A Deaf And Dumb Boy's Devotion

Under the trees standing by the left bank of the Thames, and sheltered

from its waters by a mound of earth, is an old but comfortable

boathouse. A few roughly-hewn steps lead from the mound to the water's

edge, where some six or seven boats rock idly on the surface. Over the

door of this tottering mansion hangs a wooden board, with the words

"Timothy Gainsad" inscribed in large letters upon a black ground. A gush

of li
ht and warmth issuing from the door guides the weary traveller to

a haven worthy of his choicest desires. Well can I remember the dark

outline of St. Paul's Cathedral, lifting its rounded dome in massive

grandeur to the skies, and the faint outline of the opposite bank

shining dimly in the distance. I remember, when a lad of seven, a rich

and influential lady coming down from Yorkshire to spend the winter

months in London. She brought with her a dumb boy attendant, whom she

had adopted and treated with the greatest kindness. One dark night she

hired a boat, and rowed out upon the river. Scarcely was she lost in the

river mist ere the flood gates of heaven were opened, the rain came down

in torrents, the waves dashed against our rude pier and threatened to

dislodge it, while now and then an occasional streak of lightning,

accompanied by a clap of thunder, lit up the dark surface of the river.

My friends had gone off in a boat in search of the lady, and I was alone

in the room. Seated on a stool by the side of a blazing fire, I was

reading an interesting novel, when the door was violently pushed, and

the dumb attendant of the young lady rushed in, seized a life belt from

the wall, and made for the door. I ran to intercept him; but guessing my

purpose, he raised the stool and brought it down with a crash upon my

head. I staggered back to the wall and fell, and he disappeared through

the door. With a reeling head I tottered to the door, and looked out

upon the river. "Great heavens!" I exclaimed, "he will be dashed to

pieces!" For there, revealed by a flash of lightning, was the dumb boy,

standing on the rail of the bridge, preparing to plunge into the surging

waters below. A short distance from the bridge was the boat occupied by

the terrified lady. It was fast sinking, and as he plunged from the

bridge it sank. I saw him come to the surface, stunned and bleeding; I

saw him raise the life-belt in his hand, and throw it to his mistress.

She caught it, and his face lit up with joy; then--he sank! His mistress

was saved, and some time after the dumb boy's lifeless body was washed

to the shore, and laid in an honourable grave. Over it stands a

beautiful angel of white marble, holding a scroll inscribed with these

words:--"Here lies Gustavus Arisild, who died in the surging waters of

the Thames to save his mistress."