So much for what a boy may do, by only a few right words spoken at the right time, and in the right manner. Henry Eldridge was thoughtful, modest, and earnest-minded. His attachment to the cause of temperance was not a mere boyish enthusiasm, but the result of a conviction that intemperance was a vice destructive, to both soul and body, and one that lay like a curse and a plague-spot on society, He could understand how, if the boys rejected, entirely, the cup of confusion, the next, generation of men would be sober; and this had led him to join the Cadets, and do all in his power to get other lads to join also. In drawing other lads into the order, he had been very successful; and now, in a few respectfully uttered, but earnest words, he had checked the progress of intemperance in a circle far beyond the ordinary reach of his influence.
Henry Eldridge was a happy boy that night.
Mrs. Grove called from the door that opened towards the garden. But no answer came. The sun had set half an hour before, and his parting, rays, were faintly tinging with gold and purple few clouds that lay just alone the edge of the western sky. In the east, the full moon was rising in all her beauty, making pale the stars that were sparking in the firmament.
“Where is Amy?” she asked. “Has any one seen her come in?”
“I saw her go up stairs with her knitting in her hand half an hour ago,” said Amy’s brother, who was busily at work with his knife on a block of pine wood, trying to make a boat.
Mrs. Grove went to the foot of the stairs, and called again. But there was no reply.
“I wonder where the child can be,” she said to herself, a slight feeling of anxiety crossing her mind. So she went up stairs to looks for her. The door of Amy’s bedroom was shut, but on pushing it open Mrs. Grove saw her little girl sitting at the open window, so lost in the beauty of the moonlit sky and her own thoughts that she did not hear the noise of her mother’s entrance.
“Amy,” said Mrs. Grove.
The child started, and then said quickly,—
“O, mother! Come and see! Isn’t it lovely?”
“What are you looking at, dear?” asked Mrs. Grove, as she sat down by her side, and drew an arm around her.
“At the moon, and stars, and the lake away off by the hill. See what a great road of light lies across the water! Isn’t it beautiful, mother? And it makes me feel so quiet and happy. I wonder why it is?”
“Shall I tell you the reason?”
“O, yes, mother, dear! What is the reason?”
“God made everything that is good and beautiful.”
“O, yes, I know that!”
“Good and beautiful for the sake of man; because man is the highest thing of creation and nearest to God. All things below him were created for his good; that is, God made them for him to use in sustaining the life of his body or the life of his soul.”