nest."



BLIND AMOS. 105

"Ah, well, well yes I dare say. Good-
morning." And away went the clergyman;
while Amos, too, walked away, muttering,
"Cotton velvet; cotton velvet."

When Jim Miles lost his horse, a subscrip-
tion was got up for him to buy another, as he
was a worthy man ; and Amos gave him some-
thing.

"Have you been to the Squire's?" said Amos
to Jim.

"Yes."

"And did he give you any thing?"

"Why, no; but he said he was very sorry,
and he hoped it would be made up, and he
did not doubt it would."

"Ay: I thought so," said Amos. "Cotton
velvet; cotton velvet."

He was not misanthropic. He believed
thoroughly in the reality of some men; but
he had travelled far away from home, and
seen a great deal of men and of the world,
and he looked at things with a very clear and
shrewd mind, although he had a sightless eye.
He abominated all pretence, all seeming and
sham. "What," said he, "is the use of reli-
gion if it gives us only plated pewter? our
life must be as gold tried in the fire." " My



106 BLIND AMOS.

little children, ' he would sometimes say, " let
us not love in word only, but in deed and in
truth."

"BEBEAL! BE BEAL] I have travelled
into large towns ; and when, years ago, I went
there and looked up at the shops, I thought,
' Why, the men who live here are princes ;
what riches there must be !' Sometimes I
worked in their parlours, drawing-rooms, and
bedrooms. There were such pictures, such
hangings, such plate. There was a carriage
at the door, perhaps, and such a staff of ser-
vants. I recollect just such a place: it was
all splendour: a short time afterwards the
owner of all came to nothing, and could not
pay a tenth of his debts. It was all very
splendid cotton velvet ; there was no reality in
the show. I went home that night so hum-
bled, and yet so thankful ! I looked round
my little room, and blessed God that all there
was indeed mine, that, although I was a
labourer, no one could say that I had ever
set up for more than a labourer; and, as I
and my wife kneeled down that night, I prayed
that God would ' turn away mine eyes from
beholding vanity,' and make and keep me
true, honest and real.



BLIND AMOS. 107

" In religion I was always afraid of great
professions. I always felt that I was safest
with the very quiet members of our little
church. A man cannot help his temperament.
Some men must speak louder than others;
some men have an eloquent tongue in preach-
ing and prayer : a man cannot help that. He
is no more to be blamed for it, nor praised for
it, than for the colour of his hair, or his
height. But what watchfulness it needs !
How much it increases the probability of care-
lessness and inconsistency! All height is
dangerous. I have heard men talk, when
abroad, and found out such a difference at
home that I have been frightened. Here, too,
it seemed as if men had in religion an out-of-
door and an in-door suit ; and the out-of-door
looked so fine to view, so gaudy, till I took it
into my hands in their own houses ; and then
I was compelled to say that the two dresses
were quite different, that the Sunday and out-
of-door dress was at best but cotton velvet, and
the home dress scarcely so good as that.

"Oh, what tricks and adventures I have
been compelled to notice, from my humble
post of observation ! On the occasion of the
late election, one of the candidates called on



108 BLIND AMOS.

me to ask me to give him my vote. I should
have given it to him if he had not called ; but
he expressed so much interest in my health,
so much regard for my opinions, so much
value for my good esteem, my garden was so
pretty and my house so pleasant, that I could
not repress some warm speeches.

" l Why,' said I, ' you must surely forget I am
an old man. I have been a day-labourer. I
have accumulated a little money, and you
have heard that I am an eccentric old man.
I am so eccentric that I always think less of
certain people at election-times than at any
other. Forgive, my friend, a plain word from
a poor, old, blind day-labourer. Let your
robes be of a substantial kind, and not of cot-
ton velvet.' It was very much to his honour
that he shook hands with me heartily, and,
I fancy, walked thoughtfully away. It was a
bold word I spoke ; but I was indignant to
think that he should suppose me to be bought
by a few smooth words.

"When you grow up into life, you will find
a word in common use, the word 'respect-
able;' but you must not suppose that that
always is respectable which is called so. Many
people, with all their finery, are only as 'fine



BLIND AMOS. 109

as a dung-heap stuck with primroses,' 'as
elegant as a sow elegantly saddled.' I never
could understand very well where the pleasure
is of trying to make people "believe our dress
is of silk velvet, when we ourselves know it is
only cotton. There may be a pleasure in per-
suading myself; but, if I cannot persuade or
impose on myself, to what avail is it that I
persuade or impose on all other people ? No ;
say what they will, to me it's cotton still. I
have heard of ladies blazing at ball-rooms
in false diamonds; painting their faces to
appear to have a fine natural colour, which
they had not; affecting a poor appetite in
company, and eating in private like a plough-
boy. I have heard of gentlemen wearing all
sorts of falsehoods, false breasts to their
coats, false hair, false teeth, false eyes, false legs,
and living in false style and keeping up false
appearances. My dear young reader, all this
may never be in your way ; but you may re-
collect that all falsehood is falsehood, and no-
thing is respectable but truth. There is no
plaiting nor painting; there it is reality. And
is it not best to aim to feel that in all things ?
Perhaps there is no coward like the man who
is living constantly in the fear of some expo-



110 BLIND AMOS.

sure, who is constantly aiming to appear what
he is not, and to move in society for which he
is unfit. It is not pleasant for a man to feel,
Here they all suppose that I am a reel of silk,
but I know that I am only a ball of eottonj
after all.

"There is no disgrace in any being poor or
being ignorant, when we were born in the
stations of life where poverty and ignorance
are a birthright and heirloom ; but to assume
to be what we are not, that is disgraceful.

" On my mantel-shelf there stood for a long
time a piece of rough Cornish granite, and
near to it a piece of beautiful white marble ;
and one day I heard, as I thought, the granite
and the marble quarrelling together. Granite
said that he was of the very oldest family of
the earth, which was true enough. He said
that he was far more beautiful than marble ;
that the finest pieces of statuary had been
carved out of him; that he was more light
and elegant; and a great many other very
nonsensical things. Now, we all know that
old granite is the best fellow in the world,
in his way ; but his setting himself up for marble
was truly ridiculous, and I heard marble take
him down famously. He said, 'For a bridge,



BLIND AMOS. Ill

or a building, Mr. Granite, I give in to you,
and for the oldness of your family I give in to
you; but we each have our own world and
work : you are a fine, hard-grained fellow, but
you are not fit exactly to make a statue for
Westminster Abbey. If you set up for what
you are not, people will find fault with you
for what you are. If you are true to what
you are, people will not expect you to be what
you are not/

"All things have their place; plush and
cotton velvet have their's, and they look very
well at a distance, but they are not pleasant
to feel. Whenever I meet with a very coarse
and unkind man, I think of plush; whenever
I meet with a hollow lover of appearances, I
think of cotton ; but whenever I meet with a
true-hearted and real man, I think of silk
velvet.. Wear it long as you like, it is still
silk. Be real."



10



112 BLIND AMOS.



X.



" I ONCE," said Amos, " saw a suit of armour,
such as O ne warriors used to wear in the old
time, and I could not but admire its ease as
well as its strength. The whole of it was
lined with velvet, soft and pleasant to the
wearer, but without was the hard, shining,
polished iron, or steel. It was velvet in
armour, and, I thought, a fine image of that
all-enduring, all-conquering, long-suffering pa-
tience which, like love, can bear all things,
and hope all things, and endure all things.
Patience has the two sides of virtue, softness
and hardness, as I said before, velvet in ar-
mour. It is ' in our patience' we 'possess our
souls.' We have need of patience. How hard
it is to learn the lesson, ' Your strength is to
sit still 7 How easy life is to the patient man !
on the contrary, how hard to the impatient



BLIND AMOS. 113

man ! To the patient man, the trials of life
are like a suit of velvet guarded by iron ; to
the impatient man, they are like the suit of
iron without the velvet. We all have need of
patience : it is the armour of life, and all
weapons in one. Nothing seems to harm the
patient man. He turns all harm to good, and
out of his adversities he makes a ladder by
which he mounts higher towards heaven.

"I knew an old woman, Peggy Morr'son we
called her, and I fancy nobody ever did see
her put out of temper or ruffled in any way.
Tell her what you would that seemed to be at
all likely to grieve her, she always said, ' If we,
wait, we shall see' She certainly fulfilled the
apostolic injunction, she judged nothing before
the time. f If we wait, we shall see. 1 If you
told her any story to any person's disrepute,
and wound it up, as would be very likely, with,
'What do you think of that, Peggy?' she re-
plied, promptly, ' Ah, well, if we wait, we shall
see.' When her child lay ill of the fever, she
was in a sad way, for she loved the bairn very
much; but, while the child was in pain, she "was
resigned ; and when it died, and her eyes were
streaming with tears, she still said, ' Well, if
we wait, we shall see.' There are many things



114 BLIND AMOS.

we can only see when we are patient. The
impatient man is like a farmer who sows his
seed and expects a crop, but continues plough-
ing and disturbing the earth every month or
week: the earth needs rest, if it is to put
forth its growth; and we must allow our
spirits to rest, if they are to see the meaning
of their sorrows. A disquieted heart is like a
turbid atmosphere, and it interferes with the
clear vision of the best things.

"I know as well as anybody that patience
does not come by preaching about it, but we
cannot too often repeat to ourselves that we
have 'need of patience.' I went to see old
Tommy Long, the rich old man, who was so
afraid to die. The doctor was there to see
him too.

" ' Doctor,' said he, ' am I any better ?'

" ' Yes, you are,' said the doctor. ' You
ought to know it.'

" ' I cannot get up,' said he.

" ' No ; but you are better.'

" ' I don't sleep much more.'

" ' No, but you do sleep more, and I say
you are better. But I must get you to take
another kind of medicine, that I have not sent
you yet/



BLIND AMOS. 115

"'Why, what is that?'

" ' Patience. You'll not get well at all if
you do not take more patience. It is the best
of all medicine, for it makes all other medicine
effective.'

" An impatient man is like one struggling
to be free from the slip-noose of a rope, which
in proportion to his struggles fastens more
and more firmly and painfully upon him. It
is in our exertions to escape that we feel more
the painfulness of our bondage. We never so
much need to fulfil the injunction to 'quit


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