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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 28

July 5

Aunt Winifred has been hunting up a Sunday school class for herself and one for me; which is a venture that I never was persuaded into undertaking before. She herself is fast becoming acquainted with the poorer people of the town. I find that she is a thoroughly busy Christian, with a certain "week-day holiness" that is strong and refreshing, like a west wind. Church-going and conversations on heaven, by no means exhaust her vitality. She told me a pretty thing about her class; it happened the first Sabbath that she took it. Her scholars are young girls of from fourteen to eighteen years of age, children of church-members, most of them. She seemed to have taken their hearts by storm. She says, "They treated me very prettily, and made me love them at once."

page 59

Clo Bentley is in the class; Clo is a pretty, soft-eyed little creature, with a shrinking mouth, and an absorbing passion for music, which she has been too poor to gratify. I suspect that her teacher will make a pet of her. She says that in the course of her lesson, or, in her words,—

"While we were all talking together, somebody pulled my sleeve, and there was Clo in the corner, with her great brown eyes fixed on me. 'See here!' she said in a whisper, 'I can't be good! I would be good if I could only just have a piano!' 'Well, Clo, 'I said, 'if you will be a good girl, and go to heaven, I think you will have a piano there, and play just as much as you care to.'

"You ought to have seen the look the child gave me! Delight and fear and incredulous bewilderment tumbled over each other, as if I had proposed taking her into a forbidden fairy-land.

"'Why, Mrs. Forceythe! Why, they won't let anybody have a piano up there! not in heaven?'

"I laid down the question-book, and asked what kind of place she supposed that heaven was going to be.

"'O,' she said, with a dreary sigh, 'I never think about it when I can help it. I suppose we shall all just stand there!'

"And you?" I asked of the next, a bright girl with snapping eyes.

"'Do you want me to talk good, or tell the truth?' she answered me. Having been given to understand that she was not expected to 'talk good' in my class, she said, with an approving, decided nod: 'Well, then! I don't think it's going to be anything nice anyway. No, I don't! I told my last teacher so, and she looked just as shocked, and said I never should go there as long as I felt so. That made me mad, and I told her I did'nt see but I should be as well off in one place as another, except for the fire.'

"A silent girl in the corner began at this point to look interested. 'I always supposed,' said she, 'that you just floated round in heaven—you know—all together—something like ju-jube paste!'

"Whereupon I shut the question-book entirely, and took the talking to myself for a while.

"'But I never thought it was anything like that,' interrupted little Clo, presently, her cheeks flushed with excitement. 'Why, I should like to go, if it is like that! I never supposed people talked, unless it was about converting people, and saying your prayers, and all that.'

"Now, weren't those ideas* alluring and comforting for young girls in the blossom of warm human life? They were trying with all their little hearts to 'be good,' too, some of them, and had all of them been to church and Sunday school all their lives. Never, never, if Jesus Christ had been Teacher and Preacher to them, would He have pictured their blessed endless years with Him in such bleak colours. They are not the hues of His Bible."

* Facts.