‘How shall I, Sir?’ murmured Alfred.
‘I will do my best to shew you,’ said Mr. Cope; ’but your Catechism tells you best. Think over that last answer.’
Alfred’s face lighted sweetly as he went over it. ’Why, that’s what I can’t help doing, Sir; I can’t forget my faults, I’m so afraid of them; and I’m sure I do want to lead a new life, if I didn’t keep on being so bad; and thinking about His dying is the best comfort I have. Nor I’m sure I don’t bear ill-will to nobody, only I suppose it is not charity to run out at poor Mother and Ellen when one’s put out.’
‘Perhaps that is what you want to learn,’ said Mr. Cope, ’and to get all these feelings deepened, and more earnest and steadfast. If the long waiting does that for you, it will be good, and keep you from coming lightly to the Holy Feast.’
‘Oh, I could not do that!’ exclaimed Alfred. ’And may I think that all my faults will be taken away and forgiven?’
‘All you repent of, and bring in faith—’
‘That is what they say at church in the Absolution,’ said Alfred thoughtfully.
‘Rather it is what the priest says to them,’ said Mr. Cope; ’it is the applying the promise of forgiveness that our Saviour bought. I may not yet say those words with authority, Alfred, but I should like to hope that some day I may speak them to you, and bring rest from the weight at your heart.’
‘Oh! I hope I may live to that!’ said Alfred.
‘You shall hear them, whether from me or from another,’ said Mr. Cope, ’that is, if God will grant us warning. But you need not fear, Alfred, if you thoroughly repent, and put your full faith in the great Sacrifice that has been offered for your sins and the sins of all the world. God will take care of His child, and you already have His promise that He will give you all that is needful for your salvation.’
If Harold had known all the consequences of his neglect, perhaps he would have been more sorry for it than as yet he had chosen to be.
The long walk and the warm beer and fire sent Paul to his hay-nest so heavy with sleep, that he never stirred till next morning he was wakened by Tom Boldre, the shuffler, kicking him severely, and swearing at him for a lazy fellow, who stayed out at night and left him to do his work.
Paul stumbled to his feet, quite confused by the pain, and feeling for his shoes in the dark loft. The shuffler scarcely gave him an instant to put them on, but hunted him down-stairs, telling him the farmer was there, and he would catch it.
It would do nobody any good to hear the violent way in which Mr. Shepherd abused the boy. He was a passionate man, and no good labourers liked to work with him because of his tongue. With such grown men as he had, he was obliged to keep himself under some restraint, but this only incited him to make up for it towards the poor friendless boy.