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"No, sir," said Robert.

"Was it not a great deal sooner than you commonly come home?" said Mr. Jones.

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"Ah, Robert," said Mr. Jones, "that is all very much against you."

His mother thought so too.

But Robert still protested

most earnestly that he was innocent.

"I must search your pockets," said Mr. Jones.

Robert burst out a-crying again, and said, "Indeed, indeed, it is not there."

Mr. Jones made him empty his pockets, and there were two silver half-dollars there. His mother lifted up her hands, and cried out, "O Robert, how came you by them?"

"I came by them honestly, mother," he answered, drying his eyes; "but I did not mean you should know I had them, because I wanted to surprise you by and by. The way I did was this. Sometimes a gentleman would pay me more than enough; and I always laid that by, till I got enough to make half a dollar, and then I changed it for this."

"Who changed it for you?" asked Mr. Jones.

Robert said he could not tell, for it was in a shop as he came home one day, and he did not mind where it was. Mr. Jones shook his head, and did not believe him. He asked him how he came by the other.

"You gave it to me yourself, sir, three weeks ago." "Yes, I remember," said Mr. Jones; "but this one I think you stole. Every thing you say is very unlikely; and besides, Ned saw you."

Mr. Jones then said, that he should consider what ought to be done to such a boy, and went away.

Robert and his mother sat for some time, full of sorrow, but without saying a word. By and by Robert spoke out, "O, how glad I am that there is a God! for now there is one that knows I am innocent. My mother thinks I am a thief, and Mr. Jones thinks so, and every body thinks so. But God knows every thing, and he knows I am not. Every body else hates me, but God loves me just as well as ever." "And if you are innocent, my son," said his mother, "trust him, and he will make your innocence appear." "He knows, too, what a lie Ned Field told," continued Robert. "O, how dreadfully he must feel, to know that God heard him!"

Robert's father and mother had taught him to think much of God, and she was pleased to find that he thought of him now. It made her feel a strong hope that his innocence would be cleared up; but she did not say any thing. She thought it best in all trouble quietly to wait, She was sure that all would be well at last, for she always found that every dark side had its bright side, and that it is never right to despair, or be overcome with trouble.

Robert could not go to the market the next day, because every body thought him a thief. He therefore went to school. But the boys looked hardly at him, and avoided him. It was very hard to bear this, and he burst into tears, and could not pursue his studies. The master saw that something troubled him, and kindly told him that he might go home.

Robert went out, scarcely knowing where he went, till he came to the water side, where some boys were playing on the ice. One of them broke through. The rest were frightened, and, instead of helping him, began to run away. Robert called to them, and begged them to help the boy

out. But they were so frightened, that they could do nothing. Robert got a long pole, and slid it along on the ice, till the end of it reached the boy. He called to him to take hold of the pole and raise himself by it, and in that way the ice would bear him. Robert held the other end, and by great exertions the boy got out safe. It was Ned Field.

"O Robert," said he, "if it had not been for you I should have been drowned."

Ned was so chilled by being long in the cold water, that he was obliged to be carried into a house and put to bed. He was very sick. But when Robert was going away, he called him back, and said,

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"O Robert, you have saved my life; and yet how wicked I have been to you! I thought you was stingy and proud, and so I hated you, and tried to tease you. I spoiled your basket on purpose to plague you, and said you stole the half-dollar when I stole it myself. And now you have saved my life!"

Robert went home with a lighter heart, and told his mother what had happened, and what Ned had said. She told him to observe how God punished the wicked boy, and how unhappy he now must be.

"But perhaps he will be the better for it as long as he lives," she said.

"I dare say he will," said Robert. And as long as Ned was sick, he every day went to see him, and did kind things for him; so that Ned came at last to love him very much. He told every body that Robert was innocent, and for that every body was glad; for all who knew him loved him. They also forgave Ned, because he was penitent; and when he got well, he was ever after a better boy.

Mr. Jones came to see Robert, and shook him heartily by

the hand, and promised to do something which should reward him for his sufferings. He kept his promise; and Robert grew to be a very respectable and excellent man. And as long as he lived, he never forgot the lesson he had learned to trust Providence even in the darkest hour, and

to be always obliging and kind.

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