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her; and with a short and homely but very earnest prayer, the evening was wound up, and they all went to bed.
“I wish,” said Polly Dobbin to Mary, when she awoke in the morning, “ that you were going to stay here always; but I suppose you must go home to-day.”
“ As long as my brother will let me live with him, I think I ought not to leave him; but I should like to live always with you very much; you can come and see me very often.”
“ Oh, I should be afraid of your brother," answered Polly; “ he might be cross when I came, and beat me as he did you."
It seemed hard to Mary Graham to hear her brother thus spoken of; but what could she say? She remembered that Polly's father had caught him almost in the very act of striking her.
“ You had better let father go back with you," said little Poll; “ he goes that way, and at any rate he can leave you at the door.”
“ That thee had, my little maid,” said Tim himself, who came to rouse them up, 6 and if he attempts to strike thee again, I'll lay on.” .
The morning meal was soon despatched, and Mary Graham prepared to take her departure. Mrs. Dobbin kissed her; Poll pre
and' at and little Pollet. father 90 h.
sented her with a small card with a hymn printed on it, which was all she had to give, and crippled Sam, shuffling along, came up as if to bid her good-bye, along with the rest. Tim Dobbin was finishing the harnessing of his horses, so there were a few moments to spare, and these the little cripple determined to spend to the best advantage.
“Come here,” said he, to Mary Graham, with an earnest and mysterious face, and he led her to a chair on which the great Bible lay—“ listen; ” and opening it at Psalm lxii., he read in a solemn voice, “ My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation : he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory : the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him : God is a refuge for us.” “ Remember the · Three Children,'” said the cripple, " and don't be afraid.”
Mary Graham was now summoned hastily away, and it was as much as she could do to keep up her courage. She would have gone alone to her former home, but the coalheaver would not hear of it; indeed, he was so determined on that point, that he took a lad with him to look after the team, while he accompanied the child.
They soon arrived at Mary Graham's abode, and on going up the stairs found the door locked. It was evident that some one was inside ; for the key could be seen in the door, and they heard a noise within. While consulting what was to be done, they heard John Graham call out apparently from bed : “ You needn't trouble yourselves about coming here; I'd rather have your room than your company ; be off.”
• Aren't you going to take your sister back any more?” asked the coalheaver in astonishment.
" Be off with yourself," answered John Graham.
os Come, come, none of that nonsense," called out the coalheaver; “ open the door, and let us in.”
“ You're at the wrong side of it,” answered the voice, “ and you're likely to stay there.”
“ Ho! ho! if that's the way with you,” answered Tim Dobbin, “ you're welcome to keep the door as long as you like between you and me, perhaps the surer you keep it the better for yourself; will you let your sister enter in ?”
“ She may be off,” cried John Graham ; " as she chose to go away, she's welcome to keep away too. I don't want her here."
“ You had better go back to our place," said the coalheaver; “ even if he lets you in, I don't think your life is safe. The lad will show you the way, and you'll be welcome; you can stay with Poll, till something turns up."
" Ay, you had better go,” said John Graham, who could hear every word through the thin door; “ I warrant you you'll get what you won't like if I open the door and let you in here; there, go, and don't bother me any more.”
What could poor Mary Graham do but take her brother at his word ? It was positively unsafe for her to venture into his room while he was in such a dreadful state of mind; she accordingly returned with the lad, while the coalheaver and the team went about their daily work.
As to John Graham, he was tipsy during most of his time; and being very clever in selling while he was sober, had plenty of money to spend in drink. Had Mary come into his room, he had made up his mind to lead her a wretched life, and he was just as well pleased that she had gone away. All that day he was as drunk as he could be, and had one or two very narrow escapes of being taken up by the police. The old woman to whom the house belonged took no steps to reform him-far from it; she rather encouraged him in his evil ways, especially as she often had a glass at his expense. Drink seemed to have deadened every good feeling in him. He never went to inquire after his brother Eddy at the hospital; he never showed the smallest desire that his sister Mary should return; and as to his room, it was so dreadfully dirty, that the only wonder was, that disease had not come into it, and carried off its unhappy inmate.
Drunkenness is sure to be accompanied with filth, and to bring disease; and although John Graham had escaped for a long time, a day of reckoning was at hand, and he was about to reap some of the fruit of his evil deeds. It is ever thus : although the consequences of our sins tarry, they will be sure to find us out; though the day of chastisement be long put off, it will certainly come at last.