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labour, want has seized them for its prey, and the union or starvation become the only alternative; vain has it been to tell of kind care, of food and shelter secured. What has been the answer to the poor attempt at comfort?

"We have worked all our lives hard, and brought up our family honestly, and must we now go to the house of bondage, where I and my old wife must be separated for our few remaining years.


They should have roofs to call their own,

When they grow old and bent;

Meek houses built of dark gray stone,

Worn labour's monument!"

I would have almshouses for the aged and deserving poor, along the breadth and length of the land, and it is to secure some such asylum, be it but in an humble form, for the feeble and destitute in my own village, that I have tremulously launched into authorship.

That this brief explanation of my

motives may

obtain the indulgence of my readers, and their kind support, for the sake of the object so dear

to me, is the humble and earnest hope of


June, 1857.





"Every beginning is shrouded in a mist."


THE town of Nepton was unusually full on the day our tale commences. Numbers of country folks might be seen along its streets, and the stream of people seemed to be chiefly wending towards the end of the High Street, where was situate the fine old church, worthy almost of being a cathedral, for its richlydecorated windows, chiefly filled with stained glass, and its noble stone pillars with carved capitals, and fretted roof, told how our fathers of old had heeded little the cost in beautify



ing the house of God. For a short space it had fallen out of repair, but the pastor into whose charge this parish was given had not failed to stir up the better feelings of his congregation, and also to set them an example, in contributing according to his means towards the restoration of its ancient beauty. That the Almighty Creator of the universe will and does vouchsafe his presence and blessing where two or three are gathered together in Christ's name, be the place ever so humble, we cannot doubt; but has He not said, "Them that honour me I will honour," and can we visit the houses and palaces of the rich and noble of the earth, and see the hundreds and thousands lavished there, knowing the owners of this magnificence to be but worms in His sight, and yet be content to call that the Temple of the Holy One where no pains or cost is deemed necessary; where four whitewashed walls and the meanest accommodation for a certain number is thought all that is requisite for the place where the King of kings and Lord of lords has deigned to promise to meet his faithful worshippers?

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