The Lost Child
by the American Sunday-School Union
It was a Sabbath morning in November, clear,
bright and frosty. Mrs. Dudley's family were preparing
for church. They heard Carlo bark violently,
and knew a stranger must be near. Carlo is a faithful
watch-dog, but his habit of barking at visitors is
so disagreeable, that he is usually kept chained in
the day-time. On Sunday, as no company is expected,
he is permitted to go at large. When Mr.
Dudley heard Carlo, he immediately threw open the
window, and spoke to him. He saw a gentleman,
who was evidently much alarmed. None of the
family knew him. The stranger soon made known
the occasion of his call, by inquiring,
"Have you seen any thing of a stray child?"
"No, we have not; whose child is lost?"
"How old is the child?"
"About six years old. His mother sent him
from home, yesterday, about two o'clock, and she
has heard nothing from him since. He had a small
tin pail with him to get some yeast."
It is sad to hear that a child is lost, and all the
family sympathized with the anxious parents. "How
badly you would feel if I was lost!" said Eddie, and
he looked sober and grieved, as he thought of the
little boy about his own age, who had wandered
from home, no one knew where. There was much
fear that he had fallen into the river, as he had
been seen on the dock.
At ten o'clock the family started for church.
They met people who were searching for the child,
and who asked them, as the gentleman had done at
the house, "Have you seen any thing of a stray
Notice was given in the churches that a boy was
lost, and many a mother's heart beat quicker as she
thought of her own dear little ones, and imagined
one of them sleeping, perhaps, through that cold
November night on the ground, or (fearful thought!)
buried deep in the chill water.
After church, you could hear one and another
inquiring anxiously, "Has the child been found?"
But no favourable answer was received. In the
afternoon, however, many hearts were gladdened by
learning that he was safe. He had gone to the
village, and got his pennyworth of yeast, and then,
instead of returning immediately, he stopped to
play with some boys. He had gone with them to a
part of the village with which he was not acquainted
and when he wished to go home, he did
not know what direction to take. He chose a road
leading him from home, and wandered at least five
miles. Just before dark an old gentleman and his
grandson were walking on the road, and they observed
this little boy crying.
"What do you suppose he is crying about?" said
the child to his grandfather.
"I don't know. Perhaps he has been sent to the
grocery, and does not like to go."
They watched him and found he did not stop,
but passed on with his tin pail, crying grievously.
They waited for him to come up to them, and
"What are you crying about?"
"I want to go home!"
"Where is your home?"
The boy could not tell.
"What is your name?"
"William Hudson." He did not say, as he
should have done, William Hudson McPherson.
The old gentleman kindly took him by the hand,
and led him to his own home. William's tears
were soon dried, and he became quite contented.
It was too late to attempt to find his parents that
night, as he could not tell where they lived, and the
name of Hudson was not familiar to the good people
who had given him shelter.
When Sabbath morning came, William was questioned
again and again, till at length some clue was
obtained of his father's place of residence. The
horse was harnessed, and William, with lame and
blistered feet, was placed in the wagon. About
noon he safely reached home, and was clasped once
more to his mother's heart. The father had not
returned from his search, and he afterwards said, it
had seemed to him that he never could go home
without his child, on account of the terrible and
almost frantic distress of the mother. As he approached
his house, borne down with grief, he saw
a wagon at the door. His heart leaped with joy,
for he thought the lost one was found. He opened
the door hopefully, and there, indeed, was William
gathered once more with his brothers and sisters
around the great cooking-stove, tears of joy flowing
down the grateful mother's cheeks.
All this great grief which William's father and
mother endured—all the anxiety felt throughout
the town—and all the sufferings of the boy himself,
were occasioned by William's stopping to play, when
he ought to have gone directly home!
Children often think they are quite as capable of
judging for themselves, as their parents are for
them. Sooner or later this opinion will lead them
into trouble. William thought it was safe to stop
and see the boys play marbles, but he found, to his
sorrow, that it would have been far better to have
resisted temptation and denied himself the short
pleasure he enjoyed.
Every human heart is grieved when a child like
William strays from home. We do not wonder that
his mother should be fearfully anxious in regard
to his fate. But, oh! how much more bitter tears
a loving mother sheds, when her dear ones stray
from the path of virtue, and become disobedient and
wicked! I hope none of the children who read
about William will go astray from the right path,
but will ever choose that which is pure and lovely
and of good report, and which, through the grace
of God in Christ Jesus, will safely lead them home