Crossing the Channel the other day, as we were nearing the pier, we heard a loud clear voice ringing over the boat. It came from a small dirty-looking boy standing near the engine-room. We could not hear what he said, but we could feel that the great wheels were beginning to revolve more slowly.
Again the clear tones were heard, and suddenly the motion of the engines was reversed and the paddles began to turn in an opposite direction. At first it appeared as if the boy had the entire control of the vessel, and certainly he seemed quite capable of guiding her.
The orders he gave were with authority, and with the utmost confidence; there was no hesitation in his manner or in his voice. On approaching nearer to him the mystery was explained.
His eyes were intently fixed on the little bridge above his head, where stood the captain. It was some time, however, before we discovered how he gave his orders to the boy. He seldom spoke, and then but a word, and yet the boy kept shouting down below as if moved by some unseen power.
At last we found that it was by short, sharp movements of the hand that the captain gave his orders. Quite unintelligible as they were to us, to the boy all was clear, every movement had its meaning, and no sooner did a little wave of the hand say 'forward' than the voice was heard, 'Full speed ahead', and instantly the mighty engines moved in obedience.
We pondered over this, and wished we were more like the captain's boy. The boy was (like John the Baptist of old) simply 'a voice', but as the Baptist's voice derived all its importance because it was the Lord's, so did the boy's because it was but an echo of the captain's.—Dr. A. T. Schofield
(Matt. 3. 3; John 1. 23)
A lanky country youth entered the crossroads general store to order some groceries. He was seventeen years old and was passing through that stage of adolescence during which a boy seems all hands and feet, and his vocal organs, rapidly developing, are wont to cause his voice to undergo sudden and involuntary changes from high treble to low bass.
In an authoritative rumbling bass voice he demanded of the busy clerk, "Give me a can of corn" (then, his voice suddenly changing to a shrill falsetto, he continued) "and a sack of flour."
"Well, don't be in a hurry. I can't wait on both of you at once," snapped the clerk.
ASPIRING VOCALIST—"Professor, do you think I will ever be able to do anything with my voice?"
PERSPIRING TEACHER—"Well it might come in handy in case of fire or shipwreck."—Cornell Widow.
The devil hath not, in all his quiver's choice,
An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice.—Byron.