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for many years. And, in deep contrition and humiliation, "he arose and came to his Father." When, with trembling knees, he offered his first prayer, he was not alone. The good old general, whose words had awakened conviction in his heart, was by his side, and prayed with him and for him. For years afterwards there was not a more gallant officer in all our Indian campaigns. Foremost wherever and whenever duty called, he was the gentlest of all officers with his men. With a courage that drew its strength from silent and frequent communings with the Most High, he could afford to smile at the few who called him "Methodist" because he followed his father's example in praying with and preaching to his regiment. Having attained the rank of major, he was compelled through a dangerous wound — which any man in his regiment would gladly have received instead of him—to return home on sick leave. To his mother he seemed the image of the husband she had lost, and as he blessed and comforted her declining years, the sweet promise often occurred to her, "Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days."
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Jjandon! Sandon !" cried out a porter, as the train
drew up at a small station on one of our great
lines of railway.
"That's a comfort at last!" exclaimed a young
man, as he put his hand under the seat and drew out a
small black leather bag, which contained all his luggage.
Not waiting till the carriage-door was opened for him, he opened it for himself, and the train had scarcely stopped when he sprang out upon the platform.
The train was a slow one—indeed only slow trains
stopped at Sandon; and that night, for some reason or
other, it was half an hour behind its time. As it had crept
along, calling at every station, Edward Bowmer had fretted very impatiently. "What weary work!" he said, again and again. "Shall we ever be there to-night?"
Edward Bowmer had accepted an invitation from Mr. Carwood, who was an old friend and a distant relation of his father, to spend with him New Year's day, and as long afterwards as he might find convenient. Mr. Carwood lived in the country, about two miles from the Sandon station.
It was New Year's eve, and Mr. Carwood had earnestly desired Edward to go, if possible, on that evening, and had also promised to meet him on his arrival. In reply, Edward had told his friend that he feared he would be unable to reach Bamgill before New Year's morning. He was a clerk in a large bank, and the close of the year was one of their busiest times, as they prepared to make up the yearly balance. He promised, however, to write if he found that he could get away earlier. Unexpectedly he found that he could do so, and he had written to Mr. Carwood accordingly.
Of course Edward expected to find Mr. Carwood waiting for him; but he was not there, nor was there any one in his stead. He waited till everybody had left the platform save a solitary porter, who, observing his perplexity, went up to him very civilly and said,
"May be, sir, you are expecting somebody to meet you?"
"Thank you," Edward replied; "I am—I was, rather, for I think I may give it up, especially as the train is so much behind its time. They would have been here before now, I think, if they had been coming at all."
"If I may be so bold, sir," said the man, "may I ask where you want to go?"
"I want to get to Bamgill—to Mr. Carwood's," replied Edward.
"If it's Mr. Carwood you are expecting, sir," said the porter, "I'm almost certain there is some mistake: he's always so punctual when he expects anybody."
"Well," said Edward. " I must just do the best way I can, and find my way by myself. I suppose it is only about two miles?
"I don't think it's more than that, sir, the near way," replied the porter; "and that's the way Mr. Carwood always comes; but it's an awkward sort of road, sir, and I would hardly recommend you to take it as you're a stranger, and it's dark. You had perhaps better go by the road?"
"How much further is it by the road?" asked Edward.
"Well, sir," replied the man, "it's a good three miles."
"That means, I suppose, nearly four," said Edward "I think I'll take the near way, as you call it. I've spent such a dreary time on my journey already, that I don't feel disposed to spend a bit longer on the way than I can help; and I have good eyes and a tolerably sure foot. Will you be kind enough to tell me which is the way?"
The man gave Edward the desired information, and Edward thought he understood it perfectly, and set off.
At first he got on very well; but as he proceeded, a thick mist gathered, and he could scarcely see more than a yard or two before him. At length he lost the path, which was little better than a track across a patch of moorland. He wandered about for a little time in complete bewilderment, till by-and-by he came to a dead stand. Just then he heard the sound of voices: and in a few moments more he saw a glimmering light. Never in all his life had light or human voice been so welcome. "Hallo ! Hallo !" he cried immediately, with all his might.
"Hallo! Hallo!" was the reply. "Whoever you are, as you love your life, don't take another step, or you may be dashed to pieces! Wait till I bring the light!"
Edward did as he was directed; and very soon the speaker was at his side. It was Mr. Carwood.
"Thank God !" he said; "it is all right now. Only just in time, however. Give me your hand. I'll show you some other time where you were going."
In twenty minutes more, Edward was seated at Mr. Carwood's bright fireside.
The reason of Mr. Garwood's non-appearance at the Sandon station in time to meet Edward was soon explained. The postman had, by mistake, left Edward's letter that morning at the house of Mr. Crawford, a gentleman who lived about a mile and a half distant from Mr. Carwood's. The similarity of the names had deceived him. It so happened that Mr. Crawford was not at home that morning, and did not arrive till evening; but as soon as he reached home, he sent the letter to Mr. Carwood, who, accompanied by one of his servants, set off immediately. They were only just in time.
It may now be explained that Edward Bowmer was the son of an old and valued friend of Mr. Carwood, who had died in the prime of life. Mr. Carwood had interested himself greatly on behalf of his friend's family; and it was through his good offices that Edward had obtained his situation in the bank. It had grieved him, however, to hear that Edward was scarcely as thoughtful as could be desired, and that he had formed some companionships which were very likely to lead him astray. It was with the desire to afford him a pleasant holiday that Mr. Carwood had invited him to Bamgill; but still more with the hope that he might find an opportunity of speaking to him kindly and faithfully.
On some accounts, Edward Bowmer would rather not have gone to Bamgill. He knew that Mr. Carwood was a sincere Christian, and that although he was very kind, he had the strongest disapproval of all that was evil. Edward felt, too, that his kindness, both to himself and to his mother and sisters, gave Mr. Carwood a right to speak to him with something like authority. From a few words which Mr. Carwood had dropped in one of his letters, moreover, Edward had reason to suspect that he had heard something about him which was not quite satisfactory. On the whole, Mr. Carwood was one of the last men with whom Edward desired just then to have any close conversation.
Other reasons, however, weighed with him. He was restless and dissatisfied—dissatisfied with himself. Conscience told him, although he did his very utmost to silence its voice, that he was not living as he ought to live. Besides, he had contracted some debts which he saw no means of paying within the required time. His mother, as he well knew, could not afford to help him, and his salary was only just sufficient, and that with strict economy, to supply his actual necessities. He had looked around him in all directions, but he could see no one likely to afford him assistance except Mr. Carwood; and yet he did not know how to ask him. He would go to Bamgill, however, and perhaps an opportunity might arise when he could mention the matter.
The morning after his arrival—New Year's morningMr. Carwood proposed that they should take a walk The mist of the previous night had completely gone, and it was as fine a winter's day as you could wish to see. Edward gladly assented, and Mr. Carwood led the way, till at length they reached the spot where he had found Edward the night before. To his horror, the latter found that he had been within two yards of the brink of a precipice which had a sheer descent of not less than fifty feet A few steps more, and he must inevitably have been dashed in pieces.
"A narrow escape!" said Edward, turning pale as he looked down on the sharp, rugged boulders at the bottom, on which had he fallen, he must have been instantly killed. "About as narrow an escape as ever man had!"
"Thank God, Edward," said Mr. Carwood, "that we arrived in time to save you. It was no chance, but His great and sparing goodness!"
Just then, they descried a party of friends coming along the path. They were chiefly young people whom Mr. Carwood had invited to dine with him. He had no children of his own living; but both Mrs. Carwood and himself had great delight in the society of young people, and it was their custom on New Year's day to have a tolerably large party. They spent a very pleasant afternoon and