Foote, Julia A.J.
A Brand Plucked From the Fire
The Primes--Going to School
I was ten years of age I was sent to live in the country with a family by the
name of Prime. They had no children, and soon became quite fond of me. I really think Mrs.
Prime loved me. She had a brother who was dying with consumption, and she herself was a
cripple. For some time after I went there, Mr. John, the brother, was able to walk from his father's
house, which was quiet near, to ours, and I used to stand, with tears in my eyes, and watch him as
he slowly moved across the fields, leaning against the fence to rest himself by the way. I heard
them say he could not live much longer, and that worried me dreadfully; and then I used to
wonder if he said his prayers. He always treated me kindly, and often stopped to talk with
One day, as he started for home, I stepped up to him and said, "Mr. John, do you say your
prayers?" and then I began to cry. He looked at me for a moment, then took my hand
19in his and said: "Sometimes I pray; do you?" I answered, "Yes, sir." Then said he, "You must pray
for me" --and turned and left me. I ran to the barn, fell down on my knees, and said: "Our
Father, who art in heaven, send that good man to put his hand on Mr. John's head." I repeated this
many times a day as long as he lived. After his death I heard them say he died very happy, and had
gone to heaven. Oh, how my little heart leaped for joy when I heard that Mr. John had gone to
heaven; I was sure the good man had been there and laid his hand on his head. "Bless the Lord, O
my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name," for good men and good women, who are
not afraid to teach dear children to pray.
The Primes being an old and influential family, they were able to send me to a country school,
where I was well treated by both teacher and scholars.
Children were trained very differently in those days from what they are now. We were taught
to treat those older than ourselves with great respect. Boys were required to make a bow, and
girls to drop a courtesy, to any person whom they might chance to meet in the street. Now, many
of us dread to meet children almost as much as we do the half-drunken
20men coming out of the saloons. Who is to blame for this? Parents, are you training your children
in the way they should go? Are you teaching them obedience and respect? Are you bringing your
little ones to Jesus? Are they found at your side in the house of God, on Sunday, or are they
roving the streets or fields? Or, what is worse, are they at home reading books or newspapers that
corrupt the heart, bewilder the mind, and lead down to the bottomless pit? Father, mother, look
on this picture, and then on the dear children God has given you to train up for lives of usefulness
that will fit them for heaven. May the dear Father reign in and rule over you, is the prayer of one
who desires to meet you all in heaven.