Lynde Palmer.

Helps over hard places : stories for boys online

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scholar as we have in the school ? ' I declare,
Lois, if my cheeks burned before, I felt this
time as if my whole head had tumbled off


into the stove, and I was choked with the
smoke besides. I couldn't speak for a mo-
ment, but just pretended I had a terrible
cough, and by and by I just managed to
say, —

"'Yes, sir, I don't believe there's a better
fellow in all the world.'

" ' That's all right,' said Mr. Simmons, very
kindly; 'and now I've one more favor to ask
of you. As you and Herbert are such very
good friends, your tastes must be something
alike, and I should like some pleasant Satur-
day to take you with me to the city, to help
me pick out just the right kind of a sled, for
it's a good while since I was a boy, and I'm
afraid I don't know so much about some
things as I did then.'

" I hardly remember what I said, sister, but
pretty soon I was out on the road, thinking I
knew just how that wicked old Hainan felt,
for you see I thought I was the boy Mr. Sim-
mons delighted to honor, and instead of that

I must go to B and pick out a pretty

s'ed for my Mordecai." Pierre's voice shook,
and leaning his hand against the window, he
stared out into the dark, rainy night.

"But, Pierre," said Lois, "I'm sure you're

12- n i: l r s o v E a ii a RD r l a c e b .

not at all like that bad Hainan. You cer-
tainly don't hate your Mordecai."

"No in Joe.l. sister; there's all the comfort
there is in the matter."

" Not at all." cried Lois; "there's some-
thing more. I think it was a very great
lienor for Mr. Simmons to consult you about
the present It Rhowed that he thought you
bad a noble, generous heart, and wore above
all feelings of envy and jealousy."

-•I never U'ought of that? said Pierre,
brightening: "but then, sister." he added
more sadly. "T'm pretty sure he saw what I
was thinking about, and knew just how moan
I was."

" Not bo very moan, after all." said Lois,
smiling. h * f t was kind in you to praise Her-
bert "—

M Why. sister," interrupted Pierre, with a
look of surprise, ki what else could I do '?
Didn't J have to tell the truth ? "

"To be sure," said Lois, smiling still more,
"but I do not believe Mr. Simmons has sueh
a very noor opinion of you. lie knows very
woll how hard it is for a boy who has studied
as \p*»a have, to stand aside, and let some one
e 1c ie take the first place. Ah, yes, little


Pierre, we all have to struggle very hard and
pray a great deal before we can very cheer,
fully ' in honor prefer one another.' "
" But you can do it at last, sister ? "
" Oh, yes ; we can so far conquer our self-
ishness for Christ's sake, that at last we shall
very much prefer other people's happiness to
our own."

Pierre looked thoughtful, but was much
comforted, and so far reconciled to life, that
the call to supper and nice hot cakes was by
no means disregarded.

One pleasant Saturday, a few weeks after,
Pierre rushed in with a bright face.

" Well, sister, it's done at last, I and Mr.
Simmons have bought the sled, and it's a reg-
ular beauty. Its name is 'Rocket,' and it's
the brightest red. Oh, won't Herbert's eyes
snap ! But now, sister, do you think it was
wrong for me to wish for one too ? There
were plenty more beauties in the store, but
tfiey cost money," and little Pierre sighed.
" Never mind," he continued bravely, " Her-
bert is just the best fellow, — and I really do
think at last, that if only one of us could have
it, I would rather it should be he, and I think


I'll give him my little flag, too, so every tiling
will be complete, and people will know the
establishment goes for the 'Union.' And
oh, sister, I almost forgot, — examination will
end Wednesday, and I'm to have the honor
of presenting the sled. But do you know,
I'm afraid Herbert half suspects, for he is in
the greatest spirits, and says he knows some-
thing splendid that's going to happen before
long. Some of the boys have got hold of it,
too, I'm sure, for one of them said to-day,
'There's something going on right under
your nose, Pierre, but Dutch people never
get their eyes open till four o'clock.' I was so
happy I didn't mind it a bit, and only laughed
to think how much wiser I was than any of

The great Wednesday came. Herbert and
Pierre passed very fine examinations, and at
the close Pierre arose to deliver the speech
which had been carefully prepared for the oc-

"Herbert Bell," began Pierre, but (how
awkward !) there was Herbert coming for-
ward too, and beginning, —

" Pierre Vanderberg," —

"Keep still, Herbert," whispered Pierre.


" I am to make a speed), and present you
with a sled/'

"Just exactly what I am to do for you?
whispered back Herbert, with a merry laugh.

Poor bewildered Pierre looked imploringly
at Mr. Simmons, who, rising, said, —

" I believe I shall have to decide this mat-
ter, and say that the sled belongs to Pierre
Vanderbcrg, who has ten more good marks
than Herbert."

" Oh, Mr. Simmons," cried poor Pierre, but
entirely broke down, while Herbert shook
his hand as if it were a pump-handle. Lois
wiped her eyes in a corner, and the boys,
who were all in the secret, made the old
school-room shake with a perfect ten: pest of



It was a rosy morning in June, and the sun,
who had gone to bed very unwillingly the
night before, clinging to the hill-tops with his
long, red fingers some time after his honest
face had disappeared, was back again bright
and early, and seemed to be full of business.
He pricked the eyes of the young robins with
fine golden needles, till they awoke, and
chirped so shrilly for their breakfast, that the
poor mother-bird had to stop short in a beau-
tiful little prayer she was just setting to music,
and hurry down to see if there were any fresh
worms in the bird-market. Then he poured
a shower-bath of light on the heads of the
sleepy flowers, not forgetting to creep under
bread leaves, and touch the shy little violets,
so that the modest blossoms — Cinderellas
among flowers — nodded their heads to each
other in glad surprise at their new golden



crowns, and whispered, " So we arc to bo
princesses, after all."

Then, creeping out again, he met two or
three little girls in the road, and kissing thera
right in the eyes, said, —

" So this is the day for your picnic. I was
in the woods all day yesterday making ready
for you. You'll find a path all emerald and
gold, dry and soft as the parlor carpet, and
I've hung the rocks with moss and flowers,
and I looked so hard at the wild strawberries
that the foolish little things turned red, but
you won't like them any the less for that."

The little girls laughed merrily, and hurry-
ing home, packed their dinner-baskets in such
haste, that Carrie and Jenny Bell had hardly
finished their breakfasts, when the whole
eager party arrived at the garden gate.

"Why, girls," cried Susy Wright, "not
ready yet? Do hurry, for it is a long walk,
and we want to get into the woods before it
grows much warmer."

"It won't take me two minutes," cried
Carrie, but Jenny stood irresolute.

"I am afraid we oughtn't to go."

"Why not, pray?" cried Carrie, sharply.

" Why, you know mother has one of hei


bad headaches coming on, and there's Waltei
and Fred to be taken care of."

"Well, and there's Sally to do it," said

" But you know Sally's sister is very sick,
and mother has given her leave to go home

" How provoking ! " said Carrie, fretfully.
Then she added, after a pause, " But I don't
believe mother's head is very bad, and I'm
sure Fred will be good, and Walter would
help amuse him."

" Walter is almost a baby himself," said
Jenny, " and Fred frets almost all the time
since he's been getting his teeth, poor little

" Fred will be good enough if you're not
here to spoil him," cried Carrie, " and I'll jusi
go and ask mother if she can't get along with-
out us. It would be too bad to keep us in
such a lovely day."

Carrie was back in a few minutes, with a
radiant face. " Mother says we may go. She
can spare us if we are going to enjoy our-
selves so much."

Jenny hesitated. The woods in the dis-
tance looked so misty and pleasant, and


Fred's fretful little cry jarred upon her ear,
while she thought how hard it would be to
amuse him, and keep Walter quiet and happy
through all that warm day. But would it be
any easier for her mother, left all alone witli
her aching head? "No," thought Jenny, "I
can not be so selfish. I should not enjoy my-
self at all."

11 What are you thinking about so long?"
asked Carrie, impatiently. " Come, let's get
our baskets ready."

" I believe I won't go," faltered Jenny.

" Why not ? " cried two or three disap-
pointed voices.

" I can't bear to leave mother so sick."

"What a mean girl you are, Jenny Bell,"
whispered Carrie, angrily. " You want to
make all the girls think you are sitch a saint,
and I am so selfish. That's all you're doing
it for — just to show off."

" No, indeed, Carrie," said Jenny, coloring
deeply ; and turning to the girls, she added,—

" One of us can go just as well as not, and,
of course, as Carrie is the oldest, she has the
best right, and, indeed, I do not believe I
care half as much about it as she does, for she
has been talking about it all the week."


No persuasion could move Jenny, who only
shook her head cheerfully, and insisted that
she did not feel badly at nil, and at last the
impatient little party moved on.

After watching them down the road, with
glistening eyes, for it was really a very great
trial to be left behind, Jenny went back to
the nursery, where her mother sat bathing
her head with camphor, and trying to amuse
the little complaining Fred with some pic-
tures. A look of glad surprise came over
her flushed face, as she heard Jenny's step.

" I thought you were gone to the woods."

" No, mother," said Jenny, trying to speak
carelessly. " I thought I would like to play
housekeeper to-day; and first I am going to
put you to bed with your dreadful headache,
and then Walter and Fred and I are going
to have a nice time out in the arbor."

The happy tears came in Mrs. Bell's eyes
as her kind daughter arranged the pillows
under her throbbing head, and, darkening the
room, stole softly out with Fred and Walter.

But it was no small task that Jenny had
undertaken. Poor baby Fred bit his fingers
with his hot, swollen gums, but as that did
not make matters any better, he threw away,


one after another, flowers, books and play-
things, which patient Jenny brought, and
was quite determined to be a very unhappy
little baby. Then Walter was full of mis-
chief, and could only be kept still with stories,
which poor Jenny told industriously, walking
up and down the garden walk, carrying baby
Fred till she thought her arms would drop

Once in a while a vision crossed her of the
happy party seated in the shady woods,
making crowns, and eating wild strawberries,
but she pushed it bravely aside, and kept on
her tiresome walk, only thinking to herself
that if mother was having a nice rest, she
could bear it a little longer.

The sun grew very hot, but little tyrant
Fred would not be carried into the housej
and as poor Jenny, turning in the path, was
just beginning her seventh story, she saw a
gentleman at the garden gate.

" Could you give me a drink of water, little
lady?" said he, pleasantly, and Jenny, en-
cumbered by the clinging Fred, soon brought
a cool, brimming goblet.

" You look tired," said the gentleman kindly
as he thanked her, and before she knew it —


drawn on by his sympathizing questions —
she had told him all the story of the morn,
ing's trials and disappointments, though for
some reason, she hardly understood herself,
6he never told him she had a sister Carrie,
who had gone to the woods. They had quite
a pleasant talk together, and at last, when
the gentleman went his way, he said, —

" I like you so much, little Jenny, that I
don't want you to forget me ; " and drawing
from his pocket a small book, he begged her
to keep it in memory of his visit, and with a
bright, kind smile, he was gone.

The day wore on. At noon Jenny made
a nice cup of tea for mother, and after feeding
baby with his bread and milk, and giving
busy Walter his dinner, to her great joy,
both children, overcome with heat and fa-
tigue, fell fast asleep.

Now she had time to examine her little
book, which she found very strange and in-
teresting. It told about some pilgrims, going
on a long journey, with heavy crosses on their
backs. They had a great many trials, and
often their way lay through hot, sandy deserts,
so that some of them grew very tired and
sad, and some tried to throw away tbcil


crosses, but others went on very patiently,
always looking as if they saw something
so beautiful just a little way before them,
that they forgot all present sorrow and trouble.
So the story went on, till the pilgrims all
came to a very dark valley, through which
they must pass. Then some of them trem-
bled and grew pale, but others went in sing-
ing, and some of the words of their song
were, "Though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for
Tho? art with me," and suddenly, while they
were singing, the heavy crosses fell from their
backs, and in their stead angels brought them
shining crowns. And there came a voice,
" Father, I will that these whom Thou hast
given me, be with me where I am, that they
may behold my glory." Then the whole
valley was filled with light, the angels
shouted, " They shall see the King in his
beauty," and the happy pilgrims passed
through the everlasting gates into the golden

Jenny's tears fell fast as she finished tho
strange little book, which she could not quite

" My sweet little daughter," said a voice,


and looking up, she saw her mother coming
in at the door, and knew from her eyes that
the bad headache was quite gone. "You
have made me very happy," continued Mrs.
Bell, kissing Jenny's round cheeks. "You
have been so self-sacrificing and patient to-
day, that I am sure my prayers have been
heard, and that one of my little daughters is
learning to take up her cross daily and follow

"Mother," said Jenny, eagerly, "do you
mean that I am a cross-bearer ? "

" You certainly have been to-day," said her
mother, with an affectionate smile.

Jenny burst into happy tears, and held
out her little book. They read it over to-
gether, and Jenny's mother explained it.

"And will all that ever happen to me?"
said Jenny.

" Yes, if you take up your cross daily, and
bear it patiently, you, too, shall see the King
in his beauty."

Carrie came home very cross that night.
She knew she had been selfish, and nothing
had gone right all day, while there sat Jenny,
looking so wonderfully happy. What could


be the reason ? ' "Was she doing it to be pro-
voking ?

The little party stopping at the gate were
very voluble, telling Jenny of the pleasures
of the day. " They never had such a splen-
did time, and had never seen the woods so
beautiful, and so full of birds and flowers.'
But not one of the party was as happy as tho
patient little cross-bearer, for the angels were
singing, "She shall see the King in his beauty,-
and the land that is very far oif."



% w Dear little one," the mother cried, " Oh,
haste ;
Thou must go far before the day be closing.
And take this broth to please old Susan's
taste ;
But softly go, nor startle her reposing ;
Perhaps the poor old woman will be dozing."

lie sweeps his bright curls 'neath his crimson

His sweet eyes dance beneath their silken

lashes ;
" Yet stay, dear child ; if there should chance

The sun so faintly through the cloud-rift

And on the rocks the surf all moaning




"Dear mother, I'll be Great-Heart, do not
My giants will be trees with frost- wreaths
And if the shadows fall before I'm here,

I'll think as he did in that sweet old story, —
That just beyond them lies the gate of glory."

The heavy clouds rolled darkening from the

In angry fire the wintry day was dying,
No child was resting on the mother's breast,

As still she listened to the wild wind sighing,
And heard the sullen breakers hoarse replying.

She prayed, "O Father, do thine angels
On earth's far corners, now so dim and
dreary ?
Oh, bid them hold these winds, that over land
And sea they blow not, with their sob-
bings eerie ;
They frighten him, his little feet grow weary."

The child came smiling through the blinding
He thought the whirling snow but angels,


Fair spiritr-robes to deck his waxen form.
The wild wind softened to a low, swtet
And through the air strange golden bells

The mother wandered, crying through the
" Oh, guide him home, this child thy love
has given."
Then swept an angel, glowing from God's
And smiled so soon to find the child storm-
Though such as he are never far irom heaven.

She knelt beside him in the morning mist,
Above him rev'rent leaned the tree-tops
The lips were smiling Death so lately kissed,
For night was passed, as in the sweet old
And just beyond it lay the gate of glory.



It was the close of a warm day in the lat-
ter part of August, and little Franz Hoffruus-
ter was playing in the cottage door with his
baby sister Karine. His older sister Therese
was busy clearing away the evening meal, and
his brother Robert was industriously carving
curious wooden spoons, and knives and forks,
to sell to travelers whom his father might
guide over the mountains ; for you must
know that these four children lived in a lit-
tle Swiss chalet, or cottage, at the foot of
some famous mountains; and when little
Franz lifted his eyes, he did not see a row
of nice brick houses, three stories high, but,
instead of these, high mountains stretched
their grand old heads up into the very sky.
The mother of those little Swiss children had
died more than a year ago ; and as they were
poor, sister Therese, who was only twelve



years old, had been the little housekeepei
ever since.

Now, when I tell you that the father had
gone to guide some travelers over the moun-
tains, and would not be back till the next
day, I think you will feel quite well ac-
quainted with this pleasant family, and will
like to hear a little more about them. It was
sunset, and Franz, quite tired of play, leaned
his head against Therese's knee, and fixed his
gentle bine eyes upon the glittering mountain-

" Do you remember, brother," said she, at
length, " what the little English boy's father
said, the night he was here ? "

"No. What did he say?"

" Why, we were looking at the sunset, and
it was just as beautiful as it is to-night; for it
seemed as if all the mountain-tops were on
fire, and you could imagine the strangest
things. At last I thought it must be like
some of the grand, far-away cities of which
the travelers so often talk. So I went up to
the good gentleman and said, —

" 'Does it look like London, sir? '

"I do not think he heard me; for he just
kept his eyes fixed upon the mountains, and


he locked as if lie saw something \ery won-
derful a great way off. And while I was try-
ing to think what it was, he stretched out his
hands so slowly, and said, softly, —

" ' Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be
ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the
King of Glory shall come in.' These were
the very words, for I learned them afterwards
from my little book."

"Well," broke in little Franz, breathlessly,
"what happened then? Did you see any
door or gate, sister, and did any king come

" No," said Therese, thoughtfully. "I could
not think what the good gentleman meant ;
for he only looked straight into the beautiful
red sunset, and I had seen it just the same
often before. But he looked so long and so
earnestly that I began to be afraid that some-
thing was going to happen. So I took hold
of his hand and said, ' Please, sir, do you
see any gate, and will the king soon come

I had to ask him two or three times before
he heard me; and then ho looked down so
kindly, and smiled with his eyes, but did not
Bay an}' thing at first. So I asked again, —


" ' Is it your king, sir ? '

"'Yes, little Therese, my King,' said he.

"'Is it the king of England?' I asked.

"'No;' and he smiled a little more

"'The king of France?'


"'Ah! the king of Sweden, then?'

"'No, little Therese,' said he. 'It is tho
« King of Glory."'

"'And where is "Glory," sir?' I asked.
' Is it fir away behind the mountains, and is
it very near England ? '

"'No,' said he, smiling more and more.
'It is no nearer England than Switzerland.
But all good people are coming towards it
every day, and the journey will not be long;
but bad people are always going farther and
farther away.' "

" Well, sister," said Franz, slowly, " I tried
to do right to-day. Neighbor Ulrich was
just going up the mountain with his mule?
and a heavy load of bread and fruit, when
the mule fell, and every thing tumbled over
the ground. Ah, how angry he was ; and
when I first ran up, he struck at me with his
whip, for he thought I only meant to trouble


" The cross old fellow," interrupted Robert.
"I would have thrown everything over the
rocks if I had been there."

" Ah, no," said the gentle Therese. " Then
you would have been as bad as he. I hope
you were kind, little Franz."

" Yes," said Franz, " after a while. But at
first, all sorts of bad thoughts came tumbling
into my head, and I wanted to call him an
ugly name. But I held my breath, just as
you told me, sister, and shut my teeth hard ;
and pretty soon I felt sorry for him again, and
helped him till every thing was picked up."

"And what did he say then?" asked The-

"Oh! he said I was not as bad as some

" The old curmudgeon ! " cried Robert.
" Not so bad as some boys, indeed ! Were
those all the thanks you got ? "

"Well," said Therese, soothingly, "he i3 a
poor, lonely man, and has no children to love
him and make him smile. I am very glad
Franz helped him."

"Do you think I came any nearer to
Glory?" whispered Franz, with great ear-


"I hope you did," replied Therese. "But
Robert must not be left behind. We must
ask the great King to guide us, and to-mor-
row we will all go on together."

" The gates are shutting up now, are they
not, sister?" said little Franz, as the beauti-
ful rosy light paled in the west, and the old
mountain-tops stood cold and solemn against
the clear sky.

" Let us go in," added Robert. " The night
wind is cold from the ravines, and I'm sleepy
and tired."

"And I," said little Franz, rubbing his
misty blue eyes.

Karine was already sleeping, with her fat
hand under her rosy cheek; and in a short
time the cottage door was bolted, and all
these little children, snug in their beds, were
on their way to dream-land.

Therese had not slept very long, when she
felt a sudden shock, as if something had
struck the little chalet and made it tremble
all over.

"What is that?" murmured little Franz,

"Is it morning already?" sighed poor tired


But Therese did not know what it could
be ; and while she was still trying to think,
her heavy eyelids drooped, and she was soon
fast asleep.

Two or three times she awoke again, and
wondered if it were not almost morning ; but
it was dark as midnight, and she would try
to compose herself again. But at last she
became so broad awake that she rose up in
bed and tried to look around the room. " It
must be a very dark night," she thought to
herself, "for almost always the stars give a
little light. I wonder how I happened to
wake so early."

Just then little Franz spoke, in a very
weary voice, — " Dear Therese, when will it

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Online LibraryLynde PalmerHelps over hard places : stories for boys → online text (page 6 of 10)