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fathers,” is declared to be necessary, else God would come and “smite the earth with a curse.” To remove the curse, and to bring a blessing, let us work and pray for-Home-Sunshine.
The practical management of the working man's family must be mainly the charge of the working man's wife. In mere bodily exertion, her duties in a family of average size are sufficiently heavy, and she is well entitled to the sympathy of her husband, and the help of her neighbours and friends when illhealth or feeble strength make it a terrible fight for her to get through. Much need has she, too, of the help of God, not only for bodily strength to carry her burdens, but for patience to bear her trials, selfpossession when her temper is crossed, the faculty of method to economize time, and get everything duly attended to, and still more for the kindliness and cheerfulness that will shed a constant radiance over the dwelling, and the grace that will enable her to secure the affections and form the character of her children. The question has sometimes been put, Is a worthless father or a worthless mother the greater evil ? Among the working classes especially we do not hesitate to answer, a worthless mother. Not only does she often alienate her husband from his home, but her corrupting influence on the children is more constant and more pernicious than his. In ordinary cases, the mother's influence in forming the character of the children, whether for good or for evil, is more powerful than the father's. It was one of Napoleon's pithy remarks, What France needs for her regeneration is—mothers. Abbot relates that some years ago, a body of young men preparing for the ministry felt interested in ascertaining what proportion of their number had pious mothers. They were greatly surprised and delighted to find, that out of a hundred and twenty students, more than a hundred had been carried by a mother's prayers, and directed by a mother's counsels to the Saviour. It is wonderful what an influence the example and efforts of the mother sometimes have, years after she is dead and gone. “When I was a little child,” said a good old man, “my mother used to make me kneel down beside her, and place her hand upon my head while she taught me to pray. She died when I was very young, but still, when going to do wrong, I seemed to feel her soft hand upon my head. When I grew to be a man, the thought of that same hand still kept me safe.”I A minister records the case of a dying profligate, whose heart would not yield to all his efforts, till, overpowered by early association, he burst into tears at the question, “Have you a mother?"
1 In Mr. Clarke's Heart-Music for Working People, this incident is made the text of a simple poem :
“Why gaze ye on my hoary hairs,
Ye children young and gay?
Will bleach as white as they.
Of all monsters or abortions, known or imagined, the worst is a drunken mother. “No tongue," says one who has seen not a few of the class, “can ex- · press what the child of the drunken mother suffers. I cannot think of such misery without tears. Two wretched little children almost destitute of clothes, came to my door one bitterly cold day. The very sight of them made my children cry; and contrary to my judgment (for, alas ! experience has made me wise), I allowed them to dress them in woollen
“ I had a mother once, like you,
Who o'er my pillow hung ;
And taught my faltering tongue.
“ She, when the nightly couch was spread,
Would bow my infant knee;
“ But then there came a fearful day,
I sought my mother's bed ;
« That eve I knelt me down in woe,
And said a lonely prayer;
As if that hand were there.
jackets. Not many yards from the door the mother was waiting for them; she took them at once to the pawnshop, stripped the little shivering ones of the only warm garments which they had known for many a day, disposed of them for a trifle, and got drunk with the money. The next day the sufferings of one of these children were happily closed by death. I say happily, for death is the only release: a release to be desired beyond everything for the drunken mother's child. Here we must weep for the living and not for the dead.”1
It is painful, says the same writer, how drink turns the kind-hearted mother into a demon. “The
" Years fled and left me childhood's joy,
Gay sports and pastimes dear;
Who scorned the curb of fear.
“Fierce passions shook me like a reed,
Yet ere at night I slept,
And down I fell, and wept.
And now, tho' time hath set
These temples feel it yet.
“ And if e'er in heaven appear,
A mother's holy prayer,
Hath led the wanderer there."
1 Ragged Homes.
sound of her returning footsteps" (after a day's absence at work), “ instead of being, as at first, welcomed with joy, becomes the signal for throwing the little group into unutterable dismay. Something which has gone wrong with these neglected children at once attracts the mother's notice; two or. three little heads are banged violently together, another is taken up by the hair, and flung across the room; the much-needed supper is withheld, as a punishment for some misdemeanour, and in the midst of curses and blows, these wretched children are driven on to the heap of rags called their bed, where, either broken-hearted, or (according to the temperament and health of the child) with every evil passion at work in the breast, they sob themselves to sleep. An hour or two afterwards, when the mother has gone out again to drink or gossip, or is sleeping the drunkard's sleep upon the floor, I have stolen into such rooms, and stood by the heap of rags, and watched the countenances of these unwashed, uncombed, unloved, uncared-for children, in their troubled sleep. I have seen the marks of the mother's violence; I have seen the lines caused by the tears which have coursed down the cheeks of the gentler girls, and the look of defiance stamped thus early in the faces of the hardier boys, and, God forgive me, if, in uncontrolled agony, I have knelt on