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The Poorhouse Waif | Isabel C. Byrum


The good are better made by ill,
As odors crushed are sweeter still.

—Samuel Rogers

The Poorhouse Waif has not been written to call attention to the noble characteristics of Edwin in choosing, under all circumstances, and regardless of consequences, to do the right, but to point the mind of the reader to the true Source of success and happiness. From beginning to end the story is true, and many of the characters mentioned are still living. A few of the names, however, have been withheld, and it must be remembered that the manners and customs of the infirmaries of today are not the same as those of former days.

Just why Edwin was permitted to undergo such trying scenes in his childhood we cannot explain, but every Christian must be tested and his motives proved. When the purposes of the individual are to do right, however, the is One who in the darkest hour supports and protects the soul from harm, and when the trial is over, he can, like Edwin, point to those stepping-stones to success.

By uncovering the blush of shame in the wayward mother, we see how everything that has breath must, in some way, whether the individual wishes it or not, carry out God’s plan and purpose; for it was from the mother’s tongue that Edwin first learned that there is a God.

The experiences in the home of the witch are a reminder of the superstitions that were once, by many, considered realities; and the manner in which Edwin was kept free from his false surroundings shows God’s power to keep the honest heart from every evil.

The result of humoring and making excuses for growing children is brought out in Elmer’s experiences and disgrace; and the divine power and faithfulness to instruct the seeking heart are made manifest by the manner in which God so vividly revealed the secrets of the hidden life to Edwin, in helping him to understand the evils of the tobacco habit, the secret and value of prayer, conversion, and the choosing of his life companion.

As God directs the bird to the climate that is best adapted to its needs, so the poorhouse waif, by his divine Teacher, was inclined to take the proper course in life. Therefore commended, and with the earnest wish that some may be strengthened, edified, or brought into the fold of Christ through the reading of these experiences, the author prayerfully submits this little book to the world.

Yours prayerfully and in the love of Jesus,
Isabel C. Byrum