The evening Bill Boldface had met him, and sent him so cruelly into the wood, mamma was out walking, and on her return enquired for the baby.
“O,” said papa, “he is safe: I saw him in nurse’s arms a few minutes ago.”
Mamma immediately went up to the nursery, and there heard that nurse had gone off to see her sister, who lived about two miles distant, “and, of course,” said the nursery-maid, “she has taken Master Henry with her.”
Impressed with this idea, mamma returned to tea; but when night came, she began to get very uneasy, for nurse did not return. “O,” said papa, “you know she often remains at her sister’s; and though she has done very wrong in keeping the baby out, yet she is so fond and careful of him, we need not be uneasy.” But what was their distraction when morning came?—nurse returned, but no baby!
The whole country was searched, the ponds and lake were searched, every spot searched but the very place the baby was in. Advertisements were put in all the papers, and the poor father and mother were near sinking under the distraction of their mind. Unfeeling Bill Boldface, who could have set all to rights, had sailed off to America the very morning after the sweet baby had disappeared.
At length, one morning, the distracted father perceived Fidelle jumping upon the table and seizing a large piece of bread, fly off with it to the wood. The Lord instantly put it in his heart to follow the dog, who led him into the abbey; and there, surrounded by his little subjects the birds, fast asleep, (for he had just fallen asleep on his throne,) lay the little monarch. His hand was placed under his little head, and the leaves of the ivy and the yew were all scattered about him. “My child! my child!” said the poor father, darting forward, and snatching him in his arms; “’tis my Henry! my cherub! my darling! O gracious God! is it indeed my child?”
The well-known voice aroused Henry, and flinging his little arms around papa’s neck, he begged to be taken instantly to mamma, saying, as his happy papa carried him out of the abbey, “Good-bye, little birds, good-bye: I’ll come back to-morrow, and bring you some white bread; but now I must go see mamma. Good-bye, little birds, good-bye.”
Poor mamma, when she saw him, overcome by her feelings, fainted away. When she recovered, she threw herself on her knees in gratitude to God for thus so wonderfully preserving her little darling.
And now, my children, pause for a moment, and reflect on the goodness of God so powerfully displayed in this little story. You see how he directed Fidelle to bring food for the support of this little baby; you see how wonderfully he was preserved, and how, at length, he was restored to his parents. Those parents were truly religious, and therefore their prayers were heard—For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Pet. iii. 12.) O my children! love God, and make Christ your friend, and then they will watch over you as they did over little Henry; and, when you die, they will take you up to live with themselves, and you shall be surrounded by the happy angels in heaven.