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imitate them at first, and then to compete with them, and even to excel them, in this particular sin. It may seem strange, but it is not the less true, that, in the course of a few weeks, the language of the playground (when no master or usher was near) became fearfully wicked. The name of God, of the Divine Redeemer, of heaven, of hell, became common words, and were mixed up with the most trifling affairs. The dreadful practice spread like wildfire. Boys who but a short month before would have feared an oath, became vile blasphemers. And yet so privately did the guilty habit gain ground, and so careful were the boys not to be overheard by their master, that it was long before the painful truth came to his knowledge. When it did, he lost no time, and spared no trouble, to root out the mischief, and to awaken
the consciences of his pupils to the enormity of their sin.
Herbert, no less than Alfred, had been brought up to reverence holy names and holy things; and he was shocked, very much shocked, when he first heard the utterance of an oath by a playfellow. It would have been well for him if he had copied Alfred's example, and at once separated himself from all who so wilfully broke the law of their God. But this he did not do. He thought it enough to set a guard upon his own lips — a guard, alas ! too soon broken through. So true is it that
"1 Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen ;
One day a few of the older boys of the school were sitting upon the playground bench, and among them was Herbert. What they were talking about is of little consequence ; but, whatever it might be, their conversation was unhappily polluted by profaneness. It happened that Alfred passed by, and heard something that was said. He started, and looked up. Surely he must have been deceived. Alas! no. It was Herbert—his friend Herbertwhose voice he heard taking the name of God in vain. Surprised and grieved, he went up to his friend, and began to remonstrate with him; but he was met with a shout of derision.
“ Herbert is a good fellow," said one of the tempters; “ he is none of your cowards and sneaks."
“ Nor am I a coward or a sneak,” replied Alfred; ut I must say that I should be very sorry”
“ There, I said so," said the other, interrupting him ; “I knew you would sneak.”
“I do not know what you mean," was the reply.
The boy-bravo uttered a very profane expression. “There, match that if you can ; and then we shall know whether you are a coward.”
"I am a coward,” said Alfred, meekly and sadly ; “ if that is the test, I am indeed a coward. I should be afraid to say what you have said,” and he walked away, sorrowing that he should have witnessed such hardness of heart in his schoolfellows, and especially grieving for his friend Herbert. Again a shout of mockery was raised against him, but it did not move him; and if afterwards he was seen with red and swollen eyes, he had not been crying about the scorn he