‘But if he isn’t reformed, Harry?’
’That is just what Mr S. said to father, the other day, when he asked him for money to buy tracts for boatmen on the canal—“If they don’t read them,” said he.
’Father told him that if we did our duty faithfully, it was all that is required of us, and we must leave the results in the hands of God. Now I think just so of John Frink, only that I can’t help believing that he will reform. The Bible says, “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Now, maybe, all the money you have given this year will do good, but perhaps this to John Frink most of all.’
‘I believe you are right, Harry,’ said Effie, ’but you will give me to-night to think about it.’
’Oh yes, to be sure, you could not give the money, with your whole heart, unless you believed it was to do good, and so you may think just as long as you please. Now your kiss, Effie, for I must go to bed. We will be up early, if we don’t go to Mr T.’s shop.’
New year’s day.
Harry Maurice was out ‘bright and early,’ wishing everybody a ’Happy New Year,’ and making them happy at least for the moment, by the expression of his ruddy, laughing face. We love to see in children cheerfulness and contentment. Harry’s head was full of plans for doing good, and though more than half of them were visionary, they seemed realities then, and so being in good humour with himself, he could not fail of being so with everybody else. Effie refused to go with him to Mrs Frink’s, for she had her own little gifts to dispense, but she consented to take a walk with him in the afternoon, and even to call at Mr T.’s shop, for she concluded there could be no danger in looking at the toys after they had disposed of their money.
Harry’s account of his reception at Mrs Frink’s was anything but satisfactory to Effie, for although he evidently endeavoured to make the best of it, he said not a single word of John’s gratitude. ’I am afraid, Effie,’ he rather mischievously whispered, ’if you had gone with me to Mrs Frink’s you would have thought dirt was her god, for I believe she loves it better than anything else.’
‘O Harry, I am sure it is wicked to make fun—’
’I didn’t mean to make fun, Effie, but I’m sure I couldn’t help thinking of the old man in Pilgrim’s Progress with the muck rake, refusing the crown, all the time I was there.’
‘Father told me that the man with the muck rake, meant the miser.’