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than usual in the afternoon; he made his demand, and received the money, but he was offered no brandy-and-water; the landlord was away, and the shopman did not offer it. Habit is strong with us all, and thus it now proved itself with young Graham, who missed his usual allowance, and at last, rather than go without, ordered a glass to be mixed. As soon as his request was complied with, he remembered his dying mother's injunction, which now. came before him in full force. True, he had often remembered it before, but as he had never spent anything on drink, he managed to apply it to the expenditure of his money on liquor, and he got over it with tolerable ease. Now, however, he had to put his hand into his pocket, and pay for what he had; and so forcibly did his mother's words come into his mind, that he almost determined to leave the brandy-and-water there, even though he had paid for it, and put up with the loss of his money. This would, no doubt, under the circumstances, have been the wiser course; but the devil was at hand, and was too well pleased at having him in his net to let him easily go. “You might just as well drink it as not," he heard a voice whispering in his ear; “ it is only just the same as it was before, and now the money is paid ; it's only superstition not to take it as usual.” Still John Graham wavered, and again the tempter plied him hard (for this was a grand
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turning point in his victim's life), and urged upon him what a ridiculous figure he must cut-for several others had come into the shop, and were standing at the counter. “I'll never taste another drop," said the youth, mentally, and then he drank off the tumbler as fast as ever he could. How far John Graham might have kept his word we cannot tell, but for a heavy shower which had commenced to fall, while this parley was being carried on in his heart. It was evidently too heavy to continue long, and so he went into the tap-room to wait, and there he took up the newspaper. The tap-room is generally supplied with good light and fire, and the paper, and John Graham became very much interested in a long account of a terrible shipwreck. The account was very long, and as the shower cleared up, and the clock of the tap-room warned him that he must not delay a moment longer, he went away, not well pleased with himself, but still his disagreeable thoughts considerably diverted by the paper which he had been reading.
During the remainder of the day he could not get the thoughts of the shipwreck out of his mind; he had left off at precisely the most interesting part of the story; a mother with her two children were left clinging to a piece of broken mast, and the lifeboat had twice tried to come near them, but in vain; the third attempt was just about to be described
when John Graham had left off, and his curiosity was so excited that he could not rest until he knew how the whole had ended.
That night he received his week's wages, and, as usual, bought a little present for the children at home; it was true it was but a pennyworth for each, but it satisfied them, and made them happier than many another child is with an expensive toy. John Graham ought to have been a happy youth that evening; the love which the two little ones lavished upon him ought to have filled his heart with gladness, for he was their caretaker and provider, so far as earthly instrumentality was concerned, and they clung to him and loved him with affection and confidence, and looked upon him as father, and mother, and all relations in one. This evening they were especially fond; little Eddy had swept up the floor and brightened up the room as best he could, and had climbed up on his brother's knee, to show him his new book, a little prize which the schoolmistress had given him for his good conduct. Mary made the tea, and waited on him as though she did not care to have any herself, and thought he could never have enough ; and when the evening meal was over she took possession of the second knee, and almost hid his face in the shower of golden curls which she let fall upon him, as she pulled down his head to kiss him with all her might. John Graham would have been happy had it not been that the “ Golden Robin” was in his mind, and he felt conscious that he had taken a decided step in evil.
The twilight gathered in, and the children, as they often did on a Saturday evening, asked their brother for a story; for John Graham was learned in fairy tales, and others of a more sombre cast.
“ What kind of story will you have? You shall have your choice,” said he to Mary.
“ Tell us one about dear mother," said the child.
“ Yes, about dear mother," echoed Eddy ; "we should like to hear something about her.”
“I don't know anything new about her," said John Graham, feeling not nearly so comfortable as he did.
“Oh well, then, anything, no matter what," said Mary.
• Tell us what she said to you when she was dying;” and as little Eddy made this request, he fixed his large eyes upon his brother, as though he expected to hear something very awful.
“ Yes, we should like to hear that,” said the little girl.
Thus pressed, John Graham had no opportunity of getting off ; he told them, therefore, a number of things that she had said to him, and, amongst others, her charge to take care of them; but one thing he did not tell them, and that was, her injunction about the “ Golden Robin.” Twenty times did he feel this rising to his lips, but he always thrust it down again, and at last, to his inexpressible relief, the children ceased to ask him for more.
“We do not forget dear mother,” said little Mary to John; “when Eddy and I are here by ourselves so often, we talk of her, and say over the hymns she taught us, and we always try and do what we know would have pleased her, had she been here."
" That we do,” said little Eddy; "and I never play with the boys in the street, because she told me they were bad; and perhaps if I went she would see me, and it would make her sad. John, when we die shall we go away, where she is, to the good place ?"
“I hope we shall all go,” said his brother ; but it was very evident that his hopes were not very strong, for at that moment his having so lately violated his mother's chief injunction was uppermost in his mind.
« Do you think that mother will ask us whether we did everything she told us ?” asked little Eddy. “And do you think she'll ask us whether we kept away from doing what she told us not?” asked Mary, before John Graham had time to answer.
“Oh, I'm sure I can't tell," said he; “ we don't know much about those things : come, get to bed now, and to-morrow I'll take you