The Story of Admiral Hobson: Chapter 2

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
TWENTY years had passed, bringing many changes; Bonchurch was still a quiet and peaceful village.
The workhouse boy had been well-nigh forgotten, but the name of Admiral Hobson, as we must now call him, was widely known and greatly honored.
A large man-of-war, flying the British flag, had just cast anchor, after which several of her officers got into a boat and were rowed to the shore. As they walked slowly up the straggling village street people came to their doors and windows to look at them, and as they did so they may have noticed not only the gold lace with which the coat and three-cornered hat of one of the party was so richly trimmed, but the respect with which he was treated by his brother officers, who touched their hats and said, "Yes, sir," and "No, sir," when they addressed him.
They stopped at the door of the tailor's cottage. He was nowhere to be seen, but his wife was at the gate of her little garden shading her eyes from the sun, and thinking perhaps of bygone years. To her great surprise they said they wanted to dine at her cottage. They were willing and able to pay her for her trouble, but they wanted dinner as soon as she could get it ready. More than half frightened, she protested that she had nothing to offer them, nothing fit to set before grand gentlemen like them. All she had in the house was a little bacon and a few eggs from her own fowls.
They assured her she could not have named anything they should have liked better. Times had, she said, been hard with them. All through the winter her husband had been laid up with rheumatism and had been unable to attend to his work.
Yielding at last to their wishes, she went to prepare the meal, while they entered her humble home and chatted. Dinner ended, while she busied herself clearing away, Admiral Hobson began to sing. Looking at him earnestly, she said, as she wiped away her tears with her apron, "Oh, don't sing that, sir, please don't sing that! It was our Hobby's song.”
“Who was Hobby? Your son?”
“No, sir; he was our parish apprentice, but we thought nearly as much of him as if he had been. He was such a good-tempered, willing lad," and she began to cry again.
“What became of him? Is he dead?”
“We quite think he got drowned. Just twenty years ago a ship like yours came into the harbor. Hobby was always such a boy for the water; but he did not like sitting on a shop-board minding his work. The last that was seen of him was on that day running down to the beach; he never came back, so we think he must have fallen into the sea and been drowned.”
“Was his body ever found?”
“No, sir; but that's no proof he wasn't. He knew we had been good to him, and though master might have been a bit cross with him for not minding his work, he would have been sure to come back to us. Poor Hobby!”
There was a silence, and when the Admiral spoke his voice was thick and husky. "I am Hobby; I was a bad boy to run away to sea and leave you in the way I did after all your kindness to me, and I don't deserve to be so tenderly remembered. But I never should have made a tailor. I think I must have been born to be a sailor. But I want to show you that I am not ungrateful. You were as good as a father and mother to me, and now I want to be a son to you. Most of my time I am at sea, but when I am on land I have a fine house in London. The Queen often commands me to attend her councils, and even asks my advice. If you will come and live with me you shall be treated as if you were my own father and mother.”
But while the old people thanked him warmly, they said they did not know the ways of grand folks and should not feel at home in the great, busy city. So Admiral Hobson bought their cottage and made them a present of it, besides allowing them money on which they could live comfortably, and paying them visits whenever his duties allowed him to do so. So the "hard times" were never known again in the tailor's cottage.
God is a giving God, offering to us the greatest of all gifts, peace and pardon through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But some people, and I have known boys and girls make the mistake of thinking they can be givers before they are receivers. Take the freely-offered gift and thank the Giver, and then it does not matter how young or how weak you are you will not be left without opportunities of giving. Perhaps the need of cheerful, willing givers was never greater than it is to-day; but let us be sure that love to Christ is the motive spring of our service. If we are not quite sure that it is we may take even this trouble to the Lord in prayer and ask Him so to work in our souls by His Holy Spirit that "Ye serve the Lord Christ" may be our life motto.