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Little Folks (October 1884) A Magazine for the Young   By:

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Transcriber's Note: Phrases printed in italics in the original version are indicated in this electronic version by (underscore). A list of amendments are given at the end of the book.


A Magazine for the Young.







By the Author of "Pen's Perplexities" "Margaret's Enemy," "Maid Marjory" &c.



For the first time since she had left home, Elsie felt thoroughly frightened and miserable. Even when she had stayed in the crofter's cottage she had not felt worse. For this little attic, right at the top of a tall house full of people, seemed even more dreadful than the bare wretched loft in Sandy Ferguson's hovel. The height of the house, the noises of loud angry voices, banging doors, hurrying footsteps coming and going on the stairs, the continual roar of traffic in the street below, were all things strange and terrifying to the moor bred Scottish lassie. Besides this, she had begun to realise to the full extent how greatly she had been mistaken in all her ideas when she formed the plan of running away. She had thought it would be a fine adventure, with some little difficulties to encounter, such as would quickly come right, as they did in the books of running away stories, which she had always believed to be quite true. How could she have known it would happen so differently to them? And above all, who could suppose that Duncan, who was so strong and hearty, should fall ill just at such a time as this?

That was the worst thing about it, and the one that frightened Elsie most. She didn't like the look of Duncan at all. He had been getting worse all day while they were in the train, and now he did not seem to notice anything or anybody. His eyes were closed, and he never spoke a word, but only gave a sort of little moan now and then. He was burning hot too, and he moved his head and his limbs about restlessly, as if they were in pain. Elsie wondered whether he was really very ill, and what ought to be done for him. No one seemed to take any notice or think that he required any attention; and what could she do?

I do think that when children run away from a good kind home and watchful loving guardians, God must be very angry with the hardness of heart and wilful ingratitude that can lead them to do such a wicked thing, and I have no doubt that He purposely let all these difficulties and terrors fall in Elsie's path in order to punish her. Children, even big ones, have little idea of the dreadful dangers there are waiting for them to fall into, or how soon some shocking disaster would happen to them if they had not such careful, kind protectors. I am afraid, too, that people who write books often hide such things, and only tell of the wonderful escapes and marvellous adventures that runaway children encounter, although they know that really and truly the most dreadful things have happened to children who have run away from their homes things too dreadful for me to tell of. We know that the Gentle Shepherd has a special care for little lambs of His flock, but we can never expect God to take care of us when we have wilfully turned away from Him to follow our own wrongdoing, and refused to turn back. If the lambs will not listen to the voice of the Shepherd, but will stray far away from Him, they are likely to be lost.

Now, He had already spoken to Elsie many times since she had left home. Her conscience, which is really His voice, had told her frequently that she was doing wrong, and that it would end badly; but she had refused to hear. Even now, when she had really begun to wish she were back again, it was because of the discomfort she was suffering, much more than on account of any belief that she had done a very wicked thing. But God is never content with such a grudging, half repentance as that, and so it was that Elsie fell into worse trouble still... Continue reading book >>

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