|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Light after Darkness|
OHAPTER IV. "These are the tihings that fret away 'the heart Cold, cureless trifles; but not felt the less For mingling with the hourly acts of life." -L.E.L. "I ex pect a row bo-night," said Bob to himself, as he put his tools away. "It's a queer world, and the people who live in it seem to be all against one another. Neow I am quite sure. my father wCll be rough on me for answer ing Mr. Roberts; but could I bear it? He orders me about, calls me lazy, and expe?ts mei to submit like a lalmb. Well, I wnoa't IFilbmii, fod that's all about it. If ,father had been wise, *he would never 'have kept me to this sort of thing. But there! I know it must end soon. Every one' on the farm calls me lazy, and the best of It is, I am ent lazy; for if I wished I could do as mu~el as Any of them; but I know I'm built for something better. As I maid to Miss Elsie, I've a soul above work like this." Bob was right i:n his expectation. Whon the evening came he was cen sured by his father, who had been, in formed by Mr. Roberts of his extraor dinary language. Mr. Smith did not spealk unkindly, but there was some thing +7n. his tone that irritated Bob beyond endurance. "It is easy to understand, father," he said, "that you wish me to leave home. Well, let me go away. Give me some money. You know I have saved a little, but not enough. My time is wasted here, and my life wretched." "Yes," saiid Mr. Smith, sadly. "That is true enough, and I fear you must go somewhere, and learn a trade. God knows it is hard for me to send you away, for you are my only child, and I shall be alone when you go. After the death of your dear mother, I hoped you would stay with me and help me. But, alas! it is not to be." Bob's eyes were filled with tears when he spoke again. "Oh, father," he exclaimed, "I am so sorry. I will do anything for you; but it is so hard sometimes to bear the taunts of Mr. Roberts. He, does not understand me. He never speaks a word of kindness to me. It's 'Bob, you lazy bones, come here;' or 'Now, then, skulking again?' and sometimes worse. Not that I care for him, but the men about the farm take advantage of my position, and follow an example which, in my 'own- heart, I know to be wrong." "Bob!" "There he is now," said Bob. "He is calling me, and I suppose I have done something wrong. Listen to me, father; if he dare to speak to me as he spoke to-day, I'll leave home to-night, and never come back again.' " "Bob, you lazy beggar, come here!"' "What have you been doing, Bob?" asked his father. "I suppose it's something about Hamlet." "Didn't you look after the horse?" "Well, I didn't take much trouble--I didn't feed him; but he's all right." The voice of Mr. Roberts was again heard, and as Bob went out his master caught him by the arm, and dragged him in the direction of the stables. Bob struggled desperately, and cried out: "Let me go. You shall not treat me thus!" At last he freed himself, but as he did so Mr. Roberts struck him a smart blow on the head. "There! take that, you lazy, idle fel low! Why did you not feed Ham let?"' Trembling with shame, Bob turned and fa.ced his masiter. He' had never before been struck, except by his father, and it was rarely that even he had punisheld him 4h that way. Mr. Smith approached at this mo ment, and asked the cause of the trou ble. He had seen Mr. Roberts strike Bob, and was angry with both. "He struck me, father!" cried Bob. "He shall never do that again, for I will leave his service at once." "The sooner the .better," said Mr. Roberts. "And mark me, sir," he added, "do not let me see you near the stables again. I give you a week to make your arrangements to leave 'The Acacias'; at the end ,of that time, if I sce you, I'll thrash you cff the pre miscca. I have had enough of you." And, turning from Bob and his father, Mr. Roberts walked towards the stables. "Go inside," said Mr. Smith to Bob. "P11 speak to Mr. Roberts about you." " ?When Bob was alone he did not go inside, as hid 'f'ith'er had bidden him. He had not forgotten Elsie's parcel, and he had a longing to know what it contained. He soon found his way to the barn, and, drawing a piece of can die from his pocket, he lighted it.
"And now for the secret," said he. Five minutes later Bob was in his own room, the parcel in his hands. It. was, a small tin box. He opened it eagerly. Oh, what a prize met his gaze! A large sum of money in notes,. gold, and silver: the little box was nearly full. If anyone had suggested to Bob ia week before that he would be a thief, he would have repelled the idea with scorn. His father had, done his best to teach him to be, honest and truthful,. and he had never committed a theft - bdfore, though he had wasted a good" deal of his master's time; but that fact ,had not troubled his conscience a great deal. He had never felt that there was., dishonesty in idling. Now, as he stood looking at the money, it came into his mind that if he borrowed it he would be able to re- place it some day, perhaps soon. "Surely," he thought, "to borrow is not to steal." And would it not be better to put the money to a good use than to leave it under a heap of rubbish in an old barn? If it belonged to Miss. Elsie, she would not suffer by its re moval for a time; and if Miss Elsie had no right to it, why had she hidden. it? Perhaps she had stolen the money! If so, she would be justly punished if he took it, for there could not be any temptation for her, surrounded with. every comfort as she was. Then there was the fact staring him in- the face that he must leave "The Acacias." And how could he go empty-. handed, or with the very little money that he.had been able to save? His in- tention was to go to America to seek his fortune. That had been his fixed resolve for a long time. Had he not read of vast fortunes having been made. in that country, and what was more, probable than that he, should become' a millionaire? If ,he succeeded, he would return the money with 'Interest. He would send a largel sum to his" father. Then he might obtain forgive ness, and a1l would be well. And so Bob reasoned, and silenced1 the voice: of conscience, which urged him to replace the box, and go forth. into the world with clean hands, and a courage unweakened by an act of sin. Bob made up his mind. He would take the money-borrow it, and leave, his home on that night. He sat downr and wrote a long letter to his father, in which he asked forgiveness for his. past idleness, and declared his ,inten tion to strive to win a name for him self. (To be continued.) I A