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thousands in London who have no home at all. Many pay a penny or twopence for sleeping in some large room, covered over with straw, with their clothes on.
When they get up in the morning, if they have twopence left, they look about in the streets for one of these breakfast tables, and there they get a cup of hot coffee and a slice of bread for their money.
And many people now get their living by setting up one of these breakfast tables. The table is like a great square box moving on wheels. The man who owns it gets up very early and prepares all his matters, and then he moves off gently with them all, packed inside the box, to some vacant place in the street. Then he fixes his stove, which is heated by a charcoal fire, at one end of the table, spreads a white cloth over the other part, arranges his clean cups and saucers on it, sets the loaf of bread and a knife before him, and now he is all ready, by five o'clock in the morning, for his customers. It may be a dark or rainy morning, and you may be fast asleep in bed, but there he is, all ready to turn a honest penny by selling his hot coffee to all comers.
And the comers are not all of that homeless houseless class of which I have told you. About six o'clock, on their way to their place of work, many bricklayers, and carpenters, and workmen of all kinds, will stop at the table for a few minutes to drink a cup of coffee to warm them and make them feel comfortable before they begin their labour. And so you see that the chance of snatching up a bit of breakfast in the streets is a great accommodation to many.
But I said that some get their dinners, too, in this way.
Hot potato stalls are common in London in those parts where the poorest and most wretched of the people live. Many a poor boy or girl get no other dinner than a hot potato, for which they pay one halfpenny, and are very glad when they can get that.
I have told you these little tales that you may be thankfal that you have a home to sleep in, and plenty of good food to eat and drink. If you were, only for a few days, to have to get your breakfast and dinner in the streets in the way I have described, then, I think, you would value far more than you do all the good things which the blessing of God on the labour and love of your parents has provided
And now, perhaps, you will better know and feel the meaning of those verses which the good Dr. Watts wrote more than a hundred years ago
“How many children, in the street,
Half-naked I behold;
And cover'd from the cold.
While some poor wretches scarce can tell
Where they may lay their head,
And rest upon my bed.
And curse, and lie, and steal;
And do thy holy will.
To me above the rest?
And try to serve thee best.”
THE MINER'S BOY AND HIS BIBLE.
One of the most touching tales we ever heard we found in a letter from one of our young friends (J. B. of B.); the substance of which was, that a poor coal miner, who feared God, was in the habit of always taking his bible with him when he went down into the pit, that he might read a few verses when he left off work to eat his meals. He had a lad who worked with him, and who, having received a bible at the Sunday school, by the advice of his father, took it with him too. One day, when they were at work, the father turned round and stepped a few paces to reach one of his tools, when, lo! a part of the roof fell in between him and the boy. The father, who was unhurt, was in great trouble to know if the boy was killed or not. He shouted, and the boy answered; but it was to tell his agonized father that his feet were both crushed under heavy pieces of coal, and that he could not
“What can I do for you, my poor dear lad !” exclaimed the father. “Nothing I fear,” said the boy, “but my lamp is not out yet, and I am reading in my bible. The Lord is with me.” Help was called, and after some hours of hard labour the miner's boy was found dead. His lamp had gone out; but the lamp of life, the Bible, had shed light upon his soul, when the body, suffocating for want of air, was about to yield up the spirit from the darkness of that horrible pit into the more than sun-glory brightness of the eternal world!
What words but the words of God can sustain the soul when passing the boundaries of time and entering the unseen regions of Eternity?
THE BLUSH ROSE.
“TO-MORROW is mother's birth-day," said Grace Eardley to her sister Eva, as they stood before a shop window filled with the most beautiful plants in full flower; "and oh, Eva, just look at that lovely blush rose !"
"Yes; but what has the rose to do with mother's birthday?" asked Eva.
“Why, the last time mother was walking out with me, we had to pass this shop, and then there was only one little half-blown bud on that rose tree; but oh, so beautiful! We stopped to look at it, and mother admired it
much. I wished then I had a shilling, that I might buy it and give it to mother on her birth-day. But I had not, and I have not one now, and so I shall have to give it up.
Eva looked at her sister, then at the rose, and putting her hand into her pocket, drew out a neat little silk purse containing a shilling. “I am very sorry, Grace,” she said, “that you should be disappointed; but as you cannot buy it, would you mind my giving it to mother? It would be a pity for her not to have it, as she admired it so much.”
“Oh no, Eva, I shall be glad if you will; but," a shadow again crossing her bright face, “I am so sorry that I have nothing to give mother to-morrow.” “ You may give her the little needle book I had made for her, if you like," said Eva. Grace thanked her, and the two little girls entered the shop and ordered the rose tree to be sent home.
It was a bright and beautiful evening; but the faces of Grace and Eva were brighter than the sunshine, and their hearts lighter than the mild air around them. All the way home they kept talking to each other of the beautiful rose tree, and the delight with which mother would welcome it, and their hopes that the shopman would not forget to send it home in time. The next morning came, and with it the rose tree, which looked even yet more lovely than on the night before. The little girls were in an ecstacy of delight. That sweet blush rose tree, with its delicately tinted flowers, and its fresh cool green leaves, and slender graceful stems, was in their eyes a pattern of all that is pure and beautiful.
But the door bell rang, some one came in, and a minute after grandfather entered the room, with his kindly face beaming with affection and good humour. He stayed some time with Eva and Grace, and, on leaving, gave each of them a shilling. Hardly had the door closed after him, when Grace exclaimed, as she looked with delight at the coin in her hand, “Now, Eva, I can give mother the rose tree; oh! I am so glad.”
“But you forget, Grace,” said Eva, “that I bought it; so it is mine now.”
Grace's countenance fell. “So it is,” she said, sadly, had forgotten that;' and she turned away, and looked sorrowfully out of the window.
“It is mine now,” thought Eva. “Grace has no right to it.” “But she intended to have bought it if she had had the money, before you thought of it or even saw it,” whispered conscience, “and now she has some money should
you keep it?-ought you not to give it up ?” “It would be